FAQ's about business plans and raising venture capital

About our Services

No. What we do guarantee is that your plan will be seen by our IRA Network Associates. Additionally, it will be profiled for selective distribution for submission to literally hundreds of qualified lenders and investors in our database. If your plan is good, you have a pretty good chance of being funded. However, if your plan is flawed, the investors likely will not show interest.

Venture Capital is probably not the correct form of capital for your small business. You'll most likely be better served by debt financing, or "Angel" financing if your business can generate a significant return on investment.

Absolutely! We help the high-techs to the bricks-n-mortar crowd find the right kind of financing and capital. What's most important is a well thought out business plan that focuses on making profits.

First, it helps you by providing a "road map" for your business. Second, it is used to show potential sources of money how you will generate profits.

Simply put - our reputation is also on the line but we also want to make sure you see the "forest" among the "trees".

No, but we will help you find those resources.

No. After analyzing your project, we only target our funding sources that specialize in your industry, size, stage, amount and other attributes.

They are strictly "start-up" and mezzanine level investment groups with the most prestigious track record in the investment community, having funded some of the most recognizable start-ups in the world today!

They are included in our investor resource pool!

We will respond immediately by providing the additional level of service and documentation.

In most cases, the time allotted will be more than sufficient; however, should your project require more time to complete the level of service you contracted for we may consider deferring a portion of additional charges for equity in your project.

Our parent company, The IRA Network, will prepare and/or enhance your current business plan for a nominal fee, or of course you are free to choose another business plan service or write the plan yourself.

Yes, full credit will be applied to any other services provided by the IRA Network.

A typical professionally written business plan will run $1,500-$12,000, depending on how much information and documentation you bring to the table.

The IRA Network will endeavor to offset some of the expense of writing the plan in return for a small percentage of equity in your company.

On average, we experience a 30-90 day window depending on what level of service you choose and investors committee review timetables, backlogs, and other mitigating circumstances.

It is impossible to absolutely predict whether any project will in fact get funded. However, there is strength in numbers and your opportunity for success is dramatically and greatly enhanced through our extensive investor network and presentation abilities. Every year, thousands of companies are funded - why not yours?

About Valuation

Great question - Yes, they really do want 20X to 30X returns, and yes, your math is correct. Reason? Simple. Yours and other similar investments are "high risk" and if they put money in this kind of high risk, they expect a very high return. But with stock equity, it can be done simply enough. Consider a $50K investment in your company for 5% of the company. That puts the valuation of your company in the $1,000,000 range ($50,000 X 20 or $50,000 divided by 5%). Now assume you grow your company to a revenue base of $5MM in 2 years with that $50K investment. Assuming a multiple of revenue of 2 as a valuation standard, your company is now worth about $10MM. The investor's original investment of $50K, or 5% is now worth $500,000 which is a 10X return (5% of $10MM). If you attract a competitor whose stock is traded publicly who wants to purchase you by leveraging his stock with yours, he purchases you for $40MM in his public stock. The investor's stock is now worth $2,000,000 (5% of $40MM) which translates to a 40X return. In real life, you will have raised additional capital, thereby diluting yourself and the original investor, but even then, the valuation continues to ratchet up as you bring value to your company by revenues and profits.

About Management Teams

Investors don't expect you to have your management team in place when you're trying to raise money. They DO expect you to identify who you will hire, or that you are in need of certain key people. They also want to see that you recognize the importance of having a good "top dog" running the ship. In other words, if you've got no track record of running a company, it's unlikely an investor will invest in you with his or her money as long as you're positioned to run the company. In cases like that, we urge entrepreneurs to identify a "president" or "COO" from the outside world who will be the person who runs things operationally.

About Small Business

That goes beyond the scope of this web site, and would best be addressed by your local community's outreach programs. Look up the SBTDC in your area government listing and inquire about classes or instruction in business building. Also, check to see if you have classes such as the Kauffman Foundation's "Fast Trac" in your area.

Expansion can do great wonders for a business, but it can also sink it. Many companies have gone under trying to expand outside of their regional boundaries, and the culprit is usually management experience and/or capital. The first thing you need to do is create or update your business plan that looks at the cost of expansion versus the gross profit. Assuming your "honest" look tells you your expansion efforts are profitable, you next need to locate an individual who has done it successfully. Once you have those two entities, you'll be a good candidate for an investor who will gladly take a piece of the action for your hard work in expanding to these new areas.

Write a good and believable business plan that addresses your technology, why it's unique, why it's protected and how it will bring in millions of dollars of net income. If you believe your own business plan, show it to some trusted advisors. If they believe it, contact the IRA Network.

First you need to understand that you are NOT an equity capital candidate. In other words, an angel investor will likely not invest in you because you will not be able to return 30 times the investor's money. You should focus your efforts on "debt" financing from the SBA or banks to obtain your working capital or line of credit. Second, you need to write a business plan to substantiate your profit targets, and then prove to your banker that you can make the first target. If you succeed, he or she will likely give you more so you can get more stock.

Assuming you have some really excellent technology, product or services, you would be a candidate for equity or debt financing from American investors. American banks, however, will generally not loan you money.

First of all, run, don't walk, to your banker and sit down with him or her and tell him/her exactly what your situation is. If you do not communicate with your banker you will find that he/she has no choice but to foreclose. If you "talk" to your banker and present a sound plan for how you are going to get out of your jam, you stand a greater chance of keeping the loan intact and your house as well. Second, concentrate on making the machine shop profitable. If you are bleeding red ink because of that shop, you cannot concentrate on anything else. If it appears that you will not make it profitable, don't hang onto a dying swan. Sell it to a competitor and move on. Third, you need to realize that an investor will not invest any money in you in your current condition. I hate to break the news to you but you have no value to an investor in your current shape. Get the machine shop cleaned up and get your debt reduced and THEN look for investors.

Once again we say that investors will invest in a business if it has a clear exit strategy and a sound business model. If your already established business is a taco stand and you want to add curtains, chances are no investors will invest in that because they will never get their money back out of your company. If, however, you plan on growing and adding more taco stands in the future, you have a great chance of attracting investors - if you have a sound business plan.

Yes, investors deal in sums from $25,000 to $5,000,000. But will they invest in a bed and breakfast? Why should they invest in your business? Are you promising them a quick exit strategy? Will they get 30 times their investment in less than 2 years? If the answer is NO, you need to consider a lending source, such as a bank.

Hopefully, you have a signed confidentiality agreement with all the people to whom you showed your business plan? It sounds like you have a good concept, but without seeing your business plan, we have no way of knowing if it is sell-able. Too often, an entrepreneur gets an idea, crafts a half-baked business plan, and gets disappointed when no investors knock on their doors. To attract investment capital in this world, you need (1) sound management team with experience, (2) exit strategy for the investor, (3) a sound business plan, (4) unique and proprietary idea that cannot be easily copied, and (5) believable pro formas. If you think you have these, contact the IRA Network and we'll help you find funding. If not, go back to the drawing board and work at curing the deficiencies.

Yes. But you still need a viable business plan for the film project. How will you distribute it, how much is the talent costing, what are your contingencies, etc?

Unlikely. Your best bet is to sell your motel to a competitor who is successful in your area and wants to expand. As for the bed and breakfast idea, typically they are not equity investor deals, but are more suited for bank financing.

Your best bet is to sell your idea or product outright rather than try to start a company to market it. Depending on your business skills and experience, you may be better off selling your idea to a manufacturer or company.

Again, focus on selling your inventions rather than starting a company around your product. Unless you're a very strong business person, you stand a much greater chance of success and fast capital return doing it this way. But, to answer your exact questions: 1) An LLC is a company - it's just a more protected corporation set up like a partnership instead of a traditional corporation. 2) Risk capital is the amount of money an investor puts up to show proof of concept - that is the point where your invention is proven to be marketable and your business model proven to be correct. 3) 22.2% is high if you're measuring it as a percentage of retail sales. It's better to make it a percentage of gross profit (retail sales less costs of goods sold). 4) You can send the 9-page summary to us for review, but once again it is stressed that you have a prepared business plan to show to investors.

Forget putting your house up as ransom for your plan to make millions. Your family will sleep better and if it all goes in the tank (and many do) you won't lose your house. Restaurants are tough to finance with equity capital because they don't provide an investor with an easy exit strategy. Instead, try to find an angel investor in your town who has funded other restaurants. A local investor is a must for restaurant financing, as he/she will be able to monitor your business with you, which is so important for the restaurant business. Q: I am a broker in Chicago, IL. and I have a couple of deals. How would I go about getting on your network? A: Call Joel Levy at 1(607) 687 - 6750 ext 15

Yes. That kind of thing is best done by the federal government's SBIC organizations, or local groups. However, investors don't give "grants" - they are capitalists and necessarily want to maximize return on investment.

Great question. The way to handle it is to send each investor a generic summary of the business without listing the business name or any other confidential data. If they have an interest they will contact you and the confidentiality agreement is then submitted. Thanks for your interest!

Call us. 1(607)687-6750 Most investors are "equity" investors, meaning they put their money in your business and take back stock. However, you are looking for more of a loan arrangement. We can help you file for a Bank/SBA Loan.

We have some bad news for you. Desperate entrepreneurs tend not to get funding, because they usually are distracted as a result of what is going on in their lives or business. Our best advice: Weather this storm out, hunker down and focus on your business, get the plan built and approach it like a business and not an emotion.

Step # 1: It's VERY unlikely that you will ever start a company that grows to such size that an investor of ours will make a very large return on investment in a short period of time. Therefore, you must find another source, other than equity capital, for your business idea. The first thing you MUST do is PLAN your business - for yourself if for no one else. We can help you with your business plan or you can do one yourself and THEN you'll be ready for step # 2.Step # 2: We can help you take your newly completed business plan to your local banks for a "term loan" that will enable you to buy tools, trucks, etc., using your tools and trucks as collateral, and you will pay 2% over prime. It may take 20 banks, but you have a fundable opportunity, by the banks - NOT by investors.

The short answer: You need to submit your plan to us. Once your plan has been approved by us, we will provide you with a profile database of qualified investors for email and hardcopy submission. If the investors like what you have they will contact you directly.

We can't answer your question about the best way to market, as we don't know your business or industry. Sounds like you have things under control if you're growing that quickly. However, regarding the preferred exit strategy, VCs and Angel investors prefer a simple acquisition that nets them a good and healthy return on their investment, typically 30X to 40X in a few years. Look to a competitor to buy you after you establish your valuation. How do you establish valuation? See our learning center.

About Real Estate

If you engage us we can research the States' securities laws. However you can also consult a qualified securities attorney in your state for exact answers. A SCOR form is the Government's version of a simple offering, limited to $1MM, and generally available to anyone trying to raise that amount of capital. It's a 37-page form that we can do for you or you can fill out, however, you will need help from an attorney and accountant. Also, since it's somewhat of a "public offering", be aware that your State Securities people will scrutinize it carefully before they approve it.