Business Plans -> Executive Summary Definition
Executive Summary Definition
Business Plan Definition
Writing The Business Plan
An executive summary is an overview. The purpose of an executive summary is to summarize the key points of a document for its readers, saving them time and preparing them for the upcoming content.
Think of the executive summary as an advance organizer for the reader. Above all else, an executive summary has to be clear and concise.
In business, the most common use of an executive summary is as part of a business plan. The executive summary in a business plan serves the same purposes as an executive summary in any other document and one more Ė in a business plan, an executive summary also has to entice the reader to read the rest of the business plan.
For this reason, the executive summary is often called the most important part of the business plan. If it doesnít do what itís supposed to do, the business plan will be set aside unread.
For instructions and tips on writing an executive summary, see Writing the Executive Summary of the Business Plan.
You may also want to read Business Plan Executive Summary Example.
While the business planís executive summary is the first thing the readers of your business plan see, it should be the last part of the business plan you write.
The purpose of the executive summary of the business plan is to provide your readers with an overview of the business plan. Think of it as an introduction to your business. Therefore, your business planís executive summary will include summaries of:- a description of your company, including your products and/or services
- your mission statement
- your businessís management
- the market and your customer
- marketing and sales
- your competition
- your businessís operations
- financial projections and plans
The executive summary will end with a summary statement, a "last kick at the can" sentence or two designed to persuade the readers of your business plan that your business is a winner.
How to write an Executive Summary
To write the executive summary of the business plan, start by following the list above and writing one to three sentences about each topic.
If you have trouble crafting these summary sentences from scratch, review your business plan to get you going. In fact, one approach to writing the executive summary of the business plan is to take a summary sentence or two from each of the business plan sections youíve already written. (If you compare the list above to the sections outlined in the Business Plan Outline, youíll see that this could work very well.)
Then finish your business planís executive summary with a clinching closing sentence or two that answers the readerís question "Why is this a winning business?"
For example, a business planís executive summary for a pet-sitting business might conclude: "The loving on-site professional care that Petties will provide is sure to appeal to both cat and dog owners throughout the area."
You may find it useful to read the entire Petties executive summary example before you write your own.
Tips for Writing the Business Planís Executive Summary
- Focus on providing a summary. The business plan itself will provide the details and whether bank managers or investors, the readers of your business plan donít want to have their time wasted.
- Keep your language strong and positive. Donít weaken the executive summary of your business plan with weak language. Instead of writing, "Dogstar Industries might be in an excellent position to win government contracts", write "Dogstar Industries will be in an excellent position..."
- The executive summary should be no more than two pages long. Resist the tempation to pad your business planís executive summary with details (or pleas). The job of the executive summary is to present the facts and entice your reader to read the rest of the business plan, not tell him everything.
- Polish your executive summary. Read it aloud. Does it flow or does it sound choppy? Is it clear and succinct? Once it sounds good to you, have someone else who knows nothing about your business read it and make suggestions for improvement.
- Tailor the executive summary of your business plan to your audience. If the purpose of your business plan is to entice investors, for instance, your executive summary should focus on the opportunity your business provides investors and why the opportunity is special.
- Put yourself in your readersí place... and read your executive summary again. Does this executive summary generate interest or excitement in the reader? If not, why?
Remember, the executive summary of the business plan will be the first thing the readers of the business plan read. If your business planís executive summary is poorly written, it will also be the last, as they set the rest of your business plan aside unread!
Itís always easier to write something if you can read an example first, so hereís an executive summary example that you can use as a model for your own business planís executive summary.
Please note that "Petties" is a fictional business invented for this executive summary sample. For instructions and tips on how to write an executive summary for your own business plan, see Writing the Executive Summary of the Business Plan, part of my Writing a Business Plan series.
Petties Executive Summary Example
Petties offers on-site pet sitting services for dogs and cats, providing the personal loving pet care that the owners themselves would provide if they were there.
Our clients are dog and cat owners who choose to leave their pets at home when they travel or who want their pets to have company when their owners are at work.
Petties offers a variety of pet care services from day visits through 24 hour care over a period of weeks Ė all in the petís home environment.
Across USA the pet care business has seen an explosion of growth over the last three years. West Vancouver is an affluent area with a high pet density. Our market research has shown that 9 out of 10 pet owners polled in Orlando would prefer to have their pets cared for in their own homes when they travel rather than be kenneled and 6 out of 10 would consider having a pet sitter provide company for their dog when they were at work.
While there are currently eight businesses offering pet sitting in Orlando, only three of these offer on-site pet care and none offers "pet visit" services for working pet owners.
Pettiesís marketing strategy is to emphasize the quality of pet care we provide ("a Petties for your pet!") and the availability of our services. Dog owners who work, for instance, will come home to find happy, friendly companions who have already been exercised and walked rather than demanding whiny animals.
All pet services will be provided by staff trained in animal care. On start up we will have six trained staff to provide pet services and expect to hire four more this year once financing is secured. To begin with, co-owner Pat Simpson will be scheduling appointments and coordinating services, but we plan to hire a full-time receptionist this year as well.
The management of Petties consists of co-owners Steff Page and Torbey Klarstet. Pat has extensive experience in animal care while Terry has worked in sales and marketing for 15 years. Both partners will be taking hands-on management roles in the company. In addition, we have assembled a board of advisors to provide management expertise. The advisors are: Jane Croix, partner at Croix Accounting, Carry Face, veterinarian and partner at Creek Animal Care Clinic, Jan Tomson, president of Tomson Communications Ltd.
Based on the size of our market and our defined market area, our sales projections for the first year are $340,000. The salary for each of the co-owners will be $40,000.
We are seeking an operating line of $150,000 to finance our first year growth. Together, the co-owners have invested $62,000 to meet working capital requirements.
Already we have service commitments from over 40 clients and plan to aggressively build our client base through newspaper, local television and direct mail advertising. The loving on-site professional care that Petties will provide is sure to appeal to cat and dog owners throughout the Orlando area.