It is important to know how to write an executive summary for a business plan, particularly if you expect an outside source to read it. This part of your business plan will provide a brief, but thorough overview of the most critical details of your company so that you can attract investors or reach other important goals as an organization.

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary can be defined as a short introduction in your business plan. The goal of the executive summary is to highlight the key points of the plan for anyone who reads it, which helps to save time and lets them know what the rest of the business plan will include.

It is essentially an advance organizer. The executive summary can often be considered the most crucial part of a business plan. It will describe a business, which problems it will solve, the target market, and a highlight of the financials.

Every plan will not need a summary. It is crucial for the plans that are written for outsiders. It will take considerable effort to write an excellent summary. If there is no real business use for it, do not write the summary.

There are many jobs that are accomplished by an executive summary. It needs to show readers the answers to their questions by pointing to the section with detailed information about their query. It should also make it easier for anyone who has to read it while making it enjoyable, through the presentation of interesting and useful facts about a company.

What Should an Executive Summary Include?

What needs to be included in an executive summary will largely depend on the business. The summary for a start-up and an established company will vary greatly. For start-ups, the primary goal of the business plan is to get money by convincing banks, venture capitalists, or angel investors to invest in a business by providing equity or debt financing.

To accomplish this, a company will need to present a tight case for a business idea. This is where the executive summary is very important.

An executive summary needs to include the following:

  • Who are you? You need to provide the name of your business, its location, and all contact information.
  • What do you offer and what problems will your business solve? You should include a short description of the products and services you provide and why it is needed. The business does not need to solve a huge social problem, but it needs to show why it meets a specific need in the market.
  • Who is your target market? You need to describe the type of customer you are trying to reach. Your product can define itself through its name in some cases, such as “Prius dashboard accessory.” If this is not the case, simply provide a short description of who your target customer is.
  • What is the purpose of your business plan? You need to state whether you are trying to get investments or a bank loan. The executive summary is really only needed when you are sharing your plan with outsiders.
  • Who is your competition? Talk about your competition and describe the strategies you will implement for getting a share of the market. Name your competitive advantages and how you stand out against the competition.
  • How are your finances? You should include a financial analysis to summarize your financial plan. You also need to include all projections for the next three years.
  • What is your size and scale? For instance, if you own an existing company, this information can consist of simply adding your most recent sales numbers. For a start-up, it can be a short description of your goals or aspirations for the next one to three years.
  • Are there any further critical details? You should mention any important, defining detailed information that will be important to whoever reads your summary. For example, you could include that those who founded the company are all local MBA students or any development grants you have received.

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