The Business Plan Summary or Executive Summary is the first page in your business plan to be read (after the cover page), but it needs to be the last page that is written. Each section of the business plan itself needs to be thought through carefully in order for you to get the most valuable document you can for your business.
- Business Plan Cover
- Purpose of the Plan
- Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- Description/Location of the Business
- Market Analysis
- Products and Services
- Organization and Management
- Marketing and Sales Management
- The Financials of the Business
- Appendices of Supporting Documents
The Business Plan Summary should be no more than two pages. We think anything over three-quarters of one page is probably too long. The summary should be just that…a summary of your entire plan.
It needs to be written in the most interesting fashion possible. It needs to be written in a way that paints a picture of what you are trying to accomplish. You want your reader to read your Executive Summary and want to learn more about your company. If, for example, you can get your banker to generate a little enthusiasm toward your business based on what he or she is reading, you are one step closer to getting the loan that you want.
One CAUTION: We suggested above that the Executive Summary is the first thing read, but the last thing written. The trouble with that scenario is that you will be physically and emotionally tired of this document by the time you complete it and possibly in no mood to do a great job on the summary.
Here’s a tip: As you complete each section of the plan, summarized that section while it is still fresh in your mind. Each section summary should not be more than a five- or six-sentence paragraph. Then, when you complete the last section of the business plan you will also be preparing to complete the last one paragraph summary.
Combine all of these various paragraphs together into one document and begin to either rewrite it or edit it. By taking the time to create the summary as you complete a section, you will not have to constantly go back to the larger document as you are writing the Executive Summary. It speeds the process and will help you create a better summary.
The Summary needs to be well organized taking the reader from one logical section to the next. This is easily done by following the line-up of sections in the document.