What Is an Executive Summary? FAQ: Executive Summaries Explained

The executive summary is the first part of every business plan, and it is used to explain – briefly – the critical elements to a specific business’ success. Most executive summaries include the business proposal, financial projections, and where the business stands today.

When Should I Write My Executive Summary?

Even though the executive summary comes first in your business plan, it’s probably a good idea to write it last, if at all possible. The reason why is that a good executive summary takes into account all of the research, statistics and information listed in the entire business plan and molds it down into a shortened explanation for potential investors. And since most investors read the executive summary first, it is wise to ensure it is the most polished portion of your business plan.

What Do I Need to Cover In My Executive Summary?

First and foremost, you’ll want to discuss your company’s mission statement, i.e. the reasoning why your business is important, what goals it plans to achieve, and how it plans to achieve them. As well, you’ll need to provide a concise explanation of what your business does, what sort of advantages your business plans on holding and in which markets, and why your business should exist or what kind of demand there is for your products and services. You’ll also need to discuss the financial outlook for the business (including start-up costs and projections), as well as where your business stands as an entity (i.e have you started the business yet or has it been in your family already for three decades). Finally, you’ll need to consider and write about what factors will determine the success or failure of your business, such as market fluctuations, staffing issues and/or patents.

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