Describe what it is you are planning to do. Be it starting a manufacturing company, building a hotel, resort, solar or wind farm or any other undertaking describe it in as few words as possible. The shorter the description the better it will always work. Remember, the best propositions are always the simplest and easiest to explain.
There is nothing wrong with including an illustration or other image of your project in this section.
If you have vast experience of writing business/project plans, please forgive me if you feel we’re trying to teach you to ‘suck eggs’. However, this article has been produced out of a comprehensive understanding, accrued over several decades, of how funders prefer to see this vital document prepared. Never forget that you are producing a document for a busy EXECUTIVE to read in SUMMARY form.
Edit your management CV’s from your business plan back to no more than 150 bios for each of your key management. Be sure you have the three pillars of any successful enterprise covered, i.e.: 1) technical/product knowledge; 2) sales/marketing and 3) financial control. If any one of these pillars is missing, it is a given that your enterprise will fail. However sometimes any two and, in very rare instances three, of these pillars can be embodied in one individual. In the latter case these are the Bill Gates’ and Richard Branson’s of this world. If you are an established company, say as much, and give a little about your track record.
It is advisable not to present how you want this funding structured. Always leave the funding structure ‘open to negotiation’. By presenting your own, preconceived funding structure you will immediately close down dialogue with prospective funders whose structure does not match what you are looking for, and who might well be able to offer you an alternative, better deal. It is the easiest thing in the world to find an excuse to say ‘no’. Do not provide that excuse through a poorly written ES.
This should come immediately after ‘What’ above. It is absolutely critical to say how much funding is required. This, after all, is what any funder wants to know right up front and, be absolutely assured, no gatekeeper or funder is going to read an entire business plan (or even a poorly produced executive summary) in order to unearth this key piece of information.
Avoid committing the most common mistake of all, which is going into long and lengthy detail about the size of your global market, projections for its growth and comments from learned bodies and individuals about its potential. Nothing is more guaranteed to produce a yawn from the reader. If you have to include anything of this nature, keep it to one sentence.
In closing your ES, put the main contact details for the executive in your team who is leading the capital raising.
Some ESs read more like novels or, even worse, sales brochures and many do not contain any of the information that a busy intake executive needs to make that key ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision. The ES is the first the funder will see of you. It will either open the door for you, or have it slammed in your face. It’s the easiest thing in the world to find an excuse to say ‘no’. Don’t provide that excuse through a poorly written ES.
In its most simplistic form, producing an ES as a lethal weapon in your capital raising
armory amounts to utilizing a long established public relations principle. In order to capture the attention of target media, every press release needs to get the ‘five-W’s’ into its opening paragraph.
These are the 5-W’s in more detail as applied to your ES, which should not run to any more than two or three pages – FIVE AT MOST
Are you already operating, are you planning a specific start date or is your future growth or launch dependent on funding? Make your time frames clear.
Why is your enterprise viable? Why do you believe that what you want funded is actually going to produce enough profit to provide an equity investor with attractive enough returns or a lender to be assured the loan is going to be repaid? Present here the most relevant points of your market research and/or other evidence of the viability of your project. If you are generating energy, simply state that you have PPA’s and/or off-take agreements, with who and for how long – no need to go into intricate detail at the ES stage. If a new or growing business, present your SUMMARY market research in as few words as possible to illustrate the viability of your project
Immediately below your ‘how much’ you need to present your forecast post stabilization
EBITDA in the following example format: Yr1/12%, Yr2/14%, Yr3/15%, Yr4/15%, Yr5/15%.
Thus, in a matter of seconds, you have shown the investor how much you’re looking for and whether your EBITDA is able to support the debt or equity terms they can offer. At this stage, that’s all they want to know.
Is your enterprise going to service a particular country, region within a country or is it being prepared for world domination? Again, explain in as few words as possible, all the detail will be in your full business/project plan, which the funder will want to view at a later stage (hopefully).