Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. In fact, it`s very common for investors to ask for only the executive summary when they are evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they`ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation, and more in-depth financials.
The most common mistake by far is on profits. Startups that grow don`t produce profits. Investors make money on valuation increases, not profits. Real businesses rarely produce more than single-digit profits. Big profit projections are sophomoric. Take all those profits and dump them into marketing expenses and you`ll be better off.
If you say your management team is experienced and qualified to help the business succeed, you have to support that claim with resumes that demonstrate that experience. It`s easy to lose credibility – and investors – if you`re making claims you can`t fully support.
The vision should include tangible goals such as profits and market share, but more importantly, it should focus on the intangible/unquantifiable long-term goals, such as your willingness to adapt, emerging business-trends, and an ever-present desire to `excel.`
All business plans should establish strategy, tactics, milestones, tasks, assumptions, and essential numbers (projected sales, direct costs, expenses, and cash flow). All business plans should develop accountability and tracking.
There is value in doing an ample amount of preparation prior to creating a business plan: you construct creative solutions to complex problems. Make sure to take the time to do the job properly. Additionally, be sure to keep detailed notes on your sources of information and on the assumptions underlying your financial data.