How to Create a Business Plan that will Convince Investors

One of the first and most important components of starting a business is putting together a comprehensive business plan. This takes the form of a written document outlining the key features of your business idea, purpose and goals, and core strategies for achieving them.

The business plan forms the foundation of a successful business and is crucial for convincing investors to provide the capital you need for your venture. In our comprehensive guide, you will discover how a well-structured business plan not only attracts investors but also serves as a strategic roadmap, decision-making tool, and communication device.

We also answer all the critical questions you have about constructing a business plan and guide you through its suggested structure and content.

You are welcome to use our Business Plan Word Template.



  • A well-crafted business plan is essential for startup success and to convince investors
  • It offers strategic clarity, market understanding and financial forecasts
  • Analyzing market and competitive advantages are crucial for achieving success
  • Realistic financial projections demonstrate sustainability and profit potential
  • SWOT analysis identifies strengths, weaknesses and market opportunity


  • How to Create a Business Plan that will Convince Investors
  • Highlights & content
  • What is a business plan?
  • Why do you need a business plan?
  • Content and structure: what should be in your business plan?
  • Avoid these common pitfalls
  • FAQ
  • Need help with your business plan and setup?

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a written document that comprehensively describes the purpose and objectives of a business along with the strategies and methods to achieve them. It acts as a blueprint for success, providing a detailed overview of the business, its offerings, market positioning, challenges faced, financial projections, and more.

A well-structured business plan is essential for convincing potential investors and other stakeholders that the business has a high chance of success. It also provides much-needed clarity and direction to the business owners during the startup and growth phase.

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Why do you need a business plan?

Convincing investors

A business plan serves many important functions, but one of its primary purposes is to convince investors to invest their capital in your venture or to persuade financial institutions to provide a loan.

Potential investors need a basis for deciding where to allocate their valuable capital, and a well-thought-out business plan helps persuade them that your business venture is a promising investment.

Above all else, a compelling business plan demonstrates to investors and lenders your understanding of the market, the potential for growth, and the strategies in place to mitigate risks and maximize the probability of success.

Business plan uses and benefits

Beyond being a tool for investor persuasion, a business plan has numerous other uses and benefits:

  1. Refines business idea: You may have an innovative business idea, but it can often lack the details and direction needed to turn it into reality. A business plan can help you refine your ideas by providing a clear structure for figuring out the specifics of your business vision.
  2. Strategic roadmap: A business plan serves as a roadmap, guiding the business through its various stages of development and growth.
  3. Helps guide decision-making: A comprehensive business plan aids decision-making by providing a clear framework for evaluating opportunities and risks. In the early stages of your business, you can frequently refer to your business plan for guidance when faced with important decisions.
  4. Communication tool: A business plan allows business owners to effectively communicate their vision and strategy to employees, partners, investors, and other stakeholders.
  5. Helps determine capital requirements: Many startups underestimate the amount of initial capital required which can quickly result in failure. Business plans include comprehensive financial projections which can help to accurately predict turnover and costs and therefore provide a realistic estimate of the capital requirements.
  6. Optimizes resource allocation: The plan assists in allocating resources effectively, ensuring that each aspect of the business receives the attention and investment it requires.
  7. Averts costly mistakes: During the process of constructing a business plan, it is common to identify mistakes and previously unseen risks. Spotting these early, and on paper as opposed to actuality, helps avoid making expensive mistakes after the business has launched.
  8. Research and development tool: The business plan is not an isolated process but is, in fact, intimately connected to the research and development stage of your product and strategy. Through the process of putting together your business plan, you gain a deeper understanding of the market, what exactly you will be able to offer, and how best to go about it.
  9. Performance analysis: The business plan provides a benchmark upon which to compare actual development and performance to what was projected. This is a useful indicator of the success of the business in its early stages, and can be a signal to take action if the business is underperforming relative to expectations.

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Content and structure: what should be in your business plan?

The structure of a business plan is not standardized and can vary depending on the specific nature of the business, the function of the plan, and the individual preferences of the owners. However, there are some content areas which are essential to any comprehensive business plan, and most would typically include at least the following sections:

1. Executive summary

The executive summary is a snapshot of your entire business plan. It comes at the start of the plan and provides a concise summary of its key elements, such as your business idea, goals, and financial projections. Despite being the first section of your business plan, it’s usually written last to ensure it accurately reflects the entire plan.

The executive summary is really the most important section, as it is the first impression for potential investors, and either motivates them to keep reading deeper into the business plan, or to dismiss it immediately. As such, you should take the time to ensure it is well-written, concise, persuasive, and covers the most important aspects of your plan in a nutshell.

2. Founding team and employees

Often, too much focus is given to the product idea, and not to the individuals behind the business. Anyone can come up with a decent business idea, but good investors know that it is only with the right team of people that a vision can be turned into a profitable business venture.

Introduce the individuals behind the business, such as the founders and key employees. Highlight their qualifications, experience, and roles within the company. A strong team adds credibility and reassures investors that you have what it takes to succeed.

3. Business idea

The basic business idea is the foundation upon which your company is built. Clearly articulate your idea and its motivations.

What problem does your product or service solve?

What makes it unique or superior to existing solutions?

Can it provide perceivable benefits to customers?

Define your value proposition and where you fit into the bigger picture. In doing so, give a brief overview of the following key points:

  • Range of products and services offered,
  • Sources of income generation,
  • Specific customer segments and markets you will target,
  • Basic cost structure,
  • Important resources needed for your production and operation process.

Most of these areas will be covered in more depth in later sections of the business plan, so be concise when giving the overview in this section.

4. Products and services

Provide a detailed description of the products or services your business plans to offer. Explain their features, benefits, and how they address the needs of your target market.

Avoid overly technical or complex explanations, as the description should make sense to non-experts. In addition to explaining the product or service itself, this section should include details about the development process, plans for expanding or further developing the product, any existing patents, etc.

5. Target group

You might have the most innovative new product idea, but if there is little actual demand for it in the market where you are, your business is destined to fail.

As such, more importance should be placed on who will actually buy your product or service than on describing the product itself. Identify and describe your target audience, understanding their demographics, preferences, and behaviors.

This may even influence where you decide to base your business and offer your products and services. This section demonstrates your market understanding and shows that you have considered whether your business idea can realistically be monetized with adequate demand.

6. Market and competition

Analyzing the market and competition follows on directly from an understanding of the nature of the target group. Here, you will start to look more deeply at market trends and the existing competition you face, as well as ask more detailed questions:

Is the market likely to expand or contract over time?

Who are the main competitors and how aggressive are they?

What are the barriers to entry for you now, and are there sufficient barriers to entry in the future to deter competitors from taking over your market share?

In answering these questions, you should highlight key market trends, opportunities, and challenges. Assess your competitive landscape and articulate your competitive advantage. Doing so will boost the confidence of prospective investors, as well as help guide your vision and strategy going forward.

7. Vision and objectives

This section outlines the direction in which you intend to take your business. When planning your business, you should always be thinking ahead to both your short-term and medium- to long-term goals.

This gives your business direction and helps orientate you towards what you have set out to achieve. The objectives you set should be specific, realistic, and measurable. This will provide you with clear and achievable aims and help you evaluate your success in achieving them as time goes by.

8. Marketing

A proactive marketing plan is essential to the success of any business. Irrespective of how good your product or service is, if news of it doesn’t reach your target customers, they won’t know to buy it.

Once you’ve clearly understood your target market and competition, you can more readily put together a thorough marketing strategy. This should include your approach to branding, advertising, and customer acquisition. Other key elements include your pricing strategy, discounts and promotions, price differentiation in the market, and sales and distribution channels.

9. Strategy

The strategy section directly follows the description of the company vision. Having described what you want to achieve, the strategy provides a clear plan for how the business will achieve its specific goals.

The strategy should be customer-centric, in that it should primarily focus on how it will benefit customers and therefore lead to profitable sales.

The quality and price of the product are essential considerations. You should also describe your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and how it will effectively differentiate you from your competition.

What other tactics will you employ to gain a competitive edge in the market? How will you attract customers and foster long-term customer loyalty?

This section is the heart of your business plan. It should be well-researched and carefully constructed. Take your time to develop a strategy which helps your business stand out from the rest.

10. Finances

Here is where your business plan gets translated into numbers. The financial section clearly shows the extent to which your business strategy is economically viable and can generate actual profits.

You must provide a detailed financial forecast, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow projections. Back up your projections with realistic assumptions and thorough market research.  

The financial plan often involves difficult calculations and requires a high level of expertise and accuracy. It is central to your business plan, as it is often the primary section that investors and other financial backers consider when deciding whether to invest in your business.

It is vital that your projections are realistic and based on clear facts and evidence. Overly optimistic or vague calculations are a red flag for investors and will do little to aid your business strategy in the future.

The financial plan also serves as an important reference for owners to determine the development of the company and identify financial issues early on.

11. SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis is an age-old strategic planning tool used to identify and evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a business venture or project. It provides a comprehensive overview of the internal and external factors that can impact the success of a business.

Conduct a SWOT analysis to assess the various factors affecting your business in a structured framework. This analysis further helps in strategic planning and risk management by identifying the key opportunities and risks your business faces.

It can also help you best make use of your inherent strengths to take advantage of the opportunities, and to be prepared to mitigate against your weak areas.

In conducting a SWOT analysis, you should never underestimate your weaknesses and overplay your strengths, but rather be as accurate and realistic as possible. Investors will also pick up on this kind of honest analysis and will have more confidence knowing that you are aware of your shortcomings and are taking steps to improve where needed.

12. Appendix

Include additional supporting documents in the appendix, such as:

  • Resumes of key team members,
  • Market research data,
  • Commercial register extract,
  • Contracts (e.g., rent agreement),
  • Financial reports (capital requirements, income statement, and other financial figures that have not already been included in the main body of the financial section),
  • Patents,
  • Additional technical product details or production plans,
  • Any other relevant information.

It is better to not clutter the body of your business plan with too many figures and data, and so the appendix is the opportunity to include all this ancillary information and help add factual validity to the claims you make in the business plan itself.

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Avoid these common pitfalls

Here are some typical mistakes in creating a business plan that you should aim to avoid: 

  1. Starting too early: While it’s important to be proactive about constructing a thorough business plan early in your venture, rushing into creating a business plan without thorough research and understanding can lead to a superficial and unrealistic document. A common mistake is to go straight into writing the business plan with nothing other than a business idea. The business plan involves arduous technical work and calculations, which can often be difficult if you haven’t yet fully developed your business model and laid all the foundations properly.
  2. Technical errors: Your business plan should be professional and accurate. It is vital to avoid technical and factual errors, which can quickly erode an investor’s confidence in the business when he reads the business plan. Typos, formatting issues, and calculation errors can also undermine the professionalism of your plan.
  3. Using sample plans: While templates and sample plans can be useful, avoid relying too heavily on them. Your business is unique, and a generic template may not capture its intricacies adequately. Don’t just directly copy the content of a sample plan, where the facts and figures are likely to be irrelevant to your own business’ circumstances.
  4. Unrealistic expectations: Be realistic in your projections and expectations. Overestimating revenues or underestimating costs can erode investor trust. It can also result in underestimating the amount of capital you need to get your business off the ground, which is a major cause of business failure in the startup phase. Remember, it usually takes at least a year or more for most new companies to start breaking even.
  5. Inadequate market research: Remember, a good product idea is just one piece of the puzzle to creating a successful business. Thorough market research is essential to position yourself effectively. Inadequate understanding of the market and its dynamics leads to flawed strategies and unrealistic expectations.
  6. Forgetting about the customer: Your business plan should be customer centric. It’s no use having a great product if customers don’t realize the actual value of it. Clearly articulate how your products or services meet the needs and preferences of your target audience.
  7. Overly optimistic financial predictions: While adopting a positive outlook on the future is good, financial predictions need to be grounded in reality. Unrealistic financial projections can cast doubt on the credibility of your business plan, as well as lead to flawed internal planning.
  8. Wrong focus: Ensure that your business plan focuses on the most critical aspects, such as your vision, business strategy, and how you will be able to acquire and benefit customers. Avoid long and unnecessary details that may dilute the impact of your core message.
  9. Ignoring the risks: Every business faces risks, so avoid brushing them under the carpet in your business plan. Acknowledge and address the potential risks with transparency. Demonstrating a proactive approach to risk management enhances your plan’s credibility and helps you better prepare for future obstacles.
  10. Underestimating the competition: Ignoring or underestimating the competition can lead to strategic vulnerabilities and misjudging the actual profitability of your business idea. Thoroughly understanding your competitors and acknowledging the challenges they pose is critical to the success of your startup, and will show investors that you have done thorough market research in determining the viability of your business venture.

You are welcome to use our Business Plan Word Template.



Do you always need a business plan?

A business plan is recommended for anyone starting a new business. If you need capital from investors or lenders to finance your business idea, then a comprehensive business plan is essential.

However, even if you don’t need financial support from investors, a business plan can be an excellent aid in navigating the initial phases of your business venture. It is a tool that provides clarity and structure to owners and employees, and can ensure everyone is on the same page in working to achieve the company’s vision and goals together.

That said, not all startups go through the effort of constructing a comprehensive business plan due to the extensive time and work involved. There are some simplified alternatives, such as a bare-bones ‘business model canvas’ or other planning tools.

However, we recommend that these should serve as a complement to the central business plan, not as a complete replacement.

How long does it take to write a business plan?

The time it takes to write a business plan can vary widely depending on several factors, including the complexity of your business, the level of detail required, the purpose of the plan, and the experience of the person or team creating it.

While there is no fixed timeframe, you can expect the entire process to take weeks or even months from beginning to end. The actual writing process may only take a few days, but you will have to do a great deal of preliminary work and research, including the financial modeling, consulting with team members and revising projections and ideas multiple times until you feel completely satisfied with your plan.

How long should your business plan be?

There is no fixed length for a business plan, but the ideal range is usually between 15 – 20 pages, and not more than 30 pages. The length depends on the level of complexity of your business venture, the specific industry, the size of the team and company, and many other factors. Remember, longer is not necessarily always better.

The business plan should be both comprehensive and concise, avoiding unnecessary details and “fluffy” descriptions. If there is a great deal of extra information and calculations to include, it is better to make use of the appendix as opposed to the main body of the business plan.

Easily calculate the costs of setting up your company here.


Need help with your business plan and setup?

Writing a business plan is an incredibly personalized process, and no one knows the ins and outs of your business model like you do. That said, it can be a demanding process that requires a great deal of work and expertise. Seeking professional guidance and assistance can make a significant difference in easing the burden and improving the quality of your business plan.

That’s where Nexova AG is here to help. With our deep expertise in business consulting, startup formation, and the general Swiss corporate landscape, we are ideally positioned to support entrepreneurs in crafting compelling business plans and setting up their ventures for success. Whether you are a startup looking for funding or an established business aiming for strategic growth and a fresh new business plan, Nexova provides tailored solutions to meet your unique needs.

Contact us today to discover more about how we can help your business excel in its planning and startup phase, and walk the path to lasting success.

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