6 Tips for Selling Your Business Plan
One of the biggest challenges, whether you are an entrepreneur or trying to build new businesses within a larger organisation, is to get your idea funded. It is not enough to have a good idea; you have to bring others along on the journey. The best way to get investment, recruit talent, and even sell your product or service, is to have a solid business plan. Sure, that plan will change, you may have to pivot one or many times, but you should always have a current plan. However, it’s not good enough to have a plan, you have to sell that plan to others.
Here are 6 tips for selling your business plan, whether it is to investors or to your boss or other executives in your organisation:
Keep it simple – just state the basic facts. Don’t be tempted by pouring unnecessary details into the plan. State your proposition in clear, unambiguous language; What are we selling? Who will buy it? What problem are we solving?
Make it look standard – it has to be comparable to other investment cases. If you are in a large organisation, there will be an established standard for business cases – stick with it. If you are an entrepreneur, try to find some good example to use as a base for yours. If you can find plans that your target VC have invested in, this is a good place to start. Obviously, they were able to provide the necessary information win investment.
Know your market – nothing is worse than an entrepreneur who does not know the market he/she is planning on entering. What is available now? Who is your competition? What are they developing? How is the market different in various parts of the world? Gone are the days of launching your product/solution locally, this is increasingly a global world and everything goes everywhere instantly. Know what you are talking about.
Know your customer – again, what problem are you solving? Who would be interested in your solution? Do they value it? You have to consider the intersection of three key elements; Desirability – does anyone want it?, Feasibility – can we produce it?, and Viability – will anyone pay for it?
Set milestones – don’t boil the ocean. Unless you are Google (and incredibly lucky) don’t set a goal like “organising the world’s information” it’s just too big and fuzzy. Keep it to achievable milestones so that your sponsors and investors can see you are making progress along the way. This is also the best way to keep your job as the leader of the company or project as well!
It’s all about the team – this is the most important one. No matter how well you know your market and customer and no matter how well you can sell the idea, the investors have to believe in you. At the end of the day, it is people that make businesses successful. Every VC I know says they invest in the leadership team, not the idea. Yes, they have to believe in the idea and that it works at the intersection of Desirability, Feasibility, and Viability, but more important are the people that are going to execute on the plan.
If you are selling your idea in a large organisation, check out earlier article, 5 Tips for Innovating in Large Organisations.
I would love to hear your thoughts.