The executive summary is the most important section of a business plan in terms of getting your plan read by funders. Inundated by hundreds of plans, investors and lenders rely on the executive summary, a one or two page summary of the entire business plan, to know if the rest of the plan is worth their time to read. If they finish the executive summary with a basic understanding and a hunger to learn more, you have succeeded in writing a killer executive summary.
Here are some tips on how to do so:
Cover the Bases
The executive summary must cover the important questions asked and answered by your business plan. The three most important questions are “What is the definition of the business you are in?”, “What is the market size and need?” and “How is the company uniquely qualified to succeed in that market?”
Secondly, define your business in a way that it can be understood within the short executive summary. To do this, you must be able to use plain language and only one or two sentences for this definition. If there are additional elements to the business which will go beyond its core or become future potential directions you will take, the executive summary is not the place to go into those. Make sure the business definition can be summed up so that anyone with only a very basic understanding of the industry can understand.
Logic Should Flow
This is true within the plan as a whole, and within the executive summary. The logic of why your specific team and resources are suited for the specific market opportunity you identified and why you’ve chosen the marketing methods you have should be apparent and raise no red flags. If there is a jump in the logic – for example, it is not clear how the management team has any expertise suited for the business in question – then readers will move on to another plan rather than read on to answer that question in the body of the plan. This logic should be clear, although in concise and simplified format, even within the executive summary.
If you want to learn more about the format of a business plan please continue to make use of the articles in our help center.
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