By Fernando Berrocal
Being able to properly market your business plan to potential investors is an essential skill for any startup entrepreneur. When your audience isn't yet engaged, you can easily go overboard on the specifics, or you can show off too little of your startup when your audience expects more. In either case, making a mistake like this might lose you a potential investor who was already interested. In this post, we'll provide you with a strong foundation of information that should assist you to avoid common mistakes that might obstruct your fundraising efforts.
Determine the Amount of Enthusiasm: You must be able to match the material you're delivering to the degree of interest of the individuals you're presenting your business plan to. People who are inexperienced with your project won’t have the patience to read a big booklet. Individuals who are familiar with your idea and business and want to make a significant commitment, on the other hand, would anticipate such information. Unfortunately, this means that a single document will not be enough. It's helpful to think about the process in terms of a sales funnel. The business plan message you present should fit into one of these categories in order of least to most interested.
Elevator Pitch: To people you've just met, you should be able to convey the entire business in a few phrases. It's worthwhile to polish this presentation because you'll be giving it to a variety of stakeholders in your business regularly.
Short Pitch Deck, Lean Canvas, or Executive Summary of a Business Proposal: The brief pitch deck is the industry standard for presenting a business concept to potential investors. However, while the short pitch deck is wonderful for meetings, it loses a little when sent through email for people to read because it is text-heavy. As a result, the Lean Canvas and the executive summary of the business plan may be more appropriate in these situations. These documents have the advantage of being brief while still providing more information than a one-sentence elevator pitch.
Detailed Pitch Deck: A presentation designed to be emailed. It has the same structure as a short pitch deck and provides the same material, but it is more text-heavy and detailed. Instead of the standard 5 to 10-minute pitches, they might be utilized for 15 to 40-minute presentations. Again, devoting 40 minutes to your project indicates that your audience is already intrigued.
Full Business Plan: It's only beneficial to those who plan to invest in the initiative — often investors, but also co-founders, and others. Keep in mind that, while the business plan is typically used to attract investors, its primary function is to provide clarity to the founding team about the way forward.
- The basics of persuading a startup investor of the viability of your concept remain the same whether you use a business plan or a pitch deck.
- Complexity is typically counterproductive since it might cause your audience to get confused. The more complex the strategy, the more likely it's to fail when put into action.
- Start with the issue you're dealing with and the solution you're suggesting:
- Demonstrate the project's potential by discussing the total addressable market and your potential market penetration.
- Give evidence, ideally, enough traction figures to persuade the audience that the tale you're delivering is true.
- Demonstrate the team's competency by exhibiting extensive domain knowledge and, preferably, experience.
Finally, make the request. You have more room in a business plan to discuss what you're searching for – investors, partners, and so on – as well as what you need the resources for. If you can satisfactorily address the problems listed above, you'll be ok on your way to persuading potential investors and partners.
Business Plan should be well-structured: People usually scan through business plans and then use them as a reference resource if they require particular information. This implies that it must be organized rationally for individuals to easily find the information they need. The following is an excellent business plan structure:
- A Summary, also known as an Executive Summary, of the whole plan. It can be delivered as a separate document.
- Discuss the problem, the solution, the target market, the segments, and possibly the competitors.
- Execution of Marketing and Operations Strategy; milestones are useful for illustrating the path ahead; success measures are also a good idea.
- Cap table, management team, and hiring plan for open/prospective roles are all part of the business structure.
- Financial predictions such as profit and loss and net present value estimates.
In summary, presenting a business concept to investors isn't as simple as it looks, so take the time to learn what the investor expects to see and prepare the necessary documents to make a strong case. However, the pitch deck and business plan are only a framework; the substance is what matters, so make sure you have something useful to say in your business plan.
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