Why the Executive Summary is Important
- The Executive Summary is the most important section of a business plan because if the reader’s interest isn’t captured early on the plan is unlikely to get read.
- The Executive Summary is the first item that appears in a business plan. It is a short overview of the entire plan and provides a busy reader with everything that needs to be known about the new venture’s distinctive nature.
- The most important thing to remember when writing an Executive Summary is that it’s not an introduction or a preface to the business plan. Instead, it is meant to be a summary of the plan itself.
Purpose of Executive Summary
- The Executive Summary is a short overview of the entire plan and is the first item that appears in the business plan
- In many instances, an investor will first ask for an Executive Summary and will only request a full business plan if the Executive Summary is convincing
- Rather than serving as an introduction to the plan, the Executive Summary is intended to be a summary that provides readers with a good sense of the entirety of the plan itself
Format of Executive Summary
- The Executive Summary should not exceed three double-spaced pages.
- The cleanest format is one that follows the structure and order of the plan on a section-by-section basis.
- Write the Executive Summary last to make sure it accurately reflects the entirety of the business plan
- An Executive Summary is a summation of the entire report. Don’t actually use chapter or section headings in your Executive Summary – it would make it unnecessarily long with too much white space.
- Just be sure that you incorporate brief content in the Executive Summary that covers the topics that are most important for your particular business.
- Make them flow in the same sequence as the body of the report.
Content of Executive Summary
- Each paragraph of the Executive Summary contains a synopsis of a section in the broader business plan
- It’s important that the first section of the Executive Summary, covering the company description, begins by describing the opportunity and shows how the proposed business meets the opportunity
- Most experts recommend that the Executive Summary amount of funding that you are requesting and the amount of equity the business is willing to surrender (in a section called “Status and Offering”)
Chapter 8 is a short chapter that winds up the business plan. There are only three topic areas in the chapter.
8.0 STATUS AND OFFERING
8.1 Amount Requested from Investors
8.2 Equity Stake Being Offered to Investors
8.3 Reasons Why The Investment is a Good Idea
In 8.1 you identify the amount you are looking for from the investor. This should be identical to the amount that is shown in the Source and Use of Funds Statement in Chapter 7, so there is nothing to invent here.
In 8.2 you identify the share of the business that you will offer to the investor in exchange for the equity contribution you describe in 8.1. Tomorrow’s announcement discusses how the business is valued and how ownership is computed. You need to apply that logic in this section to deduce a percentage share of the business that you are willing to give up for the new equity.
In 8.3 you simply condense and reiterate the positive marketing message about your company that you have been building throughout the business plan.
In short, the chapter’s message is: We want this. We will give you that. Here’s why our offer is good for you.
- The Reference section (Chapter 9) should include details of all the citations that you have made in your Business Plan.
- Only include a reference if you have either excerpted information from a research source or paraphrased content from that research and have cited the research in the body of your Business Plan.
- If you reviewed the research work as part of your background information gathering, but content from that work was not directly used or paraphrased in your Business Plan, do not include any reference to this research.
- Show all references in APA format.