Looking for a venture capital investment for a growth-oriented business? Make use of this sample outline to create your business plan and improve your chances of attracting equity investors.
The goal of the executive summary is to stimulate and motivate the investor to learn more. Keep it simple, be brief. If your business is truly complex, you can dive into the details later on.
The goal of this section is to educate the investor about your company’s history and explain why your team is perfect to execute on the business opportunity. Give some history and provide the background on the company. Show off your track record. Detail prior accomplishments, including funding rounds, product launches, milestones reached and partnerships secured.
Demonstrate your team’s unique competitive advantage or key partnerships.
The goal here is to prove that there is a real market for your product or service. Demonstrate the need for your product. Cite credible and independent sources when describing the size and growth of your market. Determine the relevant market size and focus on the products or services that you will directly compete against. Explain how you would overcome potential negative trends.
Convey the needs of your customers and show how your products or services satisfy those needs. Define your customers precisely. Detail their demographics. How many customers fit the definition and where are these customers located? Use data to demonstrate past actions (X% have purchased a similar product), future projections (X% said they would purchase the product), and/or implications (X% use a product which your product enhances). Explain what drives their decisions. Detail the decision-making process.
Define the competition and demonstrate your competitive advantage. List competitors. Include direct and indirect competitors. Carefully describe their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the key drivers of competitive differentiation in the marketplace. Demonstrate barriers to entry. In describing the competitive landscape, show how your business model creates competitive advantages, and defensible barriers to entry.
Describe how your company will penetrate the market, deliver products/services, and retain customers. Products - Detail all products and services, but focus primarily on the short-to-intermediate time horizon. Promotions - Explain which marketing/advertising strategies will be used and why. Price - Provide a clear rationale for your pricing strategy. Place - Explain how your products/services will be delivered to your customers. Explain how you will retain your customers. Define your partnerships.
Detail the short term processes and systems that provide your customers with your products and services. Business milestones - Lay out the significant long-term business milestones for the company, and prove that the team will execute on the long-term vision.
A set of financial projections is included with this section automatically.
Detail your key assumptions here. Detail the uses of funds. Understandably, investors want to know what, specifically, you plan to do with their money.
Provide a clear exit strategy. The most common exits are IPOs or acquisitions.