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How to Write a Business Plan Executive Summary

Are you looking for the answers to queries like:

  • What should be included in an executive summary?
  • What is the purpose of the executive summary?
  • How to write an executive summary for a business plan?
  • How long should an executive summary be?

You might have already explored tons of executive summary outlines, templates, samples and formats, but still you are confused and don’t know where to start!

Note: Executive summary of business plan is neither a one page business plan, nor the business plan outline; all three are totally different things.

This article will discuss the business plan executive summary in detail, i.e. what exactly is executive summary, what purpose it serves and how to write a convincing executive summary.

Let’s start with the basics….

The Executive Summary is an important section of your business plan; this is your first and most significant opportunity to grab the attention of the reader. Ideally, the business plan’s executive summary should briefly tell the reader where your company is, where you want to take it, and why your business idea will be successful!

If you are seeking financing, the executive summary of your business plan is your first impression to the investors and the saying “First impression is the last impression” is not wrong in this case!

Must Have Contents of Business Plan’s Executive Summary

Ideally, the executive summary of your business plan should highlight the strengths of your overall plan. In other words, it is a brief outline of the company’s purpose and goals, i.e. a good executive summary includes:

  • A brief description of products and services
  • A summary of objectives
  • A solid market description
  • A high-level justification for sustainability of the business model
  • A brief of competition and the competitive advantage
  • A snapshot of growth potential
  • An overview of funding requirements

Well, it may seem a lot to you, but let me tell you how it makes a good executive summary. If you summarize each of the above concern in just one paragraph each, it should be seven to 8 paragraphs in total. Utah State University’s guideline for organizing your writing is an awesome resource to optimize your paragraphs and according to the recommendations in this guide, seven to 8 paragraphs should not go beyond 3 pages, which makes it quite a readable piece of information for the investors.


What Makes an Awesome Business Plan Executive Summary

Remember that a great business solves customer problems and if your executive summary cannot clearly describe this thing in two or three pages, you must have to reconsider it.

Think of it as a snapshot of your business plan; the best way is to write the executive summary is to write it at the end, i.e. once you have all the details in your business plan, you can better summarize everything.

Don’t try to “hype” your business; remember that investors are the people who have in-depth knowledge of analyzing business ideas and they often receive business plans. They know the market well, so make sure not to make any claims that cannot be verified.

If you are an early stage startup and do not have numbers to add, focus on your experience and background as well as the decisions that led you to start this particular venture. In this case, you have to put effort in demonstrating your thorough market analysis that convinces the reader that you can succeed in your target market.


The Bottom Line:

Remember, the executive summary of your business plan will be the last thing you write. But, since it appears as the first part of your business plan, each word should count!

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