1. Executive Summary
Why the Executive Summary is Important
The Executive Summary is the most important part of your plan. It gives the reader an overview of your company and the opportunity to get involved in it.
If they’re not impressed or excited, the reader won’t make it any further in your plan. In fact, most readers never get beyond the first page of your Executive Summary, so spend time making it great.
What to Include
Your Executive Summary should include 3 parts: Business Overview, Success Factors and Financial Plan
The overview tells the reader what type of business you’re in. Are you a restaurant, a software company, a dry-cleaning company, etc.?
Importantly, don’t start your overview with a long story. Rather, clearly and concisely state what your company does. For example, “We are an organic restaurant located in Miami, FL” or “We operate a social networking website for working mothers” are good, concise overviews.
Your Success Factors are the most important part of your plan. And unfortunately, every other business plan template I’ve seen ignores this (that’s because, unlike Growthink, they haven’t gotten feedback from literally thousands of investors on plans we’ve written).
Your success factors are simply the reasons why your company is uniquely qualified to succeed. Conversely, if you have no unique qualifications, you will fail.
It’s important to think about and figure out your success factors. Is there anything about your products and services that are unique? For example, maybe you have patents or a unique distribution partnership that allows you and only you to offer a certain product. Is there anything unique about your management team? For example, maybe you have more experience, or special relationships with vendors or customers?
There are many reasons why your organization could be unique. Spend time identifying these reasons and documenting them in this section of your plan.
In this section of your Executive Summary, you should show an overview of your expected financial performance over the next five years.
This “overview” includes your Revenues, Direct Expenses, Gross Profit, Other Expenses, EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization), and Net Income projections for the next five years.