I am often sent presentations by companies actively seeking early stage funding. Some of these I can clearly understand and can easily relate to what the directors are seeking to achieve, whilst others leave me completely bewildered. The difference between these two extremes can be minimal and is often down to drafting a clear and incisive presentation with the right amount of relevant detail and information and either saying too little, or indeed too much.
If you are looking to engage your reader clarity is key both in terms of vision and means of achieving that vision. Here are my 8 tips for keeping your content succinct and appealing to a potential investor:
1. Your vision – it is backed up by reliable market research?
2. Where there is technological enhancement involved, is the technology required clear? A prospective investor will have three fundamental questions to ask himself,
a)What are the prospects of the technological development being achieved?
b)Can it be achieved within the prescribed cost and time forecasts?
c)Are there other technologies being developed that might by-pass the company’s projects?
3. How are you looking to protect your technology?
4. How much financial support are you seeking, now and in the future, and how is this going to be spent?
5. Is the timescale for the project realistic? – Many projects run short of funds because the timescale is underestimated.
6. Is there a clear and realistic exit strategy?
7. Can the strength and (if applicable) the track record of your management team be identified?
8. Can your company’s products be clearly differentiated from those of the competition?
Investors will normally only invest in projects that they understand and like. Proposals and presentations that are full of jargon and abbreviations may not be fully understood. Apart from the business plan itself, you will need to be able to present yourself confidently and have answers ready for the questions that will come at you.
Many new projects have progressed and have proved to be successful. Others have fallen by the wayside often because the planning behind the project has not been sufficiently clear. The key is always to ensure that sufficient attention has been given to the planning and to stay in control throughout the process.
If you would like advice on drafting a business plan for funding, please contact Richard Hopes, a partner at Alliotts Chartered Accountants who specialises in advising technology companies on achieving early stage funding.