Topics

Accounting Advertising Advisor Analysis Apps Balance Sheet Barriers to Entry Beachhead Benefits Better Books Bottom Up / Top Down Brainstorming Brainwriting Budget Business Flow Business Model Cash Flow Commercialization Communications Competition Competitive Advantage Consultant Corporate Entrepreneurship CQs Creativity Critical Success Factor Culture Customer Decisions Deploy Design Develop Differentiation DXpedition Earn EBITDA Education Effectiveness Elevator Pitch Entrepreneur Entrepreneurship Environment Evolution Executive Summary Exercise Expenses Expertise Failure Finance Financial Objectives Flags Flowchart Focus Funding Fuzzy-to-Firm GizmoGadget Glossary Goals Habits Healthy Venture Hiring HOTI Chart Hypothesis Ideas Ideation Income Statement Industry Industry Research Innovate-A-thon Innovation Innovator Intellectual Property Internet Intrapreneurship Invention Inventory Investor Iteration Knowledge Launch Leadership Lean Startup Learning Legal Luck Machines Management Manpower Market Research Marketing Marketing Brochure Material Media Media Relations Mentor Methods Mindset Mission Mistakes Money Motivation Myths Name News Release Niche Market Objectives Operating Agreement Operations Opportunity Passion Patents People Planning Positioning PR Presentations Price Problems Process Flow Product Development Productivity Profit Progress Promotion Prototype Publicity Questions Refine Research Resources Return on Investment Roadmap Sales SCAMPER SCORE Scorecard Skills Slides Solution Development Solutions Something SPLUCK Start-up Stimulation Strategies Strategy Structure Success SWOTT Tactics Tagline Target Market Team Teamwork Technology Readiness Levels Terminology Terms Thinking Tools Transformation TRL Validation Value Venture Venture Capital Venture Creation Venture Plan Vision Work Worth Writing
Showing posts with label Executive Summary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Executive Summary. Show all posts

Questions That Must be Answered in a Business Model

  1. Who are the target customers for this business venture?
  2. How will this venture create and deliver value for these customers?
  3. What, who, where is the primary competition for this venture?
  4. How is the enterprise different and better than the competition?
  5. What are the primary core competencies of this venture?
  6. What is the scope of products, processes, and activities of this venture?
  7. How is this venture organization structured?
  8. How will this venture capture value for profit?
  9. How will this venture grow, and over what time period?
  10. How will this venture attract and retain talent?

How to Write an Executive Summary

The purpose of the executive summary of the business plan is to provide your readers with an overview of the business plan. Think of it as an introduction to your business. Therefore, your business plan's executive summary will include summaries of ...
  1. a description of your company, including your product and/or service solutions
  2. your management
  3. the market and your customers including basic quantitative information
  4. marketing and sales strategies
  5. your primary competition
  6. your competitive advantage
  7. your operational strategies
  8. financial projections and plans
  9. contact information
The executive summary will end with a summary statement, a "last kick at the can" sentence or two designed to persuade the readers of your business plan that your business is a winner.

To write the executive summary of the business plan, start by following the list above and writing one to three sentences about each topic. (No more!)

If you have trouble crafting these summary sentences from scratch, review your business plan to get you going. In fact, one approach to writing the executive summary of the business plan is to take a summary sentence or two from each of the business plan sections you've already written. (If you compare the list above to the sections outlined in the Business Plan Outline, you'll see that this could work very well.)

Then finish your business plan's executive summary with a clinching closing sentence or two that answers the reader's question "Why is this a winning business?"

Tips for Writing the Business Plan's Executive Summary
  1. Focus on providing a summary. The business plan itself will provide the details and whether bank managers or investors, the readers of your business plan don't want to have their time wasted.
  2. Keep your language strong and positive. Don't weaken the executive summary of your business plan with weak language. Instead of writing, "Dogstar Industries might be in an excellent position to win government contracts", write "Dogstar Industries will be in an excellent position..."
  3. The executive summary should be no more than two pages long ... one page is probably better. Resist the tempation to pad your business plan's executive summary with details (or pleas). The job of the executive summary is to present the facts and entice your reader to read the rest of the business plan, not tell him everything.
  4. Polish your executive summary. Read it aloud. Does it flow or does it sound choppy? Is it clear and succinct? Once it sounds good to you, have someone else who knows nothing about your business read it and make suggestions for improvement.
  5. Tailor the executive summary of your business plan to your audience. If the purpose of your business plan is to entice investors, for instance, your executive summary should focus on the opportunity your business provides investors and why the opportunity is special.
  6. Put yourself in your readers' place... and read your executive summary again. Does this executive summary generate interest or excitement in the reader? If not, why?
Remember, the executive summary of the business plan will be the first thing the readers of the business plan read. If your executive summary is poorly written, it will also be the last, as they will set the rest of your business plan aside unread!

[Thank you, Susan Ward]

Things to Avoid in a Venture Plan

  1. Form over substance. If it looks good but doesn't have a solid basis in fact and research, you might as well save your energy.
  2. Empty claims. If you say something is so, back it up in the next sentence with a statistic or fact or quote from a knowledgeable source that supports the claim.
  3. Rumors about the competition. If you know for sure one is going out of business you can allude to it, but avoid listing their weaknesses or hearsay. Stick to facts.
  4. Superlatives and strong adjectives. Words like major, incredible, amazing, outstanding, unbelievable, terrific, great, most, best, and fabulous don't have a place in a business plan. Avoid ``unique" unless you can demonstrate with facts that the product or service is truly ``one of a kind". Your opportunity is probably not unique.
  5. Long documents. Keep it under 25 pages total. Write whatever you want to write, but keep it at home. If they want details, they will ask.
  6. Over estimating on your financial projections. Sure you want to look good, but resist optimism here. Use half of what you think is reasonable. Better to underestimate than set expectations that aren't fulfilled.
  7. Overly optimistic time frames. Ask around or do research on the Internet. If it takes most companies 6-12 months to get up and running, that is what it will take yours. If you think it will take 3 months to develop your prototype, double it. You will face delays you don't know about yet--ones you can't control.
  8. Gimmicks. Serious investors want facts, not hype. They may eat the chocolate rose that accompanies the business plan for your new florist shop, but it won't make them any more interested in investing in the venture.
  9. Typos and misspelled words. Use your spell checker, hire an editor or have four people read the document from back to front, but get those errors out of there if you want to be taken seriously.
  10. Amateurish financial projections. Spend some money and get an accountant to do these for you. They'll help you think through the financial side of your venture, plus put them into a standard business format that a business person expects.
[Thank you, Kaye Vivian]

AIDA

AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action ... every ad or promotional activity should have these four elements. (Of course, there are exceptions to every rule!) ...
  1. Does the ad grab viewer/reader/listener attention?
  2. Does the ad hold viewer/reader/listener interest?
  3. Does the ad develop viewer/reader/listener desire to do something?
  4. Does the ad provide a clear path to action by the viewer/reader/listener?
(Note: a business plan or executive summary or proposal is a form of advertising ... it is intended to "sell" the reader on the viability of the concept.)