What Is The Executive Summary For?
The executive summary appears at the beginning of a business plan and it is designed to give an overview of your plan, highlighting the most important information. Think of it as your ‘elevator pitch’ – it should include points that you will expand on later in your plan. The aim is to sell your idea to the reader, and convince them to read more and invest in your business (if that’s what your objective is).
What To Include In Your Executive Summary
The executive summary should include your business’s name and location, and introduce the reader to the product or service you want to sell, your background, and the purpose of your business plan. For example, are you looking for a loan or investment? State how much you require and any equity ownership on offer, if relevant. Other points to include are your objectives, a description of the market, your projected sales and profits, and your plans for success. If there is a part of your business plan that you don’t want people to miss, be sure to add it in here.
How Long Should Your Executive Summary Be?
Ideally, your executive summary should only be one or two pages long, but this may depend on how long your business plan itself is. For example, if your business plan is very long – over 50 or even 100 pages – it stands to reason that your executive summary will be longer than if your business plan is only 20 pages long. Generally, the summary should be focused and condensed, so keep it brief but do provide the ‘best bits’ of your plan to draw investors in.
How To Format Your Executive Summary
Since you want to make your executive summary brief and skimmable, don’t be afraid to use some different formatting and visuals to highlight some of your points. Bullet points and headings make it easy to pick out information at a glance, while you could use a chart or two to show your financial or sales projections. This helps you to save on words, keeping things brief and easy to read.
Don’t Write Your Executive Summary First
As writing the executive summary relies on you already knowing information that will appear in other parts of your business plan, don’t try to write it first. There is no rule to say you have to write your business plan sections in the order they will eventually appear in. In fact, it’s far easier to write your executive summary last, once you have all the information you need – rather than staring at a blank page wondering how to begin.
Writing a business plan can be a daunting prospect, and the executive summary is just the beginning. If you need some help with writing yours, that’s what we’re here for – contact cbm to find out how we can help you with your executive summary and the rest of your business plan.