Treat your executive summary as you would a first impression: it must be strong enough to capture the attention of your investors.
- There are three questions your executive summary must answer right away.
- Know what investors are looking for in a cannabis operation and address those needs immediately.
- Keep it concise, clear, and save the details for the rest of the business plan.
Speak to one of our experts to learn more about developing a business plan for cannabis investors.
The strongest cannabis business plans for investors need an executive summary.
When seeking an investor for your cannabis business, the executive summary is your first opportunity to make a good first impression. Investors are eager to get a piece of the estimated $8.5 billion legal cannabis market, but they are selective about the companies with which they will work.
And, with many regulatory hurdles still to clear, the onus is on the cannabis entrepreneur to show how your cannabis business is worthy of investors’ consideration.
It all starts with the executive summary. Consider this your elevator pitch, and make sure to get this section right. Read on for our guide to writing a killer executive summary that will help you get noticed by cannabis investors.
What goes into an executive summary?
The executive summary clearly explains what your business does in a way that draws the reader into the rest of your business plan. Experts say you should include the answers to these questions when writing your cannabis business executive summary:
- Do you have the required licenses, permits, patents and technology?
- Do you have any unique partnerships, relationships with other investors, or vendor agreements?
- Do you already have customers or a presence in the cannabis market?
- What sets your cannabis business apart from every other cannabis business?
- How are you going to protect an investor’s funding?
Describe your company and make it easy for an investor or lender to get the information they need right away. It’s rare for an investor to read all the way through a business plan; instead, your aim should be to give them a clear picture of your business and goals, and to get your foot in the door for an in-person meeting. Here are some other things you might include in your executive summary:
- Business name
- Industry role (cultivator, manufacturer, etc.)
- Amount of funding you are seeking, and what the funding will be used for
- Timeline for funding
- How the funding will make the business more profitable
- Financial results and pro formas
What do investors look for in an executive summary?
Investors evaluate potential cannabis investment opportunities based on the overall riskiness, financial stability, security, and growth plan of a cannabis company. They look for companies that have checks and balances built into their cash flow, accounting, and inventory management systems. Companies that have their permits and licenses, or at the very least have real estate and a strong application waiting for approval are more likely to be attractive to investors.
We mention these elements because your executive summary must highlight your business’s viability right up front. The lower your risk profile, the more likely it is an investor will work with you. The executive summary must show an investor why your business is a solid bet with financial analysis, reference to standard operating procedures, and other risk mitigation efforts. Show that you take an investor’s money seriously and you will have a better chance of getting them on your team.
Insider Tips: What to Put in Your Executive Summary
From working with cannabis companies and investors, our experts recommend including the following things in your cannabis executive summary.
- Try to create a sense of urgency. The why now question is something that very few cannabis executive summaries will answer. You can make your plan stand out for being something an investor pays attention to right away by adding some pressure to make a decision.
- Include a solid financial summary, including profit projections, risks, and potential returns an investor can expect.
- Include a concentration study, demographic analysis and product mix.
- In some states where cannabis is newly legal, investors may be unfamiliar with the market potential of your product. It might be worthwhile to include some analysis of the growing demand for legal cannabis.
- An executive summary should be detailed, but remember – this is a summary, and investors don’t have time to read the entire proposal. Limit this section to one or two pages.
For more on how to put together a cannabis business application, read our guide. Get in touch with our experts for help putting together a strong pitch or forming a business plan for your license application. We’re happy to help!