Every good business plan will fund a business. Why else would you have a business plan than to raise money for a business? What is the function of a business plan? A business plan states the nature of the business, the marketing strategy, the financing necessary to bring a product or service to market, and the exit strategy whether the business is successful or a bust. An investor will read the first two pages, and either give the business a thumbs up or a thumbs down. The crux of a business plan is this introductory first two pages called an Executive Summary.
A good Executive Summary will give a very concise, eloquent overview of the business and the pay out. It will describe the target market for the product or service, the size of the market, the strategy to sell the market and how the credentials of the business owner are more than sufficient to execute the plan with Special Forces-like-precision and gusto. So when was the last time you wrote an Executive Summary on your business?
The purpose of writing an Executive Summary is many. Here are a few key reasons: defines your core competencies, focuses your market, develops your marketing strategy, and establishes a budget and gross revenue model. In the spirit of my previous column, “Me LLP,” I thought this may be not only a logical follow-up column, but a prudent one for today’s economic and business environment. Assets are limited. Clients are limited. Revenue is limited. Resources are limited. The only thing that seems to NOT be limited is your ability to flourish when your competition is floundering.
So let me provide a few words of wisdom on how to structure an executive summary so you can use this as your guideline and foundation to create the most powerful business you have ever developed; and make it so for 2010.
Since the Executive Summary is perhaps the only part of a business plan that investors may read, it may be the only exposure a potential client may have to your business and the reason the client should work with you. Remember the elevator speech column (October 2008 issue)? The Executive Summary can use the core elements established in the elevator speech but in more developed business acumen. Writing this will provide a focused strategy and delivery so when speaking to a potential client, you will consistently recite the same information to each.
First, an executive summary will state what your business provides; a product or a service. Be succinct in three sentences or less. For example:
“I am an editor for a nationally distributed magazine that focuses on the mortgage finance industry. I write a column that provides tips on how to empower one’s self in the areas of marketing, interpersonal development, and sales.”
Immediately to follow, you state the need for your product or service; ‘where is the pain?’ Again an example:
“All too often, a new mortgage hire will be told to make sales and close loans, but will not have formal training. Perhaps a seasoned mortgage professional
is in need of fresh ideas and coaching to propel business a notch higher. My column will provide useful information that can be instantly implemented, and will dovetail with previous columns and build for future columns. This way, mortgage professional, regardless of experience, can all benefit from the information I provide.”
These two initial elements of the Executive Summary needs to be focused and refined. Spend time to ensure it is how you want your business to be presented.
The next section should be the target market description. This section will provide a specific market. Who is your target? Are you focusing to build a network and relationships with partners that can fill the pipeline? Who comprises the network? Is your focus first time home buyers? Or is it second mortgages? Spend a paragraph developing the market.
Finally, you want to script a short biography of yourself and emphasize why you are the best at what you do. Are you experienced? Have you been awarded any commendations or recognitions for your performance? Is your volume or quality of service above and beyond the call of duty? Find the strengths in your business and build from those.
This is a basic Executive Summary that can be expanded and modified to your needs. Even if you do nothing else, just writing it may help you understand and hone your business a little better. Perhaps it can assist in developing copy for marketing material or for your website. When it is finished, email me a copy and I will gladly provide a second opinion. Remember that if your business is not headed in the direction you want it to go, you will get there. Use this as a guide to point your business in the direction you do want to go.
Stewart Mednick is a seasoned mortgage banker and published author. His writing focuses on relationship development, personal empowerment, customer satisfaction, marketing and sales techniques. Stewart is available for marketing consulting, personal coaching and training sessions. If you have a comment or a question for Stewart, contact him at 651-895-5122 or firstname.lastname@example.org