Dos and Don’ts of Presenting to Investors
Excerpted from The Farmer’s Office by Julia Shanks
• Do explain your business concept clearly in one to three sentences. Don’t
run on and on. Readers of your business plan want to be able to quickly
capture the essence of your business. The more concise your words, the
• Do compare your business to others; don’t ignore the competition. It’s
important to understand your competition — both as a way to refine your
72 The Farmer’s Office
strategy, and how you will differentiate yourself. It also helps you understand
what your customers want.
• Do address your strengths; don’t overlook your weaknesses. When writing
a business plan for investors, tell them why they should trust you with
their money. The more you can highlight your strengths, the better.
At the same time, you need to recognize your weaknesses. When you
address your weaknesses, explain how you will overcome them. Further,
the more you recognize the gaps in your skills, the better positioned you
are to find complementary partners and advisors.
• Do share details and information that you think is important. Don’t expect
investors to read your plan. Many investors will read your entire
plan, others will skim it, and some will just read the executive summary.
When discussing your plan with investors, assume that they haven’t read
it, and highlight your main points.
• Don’t text overload; do use graphs and charts. Because investors tend to
skim business plans, graphs and charts can communicate details about
your business and strategy effectively and efficiently. This enables them
to absorb more details about your plan.
• Do provide enough information so they can intelligently evaluate the opportunity.
• Don’t assume the reader is an expert in your field (nor wants to be). Depending
on who is funding your business, they may or may not know a lot
about farming and agriculture. I worked with an entrepreneur to write a
business plan for cultivating and selling organic mushrooms: he had 10
pages drafted detailing the methodology and microbiology of cultivated
mushrooms. I found it fascinating, but that’s the kind of stuff you want
to leave out.
• Do be succinct in describing your business. Don’t get mired in the details.
The business plan shouldn’t detail every aspect of your business, such as
what time employees start their shift or uniform is required. You do want
to provide a summary of the operations and how they translate into costs
and efficiencies for the business.
This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from The Farmer’s Office by Julia Shanks and published by New Society Publishers, 2016.