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Executive Summary

Adapted from content excerpted from the American Express® OPEN Small Business Network


The executive summary is what most readers will go to first. If it is not good, it may be the last thing they read about your company. Lenders in particular read executive summaries before looking at the rest of a plan to determine whether or not they want to learn more about a business. Other readers will also go first to your executive summary to get a snapshot of your business and to gauge your professionalism and the viability of your business.

While your executive summary is the first part of your plan, write it last. As you create the other sections of your plan, designate sentences or sections for inclusion in your summary. You may not use these sections verbatim, but this exercise will remind you to include the essence of these sections in your summary. Your executive summary should be between one and three pages and should include your business concept, financial features, financial requirements, current state of your business, when it was formed, principal owners and key personnel, and major achievements. See the worksheet for details of each of these components.

Tips

  • Create your executive summary after you have written the other sections of your plan so that you may cull a few sentences from important sections for inclusion in your executive summary
  • Polish your executive summary. Have several people read it - both those who know your business and those who do not - to check for clarity and presentation
  • Be sure to include business concept, financial features, financial requirements, current state of your business, when it was formed, principal owners and key personnel, and major achievements
  • Use industry association statistics, market research from other sources, and other documenting information to back up statements you make in your executive summary
  • Keep your executive summary short and make it interesting. This is your chance to entice readers to read your entire plan



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