Business planning · Fundraising

Preparing a Great Business Plan?

Zainul Tinwala CEO at H T Impex.

August 20th, 2016

I have an idea and have done some research and number crunching on it. Now I need to prepare a great business plan which I can take to potential investors. Have checked out many Business plan software sites and also freelance peopleperhour etc. But Im confused how to identify a correct person to help me prepare the pitch. I have all the data and numbers just need to put them in a proper manner and also maybe some points I may miss out on otherwise.

Steven Krane Entrepreneur & Investor

August 20th, 2016

Hi - I have started 8 companies and raised millions of dollars. No one should do the business plan other than you.

Bill Warner Managing Partner of Paladin and Associates

August 20th, 2016

You should do the plan, but for your pitch, definitely get help from people who know how to present to investors. You can contact me if you would like some assistance on that. You can contact me on LinkedIn if you would like some guidance. 

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

August 21st, 2016

I have written and/or evaluated thousands of business plans as an entrepreneur, investment banker, fund manager, and business plan competition judge. My conclusions are: (1) business plans are first and foremost, internal documents - written by the principals and advisors to model and then operate their ventures; (2) clear writing is a reflection of clear thinking; (3) when business plans are shown to potential investors, they must be concise, and they must contain information relevant to the investor audience (a d in the format and language that investors understand. The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is that they tend to accentuate the product idea and trivialize the business fundamentals. Sent from my iPhone

Nawaz Ahmed Founder CEO 5n Business Consultants

August 20th, 2016

Dear zainul Just sharing professional business plan format which is being used four investors from USA to Sydney Click http://5nbusinessconsultants.com/business_plan_sample Regards Nawaz

David Fadayomi Strategy & Planning | MobBrains Consulting Group

August 20th, 2016

My suggestion is to ignore the typical 'business plan' approach and start with the Business Model Canvas, in my opinion this helps you to focus on key areas of your idea & unearth your value proposition. When you say "research", does it involve customer interviews/development? If not, that's another area that will help refine your idea & validate all those assumptions. Be sure to check out Justin Wilcox for more information. Good luck! Sent from my iPhone

Andrea Gentili COO (and co-Founder) at Kobo Funds

August 21st, 2016

Hi Zainul
let me try to share my experience...I receive and read dozens of Business Plan every month. They are rarely well prepared. And almost always they don't answer some key questions (e.g. as someone has already mentioned "how much money do you need?".
So, unless you are one of the rare geniuses who have set up several companies and raised millions all by themselves, you are right to look for help in order to increase the chance to be funded.
However it is also true that you should be the main player while preparing the Business Plan.
I would proceed as follows:
- choose one of the templates that other people have suggested
- prepare a first draft of your Business plan
- to finalise it, ask for help to an advisor who has experience in Fund Raising (and ideally in your industry too)

What above won't give you certainty to be funded but it will surely increase your chances.
Good luck

Paul Garcia President at TABLE

August 22nd, 2016

Zainul,
You don't need software or a freelancer, you need to follow the format whomever is reading your plan will want, and you may benefit from a mentor who will read your plan once you have covered the essentials and help you work through sections where you struggle and improve it for your goals in fundraising.

This is available nationwide from SCORE, a non-profit which offers free mentoring service delivered by retired executives, and is supported by the SBA. You can meet in-person weekly to go through your business plan and improve it together. You can download the template to use for free at https://www.score.org/resource/business-plan-template-startup-business and it's an excellent place to start. It will at least show you all the bases you have to cover and blanks to fill in.

You may feel a great deal of urgency right now to start meeting with investor candidates, but don't hurt your chances of a warm reception by not preparing with all the unlimited time you have to plan.

Christopher Croupe Senior Director, Corporate Strategy and Development at Nokia

August 20th, 2016

If you Google "vc pitch deck template" you can pick from the list (many of the larger VCs have a specific template - so use that if you're pitching to them). You'll see a common framework - pick what works best for your story. 

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

August 20th, 2016

My angel group sometimes asks me to help entrepreneurs prepare business plans at no cost to the entrepreneur. If you are in my area, I might be able to help. Where are you, and what is your venture all a out. You can contact me directly at crucibleadvisorsatgmaildotcom. Sent from my iPhone

Joseph Wang Chief Science Officer at Bitquant Research Laboratories

August 20th, 2016

This may be location dependent, but here in Hong Kong, preparing a business plan is useless if you are raising less than USD 5 million from angel investors (and note that angels and VC's are very different). You do a pitch deck and a 1-2 page teaser, and if someone is interested then you talk with them about business plans. Elaborate business plans are a waste of time for everyone. An angel investor is not going to want to read a stack of business plans. They want to hear a five minute pitch and if they like you, then you start talking about the details of the business. On your side, if you are spending most of your time planning and not enough time doing, then there is a problem.

Usually you can get help in creating the pitch from a local angel network. Often the network that you are pitching to will help you create the pitch. The reason people do this is that it saves time for everyone involved. For example, you'd be amazed at the number of pitches that I've seen that don't answer the question "how much money do you need?" There are some standard problems with pitches, and most of those can be resolved with a one hour conversation.

Here is the standard template that people use in HK

forbes.com/sites/chancebarnett/2014/05/09/investor-pitch-deck-to-raise-money-for-startups

The standard template is intentionally designed so that you can write the pitch by yourself in a relatively short period of time.