How Do I Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan?

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Creating a Business Plan is a fundamental step when starting a business of any size. When you’re looking for investors to help finance your business, it’s very likely that they’ll ask to see your proposal so they can determine whether they can trust you to provide them with a return on their investment.

Typically, the front page of your Business Plan should be an executive summary, which is essentially a detailed table of contents and elevator pitch for your plan. Investors tend to be busy professionals, so you need to hook them by describing the benefits of investing in your business as concisely as possible.

Below, we’ll discuss the main things you should include in the executive summary of your Business Plan and ask some questions to help get you started.

If you’re looking for advice on writing a full Business Plan, have a look at our Top Six Tips for Writing a Business Plan to help make yours the most captivating.

What Should Be Included in an Executive Summary?

You should break your executive summary into sections. Create succinct, easily understood headers that are relevant to each topic or section in your Business Plan and write three or four clear sentences with pertinent information.

A good strategy is to think like your investor. Consider a few questions that you’d want the answers to if you were the one investing and base the content in each section on those answers.

The headers should match up with the sections in your business proposal, which will likely include:

  1. Company goals: Think about what your company can realistically achieve. What do you want to accomplish in the next 12 months? In the next 5 years? What are your sales forecasts?
  2. Timeline for achieving those goals: Show you’re a visionary and a realist. When will planning be complete? When will you hire employees? When will your product or service be available for sale? If you’re a brick-and-mortar establishment, when will you open your doors?
  3. Personal information: Describe yourself as a business owner. Do you have experience in your industry? What are your qualifications? Why should you, and not someone else, run this business? What’s the company structure?
  4. Product and/or service information: Sell the investor on what you anticipate to be your bestseller(s). What separates this product/service from your competitors? If it’s a unique product/service, how will you garner interest and awareness? Do you have plans to develop new products/services to stay relevant a few years down the line?
  5. Your customers: Demonstrate you’ve conducted consumer research. Who is your target customer? How will you reach them? How will you advertise to them?
  6. SWOT analysis: Show that you’ve done a thorough competitor and market analysis. What are your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? What’s your competition like? How are you planning to out-perform your competitors?
  7. Capital requirements: Demonstrate financial competency. How much have you invested? How much do you need to borrow? Where is the money going? How will you pay it back?

Pitch the Positives of Your Plan

The aim of the executive summary in your Business Plan is to hook an investor. As long as you can highlight the best aspects of your plan and present them in a concise manner, it’s likely that your reader will take the time to evaluate your plan in full.

You don’t have to exaggerate or lie in your summary to overshadow any risks. Just whittle it down to the gems, and let your plan speak for itself.

Do you have any tips for writing a pithy pitch for a business proposal?

Spencer Knight

Marketing Writer at LawDepot
Spencer Knight is a writer in Edmonton, Alberta. His nonfiction has appeared in Spinal Columns, The Bolo Tie Collective Anthology: Volume I, and filling Station. When he's not writing, he's sleeping.

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