• ProfVal

Immigration Business Plan: A Roadmap for Success

Updated: Sep 7


This post is part of ProfVal’s series on the EB class of visas. Nothing posted here or anywhere on ProfVal.com is legal advice. ProfVal, LLC offers services to support EB-1 and EB-2 NIWpetitions, which include: Professional Plans & Business Plans, EB-1 Expert Opinion Letters, EB-2 NIW Expert Opinion Letters, and academic transcript equivalence evaluations (3rd party service).

 

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Entrepreneurship is “the endeavor of creating, owning, and commercializing an idea, technology, product, or service.”[1] Your business plan is your entrepreneurial road map; it is the heart and soul of what your business will become.


It is a formal written document that typically incudes:

  • The company’s location and ownership

  • The company’s offerings

  • A market analysis, including a discussion of the target market

  • Key management personnel

  • A business development approach

  • Financial projections

Through the development of these areas, your business plan will “help you gain clarity and hold [you] accountable for moving the direction you want.”[2] It is important for all entrepreneurs to develop a business plan—especially so for immigrant entrepreneurs.


The importance of a business plan for immigrant entrepreneurs


ProfVal’s clients typically require business plans either in preparation for their visa petition or in response to an RFE (Request for Evidence) or NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny). EB-2 NIW petitioners, for example, routinely receive RFEs that specifically request a business plan, professional plan, and/or an EB-2 NIW Expert Opinion Letter.


Beyond meeting USCIS requirements for a visa, creating a business plan provides other tangible benefits for immigrant entrepreneurs:

  • First, the business environment and the customers in the U.S. are likely to be different from those in an immigrant’s home country. Developing a business plan will force an immigrant entrepreneur to analyze the U.S. market more fully, helping the business in the long run

  • Second, external entities such as investors, banks, and local government agencies may require a well-developed business plan before they commit any resources or furnish any required permissions or licenses to an immigrant entrepreneur. A business plan can establish an entrepreneur’s credibility, allowing them to launch and grow their business.

A business plan is critical to managing a budding entity. It is not a static record but a dynamic document that will change as a business enters the marketplace. A business plan is essential for attracting partners and investors and keeping a business on track through regular revisions and updates. It is a tool to demonstrate the potential for a return on investment. Banks and venture capital firms will demand to see a business plan before investing their money.


Content within a business plan


Most business plans to follow an accepted format.[3] ProfVal’s business plans follow the approach described below with modifications that relate to the type of visa our clients are applying for, typically and EB-1 or EB-2 NIW visa.


Title Page: In a typical business plan, the title page lists the company name, logo, and contact information.


Executive Summary: The plan starts with a brief one- to three-page executive summary that lays out the entrepreneur’s vision and concept with relevant company background, followed by the products or services offered.[4] The Small Business Administration (SBA) views this as a snapshot of the key facts of a business. It also serves as a sales document for investors and other entities as it shows the size and scope of the business or the new venture.


ProfVal’s business plans for immigration also include key facts that relate to the visa a petitioner is applying for. For instance, they may mention extraordinary ability (EB-1), exceptional ability (EB-2), and National Interest implications.


Ownership and management: Following the executive summary, this section presents basic information on human resources and who will run the business.


Arthur Rock, the renowned venture capitalist once said “I invest in people, not ideas”. He went on saying “If you find good people, if they’re wrong about the product, they’ll make a switch, so what good is it to understand the product they’re talking about in the first place?”[5]


It is important that a business plan carefully describes the founders and the management team. This section should also state whether the business will be incorporated as a C or an S corporation, a general or limited partnership, a sole proprietor, or limited liability company (LLC). The background of the Board of Directors may be included along with that of any professional, legal, or accounting advisors.


As ProfVal's business plans are built specifically for EB-1 and EB-2 NIW visas, it is especially important that this section focus on the petitioner's qualifications in relation to the visa that they are applying for. Thus, ProfVal’s business plans for visa applications typically include an abridged version of a client’s professional plan (see an EB-2 NIW professional plan template here).


Market Analysis: Following the profiles of the founders and top executives, a section should be devoted to describing the opportunity. The description of the opportunity should be supported by relevant and reliable data. The purpose of this section to clearly define and quantify the market size.


Products or Services Offered: The subsequent section should describe the product or service that the entrepreneur wants to introduce. This section should also describe comparable products and services to highlight the comparative advantages of the focal product or service.


Business Development and Marketing: Some business plans, including those produced by ProfVal, include a discussion of how the company will develop new business relationships and create a marketing program. This section should describe how the company will reach its customers.


Financials: An investment summary details projected revenues according to the profitability model used.


Financial projections are vital for funding requests and sourcing capital,[6]demonstrating how an entrepreneur plans to monetize their venture. This section should enumerate methods of income generation and possible payment parameters; capital needed for labor, equipment, and other expenses; and potential funding sources like bank loans, angel investors, venture capitalists, friends, and family. The company’s financials may be compared to existing companies with a similar model. The most important underlying assumptions on which the financial model is built should also be clearly presented here.


If you have a background in finance and wish to create your own financial documents, you might use a template like this Charlie Tillet template shared by MIT. ProfVal’s pro forma financial approach has been reviewed by finance experts and was developed so that professionals with varying degrees of financial literacy can built their own statement.


Risks (not always included): This short section describes risks that the new venture may face. These may include regulatory, macroeconomic, technological, financial, and market factors. If this section is included, a discussion on mitigating these risks should be included here so that investors and other external entities recognize that the founding team is well prepared to address unfavorable situations.


Appendix: A business plan may have an appendix at the end with additional documentation such as technical drawings, competitor research and reviews, customers lists, and testimonials.


In summary, your business plan defines your startup or existing business with a business model that shows the profit potentials and risk profiles.

[1] What is entrepreneurship, 2019, https://fee.org/articles/what-is-entrepreneurship [2] https://www.inc.com/guides/201104/how-to-write-a-business-plan-outline.html [3] Lavinsky, Dave, The 10 Key Components of a Business Plan, https://www.growthink.com/businessplan/help-center/key-components-business-plan-part-ii [4] Executive Summary of a Business Plan, https://www.growthink.com/businessplan/help-center/business-plan-executive-summary-tips-killer-executive-summary [5] Lichtenstein, G.A. and Lyons, T.S., 2010. Investing in entrepreneurs: A strategic approach for strengthening your regional and community economy. ABC-CLIO. [6] Emerson, Melinda, How to Write a Business Plan, hhtps://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-write-a-business-p_b_8699184