How to Write a Strong Executive Summary for a Business Plan

A strong executive summary can set the stage for a successful business plan.
A strong executive summary can set the stage for a successful business plan. (Image: Kutay Tanir/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A business plan is a document that outlines your target market, strategies and financial considerations. Business plans are used as a road maps for business owners. You can also use a business plan as a way to present your business to prospective lenders or investors when trying to secure funding. One of the most important pieces of the business plan is the executive summary, which concisely communicates the key objectives of your business. A strong executive summary can make or break your business plan.

Write a brief overview of your company's history for the opening paragraph of the executive summary. Keep this overview to a few sentences at most. Include information about the company's founders, executive team and legal structure. Use the last sentence of the opening paragraph of your executive summary to clearly state your goals and objectives. This is especially important for potential investors who may skim your business plan. The key here is to communicate specific, measurable goals that you hope to accomplish with your company.

Write a mission statement that explains the reasons why your company is in business. A mission statement can be something as simple as "changing lives through innovation." Make sure your mission statement is in line with your company's core values.

Write a paragraph that discusses your business concept. The business concept is a description of your business that communicates the products or services you're selling, the customers whom you're selling your products and services to, and the competitive advantages your company has over its competitors.

Write a brief financial overview. The executive summary should give a glimpse at some financial information about your company, including your forecasted revenues, expenses and cash flow. If you're seeking start-up capital from investors, write down how much money you're seeking, how you'll use the money, and the return on investment you expect for investors.

Include a paragraph that talks about your company's achievements to date. Include information about patents, licenses, locations, new product developments and marketplace position.

Write a summary paragraph that provides an outline for what the rest of the business plan will communicate. After reading the executive summary, your reader should know what to expect in the rest of the business plan she's about to read. End the executive summary section by re-stating your company's objectives.

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