The executive summary is similar to an extended abstract. The purpose of the executive summary is to provide the reader with an overview of all of the key findings of your report. Imagine that you were pitching your idea to a divisional manager, or a head of division, or perhaps a venture capitalist you are trying to recruit to invest in your business idea. The executive summary is used to grab their attention and provide an overview to your work, your idea and the justification of your strategic plan.
Typically an Executive summary is something that we write last in our business plan. The rationale here is that it is a summary of everything that we have done in the business plan. The key points that you want to highlight within the executive summary include, but is not limited to:
- What are the aims and objectives of this report? (This is an absolute key for all of you to identify in your report. What are you trying to achieve?). The aims and objectives provide the key thread from which you will base your entire business plan report.
- What is the product/ service?
- What opportunity does it offer to the company?
- Who is the target market? (This is another key variable that you must think through early on in your business plan analysis. Sometimes companies think in terms of what they can best offer the market, which is a very inward and antiquated way of looking at things. Good strategic business executives think of things in terms of their target market. They put needs and wants of their target market at the forefront of everything they do and then they figure out ways to create value for that target market in ways that creates customer satisfaction).
- What opportunity does it offer to your target market? Alternatively, what problem does it solve for your target market?
- What geographic markets do you intend to service with your product/ service idea?
- What growth opportunities exist with you product service idea?
The executive summary is an overview of what you are going to write in your business plan. Think of it as an introduction that contains all of the key points of your business plan (in summary form). You do not need to literally answer every single question here, but use it as a guide to orientate your reader. The details are found within the written report. For the writer, we use the executive summary to help you ensure you are clear on the path and direction of your product/ service. For the reader, the executive summary provides an overview of key points. It is not uncommon for an executive reading your business plan to form an immediate opinion on your product/ service idea after having read your executive summary. Use it an opportunity to raise awareness and interest.
- Company Background (Approximately 300 words)
- Company History
Write a brief summary of the company and its history. This is section is to orientate you and your reader as to the orientation and philosophy of the company. Give consideration to how the aims and objectives of your business plan link with the history of the company.
- Mission Statement
What is the mission statement of the company? What is your interpretation of this mission? Is this a good mission or does it need modification with the introduction of your new product/ service.