You often hear people talk about the importance of a business plan or the process of learning how to write a business plan. Well, I would argue (and I am not alone) that the days of the 50-page business plans with SWOT analyses and Porter’s Five Forces are a thing of the past.
No investor wants to or will read a 50-page business plan. The quickest way to make it into the trash bin is to send an initial email with all of that information.
There are 6 Key Elements to a perfect Business Plan/Executive Summary that if correctly communicated will give a thorough overview to your business. This will help investors/partners/customers get a good sense of a) the problem you are solving b) the plan you have to address the problem and c) the roadmap you have to fill a need in a given marketplace.
Step n°1 |
Mission Statement (Company Overview)
This is a simple overview of what the mission is of your company. Think of this as a paragraph or a few sentences on communicating the problem you are trying to solve and the simply stated solution you have created to solve that problem. This usually includes the who, what, where, when, why and how.
This should be no longer than a few sentences and sets the tone for the rest of the executive summary where you will expand more on the details for how you will accomplish this.
Step n°2 |
Includes competitive landscape and overview of why there is a market for your product or service. This will include an overview of the market opportunity, where you believe there is an opportunity for entry. You typically would show a competitive matrix where you compare your services/product to the others in the market and show why you are better or different.
You should also include very high-level information on any quantitative and qualitative research you have done. If you have not put time in to do customer development and research, an investor will send you back to the drawing board.
Remember this key point…. There is NO industry without competitors. When you tell someone that no one else in the world is doing what you do, it makes you seem uneducated and naive. There are always competitors, even if they are not direct. For example, if you are making a new type of healthy water that gives energy, provides health benefits, and makes you smarter… a realistic competitor is Coca-Cola. Not because it is healthy but because it is a beverage that provides energy. Make sure you are thinking comprehensively about a competitive landscape.
Another HINT. Don’t say you are going to get a percentage of a total market. That also sounds naive. If you are going to determine your target market, do the right amount of research around what your true market is. -This also includes one of the most important parts of your entire plan. What is your key differentiator? What is going to make your business succeed over all of the other groups in the marketplace?
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by Trey Bowles CEO and Cofounder The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC)Follow