There exists an ever-growing number and variety of business savvy investors and advisors that impact the prospective entrepreneur when building an effective business plan. Barbara Corcoran and Veronica Belmont are two great examples of self-made business professionals that have and continue to influence myself and others. Here is a bit about them and how their advice could benefit any startup.
Barbara Corcoran, a waitress turned real-estate mogul is a “well-known name in real estate and… personally sold only three apartments.” While she was self-admittedly not the best student, she is certainly a driving force in business, having founded investment companies in both the real estate and the film production industries.
In a recent interview with the CEO of Business Insider, Barbara discusses her pet peeves when it comes to poor investment pitches. While some have great business plans, the pitch can make or break any investment opportunity. She recommends avoiding “fancy talk,” or leaning on business jargon to attempt to level the playing field with the investors; many often invest from a place of assumed superior importance that those looking for funding should placate. Barbara also stresses the critical nature of thinking on your feet, and to have a strong salesman at the head of driving your business endeavors.
Veronica Belmont is a web-based video host, writer, and producer whose credentials span a range of companies from Sony and PC Gamer, to web powerhouses like Revision3.com. Her tech-savvy background has allowed her career to expand to also include a place as a prominent Internet personality and a business advisor for a variety of startups.
Her advice includes “social media strategies, introductions to potential advisors or investors, and advice on usability and design.” Following her example, she has become part of a movement inspiring the self-motivated, young entrepreneur in the online world. She is also affiliated with AngelList a company dedicated to providing resources to startup businesses. Unlike a venture capitalist company or a crowd-funding site, AngelList allows seed-level, certified investors to connect with new businesses, and then coordinate agreements off-site.
Both of these women are not only a source of personal inspiration, but they are viable entities in an ever-evolving business landscape. How can their example help you build the plan for your business?
While my latest post discussed the expertise of two business-savvy investors and personal role models, this follow-up is to describe how this advice applies directly to my business plan. What physical changes I have made as I develop the plan, and what portions of the plan I believe are the most important to a potential investor during a pitch.
Barbara Corcoran discussed the importance of the pitch over even the strength of a business plan and the removal of “fancy talk” from one’s vocabulary. She advises a potential business to have a strong salesman at the helm. I am going to heed this advice to the letter. In order to maximize the effectiveness of our pitch for investment, I will specifically hire a dedicated salesman to help us bring in investments. While I will be present and ready to discuss all numbers and specific questions and concerns, our salesman will be the flair that impresses, and the courage to close the deal.
Veronica Belmont’s advice has come to improve my approach to any business endeavor, just as her career path has blazed the trail for potential Internet businesswomen such as myself. The importance of a strong social media presence will most certainly be stressed within my business plan based on her expertise and success. Also, her affiliation with AngelList has illuminated this resource, and reaching out to investors through this service will also be incorporated into my business plan.
The most important part of a business plan to an investor is obvious, positive revenue. Does the business make money? If not, then no great idea is worth investing money in, when their goal is only to get money out of the idea! The second and only slightly less important aspect is the point of differentiation. Why would a customer buy the product or service? What is the need filled by the company’s creation? These are the questions that any successful business plan must answer.