How to Write a Business Plan
1: Executive Summary 


The Executive Summary is the first section of your business plan that a potential investor reviews. It is also probably the last section of the plan that you will write. The Executive Summary is essentially a condensed version of the entire business plan, your overall idea and its possibility for success. Here, you must capture the trust and the imagination of your reader. You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but an investor is quite likely to judge a business plan by its Executive Summary. If there are errors or omissions in this section, the investor might not even read the rest of your plan.

An Executive Summary should be a brief (two to five page) introduction to the business plan that outlines the business opportunity and vision, the market for your product and service and trends and projections for the market, the competitive advantage offered by your product or service, the skills and experience of your company's management team, and a summary of the offering and anticipated returns.


An Investor's Perspective
"If you don't capture my attention in the first paragraph of your Executive Summary, it's likely that I will not read the rest of your plan."

What is an Executive Summary and what's its purpose?
Paul Wimer
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A Potential Investor Wants to Know
  • What kind of company is this? (Is it a technology company, a manufacturing company, etc? What type of structure does it have: LLC, S-Corporation, etc?)

  • What is the offered product and how does it differ from competing products or services? (For instance, will you sell a software product that is less expensive than the competition's? Or will your product give your customer more features than the competition's?)

  • How many people will buy this product or service and what will they spend to get it?

  • Who is running this venture and do they have what it takes to pull it off?

  • How much money do they need, for what purpose, and when do they need it?

  • How much money will my investment return and when will I realize that return?