It is possible to act without a written plan. But such a businessman is like a traveler who travels in the forest without a compass. There is also a psychological aspect - what is written on paper is more clearly represented in the head. Perhaps this is due to the fact that any business plan is, first of all, serious analytical work.
The analytical work of the business algorithm for its intended purpose is of two types: for yourself and a business plan for the investor. But, regardless of this, a person must clearly reflect three factors:
- the most objective assessment of their capabilities, both material and expressed in resources and knowledge;
- forecast of results;
- exact time frame.
A business plan for an investor performs one important function - it convinces an outsider of the expediency of investing money in someone else's business. The idea should be presented as concisely as possible, with strong arguments, with an objective assessment of risks, and be logically thought out. Experienceentrepreneurs, some slight risk reduction is allowed. But it's definitely not worth promising too much.
When the plan is made for yourself, you can lower the bar a little on the presentation and formal signs. But you can't skip a single point. The algorithm should be written in as much detail as possible.
Another tip from experienced entrepreneurs: it's better to talk about what and how you will spend the investor's money, and not about how you can save it.
At the first stage, a potential investor can request a teaser - the most concise description of the project. The teaser should not be large, the maximum allowable volume is from 1 to 3 pages. A person should have time to read it within 3-5 minutes. If the teaser convinces him, then a more detailed business plan for the investor can be provided.
Is it possible to do without a teaser? A business plan without a teaser can accomplish the goal. But if there is only a teaser, then the effectiveness of the meeting with investors will be low. According to the compilation algorithm, the business plan for the investor should also be the first. It’s easy to write a teaser based on it. Another name for this section is a summary.
Business plan objectives
A business plan is a roadmap for your future business. Here is a list of the most popular tasks it solves:
- objective assessment of the idea, identification of strengths and weaknesses;
- preparing for launch;
- algorithm of actions for responsible persons;
- presentation to potential investorsin order to receive funds for development or start;
- getting a loan from a bank;
- receiving public investment in the form of subsidies or grants;
- business outlook;
- obtaining a special economic status or joining specialized communities.
The most common problem faced by start-up entrepreneurs is the lack of own funds. In this case, there is a special form of financial relations in the economy - investment. It is carried out on a voluntary basis, if the investor sees prospects in this business. Next, we will dwell on the question of how to draw up a business plan for an investor.
Methodologies developed by leading organizations. Despite the large number of standards, they are similar in structure. They differ in priorities. Consider some standards:
- UNIDO Standard - focuses on the detailed description of each item.
- TACIS standard. TACIS is an organization providing technical assistance to businessmen in the CIS countries. Accordingly, the business plan to attract TACIS investors should pay maximum attention to technical risks.
- EBRD template. The EBRD finances mainly industrial sectors. Both direct financing and through other EBRD partner banks are practiced. Given the industrial orientation of investments, the key section of the business plan from the investor's point of view is risk analysis and SWOT analysis.
- The BFM Group consulting company template emphasizes risk in terms ofadded value and financial business models.
- Template of the international consulting company KPMG. The company specializes in audit and other business consulting, which allows them to have a different position in business development. Thus, the key section of the business plan according to the KPMG standard from the investor's point of view is market analysis and ways to promote the product.
Besides, the standards of VEB, Sberbank, FRP and Rosselkhozbank are widely used. The most common is the UNIDO standard. It was developed in 1978 and is still relevant today.
Business plan structure
Regardless of the standard by which the development of a business plan for an investor will be carried out, the following points should be considered in detail:
- business concept;
- project description;
- team - who are the responsible persons, their qualifications, experience and vision of their business;
- market analysis;
- marketing, distribution and sales;
- production plan;
- investment plan;
- financial plan.
Each of these items is an integral part of the business. Therefore, the draft business plan for the investor requires detailed consideration of each item.
Under the concept of business, different interpretations are presented. But to summarize, the concept is your own understanding, vision of the role of your business in society. In the West, the concept went a little further. Starting from the first yearsof the current century, its social role is relevant for business there.
It is believed that a business should not be limited to providing profit for the founders. It also should not only solve consumer problems. The company is encouraged to participate in solving social problems, having its own point of view and making a feasible contribution to improving the environment.
Such measures at first glance look like a marketing ploy: a trading company is holding a campaign in support of disabled children and urging others not to remain indifferent. But the concept is a humanistic idea that your company will constantly adhere to. Therefore, it aims not only to benefit, but also to solve some problems.
In the CIS countries, this idea is just being mastered by large corporations. For representatives of medium and small businesses, especially at the start-up stage, it is not necessary to be an ardent supporter of this or that idea. But it will not be superfluous if the presentation of the business plan to the investor begins with the thought of what social problem the company can solve.
This section should contain the most detailed information about the company, if it already exists. If not already, then you need to reveal the vision of the entrepreneur. For existing companies, this section is useful to talk about the current state of affairs, about the history, about the passed stages of implementation and how these results are supported.
It is worth dwelling separately on the results of the first sales, on the distribution channel andprofit from the first trade. It is worth focusing on the critical circumstances that arose during the development of the company, and on ways to get out of them. This is one of the important points in the question of how to write a business plan for an investor. Based on the results of this paragraph, he should understand that you are not promoting a crude idea, but a carefully developed, promising project.
One of the key issues influencing the positive decision of the investor is the identity of the entrepreneur and his team. This section can be called “Team Description”, “Performers”, etc. But from this section it should be clear how professional the team is, whether the staff is staffed with the right specialists (financier, marketer, technologist, etc.).
It would also be useful to note the experience and successful projects of each of the team members. Not every member of the team is required to have a track record, but key personnel must be highly professional and have certain achievements in their industry.
But if we are talking about a new, just formed team, then in this section it is better to indicate the bar that the company sets for itself and the ways to achieve the goals.
Writing a business plan for an investor is a doable task for every entrepreneur. But in the process or even before the implementation of the project, he must understand the key factors of his business. Staffing falls into this category. It is important to remember that even the most promising idea can fail due to the inability of the performers.Conversely, professionals are able to successfully implement even unpromising ideas.
For example, the PayPal payment system. Few people know its history of development. Initially, it was supposed to create a system that allows you to perform operations between two portable computers. The idea was not crowned with success, and this program did not work. But the team consisted of real experts. Thanks to their initiative, it was possible to reformat the system - it was decided to introduce online payments. The result was the growth of the shares of the system to one and a half billion dollars.
Expansion, reaching a new level, even starting a new business requires a solid financial investment. If the idea is promising, and the desire to work is in full swing, it is advisable to use the traditional model of financing from the outside - investments. But how to write a business plan for an investor to convince him of the seriousness of his plans?
To do this, you will have to describe the idea from different aspects, the essential of which is market analysis. The analysis should be carried out in the following directions:
- What is known about the industry? In this section, you should analyze the development of the entire industry: the size of the market, what trends are emerging, what position does your company take or will take? The collected data will also be used in the marketing strategy.
- Competition. A business plan is necessary for an investor to determine the prospects for their investments. One of the evaluation criteria is how knowledgeable the entrepreneur is about competitors. This will most likely requireconduct your own research, which should identify both the strengths and weaknesses of competitors. The research should touch upon the functional characteristics of the competitor's products, price factor, promotion strategy, marketing tools and management. What is it for? In the process of researching to write a business plan for an investor, the weaknesses of a competitor can be identified. In this case, your own strategy will rely on them.
- Target audience. In this matter, experts recommend not being limited to office research. The more first-hand information (opinions from potential consumers), the better. In practice, most entrepreneurs rely only on official data on the target audience. As a result, promotion is accompanied by unforeseen factors, and the strategy requires adjustment already in the process of implementation. Typical questions to answer are: who are the potential customers? What problems are there? How will your product/service help?
- Benefits. Literally a decade ago, business books advised looking for a niche that has pent-up demand. The gurus recommended setting up businesses in a free industry. But, today's realities are such that it is difficult to find both the first and the second factor. Traditional markets are closer to a glut than a shortage of players. But for an entrepreneur, this should not be a hindrance if there is something to surprise the buyer.
These four items should becarefully worked out by those who are interested in how to write a business plan for an investor. In practice, this stage is called a reality test for a newly minted brand. Unfortunately, the vast majority of companies can't stand it.
A business plan is a roadmap for your idea, while marketing is a roadmap for a product or service. At the same time, for a serious company, marketing should become an integral part of the production process. This is a separate strategy. When drawing up a business plan for an investor, this strategy should also be analyzed in detail. In particular, the following questions should be answered:
- Analysis of demand in the region and in the time period: what volume of production is planned to be sold in a particular city? Forecast for the next year - how will demand change, and how will the company act under such conditions? How can demand be influenced?
- How do competitors promote their product or service? Here you can use the information above. But if there is a detailed analysis, then this is welcome.
- What factors influence demand is one of the key questions for any business. It is important to identify as accurately as possible: what makes customers buy or not buy a product: cost, season or product quality? It is also important to consider their income level and frequency of purchases.
- Selling methods: retail, wholesale, online? At the same time, it is necessary to determine which of the methods will provide the maximum level of profit.
- Pricing policy: what made up the pricegoods? What is the cost and sales margin?
- Ultimate Goal: What are some indications that a marketing strategy has been successful or vice versa? This question with exactly the same wording can be made the first point, but the essence remains the same: what should marketing give in the end? This can be the stimulation of certain ways of selling, increasing brand awareness, increasing customer loy alty, attracting his attention or repeat sales.
Various methods are used in risk assessment. The most popular are:
- Monte Carlo analysis;
- sensitivity analysis;
- scenario analysis.
Also, the risk is characterized by its own dynamics, closely proportional to the life of the company. The highest level of risk usually occurs at the start-up stage of a project. Over time, as the company gains momentum, it tends to go down, but does not completely disappear. However, with the right level of prior analysis, risks can be managed. If an entrepreneur is concerned about how to prepare a business plan for an investor, then this item should be worked out in detail. It is he who is one of the essential evaluation criteria.
Any of the above methods can be used for analysis. They can also be applied at the stage of developing a financial business model. If we talk about the purpose of such studies, they help to visually see the dependence of the project on various factors, for example, on cost or volume.sales.
Also, risk analysis helps to visually see such a factor as "margin of safety". This term refers to the likelihood of certain trends occurring when the usual conditions of the project change. For example, how will a company's financial performance change if the price of a product rises by 20%? What happens if the price, on the contrary, falls by 20%?
Depending on the results obtained, alternative plans are being prepared. For example, if prices rise, the company will increase wages, and if prices fall, it will have to increase investment. Such decisions have another name - compensatory measures.
If the project is already in operation, then the entrepreneur already has experience in overcoming risks. They are also recommended to be reflected. The study of this item will ultimately show the investor how prudent or experienced the entrepreneur is in business matters.
This item is very important if the project is of a production nature. If it is a service or other activity, this section might list a need for office equipment, specialist support, or special training.
The production plan consists of two large groups: the necessary current assets and non-current assets. The first are:
- raw materials for production;
- semi-finished products;
- VAT on purchased goods;
- cash, etc.
To simplify, current assets include those assets whose termthe use of which does not exceed 12 months. Anything longer is non-current assets. Specifically, these are:
- buildings and structures;
- company intellectual property;
- cash with a long period of use;
- deferred tax assets;
- material values.
The section doesn't end there. It will be necessary to contact the suppliers in advance and obtain their commercial offers with price lists. If the project is already running, then the numbers of available suppliers should be indicated. In short, from this section, the investor should understand the key processes in production.
This section should contain information about financial matters between the investor and the entrepreneur. In particular, the following questions should be answered:
- required investment volume, their schedule;
- what equipment do you need;
- investment conditions;
- investment phase of the project;
- what will be done in the investment phase, etc.
How to make a business plan for an investor so that it is concise and accessible to present information? To do this, many entrepreneurs use the Gantt chart.
On the Gantt chart, in addition to the investment phase, you can also show critical curves that can lead to an extension of the investment period.
The final but most important section. Here, a business plan summary is drawn up for potentialinvestors in the form of accurate economic calculations and must include the following items:
- Project cost.
- Expected income.
- Product cost.
- Investment costs.
- Calculations by types of expenses: direct and indirect.
- Schedule for the implementation of investment funds.
- Cash flow statement.
- Indicators of investment performance, which includes such items as: NPV - net present value of the project, payback period, PI - profitability index, IRR - internal rate of return, NCF - net cash flow, etc.
- Project sensitivity analysis in numbers.
- Financial statement.
- Net profit.
- Estimate the total cost of the project.
If you work out all the above points, you get a solid pile of papers. But keep in mind that investors look at hundreds of requests and do not like to spend time on each of them. Therefore, information should be presented concisely and concisely, strictly observing the logical structure.
Charts and graphs are an integral part of financial information. It is desirable to visualize each individual block of information.
Another important detail is the sources of information. Where did the statistics come from, these or those figures? Link to the source is required. In addition, before using ready-made data, you need to consider the reputation of the resource and the degree of reliability.
Common mistakemany aspiring entrepreneurs - the abuse of professional terminology in order to appear more convincing. But this approach can have the opposite effect. Therefore, a business plan should be written in such a way that it is understandable even to a person far from financial issues.