A business plan is the blueprint for your business. Whether you have a startup or a well-established company, a business plan helps you keep a clear picture of goals and objectives, implementation strategies, and progress tracking. The executive summary is one of the most important parts of a business plan. This one-to-two-page summary lays out the key points of the business plan and should be written to grab the reader’s attention. Ultimately, it must be concise. Read on to learn more about how to write an executive summary for a business plan.
Types of Business Plans
Standard business plans are detailed documents that provide an in-depth blueprint for the business’s operations, strategies, and goals. They provide detailed market analysis, financial projections, operational frameworks, marketing strategies, and more.
Lean business plans, on the other hand, take a more distilled, focused approach to communicating this information. They only emphasize key elements such as the business’s concept and essential strategies. These plans prioritize simplicity and flexibility, serving as documents that can adapt swiftly to market conditions. They are usually used by startups, entrepreneurs, and businesses seeking a more adaptable framework that communicates the core essentials without getting lost in extensive details.
What Should a Standard Executive Summary Contain?
An executive summary is the prelude to your business plan, summarizing its core components with the goal of grabbing the reader’s interest and encouraging further engagement with the rest of the document. Critical information to include in your executive summary includes the following.
Your executive summary should begin with a brief introduction to the business by outlining its objectives. It should set the stage for the reader to understand what the business is really about.
Company History and Team Overview
If the business is already established, the company history and team overview describe where it is located, how long it has been in operation, and the names of core team members, highlighting their expertise, experience, and contributions to the venture.
Highlight how the business’s product or service sets it apart from market competitors and why it will appeal to the target customer.
Show that you understand the market and industry sectors where you sell your products or services and the factors that affect them.
Outline the business’s operational plan and how it intends to achieve its objectives. This section may include production, marketing, sales, and distribution strategies.
Briefly highlight the business’s financial projections and any needed startup costs. Be sure to include any revenue forecasts, expenses, and projected profitability. This helps the reader gauge the business’s potential for growth and sustainability.
What Should a Lean Startup Business Plan’s Executive Summary Contain?
A lean business plan is much shorter than a traditional business plan, and thus its executive summary should be condensed as well. Typically, it will cover four core elements:
- Value proposition. Highlight the unique value the business offers to its customers, emphasizing what sets it apart from competitors and why customers should choose its products or services.
- Key partnerships, resources, and activities. Briefly outline the business’s partnerships, essential resources, and core activities that contribute to the business’s value.
- Target customer. Define the target customer, the channels used to reach them, and techniques for establishing a standout, satisfactory customer experience.
- Revenue streams. Outline how the business will generate income, emphasizing the primary revenue streams and potential diversification options.
This structure is ideal for entrepreneurs who would like to start a business quickly. It can also be used to summarize businesses that are straightforward and fairly easy to explain.
Writing Your Executive Summary
The executive summary is the first of the business plan that investors will read—and could be the last if it is poorly written. If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing your business plan, there are resources that can help. You can find a plethora of business plan executive summary examples on the internet to help you get started. Here are some tips for writing a concise and effective executive summary:
- Begin at the end. You can’t properly summarize your business plan until it is fully written.
- Keep it short. Balance keeping your executive summary succinct with clearly articulating key aspects of your business.
- Prioritize impactful information. Highlight your business’s unique value propositions, market validation, and revenue models as concisely as possible.
- Engage the audience. Your business plan is a call to action. You should customize your summary for your audience, emphasizing what’s most relevant to them to persuade them to keep reading.
Remember that the executive summary is the first thing someone sees when they read your business plan. Keeping the viewer engaged while delivering the most relevant information regarding your business is the key.
If you have questions about how to write an executive summary for a business plan, the Houston business formation team at the Curley Law Firm is here to help. We dedicate much of our practice to business law matters and have over a decade of experience assisting clients in Texas. Call our office today to set up a consultation, or fill out our online contact form to get started.