Q: I am currently a student, and my head is swarming with business ideas. I understand the benefits and how to make a business plan. But what do I do after the business plan? How do I find a venture capitalist or other investors to loan me money? What are the best ways to maximize funding?
A: Awesome that you have great business ideas. I think the key is to get your ideas down into a 3-4 page executive summary and clearly understand the viability, credibility and durability of your business idea before you look for funding. Under the viability line I would encourage you to look and the market and whether there is a need for your business. Look at your industry.
For example, we have a member of ours who started his business out of the DePaul University MBA program. The business was started in the Human Resources Outsourced area because he saw there was a need to help companies find talent as the demographic trends are people are retiring and there is a shortage of workers. After studying the market he saw that his business was in an industry that had a 20 year cycle and he was three years into it.
In addition I would encourage you to look at your own personal goals for starting the business venture and make sure your personal goals are aligned with where you want to take it. Once having done that you are in a good position to look for funding.
Not knowing what your business idea is I think the best fit for a new startup venture is probably more friends and family money and/or angel investors. An angel investor could also act as a mentor for you which I would highly recommend. Successful startup ventures I have seen over the years the founder has had a good mentor who could come with not only dollars but experiences.
A great resource to help you in your business planning process is a book by Dr. Brent Mainprize called "Win with your Business Plan." The VIQ approach. Mainprize has created a proprietary software program that analyzes business plans and gives them a score under the viability, credibility, durability pillars. The book provides great insight into what is needed at all these different areas to make your business investment ready.