6 Steps to Getting Your Business Plan Seen Follow these guidelines to make sure your plan has the best chance to be considered.
- How to get your plan in front of the right people
- How to follow up without being a pain
This is part 0 / 8 of Write Your Business Plan: Section 6: Getting Your Business Plan to Investors series.
Once you've prepared your business plan for presentation and you're ready to pitch it. There are six steps to follow.
- Obtain leads and referrals. Find the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of investors you wish to target. Ask people you know for referrals. Network as much as possible.
- Research your target. Learn as much as possible about how much money people have to invest, the industries they're interested in, and other requirements. Search venture capital directories, Who's Who publications, news articles, websites, and similar sources.
- Make your pitch. First, email or mail an introductory letter to your target, letting him know you have a plan you would like to send. If you do send an email or a letter asking him to read your plan and do not hear from him within a short time, send a follow-up email in a week and try once more about two weeks later (in case he was out of town or swamped with other work). If this doesn't produce a meeting, look elsewhere.
- Try to meet people in person. Even though we are living in a text, email, and conference-call age, you should still try to meet your recipient face-to-face, especially if you are seeking any type of funding. It's tough to get such a commitment through a few texts or by email. Zoom or Skype may work, but meeting in person for a major financial commitment is best. Nonetheless, if they want to keep all communication electronic, follow their lead.
- Defuse objections. Although you may think you've answered everything in your plan, you haven't. Prepare a list of possible objections—potential competitors, hard-to-buttress assumptions, and the like—that your investor may raise. Then, prepare cogent answers. Have friends, coworkers, and your team play devil's advocate and provide every possible objection or tough question— then formulate your answers.
- Get a commitment. You won't get an investment unless you ask for it. When all objections have been answered, be ready to offer one last concession—"If I give your representative a board seat, can we do this today?"—and go for the close.