What is an example of a good executive summary for business plan? The executive summary for a business plan is a brief, positive synopsis of the business that goes at the beginning of your business plan. It is normally about two pages long and contains two-sentence overviews of each section within the plan. Ideally, the reader will be able to quickly grasp the key elements of your business plan from the executive summary.

It is important that the executive summary not be a dry statement. If it is to entice readers to take an interest in your business, It should be clear, succinct, and engaging.

What Goes into an Executive Summary?

The content of the executive summary will vary between startups and established businesses. However, there are certain elements common to both:

  • The name and location of the business.
  • Your company's value proposition: What sets your company apart from your competitors?
  • The marketplace need your company meets, with evidence of that need.
  • The way your company's products and/or services meet that need.
  • A description of your competition and the advantages your company has over them.
  • A description of your target customer.
  • An overview of your company's management team and how each member contributes to its success.
  • A description of the company's current developmental stage.
  • A financial summary, showing projected sales and profits for the next three years in a way that is both honest and convincing.
  • If you are requesting money from a financial institution, state the specific amount you want. For investors, state the percentage stake in the company you're offering for their financial backing.
  • A summary of major milestones so far and your goals for the future.

Startups should also include:

  • A brief overview of your sales and marketing strategy.
  • Your implementation plan, describing how you intend to get the business from planning to opening.

For established businesses, be sure to add:

  • Your mission statement, which is a brief description of the purpose and values of the company.
  • A short history of the company, including the products and/or services it provides and general statistics (number of employees, locations, etc.).
  • An overview of how the business has grown, both in terms of revenue and market share.
  • A financial summary for potential investors.
  • A business road-map describing your plans for the company. This is also important for investors. They will want to see how you plan to use their money to grow the business.

When a business starts generating profits, its value can increase quickly. Be sure your executive summary spells out explicitly how the company's ownership is divided. For the summary, this need only be a simple statement to say, for example, that the five founding partners will receive 20 percent ownership each. Details can be negotiated later.

Tips for Writing the Executive Summary

  • Write the executive summary after you have completed the entire business plan.
  • Start the executive summary with a compelling case for why you have a great business idea. No matter how good the rest of the plan looks, no one is going to be interested in a bad idea.
  • Keep the tone upbeat, but don't oversell. While you don't need to mention ordinary risks, it's OK to note unusual challenges. However, always be sure to highlight the positives.
  • Write in concise language using layman's terms. Anyone without knowledge of your business should be able to understand your executive summary and recognize the opportunity it presents.
  • Do not be ambiguous. Present a clear plan for your business. Multiple options convey indecision and uncertainty which are turn-offs for potential investors.
  • Conclude your executive summary with a couple of sentences that tell the reader why your business will be successful. Again, keep the language positive and confident. Avoid “maybe” and “possibly.”
  • When you've finished, read it back to yourself aloud. Make changes where sentences sound awkward or don't flow well. Then give it to someone who is unfamiliar with your business to read. Note their feedback.

The executive summary is the most important part of your business plan, but it need not be the hardest to write. If you've written the plan, you've already done most of the work. There are plenty of examples of executive summaries online to guide you further.

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