Polish the executive summary. Potential investors receive so many business plans, they cannot afford to spend more than a few minutes evaluating each one. If at first glance your proposal looks dull, poorly written or confusing, investors will toss it aside without a second thought. In other words, if your executive summary doesn't grab them, you won't get a second chance.

Tomorrow: More tips on writing your business plan.

Excerpted from Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Book You'll Ever Need