WHAT SHOULD A BUSINESS PLAN COVER?

A business plan is a ‘Plan for your Business’. It is not a document that you make for the investors. It is a document that you should prepare for yourself. Writing down your business plan helps you think through the assumptions clearly, and often writing helps you identify impracticalities in the through process.

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Yes, for investor presentations too, a business plan is necessary. Broadly speaking, a business plan should communicate the following to an investor:

  • What are you selling and to whom?
  • How large do you see the company growing to – what is your own aspiration for the company?
  • How are you going to implement it?
  • How are you going to make money?
  • Why are you the right team for the investors to invest in ?

Your goal in the first presentation to an investor should be to help investors understand why your venture is a good case for investment.

The initial pitch presentation (this could be a ppt or a word document) should not be more than 12- 15 slides, covering the points mentioned below. At this stage, details and numbers are not necessary. At the preliminary stage the review committee, as well as investors, are keen to understand if the concept addresses a real opportunity, if the business case is strong, if the team is well rounded & competent & committed and the traction that the team has been able to achieve so far.

Components of a Business Plan

1) Cover slide

  • Company name and logo
  • Contact details (city, e-mail, mobile)
  • Url
  • One line that clearly describes the concept/product/service

2) Team

  • Highlight what will each member of the team do in the venture, and why he/she is best suited for the role
  • Indicate if the person is a co-founder or founding team member or an employee – against each, indicate the % of equity held (currently or planned if not yet distributed)

3)  What is the issue / pain point that your product / solution addresses

  • Explain why your customers need your solution
  • Mention what they are currently doing and how your product/service is a better solution

4) Product / Technology Overview

  • Highlight the uniqueness of the product or service or technology and NOT the technical details of list of features of the solution 

5) Business model

  • This is about how you will make money from this business opportunity.
  • This is NOT the excel sheet. In simple terms, this is about who will pay how much and to whom for you product

6) What is the size of the market opportunity?

  • Be clear about who and where is going to buy your product/service and how much they would pay for it.
  • Mention the size of the opportunity in the markets you are planning to address (e.g. In India, there are ____ number of parents who will buy our service at Rs/$_____ per year. This translates into a market potential of Rs/$_____ per year. In year 3, we plan to tap US and Canada, and the size of the opportunity there is Rs/$_______ (No. of parents ______ x Price per year_____)
  • This section is NOT about what your plans are, but about what the size of the market is. This section should therefore give a sense about how many customers are there in your target market and at the price that you are selling your product at, what is the revenue potential if all of them were to buy (not that they will, but this is to give an indication of what the size of the market is) 

7) Current traction

  • What have you achieved so far – product, customers, revenues, etc.
  • If you have, include photographs (e.g. if you have physical stores or products that you manufacture or office pictures). 

8) Competitive landscape

  • Who are you currently or in future likely to compete against and what is your plan to win this battle?
  • Explain why this is better than competition (a comparison chart is usually not seen seriously by investors because all presentations tend to show a comparison chart that will be favorable to your solutions/product)

9) Financials current and projections

  • Summary of your business plan excel sheet for 3 years (Note: the detailed excel sheet is NOT required. Just key figures at annual level for 3 years is sufficient for the preliminary evaluation. If there is sufficient interest from investors in the venture, then we will evaluate your excel sheet and business case in detail)
  • Break up your costs into Capex and Opex (In Opex highlight major cost components – salaries, marketing, etc.)
  • Cover the unit economics i.e. how much revenue do you get per transaction/customer, how much does it cost you to service that customer/order

10) Funding needs, use of funds and proposed valuation

  • Describe how much money you want to raise and what these funds will be used for
  • Mention if there are other co-investors (or others who have already committed)
  • Clearly indicate how long these funds will last and what you will be able to achieve with these funds (E.g. This investment of $______ will last us for _____ months. With this, we will be able to get to _______ customers and _______ in revenues)
  • Clearly mention if you are going to require follow on capita, and if so, how much (e.g. post this, we will raise a Series A round of $ _______ )
  • What is the valuation you are seeking for this round

11) Current equity structure, fundraising history and investors

  • Table of current equity holding (cap table)
  • How much money have you invested
  • Mention previous investment history including year, amount and investors.

12) Exit options

  • How do you think the investors can exit (i.e. who will buy their equity or do you feel that this can be an IPO)
  • IF you can, give examples of exits in your industry (or comparable examples)

 

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Author: Prajakt Raut

Prajakt Raut is the founder of Applyifi.com, and author of the book for startups - ‘Starting Up & Fund Raising’ Prajakt personal goal in life is to encourage and assist a 100,000 people to become entrepreneurs. _____________ Prajakt is the founder of Applyifi - an online platform that provides startups a 36-point scorecard and assessment report on the venture's investment readiness [www.applyifi.com], and helps them improve their odds of getting funded. Prajakt is also the founding partner of The Growth Labs, a platform where growth-stage companies get sharp, incisive advice from senior professionals and experienced entrepreneurs. [www.thegrowthlabs.in] Before starting Applyifi, Prajakt was the head of operations at IAN, founding member of a leading incubator, and the Asia-Director for TiE (2004 - 2007). Previously Prajakt had co-founded Orange Cross, a healthcare services company, and was part of the founding team member of Idealake Technologies. While in college Prajakt had founded a printing business and has spent over 10 years working in leading advertising agencies. Prajakt’s book, ‘Starting Up & Fund Raising’, helps startups understand an investor’s perspective, and helps them improve their odds of getting funded. The book also helps entrepreneurs understand the building blocks of a business.

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