If you are looking for funding, then a good executive summary is the where you need to start. Forget about a business plan, most seasoned investors won’t pay attention to those. Instead, use your executive summary to get you in front of the right person, and then use your pitch and financial forecast to persuade them to invest.
The key to writing an appealing executive summary is to contain enough detail in an easy to read format – preferably no longer than 2 pages.
You need to include the following sections, although the order can be changed:
- Profile – explain your and or/your team’s experiences – focus on those that are particularly relevant to the success of the venture.
- Opportunity – outline the issue (or ‘pain’) you have identified, and how extensive the issue is.
- Company – why and how will your venture address the issue outlined above, and also make money for your investors.
- Market – provide a clearly defined outline of the exact market you will be addressing, not just the total market.
- Product – what does your solution look like, how is it fulfilled by the customer and will there be the potential for future products to be released as well.
- Distribution and Sales – how do you plan on getting your service/product to the identified market.
- Patents and Trademarks – do you have any intellectual property that will be relevant to the venture
- Competition – what else is on the market and how is your idea better?
- Capitalization – how much money does the project need, how will it be spent and what valuation has been established. Also mention any existing sources of funding.
- Financials – include a brief 3 year break down of the main financials – namely Gross and net profit and expenses.
- Contact – don’t forget to let the investor know how they can get in touch with you if they are interested!
While you are writing, ensure you also bear the following points in mind to keep your executive summary as sharp as possible:
- Keep it brief – lengthy documents won’t be read, so keep to the point (maximum length should be 2 pages)
- Be creative – use graphs, images, even photos, and not just text to tell your story
- Keep it simple – don’t use lots of technical language or jargon. Keep your writing style simple and easy to understand and resist showing off.
- Make it Suitable – it sounds obvious, but make sure your proposal is actually something that the investor would be interested in funding. Different projects appeal to different funding sources, should you be approaching a venture capitalist, an Angel investor or simply a bank?
Following this guideline should leave you with an executive summary that is more likely to appeal to your investors and leave them wanting to meet with you to find out more.