The executive summary is often considered the most important section of a business plan. This section briefly tells your 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 is also your first opportunity to grab a potential investor’s interest.
The executive summary should highlight the strengths of your overall plan and therefore be the last section you write. However, it usually appears first in your business plan document.
The section will vary depending on whether your business is established or if it is a startup or new business.
What to Include in Your Executive Summary If You Are an Established Business
Mission Statement– This explains the purpose of your business. It should be between several sentences and a paragraph.
Company Information – Include a short statement that covers when your business was formed, the names of the founders and their roles, the number of employees, and your business location(s).
Growth Highlights– Include examples of company growth, such as financial or market highlights (for example, “XYZ Firm increased profit margins and market share year-over-year since its foundation”). Graphs and charts can be helpful in this section.
Your Products/Services – Briefly describe the products or services you provide.
Financial Information– If you are seeking financing, include any information about your current bank and investors.
Summarize future plans– Explain where you would like to take your business.
With the exception of the mission statement, all of the information in the executive summary should be covered in a concise fashion and kept to one page. The executive summary is the first part of your business plan many people will see, so each word should count.
What to Include in Your Executive Summary If You Are a Startup or New Business
If you are just starting a business, you won’t have as much information as an established company. Instead, focus on your experience and background as well as the decisions that led you to start this particular enterprise.
Demonstrate that you have done thorough market analysis. Include information about a need or gap in your target market, and how your particular solutions can fill it. Convince the reader that you can succeed in your target market, then address your future plans.