Business Planning Top Tips for Startups


Investor readiness is the process of getting your business to the point that equity investors are willing to invest in your business. Attracting equity investors requires an accurate understanding of what the investor is looking for and how the venture will be perceived along those dimensions. This is where the business plan is key. Read on for some business planning top tips for startups as well as details of InterTradeIreland's 2019 Seedcorn competition:

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Seventy per cent of entrepreneurs and investors polled at InterTradeIreland's all-island conference in March this year said access to finance has improved in the last five years, although investor readiness remains a significant challenge.

When asked about the main barriers to raising investment support as a start-up, 46 per cent said investor readiness was a key challenge, while 38 per cent cited a lack of access to suitable investors or funds as a hurdle. 

InterTradeIreland Business Planning Cube

At InterTradeIreland we have been supporting start ups and early stage businesses for nearly 20 years and have adopted the Business Cube methodology to business planning for the last 12 years.

The Business Cube is a simple and intuitive tool that outlines the key information components that investors look for when evaluating investment opportunities. Therefore, it is a useful guide for start ups to address those key issues in which potential investors will have greatest interest.

Components of the Business Cube

The Business Plan should be structured as follows:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Business Overview
  3. Market Opportunity
  4. Industry & Competition
  5. Product or Service Proposition
  6. Marketing Plan
  7. Management Team
  8. Operations
  9. Key Risks
  10. Financial Plan
  11. Funding
  12. Exit Strategy
  13. Summary
  14. Schedules
  15. Appendices

To download your free copy of the Business Cube click here.This document will provide you with simple recommendations regarding the specific content for each of the sections outlined above and how to determine how much weighting should be afforded to each.

Recommended reading: Top Tips for Creating a Successful Business Plan

Business Planning Hints and Tips

  • A considerable amount of information is required in a business plan.
  • Pay particular attention to presentation – first impressions are important. Approximately 95% of business plans are rejected often because their presentation lets them down.
  • Be frank – if you misrepresent something, the astute reader will see through it and will not be impressed.
  • Make every effort to sustain the reader’s attention from start to finish.
  • Ensure the logic, proposals and assumptions are consistent throughout your business plan.
  • Do not underestimate the time taken between presenting the business plan and receiving the required finance. Depending on the type of finance required, the delay could be anything from a few weeks to several months.

InterTradeIreland's Seedcorn Competition 2019

InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn competition mirrors the real life investment process and can greatly improve your ability to attract investment for your business by helping you and your business become investor ready. The competition is aimed at early and new start companies that have a new equity funding requirement and has a total cash prize fund of €280,000. Closing date for 2019 applications is 31st May 2019. 


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