Start Up business Financing:
14 'do or don't' tips for a successful business plan from a professional business plan 'screener'
By Marc Kneepkens

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Reading or 'scanning' through start up business financing presentations all day long creates a certain methodology. The 'screener', or the investor, is looking for certain patterns, for specific information they DO want to see, and some they DON'T want to see.

Following are some points that help you look through their eyes.



1. Don't bore me.
Get to the point. Your first lines must catch the interest and attention of your reader. The reader decides then and there if he likes you, your style, your words. It's like a new song, if it doesn't catch on immediately, chances are it won't. When you do this, the reader will keep on reading and won't go into 'scanning' mode.

The first impression is essential. Say something, don't warm up to it. Keep on writing this way. If it gets boring, you'll lose me.


2. Make your presentation stand out.
Whatever you write, if it does not look clean and 'fresh', it will not pass. You may have the best business plan, with the greatest idea and content, if the presentation looks like chaos, it will not be put in the qualifying pile.
In business funding you need a 'look and feel' of professionalism, of clear writing and good lay-out. You want to be in front of the pack.

3. Don't curb your enthusiasm.
It must become clear that this is your project and that you will do anything to get it approved. Just don't say it that way ("I'll do anything…"). Make your words and actions speak for themselves; however, don't talk about the next 'Google'. Just be it.

4. Don't do KISS.
Don't look stupid or make me, the investor or the reviewer, look stupid. Instead do 'CCC': clear, compelling, concise. Explain your stuff, I must feel the power of your idea. This is not grade school. If it was that simple, you wouldn't be sending me this business plan. Make complexity understandable and natural.



5. Cover the essentials.
Your product, your idea, the reason for this start up business financing proposal, what you need, what and how you will develop this, who you are (and your team), what you have accomplished so far, where you want to be in one year, two years, five years, and so on, it all needs to be there. Make it complete. Check the best templates or structures. Check some free templates here. Better even, consider using 'Live Plan', which is highly appreciated in the investing world, or use 'Our Services'.

6. Don't go too slow, don't go too fast.
If you go too slow, you'll lose me. If you go too fast, I'll be confused. The sequence, the unraveling of the story, has to be impeccable. There is no rule here that explains exactly how to go. Find the right way until it 'clicks'.

7. Value, value, value.
Yes, that's what this is all about. What do you have to bring that changes the status quo, without exaggerating. Second hand ideas, execution and presentation are unacceptable.



8. Make it personal, engaging, tell your story...
Take me along for the ride. If you stand out there lecturing over my head, I won't hear you. If you're arrogant, I'll stop reading. If you really talk to me, I'll listen.

9. Don't push features, sell benefits.
Of course the features have to become clear. But tell me what this will do, what problem will it solve? You are selling your idea or product to someone, at every level and stage of the start up business. At this point, get the investor on your side.

10. Keep me asking for more.
This is the same as "Don't bore me". Keep me on my toes with your information. It has to be essential, exact, flow naturally, be logical. You need to show me that you know your stuff, and it better be interesting.


11. In other words: Be creative.
Use different angles and perspectives. Use different wording to tell the same story. Basically you're selling just one concept. Explain it over and over again, without getting boring: with stories, with science, in numbers, through experience, etc… without giving me the feeling that it is the same story.

12. Think, really think, my dear Watson.
Your thinking must be original, pure, new. You have come to this point because you have something new to offer. Convince me with your original thinking. Look at what you have and present it well, show the elements of your business that I have no clue about.

13. Study 'presenting' and exercise this skill.
Inform yourself about making presentations. Not just this one business plan. You need to know how to convey your ideas in words, in front of a public, on a stage, to an investor, and in an elevator. Read, observe, integrate, test, do it. Then start practicing. This will give you invaluable feedback and motivation.

14. Don't give up.
Remember when you were a little kid and you really really wanted something? Use that same approach, the same energy. Have your presentation for start up business financing examined by others, watch their expression and words and tone. Look for improvements, start over, change, improve, clean it up, clean it up. Test your presentation and then go back to work. Put it out in the world, ask why it was rejected, get feedback.



Move ahead of the line, not just by a few spots, but cut the line and jump in with the ones that will be put aside for further review. Give yourself a chance.

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In our ongoing effort to create the best information to make better presentations to investors we have partnered with Growthink/Dave Lavinsky.

In our articles and pages on this site we recommend Dave's products because they lead straight to solutions. Having helped their clients raise over $2.5 Billion in funding, Growthink is the best source to help get funding, whether you want to work with Angel Investors, VC companies , Crowdfunding, Grants, or to get a loan from the Bank or a Funding Source.


Take some time to check Growthinks's presentations. They are professional, direct, and effective in transferring the message. Just like your presentation needs to be to investors.

Pricing is extremely affordable, and some of the products are free of charge. Some come with very valuable bonuses. If you want to succeed in business, don't re-invent the wheel. Take it from an insider.

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Start up business financing presentations may be your first such attempt to raise money in the business world. Use this discussion forum to gather more information.

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