I’ve been asked by several people to provide some practical guidance for entrepreneurs who approach us. I’ll do this in several parts over the next few weeks as inspiration arises. This first item focuses on the Business Plan.
The first rule is that everybody has their own idea of what constitutes an effective Business Plan, so my views are just preferences. I see the Business Plan rather like a CV – it doesn’t get you the job but should get you invited to an interview.
If you look at it from an investor’s perspective, the following are good guidelines:
- A strong Executive Summary that explains the proposition within a paragraph and the business plan within two pages
- A short overall Business Plan – does it need to be longer than 30 pages? Cover the main bases and leave the rest to the appendices
- I’ve moved over the years to prefer slideshows to documents. If your Business Plan is in document form, at least consider how pictures / graphics can bring your concept to life
And here are the main bases to cover:
- An easily explained business proposition and revenue model
- A credible team with experience that can deliver the Business Plan
- Evidence of a substantial and growing market
- How you will disrupt the market with your new proposition
- Intellectual Property that gives you sustainable competitive advantage
- A business model that will enable extraction of profit from the value proposition
And if you’re approaching Qi3 Ventures, remember that we have a preference for active involvement in businesses, and make passive investments only where we are absolutely convinced by the team that they can deliver the business plan. So tell us in your covering letter where you think we can be of specific help to accelerating the business.