The Rutgers Business School Business Plan Competition has two deliverables: a one Page Executive Summary, which should convey the essence of your business plan in layman's terms and summarize the most important information contained in each section of the plan; and the Business Plan, which will describe what your business does, where it is going, how it is going to get there, and the resources it is going to require.
All documents should be emailed to Doug Brownstone. Good luck!
One Page Executive Summary
- The Executive Summary is the most important component of the business plan. It should convey the essence of your business in layman's terms and summarize the most important information contained in each section of the business plan:
- Provides a concise and clear description of the problem you solve, how you solve it, your business model, and the underlying magic of your product or service;
- Should be approximately four paragraphs in length;
- Starts with a Mission Statement: A Mission Statement should have a maximum of 2-4 sentences, and should focus on the following points:
- What does the company do?
- What business are you in? What industry are you in?
- Who are your customers? What are your markets?
- What does the company aspire to become?
- Identifies how much money you are looking to raise, how you are planning to use the funds, what are your earning projections and your exit strategy;
- Typically read first by investors and bankers, as a screening tool;
- Should stimulate curiosity and be compelling.
- A Business Plan consists of the following sections: Executive Summary; Company Description; Market Analysis; Product/Technology/Service; Competitive Analysis; Marketing and Sales Plan; Management and Operations; Long Term Development and Risk Analysis; and Financial Plan.
- Executive Summary- Should convey the essence on your business in layman's terms and summary the most important information contained in each section of the business plan.
- Company Description- Who, what, when and why was the company founded.
- Market Analysis- Investors expect entrepreneurs to know their markets at least as well as anyone else and to demonstrate that understanding in the Market, Competitive Analysis and Marketing and Sales Plan sections of the plan.
- Product/Technology/Service- Describe your product/service in layman's terms. Include it's unique features and benefits delivered to customers. Focus on what makes this a compelling business opportunity.
- Competitive Analysis- Identify and discuss your competitors. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Marketing and Sales Plan- How will you spread the word about your product/service? How will you distribute your product? Discuss your market entry strategy beginning with first sales.
- Management and Operations- Describe each team member's responsibilities, training, strengths and relevant prior experience. Discuss advisors and significant outside resource organizations; facilities and equipment.
- Long Term Development and Risk Analysis- Describe the long term of your company , its products/services and your exit strategy. Identify risks both inherent in your venture and the broader business environment and demonstrate that you have a plan to address the potential problems.
- Financial Plan- What is your company's capital requirements, both short and long term? How will funds be used? What is the projected net income and cash flow for the first 3 years? What is the break-even point? Discuss financial ratios- are they in line with industry norms?
- Recommendations- Here are a few recommendations that can increase the effectiveness of your business plan:
- Do Not Exceed 20 Pages in Length- The shorter the plan, the more likely it is to be read;
- Select One Person to Write the Business Plan- While the plan should reflect the wisdom of the team, it should be articulated by a single voice. It should not read like a patchwork of cutting and pasting;
- Simplify Your Financial Projections to 2 Pages- The most important projection is your cash flow statement for the first five years;
- Include Key Metrics, Such as the Number of Customers, Locations and Resellers- Often these metrics provide a better understanding of an organization's plans than financial projections. For example, you may project that you'll sell to 250 of the Fortune 500 companies in the first year;
- Include the Assumption that Drive Your Financial Projections- The assumptions behind your forecast are much more informative and important than the forecast itself.