How to write a business plan for investors

Whether you’re looking to purely for capital to grow your business, or you need finance to enable a transaction, knowing how to write a business for investors is a crucial skill. The team at Heligan Partners has worked on a wide range venture capital and private equity funded deals. We’ve also been on both sides of the table and we know how investors react to business plans.

Competing for attention

A compelling business plan is an essential tool for engaging potential investors. Investors see a lot of business plans so you’re competing for attention, not just a positive reaction. Your business plan needs to do three key things:

  • Get attention and be easily understood
  • Present the opportunity for investors
  • Explain the business plan and why it’s viable

Creating a business plan also benefits you and your business. It provides a clear framework for strategic decision-making. It’s never too early to look at your strategic options. The process and output will give your management team, and even the wider business, a shared goal or vision.

Common mistakes when writing your business plan

When writing a business plan for potential investors, simple things can undermine the presentation of even a fundamentally good document. Work diligently on your plan – and don’t be afraid to get help – to make sure you don’t make any of these mistakes.

  • Lacks clarity or structure
  • Poor attention to detail
  • Poor presentation, or even too much style over substance
  • Lacks relevant detail and specifics to back it up
  • Lacks focus and isn’t tailored to its audience

What do investors need to see in your business plan?

How to write a business plan for investorsKnow your audience and tailor your plan accordingly. You might even need to create multiple versions of your plan for each key audience. It’s wise to gather input from customers and investors with whom you have a good relationship. Even people outside the business to get an unbiased perspective on your business, plan and proposition. Consider their feedback and pre-empt such questions in the document.

Investors will want to know that there’s a clear opportunity for future growth. They need to see that you’ve prepared the business accordingly and mitigated risks as far as possible. Of course, some investors will have more of an appetite for risk but even they will need to know what you’re planning to do.

Brian Blakemore

Brian Blakemore

Chairman at Heligan Partners

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