For any entrepreneur to be successful in a tough and competitive business environment like Nigeria, he needs a business plan. A business plan is a critical tool for not only starting and growing a new business; it is also an essential tool for raising capital from prospective investors.
To attract investment capital for your venture, you have to think like an investor as you write your business plan. Investors have the difficult task of balancing risk versus reward in their decisions. Your first challenge is to show them the financial opportunity you are presenting to them. Explain why your venture has the potential to grow quickly and be extremely profitable compared to other ventures they might be looking at. Then show what you have done to mitigate risk.
An Investor Ready business plan will provide the following key insights and information to prospective investors:
1. A Compelling Market Potential
Present a compelling case for why the customer needs your product and will pay money for it. Don’t make the mistake of talking about how amazing your product or technology is, while forgetting that it’s all about the customer. The solution you are providing the customer must not only be good, it must be important–addressing a problem that the customer has an urgent need to solve, right now.
2. A strong Management Team
Investors will want to see your background in the industry and business experience as well as that of your management team. Make sure to include in your business plan the skillsets, experience, resources and networks that you and your team bring into the business. Many small businesses fail because of weaknesses in the management team.
3. Your Competitive Edge or Advantage
Investors want to know that you have acknowledged and researched your competition thoroughly. In addition, they will want to see how you plan to contend with your competitors and distinguish yourself. They want you to provide them details of how your intend to position your business against future competitive threats (because they will come). They want to know why customers will prefer your product or services over the other players in the market.
4. Realistic Financial Projections
Investors want to see realistic financial projections that clear shows how they will make back their money invested. A well written business plan will show in addition to full startup costs ( or what the money will be utilized), a 3 -5 years profit and loss and cash-flow projection, a projected balance sheet, and a break-even calculation. Financial ratios that help the investor understand his returns such as IRR, ROI etc
5. Show a clear exit strategy
Investors make money by putting it into your business and getting a lot more money back out of your business a few years later. They want to see an exit strategy.
Whether you are seeking a bank loan, equity investment from angel investors, venture capital firms or friends and family, you need an Investor Ready business plan. An investor ready business plan is a document that has been professionally prepared to meet the needs of investors.