Business Plan – The Executive Summary

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A poorly written executive summary is often the reason why you don’t find investors for your business, no matter how qualified your team and you are, no matter how great the business idea. All potential investors and business consultants, bankers and other experts, read the executive summary to gain a general view over your business, your niche and your capabilities. The executive summary tells them whether it is safe to invest or not. It is in your best interest write your  business   plan  in a professional, accurate manner. It is in your best interest to be honest to yourself and your potential business partners or else you’ll fail.

You should include in your executive summary all major information about your  planned   business  in a concise, clear manner. The readers should understand from its contents the main points of the complete  business   plan , without being forced to read it all. Business people, especially those dealing with finances, are busy people. The moment you waste their time with biased information you “win” negative points that will influence their decision to (probably) a negative course.

Don’t write your executive summary for yourself: write it for your readers. Ask yourself who are those people, what’s their educational background, what information really matters for them or what information is most likely to influence a positive decision. When you deal with a highly technical business you might need to include technical descriptions in your executive summary as well. But are your readers going to understand your message without being forced to open a slang dictionary? It is in your best interest that they do. Try to use less technical terms and when needed, provide an addendum to clarify the slang terms. Believe it: the ones really interested in the technical details of your  business  will read the whole  business   plan .

The executive summary is a part of your  business   plan  and not a separate document. It is placed at the beginning of the plan and not at the end (yes, this happens too!). It should not be longer than one page, but many times, especially large businesses cannot settle for such a short summary. If you really need to include that much information, keep your executive summary at two pages tops. Other interested readers often read this document and it is often open for the media, as it contains all the major information about your business. All in one: the executive summary is a  business   plan  “in miniature”.

So don’t waste your chances by giving irrelevant details. Include the main ideas, the main strengths and facts, what is really important about your business, what makes it unique or different, explain why this is going to be a successful investment and if there are any risks, don’t be afraid to mention them (but don’t forget to include the “how you are going to overcome or deal with the risks” point).

And one last tip: the executive summary should be the last thing you write. It may sound like a paradox, since the executive summary’s place is at the very beginning of the  business   plan , but this is the best practice: write it after all your ideas are clear, in place and have a proper structure.


Source by Michael Russell

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