I call the opening paragraph of a business plan the "elevator pitch", a logline for the business startup world. What goes into an elevator pitch? It's a synthesis of the five basic questions that underly any business plan:
- What do you sell?
- Who do you sell it to?
- What customer need does your product or service fill?
- How will you reach the target customer?
- What is the competitive advantage of your product or service in filling this need?
As example, we'll use an online legal forms system contained within my web publishing company, MedLawPlus.com®. Let's go through the questions.
- The product: online interactive legal and business forms.
- The customer: small business owners and individuals throughout the United States.
- The customer need: ability to self-create legal and business forms reducing legal fees.
- Marketing: leverage the established online footprint of the parent web site to market through search engines.
- Competitive Advantage: Combined skills of forms system creator as attorney and computer programmer lead to extremely low overhead while maintaining quality.
Online Documents, Inc. sells online interactive legal and business forms enterprise targeting small business owners and individuals by leveraging the established MedLawPlus.com® web presence for search engine marketing. It enables customers to self-create legal and business forms reducing legal fees. Our competitive advantage the key employee as both attorney and computer programmer leading to extremely low overhead while maintaining quality.There it is. Two to three sentences. Crisp. Quick hitting. Don't start on the rest of the business plan until you have polished the elevator pitch. Write a bad opening paragraph and your business plan is doomed as a sales tool.
Business Plan Template, an online business plan creation tool $24.99 (free trial).