Executive Summary of the Business Plan: tips to stand out

Executive summary

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Executive Summary: how to attract your investors with a single glance?

We have already introduced the section of Executive Summary in the last article of BP part one, and we have explained in what it consists of and why it is so important.

There is no precise list of contents and outline of an Executive Summary because its content will have to be shaped on the company, its partners and business goals. Therefore, we leave you some tips according to the purposes and the interlocutors.

In this article, we would like to give you few tips to help you in the elaboration of your Executive Summary to impress your audience.

Let’s start!

Tips for an executive summary for everyone

Here is a list of the most common topics to include in a generic Executive Summary:

  • Management background: who you are, what is your history as entrepreneur, what are your previous experiences and the results obtained;
  • Products and services: the core business of the company, what are the peculiarities of the products/services and what is their added value for customers;
  • Target market sectors: at which markets the initiative is aimed and why they have been identified as potentially interesting, what are the future growth prospects of the market segments it intends to cover;
  • Marketing plan: what is the marketing mix, what are the marketing strategies and tactics, what kind of channels do you intend to use and in what way;
  • Financial plan: what is the company’s capital requirement and how it intends to have access to the necessary financial resources.

To be effective, capture attention and convince, the Executive Summary must be:

  • Brief: the Executive Summary must briefly deal with all the points of the business plan that will be developed later.
  • Clear: it must indicate which are the goals of the company, which are the target markets and with which products and services you want to approach. But, above all, a business plan must be sustainable. It is useless to set (and propose to stakeholders) too ambitious goals, difficult to reach.
  • Debated and concrete: it must support the business idea with realistic and credible data and explain why it is believed that the company will be a successful reality.
  • Well-written: it seems superfluous to remember, but a text with spelling errors and typos will give a bad impression of the work and, consequently, of the business idea.
  • Original: to attract the attention of those who read it, it must express the personality and creativity of the person who wrote it and demonstrate the uniqueness of the business idea. The Executive Summary will contain the most relevant elements of the plan and will have to explain its uniqueness and validity in a few pages.

Tips for an Executive Summary for investors

The contents 0f the Executive Summary also vary in relation to the type of interlocutors to whom it is addressed. For example, if the main objective is to raise capital, the interlocutors are potential investors or financial institutions. In this case, the financial sustainability of the business idea must be valued above all.

Here you are some tips and points that should not be missing in this case:

  • Clarify the foundation of the plan
  • Prioritize quality
  • Explain changes in growth trends
  • Keep in mind that flashy plans are counterproductive
  • Avoid slogans
  • Keep in mind that the first impression is what matters

Let’s see them in detail below.

Clarify the foundations of the plan

  • Clearly indicate the products or services to be developed and the markets the company is targeting.
  • It is important to be clear and never ambiguous in these descriptions that define the company, its work and the market sector.
  • Wisely dose the ambition of the goals set, which must be realistic. It is absolutely necessary to avoid thinking and proposing to conquer an extremely competitive market in record time and with limited resources.

Prioritize quality

  • A well-written plan must be concise and relevant and have a length between 30 and 50 pages
  • The executive summary must fall between 1 and 3 folders maximum (folders are an editorial unit of measurement, 1 folder =30 lines of text for a total of 1800-2000 characters including spaces) depending on the complexity of the company being described.

Explain changes in growth trends

If the company comes from very static markets or periods, an accurate analysis of these trends must be provided. It is necessary to clearly and accurately describe changes in the market or company and the reasons for such changes.

Keep in mind that “flashy” plans are counterproductive

  • Business plans that are too “flashy” are often perceived as “all form and no substance”, a possible waste of financial resources.
  • It is advisable to quote external, reliable and independent sources to support what is stated in the plan. Above all, the statements relating to the target market and the competition must be supported, as far as possible, by information from independent third parties in order to give greater credibility to the forecasts.
  • Avoid in any way the use of ambiguous language. Vague terms such as “maybe”, “probably”, “perhaps”, have no place in business and can have a negative effect on a potential investor or partner who reads. Always prefer a positive and decisive tone.

Avoid slogans

If you believe that the product presented will be the best on the market, you will have to explain the reason in detail with objective and factual analysis.

Keep in mind that the first impression is what matters

People are often influenced by first impressions, so:

  • be careful not to make unsupported claims,
  • use a professional and punctual writing style,
  • check that the numbers presented leave no doubts,
  • organize the text in a clear consequential and linear way, paying attention to spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors.

Conclusions on the Executive Summary

We hope you have found our tips in this article useful and that you are now ready to start doing your Executive Summary and your Business Plan. Good Luck!

If you want to know more about the Business Plan, we recommend that you also visit the page Start your startup.