Executive Summary: Business Plan Basics
The executive summary is potentially the most important section of your business plan. It is normally the first section of your business plan that investors will read, and could be the last if it is poorly written. An executive summary should briefly describe the company, the product or service, and the unique opportunity your company is offering. It should also provide a short description of your key management team members and an outline of the investment you are seeking. Don't forget to tell the reader why you need the money and how and when they can expect to be paid back!
A good executive summary is essentially a condensed but powerful summary of your entire business plan. It creates a first impression in your reader's mind of both you and your business. Use clear and concise language - although this applies to your entire business plan, it is especially important in your executive summary. Use words that command attention, and that get your reader excited about the opportunity you are presenting.
The following excerpt is from David Gumprt's book, "How to Really Create a Successful Business Plan". His insight clarifies the importance of a powerfully written executive summary:
Certainly the most significant part of any business plan is its executive summary. ¾ What is an executive summary? Probably the best way to begin defining it is to explain what it isn't.
The executive summary is not an abstract of the business plan. The executive summary is not an introduction to the business plan. The executive summary is not a preface. The executive summary is not a random collection of highlights.Rather, the executive summary is the business plan in miniature.
The executive summary should stand alone, almost as a kind of business plan within the business plan. It should be logical, clear, interesting - and exciting. A reader should be able to read through it in four or five minutes and understand what makes your business tick. After reading your executive summary, a reader should be prompted to say, "So that's what those people are up to."
Limit the length of your executive summary to no more than 2 to 3 pages and stick to the facts. Investors are searching for evidence that justifies the soundness of your opportunity, and that gets them excited about what you intend to achieve. If your executive summary is clear and concise, you are one step closer to impressing your reader, and on your way to a terrific business plan.
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