O executive summary is an initial summary of the business plan. A kind of appetizer that illustrates what the reader will find from there, if asked to continue reading the document. We will explain everything about the topic in this article.
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How to make a business plan
In this article we will talk about:
- What is the executive summary
- Have different executive summary templates
- Essential parts of executive summary
- How to make the executive summary of your business plan
- Executive summary ready for print
The Executive Summary is the first part of your business plan and serves to provide details and information that may arouse the interest of a reader. Obviously, if your executive summary of your NP is not well written, it probably will not make that person interested in moving on reading.
In this sense, it serves to:
- Enable rapid assessment of the company and its plans (financial and future)
- Conduct understanding of the business plan and what the reader will find in it
Although it is the section that opens your business plan, it is the last part to be written because it depends on all the data collected and projected in the final document.
Another cool point to note is that you may have different readers and because of this it makes sense to create different versions of the executive summary in your business plan sheet to be able to better target the reading according to the interest of that specific audience.
The main types of executive summary readers are:
- Investors - interested in making money in the business, usually look more closely at the financial possibilities of return that idea may have
- Financial Institution - as they will do financing or loan, a very positive point is the past experience, capacity of payment and guarantees that will be offered in case the business does not go forward
- Potential partners - When presenting the idea to another person is necessary to understand what motivates it. I have seen cases of people who were much more interested in the purpose of the business than in their financial return
- Friends and family "They'll usually give you an opinion about your idea." In these cases, clarity and simplicity are worth more than expressive numbers, because what counts are the tips they will give related to the business model or ideas that can help what is already outlined
- Partners - As any partnership involves the exchange of mutual benefits, it pays to have a field to present what these advantages would be
Now, regardless of whether you make an executive summary for a friend, partner or investor, some essential parts will appear in all cases.
I consider that there are 5 fairly important parts of an executive summary. The truth is that their order may vary, but in general, they must always be present in this business plan document. Let's show practical examples taken from our business plan in excel:
- 1 - Business Summary or Introductiono: this is a description of your business that briefly points out the position of the company, its products and what sets it apart from competitors.
- 2 - Partners or Project Team: where you will talk a bit more about the experience of the people who will work in the business and why they are prepared for the challenge.
- 3 - Resource Source and Financial Summary: Despite having the complete summary with tables and charts in the business plan, here you will describe what matters most of all the data presented throughout the PN. It usually involves talking about key financial metrics, initial investments needed, and revenue projections.
- 4 - Long-Term View: This is the time to show where the business can develop and what the long-term goals are. While this exercise may be a bit more difficult to do, it may be an excellent time for you to show the capacity the company has
- 5 - Financial Chart: For your summary not to be a text-only block, having a chart that demonstrates exactly the path you expect to have can help with that view.
The truth is that there is not much mystery, since the executive summary is nothing more than a compilation of information you already have. As I said at the beginning of this article, although it appears at the beginning, it will be the last thing to do because it consolidates the key information generated throughout your planning and business plan creation.
Perhaps the most important tip is to make your executive summary objective and practical to read. In this sense, I recommend a maximum of two pages (I even prefer the one page summaries). Here is an example of a customized executive summary of our business plan worksheet:
To get this result, simply compile the information you add throughout your business plan sheet and leave it all out.
Although it is a logical job to do, if you try to solve it all alone it can take much longer than you would like. This is why I always recommend the ready structure of our business plan sheet. She is perfect because she has all the fields you need to fill already ready for you and still gives you an executive summary ready to print:
It makes it much easier to show your ideas to whoever your target audience is.