The Executive Summary

The is the second article in a series of posts focused on deconstructing the essential elements of creating an effective Business Plan. 


Business Planning Articles


Business Plan Introduction

The Executive Summary

General Company Description

Product & Services

Marketing Plan

Operational Plan

Management & Organization

Startup Expenses & Capitalization

Valuation & Ask

Financial Plan


Refining Your Plan



The Executive Summary Deconstructed


The first task entrepreneurs must consider when formulating their Business Plan is constructing a clear Executive Summary of what their business actually does.

The essence of your business venture.

Practically speaking, developing an Executive Summary should be among the last things entrepreneurs tackle when developing their business plan. The reason is because it is often easier to condense the complexity of your business plan after it is fully constructed.  

But, the elements of the Executive Summary should always be kept close to mind, and serve as a guide for how entrepreneurs should think about their business. 

A great Executive Summary must effectively summarize the main components of your business including; 


1. What is the mission of the business. 

What your company aims to achieve for it's customers?

2. What product or service is being offered.

What your solution is, and why it matters?

3. Who are the customers.

Demographic, age group, occupation, income level, career status, etc..

4. Why customers would choose your business’s product or service.

What differentiates your solution from competitors? Why is it compelling?

5. What Industry your business operates in.

Technology, energy, health care, transport, housing, fashion, etc…

6. What the future holds for this industry and how the business fits in.

Is it a growth, mature, or declining market? Why is that a good thing?

7. Who are the business owners. 

Founder(s), partners, executive team, leaders, etc…


And, depending on the specific audience the Executive Summary is meant to target;


8. What your business presently needs to succeed.

Investment, resources, fulfillment, distribution, technology, knowledge, etc…


It is important that entrepreneurs value the exercise of creating their business’s Executive Summary, as the summary will likely be among the first documents potentially interested outside parties read including investors, partners & collaborators. 

For this reason, entrepreneurs should consider crafting the summary in such as way that it expresses a degree of enthusiasm and optimism for the future. 

Sure, the text must be professional, however the goal of the Executive Summary is two fold; 


A. To Inform, and

B. To Excite. 


So, give the summary some spice. Write it so that it is unique to your venture, and conveys your voice in such a was as it draws the readers attention.

The goal is for the summery to become memorable to whomever is reading the document so the they not only become interested in your venture, but want to share it with his/her close investment community.  




The last important point is to make the executive summary concise. Great Executive Summaries should fit on one regular 8/11 page with standard margins. 

The summary should not exceed one page, otherwise it risks becoming too complex and confusing the reader. 

Lastly, make sure to test the summary with a variety of audiences. Practice with people who are both familiar with Executive Summaries and people who are foreign to this type of document.  

Both audiences will offer valuable insights, and ensure that the summary is both clear, easily understandable and accurately reflective of your entrepreneurial intention and vision. 

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