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Executive Summary Guidelines
​The executive summary is an important marketing tool for any entrepreneur seeking capital. Typically, the executive summary is the first and only document an investor will review before deciding to consider an opportunity further. Vail Valley Partners, LLC prefers to view brief (one to five pages) executive summaries.
​A good executive summary is essentially a condensed but powerful summary of your business plan. It creates a first impression in a reader's mind about you and your business. Use clear and concise language. The goal is to show that you have carefully thought through the opportunity and deserve a meeting with the investor. 
Below are some important items that should be considered for inclusion in your executive summary. Be sure to include your logo, company name, and contact information on the document.

The Company Overview

  • Business description – State what your company does. Provide a general overview of the product or service.
  • Accomplishments to date – Paying customers, strategic partnerships, technology development, profitability, etc.
  • Value proposition – How is your company better, faster, cheaper, or different from the status quo?
  • Financing sought – Amount of capital and uses of proceeds.

The Product or Service

  • Customer problem – Describe the problem faced by potential customers and explain why customers will pay to have the problem solved.
  • Description of the product or service.
  • Differentiating features and benefits of your product or service.   How is your technology different, better, faster, or cheaper? How does it address the customer problem?
  • Proprietary assets – Trademarks, patents, trade secrets, special production skills, processes, etc.

The Market

  • Market size – How big is the opportunity? Use specific facts and cite sources.
  • Market analysis – Anticipated growth, key changes and trends. Use facts to support your claims; don’t rely on anecdotal information.
  • Summary of any proprietary market research. If a totally new product, how will you change established customer buying patterns?

Distribution and Marketing

  • How will you attract customers?
  • Describe direct sales methods, potential channel partners, etc.How will you create or increase awareness of your product among potential customers.
  • Describe any existing customer relationships.

Competitive Analysis

  • List other companies the address the same need.
  • How much of the market does each competitor control?
  • What are the advantages/ disadvantages of their offering? How do your margins and pricing compare to theirs?
  • On what points of differentiation will you compete?

Business Model

  • Unit level economics – Describe the revenue and costs (fixed and variable) that can be attributed to each new customer.
  • Describe any economies of scale that can be achieved over time.
  • How will changes in market trends and policies affect the economics of your business?

Financial Summary

  • Include a projected income statement for a 3-5 year period. Consider including a balance sheet if your companies has notable assets or liabilities. Summary financials are sufficient for an executive summary.
  • Make note of the major assumptions in your projections – Number of customers served, average pricing, direct costs, penetration of the target market, etc.

Funding Requirements and Financing History

  • How much capital is needed to achieve your projections? When will you reach cash flow break-even on a monthly basis? Will you need additional financing over time?
  • Financing history to date – How much has been invested in the company to date and by whom? Provide a summary of share ownership.
  • Use of proceeds – Provide summary detail on how the sought capital will be spent?
  • Brief timeline of product development if applicable.
  • Exit strategy – Describe the potential exit strategies for your business? One good way to do this is to list acquisitions that have occurred in your industry.