Attract Investors by Improving Cash Flow Before Cash is a Problem

One of the important factors investors consider when evaluating a business plan is the amount of expected cash flow. They scrutinize the assumptions that were made in order to make a determination as to their validity. One of the lessons to be learned from investors is that you can improve your cash flow before you even have cash flow to report.

What does this mean? It means that the steps that are taken to improve cash flow for an ongoing business are the same steps that should be incorporated in the cash flow statement included in a business plan. Sound business practices can and should be used to prepare the cash flow projections. In fact, one of the first rules of cash flow is to prepare a realistic projection. Investors evaluating a business plan will carefully review the assumptions made in view of the marketplace conditions. Sometimes businesses are tempted to overstate cash flow in the belief this increases the chances of funding. However, investors have a lot of experience evaluating cash flow statements and overstatements will be spotted.

When preparing a cash flow projection, you need to consider the factors that influence cash flow during operations. The projection should assume reasonable customer terms and collection policies. The business plan should also reflect market segmentation based on products. For example, the timing of inventory purchases is influenced by the type of products sold. Cash left in the bank will earn interest that can be included in the cash flow statement, while cash invested in inventory is tied up until the inventory is sold.

These are the types of detailed analysis the entrepreneur needs to do long before a business plan is presented to investors. In other words, you want to be able to prove you know how to maximize cash flow based on realistic assumptions and best practices.

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Showcase Diversity In Your Business

Some investors aren’t just interested in your business ideas. They also want to know that you embrace diversity. A business can have diverse employees or focus on supplier diversity, or encompass both in the business model. As globalization becomes standard practice for all businesses from the large corporation to the sole proprietor working at home, diversity of people and spend becomes more important.

Why do investors care? They care because the makeup of the population and the marketplace are changing. In the U.S. alone, the highest birth rates are among minorities and every state has increased in racial and ethnic diversity since the year 2000. However, the U.S. is just one segment of the total global marketplace, albeit the largest single entity. As businesses go online to find rapid business growth, they must attract a diverse customer base. It only makes sense that the business would add diversity to its internal operations in order to better compete.

When investors are considering funding a business, they want as much assurance as possible that the internal culture, systems and processes mesh well with the reality of the marketplace. An organization that is committed to diversity and has a definitive strategy for ensuring diversity becomes a reality is one that proves it fully understands the complexity of the global marketplace. In other words, diversity can be leveraged into enduring success, and that is what investors want to fund – a business that is on the path to lasting operational success.

Before approaching investors, it’s important to analyze the diversity of your organization. Awareness, alignment and sustainability of diversity in employees and suppliers are concepts that should be put into practice.

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Two Ways to Define Sustainability and Attract Investors

Sustainability is a topic of interest today, and it interests investors and businesses. There are two ways to consider sustainability. Sustainability may refer to the ability of a company to maintain organic growth as it expands operations. Sustainability also references corporate responsibility in support of the community and environment. Either way, many business opportunities are created and investors must decide which ones present the most opportunities.

In today’s economy, the two types of sustainability actually merge. There are companies that have found organic growth by offering environmentally sound products and services. As green technology advances, those businesses on the cutting edge of new product and service development need financing for research and development, manufacturing and innovative marketplace implementations. These are exactly the kind of companies that many investors are looking for because these entrepreneurs represent the future which means long term success.

Sustainability used to be a fad concept, but now it’s an imperative – either way you want to define sustainability. Businesses that can grow in the current economic climate are the operations that learn to be lean and productive and more likely to succeed and expand through the years. Businesses that contribute to the environment by offering green products and services are poised for explosive growth as global and domestic environmental issues come to the forefront. Investors are ready to accept the risks of opportunity as long as the business has a strong business plan. Whether you need startup funding or expansion funding, if you can show you’re a sustainability leader then there are investors ready to help you march forward.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

What are Sophisticated Investors?

When you’re searching for business capital, you want investors who can be classified as sophisticated. A sophisticated investor is someone who has the business knowledge and experience to make good decisions about investment opportunities. The knowledge and experience enables the investor to thoroughly weigh the merits and risks of a business plan and make a reasonable decision about potential profitability and thus the likelihood of earning a return on the investment.

There are other ways the term sophisticated investors is used. For example, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the term applies to someone able to make certain restricted investments in exempt offerings. Small companies can sell securities to these investors without registering them. The investor can buy securities without having to worry that an investment loss will impact their net worth to any degree. However, for entrepreneurs seeking small to large private investors, a sophisticated investor is someone who has hands-on experience with start-ups or business expansions and can offer expertise as well as money

All types of investors can quality as sophisticated in its broad sense. The fact is that being wealthy doesn’t automatically mean being financially experienced. There are plenty of wealthy people who have inherited money, were paid an insurance settlement, or even got lucky on an investment, yet have no idea how to manage money. The true sophisticated investor is the angel investor, venture capitalist or equity partner that has the financial savvy to make a sound investment decision after studying the business proposal in detail including the marketing plan, financial information and success strategies. The sophisticated investor understands what he or she is investing in and that’s precisely why you will benefit from their expertise.

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Traversing the Entrepreneur’s Valley of Death with a Business Plan

The business plan is a bridge that extends from initial startup to plans for long range success. That bridge crosses a wide canyon that includes seed money, angel investors and eventually venture capitalism and commercial funds. The first round of funding by angel investors is enough to get the business established and generating income through modest growth, but at some point for successful businesses the funding chasm becomes wide and deep. This Valley of Death, as the $2 million to $5 million is not so affectionately called,  can kill young businesses if it’s not traversed with injections of new venture capital investment money. On the other side of the valley can be found business loans from traditional lenders meaning the company is now poised for unlimited growth.

There’s a lot of debate on whether this valley really exists. Many business analysts believe there is always money for market worthy companies that need cash. This is based on the assumption that inefficient companies or companies with products that don’t succeed in the marketplace will drop out of the running for funding. That leaves the companies with competitive products and services looking for funding. Angel investors play an important role in this process because they fund companies with the well designed business models and that are most likely to succeed over the long run based on their analysis. The poorly prepared business plan and angel investors act like culling tools and force bad ideas out of the funding process early in the process.

Crossing the Valley of Death will take a concerted effort to find multiple sources of funding in many cases. For example, young entrepreneurs can bridge the gap by vigorously blending venture capital with government tax credits. A fairly new concept is the ‘certified capital company’ in which a state issues tax credits to companies in return for making investments in young businesses ready to cross the Valley of Death. There are a number of new and creative funding concepts being introduced across the nation to stimulate job growth and economic development.

In other words, if you need angel funding or are facing the Valley of Death, rest assured that professionals familiar with the funding environment can steer you to funding arrangements you may not even be aware exist. If you see the Valley of Death looming, it only means you have been successful already.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

Removing Barriers to Minority Business Success

The minority business owner developing a business plan can do so with the knowledge that angel investors offer non-traditional funding sources that break down barriers to opportunity. It’s no secret that minority and women businesses (MWBEs) have faced hurdles in areas of market access and financing over the years. That is changing with growing awareness and education of the marketplace and a growing robust effort by corporate America to improve access. The increased knowledge and awareness has also positively impacted the private funding market which only serves to expand opportunity.

Breaking down barriers to access benefits everyone. Minority and women entrepreneurs are innovative and bring new perspectives to the marketplace. Angel investors can help them bring that innovation and creativity to the marketplace more easily by working outside of the mainstream financing system. A match between angel investors and an MWBE can produce results.

Of course, the MWBE entrepreneur must still use proven strategies that increase the likelihood angel investors will accept the business plan. When presenting a business plan to potential investors it’s important to show confidence and leadership, prove thorough knowledge of the competition and the industry, and above all, ensure the innovation and creativity of product, service and business is made abundantly clear. Once a company obtains angel investing, it is easier to move up a step into the next phases of financing which include venture capital and eventually commercial funding.

Angel investors can be ‘angels’ in many ways. They are not hemmed in by traditional processes which is exactly the way traditional barriers can be broken down.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

Angel Investors Remain Committed to Business

Angel investors have been a “significant contributor to job growth” according to the University of New Hampshire Center for Venture Funding Angel Market Analysis Report. Entrepreneurs preparing business plans may also like to know that angel investments were made in healthcare (25%), industrial/energy (17%), biotechnology (14%), software (11%), media (8%) and retail (8%). In other words, angel investors invested in most industries the first half of 2011.

Government officials frequently talk about job creation. It’s interesting to learn that jobs are being created steadily through private investment in small to medium sized startups. Small business has always claimed that real job and economic growth relies on small business success more than the success of large corporations. In fact, two-thirds of new jobs in the U.S. are due to small businesses. Startups and small business expansion play critical roles in the economy and in promoting job growth. Since angel investors fund small business, that makes them just as critical to economic growth.

In 2011, angel investors created 134,130 new jobs. The angel investors also increased their seed and startup funding in the first 2 quarters of 2011. This was interpreted as a good sign because it reflects an increasing rate of small business development which means economic and job growth. If there is any doubt of the availability and economic influence of angel investors then consider the fact that the total amount of angel investments in the first 2 quarters of 2011 was $8.9 billion.

The data clearly shows that angel investors, despite their low profile, are a powerful economic force in the U.S. If you are interested in finding startup funding, rest assured there are angel investors interested in your plans.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

In The Eyes of an Angel Investor

One of the best ways to prepare for a search for startup funding by angel investors is to pretend you are one.  Investors have money they are willing to put into new enterprises, but they also want to minimize their risk as much as possible even with the understanding there is always a certain higher risk associated with a new business. If you consider what you would require if you were investing personal funds, the element of risk becomes much clearer and you can hone in on what information you need to assemble to prove your venture is a good investment.

The truth is that funding requests in the form of business plans submitted to any type of investor, whether for venture capital or to equity partners or to angel investors, should focus on answering questions before they are even asked. So it only makes sense to ask yourself the questions first as if you are investing your own funds.

It can be difficult to look at a new business with an objective eye when you are excited about a new idea, and it’s your business under the microscope.  Looking at the proposal from the angel investor’s viewpoint can help you keep your proposal targeted on the ultimate goal which is new funding.

Question: Am I It?

In the eyes (and mind) of an angel investor approached about a potential investment, your new business is untested.  The initial questions that will arise include:

  • What other potential sources of business funding is available to the new enterprise?
  • Could the startup business find funding through more traditional sources like business loans?
  • How long has the entrepreneur been looking for funding and is there any interest in the project by other investors?
  • Is it possible that several angel investments could be pooled to establish business funding while spreading the risk?
  • Is the entrepreneur asking for funding able to prove that he/she is a legitimate requestor with a solid business plan and not simply an “idea” person who has trouble following through?

These types of questions are just the beginning of a detailed analyzation process. Angel investors considering startup funding will want comprehensive information about projected income and expenses, marketing, project team members, business organization, a SWOT analysis, management, legal matters, future capital needs and more.

Question: Is Break Even in the Picture Anytime Soon?

One of the reasons some entrepreneurs are unable to attract any type of investment including venture capital, equity partners or angel investors is because they have not looked past the initial startup. Lack of capital is one of the main reasons small businesses fail according to the Small Business Administration. In the excitement of bringing a new business idea to the marketplace, the details are overlooked like when will the business break even?

Question: Do You Have Answers Prepared

Pretend you are the investor as you prepare your business plan including the financial section. What would you expect to get answers to before approving any investments or business loans? If your business plan doesn’t answer those questions about your venture then angel investors are going to see the proposal as too risky before it even gets off the ground.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at . Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need to access a vast network of business people, entrepreneurs, partners and service providers to help you start, finance and run your business, check out