There has to be more to writing business plans than a $299 template or some software package you download off the web because more than 4 out of 5 companies looking for capital fail to obtain it from a supervised bank (a commercial bank). Only 3% of applicants are able to get angel or venture capital financing. More than 30% are using their own credit cards (wow, that’s expensive capital!) because their business plans aren’t making the case for the investment. There are only two (2) questions business plans have to answer and business plan writers and business plan consultants routinely fail to help you answer these two (2) critical questions:
- Does the preponderance of independent surveyed market evidence demonstrate an investment opportunity may exist on the scale the promoter is forecasting or not? and
- If the answer to the previous question is yes, does the promoter demonstrate that if the capital is provided there is demonstrable documentation in the business plan that the operations will not suffer significant losses if the promoter (or any other employee, for that matter) is removed from the business?
In short: will it make money and if it looks like the business could make money, will they pull it off or will my investment likely go down a rat hole and be lost?
The first question speaks to market risk elements and can be resolved via an independent feasibility study and the resulting underwriting report. The second question is the one that business plan writers routinely ignore and the templates cannot address: execution risk. If your business plan is being rejected again and again, it may be because of both reasons, but almost certainly because of the second reason. Execution risk management is the elephant in the room that entrepreneurs take for granted and that decision means failure to obtain capital almost every time.
Successful business plans are based upon the following component elements that create the opportunity for a successful funding outcome:
- Enterprise Risk Management Plan. The promoter has a complete and updated Enterprise Risk Management Plan (ERM Plan) ready for presentation that addresses the key risks the business will likely encounter and manage on an ongoing basis; and
- Business Plan of Operations. The business plan of operations is the most important document as it demonstrates the planning and management capacity of the organization to undertake continuing operations no matter who has come in and take over any of the positions in the organization and pick up the ball. The business plan of operations include the following component elements:
- Management Reporting Plan – transparency regarding all operating activities is critical. In today’s world it needs to be in real-time.
- Employee Communications Plan – employees, supervisors and managers need to communicate opportunities and challenges as they occur and have the means and methods for immediately sharing them and acting upon them. This needs to be in real-time.
- Productivity Plan – results have to be measured for every employee and done so with criteria that is not subjective. The rating program has to be fair, so it has to compare productivity against peers and the market. Again, this has to happen in real-time.
- Employee Tasking Plan – nobody cares about your experience and your plan has to provide for the worst-case scenario of every position becoming vacant and the next person knowing what needs to be done immediately so losses are minimized. Again, this also has to happen in real-time.
- Regulatory Risk Management Plan. The business has to manage regulatory risks and have a formal set of means of doing so; and
- Liquidity Risk Management Plan. The business has to demonstrate how liquidity will be managed proactively to prevent a future bankruptcy or foreclosure; and
- Marketing, Media, Advertising & Sales Plan. The projections only become more real if a formal plan exists with corresponding budgets, schedules and the means for measuring progress and correcting failures.
If your enterprise is failing to obtain funding then take the time to talk to the experts who take funding seriously because capital market participants rely upon them to provide answers about risk. Contact an INVIZEN representative today at 832.663.9634 to start getting the answers to your funding problems.