Ideally, your executive summary will be one to two pages at most, designed to be a quick read that sparks interest and makes your investors feel eager to hear more.
If you’re a shoe company, you aren’t targeting “everyone” just because everyone has feet.
There are four main chapters in a business plan—opportunity, execution, company overview, and financial plan.
The opportunity chapter of your business plan is where the real meat of your plan lives—it includes information about the problem that you’re solving, your solution, who you plan to sell to, and how your product or service fits into the existing competitive landscape. Maybe the existing solutions to your customer’s problem are very expensive or cumbersome.
Often times, you may be dealing with “indirect competition,” which is when consumers solve their problem with an entirely different kind of solution.
For example, when Henry Ford was first marketing his cars, there was very little direct competition from other car manufacturers—there weren’t any other cars.
If you can’t pinpoint a problem that your potential customers have, then you might not have a viable business concept.
Once you have described your target market’s problem, the next section of your business plan should describe your solution.
People who read your business plan will already know a little bit about your business because they read your executive summary. For a business with a physical location, perhaps there aren’t any existing solutions within reasonable driving distance.
But this chapter is still hugely important because it’s where you expand on your initial overview, providing more details and answering additional questions that you won’t cover in the executive summary. Defining the problem you are solving for your customers is far and away the most critical element of your business plan and crucial for your business success.