The “executive summary” is the first part of the business plan that gets read and may be the only part of the plan that actually gets read. Its job is to get the plan funded whether by an investor or a banker. Many plans are rejected based on the executive summary alone, so perfecting this one or two page document is ultra-critical to the entrepreneur.

While there is no one formula for writing an executive summary, all executive summaries should address the following:

• What is the purpose of this business? What is the mission?
• How is this business different from others?
• Does this business have a sustainable competitive advantage? If so, what is it?
• Describe your offering?
• What is your target market?
• Why will this target market want your offering?
• How will you market to your customers?
• How will you organize your workforce?
• What will you require to get started in cash, people, and resources?
• What is the competitive environment like?
• What are the financial projections for your firm?
• Why should someone invest in your firm?

If you can answer these questions in your executive summary with clarity, the heavy lifting of the business plan is already done.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.

P.S. Here is a tip. Write the executive summary when you have the rest of the plan completed; this way you will be best equipped to write it with authority.

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