When you’re starting a business, one of the most important documents you’ll need to create is a business plan. A well-written business plan can help you secure funding from investors, convince suppliers to do business with you, and give you a roadmap for how your business will grow.
Wondering how to develop a good business plan? In addition to all of the usual sections–like your company overview, products and services, market analysis, and financial projections–you also need to write an executive summary. The executive summary will decide whether potential investors will read the next sections of your business plan, which is why it’s the most crucial part of your proposal.
In this article, we’ll discuss what an executive summary is, tips for writing a good one, and the mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
What Is an Executive Summary, and Why Do You Need One?
An executive summary is a brief, yet comprehensive overview of your business plan. It should touch on all of the key points of your business, and then convince the reader to keep reading.
You can think of it as a preview of what’s to come, written in a concise, easy-to-understand format that describes your company goals, objectives, and projected financial impact. Although all sections of your business plan are important, the executive summary is critical because investors will base their decision on whether or not to read the rest of your proposal on how well you write it.
What’s more, if you’re writing for potential investors, they might even turn down a well-written business plan that doesn’t include an executive summary, which is why it might be a good idea to invest in a dedicated freelance business plan writer.
How to Write an Executive Summary for Your Business Plan
Now that you know why an executive summary is important, it’s time to learn how to write one–but before you set out to write an executive summary, make sure you’re clear about what a business plan is and why it’s important.
With that being said, here are a few tips to help you write your summary:
1. Start With a Bang
When readers see the first sentence of your executive summary, they should be hooked immediately. This means that you need to start with a strong opening that will grab their attention and keep them reading.
2. Explain Your Business in Detail
Your executive summary should provide a detailed overview of your entire business plan, including its core ideas and projected financial impact. This means that you need to describe all aspects of your company in enough detail so that readers can easily understand what it is and how it will succeed.
3. Back Up Your Claims With Data
When you’re writing an executive summary, it’s important to back up all of your claims with relevant data and statistics. This can include things like market research or financial projections, which will help illustrate the potential value of your business.
4. Use Persuasive Language
An executive summary is not the time to be shy–you need to use persuasive language that will convince readers to invest in your business. This means using strong verbs and making bold statements about your company’s potential.
5. Keep It Short and Sweet
Although you want to include all of the important details about your business in your executive summary, you also need to keep it concise. Aim for no more than two or three pages, and use clear, direct language.
6. Include a Call to Action
Your executive summary should end with a strong call to action that encourages readers to learn more about your business. This can be something as simple as inviting them to read the next sections of your business plan, or a suggestion to get in touch with you for more information.
What Are the Mistakes to Avoid When Writing an Executive Summary?
Just as there are steps you can take to write a strong executive summary, there are also mistakes that you should avoid at all costs. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t be vague or overly general. Your executive summary should be detailed and specific, not just a vague overview of your business.
- Don’t include anything that isn’t relevant to your goals as a company. An executive summary is meant to highlight the most important aspects of your business, so save the details for later sections.
- Don’t be afraid to make bold claims. When you’re writing an executive summary, it’s okay to be confident and assertive in your language. Just remember to back up your statements with data and statistics.
- Don’t forget to proofread. Once you’ve finished writing your executive summary, be sure to proofread it carefully for any errors or typos. This is not the time to skimp on quality and may be another reason to hire a professional business plan writer.