Executive summaries: A key part of your business plan

April 19, 2012 - Tags: Planning

This guest blog post is provided by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency who is responsible for creating opportunities for economic growth in Atlantic Canada.

While the Executive Summary is the first thing readers of your business plan will see, you may want to write it last: leaving it until the end of your planning process allows you to better focus, refine and polish your key messages after you've finished the bulk of the work.

A Summary is ideally just one page long — two pages maximum — as it's only intended to provide an overview. While concise, it should also pique the reader's interest enough to read the rest of your plan with an even keener eye. If your Summary has done its job, your reader will continue reading and get the full story of your business idea.

Some good things to cover in your Executive Summary:

Introduce your business — what it is, what it does, how it does it, who manages it, location, its markets and competition.

Provide a mission statement and vision statement that outline what your goals are and where you want to be in five years.

For potential investors:

  • Say if your business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation
  • Highlight the general business opportunity, expected growth rate and potential for good return on investment (save the details for later)
  • Declare the total financial requirements of the business, funding sources and indicate repayment schedules (again, save your details for your main document)
  • Give brief outlines of your operational and marketing plans

Overall, it's a good idea to use strong, positive language in introducing your business plan in your summary. Also, consider ending it all with a strong declarative sentence that answers the question:  “Why should I invest in this business?”

Did you know?
A business plan is often the first document investors ask to see.
Visit ACOA.gc.ca to find out more and stay tuned for more on these topics:

  • Production planning: show ‘em you can do it
  • All in the numbers: financials for your business plan

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