Business Plan Tools & Guidelines

Executive Summary

Executive Summary, business plan, business plan summary, potential investorsWhen preparing business plans, the executive summary requires particularly close attention. The executive summary, which is of crucial importance, should present the entire business plan in no more than two pages at the beginning of the plan.

Investors - Capture their attention!

  • A business plan should put the best possible face on your company or business, whether it is projected or already in existence.
  • Most potential investors are far too busy to read endless reports or plans. To obtain a first impression, they first look at the summary. Perhaps they might even just glance at the finances. Only after the summary has caught their interest will they decide to devote some time to reading the whole plan. Aim to capture their attention in a punchy summary.
You have to communicate the essentials of your plan to the potential investor. Do not confuse investors with too much sophistication or scholarship. Follow the KISS principle. Keep it simple, stupid. Make the plan as digestible and realistic as you can.

The Executive Summary Format

While there are no strict guidleines, here are the main topics to be covered:
  • a brief description of the business or company — providing a mission statement and objectives
  • a description of the product and its competitiveness
  • a short presentation of the team of people behind the business
  • an estimate of market size
  • the key measures for success
  • an emphasis on the financial upside
  • formulation of the request for investment
Convince readers of the market need for the particular product or service that you are offering. State what you are going to do better and how you will solve the problems of the existing market. To assist readability, insert a table of contents immediately after the summary. Make it easy to locate the specific sections in your business plan with an Executive Summary.