Updated: Jun 18, 2020
An executive summary is a brief introduction and summary of your business plan. It should describe your business, the problem that it solves, your target market, and financial highlights. A good executive summary grabs your reader’s attention and lets them know what it is you do and why they should read the rest of your business plan or proposal.
While the executive summary is the opening section in your business plan, draft the other sections of the business plan first, and then write your executive summary. This approach will allow you to be thorough and distill your company’s key strengths. For this reason, details and activities for developing an executive summary are located at the end of this workbook.
The goal of this section is to get potential investors excited about your product or service. You must convince investors that there is a problem in the marketplace that is not being addressed by currently available solutions. The key message to convey is how your company will achieve and sustain market power. Ensure that the investors understand why the problem is important, as well as the customers and their needs.
Consider the following questions when writing this section:
• What is the market your product or service will address?
• Is there a particular niche in the market that you should focus on first?
• What problem does your product or service address?
• How should you price your product or service?
• Who are the potential customers? What is their profile?
• How will you get the product or service to your customer?
The planning guide includes the following headings:
Market Overview: Provide an overall description of the market you are in or are planning to enter.
Market Background: Provide the context for your market, including market size, market growth rates, demographics, psychographics, needs and trends, buying patterns, preferences, and barriers to entry.
Market Challenges: Based on the data, provide the relevant analysis for your product or service, and focus on some unique issues that can be solved.
Market Opportunity: Bring the section together by articulating the opportunity and setting the stage for your product or service.
The general rule of thumb is that executive summaries should be as short as possible. Your audience has limited time and attention and they want to get the details of your business plan as quickly as possible. Try to keep your executive summary under 2 pages if possible, although it can be longer if absolutely necessary.