Welcome to the second in my series for National Write A Business Plan Month.


Though you may sweat over all the sections of your business plan, some have more value to prospective investors and partners. One of the most important is the management team section. Here are some tips for making this part of your plan more relevant.

Many entrepreneurs just include standard bios for each principle and job composites for positions yet to be filled. But we can get that information via Linkedin. What’s more useful to prospective investors and partners is the why and how of your management team: Why this group of people chose each other for this venture and how you work together to achieve stated goals.  This information is best presented broadly in an overview or wrap-up paragraph followed by specific context in each bio.

How to write a better business plan bio

For each bio, create a context for the credentials. Of course list experience, degrees, etc., but explain how those skills complement other team members’. Then explain why this person – as opposed to anyone else with similar skills and experience – is on the team. I use the What-Why-How™ Strategy for this:

  • What you think: Your opinion
  • Why you think it: Your rationale
  • How you know:  The supporting proof points (evidence, examples, explanation)

Here’s one I did for someone we’ve just added to our team to work on a specific project:

An example of the What-Why-How Strategy in action

To write the bio, I worked across and down the organizer, making complete sentences from my notes. Here’s the resulting draft:

Caroline provides a unique perspective and background the project team needs. A senior at UNC, her experience as a recruitment counselor for the Panhellenic Council enables her to create authentic messaging designed to increase college student attendance. Her domestic and international network of 18- to 24-year-olds provides excellent access to our target market. She comes to the project with knowledge and understanding of global affairs and innovation issues, gleaned from coursework in her major, global studies. Pursuing a minor in journalism, Caroline’s covered innovative medical research at the university. Her major and minor give her the experience and context to research and write promotional and educational materials for the conference without a lot of training and staff resources. Caroline is a strong writer with direct experience interviewing international sources and working in a deadline-driven environment. She blogged her study-abroad experience; was a weekly reporter for The Odyssey, a student publication; filed weekly publication-quality features for class; and has experience interviewing medical researchers and international sources. A bonus: Carolina is fluent in French, the language spoken by 115 million people in 31 African nations, many of which are involved in the conference.

[Another example: How to write a recommendation with the What-Why-How]

The whole process took about 15 minutes, but I did this on my own. You might want to gather your team and/or advisers to complete a What-Why-How for each member together. Use the organizer to take notes, then pull the most relevant Whys and Hows to use in the narrative.

Action Items:

  1. Add story-telling to the management team section to create meaningful context for investors.
  2. Use the What-Why-How to build out your bios. (Download a blank organizer.)

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