Executive Summary for Startups: What to Include?
| 4 minutes read
Whether you’ve put together a business plan or an investment scheme, you’re going to need an executive summary to prologue your report. The summary should include the major inside details, but it’s important not to bore the reader with minutiae. Protect the analysis, charts, numbers, and glowing reviews for the report itself. This is the time to seize your reader’s attention and let the person know what you do and why he/she should read the rest of your business plan.
The executive summary is also an important way for you, as the entrepreneur, to determine which aspects of your company have the highest selling points, and which aspects may require a bit more clarification.
Let’s find out more in detail:
What is an Executive Summary?
An executive summary is a brief introduction and overall a summary of your business plan. It should describe your business plans, the problem that it solves, your target market, and financial strategy.
A good executive summary gives you complete detail and gives you a reason why you should read the rest of your business proposal or plan. But at the same time, it is not unusual for investors to make an initial decision just based on reading an executive summary, so it’s important to get it right.
Is an Executive Summary Necessary?
First, you need to understand to whom and for what purpose you’re writing a business plan, if you’re writing to show to investors or bankers? Then you need a good executive summary. Many people will read only the overall short description of your business, no matter what. Others will read the summary first to decide whether they should read the rest of the plan or not. The executive summary is important in plans that are being written for outsiders.
Now if you’re writing a business plan merely for internal use, then you may not need to write out an executive summary. However, there are few internal business plans ––such as an annual operations plan or a strategic plan—that can use a summary to highlight necessary information and showcase the required plan.
How do you write an executive summary for a startup? (List of complete details in steps)
For a start-up business, you might be writing a business plan to present to an investor for financing. It allows the investor with a preview of the plan details. Business writing is different from academic writing, so be sure that you know the difference between the two. Generally, the executive summary is categorized into five primary parts: the business name, the business location, the product or service you sell, the purpose of the business plan, and projected sales and profits.
1. Add the title to the page
Add the term “Executive Summary” at the top of the page (preferably at the center).
2. Start the first paragraph with your business name and address
Type your company name and the primary address from where your business operates or the address which is registered, so it reads similar to (Insert Business Name) has a primary business location at Insert Complete Business Address. The Small Business Administration suggests that a business start-up executive summary shares your experience & business background and what purpose led you to start this specific business.
3. Write a description of the business offering
Mention the business name and address in the same paragraph with a description of the product or service the business expects to offer. Highlight & clarify the products or services and mention who is your target customer- in a way that sounds appealing and sets you apart from the competitors.
4. Describe the purpose of the plan in the first paragraph
Each business plan has an objective. Some business plans are just for internal business use, while other start-up business plans are for potential investors. You should be pretty much clear about your plan, if the purpose of the plan is to find investors, then say it, or if you are seeking a small business start-up loan, then also say it. This practice will minimize the chances of misunderstanding.
5. Step down to the second paragraph and highlight important parts of the plan
This paragraph, for a start-up business, includes sales, goals, profit, and projections (over at least two years). You can either describe this information in text format or include pie charts or graphs to reflect the information.
Tips for Writing an Executive Summary
Are you looking for some pointers for writing your own executive summary? You’re more ready than you think. Use your business skill and passion as your guide, with the following tips in mind:
- Use positive, optimistic language: The tone should be professional but upbeat language.
- Don’t include too many details: The executive summary introduces the essential information of your business plan, which should be very detailed. Keep the summary very concise and crisp.
- Keep background information minimal: It may be dynamic for you, but readers are more interested in where you’re going.
- Modify the summary based on your audience: An executive summary for a potential business partner will be much different than one written to obtain a loan.
- Break up the text: Make the page readable for your audience with optimized headings and shorter paragraphs.
- Eliminate buzzwords and jargon: Keep the writing crisp and clear, using active voice and editing out unnecessary words.
- Avoid repetition: Don’t repeat anything verbatim from your executive summary in your business plan.
- Let someone else proofread the document: You may think that you’re the only person who can describe your project seamlessly, but another set of eyes can make it more precise.
- Write the summary after you write the rest of the business plan: That way, you know the information matches up and you’re sure that you’re not missing any important information.
- An executive summary gets readers to turn the page: However, only a full business plan will encourage investors to invest, partner, or give you a loan. Make sure that the rest of your plan is as thorough as your summary promises.
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Suprotik Sinha is the Content Writer with Synkrama Technologies. He writes about technologies and startups in the global enterprise space. An animal lover, Suprotik, is a postgraduate from Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication (SIMC) Pune. He carries 6+ years of experience in Content Writing, and he also worked in mainstream broadcast media, where he worked as a Journalist with Ibn7 ( now known as News18 India) and Zee Media in Mumbai.