Business plan: What you need to have in your executive summary

In a previous post, I shared with you what a business plan is all about. I clarified you on when to use a formal business plan – with investors and bankers. Your business plan must not be a long document – it can be just the executive summary. That piece of paper that you jotted down your business idea  in bullet points and how you plan to achieve them is still a business plan.

I also share with you the specific elements that make up a formal business plan. One of such elements is the executive summary which is what we will see below. You should take note that a business plan is a dynamic document that needs to be updated regularly depending on your business’ health. That said, let’s see what an executive summary is all about.

What is an executive summary?

It is a snapshot or summary of your business plan. It gives a summary of your business profile and goals to be attained. This is where you need to grab your reader’s attention. If they are satisfied with this, they can then go ahead and read the entire business proposal.

The executive summary must have the following main points:

  • Business description
  • The problem your business plans to solve
  • The market you are targeting and
  • Financial highlights

An executive business plan is sometimes called a one-page business plan. It is very important for you especially if you are writing a formal business plan to show bankers or investors. You may want to know today that most people will read only the executive summary meanwhile the others will start with it before deciding if they will read the remaining document.

Your executive summary will be best when it covers only one page and not more. It may not be that easy to come up with an executive summary. However, let me share with you some must-have content:

  • Your profile:  who you are and your contact details.
  • Product description: Describe the product or service you want to sell – don’t forget to inform the reader about the problem you want to solve.
  • Your target market: you need to give a short description of your target market. This should include your primary audience – those who will pay for your solution.
  • Reasons for writing: Why are you writing a business plan? You have to present the purpose for you writing a business plan. It may be you want to secure a loan or to seek external funding from investors. This means you need this only if you plan to share your business plan with partners.
  • Your business size: this will include scale, forecasts (sale) and margins. If you already have an existing business, then you’ll find very little problem coming up with this. New businesses will need to share with the investor or banker their aspirations and sales forecasts for the next three years minimum.
  • Share some details: it can be that of the shareholders, founders (educational background), awards and grants.

The above is a summary on how you can write a one page business plan or executive summary. As I said above, some readers will not go beyond the executive summary of your business plan. In this case, your content should be brief enough but carry the above information.

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This content has been prepared for information purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, accounting or legal advice. You need to consult your own tax, accounting or legal advisors before engaging in any transaction.

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