The Executive Summary of the Business Plan
- Length: 4182 words (11.9 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
The executive summary is the most important part of the business plan. Many people will only read this. The summary in itself will not secure an investor, however, it can loose them.
Quality - the quality of the summary must therefore be outstanding and you should pay particular attention to it. Obtain critical feedback from others on your drafts.
Stand-alone - it is also used as a stand-alone document when introducing the project to others so it must be able to capture interest and entice the reader to take the next step and request more information - and secure a meeting.
Style – cogent and terse. It should be direct and organized as a series of bulleted paragraphs, each deals with one key area. No waffle.
Length - ideally one page, and certainly not more than two pages.
Content - it needs to:
Introduce the project in terms of what area it is concerned with, what it is trying to do, and list the key individuals and advisors involved
Describe the stage the project reached particularly in terms of the "readiness for market" of its products, or product concepts, and outline any intellectual property, such as patents, that may support the products
Highlight the main market characteristics, including size and growth, and specify the market opportunity that you are addressing
State the central competitive advantages of your products and/or processes, how distinct they are from the competition and in what way, and how these are important to customers
Summarize the objectives of the company in the short and long term, and quantify these with specific numbers. Outline the key strategies you will use to achieve them
Include any "evidence of success" - this may be trade reviews, analyst comments, sales or partnership agreements, working prototypes, market testing, etc. which help to make the project more tangible to the reader and raises confidence in the project
Highlight any other key issues that should be noted
State your finance requirements and what stake in the company is available for this (see Financial Structure), and the planned exit strategy for the investor - i.e. how the investor will realize their return from the project. For more on this click Financing Structure.
XYZ Company Limited is an Expert Design Consultancy focusing on Packaging Design Solutions for “Fast Moving Consumer Goods” (FMCG) in the Personal Care industry.
It was founded in 2001 by Augustus James, a Director of the UK’s leading Consumer Design Agency, Good Designs plc, who directed packaging design projects totalling over $100 million for Nike, Gillette, Channel and other global brands. Also on the executive board are Jill Mann, a Director of the Advertising Agency, Nero & Antonia, and by Julius Marcus, a Production Manager at the UK’s largest packaging company, Boxes-R-Us.
Table of Contents
Executive Summary 2
Table of Contents 3
Introduction to the Business and its Management 4
Products and Services 5
The Market 7
Competitive Business Strategy 8
Marketing Plan 10
Sales and Distribution 11
Production Strategy and Structures 12
Financing Requirements and Deal Structure 13
Key Financial Data and Financial Projections 15
Important Information: This document does not constitute a public offer or prospectus or invitation to the public. Only those who fall under the FSA definition of “High Net Worth Individuals”, or “Sophisticated Investors” should review the plan. It will not be circulated to more than 50 such individuals. Investments in unquoted securities are highly speculative, carrying high risk as well as the potential for high rewards. There is no ready market for the realization of that investment, or its valuation, or the risks to which an investment is exposed. The figures stated are purely illustrative and do not constitute a forecast. Before investing in a project readers are strongly advised to verify all material facts and information for themselves and seek advice from a person authorized under the Financial Services Act.
Introduction to the Business and its Management
Introduce the business and what it does / will do.
Describe concisely how the project came about and progressed to the present situation.
Explain who is involved, what are there positions, what relevant experience and qualifications do they have. Include a one-paragraph biography on each (full CV in the Appendix).
State what stage the business is at now. Highlight briefly the most salient features of the company’s products and services – their competitive advantage.
Explain any “evidence of success” you may have – from customer orders, market testing, working prototypes, expressions of interest, industry recognition, etc. Outline any other factors that have increased the likelihood of success.
Do you have any Non-Executive Directors or Mentors who add value to the Board, and will give potential investors more confidence through their expertise, be they sector experts or generally experienced business people? List them with a brief biography highlighting achievements and relevant experience.
Outline any skill gaps you still need to fill, and how you intend to do so. If you do not recognize the skills gaps the investors will do and may feel your plans are unrealistic.
List your business advisors, if necessary with a brief description highlighting relevance.
Do you have any major alliances with other organizations, if so how do they add value / contribute to the business in outline terms. What is the basic nature of the relationship?
What is your organizational structure? (Include an organization chart if appropriate).
Outline where you want to go from here - what you want to achieve. What are the company’s main aims and objectives? Quantify these. What are the next key stages and milestones?
Organisational Structure Chart (Double-Click to Edit)
Products and Services
Describe your products / services in clear and simple terms
What consumer need is being satisfied by these products that is not being satisfied at present?
Explain any performance advantages / value advantages over rival products
List any other unique features
Intellectual property – are any patents or trademarks involved or required?
Price and pricing strategy – what price will you products sell at and what is the pricing strategy behind this decision. How does this compare with rivals?
State the costs of production and distribution, and so the resulting margins on sale
Describe any wholesaler or retailer margins involved and how this compares with rivals
Communicate any further planned products / development and when you expect them to reach market / bear fruit.
Include any background information relevant to the products or services.
For more detailed help from the innovateur website, click this link Products & Services
Example text, Medical Instruments:
We have developed a medical instrument device for the detection of melanoma (skin cancers): the MelanoScanner, which has just been awarded the Queen’s prize for innovation.
The MelanoScanner detects potential melanoma by measuring tiny temperature differences, caused by increased blood flow, between normal skin and a malignant melanoma.
It is a small, hand held portable device, between 15 to 25 centimetres wide that looks much like a hand held barcode reader as found connects, much like a mouse, to a computer with the company’s simple diagnostic software.
Any computer can be used and the programme is small in size.
The Need being Served
Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in the UK and the death toll from the disease is rapidly rising even though it can be successfully and easily treated if detected early.
The MelanoScanner allows for the first time for practical screening to be undertaken in a GP’s surgery to a high degree of accuracy (over 95%) without the need to refer the patient to an expert dermatological surgeon for screening – which is not practical as they are scarce.
As there are no direct product comparisons we relied on same-type products to determine our pricing strategy and policy.
GP’s have a number of instruments that they use and have been adopted almost universally by every GP in the country and around the western world. These instruments typically range between £5,000 and £12,000 per unit and this has been shown to be an affordable price within their specific budget for instruments.
In addition to this reference, we carried out a basic telephone survey of 300 GPs to ask them directly if they would buy such a product if available, and what would they be willing to pay. 98% of our sample said they would buy it and had the resources currently to pay for it – they were willing to pay between £3,000 and £5,000 for it.
The price has therefore been set at £4,500 (excluding VAT) to ensure we do not forsake profit, and to ensure that demand is a little slower so we can meet it. The price can easily be reduced if we needed but not readily increased.
Production Costs and Gross Margins
Because the investment in our product is primarily in the technology, the physical cost of production is actually very low.
Cost % of Sales Price
Circuit board 35.00
Plastic Mouldings 5.00
CD with software 2.00
Packaging Materials 2.50
Assembly & Packing 1.00
Total Unit Production Cost 45.50 1%
Selling Price (ex VAT) 4,500.00 100%
Gross Margin per Unit 4,454.50 99%
Reseller Commission 45.00 1%
Margin after Sales & Dist. 4,409.50 98%
The reseller will control Warehousing and distribution, and will meet these costs from their fixed price per unit commission.
Intellectual Property Rights
Our MelanoScanner has been patented internationally and the patent has been approved. The effective filling date was July 2002.
The MelanoScanner trademark has been filed and granted as a community trademark in Europe, the USA and Australia.
Research and development will continue as a major part of our business and we have budgeted accordingly in our financial plans.
This section should describe the market you will be operating in – generally and specifically in terms of which sectors you will be targeting, what is the size of each sector, and what are the main current products being offered to that sector.
Market size and segmentation. What is the size of the market and how can this be segmented or grouped into sectors? Which segments, or sectors, will you specifically be targeting?
Market growth trends.
Other key market characteristics.
Main competitors / products currently targeting these segments.
This section overlaps with the next section on Competitive Business Strategy and you may choose to amalgamate them.
Competitive Business Strategy
Competitive Market Strategy
How is the company going to compete in the market? Will it compete on price, service, quality, convenience, new features and benefits, by targeting a very specific area of the market (niche), etc? Is this difference really important to the target customer / buyer?
To demonstrate that you have analysed your competitive environment, you should show a summary analysis using the Five Forces model and then a SWOT matrix:
1. Analysis of Industry Structure (Porter's Five Forces)
Threat of New Entrants to the Market - what do we believe is the threat of new players entering the market, are there any barriers to entry or exit such as large investment etc.
Threat of Substitute Products - the threat of different products filling the same need
Power of Buyers - are the buyers of products very powerful and able to depress prices
Power of suppliers - what is the bargaining power of the suppliers to the business
Rivalry Amongst Existing Players - how intense is this and how strong are they - for example in some markets rivals are willing to sacrifice profitability to gain market share. How profitable are the companies in the market - do they make good margins, good turnover, etc?
2. SWOT Analysis – This is a summary of your company’s internal strengths and weaknesses, and the external opportunities and threats it faces in the market and its competitive environment.
Include any background information relevant to the products or services.
For more detailed help from the innovateur website, click this link Products & Services
This analysis of our competitive environment sets our competitive strategy in context.
Analysis of Industry Structure – Industry Forces (External)
Power of Suppliers: The power of our suppliers is weak as there are large numbers of suppliers and intense competition amongst them
Threat of new entrants: The barriers to entry into this sector are high and we have overcome them through our patented technologies. Because of the modest profits characteristic in the industry using old technologies, the threat of new entrants is low.
Power of buyers: The power of buyers in this industry is very high. A relatively small number of customers control the market. However, because of our superior technology, we will be able to mitigate against this power.
Threat of substitute products: At present there is no known or likely prospect of products that can substitute for existing products in this market sector. The threat of substitutes is low.
Rivalry amongst existing firms: The market is characterised by seven major players and rivalry amongst them is strong. This has in recent times led to heavy price competition.
SWOT Analysis (Internal & External)
The Internal Strengths & Weaknesses of the company, and the External Opportunities & Threats it faces, can be summarized as follows:
Low cost base
Ability to expand production swiftly
Low production lead times
Low capital consumption as contract producer funds production Growing market sector
Undifferentiated rival products
New consumers entering the market
Lack of market experience
Dependence on contractors
Sustained price competition would erode margins
Contract producer could change terms
Potential war could impact on spending
Our strengths will allow us to exploit the opportunities in the market: our new technology is better placed than that of rivals to take advantage of the existing dissatisfaction amongst consumers and to attract the new customers entering the market. Our low cost base allows us to sustain price-promotional activity, and our ability to meet swift demand growth will ensure we will not squander created demand.
We are mitigating against weaknesses and threats: through our low fixed cost base, our partnerships with expert organizations, and our retention of all intellectual property rights and know-how that can if necessary be transferred to new contractors. We are also less vulnerable to price competition because of the lower costs involved in the production of our technologically different products.
This section should explain the major marketing activities that the company plans to undertake.
The document may well be directed towards broader strategy but even so should include major budgets.
What is the core strategy for marketing your products?
How are your target customers going to be made aware of your products? What mediums of communication will be used to reach your target consumer?
Will there be any marketing effort aimed at any intermediaries you may have – such a wholesalers?
Will you make substantial use of PR (public/press relations) in your marketing effort – are the products newsworthy or is another news story being created to support the products? (For example your company launching an educational website offering free advice to consumers on matters that have a relationship with your product)
State how much this will cost and break down the costs between categories
Introduce any agencies that will be used to assist you and confirm that they have been able to produce a practical action plan with the budget
Explain what you expect the marketing effort to achieve and how you plan to monitor and control the effort to ensure it is effective
For more detailed help from the innovateur website, click this link Media & PR Strategy
Sales and Distribution
This section explains the strategy, structures and processes you will use to sell your product to customers, and intermediaries, and how you will physically deliver the product to them.
State to whom you are you selling the products, state specific segments of the market
Explain how are you going to make the product available to customers sell the product to each of these segments – how are you going to make it convenient and accessible for your customers to buy your products
Describe the retailer and intermediary margin structures for each sales channel you use through to the final consumer – and compare this to rivals
If you need a sales force, will you develop this in-house or have you identified a sales organization you can contract / partner with?
Where will your products be warehoused? How will your products physically reach your customers? Will you employ a warehousing and distribution company, or will you contract with the Sales & Distribution outfit that offer the entire package?
If you do enter a contract arrangement with sales & distribution, what are the terms of the agreement? Who will own the stock? Who will invoice and receive the funds?
When and how will customer invoicing be done?
What settlement terms are offered?
For more detailed help from the innovateur website, click this link Sales & Distribution
Production Strategy and Structures
This section will explain what strategy you have adopted for production and describe the structures that will be involved and their state of readiness. The level of detail will depend on the stage of your business.
Explain what your production strategy will be – will you build a production plant, contract a production plant, contract entire production out, or license the technology?
Describe where production will take place and if contracting out, who will undertake this.
Describe the physical production process.
Explain all the costs of production, stating the costs of each major component, to arrive at total production costs per product unit.
If you are using your own production facility, describe what the fixed costs of the facility will be and differentiate these from the variable costs of production (e.g. materials).
If you are building a plant state how much capital investment is required.
Describe any quality assurance procedures you have in place.
State the production ‘lead-time’: how long it takes to make a product from scratch – including the time taken from ordering of any components, etc.
Explain what policies you have towards stock holding and component reordering – this is important to ensure continuity of supply but also to ensure that stock does not consume too much working capital – and that sufficient capital to fund stock has been planned for.
State what your production capacity will be: how many products can you make, per month or year.
For more detailed help from the innovateur website, click this link Production Strategy & Structures which includes tools such as Economic Order Quantity formulas to set purchasing policies.
Financing Requirements and Deal Structure
This section should explain to investors:
How much money you need to execute the plan?
What do you expect the sources of this money to be, e.g. Business Angels, Venture Capitalists, Bank Finance, or a mixture?
Specifically how will that money be used?
What is on offer, in terms of ownership (shares) in the company, for the money? Is 20% or 40% of the company’s equity available for this investment?
Details behind any banking facility or other forms of finance you expect (if any).
What do you expect investors to receive in return for them risking their money?
How do you expect investors to get their investment and return and when. Will this be through a trade sale, a flotation, or a management buy-out?
For more detailed help from the innovateur website, click this link Financing. The cash graph was generated using our free modelling software, which you are welcome to download.
There is financing requirement of £650,000, which will be sought from Business Angel Investors. The equity offered will be 20%. The company has no loans or overdrafts and at this stage does not plan any.
In terms financial structure, the shareholding structure of the company will be as follows:
Shareholders Pre – Financing Stake Post – Financing Stake
CEO (Founder) 50% 40%
Other Managers 30% 24%
Current Investors 20% 16%
New Investors 20%
Total 100% 100%
The investment is expected to qualify for full EIS relief for both individuals and VCT’s.
The investment will be used as follows:
Investment Area Proportion Amount
Marketing 30% £ 200,000
Working Capital (inc. contingency) 55% £ 350,000
Development 15% £ 100,000
Total 100% £ 650,000
As we stated previously, the company anticipates its first sales to be achieved in 18 months time – though this could be sooner.
Forecast Cash Balance for the next three years (first year by month):
The company will have a basic monthly cash-burn of £23,000 per month, equivalent to £280,000 per year. The average cash burn before sales in year two is expected to rise to £35,000 per month – provided our milestones are achieved, otherwise cash consumption will be contained at year 1 levels.
Though we expect top achieve sales in 18 months, through controlling the cash burn in an event of a delay the company could support a further 9 month delay without having to return for more funding.
Overleaf are illustrative projections for the three years following financing.
These funds will be used to take the product to market, at which stage we could continue to supply at lower levels without further funding or may decide to undertake a second round of financing to expand more aggressively.
Our planned an exit route available through an AIM flotation in the 4th or 5th year.
It is expected that within five years the company will achieve sales in excess of £20,000,000 and to be on a fast rising sales curve with the potential substantially higher sales growth as other catalysts in our product portfolio gradually reaches the market.
Key Financial Data and Financial Projections
All potential investors will expect to see a set of financial statements and illustrative projections for the project. You are welcome to use our free financial modelling software (in Excel format), which will enable you to produce a full set of financial statements in the required format.
Cash Flow projection – This is a statement of your cash position and the sources and uses of cash going forward. Cash management is probably the most important aspect of financial management as the company becomes established and grows. Certain growth policies consume more cash than they generate, so detailed cash projections are vital.
Profit & Loss projection – this is a statement of the company’s trading activities.
Balance Sheet projection – this is a statement of the company’s assets and liabilities, starting with the current position.
We have found that investors like to see a graph of the cash balance, with the first year or eighteen months on a monthly basis, to illustrate to them that cash management has been carefully thought out and the rate at which the business consumes cash.
The projections should be in the way of full statements for the next three years, and then for high potential businesses an indication should be given of the headline figures for revenues and profit up to a further two years out – five years in total. This will provide investors with information on the potential upside of the business, which may not be clear from the three-year projection.
The statements should be accompanied by Notes to the Accounts covering the assumptions under which the statements have been constructed, including:
The assumptions behind the sales forecasts, perhaps related to market share or sales per store, etc. What logic has been used to arrive at this figure, as it was clearly not pulled out of the air?
Assumptions behind costs, including the costs of production, offices, staffing, etc., and how these are constructed.
Any policies adopted, such as on the depreciation of assets, the number of days credit given to customers, the period of time taken to pay your creditors, etc.
The detail behind any loan or other overdraft facilities and expected interest rates.
Other major budgets, including marketing, legal fees, accounting fees, etc.
The figures should demonstrate to the investor that you understand the major financial implications of your business plan, that the assumptions are reasonable, and that you have not been over optimistic.
It is important to highlight what contingency plans you have in the event of things not happening exactly as planned. Will the business fail if there is a month’s delay in the timetable, or can it tolerate a year’s delay through careful adjustment and control?
For more detailed help from the innovateur website, click this link Financial Planning.
Financial statements can be generated using our free financial modelling software which we have produced for you to use.
List Here What is Included in the Appendix which Follows.
We suggest it should include:
Full director and key management CV’s
Full list of business advisors, including accountants
Copies of any intellectual property – trademarks, patents, designs
Copies of relevant letters / agreements indicating success – including any orders pending
Copies of any commissioned market research or other reports not published
Full illustrative financial projections
Audited accounts if business has been going for some time
Copy of the shareholder agreement
Copies of any loan or other material agreements, including director loans
Sample sales & marketing material, including brochures and product diagrams