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BizStarts Catalyst: October 2011



BizStarts Catalyst
October 2011

In This Issue of the Catalyst

BizStarts Celebrates Third Anniversary

Front2Over 210 entrepreneurs, service providers, investors and more enjoyed a beautiful late afternoon on October 6th at Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee County’s Whitnall Park to help BizStarts Milwaukee celebrate its third anniversary.


Along with top-notch networking, those in attendance received BizStarts’ new Impact Report, showcasing progress to date on BizStarts’ activity with entrepreneurs and investment in start-ups across the region.

Among the numbers since BizStarts’ inception three years ago:

  • Business plans reviewed: 232
  • Cumulative attendance at BizStarts events: 3,611 (which jumped to 3,828 after the event!)
  • College Consortium meetings with professors, school leadership and students: 11
  • Participants in the BizStarts database network: 2,212
  • Page views on 235,232
  • Current number of entrepreneurs/companies in the BizStarts pipeline: 57

Our Inspirational Entrepreneur for the event was none other than Roy Reiman, founder of Reiman Publications. His story is below.

Pioneer publisher’s success began with question: “What if I started a magazine without advertising?”

RoyReiman1Roy Reiman
, the founder of Reiman Publications, was creating social communities—and profiting from them— long before Facebook. Since the debut of Farm Wife magazine in 1965, Reiman hit on a formula for publishing success that combined the best practices of book publishing and social media: Let the readers generate both the content of the magazine, and pay 100% of the costs of it.

To read the full story or watch a video of his speech, click here.


In the Spotlight: Procubed’s story set in (linear-to-rotary) motionProcubed

Talk about reinventing the wheel – Jim Maerzke has been reinventing the
wheelchair. Biz
Starts is helping Jim with his start-up company, Procubed, which uses Jim’s creative technology that can revolutionize not only the wheelchair, but other mechanisms as well. Alysha Schertz of recently profiled Jim and Procubed. Read all about it here!

Special Event with UWM this Thursday

Wisconsin’s Legislature is considering a bold new initiative to attract venture capital to Wisconsin. John Neis, CFA, Managing Director, VentureInvestors, LLC, will speak on the “The Role of Venture Capital in Growing and Transforming Wisconsin’s Economy” this Thursday, October 27, 2011, 12:00– 1:30pm at the University Club, 924 E. Wells.

Neis was appointed by the Governor to the Board of the Wisconsin Technology Council, and served a key role in the Wisconsin Growth Capital Coalition. He was named to the 2008 and 2009 Midas Lists, Forbes annual list of the top 100 tech dealmakers in the world. The event is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business. There is no cost to attend, but there are limited seats left, so if you would like to go please RSVP to Rita Derleth at or (414) 229-3824 as soon as you read this.

Marquette University Entrepreneurship Week coming up

Entrepreneurship Week is coming to Marquette University! Activities a’plenty for entrepreneurs will take place the week of November 14th. Click here for the event webpage and complete schedule. 

BizStarts Chairman John Torinus: Check out his column!

John Torinus, Chairman of Serigraph, Inc. and BizStarts Milwaukee, writes a regular blog on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to health care. An update on BizStarts is featured in the latest edition, available here. You can subscribe to John’s blog and receive regular updates here.

Please note that John Torinus’ blog is his individual blog. The opinions expressed in his blog do not necessarily reflect those of BizStarts Milwaukee.

8 Key Things to Remember when writing an Executive Summary

By Fred Brooks of BizStarts Milwaukee
Fred Brooks2Every month we read many business plans at BizStarts Milwaukee, and we do it for the same reasons that a bank loan officer, angel investor, or venture capitalist would: we all want to determine if the entrepreneur has a solid business concept with growth potential. This includes finding out if the entrepreneur has an experienced business team to run the business, understands the market and competition, understands the financial aspects of the business, can project the funds the company will need and just how the funds will be used and paid back.

ALL of this information should be found twice in a business plan; once with a lot of supporting detail throughout the various sections of the plan (which should not exceed 20-25 pages, including appendices), and then again in a 2-3 page Executive Summary that should summarize key elements of your proposed business venture in a concise manner.

The Executive Summary is by far the most important section of the business plan; it’s your front door to the rest of your plan – the “curb appeal”, if you will. The Executive Summary is the first section in your plan but is usually written last. The entire business plan is important as it forces the entrepreneur to focus on all aspects of the business. It also illustrates the thinking process, the vision, and the passion the entrepreneur has for the business; and just how detailed they have thought about it (in fact, once a company launches, its business plan should continue to be updated and rewritten every year or two to help guide the company strategically on an ongoing basis.) But it’s the Executive Summary that gives you the best chance to get people interested in reading that detail.

In the interest of time, some bankers and investors may request only an Executive Summary before inviting you to submit the entire business plan or schedule a face-to-face presentation. If opportunity arises for a presentation, you usually have 10-20 minutes to explain as concisely as possible the entire business concept, management team, market potential, financial needs, etc. using 10 to 15 PowerPoint slides that must cover all the key business information – this is where the Executive Summary really helps. Present the summary, and be prepared to dive into detail with any questions that may be asked during or after the presentation. This is the kind of presentation “Ugly Baby panels” and coaching within BizStarts’ Venture Track program prepares you for.

So what should or should not be in this very important Executive Summary section of your business plan to spike the bankers or investors interest? Here are 8 key things to remember when writing an Executive Summary:

1. Put yourself in the shoes of your readers; what do they need to know, and what do you need to tell them?
2. Adequately explain the business concept/idea/opportunity, and any business history accomplished to date.
3. Explain potential market(s), competition, and intellectual property.
4. Briefly discuss the founder(s), business team and their experience, outside advisors that might offset any perceived weaknesses in team.
5. Briefly explain how the company plans to operate, systems used, milestones, etc.
6. Show an abbreviated 3-5 year pro forma income statement (total revenues, total operating expenses, and operating profits, at minimum).
7. Discuss the amount and timing of any funding needs, and how you will use them.
8. Briefly discuss the exit strategy for equity investments; and make sure your financials show the cash flows of any incoming and outgoing payments.

And as long as we’re on the topic, here are a few things you SHOULD NOT do with an Executive Summary:

1. Don’t ramble or get wrapped up in the detail; be concise, goal is 2 pages.
2. Remain positive; don’t discuss weaknesses or threats in the summary; they should be discussed in other sections, probably through a SWOT analysis.
3. Don’t use unsupported claims or generalities about the business, the industry, or the products/services; be accurate and honest throughout the whole plan.

Should you need further help in developing your business plan and/or Executive Summary, do not hesitate to ask us at BizStarts for help. Writing a business plan is a very time consuming process, and we can direct you to possible resources to get it done right. Call us at (414) 921-0909.

For the Calendar

Dan Steininger will deliver the keynote speech, “Startups, Spinoffs and Angels: The Key to Job Creation in Wisconsin” November 4, 2011, 12:00-2:00 at the Greenfield Public Library, 5310 W. Layton Ave. Cost is $35 per person and includes lunch. RSVP By October 28, 2011 to Sheila O’Brien at 414-321-9595 ext. 221 or email This is a fundraising event to benefit the Greenfield Public Library Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.

Eric Paulsen is speaking at the Inventors & Entrepreneurs Forum of Greater Milwaukee on November 9, 2011, 5:30-7:30pm at the Tommy Thompson Youth Center at State Fair Park, 640 S. 84th St., West Allis. Paulsen will speak on the topic of “From Idea to Investment: How BizStarts Milwaukee Helps Entrepreneurs Launch Businesses.” For more information, call (414) 287-4130. The Inventors & Entrepreneurs Program is sponsored by the CEOs of Growing Businesses (a service of the MMAC), the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and We Energies.

For up-to-date information on BizStarts Milwaukee, be sure to visit the website:

Classes and events relating to business can be found on the BizStarts calendar at:

Pass the Catalyst newsletter on to your friend and associates! They can subscribe to our free newsletter on BizStarts Milwaukee’s Home Page under BizStarts Milwaukee Catalyst.

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