Once your business plan is done, how do you get investors to read it?
BY Rhonda Abrams
Writing a Business Plan mentor Rhonda Abrams responds: The best way is to find an intermediary -- a person whose name and/or influence causes funders to want to look at your plan.
These kinds of people make good intermediaries:
They received financing from the funder (and, ideally, their business was successful).
They work in a business similar to that of the funder.
They are a colleague, adviser, friend, or relative of the funder.
They are highly regarded in the industry or community, even if they are not known personally by the funder.
Intermediaries can deliver the plan personally with a note saying something like "I thought you'd be interested in this," or even better, "I know these people and can recommend them highly." You can also find an intermediary who merely allows you to use his name when you deliver the plan yourself, with a note saying "Chris Young suggested I send this to you."
Having an intermediary does not guarantee that you receive funding, but it improves your chances of getting a fair and careful review.
If you are fortunate enough to secure intermediaries, be sure to send them a copy of any cover letters you send using their name and a copy of your business plan. Potential funders may call the intermediary about your business, and if this happens, you want the intermediary to know who you are.
Do not use a funder as your intermediary unless that person has invested in your company. Otherwise, that raises the question of why your intermediary isn't investing. The exception is if there's a clear reason the person would not be funding your business but still thinks it's a good bet for the recipient. For instance, if you are trying to raise money for a new retail concept, but your intermediary funds only software companies, then it makes sense for her to send your plan to a friend who funds retail companies.