Creating Your Successful Business Plan: Executive Summary

1. Executive Summary

All potential bankers, investors, and business partners read your executive summary to give them an overall idea of your business. It tells lenders if it is a safe idea to invest in your company. This is your sales pitch. Use the opportunity to show that you and your potential business have the capacity to provide results. You want your reader to be intrigued with your idea, by providing a concise summary of your business plan.

It may be smart to write your executive summary after completing your business plan. Since it is a summary of the entire piece, writing it last can ensure that it provides a complete enough synopsis, and truly captures the essence of your business profile.

Description of Business

Start your executive summary be briefly describing the business you are in. Include the form of business you are wanting to start, i.e. proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. Explain if your business will merchandize, manufacture, or provide a service. Is this a new business, a takeover, an expansion, or a franchise?

Clearly illustrate you company’s objectives, including short-term goals and your strategy for achieving those goals.

Products/Services Summary

Continue by giving a clear, concise description of the products or services your company will offer. Be sure to describe what developmental stage your product is currently in. Is your product currently a concept, prototype, or is it a product that is ready for the market?

One of the most important features of your executive summary will be describing your competitive advantage. You want to persuade your reader of how and why your business will be successful, and why it is an improvement over similar currently offered products/services.

Market Summary

Explain who your target audience will be, and why. Be sure to portray that there will be demand for your product or service. Describe the company’s market potential, including any relevant population information. Will your business serve a local, geographic, or national customer base?

Next, list your key management team, with a brief description of their qualifications and reasons they are capable of starting the business.

Conclude your executive summary with information pertaining to finances and funding requirements. Include a timeline which details how funds will be used, projected revenues, and projected market share.

As stated at the top, it is better to write your executive summary last, after writing the rest of your business plan. This helps ensure that your executive summary will provide a complete picture of your business idea.

It may be that the executive summary is the only part of your business plan that ever gets read, which just goes to show how important developing a solid executive summary really is.

When you develop your executive summary, create an “elevator pitch.” This is a three minute summary of your executive summary, with the purpose of creating interest in your idea from potential lenders or partners.