Section formatting guidelines:
Centered, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading
Left-aligned, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading
Indented, boldface, lowercase heading with a period. Begin body text after the period.
Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase heading with a period. Begin body text after the period.
Indented, italicized, lowercase heading with a period. Begin body text after the period.
“The executive summary is often considered the most important section. . . . “
“The executive summary should . . . be the last section you write. However, it usually appears first in your . . . document.”
“If you are an established business, be sure to include the following information:”
“This explains what your business is all about. It should be between several sentences and a paragraph.”
“Include a short statement that covers when your business was formed, the names of the founders and their roles, your number of employees, and your business locations.”
“Briefly describe the products or services you provide.”
“[T]he information in the executive summary should be covered in a concise fashion. . . . each word should count.”
“If you are just starting a business, you won’t have as much information as an established company. Instead, focus on your experience and background as well as the decisions that led you to start this particular enterprise.”
“Demonstrate that you have done thorough [industry and] market analysis. Include information about a need or gap in your target market, and how your particular solutions can fill it.”
“Remember, your Executive Summary will be the last thing you write. So the first section of the [document] that you will tackle is the Company Description section.”
“This section . . . provides a high-level review of the different elements of your business. This is akin to an extended elevator pitch and can help readers . . . quickly understand the goal of your business and its unique proposition.”
Nature of Business and Marketplace Needs
“Describe the nature of your business and list the marketplace needs that you are trying to satisfy.”
Satisfaction of Needs
“Explain how your products and services meet these needs.”
“List the specific consumers, organizations or businesses that you company serves or will serve.”
“Explain the competitive advantages that you believe will make your business a success, such as your location, expert personnel, efficient operations, or ability to bring value to your customers.”
“Next, you’ll need to move on to the Market Analysis section of your [document].”
Industry and Market Analysis
“The [industry and] market analysis section of your [document] should illustrate your industry and market knowledge as well as any of your research findings and conclusions.”
This section is the primary focus of our work this term.
Industry Description and Outlook
“Describe your industry, including its current size and historic growth rate as well as other trends and characteristics (e.g. life cycle stage, projected growth rate [, etc.]). Next, list the major customer groups within your industry.”
Refer to assigned readings on PESTLE analysis when completing the subsections below. Note those factors that are particularly important and represent opportunities for or threats to firms operating in the industry.
Competitive Forces Analysis
Refer to assigned reading on “Understanding Industry Structure” when completing the subsections below. Note those aspects of the industry’s structure that influence competition and “[determine] the long-run profit potential of the industry.”
Threat of new entrants.
Bargaining power of suppliers.
Bargaining power of customers.
Threat of substitutes.
Rivalry among existing competitors.
Narrow your target market to a manageable size. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to appeal to too many target markets. Research and include the following information about your market:”
Distinguishing characteristics. “What are the critical needs of your potential customers? Are those needs being met? What are the demographics of the group and where are they located? Are there any seasonal or cyclical purchasing trends that may impact your business?”
Size of primary target market. “In addition to the size of your market, what data can you include about the annual purchases your market makes in your industry? What is the forecasted market growth rate for this group?”
Expected market share gain. “What is the market share percentage and number of customers you expect to obtain in a defined geographic area? Explain the logic behind your calculation.”
“When you include information about any of the market tests or research studies you have completed, be sure to focus only on the results of these tests. Any other details should be included in the appendix.”
“Your competitive analysis should identify your competition by product line or service and market segment. Assess the following characteristics of the competitive landscape:
Strengths and weaknesses.
Importance of target market to competitors.
Barriers to entry into market. For example, “changing technology, high investment cost, lack of quality personnel [,etc.]” This subsection may refer to highlights of information contained in the “competitive analysis” section
Indirect or secondary competitors.
Regulatory restrictions. “Include any customer or governmental regulatory requirements affecting your business. . . . Also, cite any operational or cost impact the compliance process [may] have on your business.” This subsection may refer to findings also discussed in the P and/or L sections of the PESTLE analysis.
Service or Product Line
“[T]he next part of your [document] is where you describe your service or product, emphasizing the benefits to potential and current customers. Focus on why your particular product will fill a need for your target customers.”
Description of Product/Service
“Include information about the specific benefits of your product or service — from your customers’ perspective. You should also talk about your product’s or service’s ability to meet consumer needs, any advantages your product has over . . . the competition, and the current development stage your product is in (e.g. idea, prototype[, etc.])”
“You should develop the financial projections section after you’ve analyzed the market and set clear objectives. That’s when you can allocate resources efficiently. The following is a list of the critical financial statements to include in your [document]”.
“All businesses, whether startup or growing, [should] supply prospective financial data. Most of the time, creditors will want to see what you expect your company to be able to do within the next five years. Each year’s documents should include forecasted income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and capital expenditure budgets. For the first year, you should supply monthly or quarterly projections. After that, you can stretch it to quarterly and/or yearly projections for years two through five.”
“If you have made assumptions in your projections, be sure to summarize what you have assumed. This way, the reader will not be left guessing.”
“Finally, include a short analysis of your financial information. Include a ratio and trend analysis for all of your financial statements (both historical and prospective). Since pictures speak louder than words, you may want to add graphs of your trend analysis. . . .”
Your appendix should include:
• Details of market research (interviews, surveys, etc.)
• Detailed professional profile of mentor
• Dimensional analysis (application of Dimensions to Constructive Action)
• Weekly critical action logs
References should be formatted according to the guidelines in the APA handbook.