The introductory chapter of each business plan is executive summary. Although it seems to be a simple résumé of the document, there are several points that have to be addressed to write it professionally. Ten key aspectsare outlined below, which help to compose a good summary for a business plan.
1. Executive summary is a brief and concrete writing that gives a cross-section of all business plan chapters.
2. Keep that writing as short as possible – even in case of large business plans one A4 page with Times New Roman single spaced font will do. The person who uses Your plan for decision making (e.g. loan or grant issuer) might not have time to study a 20-30 page document in detail, so first quick impression matters a lot!
3. The summary should outline the most important aspects of all chapters, which in turn can be industry specific. For instance,a plan describing unique product would demand a thorough description of the good itself, in contrary to a plan focusing on product known to market and having a lot of competitors.
4. After reading the summary, audience should get answers to several standard questions: what do You plan to do?, why do You plan to do it?, how do You plan to do it?, when do You plan to do it? etc.
5. It must attract readers’ interest – dull and common summary is not a good start-point for having readers’ attention.
6. Every business incorporates risk, which should be properly outlined in other business plan chapters, but it is not rational to list possible negative outcomes in executive summary. Otherwise the general impression for a reader is that You don’t believe in that business idea Yourself.
7. It is better to avoid hesitation, e.g. formulations like “if everything goes well, there is market for our product”. Instead, confidence in the idea,e.g. by stating “our specific research shows that potential market for our product is composed of following segments”, should be presented.
8. Don’t forget to add some important numbers (e.g. expected sales figures, profitability measures, investment amount, potential market size and expected number of customers) to executive summary.
9. Do not use very simple language, but also avoid sophistication by applying words, for understanding of which reader might need a dictionary.
10. Executive summary is the name card of Your business – compose it as devotedly as You design Your name card.
Previous list might not be comprehensive and depending on specific circumstances additional important aspects can be outlined. Still, the application of given guidelines will not only make Your summary better, but will help to show Your business idea in good light.