How to present a business plan to potential investors

Presenting your business plan can be a scary prospect for business owners. Laying your hard work bare to be examined by someone who doesn’t know you or your business can feel intimidating. 

This article will help to prepare you to present a business plan to potential investors, through the following steps:

  • Share the problem your business solves
  • Tell a story in your presentation
  • Do your homework
  • Have confidence and rehearse your presentation

Specify the problem your business solves

When writing your business plan you should have identified a gap in the market that your products/services occupy. This proves there is a viable market and audience who need your business to fix an issue they have.

Investors will be unlikely to be interested in the business if you cannot prove that your company fulfils a need for customers. When you only have between ten to twenty minutes to sell them on your business, investors want to see quickly that a business is sustainable and will be viable long term.

When planning your presentation, lead with the pain point for the target customer, and how your business solves it. 

Next, illustrate the problem through statistics on the current market. What products or services are out there currently? Show how your business has the edge over your competitors, or what benefits your company can offer a customer when they buy from you over somewhere else. 

To help you prepare, read our guides on how to write up a competitor analysis as well as the market trends part of your business plan.

Tell a story in your presentation

No one is as passionate about your business as you are. You need to convey that to your potential investors.

You may have told people the story of how you started your business a hundred times over, but these investors will be hearing it for the first time. Be personable, and make them excited to work with you through the passion you have for your venture.

The numbers you’ve gathered in your business plan will speak for themselves but you need to tell a story with them. Create your presentation around why you want to achieve certain goals, not just the how. This is where your enthusiasm and expertise can shine through, for investors to see why you care so much about what you’re doing. They need to buy into you as a business owner and operator, as well as the business idea itself.

Do your homework

How many times have you seen someone fumble their numbers on Dragons Den? This is where entrepreneurs get caught out, and investors will be unlikely to want to work with a business owner that doesn’t know their figures well enough. 

Do your homework before you present the business plan to any potential investors. Learn your market analysis and your financial figures inside out and back to front, because investors are likely to question you on these during the presentation. 

Leave your financial figures until near the end of your presentation because the numbers need context. Include your past performance, your current performance, seasonal trends (is your business more popular at certain times of the year), and your projections for the future.

Be realistic about your sales projections and forecasting figures. Don’t be tempted to overpromise to impress your potential investors, because the truth will come to light when they do their due diligence before you receive any capital. 

If you have not started trading yet you can find out more about forecasting in our other blogs. If you already have sales figure to hand, here is how to create a very basic projection for a product-based business:

  • Calculate how many units of a product you sell each month.
  • Understand if you have seasonal dips or peaks and adjust the monthly figure appropriately for these months.
  • Then add up the total for the year.

If you provide services, then you can do the same by showing how much money will be coming in from contracts or clients you have already won. Calculate how much you’ll be making from each client over the year. Do the same for any customers that are in the pipeline for your business (clients that you are in the process of trying to win). This will also help you find out how many clients/projects you need to win to keep a good amount of cash flow.

Be modest when it comes to your predictions. Set realistic goals that you will be able to sustain because the worst thing you can do is promise an investor that you can make them ‘X amount by next year’ and not be able to deliver.

Have confidence and rehearse your presentation

Exuding confidence and presenting with impact is a skill you will have to learn to present a business plan to potential investors. Making eye contact and using open body language does not come naturally to everyone, but it’s important to look assured when you’re presenting your business plan.

A way to practice this confidence is to record yourself in the weeks or days leading up to the presentation.  Video yourself to examine your body language, or record audio so you can listen to the cadence of your voice and identify where you need pauses or more information.

As cringeworthy as this task might feel, it will make a massive difference to the way you present. Seeing yourself from another perspective will be invaluable in identifying areas to improve.

Another thing to practice is being interrupted. In a real investor meeting, you are likely to be stopped and asked to expand on certain figures or areas. Don’t let this trip you up because you only practised the presentation in one long continuous flow. 

To plan for this scenario, present the business plan to a friend or colleague and have them ask you questions throughout. This will prepare you for a variety of questions at any point in your presentation.

Save time on your business finances with Countingup

Whilst you are preparing to present your business plan to potential investors, the Countingup app can help you keep on top of your business finances. The business current account with built-in accounting software helps you save hours on accounting admin, so that you can focus on growing your business. Find out more here.