Canada: A Winning Executive Summary

Last Updated: October 13 2005

By A.V. Tony Narinesingh, CMC, APC, CC, CPC

The Executive Summary (or Project Summary) is not only a synopsis of the most important parts of the business plan and project, but it is in fact your plan in miniature form. Brevity is the key word in presenting a summary of your business plan. It is therefore recommended that you edit information from the business plan after you have completed it and include only the substantive points. The Executive Summary should be written in a clear, concise, logical manner and should be viewed as a "stand-alone" document. As such, it must accomplish the following if it is to get the reader's attention:

  • Must be easy to read and understand
  • Capture and hold the interest and attention of the reader
  • Encourage the reader to want to read more of the actual business plan
  • Highlight the positive aspects of the business, past, present and future
  • Succeed in conveying the substantive nature of the rest of the plan
  • Show that you have a competent and experienced management team
  • Be market-driven and not product-driven
  • Identify sales and distribution channels
  • Show that you know and understand your competition
  • Addresses future direction and strategies
  • Provide historical and current financial information and future projections
  • State the amount of funds required, financing structure, and repayment, period of loan, investor exit position

The Executive Summary must address clearly and concisely, the amount of funds required for the project, use of proceeds, management, products and services, marketing and sales strategies, financial summary and structure for repayment. Always show and plan an exit for the Lender/Investor/Partner. Since most prospective lenders/investors/partners have limited time to review an entire presentation to determine their interest in the project, the Executive Summary should not be longer than a six pages. The following should also be addressed in a concise form:

LEGAL STRUCTURE:

State briefly in narrative form:

  • The date of inception of the venture and incorporation, that is, when your Company was registered: (Date, Month, Year)
  • The domicile: (City, State, Province, Country, etc) and Registration Number (#)
  • Provisions of Incorporation - (Statutory Act, if known - as a private limited company, sole proprietorship/partnership). If public company, specify details of date of registration, subscriptions, approvals, stock offerings, stock exchange listing, etc. If part of a Group, Holding Company or Offshore Corporation or Trust, give brief details.
  • If company is a start-up, give details on registration proposed, legal form, domicile, etc.

THE COMPANY:

  • Categorize the stage of your business - Pre-start-up, Start-up, Early Stage/Emerging,
  • Established, Mature, etc.
  • Define your business - present products and/or services
  • Give Industry overview, existing competition.
  • Where you are now in terms of sales, products, services, employees.
  • Current Investment, loans, profitability.

BUSINESS STRATEGIES, OBJECTIVES AND GOALS:

  • Develop a Mission Statement
  • Define your Short and Long Term Objectives for Company.
  • Define the Short and Long Term Objectives for Owners/Shareholders.
  • What will your business be - future products/services/direction?
  • Show how your strategic plans are pertinent to your goals?
  • Are your plans achievable vis-a-vis your current and future financial and manpower resources?
  • Are your objectives not only realistic, but can they be realized in terms of the milestones set and financial resources projected

MANAGEMENT AND KEY OPERATING PERSONNEL:

  • Summarize track record, academic/technical backgrounds, total years of career experience, expertise, of Owners, Directors, Shareholders and Key Personnel involved indecision making and operating management.
  • Address your management's recognition of their social responsibility and empowerment of people within the enterprise

PRODUCT/SERVICE/PROCESS DESCRIPTION:

  • The design/operating characteristics/features of your products/services/processes
  • Compare yours with the competition
  • Cost/benefit factors to customer/end user
  • Mention plans for enhancing existing, and developing future products/services/processes
  • Customer/Industry/Government reactions that you are aware of, or anticipate
  • Unique Value-Added features provided.
  • Address Research and Development activities to date and program for the future

MARKETING INFORMATION:

  • Are similar products now available in the marketplace.
  • Are yours considered "propriety" or state of the art".
  • Patents, trademarks, copyrights filed or to be filed.
  • Advantages of your product/service over competition - design, price, availability, niche, etc.
  • Target market(s) and Customers - domestic and international - How would you reach them?
  • Relationships/agreements with O.E.Ms, Manufacturers, Distributors, Wholesalers, Retailers, Customers and/or end-users - Domestic and International.
  • Projections/trends for your products/services in units or dollars
  • Address performance measures and milestones.

FINANCIAL OVERVIEW:

  • Amount of financing required
  • Proposed financing engineering and structure - debt, equity, limited partnership, venture capital, cash/asset management, etc.
  • Specify use of funds
  • Current cash available/invested through equity or debt financing.
  • Provide performance measures, financial ratios ( e.g., liquidity) etc.
  • Show Return on Investment - how much and over what period of time.
  • Expected benefits (profits, dividends, stock, etc) to Investors, Partners, Shareholders.
  • Summarize Past/Current financial performance as well as projections over the ensuing 5 years.
  • Address Exit Position of the Investor

The following summary table is provided as an example only. Headings may be changed or the format customized to provide additional information that is relevant to your project. Use of charts and/or graphs is highly recommended.

Financial Summary

 

Last Yr

Current Yr

Yr 1

Yr 2

Yr 3

Yr 4

Yr 5

Sales

             

Gross Profit

             

Net Profit

             

Fix. Assets

             

Cur. Assets

             

Net Worth

             

Re.Earnings

             

A. V. Tony Narinesingh, CMC, APC, CC., CPC, is the Senior Partner of The Cynton Company and a board member of Cynton Strategis Group in Canada. He is a member of the Institute of Management Consultants (USA), the Association of Professional Computer Consultants, The Consultants Institute, and is on the Board of Advisors of the American Consultants League The Cynton Group started operations in 1982 with the primary objective of assisting start-up and emerging companies in developing short and long term strategies and to structure creative financing methods. The firm has since expanded its operation worldwide through independent licensees known as "Cynton Independent Representative Offices". The firm acts as a Corporate Resource and Multi-disciplinary Professional Consulting Company and specializes in Strategic Evaluation and Planning, International Finance, Financial Engineering, Marketing, Project Due Diligence, Forensic Consulting, Project Management, Business Plans and Feasibility Studies. Cynton does not charge up-front fees for funding assistance. Commissions are only paid upon closing of a transaction. Mr. Narinesingh is the author of The Cynton Business Planning and Development Program, an in-depth, interactive, practical and informative Manual which can be used for start-up, emerging or mature ventures.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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