Business plan

So you need an abbreviated summary of your business plan (aka – Executive Summary) – Company Law and Company Law

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I’m often asked to review a pitch deck or help with a pitch deck, and I can’t help but wonder, is a pitch deck what they really need, or do they need a summary?

I’m asking this question because personally, I’m not particularly eager to distribute my pitch deck. I like to present on top of my pitch deck. So when someone asks for information about a project, I usually provide them with a summary. The executive summary, as the name suggests, is a summary of the project in a short form, usually a page or two, and is intended to give someone an overview so that when they have finished reading it, he can either say that he is more interested or not interested.

Alright, but what should I include in my abstract?

What should you include in an executive summary is a great question because you don’t want it to be too short and you don’t want it to be too long to read like a business plan. Typically, you’ll want to include the following:

  • Company Overview – The goal is to grab the reader’s attention, demonstrate credibility, and show that your business is dynamic.

  • The problem – The purpose of this section is to provide the reader with the basic information they need to be impressed with your solution. (Do not repeat what you have already written in the Overview section. Instead, provide new and additional information)

  • Your solution – Describe your solution. Focus on customer benefits rather than product features. (What’s in it for them?)

  • Corporate pull – The goal is to show how far you’ve come and that your business has momentum.

  • Go-to-market plan – The purpose of this section is to show that you have a well thought out plan moving forward. This plan must be clear and convincing.

  • Competition – What is your competition (direct, indirect and potential)?

  • Executive team – The purpose of this section is to show that you have a credible team that can execute the plan you just described. Focus on what each team member brings to the business.

  • Financial projections – This is the section where you seal the deal. In the commentary preceding your projections, summarize the main points as to why this is a huge opportunity and the investment of a lifetime.

  • Budget / Ask – Describe the budget breakdown for the next 12-18 months or so. If you are using this document to raise funds, this is where you tell the reader what you are asking for and explain why the investment will pay off.

  • Summary – Use this last section as an opportunity to “summarize” why you’re likely to be won over next. Get the reader excited about the amount of money everyone involved in your business will make.

Once you’ve completed your summary, it’s always a good idea to have your team run it to ensure they feel the document contains the appropriate description, explanation, and financial overview of your business. Also, if there are advisors in your business, or possibly a board of directors, it’s always a good idea to get their opinion as well.

Another resource I often recommend when talking to individuals about their business and fundraising is a data room or somewhere to put their documents. Although DropBox, Google Drive or a shared file system will still work, I found using DocSend to be very useful as you can ask the user for email information, so you know who is reading your documents. DocSend also gives you the option to add a privacy gate by putting an NDA on the platform that requires the user to sign before reviewing all your documents.

So, as you seek to market your product and seek resources from your community and network or from investors, take the time to boil down your business plan to an executive summary you can use.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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