Writing Your Concise Executive SummaryJoshua Davis
Your executive summary is hands down the most important part of any document. It is at the beginning of every detailed report because it outlines the key elements of your company, the products and services it offers, what direction you plan to head in the future, and why your ideas will succeed. It’s for this reason that the executive summary is the most and often times only part of your plan that is read by partners, investors and lenders. A quality executive summary needs to pique the interest of the reader in a way that makes him or her believe in your company and even more importantly believe in you.
A strong mission statement sets the stage for every paragraph and page that follows. It is the single idea behind your plan to grow and thrive within your industry. It will need to grab the reader and explain to them in a few short sentences what sets your company apart and how it will carve out its niche in the marketplace.
Company information and management briefly describes the history of your company however brief that might be and how it will be organized and staffed. In it you will lay out when the company was formed, each owner and his position, your management and employee structure along with the location of primary business. This will be the first section of the business plan you write and thus should be the easiest to write as the founders are usually already in place.
The products and services segment of your summary will describe in detail what it is you plan to offer and its uniqueness among other competitors. The key to a quality products summary is to characterize at which stage of the life cycle your product is currently in and how you will develop it in the future.
The financing portion of your plan briefly describes what funds will be needed to procure project development and how it will be used to aide growth. Also included in this section each summary will need to identify where the funds will come from and if outside funding will be needed by way of investors or lenders.
The market analysis along with the risk and opportunity section provide a snapshot of market size, your company’s share, expected growth and projected position in the years to come. An account of the risks of moving forward with your idea as well as the opportunity you plan to seize is beneficial in supporting ones plan for growth and the actions needed to succeed.
Finally, your financial forecast will go at the end of your document to show how each aspect of the executive summary accompanies one another fiscally. Providing this information last helps the reader to better understand the necessary details related to monetary spending and the importance of the capital required for growth.
A well written executive summary will highlight the strengths of your overall plan which is why it is typically the last section you will write. The most important facts sourced from each of the seven major areas within a business plan get minimized to a fraction of the words for simplicity and retentions sake. With exception to the mission statement each section of the executive summary should be no longer than one page long and kept to a concise fashion. The reader will be looking for only the most pertinent information in this section and will reward you for your succinct analysis.
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