The executive summary is a crucial part of your business plan. whether you are a Start-up or Growing Business It is the first - and possibly last! - thing that an investor, bank or partner will read. They say that people make up their mind about someone within seconds of meeting. The executive summary is similar - if you don't strike the right tone it will only be a matter of seconds before you hear the dull thud of your professional business plan hitting the reject pile. So, here are a few tips to increase your chances of getting your audience to read it, and read on.
1. Write It Last
The executive summary is the culmination of your business planning - not the start point. It should illustrate how joined up and complete your business proposition is. If you write it early on you are likely to create a disconnect between your executive summary and the content of your business plan. A good way to start is to summarise the content from sections of the plan. Then link them up and edit to create a compelling story....
2. Horses for Courses - Write for Your Audience
Make the purpose of the plan clear (raising funding? which type? etc.) and tweak your executive summary for your audience. If you are writing for an equity investor make sure you include a section on investment, ROI etc.. Likewise, if you are looking for a bank loan make sure you tick all the boxes in terms of lending criteria. Make sure it is crystal clear what you want from whoever is reading your business plan.
3. "Leave them Wanting More...
.. and you know they'll read on" (abridged. Bobby Womak). It needs to be complete in itself. It also needs to be short, to the point. And most of all - compelling. No one invests or signs of debt finance on the basis of an executive summary (if you know someone let me know). It is designed to give enough information to create interest and compel the reader to read on. So, make sure you cover the Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? of your business proposition. Keep sentences short for impact. And entice the reader to read on ...
P.S. If you are looking to get someone to help you develop your Executive Summary and Business Plan check out our tips about selecting a business plan consultant.
The Business Plan Team
The Business Plan Team specialises in helping entrepreneurs, start-ups and growing businesses translate their vision into a coherent and executable business plan that can help secure funding and guide internal management. It provides a range of services from early feasibility studies through professional business plan development, to introductions to sources of funding. It is based in just outside Oxford, UK.
- Jon Hunt is the Lead Consultant for The Business Plan Team which works with entrepreneurs, start-ups and growing businesses that need help developing a professional business plan to secure funding and guide internal management. It has developed business plans for a wide range of businesses and corporate clients looking to raise funding of between £50,000 and £200million in many different industry sectors including Social Media, Retail, Construction, Mining, Renewable Energy, Technology, Healthcare, Interior Design, Sport & Leisure, Investment Banking, Wealth Management and Trading. Testimonials from these clients illustrate the high levels of service TBPT provides.