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  < POLL >  

Who do you consider as the right investor for your business?

Angel Investors (Individuals)

Strategic Investors (Corporate Ventures)

Institutional Investors (Investment Banks, VC Firms)


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Table of Contents
1. Foreword
2. The Venture - A Profit Machine
3. Assessment Elements
3.1 Market Opportunity
3.2 Product/Solution
3.3 Execution Plan
3.4 Financial Engine
3.5 Human Capital
3.6 Potential Return
3.7 Margin of Safety
4. Mathematical Model
5. Score, Confidence & Weight Criteria
6. Disclaimer
7. Acknowledgements
8. Author
9. Copyright
10. References


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3.  Assessment Elements









- 3.3 Execution Plan Is there a realistic plan to execute?

"You can not manage what you can not measure." – Management adage

Each organization needs to establish a strategic framework and a tactical execution plan to obtain significant success. The execution plan will allow your team to understand how you are going to achieve your goals. It also will allow you to break up your business into more manageable parts that each individuals in your team can be responsible for. Furthermore, the execution plan should include ways to monitor progress and make sure the organization is on track to achieve its goals. A monitoring system allows the organization to take corrective measure sooner rather than later. The executions plan also ensures that your team members are focused on the same goals and are moving in the same direction.

The execution plan is only a part of a larger business plan. The execution plan focuses more on the day-to-day aspects of the business and on the steps needed to achieve the larger business goals. A business plan describes those steps but also outlines the larger business goals that the organization hopes to achieve.

The execution plan should cover:

Strategic Path
Sales and Marketing Plan
Development and Production Plan
Partnership & Alliances
Resource Planning and Allocation

3.3.1. Valuation Growth Plan

In addition to managing production and sales, entrepreneurs have to plan for continues increase of company’s value.

Extraordinary value can be created through intangible assets. Intellectual capital and other intangible assets are recognized as the most important metric and foundation for the market dominance and continuing profitability of successful companies. Among others, Customer base, Partnership, Intellectual property, market expertise, and brand awareness contribute to a business value. All of these assets may not currently generate revenue and profit for a company, but are seen as keys to revenue generation and profits for the future.

It is important to know:
What is the strategic plan for increasing the company’s value and accumulating intangible assets, regardless of immediate financial gains?
And what tactical moves are planned for achieving that?

3.3.2. Marketing and Promotion Plan

A marketing plan describes how the product/service is promoted in the marketplace and how to ensure it generates attention. Often in a business started by engineers, business efforts like marketing will be overlooked, with the thinking that “the technology will generate attention and sell itself.” This sort of attitude can doom a company with good technology but a market that is unaware that they exist. Beside direct marketing startups may leverage partnership to collaboratively promote the product/service to the market.

It is important to know:
Is there a clear marketing plan and budget in place to reach the target users and customers and is it executable?

Has the company correctly assessed the customers’ buying criteria?
What are customers’ sources of Information?
- Magazines and other publications
- People in the industry
- Market surveys
- Similar but not competing businesses

How do customers buy competitive or substitute products now (direct sales, wholesale, retail, manufacturers' reps, direct mail, catalogue, etc.)?

Are there any strategic partners signed up or are there some in discussions? (Partner Math: 1 + 1 > 3)
Are the go-to-market and penetration strategies defined and realistic?

3.3.3. Sales and Distribution Plan

Entrepreneurs generally fail to consider distribution channel until it’s too late. Similar to other “business side” aspects of a company, this too can be overlooked if there is too much foucus on the product on not on how to get it to the customers. Many companies with great products fail regularly because of poor channel selection, development or maintenance.

Startups need decide whether to sell direction or or through intermediaries. Distribution channels need to have sufficient coverage to reach adequate number of customers, but also being cost effective to develop and maintain.

It is important to know:
Are the customer acquisition methods, the main sales and distribution channel defined?
Are the sales life cycle and processes identified?
Are major sales channels open to the company?
Are there any strategic partners signed up or are there some in discussions?
What is your cost to acquire a customer?

3.3.4. Production and Quality Plan

Another important aspect of assessment relates to production and quality control plan.

It is important to know:

Are the research & development processes defined and well understood?

Are production/manufacturing requirements determined?
Are there any quality control processes in place?
Can the product/service be developed in a reasonable time?
Is the product/service scalable and expandable?
Are the cost estimates and cycle times realistic for production?

3.3.5. Compensation Plan

People are the most important asset and the key success factors of a startup. That includes team members, advisors and business partners. They all have to be inspired, motivated and properly rewarded for a venture to succeed. While larger companies can often survive when members leave, small companies depend on their employees to understand both their customers and their product, and can’t afford members leaving. Compensation should do more than just encourage team members, advisors, and business partners to stay, but should motivate them to work in the interest of the business.

It is important to know:
Are key members of the team sufficiently motivated by stock, options or profit-sharing and compensated based on individual and company’s performance?
Is the Entrepreneur willing to use equity to attract talent - Share success?
Is there sufficient equity remaining in the options pool for 2-3 years of added employees, service providers and suppliers based on similar startups?

3.3.6. Resource Allocation

For startup companies the biggest dilemma is usually about inadequate resources. There never seems to be enough time or money to achieve all the things a company wants to do. Because resources are so scarse, inappropriate resource allocation is one of the most commonly made mistake by entrepreneurs. A startup must clearly prioritize all the different aspects of their business so they can take the appropriate steps to ensure that resources are allocated properly.

It is important to know:
Are adequate resource requirement analysis, planning and allocation done?
Does that resource allocation matches the production, marketing and sales plan?
Is enough resources allocated for valuation growth path?

3.3.7. Milestones and Measurements

As Mark Twain famously said: "The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."

The execution plan has to outline the milestones and proper measurement systems for tracking the progress. These milestones will help an organization prioretize their work their work. Also, if an organization falls off schedule it may reveal weaknesses, which are better to know sooner rather than later.

It is important to know:
Are there clear goals, milestones and timelines in place to ensure the overall venture execution and progress?
Are there performance and progress monitoring and measurements plans in place?
Are all stakeholders aware of key performance measurements?