Investing in a business is risky. Investors essentially put their trust in your business to deliver on their promises and take care of their money. Because of the risk, investors look for reassurance that they’re making the right decision – something to convince them that they’ll see a return on their investment. 

That reassurance comes in the form of a solid business plan. If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of finding investors for your business, you need to know what to include.

In this guide, we outline key things that investors look for in a business plan:

  • Vision
  • Research
  • Dedication
  • Specifics
  • Realism
  • Evidence 

Vision

Most investors are swarmed with business plans from budding entrepreneurs, so you need something to set you apart from the rest. 

A unique idea is great, but it’s tough to create a truly original one. Chances are, if you’ve had an idea, somebody else has thought of it already, but that doesn’t mean you can’t approach it in a unique or interesting way. 

Facebook wasn’t the first social media platform, Nandos wasn’t the first chicken restaurant, and Apple wasn’t the first computer company – it was their vision for the businesses that set them apart. 

Outlining a unique vision in your business plan will prove to investors that you’ve put some real thought into your actual strategy. Moreover, your vision is a chance to showcase your creativity as a business owner – a highly sought after skill in business. 

A creative business owner will adapt to problems and continue to innovate throughout their business’ life. 

Here are some common examples of businesses that developed a unique vision to compete in their respective markets:

  • Apple –  To make the best products on earth, and to leave the world better than we found it
  • Dyson –  To develop core technologies (such as motors, batteries, robotics, etc.) which enable it to develop better performing products. 
  • IKEA – To create better everyday lives for as many people as possible.

Research

A good idea isn’t enough on its own. You also need to prove that your business is a viable concept in the real world. Your business plan should include thorough market research about target audiences, opportunities for expansion, expenses, and revenue projections.

As well as research for your business, it will also help if you do some research about the investors you’re contacting. If you can give specific reasons why you’re approaching an individual investor, it’s a surefire way to get their attention. 

Do background research about the investor’s history – maybe even include something they’ve said before in a speech or statement. Little details like this will show you’re putting real thought into your business plan, rather than just throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. 

Dedication

It’s incredibly easy to start a business nowadays, so it can be difficult for investors to differentiate between serious business people and half-hearted entrepreneurs. 

If you want to prove you’re serious about your business, your business plan needs to show that you’re committed to the future. 

For example:

  • Have you invested your own money into the business?
  • Have you reworked your prototype after product testing?
  • Have you reduced your working hours to spend more time on the business?

Ultimately, investors are putting their trust in people – the best idea in the world won’t work if the person in charge isn’t dedicated to the cause. 

Specifics

Again, investing in a new business is a considerable risk, so investors want a little more than your best guesses and estimations. Providing specific figures shows your dedication and attention to detail while giving investors the respect they deserve. 

Your business plan should include exact figures based on detailed research, showing:

  • What the market is worth.
  • How much you’ll spend on start-up costs
  • How much you’ll spend on running costs. 
  • How your costs will change as your business scales. 
  • Profit and loss projections for the first two years of business. 
  • When they can expect to make their money back. 
  • Your plan for the next stages of the business. 

Realism

While creativity and vision are important, investors have little interest in starry-eyed dreamers. Instead, they need to know that your ideas are rooted in realistic expectations. 

Don’t try to pull the wool over in their eyes with a flashy pitch that promises them the world – these are intelligent people who can smell nonsense from a mile away. 

Slow and steady business growth isn’t all that exciting, but it’s a realistic plan that shows you’re grounded in real-world expectations. 

Similarly, if you can foresee any difficulties in the future, don’t try to hide them. Instead, address those problems and explain how you plan to navigate them. 

Evidence

It’s easy to make a business look good on paper, but investors will need a little more convincing before spending their hard-earned money. Your business needs to show, with actual evidence, that your business plan is viable. 

With enough market research, hard work, and product testing, you should be able to provide evidence of the following things:

  • You’ve managed to progress the business on your own.
  • There’s interest from consumers. 
  • There’s enough demand to sustain long-term growth. 
  • The financial projections you’ve provided are reasonable. 

Use accounting software for the most accurate financial data

When preparing a business plan, you need to provide accurate financial data and future projections. With the Countingup business account and app, you’ll have access to all the financial information you need, as well as a range of valuable features, such as:

  • Profit and loss statements – Countingup uses real-time cash flow insights to generate accurate profit and loss statements.  
  • Automatic expense categorisation – Countingup sorts your expenses into HMRC approved categories and shows you tax estimates throughout the year. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Find out more here.