The best and most effective way to reach out to a potential investor for your start-up is by contacting them (a phone call or email) through a mutual and valued contact that both parties trust. In order to increase the chances of attracting the attention of the investor, who is likely to be receiving a number of requests per day, it is recommended to attach a one pager to the introductory e-mail.
The main role of the executive summary, which is usually one A4 sheet (or a maximum of two), is to create an interest that will motivate the investor to want to get to know the project better . By reading the executive summary, the investor should get a positive answer to the following questions: Is there a real problem? Is there a real need for the proposed solution? Is there a sufficient market? Does the enterprise have a competitive edge? Will the venture be profitable? Can the team implement the plans?
In order for your start-up to gain investor’s attention, the Targo team of experts have prepared a few tips for you that will certainly help you prepare your executive summary. Include all relevant project points from the business plan in your summary. Points that must appear:
- Description of the project in one line
- The problem
- The solution
- The market
- Competitive advantage
- Project milestones (past and future)
- The budget requested for the project and the future use of those funds
- The founding team and consultants
Points that you should consider adding, as appropriate:
- Business model
- Marketing strategy
Description of the project in one line – what exactly is your project doing?
The first thing you need to explain to investors is what your venture is about. An effective structure for the punch line that will appear at the top of the executive summary may be:
“Company name – XXXX of / for XXXX”.
For example: LinkedIn – the social network for businesses.
Another way to describe the project is through a more comprehensive description of the structure that might look like this:
“The name of the company develops / designs / manufactures the product / service to help / assist the customer with its problem through / by the action”. It sounds a bit complex, but actually it is quite simple.
Could not describe your project in one sentence? You probably did not give it enough thought, or you should consult with a professional who knows the right way of doing it. No matter how complicated and complex your venture is, there is always a way to describe it in one sentence.
The Problem – touch the surface
It is necessary to describe the problem that the project intends to solve. Be accurate, empirical, and use verifiable numerical data as long as it helps you establish the existence of the problem and its importance to potential customers.
Solution – the product or service you provide
Describe the project’s product or service in a simple, matter-of-fact, and understandable manner. It’s worth focusing on how the project solves the problem you described earlier. Avoid self-aggrandizement, self-praise, or excessive description of the solution.
The Market – size and target audience
Briefly describe the market, including details about:
- Customers – Be as precise as possible using demographic data, needs and motivations for action, and try to create a detailed profile of the prospect.
- Market Size – Specify the total size of the market in monetary terms, in the currency relevant to the investor (usually the US dollar).
- Growth Rate – Has the target market been growing in recent years? If so – at what pace? Can we expect further growth?
What makes your venture so unique to the customer?
What makes your start-up a long-term solution?
Why are you better than the competition?
Think carefully, consult your experts or team, and discover the unique business power behind your start-up. Examples of competitive advantages:
- Patents and intellectual property
- Unique technology
- Market leadership
- A recognized and leading brand
- A large community of users or customers
The Venture’s Milestones – demonstrating your ability
- Launching the product
- Completion of alpha/beta phase development
- Proof of concept (POC)
- Completion of the SEED stage recruitment
- Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
- Acquiring XXX customers
- Making a deal with a strategic client
A logical division of planned activity into chronological order will give the investor confidence that there is a team of entrepreneurs who know the way ahead, are connected to the company, and will give them another way to evaluate the progress of the project. It is very possible that the investor will divide and make his investment conditional on meeting the milestones.
The budget requested for the project and the future use of those funds
How much money do you want to raise? What period of activity is required and what exactly do you plan to do with the funds? An easy way to illustrate it is by using a pie graph, where each part represents a different activity. For example:
- A dedicated campaign (if it is large and substantial)
It is recommended to use rounded numbers for thousands (136,000) rather than hundreds of thousands (100,000) to create the sense of an in-depth program rather than off-the-cuff numbers.
The Founding Team – the one who will lead the project from the vision
Every venture needs a team of dreamers. No matter how well written your business plan, it is the people who work for the company that need to implement it. Give the investor the impression that you have the right team to do it. Describe each team member in a sentence or two, noting their role. Also, if they have relevant experience, this should be added.
If there is an essential role that has not yet been filled, it should be noted simply and honestly. For example: CFO – A number of candidates were located, the position will be filled on 1 April 2016.
Business Model – how do you plan to finance your start-up?
The investor will be very interested in knowing what the sources of income will be, i.e., what is the business model: Periodic subscription fees, sales commission, etc? Other important details to be noted are the future distribution channels of the venture and gross profit margins. If the venture is in the pre-sales phase and you are not sure about the data, you can specify a reasonable price range and any additional market information that might support it, such as market surveys or customer interviews.
Marketing Strategy – how do customers reach you?
In this section you should specify how you get the first customers, how you create a stable customer base, and finally how you leverage it to reach a large mass of customers.
What channels will you operate in, and at what stage according to your startup’s life cycle?
What is the cost of acquiring new customer?
What is the total cost per channel?
What are the results you expect to achieve from each channel in terms of number of customers?
Marketing channels that you should consider, depending on their suitability for start-ups and the market:
- Viral Marketing
- social media
- Organic SEO
- Marketing content
- Existing platforms
- Partnership plans
- Conferences and exhibits
- Private events
- Build a community
The value of the company (and hence how much the investor will receive) should be left to a later stage in the negotiations. Each investor will value the partnership at a different level, so you should delay the call as long as possible, until you have an idea of the investor’s intentions.