A Powerful Executive Summary
Hundreds of thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs set out each year to write or re-write their business plan. After spending up to hundreds of hours crafting the perfect plan, they simply take the heading from each of the major sections and throw together a summary of the business plan in 20 minutes. The purpose of your executive summary is not merely to “summarize” your business plan. The purpose is far greater. Your executive summary should be used to:
Make a Memorable First Impression – You only have one chance to make a first impression. You could have the greatest business plan ever created, but with a poor executive summary your readers won't even make it to the heart of the business plan. Your executive summary is a sign of what is to come for the reader. If you put them to sleep in the first 2 pages they certainly will not even consider digging in to your 40 page business plan.
Leave the Reader Intrigued; Asking for More – Much like a movie preview your executive summary should whet the readers appetite for the main course. You want to point out some of the exciting attributes of your business plan, but don't give away all its twists and turns. Disclose just enough information to leave the reader curious. Your goal should be to compel the reader to dig into the meat of your business plan to answer their questions about some of the plan's details.
Differentiate – Stand Out – Depending on who your readers are, they may have seen hundreds even thousands of business plans and executive summaries. You need to stand out right away or risk losing the chance to try to stand out later. If you start off your executive summary with a boiler plate template you are asking for the reader to just skim over the plan, and then just toss it aside because they have seen it all before. If you can hook them from the beginning they may actually give your business plan a chance.
Ultimately the purpose of your executive summary is to compel the reader to continue on, but who really has time to read a 40 page business plan? That is why it is vital to make a memorable first impression, leave the reader intrigued, and to differentiate your plan from the rest of the world.
Make sure to visit www.theexecutiveplan.com today and utilize our free executive summary templates, examples, ebooks, videos and articles!
Read more from our "Lessons and advice" series
The secret to capitalizing on the $3 trillion healthcare marketRead more...
Michael Milnes of Rochester, MN: Ph.D. in Physical TherapyRead more...