If you’re planning to establish your own business, one of most important things you have to do is to prepare a business plan. A business plan will help you put into black-and-white the details of your business, such as your company’s mission statement, start-up costs, the systems that you will implement, and your financial plans and projections. The executive summary is the best reflection of your business, and it’s important that you know how to prepare it the right way.
Know the purposes of the executive summary. The executive summary is the overview of the business plan. It should effectively capture the most important details of your business plan in a succinct and comprehensive manner. In other words, a person who reads the executive summary should get a clear concept of the details of your proposed business.
Know the components of the executive summary. The executive summary should contain the following: a description of your company, products/services; your mission statement; who your target market is; an overview of your business processes; advertising plans; financial projections; and a summary statement.
Leave the creation of the executive summary for last. Because your executive summary is your business plan’s overview, it’s best that you have already determined the actual details of your business before you attempt to create the summary.
Keep the executive summary short. The executive summary will be read most of all by investors, lenders and bank managers, and you will want to capture their attention without taking up too much of their time. The rule of thumb is to keep the executive summary no more than two pages long.
Tailor the executive summary to your readers. If you are creating an executive summary for investors, it’s good to focus your summary on how the products/services your company offers are better than those offered by your competitors. If you are going to hire advertising companies to advertise your company and you like them to know what your company is all about, you could highlight your mission statement and the characteristics of your target market.
Present the facts. Avoid being too subjective when writing your executive summary. It’s important to back statements with actual figures. For example, if you say that your staff is composed of highly-trained professionals, you could specify their credentials and educational experience.
Use words clearly and avoid jargon. This is important to remember if your business is highly specialized. Remember that it’s more likely that business people will be the ones to read your executive summary. Have a trusted friend read over your executive summary and ask if he can easily understand it.
Use strong and straightforward words and statements. Write in the active voice instead of the passive voice. The active voice denotes stronger and more clear-cut statements. Instead of saying, “Customized baked goods are produced by XYZ Company,” say, “XYZ company produces customized baked goods.”
Remember that the executive summary can be considered the most important part of the business plan, because it is the one that gets read the most. It also serves to encourage readers to find out more about your business. Look for samples of executive summaries through the Internet, and use them as guides for creating your own. Good luck!