What is an executive summary, anyway? It means an elevator pitch in text form that works the magic of your business plan at the first contact. This way, you convince investors to fall in love with your business idea and make them want to read the business plan - because you know: "keep it simple" rules! ;-)
The heart of your business idea: In the executive summary, you present the most important topics of your business plan on a maximum of two pages. It forms the outlines of your business plan, is intended to fuel the reader's imagination and to awaken their interest. Especially for potential investors and banks, the executive summary is very important as it provides a concise overview of your business model. It often decides whether people continue reading.
The executive summary is often referred to as a management summary – because it contains the key points of a business plan from a management perspective. Accordingly, it is not an introduction to the business plan but rather its "abstract". For this reason, my experts recommend writing the executive summary after the completion of the business plan - preferably with the help of an experienced consultant.
It's your business card - play it well!
The executive summary gives the first decisive impression among your stakeholders. If you make it convincing, the reader usually decides to delve deeper into the business plan. Accordingly, the executive summary is huuuugely important.
What should you put in you executive summary?
On the one to a maximum of two pages, you have to focus on the essential points - your core statements - of the executive summary. The areas of interest to any investor are the following:
📦 Product or service (about 1/4 page)
Briefly present your offer and explain who your customers are and where the precise customer benefit lies.
🏪 Market (about 1/4 page)
Identify why the market is attractive and which important characteristics the industry has.
🏆 Goals and Strategy (about 1/2 page)
Show which goals you want to achieve in the short to medium term and which marketing strategy you will use.
💰 Finances (about 1/2 page)
The financial plan is of particular interest to investors. Show the financial development of the next 3 years and mention the most important key figures. Do not forget to state how much capital is needed to start your business. Yeah, money rules, we have to follow...
👯 Management (about 1/4 page)
The founding team is one of the key factors of the executive summary. Only with a strong founding team can the convincing business plan be put into action. In this respect, you should especially emphasize the specialist, commercial and operational skills and experience of your management.
Who do you write the executive summary for?
Do yourself the favor: The executive summary gives you the opportunity to review and highlight the key points of your business plan - so you write it for yourself, as well! Believe me - it never hurts! However, it is far more important to potential investors: the Executive Summary is usually the first document demanded and read by potential investors such as venture capital companies, business angels, banks, etc. If the project is judged to be promising according to the executive summary, the business plan will be critically examined and only then will the first meeting usually take place. So: give it your mavelous best! :-)
Since the requirements for a top-notch business plan summary are high, you should consider the following:
📄 Page length: maximum 2 pages
As e.g. venture capital companies receive requests for funding every day, so be sure to keep your summary of the business plan short. On no more than two pages should you try to arouse interest in the potential investor.
🎓 No academese
Write your summary so that even a non-specialist person understands the message. Your contacts on the investor side are usually not specialists in your field, so technical terms are not helpful. Also, make sure that you write concisely and precisely.
💆 Realistic assessment
Stay realistic in formulating your summary. Phrases such as "infinite potential" and "massive profit increase" do not seem professional. Finish the executive summary with a positive outlook and try to stimulate the reader's imagination.
📝 Position in the business plan
Although the executive summary is written after the business plan has been prepared, the summary is still the top priority in the completed business plan.
🗼 Elevator pitch
Be always ready to explain your idea in two to three sentences. If you manage to win a listener over for your idea with just a few sentences, you already have won half the battle!
👉Download my financial plan template