The executive summary is the very first section of a business plan, but it is the last section you will actually write and perfect. The goal is to introduce your business concept and reveal your overall strategy for making the business a success. After reading this section, an investor should see clearly that you have a viable business idea that has potential for great success.
If an investor gets to the end of your summary and doubts the viability of the business idea or is confused about your business, then you will never secure the funding you need to get started or grow. The details of what will make your business a success are found in the later sections of the business plan, but many investors will not read those sections if the executive summary is not persuasive.
The Mission Statement
If you are struggling to find a starting point for your executive summary, come up with a concise mission statement that communicates why you are in business. This statement should tell the world what your business stands for and what you hope to accomplish beyond just making money. You can use this mission statement toward the end of your opening paragraph in the executive summary, but it may also be repeated in the middle or toward the end of the summary.
History and Structure
You can start your executive summary out with a brief history of your business or the story of how your business concept was formed. You may also want to mention the intended structure of the business. All of this can come right at the front of your summary, but keep it brief. Your history should not take up the entire summary. There is so much more to be covered!
Markets and Numbers
You should talk about your intended market and how your business will stand out from competitors. Get into a bit of numbers crunching as well, but donΓÇÖt go through all of the financials that will be given later in your plan. The goal here is to show that you know your market and that there is a profitable place for your business in that market. The numbers given should entice investors to look further into the plan to see the full financial analysis of your business.
You are free to brag a little in your executive summary. Let everyone know what accomplishments have already been achieved and what accomplishments you look forward to in the future. If you have already made some strides toward success, make sure those strides get their fair credit.
The ending of your executive summary should encourage readers to move forward and read more in the rest of your business plan. All of the information you have presented here is basically a tease to encourage investors to move forward and continue considering your business as an investment option.
Once you write your executive summary, have someone trustworthy and knowledgeable go over it looking for missing details, out of place information, or awkward phrasing. You can then take their recommendations and put the final touches on your summary.