Although we often work with an entrepreneur before anything has been committed to paper, at some point we will want to see a detailed business plan or presentation. A good business plan is more than a money-raising tool. It is also a working document that captures the essence of your company and accurately models the requirements for executing your strategy over time. When building the plan, it is crucial that you talk with your customers, evaluate your competitors, and complete a rigorous financial model based on available market data and reasonable assumptions.
Your business plan should describe:
- The problem you are solving or need you are filling, and the opportunity it creates for your company
- The solution you intend to provide
- The market, the competitive landscape, and key trends
- Sales and distribution strategies
- Intellectual property assets
- Government regulation issues
- A liquidity plan
- Key team members and skill requirements
- A four-year financial plan, including income statements, balance sheets, cash flows and a capitalization table
Meeting and getting to know you and your team is a very important part of the evaluation process. Your team’s ability to clearly articulate and summarize the important issues in your plan will reflect their true understanding of the business and how well they will be able to sell your ideas to future employees, investors and customers.
Resources for Entrepreneurs
- Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The EMKF is a foundation that promotes entrepreneurship through educational programs such as the Kauffman Venture Capital fellowship.
- Lester Center for Entrepreneurship – UC Berkeley. This site provides information on regularly scheduled networking and speaking events at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
- MIT Entrepreneurship Center. The MIT E-Center promotes numerous formal and informal activities to foster entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education.
- Stanford Technology Ventures Program. STVP is dedicated to accelerating high-technology entrepreneurship education and creating scholarly research on technology-based firms.
- Venture Capital Resource Library. On this site, sponsored by VFinance Holdings, Inc., you’ll find information about venture capital firms, angel investors, lenders and investment banks. Download a free business plan template here, or ask questions to the site’s financing specialists.