What is an executive summary in a business plan?

WHAT IS AN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY IN A BUSINESS PLAN?

You have just finished writing the body of your business plan. Your document reflects your future business. You are assured that it will convince your banker to support you in your project. However, everything will depend on the last step of writing your business plan: the executive summary. Indeed, this is the part that will or will not make your financial partners want to read your business plan. Kind of like the back cover of a novel. To give your idea every chance of success, follow our guide to writing a compelling executive summary. It is usually 2 to 4 pages long and highlights the key features of your business plan.

DEFINITION OF EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The executive summary, or “operational summary” is the summary of your business plan. It allows you to quickly present the interest of your project in two minutes. Investors receive dozens of business plans every day, that’s why they can’t read them all. They, therefore, rely on this executive summary to select the business plan likely to interest them.

Purpose for readers

It illustrates the main features of your business in a way that urges the readers to learn more. It must have enough information for investors. That allows them to understand the potential behind your business, without reading your entire plan.

It is a synopsis of your whole business plan. That leaves readers with the feeling that the business is efficiently run, and has strength and passion.

Purpose for Business

It summarizes your business plan and helps to concentrate on the key issues in the development of a business plan. The executive summary consists of valuable details. So it helps you to find out which part of your entire business plan is more crucial and needs more attention. It also provides you a good base for writing the full business plan.

THE PRESENTATION OF THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The first thing to know about the operational summary is that it is placed at the beginning of the business plan. But it should be written at the end of it, just like an introduction to an essay.

This part should not exceed two pages. Keep in mind that lenders will only give it a few minutes, so it should be concise and to the point. It is best to write small paragraphs, each with a key point to make the executive summary easier to read. Using graphics or infographic will also make it easier to capture your reader’s attention.

Last but not least, remember that it has to “sell” the interest of your business plan, without overselling. You should, therefore, avoid arousing the disappointment of your reader as much as possible, if they decide to open your document.

THE CONTENT OF THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The executive summary should allow the reader to get a good general idea of ​​the business plan, without having to read it in its entirety. There are several things you need to address in your executive summary:

  • The origins of your idea and the problem it will solve,
  • The solution you are going to respond,
  • The business model of your enterprise (how you plan to make money),
  • Your competitive advantage,
  • The members of your team and their areas of expertise,
  • Your three-year results projections,
  • The amount of your financing needs (this is often what entrepreneurs forget in their operational summary, yet it is a crucial point).
  • As you can see, it is a real exercise in style to manage to synthesize all this information in just two pages.

What to avoid?

An executive summary should be written in a fascinating way.  Don’t write them in the form of outlines, tables of contents, and list of elements. Evade using exaggeration or hype, because it can lower the confidence and credibility of your business plan. Its content should not be in cut and pasted form. Rather, it should be unique and fresh. 

Importance of Executive summary

An executive summary is an initial representation that describes your complete business plan. It provides the condensed and summarized version of your business plan. A well-written executive summary helps to grab the attention of readers. It is perhaps the most important part of the document, as in many cases, it will influence the reader’s opinion.

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