12/08/2008

Steve Smith on business planning

The first step to securing investment is a comprehensive and realistic business plan that accurately describes your business. You’ll need to tell us about key areas of your business in your investment proposal and a strong executive summary is an important part of this.

Steve SmithDirector, Technology Venture Investments

Executive summary

Your executive summary is where you succinctly describe your business proposal, one or two pages at the most.  As well as inlcuding how much money you require, you need to demonstrate genuine growth prospects through key operational, financial and management information.
 
You should back up your executive summary with the following information:

Business description

How have you developed your business?  What are its principal activities, current trading situation and importantly its potential?

Products/services

What’s your competitive advantage?  How do you plan to develop your products/services and make the most of any unique features or IP? Tell us about your premises and any equipment you need to manufacture your product/service.

The market

Tell us about your market, its size and any potential competitors?  What’s your planned route to market and which segments will you target, for instance?  How do your sales projections compare to your market’s size?  Can you forsee any future market trends?

Pricing and costs

What are your prices and how do you set them?  Do you give credit terms? Do you know the value of your costs?   Can you negotiate credit terms with your suppliers?

Organisation

We’ll need to understand details of the ownership of your business, including shareholdings.
A simple organisation chart can help explain key roles and responsibilities, though we’ll need to see full CVs of key staff before investing. 

Financials

We need at least three years’ cash-flow and P&L projections as well as a current balance sheet including your opening position and any assumptions.
 
If you’re trading, we need up-to-date management accounts and copies of past accounts including details of your creditors and debtors?

Investment required

What do you want the money for and how much do you think you need?   What’s your personal commitment and how much is available from other potential investors?

Exit strategy

Finally, if Finance Wales invested in your business, how and when do you think we’d get our money back?