How the Executive Summary fits into your Business Plan
On the other hand, let’s say you’re writing a business plan to attract investors and shore up funds for a start-up, then your executive summary becomes a sales pitch – not that it has to sound like one – but it is has to sell investors to read on.
Writing an Executive Summary that captures your reader’s attention
- Remember that your main purpose is to highlight or give an overview of the full report
- Keep the executive summary concise – down to one page or even shorter if possible
- Focus on compelling reasons your business concept will succeed
- Capture the attention of your reader, particularly if you’re seeking funding through your business plan
- Remember that your executive summary is going to make or break your business plan – if it doesn’t convince the reader to read past it, your business plan is going to end up in a pile or shredder
- Save writing the executive summary for last – after you’ve completed the other key sections of your plan
10 Critical Elements you MUST include in the Executive Summary
Your executive summary should briefly but effectively discuss:
- Your business objectives: what is your business going to achieve for customers, suppliers, staff, investors and shareholders, lenders – and you?
- Your business start-up needs: what do you need to get your business started?
- Your strategy for success: what will set your business, product or service apart from the competition?
- Your target market: who will buy your product or service and why?
- Your marketing strategy: How will you connect with your buyers and what messages will you use to associate with them?
- Your sales strategy: What will you do to convert a potential customer into a buyer?
- Your company structure: Who will you hire and how will you manage your business?
- Your funding strategy: How will you fund your business and where will you find that funding?
- Your financials: Why is your business worth investing in? How does your business translate into profitability, growth and increasing net worth?
- Your proof: How will you show that your business concept is a risk-averse, assuring financiers that extending credit to your business is a safe decision?
As I said earlier, it’s best to manage your executive summary format to one page or less. That might seem difficult to do, but remember that you want to move your reader into the details of your business plan as soon as possible.
To make it easier for your reader, you can include a significant chart or graph that better illustrates your point than text would.
Writing an executive summary for a business plan – or any business report for that matter – requires concentration and effort. You may not get it right the first time around, but if you work on it, get feedback and adjust, you can write a compelling executive summary for your plan.