How to Write a Business Plan
Your business plan is your best argument for encouraging investors to consider your business. Think of your business plan as your chance to show investors that you have a clear vision for your venture, and that you have adequately researched your plan and believe it is capable of providing a return on investment (in other words, making money).
A good business plan, like a good book, will hook potential investors on your idea and will not bore them. Keep your plan concise and use plain language that investors of all kind can understand. If a potential investor has technical questions after reading your plan, then you can bring out the jargon. But remember - in the Liftoff Capital world of innovation to investment connectivity, your investors might not have enough experience in your field to understand the “Mumbo - Jumbo” that goes along with your area of expertise.
Writing your business plan is also an opportunity to organize your thoughts, double check your numbers, size up your competition and improve upon your original idea.
A standard business plan can be broken into six parts that answer the questions Who, What, When, Where and Why:
- Executive Summary - write one to two pages explaining your business idea. Here you can discuss how you believe the business will come together, what it will take to achieve success, and give a broad overview of how you see your business penetrating the market and growing. Discuss your business milestones here, explain how you plan to gain traction in the market, and write a short financial summary including funding requirements (see the financial section below where you will provide additional details).
- Opportunity - what problem are you solving? Can you show that the market will sustain your business? Explain the need for your product or service (for example - if you are starting a landscaping company and there are ten thousand unserviced homes in your area with no competition it makes a compelling argument that the market is ready for your business).
- Execution - How will you turn investment into a successful business? Lay out your step by step plan for investing your startup money and generating a successful return.
- Team and Company - who are you, and what is your past experience. Remember - at Liftoff Capital we believe that no good idea should be shut-down for lack of business experience. This section of your Business Plan May help investors find entrepreneurs they can help mentor.
- Financial Plan - Here’s where your research pays off. How much will it cost and in what kind of timeframe? Remember not to undersell yourself. One big mistake startups make is to ask for too little investment, and to underestimate the timeframe it will take to become profitable. Be realistic - keep in mind staff salaries, real estate costs, travel expenses, essential services, etc. Show your investors that you have a realistic view of the market you are trying to capture. At Liftoff Capital we want you to follow your dreams, and we want you to succeed. Make sure you are realistic about your financials so you can make those dreams a reality.
- Appendix - along with an index of your business plan, this section provides a good space to add additional images that might help the investor better comprehend your concept.
Remember that a Business Plan is a concise summary of your business idea. You don’t need to reveal complex details about your business, and at Liftoff Capital, we encourage you to have any potential investors sign a non-disclosure agreement before discussing specific ideas or potential intellectual property.
A good business plan, combined with the investor exposure you get from Liftoff Capital can bring your idea to the launch pad and beyond!