Five Points for Better Exec Summaries and Briefings

Here’s a quick five-point format for executive summary/briefing documents.  This is intended to be a short “get to know you” briefing for prospective investors.  It’s also supposed to be a scalable document — that is, you can expand it into a full business pitch deck by fleshing out each section more.  Or you can compress it all the way down into a single paragraph by just putting the punchlines together.

I’d recommend doing this in a single page (it’s good discipline to be brief).   The bullet points of each section should all build towards the punchline.
1) Team
  • Bullet points: Quick recap of team members’ experience
  • Punchline: why your team has the right experience and/or unique industry connections that give you an unfair advantage in this business
2) Market size
  • Bullet points: who are your paying customers?   who are your users (for ad/audience-driven businesses)?  what’s the overall industry size?  what specific segment (or sub-segment) of that industry are you going to dominate?  how big is that segment (e.g., how many customers/users are there in your target initial segment multiplied by your expected penetration of that segment multiplied by anticipated customer lifetime value)?
  • Punchline: there’s a believable path for the company to get to $100MM in annual revenue
3) Customer tests
  • Bullet points: if working alpha/beta product, then what are the customer/user activity stats like?  if no product yet, then what surveys, smoke tests, or mockup tests have you run?
  • Punchline: we’re not just sitting in an office making up a business plan; we’ve gone out to talk with real customers or users, lots of them.  We’ve tested working product or realistic mockups with customers/users and they like it.
4) Distribution strategy
  • Bullet points: how will your customers/users learn about your service?  how much do you need to pay per customer/user acquisition?  how will you drive a customer/user adoption curve that is doubling every month?
  • Punchline: we know how to reach customers/users.  we’re not gonna end up blowing your money on building something that it turns out we can’t sell.
5) Deal and Milestones
  • Bullet points: how much are you looking to raise?  what will that money be used for; e.g., what milestones will you hit?  what questions will you be able to answer with this investment?  which risks will be de-risked with this investment?  how long will these milestones take to achieve?
  • Punchline: your money is going to buy significant reductions in risk (and therefore significant increases in the next valuation)

Hope that’s helpful.  Did I miss anything?  Leave any questions or edits in the comments section…  Thanks!