Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How to Write an Executive Summary


Your executive summary is the doorway to your business plan—this is the time to grab your reader’s attention and let them know what it is you do and why they should read the rest of your business plan or proposal. We’ll show you how to write an executive summary that sets your business plan apart from the stack.
Your executive summary is your pitch. You’ve heard of—and probably even given—an “elevator pitch”; write your business plan’s executive summary like it’s an elevator pitch that you’ve had the time to edit to perfection. It should introduce you, your business, and your product, but the purpose of writing an executive summary is also to deliver a hard sell. Convince your reader here that you have a great idea they should invest their time and money in.
Write it last. Even though the executive summary is at the beginning of a finished business plan, many experienced entrepreneurs (including me) choose to write the executive summary after they’ve written everything else. Ideally the executive summary is short—just a page or two—and highlights the points you’ve made elsewhere in your business plan, so if you save it for the end, it will be quick and easy.

What should an executive summary include?

For a standard business plan

In a standard business plan with a standard executive summary, the first paragraph of your executive summary should generally include your business’s name, its location, what product or service you sell, and the purpose of your plan.
Basically, the first paragraph is an introduction to what you—and your business plan—are all about. Another paragraph should highlight important points, such as projected sales and profits, unit sales, profitability, and keys to success.Include the news you don’t want anyone to miss. This is a good place to put a highlights chart—a bar chart that shows sales, gross margin and profits (before interest and taxes) for the next three years. You should also cite and explain those numbers in the text.

For an investor-ready business plan

If you’re looking for investment or a loan, say so in your executive summary.Specify the amount required, and in the case of an investment, specify the percent of equity ownership offered in return (leave loan details out of the executive summary).
And if you’re shopping around for capital, your executive summary should be persuasive. Make your prospective investor want to keep reading; convince them to invest in your new business idea.

For an internal plan, operations plan, or strategic plan

An internal plan—such as an annual operations plan or a strategic plan—doesn’t have to be as formal with its executive summary. Make the purpose of the plan clear, and make sure the highlights are covered, but you don’t necessarily need to repeat the business location, your product or service description, your team’s biographies or other details.

Choose from hundreds of executive summary examples

Every business plan begins with an executive summary. Take advantage of Bplans’ more than 500 examples of good business plans—all available online for free—to search for the sample plan that best fits your business’s profile, and then use that plan’s free example executive summary as a guide to help you through the process of writing your own.

How long should an executive summary be?

  • Never waste words in an executive summary. Experts differ on how long an executive summary should be—some insist that it takes just a page or two, others recommend a more detailed summary, taking as much as ten pages, covering enough information to substitute for the plan itself—but although 50+ page business plans used to be common, investors and lenders these days expect a concise, focused plan.
  • The best length for an executive summary is a single page. Emphasize the main points of your plan and keep it brief. You are luring your readers in to read more of the plan, not explaining every detail of your business. A helpful exercise in writing concisely is to try to make every point you want to make—such as the seven key elements of a pitch—in three sentences or fewer.
  • Don’t confuse an executive summary with the summary memo. The executive summary is the first chapter in a business plan. The summary memo is a separate document, normally only five to 10 pages at most, which is used to substitute for the business plan with people who aren’t ready to see the whole plan yet.

Executive summary format

The standard executive summary format is about a page of writing, followed by easy-to-skim subsections that highlight your main points. These subsections are usually your financial chart—a bar chart that shows sales, gross margin and profits (before interest and taxes) for the next three years—followed by your main objectives (a numbered or bulleted list is best), your mission statement and your keys to success (i.e., what makes your business stand out from your competitors).
See a sample executive summary for a Washington, D.C., bakery or for an online pharmacy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

10 Books You Must Read to Strengthen Your Leadership Skills

Germán Poo-Caamaño

Whether we disagree with their leadership styles or not, all true leaders have one thing in common. They are naturally curious people who are life-long learners, and they satiate their need for knowledge through reading books. If you are interested in bettering your leadership skills, you may wish to add reading to your list of daily habits. Better yet, you should considering adding these 10 books to your reading list. They are certain to help you boost your leadership skills quickly.
 1. The Leader Who had no Title – Robin Sharma
Robin Sharma has worked as a leadership consultant for multiple fortune 500 companies. In this book, he teaches his readers what he has taught employees at major corporations for years. This is an amazing book if you are ready to tear down the barriers of what a leader should be and who can become a leader. Did you know that you don’t need an official title to be a leader? You don’t even need people working underneath you. The author explains in detail how you can build the emotional and mental strength, among other personal traits (including compassion and purpose), to lead and influence people no matter where you are in your career path.
2.  Emotional Intelligence 2.0 – Travis Bradberry
You won’t find too many motivational books that include a testimonial by the Dalai Lama. Of course, that is only one reason to add this book to your reading list. You have probably heard of emotional intelligence. It is a measurement of your EQ that tells you how well you function and relate to others on an emotional level. The higher your EQ, the better you are able to lead others by becoming a more empathetic, socially aware individual.
3.  The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John C. Maxwell
This is another book with an impressive endorsement. This time, Stephen Covey steps in and provides a great forward. However, even without this endorsement, this is a great book. It uses compelling stories of leadership to help illustrate Maxwell’s 21 laws of leadership. You’ll be influenced and enlightened by the time you put this book down.
4.  Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek
A great leader isn’t a person who can get people to do what he or she wants. Anybody with power can do that, and power does not equal leadership. A great leader builds a team of people who want to succeed because they feel valued, that they are making a contribution, and that there own personal and professional development is a priority. This book is a great primer on obtaining success through treating people well.
5.  Principle-Centered Leadership – Stephen R. Covey

You can’t go wrong by picking up any of Covey’s books, but this one is especially inspirational. One of the most difficult challenges you will face as a leader is healing strife within your team. Through stories of great leaders, Stephen teaches you how to make people connect with one another and work together in even the most contentious of circumstances.
6.  Bold – Steven Kotler and Peter Diamandis
Exponential technologies are technologies that have the ability to generate change and improve lives in ways that their creators could have never imagined. The personal computer and the internet are two examples of these technologies. In Bold, you will learn how to use exponential technology, especially the internet, to make your visions a reality.
7.  Drive - Daniel Pink

As you develop your leadership skills, one of the most important things that you will learn to do is motivate others. Unfortunately, many leaders don’t understand what it is that actually motivates people. Daniel Pink defines both the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that drive motivation. Then, he provides helpful guidelines on using intrinsic motivation to produce and increase drive in ourselves and others.
8.   Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi

Effective leaders build relationships with their team members, peers, and others. In this book, Keith Ferrazzi not only explains the importance of developing meaningful relationships in the workplace and elsewhere, he also provides action steps you can take to make this happen. After reading this book, you will find yourself better prepared to make connections with others.
9.  Zero to One – Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

This is a book especially written for future leaders who are also entrepreneurs. All too many brilliant people come up with great, potentially world changing ideas, but thanks to conventional thinking, never let those ideas come to reality. Instead, they tame and reshape those ideas until they come to fruition as yet another uninspiring business. You don’t have to let that happen to you or your ideas. Read this book and learn to build your startup your way.
10.  The One Thing – Gary Keller

If you are struggling to find success as a leader, you may be trying to do too many things. The author, Gary Keller asks you to focus on one thing. This is the one thing that you can do right now that will make things easier and better. That is what should become your focus. When you are done reading this book, you will be able to apply this principle to all areas of your life.
Featured photo credit: Germán Poo-Caamaño via

Friday, October 9, 2015


At startups, it’s easy for leadership to connect with employees—they often just need to shout out to someone two desks down. But when companies grow beyond a few dozen employees, staying connected becomes a challenge.
Brad Rencher, senior vice president and general manager of Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, was struggling to find an effective way to communicate with the employees he oversees, and traditional methods weren’t working.
"There are too many emails and conference calls, and while these tools play a role in getting things done, they don’t resonate with all of a company’s objectives," he says. "We wanted to find a way to get everyone aligned and enlisted in the company vision."
So Rencher created Bradchat, a weekly vblog modeled after the web series Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis, where Rencher shares strategies and information, and interviews other Adobe leaders.
"It’s fun, informative, and irreverent, and it gives employees a sense of our personalities; those things don’t come across in the written word," he says.
Employees can leave comments within the video, participate in online forums, or contact Rencher directly via email, and all three have greatly improved engagement. "My email traffic jumped dramatically, and we’re getting thoughtful questions on the content within Bradchat," he says. "I feel like I am connecting personally, and it gives me an opportunity to really embrace what it means to embody Adobe values."
Bradchat is just one example of innovative ways leaders at large companies connect with employees. Here’s how nine other executives have improved engagement within their workplace:


Mark Dankberg, CEO of the broadband services and technology company ViaSat, started Mark D’s Book Club, where employees can read books on business, strategy, leadership, and innovation. The idea was started as a way for the company’s global team to learn the same business concepts and language, think strategically together, and exchange ideas.
"It has become a way for the ViaSat employees to better know how we think, how we view the world, and how we make decisions," says Dankberg. "And it helps each employee be more prepared in shaping their own career development."


When Indra Nooyi was named CEO of PepsiCo in 2006, she discovered the sense of pride her parents had at her accomplishment when they began inviting people over to meet her when she would visit.
"It dawned on me that all of my executives who worked for me are also doing a damn good job, but I’d never told their parents what a great job their parents had done for them. I’d never done that," she told Fortune magazine in 2014. So Nooyi wrote them letters. "I said, 'Therefore, I’m writing to thank you for the gift of your son, who is doing this at PepsiCo, and what a wonderful job this person is doing.’"
Nooyi says she was surprised when parents wrote back, and the gesture created emotion and loyalty.


Harry Herington, CEO of information service provider NIC Inc., increases employee engagement by visiting NIC branches across the company via motorcycle. He calls his initiative "Ask the CEO," and the idea was born to foster open communication within the company in the aftermath of the 2001 Enron scandal. 

"How do you get someone to trust you? You look them in the eye," says Herington, who hosts a dinner during his visit where the employees can ask him business and nonbusiness questions.


Meg Whitman sent a message to Hewlett-Packard employees when she became CEO in 2011, and immediately got rid of the executive suite of offices. Leaders were relocated to cubicles throughout the office.
Kegan Schouwenburg, CEO of SOLS, the New York City-based startup that creates 3-D-printed orthotic insoles, doesn’t believe in the C-suite either. She maintains a connection with her employees by sitting with them.
"A CEO has to serve the team, and it’s important to me to be present and not isolate myself," she says. "Sitting alongside my colleagues allows unfettered exchange of ideas and collaboration, and preserves the culture we’ve worked so hard to cultivate."


Charles Phillips, CEO of the software company Infor, calls his management approach "flat," and he provides his cell phone number to all Infor employees, encouraging them to call or text when they wish.
This informal style of engaging employees not only inspires more direct interaction among the entire workforce, but helps to break down traditional notions of hierarchy.


Mark Josephson, CEO of Bitly, connects with his employees on a daily basis by sitting at the tables and desks throughout the company office, but it’s his Cocktails & Dreams meetings where he finds some of the best engagement. Every week, someone is nominated to be a bartender and everyone in the company grabs a drink together. The casual setting gives Josephson a chance to update the staff on the current happenings, goals, and wins.
"We meet weekly to share updates and progress as a company. We celebrate wins and acknowledge losses. It's ultimately a great way to recap the week and set the stage for the following week," he says.


Alexia Bregman, cofounder and CEO of the natural energy drink company Vuka, looks for innovative ways to connect with employees, and one thing she and her cofounder/husband Darian Bregman did was to implement WOMP, which stands for What’s On My Plate.
Each employee meets weekly with Bregman to create a to-do list. "We don’t really mind where or when these are completed, but when we meet the following week, we look at that list again and see how each individual employee is doing," Bregman says. "It’s a great way of giving employees autonomy while still staying on top of what they’re doing without micromanaging."


While some CEOs grab a beer with their staff, Andrew Fingerman of PhotoShelterbrews it. Each month, he purchases supplies and team members stay in the office after hours to "move the beer along."
There's a huge benefit to making beer together, Fingerman says: "Because group members range across teams and seniority, inevitably we talk about work challenges and ideas," he says. "We also get to know each other as friends. It brings us closer together, and some very innovative ideas have emerged."


Cohesive teams are like Italian families, says Brent Smart, CEO of the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi New York. Each month, he selects 20 employees across all departments for a "family dinner" followed by drinks and karaoke. The casual setting helps staff members get to know Smart as well as each other on a more personal basis.
"An Italian family dinner is a metaphor for the type of culture we need at Saatchi to be a great creative agency," says Smart. "Everyone around one big table, different disciplines and talent surrounding a business problem, lots of debate, opinions, and passion."


Nihal Parthasarathi, CEO and cofounder of CourseHorse, a New York-based company that connects people with classes in their area, wanted to create a team environment, and he decided games were the fastest way to bonding.
Every week, the team gathers in Washington Square Park or Central Park to play lawn and board games, such as bocce, KanJam, Cards Against Humanity, and Settlers of Catan.
"I’ve discovered the best way to connect personally with employees is through gameplay," says Parthasarathi. "It creates a fun environment and levels the playing field so we can just connect as people."

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

20 minuten

Diesen Arbeitern macht niemand was vor

Diesen Arbeitern macht niemand was vorTalent, Geschick und Routine sind unschlagbare Faktoren, wenn es um tüchtiges Handwerk geht. Die Protagonisten dieses Videos haben alle drei.

Posted by 20 Minuten on Friday, 18 September 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

30 Inspirational Quotes From Billionaire Mark Cuban To Lead You To Success


Mark Cuban is a billionaire American businessman and investor. He owns Landmark Theatres, Magnolia Pictures, the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, and is one of the “shark” investors on the popular TV show “Shark Tank.”
Here are some words of wisdom from the successful Mark Cuban to lead you to success.

He speaks about persistence:

1. “Every no gets me closer to a yes.”

2. “It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed. You only have to be right once.”

3. “It’s not about money or connections. It’s the willingness to out work and out learn everyone. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.”

4. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you because all that matters in business is that you get it right once. Then everyone can tell you how lucky you are.”

He gives advice about customer service:

5. “It is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try to understand how you might help them before they ask for help, than it is to try to mend a broken customer relationship.”

6. “Treat your customers like they own you – because they do.”

7. “What makes a good salesperson? Let me be clear that it’s not the person who can talk someone into anything. It’s not the hustler who is a smooth talker. The best salespeople are the ones who put themselves in their customer’s shoes and provide a solution that makes the customer happy.”

He talks about having a strong work ethic:

8. “Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you.”

9. “I worked hard and smarter than most people in the businesses I have been in.”

10. “In sports, the only thing a player can truly control is effort. The same applies to business. The only thing any entrepreneur, salesperson or anyone in any position can control is their effort.”

11. “What I’ve learned is that if you really want to be successful at something, you’ll find that you put the time in. You won’t just ask somebody if it’s a good idea, you’ll go figure out if it’s a good idea.”

12. “There are no shortcuts. You have to work hard, and try to put yourself in a position where if luck strikes, you can see the opportunity and take advantage of it.”

13. “I love to compete. To me, business is the ultimate sport. It’s always on. There is always someone trying to beat me.”

14. “I still work hard to know my business. I’m continuously looking for ways to improve all my companies, and I’m always selling. Always.”

15. “It’s not in the dreaming, it’s in the doing.”

16. “Relaxing is for the other guy. I may be sitting in front of the TV, but I’m not watching it unless I think there is something I can learn from it. I’m thinking about things I can use in my business and the TV is just there.”

17. “Companies don’t fail for a lack of cash or attitude. Companies fail for a lack or brains and effort.”

18. “What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? It takes willingness to learn, to be able to focus, to absorb information, and to always realize that business is a 24/7 job where someone is always out there to kick your ass.”

19. “One thing we can all control is effort. Put in the time to become an expert in whatever you’re doing. It will give you an advantage because most people don’t do this.”

He mentions doing what other people are scared of:

20. “Always wake up with a smile knowing that today you are going to have fun accomplishing what others are too afraid to do.”

He advises you to love what you do and to become obsessed with it:

21. “Don’t start a company unless it’s an obsession and something you love. If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession.”

22. “Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don’t do it.”

23. “Wherever I see people doing something the way it’s always been done, the way it’s ‘supposed’ to be done, following the same old trends, well, that’s just a big red flag to me to go look somewhere else.”

24. “If you’re prepared and you know what it takes, it’s not a risk. You just have to figure out how to get there. There is always a way to get there.”

25. “What I’ve learned is that if you really want to be successful at something, you’ll find that you put the time in. You won’t just ask somebody if it’s a good idea, you’ll go figure out if it’s a good idea.”

He values originality:

26. “I create offbeat advice; I don’t follow it. I rarely take third-party advice on my investments.”

27. “What I do know, at least what I think I have learned from my experiences in business, is that when there is a rush for everyone to do the same thing, it becomes more difficult to do. Not easier. Harder.”

28. “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

29. “When you’ve got 10,000 people trying to do the same thing, why would you want to be number 10,001?”

He advises to push past fear:

30. “Don’t let fear be a roadblock.”

11 Differences Between Busy People And Productive People

Back to the office

I spent a day with the world’s number one ultraman Kilian Jornet back in 2010. He told me about the difference between his life in the mountains and the life he sees in the city.
Kilian spends most of his life in the mountains. He will run up and down Everest next year. He has already run up and down Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Montblanc and Cervino (setting the record for the fastest ascent on each). He says that he knows his destination, but is often doubtful about the exact path – he is very aware of surroundings, of changes in the weather, of loose rocks. He is constantly adjusting his path.
He told me that a few times a year he arrives into the city of Barcelona in his campervan. He parks. He gets out. He sees people walking confidently up and down the street. Everyone is walking with such confidence. They look so sure in their intention. They are sure of their steps… but they have no idea where they are going.
This is one of the differences between busy people and productive people. Read on to find out what this difference is and to get to know 10 more differences.

1. Busy people want to look like they have a mission. Productive people have a mission for their lives.

Busy people hide their doubt about the destination of their lives by acting confident in their little steps.
Productive people allow others to see the doubt in their little steps because they are clear on the destination.

2. Busy people have many priorities. Productive people have few priorities

Nobody is ever too busy, if they care they will make time. Life is a question of priorities. If you have 3 priorities, you have priorities. If you have 25 priorities, you have a mess.
The pareto priniciple is that 80% of your desired results come from 20% of your activity. Henry Ford built a fortune not by building better cars, but by building a better system for making cars. Busy people try to make better cars, productive people develop better systems for making cars.

3. Busy people say yes quickly. Productive people say yes slowly

Warren Buffet’s definition of integrity is: “You say no to most things”.
If you don’t say “no” to most things, you are diving your life up into millions of little pieces spread out amongst other people’s priorities. Integrity is that your values are clear and that your time is going to serve those values.

4. Busy people focus on action. Productive people focus on clarity before action

To focus on the top 20% of activities, you must gain clarity about what those activities are for yourself. The greatest resource you will ever have to guide you to live a good life is your own personal experience – if well documented. Sadly, most people only document their life in facebook status updates. Keep a diary and take 5 minutes every day to reflect on the past day, on what worked, on what didn’t work; and some time on what inspires you.

5. Busy people keep all doors open. Productive people close doors

As a young person it is good to open options. It is good to want to travel, to learn languages, to climb mountains, to go to university, to work in tech, to live in another country. However, there comes a point in life where one must let go of most options and focus. If my goal this year is to learn spanish – I will speak spanish at the end of the year. If my goal this year is to speak spanish, earn 30% more, travel to 10 countries, get fit, find a girlfriend, go to all the concerts… I will not speak spanish at the end of this year.

6. Busy people talk about how busy they are. Productive people let their results do the talking

Stephen King says: “A writer is a producer of words. Produce words: you are a writer. Don’t produce words: you are not a writer”.
It is a clear binary thing. Talking about writing is not writing. Published authors don’t talk about their next book – they are focussed on producing it. I have grown to have less and less interest in what people tell me that they are going to do – I ask them what they have already done. Past performance is the only good indicator of future performance.
Feeling productive is not the same as being productive. This is important. I can feel productive while I’m playing minecraft. I can feel unproductive while I’m producing an excellent blog post that will help others take better actions.

7. Busy people talk about how little time they have. Productive people make time for what is important

Any time we spend on excuses is time not spent on creation. If you allow yourself to practice excuses, you will get better and better at excuses. Productive people don’t use time as an excuse. An action either supports their highest values and mission, or it does not. If it does not, they don’t do it – even if they have a whole day off.
There is an Irish saying: “It is better to do something than nothing”.
This is a lie! It is better to do nothing than to do an action that doesn’t connect with your highest values. Sit still.

8. Busy people multitask. Productive people focus

Productive people know about focus.
Do you know about the Pomodoro technique? It is brutal, but it is effective. Identify a task to be done (for instance, write this blog post). Set a timer to 20 minutes. Work on the task until the time sounds. Any distraction (I must check email, I must get some water, I must go to the bathroom) and you reset the timer to 20. How many pomodoros can you complete in a day?

9. Busy people respond quickly to emails. Productive people take their time

Email is a handy list of priorities. The problem: they are other people’s priorities, not yours. If you respond to every email, you are dividing up your life into a thousand tiny bits that serve other people’s priorities.
There are 3 choices when you first review your email inbox: Delete, Do, Defer. This is not a post on email management, here are a few on managing email overload from GigaomHarvard Business ReviewEntrepreneur.

10. Busy people want other people to be busy. Productive people want others to be effective

Busy managers measure hours of activity, productive managers measure output. Busy managers are frustrated by others looking relaxed, looking like they have time, looking like they are enjoying their work. Productive managers love seeing others enjoy their work, love creating an environment in which others can excel.
Busy people are frustrated. They want to be valued for their effort, not for their results.
There is a Hindu saying: “We have a right to our labour, not to the fruits of our labour”.
We have a right to enjoy being excellent at our work, not a right to enjoy the car, the house, the money that comes from doing good work. Productivity is about valuing the journey towards excellence, not any moment of activity.

11. Busy people talk about how they will change. Productive people are making those changes.

Kilian Jornet doesn’t spend much time talking about what he will do. He talks about what he has done, what he has learnt, what inspires him.
Spend less time talking about what you will do and dedicate that time to creating the first step. What can you do now that requires the approval of nobody else? What can you do with the resources, knowledge and support that you have now? Do that. It is amazing how the universe rewards the person who stops talking and begins.
We are born with incredible potential. At the age of 20, the best compliment that can be paid is that you have a lot of potential. At the age of 30, it is still ok. At 40, you have a lot of potential is becoming an insult. At 60, telling someone that they have a lot of potential is probably the cruelest insult that can be made about their life.
Don’t let your potential go to waste. Create something amazing. This is its own reward.