Don’t Hype the Business Plan

A business plan is a living breathing document in that it can help you obtain capital through angel investors and then serve as the blueprint for goals and strategies. However, the business plan filled with hype is dead on arrival during fund raising because business plan readers will quickly recognize over-promising exuberance not based in reality. You may have an amazing idea and believe it’s a wide open market niche with no competition, but can you prove so?

Though angel investors are not financial institutions, they still rely on solid market and financial evidence for decision making. Using an abundance of words like ‘unprecedented’ and ‘one of a kind’ sends a signal that you have not done in-depth market research. Even if you have done the research, these kinds of hype words set a tone of naiveté and inexperience because very few products are unprecedented and lack competition.

As you write the business plan with the intent of submitting to angel investors, the words you need to be thinking should be more along the lines of ‘proven’, ‘accomplishments’ and ‘competition.’ If you say that your product is unprecedented then that word needs to be supported by third-party market research proving to the best of their ability that you have actually developed a radically new product.  Even in that case, you also must still prove that an expanded market will want to buy your unprecedented product before angel investors will capitalize your startup. An unsold unprecedented product has no value.

Avoiding the hype in a business plan takes discipline because entrepreneurs are naturally excited about their initial stage of business growth. Hype makes your job of selling a business plan to angel investors much harder than it needs to be. Avoid the hype and the business plan begins on solid ground, and from there your fund raising chances can only go up.

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.

Accepting Economic Challenges Via the Business Plan

Addressing today’s economic environment in a business plan may seem challenging, but it’s also the perfect time to prove you’re up to the challenge. In fact, angel investors are aware that successful ventures in a tight economy are poised for expansion when the economy improves. Successfully starting, managing and growing a business when the GDP is expanding at a sluggish 3 percent (like now) or less is indicative of a business with high growth potential as the economy returns to normal. Though capital access may seem tight, making it difficult to obtain venture funding, the fact is that it’s time like these where some of the greatest opportunity exists.

For example, tight markets mean less competition for both customers and funding. The people who succeed in this type of economic climate are the ones who have solid business plans and excellent ideas. The general quality of brands is necessarily raised because only the best can compete. These companies are attractive to investors looking to fund companies with growth potential.

Another way to look at the business climate is that businesses able to develop business plans that accommodate tight capital markets are more likely to attract angel investors. The reason is due to the fact the investors will recognize that the financially conservative business is prepared for economic downturns as well as upswings. Too many business plans begin with unreasonable expectations given market conditions. Clearly showing how your business will succeed in tight economic conditions is, at the same time, showing how the business is prepared to successfully maneuver during periods of uncertainty or even setbacks over the long term. Compelling business ideas coupled with managed risk is an excellent formula for attracting angel investors.

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.

Meeting the Expectations of Venture Capitalists

Entrepreneurs seeking venture capital often approach the market a bit naively. Though there are similarities to applying for funding through traditional lenders, there are also some differences. For example, venture capitalists can set any terms they want whether they fit traditional funding models or not. For example, a bank may require returns that are 5 times within a 5 year period. The venture capitalist may require 8 to 10 times within that same time period.

Successfully obtaining venture capital requires being fully prepared to meet the special demands of venture capitalists. Since these are private lenders, they can set the bar high in order to lower risks. The venture capitalist wants to know if you are going to make money, how long it will take to see investment returns, what kind of track record or related experience you have, and whether the company management team is competent, innovative and forward thinking.

If you can answer these questions successfully, there’s a good chance you will attract funding. However, matching the company with the right investor is critical. Term sheets detail the proposed agreements and at this stage it is critical that each side ask the right questions, come to a full understanding of expectations, and agree to valuation. There should not be any major surprises during the final negotiations once the term sheets are agreed upon.

Keep Your Deal Sweet and Not Sour

As odd as it may sound, you can select the wrong venture capitalist if you do not clearly explain your business model in terms of how you plan on operating and what your long term goals are for success. It’s not a matter of fabrication, but more a matter of clear communication. A deal can go sour really fast if the venture capitalist discovers during final negotiations that the company management really plans on taking a different growth path than was explained or has plans that were not divulged and could potentially adversely impact operations.

Viewing End Goals Through Valuation

If this seems obvious then you would be surprised how many negotiations fall apart even after terms sheets have been agreed upon. One of the main areas of contention is business valuation. Business valuation is normally figured by determining the discounted cash flow and then adding the residual value of the business. The projected cash flow will extend to the end of the agreement because that is the period in which the venture capital funders expect to get their money back.

Of surprise to many businesses applying for venture capital is the fact the venture capitalists will value their business much lower than the business believes is accurate. However, the venture capitalist viewpoint is one of minimizing risk and earning a profit while a business is anticipating growth and profits and is willing to take risks to achieve their goals. The business and the venture capitalist have the same end goals but will approach valuation differently while deciding if it is possible to reach those goals. Want more info or assistance? Visit

Start Up Business Funding – Don’t Take No for an Answer

Your cousin Lou has told you that he wishes he could help out but start up business funding is out of the question. There’s the mortgage to pay and gas prices are rising and the kids need braces and on and on the excuses go. You received the same answer from Aunt Sally, your best friend Dave and even your own father. You have a great idea for a new business but can’t seem to convince anyone to help you get it off the ground.

Many entrepreneurs are rich in great ideas and have plenty of enthusiasm and a willingness to do what it takes to succeed. But desire and excitement are not dollars, and that is what is needed to get any business off the ground. Finding startup funding can be one of the most difficult challenges faced.  You haven’t proven yourself to potential investors, but you can’t prove yourself unless they give you business funding. It’s the proverbial catch-22. It reminds you of the time you were looking for your first job and the employers told you that you had to have experience first!

Plenty of Options for Those Who Persevere

Many entrepreneurs exhaust all of their own money before they even start looking for outside investors for start up business funding. If you were lucky enough to convince some of your family and friends to invest in your new business, there is still a good chance it was not enough money. That means you have to find other sources of funding in order to take the business to the next level which may include buying inventory, purchasing equipment, or making the next 6 months of payroll. The thought of your business never getting off the ground or coming to a screeching halt is distressing to say the least.

Fortunately, you have plenty of options when it comes to funding sources. Given the complexity of convincing financial institutions or private investors to invest in a tight credit market and limping economy, it is always best to get professional assistance. Gaining access to a network of funders is critical, and like any “private” club you need an introduction.

What are these sources of funding?

  • Angel investors and angel organizations – Earthly angel investors are really private investors willing to invest their own funds in fledgling businesses. The often invest in the form of equity or convertible debt. They truly seem like angels when you need funding, but these angels are investing because they believe they can get a higher rate of return by investing in your company as opposed to investing in traditional financial tools. Many angel investors are also interested in promoting businesses in which they have personal experience or a special interest.
  • Business Loans – These are loans from financial institutions like banks. Despite what you read, the banks are lending to businesses. But since credit is still tight due to the recession, you improve your chances of success by accessing those banks with a record of lending through the recession. That is where a professional can be of invaluable assistance in locating funds domestically or globally.
  • Venture Capital – Venture capital is money that is loaned by a venture capital firm or individual. Larger amounts usually come from firms. These firms are often looking for start-up businesses that have high potential for fast growth and early returns. They take an equity position in your business meaning the venture capitalists take part ownership. But there are innumerable ways to structure the financing and equity arrangements so don’t rule out this type of  funding as a possibility.
  • Equity Partners – This is start up business funding in which private individuals invest in your firm in exchange for part ownership.  Ownership can take the form of stock ownership, but in some cases the investor may want to be involved in a way similar to a partner.

Make No Assumptions

There are numerous types of start up business funding as you can tell. There is no reason to assume that since you are a new business that money is not available from traditional sources like business loans or non-traditional angel investors.  You can pursue startup funding from equity partners or venture capital firms. And while you are looking for business funding, you should go ahead and ask your cousin Larry if he is interested. He just might be the first one to say, “Yes.”