From my observation, venture capitalists take a serious interest in business plans and expect people asking for money to have very good, make that excellent, business plans when they sit down to talk, not at some unspecified time in the future.
I’ve been in more than one situation (one should have been enough, but I’m sometimes a slow learner) where I had arranged a meeting between venture capitalist colleagues and people I thought had an investment-worthy product or service and where the meeting has turned into an embarrassing grilling, no deal, and irritated or angry people on both sides of the table.
I understand now that while the creative people I had introduced may have had skills, a worthy product, some customers and a dream of riches, they did not have a convincing business plan and in at least one instance no indication of having any written plan.
So today, visiting venture capitalist Don Bell’s TD Bell Enterprises, Inc. Business Blog, I read with great interest his post on why he hasn’t been liking some of the business plans he’s seen lately:
I have come to realize why many business plans do not pass my muster. They are written “for money acquisition” and not “to run the company by”.
The post has some very good pointers about what a business plan should be and how to complement it with a funding plan when you go to funding sources, rather than confusing your funding plan with your business plan. A bonus for anyone reading the post is that there is a link to an excellent business plan template, with instructions, that Don has developed and which can be downloaded, free of charge.