Build the shared understanding of your business with Executive Summary

The Executive Summary contains a short outline of all the important aspects of the Business Plan Investors in particular read executive summaries before looking at the rest of a plan in order to determine whether they are interested in this business and want to learn more about it. Numerous business plans are submitted to lenders every week. Not all of these plans are reviewed in depth. In fact, only a small fraction of them are read beyond the executive summary.

Therefore, even though your whole business is well described later on, a short summary highlighting the key points of your business plan helps to persuade the reader to study the complete document, thus greatly enhancing the chances of obtaining the financing you are looking for.

The Executive Summary should

  • be written in clear and simple language
  • also provide non-expert readers with an immediate understanding of what the core of your intended start-up is about
  • contain the most significant information from your business plan
Key Questions
  • What is your business idea? How unique is your business idea?
  • What is your dream, purpose, mission and vision of your business?
  • Description of the products and services
  • The marketing strategy and a plan to generate revenue from marketing
  • Well-researched and business relevant insights on the market size and growth potential
  • Current business position (if any) i.e. its legal form of operation, the principal owners, patents, trademarks
  • A brief summary of the funding requirement, source of funding, and the fund utilization plan
  • Your plan on turning the company profitable
  • Which people make up the management? What experience and expertise do they have?

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Additional Tips:

  • It should be possible to read and understand the Executive Summary in 5-10 minutes
  • Test it – ask people to read it who have no previous knowledge about your business idea and its technical or scientific background.
  • Later you can attractively design it using colors, graphics, layout as need be
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How to write perfect company description

The Company Description section of your business plan typically outlines vital details about your company, such as where you are located, how large the company is, what you do and what you hope to accomplish. It describes the vision and direction of the company so potential lenders and partners can develop an accurate impression about who you are.

Begin the company description section with a paragraph that captures all of the vital information about your company. Imagine you are giving an elevator pitch about your company and want to express the key characteristics in just a few sentences. Use the same thought process for your introductory paragraph.

Describe your business and paint a clear picture of its functionalities

  • How will you get what you want?
  • How will you market your business?
  • How will you generate user experience?
  • What will be your unique selling point?
Key Points
  • A powerful opening quote which serves as a summary of your business
  • The description of the industry category your business belongs to
  • Description of the problem statement
  • Description of the business operations with specific relevance to the problem statement
  • Communication strategy with your customers
  • Description of the scale and future expansion of your business
  • The resources you need and the hiring procedure of various job functions
  • The competitive advantage of your business

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Additional Tips:

  • Show a clear understanding of the business you want to be in
  • Clearly describe what market needs your business will be fulfilling.
  • Explain why you believe your business will be successful
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How to write the financial plan like its your strategic blueprint

Though most of the entrepreneurs hate to make a business plan, in my view, it’s pretty vital document for a business owner to prepare the business plan so that everyone has one view about the business. Also, financial numbers are the direct indicator of the success or failure of any business.

The financial projection is the one document that everyone whether your investor, lenders and anyone else will ask you first before they give any consideration for potential funding or alliances. If you are looking for funding, joint venture, alliances or partnership with anyone, providing financial statements is critical.

The following financial projections and reports should help you provide the clarity to the stakeholders about your business:

Financial Summary: Once you prepare your income statement, expenditure statement, balance sheet and cashflow, you can summarize the key financials into a single statement to get an overview of your financial projection.

Income Statement: Your income statement should list projected revenues and expenses. It should provide the detailing in a manner that it includes all the sources of revenues that you envisage to earn in your business and it should also provide the details of all expenses. The income statement will be able to show how and when you are going to achieve the breakeven and profitability.

Cash Flow Statement: This is a vital document that shows you the cash inflow and outflow in your business. A detailed breakup of income and expenses will guide you to adequately and timely arrangement for the funding to support the expenses for the smooth operating of your business.

Balance Sheet: It shows about the financial health of your business and includes key insights about assets, liabilities, shareholders, and earning retained in your company to fund future growth and expansion plan.

Financial Plan Summary

The financial summary helps you plan and monitor your financial goals and acts as windows for you to look at them to analyze your current state as well as take necessary actions to accomplish them. While creating, analyzing and reviewing your financial summary your focus should be on the following key aspects.

 

 Key Questions
  • Is your financial statement attuned to your business goals?
  • Have you identified all the revenues and expenses? When you look at your financial summary, do you feel comfortable about the numbers that it shows?
  • What alternative actions you may need to think about in case you don’t achieve the desired result?
  • What are the options available to you to handle unplanned and under performing situations?
  • Is the plan you have created can be implemented? What kind of challenges may you face during the action?
  • Have you reviewed and revised the financial plan to make it the best that you can anticipate?

There are several templates available online for you to use for preparing these financial statements. We are attaching the format that we liked the most and used for planning several of our businesses

Make a copy using Google Docs-> File->Make a copy option.

 

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Management and team planning to support your vision and support your organization culture

The investors of your Business Plan want to find out who is the driving force behind the new company. They want to be able to assess whether the people in charge have the right characteristics for managing the new company. A careful team planning requires you to think about the skills, abilities, experiences and managerial capabilities that you will require to build and grow your organization.

When assessing the company structure you have planned it is also interesting to know which agreements or contractual connections
already exist with partners or with research institutes. Think about the skills, abilities, experiences and managerial capabilities you will require in order to build and grow your organization.

Key Questions
  • What kind of leadership skills will you require considering the technical, operational and managerial aspects of business?
  • If you have already identified these individuals, who are they? What are their experiences, educational backgrounds, and skills?
  • Do you require leaders having industry expertise? Is this industry expertise available in your leaders?
  • What will be their key result areas? How will you monitor their achievements?
  • What salary benefits, equity and other remuneration you require to attract right leaders?
  • An organizational chart if you have more than 10 employees, showing the management hierarchy and responsibility for key functions.
  • List of any advisors, such as board members, accountants, and attorneys.

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Additional Tips:

  • Introduce your complete team. Explain the professional successes of each individual which make them valuable for the new project.
  • If you have already worked together successfully as a team, this is also well worth mentioning.
  • Based on the personal abilities and knowledge of each individual work out who is best suited to which tasks and responsibilities in future. Any lack of skills should quickly be remedied.
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How to define your product and services so that 6 year old can understand it

In this section you have to clearly describe the products and services your business will provide. Explain the characteristics and / or functions of the product or the individual components of your service. Particularly in the case of technical products or services it is important to include a few sentences about the areas of application, i.e. where the product or service will be deployed. This also includes statements about the technical development status and the patent and license situation.

Product and Services section should describe the elements and details that make your business unique and different (or better) from your competition.

  • Present what is innovative about it and what sort of lead you have over the competition
  • Explain how your offering stands out from already existing ones and which opportunities there could be for developments
  • Explain the manufacturing process and what capacities and investments are needed to achieve the targeted sales volumes
Key Questions
  • The stage and status of your product or service. Is it ready? Is it under development? What is the timeline of the launch?
  • The outline of your unique selling point. What makes it different from the competition?
  • The pricing strategy. Do you have discounts? Premium packages? How is the discount affecting the profit?
  • The breakdown of your budget
  • The manufacturing procedure of your product. Do you have an agreement with an external manufacturer?
  • Your material sourcing strategy
  • Challenges you foresee in your business (including financial during low seasons).
  • Patents, copyrights and any trademarks your product requires.

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Additional Tips:

  • Bring out what is special about your product/service
  • Show how your product or service satisfies client needs and expectations
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How to set up your system and operation process to get things done

Now you have comprehensive ideas about products and services, value proposition, target customers, marketing, and sales plan. The next step for you is to define your operations plan that will help you deliver your plan to the customer. Your operations plan should contain the details about the key partners, activities, and resources you will require for operating your business. In short, it describes how the work will be done, the workflow from input to end results, including the resources that will be used along the way.

While strategic planning provides the vision, direction and goals for the business, operational planning translates that into the everyday workflow of the business that will hopefully produce the outcomes defined by the strategy. Simply put, operational planning is the conversion of strategic goals into managed execution. It deals specifically with the internal operations and resources necessary to produce your company’s product or service.

An operational plan should typically address the following:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How do we get there?
  • How do we measure our progress?
Key Questions
  • Identify key resources such as office space, facilities, equipment and supplies needed for you to operate the business
  • Identify partners, associates, and collaborators that you will require to get your business in the market and support it
  • What kind of organization structure will be required to execute your plan? Your team hierarchy and structure should be defined based on the complexity
  • Your staffing needs. How will you hire, train and retain your staff
  • What will be your strategy for firming up the key partnerships for your business?
  • How will you scale up and down based on the market response and growth of your business

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Additional Tips:

  • Give details of your business location and say whether it is suitable or not for your product or service
  • Show how you plan to cope with the operational side of change and growth in your business
  • Reduce the risks where possible, and prepare contingency plans where necessary
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