The Executive Summary is your opportunity to catch investors’ attention about your Unique Special Product or Service. Remember, first impressions are everything! Your Executive Summary is that initial handshake with the investor that will make your dreams come true. You want to have a firm handshake (no wishy-washy, sweaty hands here), with direct eye contact (direct, not aggressive), shoulders back (respectable and reliable), and head high (but not snooty, overbearing or beyond approach). You need to connect in your Executive Summary, or the ‘disconnect’ will be instant.

You have made it this far in developing your business venture, now when you write down what you are all about for others to analyze and evaluate, you tend to look a little more closely at what you look like to others. You’ll be tweaking your vision of your business implementation while you go through the exhaustive process of developing your business plan, so expect changes. It is because of those changes that you want to do your Executive Summary last, even though it comes first in your Business Plan.

Well, you know that the Executive Summary is that all important first impression. Now, how do you do it? You’ve got to keep it clean and crisp. You are going to look at all the elements of your Business Plan and give a paragraph about each in the same order that they appear, within two to three pages.

You want to spend an equal amount on each area so that your Summary is balanced. This isn’t where you give your detailed facts, although you want to be factual. This is where you want to give a snapshot of what is to come in the following pages, especially points that you will support or prove in greater detail later. Areas to consider depend on what your Business Plan needs: Business Concept, the Industry, the Market, the Customer or Client, Product, Marketing and Sales, Competition, Business Operations, Management, Financial Projections, Funding Request and Exit Strategy.

Map out the rest of your Business Plan in your Executive Summary briefly, and to the point. Provide a well-rounded business model – cover all of your bases. It’s easy to get carried away talking only about the best features of your product or the surefire way that you’ll get 1 million subscribers in the first year to your new website. Mention the most compelling statements and use facts, figures, statistics, and dates to show that you aren’t simply waiting for the funding to start on action plan.

Begin with your Business Concept. This can be harder than it seems. This is your 30 second pitch. Introduce your business by defining your product, customer and then make a couple of points that show how it stands apart from the rest. Next, you might include an Industry section to describe the trends in your business area, and show that there is plenty of space to grow, with a few major companies as examples since they have grown exponentially in the same field. The Market is all about defining the need for your business. Use statistics. Clearly define your target customers and why. In order to get your product out there, you’ve got to have sales strategies. Your sales plan might be easy for your product line because of previous publicity; however, many products require an extensive marketing plan and winning sales tactics to be successful.

Now, you’re going to introduce key members of your Team that are leading experts, designers, or innovators due to their previous successes in various areas, but wrap it up with a comment about why and how the Team will work successfully together. The Competition is important because your investors want to know who is running in the same race as your business venture, so name your primary competitors. Point out how your product has an edge over them. Businesses grow only if there is a streamlined structure of operations, so your Business Operations and Strategy will include how your business will tackle business growth based on defined steps in the process – your critical path along with a timeline.

Finally, wrap up your Executive Summary with Financial Projections, Funding Requests and Exit Strategy. Investors want to know the bottom line, and that’s why everything to do with money is at the end…so they have to read it all to understand how you came to the numbers. Financial Projections define your business in numbers of the past, the present, and the future. No investor would consider a venture that doesn’t have a promising future. You can estimate how profitable your business will be and when. If you’re having trouble, work with a professional. The Exit Strategy is a necessity for a strong Business Plan that’s ready for investors. Investors want a return on their money, so show them when the investors get their money back and then some. This is also where you indicate that you may plan to go public eventually.

Have someone you know read your Executive Summary, and gauge their reaction to see—do they want to know more, or do they just want to give it back to you? If you don’t generate a reaction from someone who knows nothing about your business, maybe you want to look at adding more details and compelling statements, so that your introduction catches their attention, and is followed by interest. Did you make sure that you double checked your grammar, your format, and your spelling?