How do you attack compressing your plan? My new startup was recently selected as a semifinalist in a local business plan competition, the money from which would do wonders in terms of getting the company moving forward on the right track.
I've got to have this plan in by next Tuesday and one of the things they require is a 30 page limit. Right now my plan clocks in at 36 pages. This includes the cover page, table of contents, and right now three financial statements I have included each on their own page (income statement, cash flows, balance sheet).
So far it is broken down like this:
I'd also like to add in one more detailed growth report in the Financials but that would add another page. I can probably cut at least one page from the Competitive Analysis but I have no idea where to take the rest from. What are the most important areas to focus on?
I read in Guy Kawasaki's book to limit the exec summary to 2 pages but I can't seem to get it there, I feel like I've pared out everything that is uneccessary. And it's not even a complicated idea, really ;)
EDIT just wanted to point out as well that the plan requires 1" margins on all sides, Times New Roman font, and 12 pt font size. Otherwise I would have just tweaked all that!
Without actually seeing it, it's hard to say what is wheat and what is chaff. But, 4 pages of exec summary does seem to be a bit weighty. The Appendix is probably droppable as well, SWOT should come through in all the other material. A 5 page industry analysis would also seem to be a touch bloated.
You might be better off having a disinterested 3rd party read it and comment on where it seems there is redundant or non-essential info.
Four pages of exec summary is way too much. Cut this. Think about your "elevator pitch" and stick with that for this summary. What's your unique value prop, how do you make $'s, how do your investors make $'s. Done.
Seven pages pages of competitive position and industry is way too much. Focus on what makes you special versus others. Cut this to three.
two pages for operations? Really? too much.
One key point - do NOT say "we don't have any competition yet". When I hear that, it's pretty much always a "oh, OK, thanks for coming by" moment.
Do you have your advisors listed on your management page? I always want to know about the people when I'm investing - this part actually seems a bit light.
Congratulations Nick!!! What wonderful news.
I don't want to repeat what everyone else says in the time that it takes for me to write my answer but these would be my thoughts:
The Executive Summary is too long. Think of the executive summary as a bikini. Big enough to cover the subject and small enough to be interesting. Save 2 here. There is a total of 12 pages -- more than 30% -- in the following:
Comp. Description, Industry Analysis, Target Market, Competitive Analysis, Strategic Position. This is awesome -- but I can't believe that those 12 pages can't be reduced to 7. Allude to, reference -- but simplify. Save 5 here Integrate the SWOT into the above material on the overall market, industry, competitive and strateic positioning. Save 1 here. In fact, the above two sections could be organized around a SWOT model.
Add a Page I think a summary of assumptions within the financial section might be a good add.
Enroll an Advisor Have someone you trust who hasn't been involved in this project edit it. Not proofread it. But edit it. You are too deep in it-- you see all of the connections and intricacies at this point. A good editor will come through and cut, cut, polish, tighten and turn it into a 30 page docuement.