An entrepreneurial business plan is a promise

I spent Thursday at the World Innovation Forum in Barcelona.  I had the opportunity to speak to a great group of entrepreneurs and some politicians and regulators about the process of pitching a business plan to professional investors.  What does it take to communicate a business plan in order to raise money?

I had the opportunity to work alongside Aleardo Furlani, CEO and Founder of Innova – a team of 140 consultants whose mission is to drive innovation between universities and companies in Europe.
Aleardo spoke about the Business Plan.  “A business plan is a promise.”
There are four elements that improve the “promise” of a Business plan:

  1. Simple – Anybody should be able to understand it.  It should use simple language.
  2. Describe a problem – an opportunity is opinion.  A problem is a fact, it is tangible.  A business plan that describes existing customer pain describes something real.  
  3. Present the people – The founder, the employees and the advisors of the business are real.  Their experience is real.  Describing why past experience demonstrates ability to sell, to manage software development, to manage invoicing, accounts payable, recruiting and execution is tangible.  This gives credibility to the plan.
  4. Valuation – You are asking for money.  You have to put some thought into what your business is worth today and what it can be worth in the future.  What comparable companies exist?  What deals have been done?  What valuation multiples have been used ($ per user, EBIT multiple, $ per patent)?
There is obviously a lot more to a business plan (I include some resources below) but the thought that the business plan is a promise between entrepreneur and investor was a new idea for me.

The winning companies

We worked with eight companies that were selected to pitch to the venture capital panel on Friday.  Check them out.  I give my 3-4 word summary of each business based on what I took from their pitch.  I enjoyed hearing some great passion and good ideas that will make the world a better place.

Other resources on Business Plans

Other resources on Pitching to investors

What other great resources on business plans and pitching to investors are there?  I would love comments that provide any other useful resources out on the web.  Thanks.

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