Example of Executive Summary for a Business Plan
Starting a business can be intimidating due to the complex web of decisions, uncertainties, and risks that entrepreneurs must navigate through, while ensuring the path to success for their businesses. Business plans serve as a business’s compass to direct a business and drive its growth to achieve its goals and objectives.
Consequently, a concise but striking executive summary is an essential part and arguably, one of the most critical components of a business plan.
However, people spend only an approximate 48 minutes a day reading about business, according to a study by The Economist Intelligence Unit and Peppercomm. In a week, about 69% of young executives and 43% of veteran professionals read for business for less than four hours.
Similarly, an article from Time Magazine mentioned that 55% of people only actively read content for less than 15 seconds. This implies that a robust executive summary of a business plan should capture a reader’s interest and show that a business plan is worthy of a reader’s attention in a very narrow timeframe.
As such, it is necessary to know how to craft an impactful executive summary that will communicate the vision of a business. Let’s explore the how-tos of writing an executive summary of business plan, its significance, and some business plan executive summary examples.
What is an Executive Summary?
An executive summary is the first key component in a document such as a business plan, proposal, or report that serves as a concise snapshot that effectively captures reader interest. It also encapsulates vital details that discuss the identified issue or opportunity, market findings, overarching goals, and strategic plans.
A variety of professional documents incorporate executive summaries. Here are some examples:
- Business plans
- Financial reports
- Marketing proposals
- Professional resumes
What is an Executive Summary in a Business Plan?
In a business plan, the executive summary should vouch for a business through a writing that is positive and assertive. The focus should be on factual and practical information that readers want to know, instead of subjective or emotional aspects such as hard work and passion.
Considering the interest of the target audience in the executive summary will answer their underlying questions about a business and avoid creating new ones that will hold them back from reading a business plan further.
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Executive Summary vs. Business Overview
In general, both an executive summary and business overview play the role of providing a project summary in business plans to give readers a short outline. Both provide essential information but serve distinct purposes.
The executive summary is a high-level synopsis crafted to capture the reader’s attention, providing a quick understanding of a business plan’s main points. In contrast, a business overview focuses on specifically highlighting a company’s background, mission, vision, and market positioning. This offers a brief description of the business and a comprehensive perspective of its brand and place within an industry.
What Makes the Executive Summary Significant?
The executive summary is that one business plan section that everyone will read. It saves the readers’ time, provides clarity, and assists with document navigation. The benefits of a solid executive summary make it an important portion of a business plan.
Readers look into the executive summary to acquire critical information about a business in a short period to quickly formulate an appropriate decision or course of action thereafter. The contents of the executive summary are important as these outline what the audience will expect to learn while reading a business plan. The executive summary further helps readers navigate the business plan, indicating the main topics discussed in the plan. This makes a business plan more accessible and usable.
What are the Elements of an Effective Executive Summary?
The following will detail the important areas to be included in the executive summary of the business plan:
Business Opportunity: The business opportunity discusses the problem in the existing market that the business aims to address. This section highlights the market need and a business’s plans to meet said demand. The business opportunity will outline the solutions to the market problem and how these initiatives will create a change in the current business scene.
Target Market: This pertains to the demographic a business intends to reach as its customer base. The target market section in the executive summary will include market research and highlight the consumer group who has potential interest in a business’s product or service. This studies traits such as age, occupation, gender, education level, and socioeconomic status.
Business Model: The business model is the part of the executive summary that zooms into the business concept. This includes the specific products or services a business intends to offer and specific characteristics that allow them to compete in the market.
Marketing Strategy: The marketing strategy presents the methods a business will implement to mold its brand and build brand recognition for its products or services. Marketing techniques such as digital marketing efforts, like Google Ads, and traditional media are discussed in this part.
Competition: This part provides a summary on the analysis of a business’s competitors, industry trends, and customer demand. This highlights the results of a business’s market research and showcases its understanding of the industry. This will allow a business to stand out on a local or international level.
Financial Analysis: A business plan’s executive summary should include how a business intends to control its finances, while generating revenue in the long-term. This section talks about how resources and funds will be utilized to propel the business towards growth and success and how the potential investors will benefit from these plans.
Company Overview: The company overview helps readers understand the growth of a business, its milestones, and how it has evolved throughout the years. This part is a brief description of the business and also includes an introduction of its key members, their qualifications and achievements, and how these people influenced and assisted in the development of the business.
Implementation Plan: The implementation plan is one of the vital parts of an executive summary. This component of the executive summary sketches both a structure and a timeline, starting from a business idea and moving towards launching an actual business.
5 Helpful Executive Summary Writing Tips
1. Engage Your Audience through Your Story
As an entrepreneur that steers a business forward, the executive summary should reflect the leadership you want to showcase. Set the tone of the business plan through the executive summary and make your readers understand what your business is about. Tell your story and how that pushed you to start the business that you aspire to build. Using an active voice in writing will demonstrate your proactive role in the business. Ambiguity does not have a place in your business and in achieving your business goals.
2. Highlight Key Elements
Working as a business plan overview, the executive summary focuses on the most critical aspects of your business plan, such as the problem, solution, market research, competitor analysis, and financial projections. While the business plan body elaborates on the details, specific findings will be highlighted in the executive summary.
3. Use a Compelling Tone and Tailor it to Your Audience
Staying true and accessible is essential to writing an executive summary, similar to the importance of keeping a professional and concise tone in your writing. Discussing information objectively and substantiating it with evidence, projects authority and credibility, while also showing an approachable and engaging side. Avoid voicing out personal opinions and using excessive claims. The key is to strive for clarity and simplicity to resonate with the interest and concerns of your readers.
4. Steer Clear from Clichés
Avoiding cliché language is a vital point on how to make an executive summary effective. A good tip to stay true to this is to stay away from using general descriptions in your executive summary. Generalities and clichés tend to create unrealistic expectations that your business may fall short of meeting. Understand and detail the uniqueness of your business by being specific. Do not sell your business short, but stay truthful.
5. Complete it After Doing the Entire Business Plan
Building the executive summary after completing the whole business plan allows you to have a better understanding of your business and to communicate the vital aspects in the summary. Writing it at the beginning risks the miscommunication of your business’s core concepts to its intended readers. This may further lead to inconsistent and irrelevant details and reduce the precision of the executive summary.
Empathizing with business plan readers and grasping the most valuable information to them makes a comprehensive and persuasive executive summary. Overall, keep in mind the following questions before starting an executive summary:
- What knowledge and key takeaways should the business plan reader have?
- What outcomes should the readers achieve after reading the executive summary in business plan?
- Do these expected outcomes align with the business’s mission and long-term goals?
Now, we have established the key elements of and some writing tips on creating an executive summary. If you don’t have a business plan yet, BSBCON has a free business plan template that can help you start with building your own. Looking at an example of executive summary for business plans will allow you to be more familiar with its contents. Below are two examples of an executive summary in a business plan:
Executive Summary Example 1
“ProSecure Squad Corporation” operating as “ProSecure Squad” (The Company) was first incorporated in September of 2016 in Massachusetts, USA and subsequently incorporated in the State of Massachusetts on June 10th 2020. Over the past years ProSecure Squad has developed and patented revolutionary Cyber- security products.
With digital transformation of industries being hastened by factors such as E-Commerce, Internet of Things (IoT), Connected Machines, Self-Driving vehicles, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), there has been an enormous increase in the amount of electronic data.
Despite strong cyber-security defenses implemented, cyber-criminals have been getting past these defenses at an increasingly alarming rate and the cost for an organization to retain end-to-end cybersecurity professionals has become astronomical. This has made the Cybersecurity Market one of the fastest growing industries.
With patented products, an accomplished team of cybersecurity experts, and a clear strategy for product and service deployment, ProSecure Squad is ready to lead the next wave of cybersecurity. The company is focused on making its world class data security solutions accessible and inclusive; therefore, targeting wide-scale adoption from medium to large businesses, and government organizations across the globe.
What makes the company’s offering so unique is our focus on simplifying data resiliency; making it easy to protect your data from being spied on, stolen or held for ransom even if a hacker or malware gets past the current cyber-defenses.
With years of research and development, ProSecure Squad has refined our products and has garnered the interests of large corporations in the security and other Industries. With our offering being tailored to meet the current data security demands, ProSecure Squad is well positioned to become leaders in data security.
ProSecure Squad Corporation is seeking a 15 Million USD capital investment in return for a 15% equity and voting stake in the company. These funds will be allocated to taking the company’s products and services to market through direct sales, marketing, customer onboarding and customer support. With this investment the company will execute on established opportunities, further develop its capabilities, and forge a notable position in one of the fastest growing industries.
Executive Summary Example 2
“Silver Studios, Inc.” (herein also referred to as “Silver”, “Silver Studios” and “the company”) was incorporated on January 9, 2021, in the City of Chicago by Founder and CEO, Jamie Malcolm. With plans to expand the company’s operational reach, Silver Studios also incorporated in New York, U.S.A. on April 30, 2022.
Silver Studios has rapidly emerged as a promising record label and music production company following the successful signing of eight talented artists who have achieved impressive results to date. These include charting on the Top Chicago Downloads, Top U.S. Rotation AC Tracks, U.S. Billboard Country Indicator Chart, and the American Billboard Chart. Additionally, the artists signed to the Silver Studios label have amassed a substantial following with over 58,000 collective monthly listeners and a significant number of streams on Spotify alone.
Today, Silver sits at a focal point where there is an abundance of opportunity to discover emerging artists, sign new talent and support existing artists. In order to complete the development of the studio, acquire a variety of recording equipment, and hire additional staff, the company is seeking a strategic partnership and capital investment of $8.5M. With this partnership secured, Silver Studios will be positioned to welcome an array of upcoming artists and expedite growth within the music production and distribution industry.
Under the leadership of Mrs. Malcolm, Silver Studios has achieved significant success and earned a reputation as a champion for emerging artists. The company’s unwavering commitment to being an artist-first record label, along with a unique approach to equitable contracts and creative expression, has resulted in the discovery and development of exceptional talent. With increased strategic and financial resources, Silver Studios will continue to push boundaries and pave the way for the next generation of emerging artists.
This business plan acts as a strategic roadmap for Silver Studios in terms of operations, marketing, human resources and finance.
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