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Start-Ups

Making Your Business Plan Stand Out to Investors

By Townes Haas   |    April 15, 2015   |    9:29 AM

Create a Unique Small Business Plan to Attract More Investors

Pitching your business plan to potential investors can be a sweat-inducing task. You know that they've seen countless presentations and plans before and you're well aware that if you want to secure their funding, you and your proposed business plan need to be memorable.

So, how do you stand out from the crowd? Continue reading for some of our favorite tips on how to make your business plan shine in front of investors.

Focus on Your Past, Not Your Future

Ultimately, investors don't really care about how your business can change the world, or how you plan to increase their initial investment. Stand out by focusing on your past successes to demonstrate that you've already achieved something concrete. They're most concerned about putting their non refundable dollars where they have the greatest potential for a return on investment. Show them that they can count on you, rather than making outright promises about an uncertain future.

The Small Biz Club put it best: Show them their future in your past.

Be Specialized; Create a Niche

In a world of cookie-cutter business plans, you can easily separate yourself from the pack by defining your niche. You don't want to be a jack of all trades and a master of none, and it's okay if your business plan isn't the best choice for every investor. Having a specific area, or areas, that your business can dominate in is one way to show investors that you have a comprehensive understanding of the market you plan to operate in.

You can't possibly appeal to every potential audience, so don't even try. Knowing that you have a grasp on the subtle nuances of an industry is far more attractive to investors.

Don't Shy Away from Being Creative

Being creative isn't a bad thing when you're developing your business plan. Page after page of text can be tiresome, so how can you add some life into your document? You can use one of the many templates available online, but try to make the plan your own.

Can you be creative in your simplicity, perhaps? One-page business plans have gone over very well, for example. Even a simple, well-designed logo can create a memorable visual, and charts and graphs are an extremely helpful way for investors to see the data you're presenting.

But, don't go overboard. Aim to use plain, easy-to-understand language and stay away from overly technical jargon. And, be strategic in your use of graphics.

Ask Yourself Brutal Questions

The job of potential investors is to question your business plan thoroughly, and you'd better be prepared for some potentially hard-hitting inquiries. Investors are going to identify any and all holes in your carefully crafted plan and you'd hate to be caught off guard during your presentation. You absolutely must brainstorm potential problems your business could encounter, too. This will give you enough time to come up with thoughtful, realistic solutions.

Seasoned investors can spot a lack of confidence from across the room. If you aren't confident in your own business plan, they certainly won't feel confident that it will succeed, either. Plus, knowing that you have answers to any potential concerns will give you the confidence you need to be successful, and to secure that investment with ease.