If you are planning to start your own business, your first step should, without a doubt, be to create a business plan. While some business plans differ, there are several standard elements you should include in your document. In this blog post, we will look at our first part – the Executive Summary.
Elements of a Business Plan
There is some debate about the exact elements you need for a business plan. Some business owners even pooh-pooh the idea of creating one if you are not actively seeking investors. However, savvy small business owners (SBO) will seek to take advantage of every tool at their disposal to ensure their business is successful. One of those business tools, without a doubt, is a business plan.
Below is the first key element you should include in your business plan, whether you are looking for an investor or just want to lay out a map for success for yourself.
What is An Executive Summary
After the title page, your executive summary comes into play. As the title suggests, this is a summary of your overall business plan. It should be easy to consume and hit the following points:
- Business Concept/Mission Statement: The concept of your business or a description of how you perceive your company. What is its purpose? What are the goals?
- Financial Information: Include key financial highlights such as sales (or anticipated sales), profit margins, predicted ROI, and so forth. Other information should include an outline of how much financing you will need and how the money will be spent. Be sure to include any funding sources you already have and any collateral you can offer
- Business Information: Highlights about the business – who are the owners, partners, and key employees. What are the products or services you plan to offer/currently offer.
- Research and Growth: List any relevant information pertaining to market research and how your company can fill a gap in the market place for your industry. What sets you apart from competitors? What are you plans to grow the company?
Brevity is key to an Executive Statement, and ideally you will keep this section under a page. Remember, it is a summary of your entire document, so don’t waste precious space with anything unnecessary – you have the rest of your document to flesh things out.
Finally, it is best to write the Executive Summary part of your business plan last – after all, you cannot “sum up” your business plan until you have actually written one!