SharpSheets

How to Write an Executive Summary (+ Examples)

Avatar photo

  • March 21, 2024
  • Business Plan , How to Write

executive summary example

The executive summary is the cornerstone of any business plan, serving as a gateway for readers to understand the essence of your proposal.

It summarizes the plan’s key points into a digestible format, making it crucial for capturing the interest of investors, partners, and stakeholders.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what the executive summary is, why we use it, and also how you can create one for your business plan. Let’s dive in!

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary is a concise and compelling overview of a business plan (or simply a report), designed to provide readers, such as investors, partners, or upper management, with a quick and clear understanding of the document’s most critical aspects.

For a business plan, it summarizes the key points including the business overview , market analysis , strategy plan timeline and financial projections.

Typically, the executive summary is the first section of a business plan, but it should be written last to ensure it accurately reflects the content of the entire document.

The primary goal of an executive summary is to engage the reader’s interest and encourage them to read the full document.

It should be succinct, typically no more than one to two pages, and articulate enough to stand on its own, presenting the essence of the business proposal or report without requiring the reader to go through the entire document for basic understanding.

Why Do We Use It?

The executive summary plays a crucial role in whether a business plan opens doors to funding, partnerships, or other opportunities . It’s often the first (and sometimes the only) part of the plan that stakeholders read, making it essential for making a strong, positive first impression. As such, we use it in order to:

  • Capture Attention: Given the volume of business plans investors, partners, and lenders might receive, an executive summary’s primary function is to grab the reader’s attention quickly. It highlights the most compelling aspects of the business to encourage further reading.
  • Save Time: It provides a succinct overview of the business plan, allowing readers to understand the key points without going through the entire document. This is particularly beneficial for busy stakeholders who need to make informed decisions efficiently.
  • Facilitate Understanding: An executive summary distills complex business concepts and strategies into a concise format. Therefore, it makes it easier for readers to grasp the business’s core mission, strategic direction, and potential for success.
  • Driving Action: By summarizing the financial projections and funding requirements, an executive summary can effectively communicate the investment opportunity. Indeed the investment opportunity, whether to raise money from investors or a loan from a bank, is the most common reason why we prepare business plans.
  • Setting the Tone: The executive summary sets the tone for the entire business plan. A well-written summary indicates a well-thought-out business plan, reflecting the professionalism and competence of the management team.

How to Write an Executive Summary in 4 Simple Steps

Here’s a streamlined approach to crafting an impactful executive summary:

1. Start with Your Business Overview

  • Company Name: Begin with the name of your business.
  • Location: Provide the location of your business operations.
  • Business model: Briefly describe how you make money, the producfs and/or services your business offers.

2. Highlight the Market Opportunity

  • Target Market : Identify your target market and its size.
  • Market Trends : Highlight the key market trends that justify the need for your product or service.
  • Competitive Landscape : Describe how your business is positioned to meet this need effectively.

3. Present Your Management Team

  • Team Overview: Introduce the key members of your management team and their roles.
  • Experience: Highlight relevant experience and skills that contribute to the business’s success.

4. Include Financial Projections

  • Financial Summary: Provide a snapshot of key financial projections, including revenue, profits, and cash flow over the next three to five years.
  • Funding Requirements: If seeking investment, specify the amount needed and how it will be used.

2 Executive Summary Examples

Here are 2 examples you can use as an inspiration to create yours. These are taken from our coffee shop and hair salon business plan templates.

Coffee Shop Executive Summary

summary of a business plan

Hair Salon Executive Summary

summary of a business plan

Related Posts

Pro One Janitorial Franchise

Pro One Janitorial Franchise Costs $9K – $76K (2024 Fees & Profits)

Avatar photo

  • June 25, 2024

the business plan template for a dance studio

Dance Studio Business Plan PDF Example

Avatar photo

  • June 17, 2024
  • Business Plan

the business plan template for a Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning business

Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Business Plan PDF Example

Privacy overview.

CookieDurationDescription
BIGipServerwww_ou_edu_cms_serverssessionThis cookie is associated with a computer network load balancer by the website host to ensure requests are routed to the correct endpoint and required sessions are managed.
cookielawinfo-checkbox-advertisement1 yearSet by the GDPR Cookie Consent plugin, this cookie is used to record the user consent for the cookies in the "Advertisement" category .
cookielawinfo-checkbox-analytics11 monthsThis cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".
cookielawinfo-checkbox-functional11 monthsThe cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".
cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary11 monthsThis cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".
cookielawinfo-checkbox-others11 monthsThis cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.
cookielawinfo-checkbox-performance11 monthsThis cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".
CookieLawInfoConsent1 yearRecords the default button state of the corresponding category & the status of CCPA. It works only in coordination with the primary cookie.
elementorneverThis cookie is used by the website's WordPress theme. It allows the website owner to implement or change the website's content in real-time.
viewed_cookie_policy11 monthsThe cookie is set by the GDPR Cookie Consent plugin and is used to store whether or not user has consented to the use of cookies. It does not store any personal data.
CookieDurationDescription
__cf_bm30 minutesThis cookie, set by Cloudflare, is used to support Cloudflare Bot Management.
languagesessionThis cookie is used to store the language preference of the user.
CookieDurationDescription
_ga2 yearsThe _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookie stores information anonymously and assigns a randomly generated number to recognize unique visitors.
_ga_QP2X5FY3282 yearsThis cookie is installed by Google Analytics.
_gat_UA-189374473-11 minuteA variation of the _gat cookie set by Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to allow website owners to track visitor behaviour and measure site performance. The pattern element in the name contains the unique identity number of the account or website it relates to.
_gid1 dayInstalled by Google Analytics, _gid cookie stores information on how visitors use a website, while also creating an analytics report of the website's performance. Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously.
browser_id5 yearsThis cookie is used for identifying the visitor browser on re-visit to the website.
WMF-Last-Access1 month 18 hours 11 minutesThis cookie is used to calculate unique devices accessing the website.
  • Credit cards
  • View all credit cards
  • Banking guide
  • Loans guide
  • Insurance guide
  • Personal finance
  • View all personal finance
  • Small business
  • Small business guide
  • View all taxes

You’re our first priority. Every time.

We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free.

So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. Here is a list of our partners .

How to Write an Executive Summary in 6 Steps

Page Grossman

Page Grossman is a freelance writer.

Robert Beaupre

Robert Beaupre leads the SMB team at NerdWallet. He has covered financial topics as an editor for more than a decade. Before joining NerdWallet, he served as senior editorial manager of QuinStreet's insurance sites and managing editor of Insure.com. In addition, he served as an online media manager for the University of Nevada, Reno.

summary of a business plan

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

When you’re starting a business, one of the first things you need to do is write a business plan. Your business plan is like a roadmap for your business, so you can lay out your goals and a concrete plan for how you’ll reach them.

Not only is a business plan essential for any business owner, but it’s also a requirement if you decide to apply for small business funding or find investors. After all, before a bank or individual hands over any money, they’ll want to be sure your company is on solid ground (so they can get their money back).

A business plan consists of several pieces, from an executive summary and market analysis to a financial plan and projections. The executive summary will be the first part of your business plan.

If wondering how to write an executive summary has kept you from completing your business plan, we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll explain what an executive summary is and provide tips for writing your own so your business plan can start strong.

summary of a business plan

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is a short, informative, and easy-to-read opening statement to your business plan. Even though it’s just one to two pages, the executive summary is incredibly important.

An executive summary tells the story of what your business does, why an investor might be interested in giving funds to your business, why their investment will be well-spent, and why you do what you do. An executive summary should be informative, but it should also capture a busy reader’s attention.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Why write an executive summary?

Anyone you’re sending your executive summary and business plan to is likely busy—very busy. An entire business plan is long, involved, and deals with a lot of numbers.

Someone busy wants to get an understanding of your business, and they want to do it quickly, which is to say not by diving into a complicated, 80-page business plan. That’s where your executive summary comes in.

An executive summary provides just the opportunity to hook someone’s interest, tell them about your business, and offer a clear selling point as to why they should consider investing in your business.

Your executive summary is your chance to sell your business to potential investors and show them your business is worth not only their money but also their time.

What to include in an executive summary

By its nature, an executive summary is short. You must be able to clearly communicate the idea of your business, what sets you apart, and how you plan to grow into a successful enterprise.

The subsequent sections of your business plan will go into more detail, but your executive summary should include the most critical pieces of your business plan—enough to stand on its own, as it’s often the only thing a prospective investor will read. Here’s what your executive summary should include—consider it an executive summary template from which you can model your own.

1. The hook

The first sentence and paragraph of your executive summary determine whether or not the entire executive summary gets read. That’s why the hook or introduction is so important.

In general, a hook is considered anything that will get a reader’s attention. While an executive summary is a formal business document, you do want your hook to make you stand out from the crowd—without wasting time.

Your hook can be sharing something creative about your company, an interesting fact, or just a very well-crafted description of your business. It’s crucial to craft your hook with the personality of your reader in mind. Give them something that will make your company stand out and be memorable among a sea of other business plans.

Grab their attention in the first paragraph, and you’re much more likely to get your executive summary read, which could lead to an investment.

2. Company description summary

Now that you’ve hooked your reader, it’s time to get into some general information about your business. If an investor is going to give you money, after all, they first need to understand what your company does or what product you sell and who is managing the company.

Your company description should include information about your business, such as when it was formed and where you’re located; your products or services; the founders or executive team, including names and specific roles; and any additional details about the management team or style.

3. Market analysis

Your market analysis in the executive summary is a brief description of what the market for your business looks like. You want to show that you have done your research and proven that there is a need for your specific product or services. Some questions you should answer:

Who are your competitors?

Is there a demand for your products or services?

What advantages do you have that make your business unique in comparison to others?

To reiterate, stick to the highlights of your market analysis in your executive summary. You’ll provide a complete analysis in a separate section of your business plan, but you should be able to communicate enough in the executive summary that a potential investor can gauge whether your business has potential.

4. Products and services

Now that you’ve established a need in the market, it’s time to show just how your business will fill it. This section of your executive summary is all about highlighting the product or service that your company offers. Talk about your current sales, the growth you’ve seen so far, and any other highlights that are a selling point for your company.

This is also a good time to identify what sets your business apart and gives you a competitive advantage. After all, it’s unlikely that your business is the first of its kind. Highlight what you do better than the competition and why potential customers will choose your product or service over the other options on the market.

5. Financial information and projections

In this section of your executive summary, you want to give the reader an overview of your current business financials. Again, you’ll go more in-depth into this section later in your business plan, so just provide some highlights. Include your current sales and profits (if you have any), as well as what funding you’re hoping to acquire and how this will affect your financials in the next few years.

This is also where you can explain what funding, if any, you’ve received in the past. If you paid back your loan on time, this is an especially bright selling point for potential lenders.

6. Future plans

While asking for what funding you need is essential, you’ve also got to make clear what you’re going to use that funding for. If you’re asking for money, you want the person to know you have a plan to put those funds to good use.

Are you hoping to open another location, expand your product line, invest in your marketing efforts? This final section of your executive summary should detail where you want your business to go in the future, as well as drive home how funding can help you get there.

Tips for writing an executive summary

Even if you include each part of a good executive summary, you might not get noticed. What is written can be just as important as how it’s written. An executive summary has to strike a delicate balance between formal, personable, confident, and humble.

1. Be concise

An executive summary should include everything that’s in your business plan, just in a much shorter format. Writing a concise executive summary is no easy task and will require many revisions to get to the final draft. And while this is the first section of your executive summary, you’ll want to write it last, after you’ve put together all the other elements.

To choose your most important points and what should be included in the executive summary, go through your business plan, and pull out single-line bullet points. Go back through those bullet points and eliminate everything unnecessary to understanding your business.

Once you have your list of bullet points narrowed down, you can start writing your executive summary. Once it’s written, go back in and remove any unnecessary information. Remember, you should only be including the highlights—you have the rest of your business plan to go into more detail. The shorter and clearer your executive summary is, the more likely someone is to read it.

2. Use bullet points

One simple way to make your executive summary more readable is to use bullet points. If someone is reading quickly or skimming your executive summary, extra whitespace can make the content faster and easier to read.

Short paragraphs, short sentences, and bullet points all make an executive summary easier to skim—which is likely what the reader is doing. If important numbers and convincing stats jump out at the reader, they’re more likely to keep reading.

3. Speak to your audience

When writing your executive summary, be sure to think about who will be reading it; that’s who you’re speaking to. If you can personalize your executive summary to the personality and interests of the person who will read it, you’re more likely to capture their attention.

Personalizing might come in the form of a name in the salutation, sharing details in a specific way you know that person likes and the tone of your writing. An executive summary deals with business, so it will generally have a formal tone. But, different industries may be comfortable with some creativity of language or using shorthand to refer to certain ideas.

Know who you’re speaking to and use the right tone to speak to them. That might be formal and deferential, expert and clipped, informal and personable, or any other appropriate tone. This may also involve writing different versions of your executive summary for different audiences.

4. Play to your strengths

One of the best ways to catch the attention of your reader is to share why your business is unique. What makes your business unique is also what makes your business strong, which can capture a reader’s interest and show them why your business is worth investing in. Be sure to highlight these strengths from the start of your executive summary.

5. Get a test reader

Once you’ve written and edited your executive summary, you need a test reader. While someone in your industry or another business owner can be a great resource, you should also consider finding a test reader with limited knowledge of your business and industry. Your executive summary should be so clear that anyone can understand it, so having a variety of test readers can help identify any confusing language.

If you don’t have access to a test reader, consider using tools such as Hemingway App and Grammarly to ensure you’ve written something that’s easy to read and uses proper grammar.

How long should an executive summary be?

There’s no firm rule on how long an executive summary should be, as it depends on the length of your business plan and the depth of understanding needed by the reader to fully grasp your ask.

That being said, it should be as short and concise as you can get it. In general, an executive summary should be one to two pages in length.

You can fudge the length slightly by adjusting the margin and font size, but don’t forget readability is just as important as length. You want to leave plenty of white space and have a large enough font that the reader is comfortable while reading your executive summary. If your executive summary is hard to read, it’s less likely your reader will take the time to read your business plan.

What to avoid in an executive summary

While the rules for writing a stellar executive summary can be fuzzy, there are a few clear rules for what to avoid in your executive summary.

Your executive summary should avoid:

Focusing on investment. Instead, focus on getting the reader to be interested enough to continue and read your business plan or at least schedule a meeting with you.

Clichés, superlatives, and claims that aren’t backed up by fact. Your executive summary isn’t marketing material. It should be straightforward and clear.

Avoiding the executive summary no-nos is just as important as striking the right tone and getting in the necessary information for your reader.

The bottom line

While an executive summary is short, it’s challenging to write. Your executive summary condenses your entire introduction, business description, business plan, market analysis, financial projections, and ask into one to two pages. Condensing information down to its most essential form takes time and many drafts. When you’re putting together your business plan’s executive summary, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to write it and to seek the help of friends or colleagues for editing it to perfection.

However, some tools make crafting a business plan, including your executive summary, a simpler process. A business plan template is a great place to start, and business plan software can especially help with the design of your business plan. After all, a well-written executive summary can make all the difference in obtaining funding for your business, so you’ll want all the help you can get.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

On a similar note...

One blue credit card on a flat surface with coins on both sides.

You might be using an unsupported or outdated browser. To get the best possible experience please use the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge to view this website.

How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

Julia Rittenberg

Updated: Apr 17, 2024, 11:59am

How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

Table of Contents

Brainstorm an executive summary, create a company description, brainstorm your business goals, describe your services or products, conduct market research, create financial plans, bottom line, frequently asked questions.

Every business starts with a vision, which is distilled and communicated through a business plan. In addition to your high-level hopes and dreams, a strong business plan outlines short-term and long-term goals, budget and whatever else you might need to get started. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to write a business plan that you can stick to and help guide your operations as you get started.

Featured Partners

ZenBusiness

$0 + State Fees

Varies By State & Package

ZenBusiness

On ZenBusiness' Website

LegalZoom

On LegalZoom's Website

Northwest Registered Agent

$39 + State Fees

Northwest Registered Agent

On Northwest Registered Agent's Website

$0 + State Fee

On Formations' Website

Drafting the Summary

An executive summary is an extremely important first step in your business. You have to be able to put the basic facts of your business in an elevator pitch-style sentence to grab investors’ attention and keep their interest. This should communicate your business’s name, what the products or services you’re selling are and what marketplace you’re entering.

Ask for Help

When drafting the executive summary, you should have a few different options. Enlist a few thought partners to review your executive summary possibilities to determine which one is best.

After you have the executive summary in place, you can work on the company description, which contains more specific information. In the description, you’ll need to include your business’s registered name , your business address and any key employees involved in the business. 

The business description should also include the structure of your business, such as sole proprietorship , limited liability company (LLC) , partnership or corporation. This is the time to specify how much of an ownership stake everyone has in the company. Finally, include a section that outlines the history of the company and how it has evolved over time.

Wherever you are on the business journey, you return to your goals and assess where you are in meeting your in-progress targets and setting new goals to work toward.

Numbers-based Goals

Goals can cover a variety of sections of your business. Financial and profit goals are a given for when you’re establishing your business, but there are other goals to take into account as well with regard to brand awareness and growth. For example, you might want to hit a certain number of followers across social channels or raise your engagement rates.

Another goal could be to attract new investors or find grants if you’re a nonprofit business. If you’re looking to grow, you’ll want to set revenue targets to make that happen as well.

Intangible Goals

Goals unrelated to traceable numbers are important as well. These can include seeing your business’s advertisement reach the general public or receiving a terrific client review. These goals are important for the direction you take your business and the direction you want it to go in the future.

The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you’re offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit in the current market or are providing something necessary or entirely new. If you have any patents or trademarks, this is where you can include those too.

If you have any visual aids, they should be included here as well. This would also be a good place to include pricing strategy and explain your materials.

This is the part of the business plan where you can explain your expertise and different approach in greater depth. Show how what you’re offering is vital to the market and fills an important gap.

You can also situate your business in your industry and compare it to other ones and how you have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Other than financial goals, you want to have a budget and set your planned weekly, monthly and annual spending. There are several different costs to consider, such as operational costs.

Business Operations Costs

Rent for your business is the first big cost to factor into your budget. If your business is remote, the cost that replaces rent will be the software that maintains your virtual operations.

Marketing and sales costs should be next on your list. Devoting money to making sure people know about your business is as important as making sure it functions.

Other Costs

Although you can’t anticipate disasters, there are likely to be unanticipated costs that come up at some point in your business’s existence. It’s important to factor these possible costs into your financial plans so you’re not caught totally unaware.

Business plans are important for businesses of all sizes so that you can define where your business is and where you want it to go. Growing your business requires a vision, and giving yourself a roadmap in the form of a business plan will set you up for success.

How do I write a simple business plan?

When you’re working on a business plan, make sure you have as much information as possible so that you can simplify it to the most relevant information. A simple business plan still needs all of the parts included in this article, but you can be very clear and direct.

What are some common mistakes in a business plan?

The most common mistakes in a business plan are common writing issues like grammar errors or misspellings. It’s important to be clear in your sentence structure and proofread your business plan before sending it to any investors or partners.

What basic items should be included in a business plan?

When writing out a business plan, you want to make sure that you cover everything related to your concept for the business,  an analysis of the industry―including potential customers and an overview of the market for your goods or services―how you plan to execute your vision for the business, how you plan to grow the business if it becomes successful and all financial data around the business, including current cash on hand, potential investors and budget plans for the next few years.

  • Best VPN Services
  • Best Project Management Software
  • Best Web Hosting Services
  • Best Antivirus Software
  • Best LLC Services
  • Best POS Systems
  • Best Business VOIP Services
  • Best Credit Card Processing Companies
  • Best CRM Software for Small Business
  • Best Fleet Management Software
  • Best Business Credit Cards
  • Best Business Loans
  • Best Business Software
  • Best Business Apps
  • Best Free Software For Business
  • How to Start a Business
  • How To Make A Small Business Website
  • How To Trademark A Name
  • What Is An LLC?
  • How To Set Up An LLC In 7 Steps
  • What is Project Management?

Best West Virginia Registered Agent Services Of 2024

Best West Virginia Registered Agent Services Of 2024

Katherine Haan

Best Vermont Registered Agent Services Of 2024

Best Rhode Island Registered Agent Services Of 2024

Best Rhode Island Registered Agent Services Of 2024

Best Wisconsin Registered Agent Services Of 2024

Best Wisconsin Registered Agent Services Of 2024

Best South Dakota Registered Agent Services Of 2024

Best South Dakota Registered Agent Services Of 2024

B2B Marketing In 2024: The Ultimate Guide

B2B Marketing In 2024: The Ultimate Guide

Laura Hennigan

Julia is a writer in New York and started covering tech and business during the pandemic. She also covers books and the publishing industry.

How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Determined female African-American entrepreneur scaling a mountain while wearing a large backpack. Represents the journey to starting and growing a business and needi

Noah Parsons

24 min. read

Updated May 7, 2024

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write a business plan that’s detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors, while giving you the tools to start, run, and grow a successful business.

  • The basics of business planning

If you’re reading this guide, then you already know why you need a business plan . 

You understand that planning helps you: 

  • Raise money
  • Grow strategically
  • Keep your business on the right track 

As you start to write your plan, it’s useful to zoom out and remember what a business plan is .

At its core, a business plan is an overview of the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy: how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. 

A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It’s also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. 

After completing your plan, you can use it as a management tool to track your progress toward your goals. Updating and adjusting your forecasts and budgets as you go is one of the most important steps you can take to run a healthier, smarter business. 

We’ll dive into how to use your plan later in this article.

There are many different types of plans , but we’ll go over the most common type here, which includes everything you need for an investor-ready plan. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for something simpler—I recommend starting with a one-page business plan . It’s faster and easier to create. 

It’s also the perfect place to start if you’re just figuring out your idea, or need a simple strategic plan to use inside your business.

Dig deeper : How to write a one-page business plan

Brought to you by

LivePlan Logo

Create a professional business plan

Using ai and step-by-step instructions.

Secure funding

Validate ideas

Build a strategy

  • What to include in your business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally just one to two pages. Most people write it last because it’s a summary of the complete business plan.

Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. 

In fact, it’s common for investors to ask only for the executive summary when evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they’ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation , or more in-depth financial forecasts .

Your executive summary should include:

  • A summary of the problem you are solving
  • A description of your product or service
  • An overview of your target market
  • A brief description of your team
  • A summary of your financials
  • Your funding requirements (if you are raising money)

Dig Deeper: How to write an effective executive summary

Products and services description

This is where you describe exactly what you’re selling, and how it solves a problem for your target market. The best way to organize this part of your plan is to start by describing the problem that exists for your customers. After that, you can describe how you plan to solve that problem with your product or service. 

This is usually called a problem and solution statement .

To truly showcase the value of your products and services, you need to craft a compelling narrative around your offerings. How will your product or service transform your customers’ lives or jobs? A strong narrative will draw in your readers.

This is also the part of the business plan to discuss any competitive advantages you may have, like specific intellectual property or patents that protect your product. If you have any initial sales, contracts, or other evidence that your product or service is likely to sell, include that information as well. It will show that your idea has traction , which can help convince readers that your plan has a high chance of success.

Market analysis

Your target market is a description of the type of people that you plan to sell to. You might even have multiple target markets, depending on your business. 

A market analysis is the part of your plan where you bring together all of the information you know about your target market. Basically, it’s a thorough description of who your customers are and why they need what you’re selling. You’ll also include information about the growth of your market and your industry .

Try to be as specific as possible when you describe your market. 

Include information such as age, income level, and location—these are what’s called “demographics.” If you can, also describe your market’s interests and habits as they relate to your business—these are “psychographics.” 

Related: Target market examples

Essentially, you want to include any knowledge you have about your customers that is relevant to how your product or service is right for them. With a solid target market, it will be easier to create a sales and marketing plan that will reach your customers. That’s because you know who they are, what they like to do, and the best ways to reach them.

Next, provide any additional information you have about your market. 

What is the size of your market ? Is the market growing or shrinking? Ideally, you’ll want to demonstrate that your market is growing over time, and also explain how your business is positioned to take advantage of any expected changes in your industry.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write a market analysis

Competitive analysis

Part of defining your business opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage is. To do this effectively, you need to know as much about your competitors as your target customers. 

Every business has some form of competition. If you don’t think you have competitors, then explore what alternatives there are in the market for your product or service. 

For example: In the early years of cars, their main competition was horses. For social media, the early competition was reading books, watching TV, and talking on the phone.

A good competitive analysis fully lays out the competitive landscape and then explains how your business is different. Maybe your products are better made, or cheaper, or your customer service is superior. Maybe your competitive advantage is your location – a wide variety of factors can ultimately give you an advantage.

Dig Deeper: How to write a competitive analysis for your business plan

Marketing and sales plan

The marketing and sales plan covers how you will position your product or service in the market, the marketing channels and messaging you will use, and your sales tactics. 

The best place to start with a marketing plan is with a positioning statement . 

This explains how your business fits into the overall market, and how you will explain the advantages of your product or service to customers. You’ll use the information from your competitive analysis to help you with your positioning. 

For example: You might position your company as the premium, most expensive but the highest quality option in the market. Or your positioning might focus on being locally owned and that shoppers support the local economy by buying your products.

Once you understand your positioning, you’ll bring this together with the information about your target market to create your marketing strategy . 

This is how you plan to communicate your message to potential customers. Depending on who your customers are and how they purchase products like yours, you might use many different strategies, from social media advertising to creating a podcast. Your marketing plan is all about how your customers discover who you are and why they should consider your products and services. 

While your marketing plan is about reaching your customers—your sales plan will describe the actual sales process once a customer has decided that they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

If your business requires salespeople and a long sales process, describe that in this section. If your customers can “self-serve” and just make purchases quickly on your website, describe that process. 

A good sales plan picks up where your marketing plan leaves off. The marketing plan brings customers in the door and the sales plan is how you close the deal.

Together, these specific plans paint a picture of how you will connect with your target audience, and how you will turn them into paying customers.

Dig deeper: What to include in your sales and marketing plan

Business operations

The operations section describes the necessary requirements for your business to run smoothly. It’s where you talk about how your business works and what day-to-day operations look like. 

Depending on how your business is structured, your operations plan may include elements of the business like:

  • Supply chain management
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Equipment and technology
  • Distribution

Some businesses distribute their products and reach their customers through large retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, and grocery store chains. 

These businesses should review how this part of their business works. The plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products onto store shelves and any potential hurdles the business may have to overcome.

If your business is much simpler than this, that’s OK. This section of your business plan can be either extremely short or more detailed, depending on the type of business you are building.

For businesses selling services, such as physical therapy or online software, you can use this section to describe the technology you’ll leverage, what goes into your service, and who you will partner with to deliver your services.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write the operations chapter of your plan

Key milestones and metrics

Although it’s not required to complete your business plan, mapping out key business milestones and the metrics can be incredibly useful for measuring your success.

Good milestones clearly lay out the parameters of the task and set expectations for their execution. You’ll want to include:

  • A description of each task
  • The proposed due date
  • Who is responsible for each task

If you have a budget, you can include projected costs to hit each milestone. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section—just list key milestones you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. This is your overall business roadmap. 

Possible milestones might be:

  • Website launch date
  • Store or office opening date
  • First significant sales
  • Break even date
  • Business licenses and approvals

You should also discuss the key numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common metrics worth tracking include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Profit per customer
  • Repeat purchases

It’s perfectly fine to start with just a few metrics and grow the number you are tracking over time. You also may find that some metrics simply aren’t relevant to your business and can narrow down what you’re tracking.

Dig Deeper: How to use milestones in your business plan

Organization and management team

Investors don’t just look for great ideas—they want to find great teams. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire . You should also provide a quick overview of your location and history if you’re already up and running.

Briefly highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member in the company. It’s important to make the case for why yours is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. 

Do they have the right industry experience and background? Have members of the team had entrepreneurial successes before? 

If you still need to hire key team members, that’s OK. Just note those gaps in this section.

Your company overview should also include a summary of your company’s current business structure . The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership

Be sure to provide an overview of how the business is owned as well. Does each business partner own an equal portion of the business? How is ownership divided? 

Potential lenders and investors will want to know the structure of the business before they will consider a loan or investment.

Dig Deeper: How to write about your company structure and team

Financial plan

Last, but certainly not least, is your financial plan chapter. 

Entrepreneurs often find this section the most daunting. But, business financials for most startups are less complicated than you think, and a business degree is certainly not required to build a solid financial forecast. 

A typical financial forecast in a business plan includes the following:

  • Sales forecast : An estimate of the sales expected over a given period. You’ll break down your forecast into the key revenue streams that you expect to have.
  • Expense budget : Your planned spending such as personnel costs , marketing expenses, and taxes.
  • Profit & Loss : Brings together your sales and expenses and helps you calculate planned profits.
  • Cash Flow : Shows how cash moves into and out of your business. It can predict how much cash you’ll have on hand at any given point in the future.
  • Balance Sheet : A list of the assets, liabilities, and equity in your company. In short, it provides an overview of the financial health of your business. 

A strong business plan will include a description of assumptions about the future, and potential risks that could impact the financial plan. Including those will be especially important if you’re writing a business plan to pursue a loan or other investment.

Dig Deeper: How to create financial forecasts and budgets

This is the place for additional data, charts, or other information that supports your plan.

Including an appendix can significantly enhance the credibility of your plan by showing readers that you’ve thoroughly considered the details of your business idea, and are backing your ideas up with solid data.

Just remember that the information in the appendix is meant to be supplementary. Your business plan should stand on its own, even if the reader skips this section.

Dig Deeper : What to include in your business plan appendix

Optional: Business plan cover page

Adding a business plan cover page can make your plan, and by extension your business, seem more professional in the eyes of potential investors, lenders, and partners. It serves as the introduction to your document and provides necessary contact information for stakeholders to reference.

Your cover page should be simple and include:

  • Company logo
  • Business name
  • Value proposition (optional)
  • Business plan title
  • Completion and/or update date
  • Address and contact information
  • Confidentiality statement

Just remember, the cover page is optional. If you decide to include it, keep it very simple and only spend a short amount of time putting it together.

Dig Deeper: How to create a business plan cover page

How to use AI to help write your business plan

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can speed up the business plan writing process and help you think through concepts like market segmentation and competition. These tools are especially useful for taking ideas that you provide and converting them into polished text for your business plan.

The best way to use AI for your business plan is to leverage it as a collaborator , not a replacement for human creative thinking and ingenuity. 

AI can come up with lots of ideas and act as a brainstorming partner. It’s up to you to filter through those ideas and figure out which ones are realistic enough to resonate with your customers. 

There are pros and cons of using AI to help with your business plan . So, spend some time understanding how it can be most helpful before just outsourcing the job to AI.

Learn more: 10 AI prompts you need to write a business plan

  • Writing tips and strategies

To help streamline the business plan writing process, here are a few tips and key questions to answer to make sure you get the most out of your plan and avoid common mistakes .  

Determine why you are writing a business plan

Knowing why you are writing a business plan will determine your approach to your planning project. 

For example: If you are writing a business plan for yourself, or just to use inside your own business , you can probably skip the section about your team and organizational structure. 

If you’re raising money, you’ll want to spend more time explaining why you’re looking to raise the funds and exactly how you will use them.

Regardless of how you intend to use your business plan , think about why you are writing and what you’re trying to get out of the process before you begin.

Keep things concise

Probably the most important tip is to keep your business plan short and simple. There are no prizes for long business plans . The longer your plan is, the less likely people are to read it. 

So focus on trimming things down to the essentials your readers need to know. Skip the extended, wordy descriptions and instead focus on creating a plan that is easy to read —using bullets and short sentences whenever possible.

Have someone review your business plan

Writing a business plan in a vacuum is never a good idea. Sometimes it’s helpful to zoom out and check if your plan makes sense to someone else. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to read and understand.

Don’t wait until your plan is “done” to get a second look. Start sharing your plan early, and find out from readers what questions your plan leaves unanswered. This early review cycle will help you spot shortcomings in your plan and address them quickly, rather than finding out about them right before you present your plan to a lender or investor.

If you need a more detailed review, you may want to explore hiring a professional plan writer to thoroughly examine it.

Use a free business plan template and business plan examples to get started

Knowing what information to include in a business plan is sometimes not quite enough. If you’re struggling to get started or need additional guidance, it may be worth using a business plan template. 

There are plenty of great options available (we’ve rounded up our 8 favorites to streamline your search).

But, if you’re looking for a free downloadable business plan template , you can get one right now; download the template used by more than 1 million businesses. 

Or, if you just want to see what a completed business plan looks like, check out our library of over 550 free business plan examples . 

We even have a growing list of industry business planning guides with tips for what to focus on depending on your business type.

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re writing your business plan. Some entrepreneurs get sucked into the writing and research process, and don’t focus enough on actually getting their business started. 

Here are a few common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not talking to your customers : This is one of the most common mistakes. It’s easy to assume that your product or service is something that people want. Before you invest too much in your business and too much in the planning process, make sure you talk to your prospective customers and have a good understanding of their needs.

  • Overly optimistic sales and profit forecasts: By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future. But it’s good to temper that optimism a little when you’re planning, and make sure your forecasts are grounded in reality. 
  • Spending too much time planning: Yes, planning is crucial. But you also need to get out and talk to customers, build prototypes of your product and figure out if there’s a market for your idea. Make sure to balance planning with building.
  • Not revising the plan: Planning is useful, but nothing ever goes exactly as planned. As you learn more about what’s working and what’s not—revise your plan, your budgets, and your revenue forecast. Doing so will provide a more realistic picture of where your business is going, and what your financial needs will be moving forward.
  • Not using the plan to manage your business: A good business plan is a management tool. Don’t just write it and put it on the shelf to collect dust – use it to track your progress and help you reach your goals.
  • Presenting your business plan

The planning process forces you to think through every aspect of your business and answer questions that you may not have thought of. That’s the real benefit of writing a business plan – the knowledge you gain about your business that you may not have been able to discover otherwise.

With all of this knowledge, you’re well prepared to convert your business plan into a pitch presentation to present your ideas. 

A pitch presentation is a summary of your plan, just hitting the highlights and key points. It’s the best way to present your business plan to investors and team members.

Dig Deeper: Learn what key slides should be included in your pitch deck

Use your business plan to manage your business

One of the biggest benefits of planning is that it gives you a tool to manage your business better. With a revenue forecast, expense budget, and projected cash flow, you know your targets and where you are headed.

And yet, nothing ever goes exactly as planned – it’s the nature of business.

That’s where using your plan as a management tool comes in. The key to leveraging it for your business is to review it periodically and compare your forecasts and projections to your actual results.

Start by setting up a regular time to review the plan – a monthly review is a good starting point. During this review, answer questions like:

  • Did you meet your sales goals?
  • Is spending following your budget?
  • Has anything gone differently than what you expected?

Now that you see whether you’re meeting your goals or are off track, you can make adjustments and set new targets. 

Maybe you’re exceeding your sales goals and should set new, more aggressive goals. In that case, maybe you should also explore more spending or hiring more employees. 

Or maybe expenses are rising faster than you projected. If that’s the case, you would need to look at where you can cut costs.

A plan, and a method for comparing your plan to your actual results , is the tool you need to steer your business toward success.

Learn More: How to run a regular plan review

Free business plan templates and examples

Kickstart your business plan writing with one of our free business plan templates or recommended tools.

summary of a business plan

Free business plan template

Download a free SBA-approved business plan template built for small businesses and startups.

Download Template

summary of a business plan

One-page plan template

Download a free one-page plan template to write a useful business plan in as little as 30-minutes.

summary of a business plan

Sample business plan library

Explore over 500 real-world business plan examples from a wide variety of industries.

View Sample Plans

How to write a business plan FAQ

What is a business plan?

A document that describes your business , the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy, how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

What are the benefits of a business plan?

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attracts investors, and identifies areas for growth.

Having a business plan ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.

What are the 7 steps of a business plan?

The seven steps to writing a business plan include:

  • Write a brief executive summary
  • Describe your products and services.
  • Conduct market research and compile data into a cohesive market analysis.
  • Describe your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Outline your organizational structure and management team.
  • Develop financial projections for sales, revenue, and cash flow.
  • Add any additional documents to your appendix.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

There are plenty of mistakes that can be made when writing a business plan. However, these are the 5 most common that you should do your best to avoid:

  • 1. Not taking the planning process seriously.
  • Having unrealistic financial projections or incomplete financial information.
  • Inconsistent information or simple mistakes.
  • Failing to establish a sound business model.
  • Not having a defined purpose for your business plan.

What questions should be answered in a business plan?

Writing a business plan is all about asking yourself questions about your business and being able to answer them through the planning process. You’ll likely be asking dozens and dozens of questions for each section of your plan.

However, these are the key questions you should ask and answer with your business plan:

  • How will your business make money?
  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • How will you measure success?

How long should a business plan be?

The length of your business plan fully depends on what you intend to do with it. From the SBA and traditional lender point of view, a business plan needs to be whatever length necessary to fully explain your business. This means that you prove the viability of your business, show that you understand the market, and have a detailed strategy in place.

If you intend to use your business plan for internal management purposes, you don’t necessarily need a full 25-50 page business plan. Instead, you can start with a one-page plan to get all of the necessary information in place.

What are the different types of business plans?

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan: The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used when applying for funding or pitching to investors. This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix.

Business model canvas: The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

One-page business plan: This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences. It’s most useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Lean Plan: The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance. It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan covers the “who” and “what” of your business. It explains what your business is doing right now and how it functions. The strategic plan explores long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there. It encourages you to look more intently toward the future and how you will achieve your vision.

However, when approached correctly, your business plan can actually function as a strategic plan as well. If kept lean, you can define your business, outline strategic steps, and track ongoing operations all with a single plan.

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site Epinions.com. From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.

Check out LivePlan

Table of Contents

  • Use AI to help write your plan
  • Common planning mistakes
  • Manage with your business plan
  • Templates and examples

Related Articles

Overlapping files, folders, charts, graphs, and documents. Represents the information included in a business plan appendix.

3 Min. Read

What to Include in Your Business Plan Appendix

Female entrepreneur sitting at her desk doing manual calculations with a calculator trying to understand what her return on investment will be.

1 Min. Read

How to Calculate Return on Investment (ROI)

Bakery business owners look over their bakery business plan

7 Min. Read

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan + Sample

Owner of a life coaching business works on writing their business plan.

5 Min. Read

How To Write a Business Plan for a Life Coaching Business + Free Example

The Bplans Newsletter

The Bplans Weekly

Subscribe now for weekly advice and free downloadable resources to help start and grow your business.

We care about your privacy. See our privacy policy .

Garrett's Bike Shop

The quickest way to turn a business idea into a business plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.

No thanks, I prefer writing 40-page documents.

LivePlan pitch example

Discover the world’s #1 plan building software

summary of a business plan

How to Write an Executive Summary Execs Can't Ignore [+ 5 Top Examples]

Ramona Sukhraj

Published: May 30, 2024

Early in my career, I was intimidated by executive summaries. They sounded so corporate and formal. But, proper name aside, they’re really just the elevator pitch or the TL;DR (too long, didn’t read) of a document.

Executive summary with examples

Writing an executive summary is an important leadership skill, whether you're an entrepreneur creating a business plan or a CEO delivering a quarterly report.

Download Now: Free Executive Summary Template

So, let’s sharpen that skill.

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary is a brief overview of a longer professional document, like a business plan, proposal, or report. It's commonly at the beginning of a document and aims to grab a reader’s attention while summarizing critical information such as the problem or opportunity being addressed, objectives, key findings, goals, and recommendations.

Ultimately, an executive summary gives readers a concise overview of the most important information in a document, so they don't have to read the entire thing.

Think of it like the SparkNotes of the business world.

Documents that frequently have an executive summary include:

  • Business plans
  • Research reports
  • Project proposals
  • Annual reports

How does it differ from other business statements? Let’s compare.

summary of a business plan

Free Executive Summary Template

Use this executive summary template to provide a summary of your report, business plan, or memo.

  • Company & Opportunity
  • Industry & Market Analysis
  • Management & Operations
  • Financial Plan

Download Free

All fields are required.

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Executive Summary vs. Business Plan

All business plans have an executive summary, but not all executive summaries belong to business plans.

A business plan includes a company overview, short-term and long-term goals, information on your product or service, sales targets, expense budgets, your marketing plan, and even team information

Business plans are very detailed and comprehensive. They can be as short as a dozen pages or as long as 100 pages. The executive summary is the first section of the business plan.

An in-demand CEO or investor might not have the bandwidth to read your full business plan without first understanding your company or goals. That’s where an executive summary comes in handy.

Note: Need help putting together your business plan? We’ve got a template for you.

Executive Summary vs. Mission Statement

Mission statements and executive summaries are typically found in business plans, but they serve different purposes.

A mission statement defines your organization’s purpose, values, and vision. It’s your company’s North Star and communicates your core identity and reason for existence. On the other hand, an executive summary provides a high-level overview of the document.

HubSpot features its mission statement on its “about” page.

I also love how we define key terms to help readers understand the rest of the report. This is an excellent example of setting the tone for the rest of your document in an executive summary and making it easier to navigate.

3. ClickUp: Product Update Release Notes

Now, I know this article is about writing an executive summary, but I love ClickUp’s unique approach with its product release notes videos.

ClickUp sets a great example for writing an executive summary

This digital report from research firm McKinsey Global Institute features an executive summary titled “At a Glance.”

mckinsey summarizes its key points using an "at a glance" section

Here, the organization recaps the key findings from its 56-page research report in six easy-to-skim bullet points.

It’s compelling, easy to digest, and makes it easy to jump into the full report with download links.

5. UN: World Economic Situation and Prospects 2024

Finally, we have a fairly traditional approach to an executive summary from the United Nations (UN) , clocking in at 16 pages.

Now, I know. Sixteen pages seems lengthy, but the full report is just shy of 200 pages.

The executive summary highlights the report’s largest conclusions with headers. Then, it expands on those headers with relevant statistics. It also uses bold font to draw attention to the countries or regions affected (something the reader will likely be most interested in).

The tone and visual design are both formal, which matches the esteem of the United Nations. Overall, this executive summary does an admirable job of making the report's information more approachable.

Make your executive summary memorable.

Make sure your executive summary is strong. Tell your story. Include compelling data and facts. Use easy-to-understand and digest language. If you can, get visual.

An executive summary should be concise, but also memorable. After all, this may be the only part of your proposal, report, or analysis that actually gets read.

Use the guidance above to ensure your executive summary resonates with your audience and opens the door to the opportunities you crave.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

executive summary prompt

Don't forget to share this post!

Related articles.

What is a Business Plan? Definition, Tips, and Templates

What is a Business Plan? Definition, Tips, and Templates

7 Gantt Chart Examples You'll Want to Copy [+ 5 Steps to Make One]

7 Gantt Chart Examples You'll Want to Copy [+ 5 Steps to Make One]

20 Free & Paid Small Business Tools for Any Budget

20 Free & Paid Small Business Tools for Any Budget

24 of My Favorite Sample Business Plans & Examples For Your Inspiration

24 of My Favorite Sample Business Plans & Examples For Your Inspiration

Maximizing Your Social Media Strategy: The Top Aggregator Tools to Use

Maximizing Your Social Media Strategy: The Top Aggregator Tools to Use

The Content Aggregator Guide for 2024

The Content Aggregator Guide for 2024

The 8 Best Free Flowchart Templates [+ Examples]

The 8 Best Free Flowchart Templates [+ Examples]

16 Best Screen Recorders to Use for Collaboration

16 Best Screen Recorders to Use for Collaboration

The 25 Best Google Chrome Extensions for SEO

The 25 Best Google Chrome Extensions for SEO

Professional Invoice Design: 28 Samples & Templates to Inspire You

Professional Invoice Design: 28 Samples & Templates to Inspire You

Marketing software that helps you drive revenue, save time and resources, and measure and optimize your investments — all on one easy-to-use platform

  • Link to facebook
  • Link to linkedin
  • Link to twitter
  • Link to youtube
  • Writing Tips

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

3-minute read

  • 19th November 2023

An executive summary is the part of a business plan that gives an outline of the main plan. So to write an executive summary, we first need to read the business plan carefully and understand its key points. These key points are what we will condense to form the executive summary. It’s important to ensure that the executive summary can stand alone because plenty of users will read only that and not the main business plan. We could say that the business plan is the original TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)!

But first, let’s take a quick look at what goes into a business plan so we can focus on the sections we need for our executive summary.

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that sets out a business’s strategy and the means of achieving it. The business plan usually contains the following sections:

How to Write an Executive Summary

The executive summary covers the same headings as the main business plan but not in so much detail. This is where our editing skills come to the fore!

The following six steps explain how to approach writing the executive summary.

Consider the Audience

Who will be using the summary? The business plan might be issued only to a very specific group of people, in which case, their needs are paramount and specialized. If the business plan is going out on wider release, we need to think about what a general reader will want to know.

Check That It Makes Sense on Its Own

Make sure the summary can be read as a stand-alone document for users who won’t read the whole plan.

Use Formatting Effectively

Make good use of formatting, headings, numbering, and bullets to increase clarity and readability.

Keep It Brief

One page (or around ten percent of the total word count for a large document) is great.

Avoid Jargon

Try to avoid jargon and use straightforward language. Readers of the executive summary might not have business backgrounds (for instance, if they are friend and family investors in a small start-up business).

Find this useful?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.

Proofread the Executive Summary

The executive summary will very likely be the first – and perhaps the only – part of the business plan some people will read, and it must be error-free to make a professional impression.

●  Consider the audience .

●  Ensure that the executive summary can stand alone.

●  Use formatting tools to good advantage.

●  Keep it brief.

●  Keep it simple.

●  Proofread it.

If you’d like an expert to proofread your business plan – or any of your writing – get in touch!

Share this article:

Post A New Comment

Got content that needs a quick turnaround? Let us polish your work. Explore our editorial business services.

9-minute read

How to Use Infographics to Boost Your Presentation

Is your content getting noticed? Capturing and maintaining an audience’s attention is a challenge when...

8-minute read

Why Interactive PDFs Are Better for Engagement

Are you looking to enhance engagement and captivate your audience through your professional documents? Interactive...

7-minute read

Seven Key Strategies for Voice Search Optimization

Voice search optimization is rapidly shaping the digital landscape, requiring content professionals to adapt their...

4-minute read

Five Creative Ways to Showcase Your Digital Portfolio

Are you a creative freelancer looking to make a lasting impression on potential clients or...

How to Ace Slack Messaging for Contractors and Freelancers

Effective professional communication is an important skill for contractors and freelancers navigating remote work environments....

How to Insert a Text Box in a Google Doc

Google Docs is a powerful collaborative tool, and mastering its features can significantly enhance your...

Logo Harvard University

Make sure your writing is the best it can be with our expert English proofreading and editing.

Our Recommendations

  • Best Small Business Loans for 2024
  • Businessloans.com Review
  • Biz2Credit Review
  • SBG Funding Review
  • Rapid Finance Review
  • 26 Great Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs
  • Startup Costs: How Much Cash Will You Need?
  • How to Get a Bank Loan for Your Small Business
  • Articles of Incorporation: What New Business Owners Should Know
  • How to Choose the Best Legal Structure for Your Business

Small Business Resources

  • Business Ideas
  • Business Plans
  • Startup Basics
  • Startup Funding
  • Franchising
  • Success Stories
  • Entrepreneurs
  • The Best Credit Card Processors of 2024
  • Clover Credit Card Processing Review
  • Merchant One Review
  • Stax Review
  • How to Conduct a Market Analysis for Your Business
  • Local Marketing Strategies for Success
  • Tips for Hiring a Marketing Company
  • Benefits of CRM Systems
  • 10 Employee Recruitment Strategies for Success
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Best Business Phone Systems of 2024
  • The Best PEOs of 2024
  • RingCentral Review
  • Nextiva Review
  • Ooma Review
  • Guide to Developing a Training Program for New Employees
  • How Does 401(k) Matching Work for Employers?
  • Why You Need to Create a Fantastic Workplace Culture
  • 16 Cool Job Perks That Keep Employees Happy
  • 7 Project Management Styles
  • Women in Business
  • Personal Growth
  • Best Accounting Software and Invoice Generators of 2024
  • Best Payroll Services for 2024
  • Best POS Systems for 2024
  • Best CRM Software of 2024
  • Best Call Centers and Answering Services for Busineses for 2024
  • Salesforce vs. HubSpot: Which CRM Is Right for Your Business?
  • Rippling vs Gusto: An In-Depth Comparison
  • RingCentral vs. Ooma Comparison
  • Choosing a Business Phone System: A Buyer’s Guide
  • Equipment Leasing: A Guide for Business Owners
  • HR Solutions
  • Financial Solutions
  • Marketing Solutions
  • Security Solutions
  • Retail Solutions
  • SMB Solutions

Business News Daily provides resources, advice and product reviews to drive business growth. Our mission is to equip business owners with the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions. As part of that, we recommend products and services for their success.

We collaborate with business-to-business vendors, connecting them with potential buyers. In some cases, we earn commissions when sales are made through our referrals. These financial relationships support our content but do not dictate our recommendations. Our editorial team independently evaluates products based on thousands of hours of research. We are committed to providing trustworthy advice for businesses. Learn more about our full process and see who our partners are here .

5 Steps for Writing an Executive Summary

Learn what to include in your executive summary and how to go about writing one.

author image

Table of Contents

Anyone starting a new business must create a business plan that clearly outlines the organization’s details and goals. The executive summary is a crucial element of that business plan.

We’ll explore five steps to writing your business plan’s executive summary, including what to include and avoid. We’ll also point you toward executive summary templates to help you get started. 

What is an executive summary?

New entrepreneurs or business owners typically use a business plan to present their great business idea to potential stakeholders like angel investors . The purpose of the business plan is to attract financing from investors or convince banking executives to get a bank loan for their business . An executive summary is a business plan overview that succinctly highlights its most essential elements. 

It’s not just a general outline; the executive summary might be the only part of your business plan that busy executives and potential investors read. 

“The executive summary of a business plan is designed to capture the reader’s attention and briefly explain your business, the problem you are solving, the target audience, and key financial information,” Ross Kimbarovsky, CEO and founder of Crowdspring, told Business News Daily. “If the executive summary lacks specific information or does not capture the attention of the reader, the rest of the plan might not be read.”

While your executive summary should be engaging and comprehensive, it must also be quick and easy to read. These documents average one to four pages – ideally, under two pages – and should comprise less than 10% of your entire business plan.

How do you write an executive summary?

Your executive summary will be unique to your organization and business plan. However, most entrepreneurs and business owners take the following five steps when creating their executive summary.

  • Write your business plan first. The executive summary will briefly cover the most essential topics your business plan covers. For this reason, you should write the entire business plan first, and then create your executive summary. The executive summary should only cover facts and details included in the business plan.
  • Write an engaging introduction. What constitutes “engaging” depends on your audience. For example, if you’re in the tech industry, your introduction may include a surprising tech trend or brief story. The introduction must be relevant to your business and capture your audience’s attention. It is also crucial to identify your business plan’s objective and what the reader can expect to find in the document.
  • Write the executive summary. Go through your business plan and identify critical points to include in your executive summary. Touch on each business plan key point concisely but comprehensively. You may mention your marketing plan , target audience, company description, management team, and more. Readers should be able to understand your business plan without reading the rest of the document. Ideally, the summary will be engaging enough to convince them to finish the document, but they should be able to understand your basic plan from your summary. (We’ll detail what to include in the executive summary in the next section.)
  • Edit and organize your document. Organize your executive summary to flow with your business plan’s contents, placing the most critical components at the beginning. A bulleted list is helpful for drawing attention to your main points. Double-check the document for accuracy and clarity. Remove buzzwords, repetitive information, qualifying words, jargon, passive language and unsupported claims. Verify that your executive summary can act as a standalone document if needed.
  • Seek outside assistance. Since most entrepreneurs aren’t writing experts, have a professional writer or editor look over your document to ensure it flows smoothly and covers the points you’re trying to convey.

What should you include in an executive summary?

Your executive summary is based on your business plan and should include details relevant to your reader. For example, if your business plan’s goal is pitching a business idea to potential investors , you should emphasize your financial requirements and how you will use the funding. 

The type of language you use depends on whether your audience consists of generalists or industry experts.

While executive summary specifics will vary by company, Marius Thauland, business strategist at OMD EMEA, says all executive summaries should include a few critical elements:

  • Target audience
  • Products and services
  • Marketing and sales strategies
  • Competitive analysis
  • Funding and budget allocation for the processes and operations
  • Number of employees to be hired and involved
  • How you’ll implement the business plan 

When synthesizing each section, highlight the details most relevant to your reader. Include any facts and statistics they must know. In your introduction, present pertinent company information and clearly state the business plan’s objective. To pinpoint key messages for your executive summary, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What do you want the reader to take away from the document? 
  • What do you want to happen after they read it? 

“Put yourself in the business plan reader’s shoes, and think about what you would like to know in the report,” Thauland advised. “Get their attention by making it simple and brief yet still professional. It should also attract them to read the entire document to understand even the minute details.”

What should you avoid in an executive summary?

When writing your executive summary, be aware of the following common mistakes: 

  • Making your executive summary too long. An executive summary longer than two pages will deter some readers. You’re likely dealing with busy executives, and an overlong stretch of text can overwhelm them.
  • Copying and pasting from other executive summary sections. Reusing phrases from other sections and stringing them together without context can seem confusing and sloppy. It’s also off-putting to read the same exact phrase twice within the same document. Instead, summarize your business plan’s central points in new, descriptive language.
  • Too many lists and subheadings in your executive summary. After one – and only one – introductory set of bullets, recap your business plan’s main points in paragraph form without subheadings. Concision and clarity are more important for an executive summary than formatting tricks.
  • Passive or unclear language in your executive summary. You’re taking the reins of your business, and your executive summary should show that. Use active voice in your writing so everyone knows you’re running the show. Be as clear as possible in your language, leaving no questions about what your business will do and how it will get there.
  • Avoid general descriptions in your executive summary. Kimbarovsky said it’s best to avoid generalities in your executive summary. For example, there’s no need to include a line about “your team’s passion for hard work.” This information is a given and will take attention away from your executive summary’s critical details.
  • Don’t use comparisons in your executive summary. Kimbarovsky also advises staying away from comparisons to other businesses in your executive summary. “Don’t say you will be the next Facebook, Uber or Amazon,” said Kimbarovsky. “Amateurs make this comparison to try and show how valuable their company could be. Instead, focus on providing the actual facts that you believe prove you have a strong company. It’s better if the investor gives you this accolade because they see the opportunity.”

Executive summary templates and resources

If you’re writing an executive summary for the first time, online templates can help you outline your document. However, your business is unique, and your executive summary should reflect that. An online template probably won’t cover every detail you’ll need in your executive summary. Experts recommend using templates as general guidelines and tailoring them to fit your business plan and executive summary.

To get you started, here are some popular executive summary template resources:

  • FormSwift. The FormSwift website lets you create and edit documents and gives you access to over 500 templates. It details what an effective executive summary includes and provides a form builder to help you create your executive summary. Fill out a step-by-step questionnaire and export your finished document via PDF or Word.
  • Smartsheet. The Smartsheet cloud-based platform makes planning, managing and reporting on projects easier for teams and organizations. It offers several free downloadable executive summary templates for business plans, startups, proposals, research reports and construction projects.
  • Template.net. The Template.net website provides several free business templates, including nine free executive summary templates that vary by project (e.g., business plan, startup, housing program development, proposal or marketing plan). Print out the templates and fill in your relevant details.
  • TemplateLab. The TemplateLab website is a one-stop shop for new business owners seeking various downloadable templates for analytics, finance, HR, marketing, operations, project management, and time management. You’ll find over 30 free executive summary templates and examples.
  • Vertex42. The Vertex42 website offers Excel templates for executive summaries on budgets, invoices, project management and timesheets, as well as Word templates for legal forms, resumes and letters. This site also provides extensive information on executive summaries and a free executive summary template you can download into Word or Google Docs.

Summing it all up

Your executive summary should preview your business plan in, at most, two pages. Wait until your business plan is complete to write your executive summary, and seek outside help as necessary. A thorough, engaging business plan and executive summary are well worth the time and money you put into them. 

Max Freedman contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

thumbnail

Building Better Businesses

Insights on business strategy and culture, right to your inbox. Part of the business.com network.

  • Sources of Business Finance
  • Small Business Loans
  • Small Business Grants
  • Crowdfunding Sites
  • How to Get a Business Loan
  • Small Business Insurance Providers
  • Best Factoring Companies
  • Types of Bank Accounts
  • Best Banks for Small Business
  • Best Business Bank Accounts
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Bank Accounts for Small Businesses
  • Free Business Checking Accounts
  • Best Business Credit Cards
  • Get a Business Credit Card
  • Business Credit Cards for Bad Credit
  • Build Business Credit Fast
  • Business Loan Eligibility Criteria
  • Small-Business Bookkeeping Basics
  • How to Set Financial Goals
  • Business Loan Calculators
  • How to Calculate ROI
  • Calculate Net Income
  • Calculate Working Capital
  • Calculate Operating Income
  • Calculate Net Present Value (NPV)
  • Calculate Payroll Tax

How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

' src=

Every successful business has one thing in common, a good and well-executed business plan. A business plan is more than a document, it is a complete guide that outlines the goals your business wants to achieve, including its financial goals . It helps you analyze results, make strategic decisions, show your business operations and growth.

If you want to start a business or already have one and need to pitch it to investors for funding, writing a good business plan improves your chances of attracting financiers. As a startup, if you want to secure loans from financial institutions, part of the requirements involve submitting your business plan.

Writing a business plan does not have to be a complicated or time-consuming process. In this article, you will learn the step-by-step process for writing a successful business plan.

You will also learn what you need a business plan for, tips and strategies for writing a convincing business plan, business plan examples and templates that will save you tons of time, and the alternatives to the traditional business plan.

Let’s get started.

What Do You Need A Business Plan For?

Businesses create business plans for different purposes such as to secure funds, monitor business growth, measure your marketing strategies, and measure your business success.

1. Secure Funds

One of the primary reasons for writing a business plan is to secure funds, either from financial institutions/agencies or investors.

For you to effectively acquire funds, your business plan must contain the key elements of your business plan . For example, your business plan should include your growth plans, goals you want to achieve, and milestones you have recorded.

A business plan can also attract new business partners that are willing to contribute financially and intellectually. If you are writing a business plan to a bank, your project must show your traction , that is, the proof that you can pay back any loan borrowed.

Also, if you are writing to an investor, your plan must contain evidence that you can effectively utilize the funds you want them to invest in your business. Here, you are using your business plan to persuade a group or an individual that your business is a source of a good investment.

2. Monitor Business Growth

A business plan can help you track cash flows in your business. It steers your business to greater heights. A business plan capable of tracking business growth should contain:

  • The business goals
  • Methods to achieve the goals
  • Time-frame for attaining those goals

A good business plan should guide you through every step in achieving your goals. It can also track the allocation of assets to every aspect of the business. You can tell when you are spending more than you should on a project.

You can compare a business plan to a written GPS. It helps you manage your business and hints at the right time to expand your business.

3. Measure Business Success

A business plan can help you measure your business success rate. Some small-scale businesses are thriving better than more prominent companies because of their track record of success.

Right from the onset of your business operation, set goals and work towards them. Write a plan to guide you through your procedures. Use your plan to measure how much you have achieved and how much is left to attain.

You can also weigh your success by monitoring the position of your brand relative to competitors. On the other hand, a business plan can also show you why you have not achieved a goal. It can tell if you have elapsed the time frame you set to attain a goal.

4. Document Your Marketing Strategies

You can use a business plan to document your marketing plans. Every business should have an effective marketing plan.

Competition mandates every business owner to go the extraordinary mile to remain relevant in the market. Your business plan should contain your marketing strategies that work. You can measure the success rate of your marketing plans.

In your business plan, your marketing strategy must answer the questions:

  • How do you want to reach your target audience?
  • How do you plan to retain your customers?
  • What is/are your pricing plans?
  • What is your budget for marketing?

Business Plan Infographic

How to Write a Business Plan Step-by-Step

1. create your executive summary.

The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans . Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

Executive Summary of the business plan

Generally, there are nine sections in a business plan, the executive summary should condense essential ideas from the other eight sections.

A good executive summary should do the following:

  • A Snapshot of Growth Potential. Briefly inform the reader about your company and why it will be successful)
  • Contain your Mission Statement which explains what the main objective or focus of your business is.
  • Product Description and Differentiation. Brief description of your products or services and why it is different from other solutions in the market.
  • The Team. Basic information about your company’s leadership team and employees
  • Business Concept. A solid description of what your business does.
  • Target Market. The customers you plan to sell to.
  • Marketing Strategy. Your plans on reaching and selling to your customers
  • Current Financial State. Brief information about what revenue your business currently generates.
  • Projected Financial State. Brief information about what you foresee your business revenue to be in the future.

The executive summary is the make-or-break section of your business plan. If your summary cannot in less than two pages cannot clearly describe how your business will solve a particular problem of your target audience and make a profit, your business plan is set on a faulty foundation.

Avoid using the executive summary to hype your business, instead, focus on helping the reader understand the what and how of your plan.

View the executive summary as an opportunity to introduce your vision for your company. You know your executive summary is powerful when it can answer these key questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What sector or industry are you in?
  • What are your products and services?
  • What is the future of your industry?
  • Is your company scaleable?
  • Who are the owners and leaders of your company? What are their backgrounds and experience levels?
  • What is the motivation for starting your company?
  • What are the next steps?

Writing the executive summary last although it is the most important section of your business plan is an excellent idea. The reason why is because it is a high-level overview of your business plan. It is the section that determines whether potential investors and lenders will read further or not.

The executive summary can be a stand-alone document that covers everything in your business plan. It is not uncommon for investors to request only the executive summary when evaluating your business. If the information in the executive summary impresses them, they will ask for the complete business plan.

If you are writing your business plan for your planning purposes, you do not need to write the executive summary.

2. Add Your Company Overview

The company overview or description is the next section in your business plan after the executive summary. It describes what your business does.

Adding your company overview can be tricky especially when your business is still in the planning stages. Existing businesses can easily summarize their current operations but may encounter difficulties trying to explain what they plan to become.

Your company overview should contain the following:

  • What products and services you will provide
  • Geographical markets and locations your company have a presence
  • What you need to run your business
  • Who your target audience or customers are
  • Who will service your customers
  • Your company’s purpose, mission, and vision
  • Information about your company’s founders
  • Who the founders are
  • Notable achievements of your company so far

When creating a company overview, you have to focus on three basics: identifying your industry, identifying your customer, and explaining the problem you solve.

If you are stuck when creating your company overview, try to answer some of these questions that pertain to you.

  • Who are you targeting? (The answer is not everyone)
  • What pain point does your product or service solve for your customers that they will be willing to spend money on resolving?
  • How does your product or service overcome that pain point?
  • Where is the location of your business?
  • What products, equipment, and services do you need to run your business?
  • How is your company’s product or service different from your competition in the eyes of your customers?
  • How many employees do you need and what skills do you require them to have?

After answering some or all of these questions, you will get more than enough information you need to write your company overview or description section. When writing this section, describe what your company does for your customers.

It describes what your business does

The company description or overview section contains three elements: mission statement, history, and objectives.

  • Mission Statement

The mission statement refers to the reason why your business or company is existing. It goes beyond what you do or sell, it is about the ‘why’. A good mission statement should be emotional and inspirational.

Your mission statement should follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid). For example, Shopify’s mission statement is “Make commerce better for everyone.”

When describing your company’s history, make it simple and avoid the temptation of tying it to a defensive narrative. Write it in the manner you would a profile. Your company’s history should include the following information:

  • Founding Date
  • Major Milestones
  • Location(s)
  • Flagship Products or Services
  • Number of Employees
  • Executive Leadership Roles

When you fill in this information, you use it to write one or two paragraphs about your company’s history.

Business Objectives

Your business objective must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.) Failure to clearly identify your business objectives does not inspire confidence and makes it hard for your team members to work towards a common purpose.

3. Perform Market and Competitive Analyses to Proof a Big Enough Business Opportunity

The third step in writing a business plan is the market and competitive analysis section. Every business, no matter the size, needs to perform comprehensive market and competitive analyses before it enters into a market.

Performing market and competitive analyses are critical for the success of your business. It helps you avoid entering the right market with the wrong product, or vice versa. Anyone reading your business plans, especially financiers and financial institutions will want to see proof that there is a big enough business opportunity you are targeting.

This section is where you describe the market and industry you want to operate in and show the big opportunities in the market that your business can leverage to make a profit. If you noticed any unique trends when doing your research, show them in this section.

Market analysis alone is not enough, you have to add competitive analysis to strengthen this section. There are already businesses in the industry or market, how do you plan to take a share of the market from them?

You have to clearly illustrate the competitive landscape in your business plan. Are there areas your competitors are doing well? Are there areas where they are not doing so well? Show it.

Make it clear in this section why you are moving into the industry and what weaknesses are present there that you plan to explain. How are your competitors going to react to your market entry? How do you plan to get customers? Do you plan on taking your competitors' competitors, tap into other sources for customers, or both?

Illustrate the competitive landscape as well. What are your competitors doing well and not so well?

Answering these questions and thoughts will aid your market and competitive analysis of the opportunities in your space. Depending on how sophisticated your industry is, or the expectations of your financiers, you may need to carry out a more comprehensive market and competitive analysis to prove that big business opportunity.

Instead of looking at the market and competitive analyses as one entity, separating them will make the research even more comprehensive.

Market Analysis

Market analysis, boarding speaking, refers to research a business carried out on its industry, market, and competitors. It helps businesses gain a good understanding of their target market and the outlook of their industry. Before starting a company, it is vital to carry out market research to find out if the market is viable.

Market Analysis for Online Business

The market analysis section is a key part of the business plan. It is the section where you identify who your best clients or customers are. You cannot omit this section, without it your business plan is incomplete.

A good market analysis will tell your readers how you fit into the existing market and what makes you stand out. This section requires in-depth research, it will probably be the most time-consuming part of the business plan to write.

  • Market Research

To create a compelling market analysis that will win over investors and financial institutions, you have to carry out thorough market research . Your market research should be targeted at your primary target market for your products or services. Here is what you want to find out about your target market.

  • Your target market’s needs or pain points
  • The existing solutions for their pain points
  • Geographic Location
  • Demographics

The purpose of carrying out a marketing analysis is to get all the information you need to show that you have a solid and thorough understanding of your target audience.

Only after you have fully understood the people you plan to sell your products or services to, can you evaluate correctly if your target market will be interested in your products or services.

You can easily convince interested parties to invest in your business if you can show them you thoroughly understand the market and show them that there is a market for your products or services.

How to Quantify Your Target Market

One of the goals of your marketing research is to understand who your ideal customers are and their purchasing power. To quantify your target market, you have to determine the following:

  • Your Potential Customers: They are the people you plan to target. For example, if you sell accounting software for small businesses , then anyone who runs an enterprise or large business is unlikely to be your customers. Also, individuals who do not have a business will most likely not be interested in your product.
  • Total Households: If you are selling household products such as heating and air conditioning systems, determining the number of total households is more important than finding out the total population in the area you want to sell to. The logic is simple, people buy the product but it is the household that uses it.
  • Median Income: You need to know the median income of your target market. If you target a market that cannot afford to buy your products and services, your business will not last long.
  • Income by Demographics: If your potential customers belong to a certain age group or gender, determining income levels by demographics is necessary. For example, if you sell men's clothes, your target audience is men.

What Does a Good Market Analysis Entail?

Your business does not exist on its own, it can only flourish within an industry and alongside competitors. Market analysis takes into consideration your industry, target market, and competitors. Understanding these three entities will drastically improve your company’s chances of success.

Market Analysis Steps

You can view your market analysis as an examination of the market you want to break into and an education on the emerging trends and themes in that market. Good market analyses include the following:

  • Industry Description. You find out about the history of your industry, the current and future market size, and who the largest players/companies are in your industry.
  • Overview of Target Market. You research your target market and its characteristics. Who are you targeting? Note, it cannot be everyone, it has to be a specific group. You also have to find out all information possible about your customers that can help you understand how and why they make buying decisions.
  • Size of Target Market: You need to know the size of your target market, how frequently they buy, and the expected quantity they buy so you do not risk overproducing and having lots of bad inventory. Researching the size of your target market will help you determine if it is big enough for sustained business or not.
  • Growth Potential: Before picking a target market, you want to be sure there are lots of potential for future growth. You want to avoid going for an industry that is declining slowly or rapidly with almost zero growth potential.
  • Market Share Potential: Does your business stand a good chance of taking a good share of the market?
  • Market Pricing and Promotional Strategies: Your market analysis should give you an idea of the price point you can expect to charge for your products and services. Researching your target market will also give you ideas of pricing strategies you can implement to break into the market or to enjoy maximum profits.
  • Potential Barriers to Entry: One of the biggest benefits of conducting market analysis is that it shows you every potential barrier to entry your business will likely encounter. It is a good idea to discuss potential barriers to entry such as changing technology. It informs readers of your business plan that you understand the market.
  • Research on Competitors: You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and how you can exploit them for the benefit of your business. Find patterns and trends among your competitors that make them successful, discover what works and what doesn’t, and see what you can do better.

The market analysis section is not just for talking about your target market, industry, and competitors. You also have to explain how your company can fill the hole you have identified in the market.

Here are some questions you can answer that can help you position your product or service in a positive light to your readers.

  • Is your product or service of superior quality?
  • What additional features do you offer that your competitors do not offer?
  • Are you targeting a ‘new’ market?

Basically, your market analysis should include an analysis of what already exists in the market and an explanation of how your company fits into the market.

Competitive Analysis

In the competitive analysis section, y ou have to understand who your direct and indirect competitions are, and how successful they are in the marketplace. It is the section where you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, the advantage(s) they possess in the market and show the unique features or qualities that make you different from your competitors.

Four Steps to Create a Competitive Marketing Analysis

Many businesses do market analysis and competitive analysis together. However, to fully understand what the competitive analysis entails, it is essential to separate it from the market analysis.

Competitive analysis for your business can also include analysis on how to overcome barriers to entry in your target market.

The primary goal of conducting a competitive analysis is to distinguish your business from your competitors. A strong competitive analysis is essential if you want to convince potential funding sources to invest in your business. You have to show potential investors and lenders that your business has what it takes to compete in the marketplace successfully.

Competitive analysis will s how you what the strengths of your competition are and what they are doing to maintain that advantage.

When doing your competitive research, you first have to identify your competitor and then get all the information you can about them. The idea of spending time to identify your competitor and learn everything about them may seem daunting but it is well worth it.

Find answers to the following questions after you have identified who your competitors are.

  • What are your successful competitors doing?
  • Why is what they are doing working?
  • Can your business do it better?
  • What are the weaknesses of your successful competitors?
  • What are they not doing well?
  • Can your business turn its weaknesses into strengths?
  • How good is your competitors’ customer service?
  • Where do your competitors invest in advertising?
  • What sales and pricing strategies are they using?
  • What marketing strategies are they using?
  • What kind of press coverage do they get?
  • What are their customers saying about your competitors (both the positive and negative)?

If your competitors have a website, it is a good idea to visit their websites for more competitors’ research. Check their “About Us” page for more information.

How to Perform Competitive Analysis

If you are presenting your business plan to investors, you need to clearly distinguish yourself from your competitors. Investors can easily tell when you have not properly researched your competitors.

Take time to think about what unique qualities or features set you apart from your competitors. If you do not have any direct competition offering your product to the market, it does not mean you leave out the competitor analysis section blank. Instead research on other companies that are providing a similar product, or whose product is solving the problem your product solves.

The next step is to create a table listing the top competitors you want to include in your business plan. Ensure you list your business as the last and on the right. What you just created is known as the competitor analysis table.

Direct vs Indirect Competition

You cannot know if your product or service will be a fit for your target market if you have not understood your business and the competitive landscape.

There is no market you want to target where you will not encounter competition, even if your product is innovative. Including competitive analysis in your business plan is essential.

If you are entering an established market, you need to explain how you plan to differentiate your products from the available options in the market. Also, include a list of few companies that you view as your direct competitors The competition you face in an established market is your direct competition.

In situations where you are entering a market with no direct competition, it does not mean there is no competition there. Consider your indirect competition that offers substitutes for the products or services you offer.

For example, if you sell an innovative SaaS product, let us say a project management software , a company offering time management software is your indirect competition.

There is an easy way to find out who your indirect competitors are in the absence of no direct competitors. You simply have to research how your potential customers are solving the problems that your product or service seeks to solve. That is your direct competition.

Factors that Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

There are three main factors that any business can use to differentiate itself from its competition. They are cost leadership, product differentiation, and market segmentation.

1. Cost Leadership

A strategy you can impose to maximize your profits and gain an edge over your competitors. It involves offering lower prices than what the majority of your competitors are offering.

A common practice among businesses looking to enter into a market where there are dominant players is to use free trials or pricing to attract as many customers as possible to their offer.

2. Product Differentiation

Your product or service should have a unique selling proposition (USP) that your competitors do not have or do not stress in their marketing.

Part of the marketing strategy should involve making your products unique and different from your competitors. It does not have to be different from your competitors, it can be the addition to a feature or benefit that your competitors do not currently have.

3. Market Segmentation

As a new business seeking to break into an industry, you will gain more success from focusing on a specific niche or target market, and not the whole industry.

If your competitors are focused on a general need or target market, you can differentiate yourself from them by having a small and hyper-targeted audience. For example, if your competitors are selling men’s clothes in their online stores , you can sell hoodies for men.

4. Define Your Business and Management Structure

The next step in your business plan is your business and management structure. It is the section where you describe the legal structure of your business and the team running it.

Your business is only as good as the management team that runs it, while the management team can only strive when there is a proper business and management structure in place.

If your company is a sole proprietor or a limited liability company (LLC), a general or limited partnership, or a C or an S corporation, state it clearly in this section.

Use an organizational chart to show the management structure in your business. Clearly show who is in charge of what area in your company. It is where you show how each key manager or team leader’s unique experience can contribute immensely to the success of your company. You can also opt to add the resumes and CVs of the key players in your company.

The business and management structure section should show who the owner is, and other owners of the businesses (if the business has other owners). For businesses or companies with multiple owners, include the percent ownership of the various owners and clearly show the extent of each others’ involvement in the company.

Investors want to know who is behind the company and the team running it to determine if it has the right management to achieve its set goals.

Management Team

The management team section is where you show that you have the right team in place to successfully execute the business operations and ideas. Take time to create the management structure for your business. Think about all the important roles and responsibilities that you need managers for to grow your business.

Include brief bios of each key team member and ensure you highlight only the relevant information that is needed. If your team members have background industry experience or have held top positions for other companies and achieved success while filling that role, highlight it in this section.

Create Management Team For Business Plan

A common mistake that many startups make is assigning C-level titles such as (CMO and CEO) to everyone on their team. It is unrealistic for a small business to have those titles. While it may look good on paper for the ego of your team members, it can prevent investors from investing in your business.

Instead of building an unrealistic management structure that does not fit your business reality, it is best to allow business titles to grow as the business grows. Starting everyone at the top leaves no room for future change or growth, which is bad for productivity.

Your management team does not have to be complete before you start writing your business plan. You can have a complete business plan even when there are managerial positions that are empty and need filling.

If you have management gaps in your team, simply show the gaps and indicate you are searching for the right candidates for the role(s). Investors do not expect you to have a full management team when you are just starting your business.

Key Questions to Answer When Structuring Your Management Team

  • Who are the key leaders?
  • What experiences, skills, and educational backgrounds do you expect your key leaders to have?
  • Do your key leaders have industry experience?
  • What positions will they fill and what duties will they perform in those positions?
  • What level of authority do the key leaders have and what are their responsibilities?
  • What is the salary for the various management positions that will attract the ideal candidates?

Additional Tips for Writing the Management Structure Section

1. Avoid Adding ‘Ghost’ Names to Your Management Team

There is always that temptation to include a ‘ghost’ name to your management team to attract and influence investors to invest in your business. Although the presence of these celebrity management team members may attract the attention of investors, it can cause your business to lose any credibility if you get found out.

Seasoned investors will investigate further the members of your management team before committing fully to your business If they find out that the celebrity name used does not play any actual role in your business, they will not invest and may write you off as dishonest.

2. Focus on Credentials But Pay Extra Attention to the Roles

Investors want to know the experience that your key team members have to determine if they can successfully reach the company’s growth and financial goals.

While it is an excellent boost for your key management team to have the right credentials, you also want to pay extra attention to the roles they will play in your company.

Organizational Chart

Organizational chart Infographic

Adding an organizational chart in this section of your business plan is not necessary, you can do it in your business plan’s appendix.

If you are exploring funding options, it is not uncommon to get asked for your organizational chart. The function of an organizational chart goes beyond raising money, you can also use it as a useful planning tool for your business.

An organizational chart can help you identify how best to structure your management team for maximum productivity and point you towards key roles you need to fill in the future.

You can use the organizational chart to show your company’s internal management structure such as the roles and responsibilities of your management team, and relationships that exist between them.

5. Describe Your Product and Service Offering

In your business plan, you have to describe what you sell or the service you plan to offer. It is the next step after defining your business and management structure. The products and services section is where you sell the benefits of your business.

Here you have to explain how your product or service will benefit your customers and describe your product lifecycle. It is also the section where you write down your plans for intellectual property like patent filings and copyrighting.

The research and development that you are undertaking for your product or service need to be explained in detail in this section. However, do not get too technical, sell the general idea and its benefits.

If you have any diagrams or intricate designs of your product or service, do not include them in the products and services section. Instead, leave them for the addendum page. Also, if you are leaving out diagrams or designs for the addendum, ensure you add this phrase “For more detail, visit the addendum Page #.”

Your product and service section in your business plan should include the following:

  • A detailed explanation that clearly shows how your product or service works.
  • The pricing model for your product or service.
  • Your business’ sales and distribution strategy.
  • The ideal customers that want your product or service.
  • The benefits of your products and services.
  • Reason(s) why your product or service is a better alternative to what your competitors are currently offering in the market.
  • Plans for filling the orders you receive
  • If you have current or pending patents, copyrights, and trademarks for your product or service, you can also discuss them in this section.

What to Focus On When Describing the Benefits, Lifecycle, and Production Process of Your Products or Services

In the products and services section, you have to distill the benefits, lifecycle, and production process of your products and services.

When describing the benefits of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Unique features
  • Translating the unique features into benefits
  • The emotional, psychological, and practical payoffs to attract customers
  • Intellectual property rights or any patents

When describing the product life cycle of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Upsells, cross-sells, and down-sells
  • Time between purchases
  • Plans for research and development.

When describing the production process for your products or services, you need to think about the following:

  • The creation of new or existing products and services.
  • The sources for the raw materials or components you need for production.
  • Assembling the products
  • Maintaining quality control
  • Supply-chain logistics (receiving the raw materials and delivering the finished products)
  • The day-to-day management of the production processes, bookkeeping, and inventory.

Tips for Writing the Products or Services Section of Your Business Plan

1. Avoid Technical Descriptions and Industry Buzzwords

The products and services section of your business plan should clearly describe the products and services that your company provides. However, it is not a section to include technical jargons that anyone outside your industry will not understand.

A good practice is to remove highly detailed or technical descriptions in favor of simple terms. Industry buzzwords are not necessary, if there are simpler terms you can use, then use them. If you plan to use your business plan to source funds, making the product or service section so technical will do you no favors.

2. Describe How Your Products or Services Differ from Your Competitors

When potential investors look at your business plan, they want to know how the products and services you are offering differ from that of your competition. Differentiating your products or services from your competition in a way that makes your solution more attractive is critical.

If you are going the innovative path and there is no market currently for your product or service, you need to describe in this section why the market needs your product or service.

For example, overnight delivery was a niche business that only a few companies were participating in. Federal Express (FedEx) had to show in its business plan that there was a large opportunity for that service and they justified why the market needed that service.

3. Long or Short Products or Services Section

Should your products or services section be short? Does the long products or services section attract more investors?

There are no straightforward answers to these questions. Whether your products or services section should be long or relatively short depends on the nature of your business.

If your business is product-focused, then automatically you need to use more space to describe the details of your products. However, if the product your business sells is a commodity item that relies on competitive pricing or other pricing strategies, you do not have to use up so much space to provide significant details about the product.

Likewise, if you are selling a commodity that is available in numerous outlets, then you do not have to spend time on writing a long products or services section.

The key to the success of your business is most likely the effectiveness of your marketing strategies compared to your competitors. Use more space to address that section.

If you are creating a new product or service that the market does not know about, your products or services section can be lengthy. The reason why is because you need to explain everything about the product or service such as the nature of the product, its use case, and values.

A short products or services section for an innovative product or service will not give the readers enough information to properly evaluate your business.

4. Describe Your Relationships with Vendors or Suppliers

Your business will rely on vendors or suppliers to supply raw materials or the components needed to make your products. In your products and services section, describe your relationships with your vendors and suppliers fully.

Avoid the mistake of relying on only one supplier or vendor. If that supplier or vendor fails to supply or goes out of business, you can easily face supply problems and struggle to meet your demands. Plan to set up multiple vendor or supplier relationships for better business stability.

5. Your Primary Goal Is to Convince Your Readers

The primary goal of your business plan is to convince your readers that your business is viable and to create a guide for your business to follow. It applies to the products and services section.

When drafting this section, think like the reader. See your reader as someone who has no idea about your products and services. You are using the products and services section to provide the needed information to help your reader understand your products and services. As a result, you have to be clear and to the point.

While you want to educate your readers about your products or services, you also do not want to bore them with lots of technical details. Show your products and services and not your fancy choice of words.

Your products and services section should provide the answer to the “what” question for your business. You and your management team may run the business, but it is your products and services that are the lifeblood of the business.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing your Products and Services Section

Answering these questions can help you write your products and services section quickly and in a way that will appeal to your readers.

  • Are your products existing on the market or are they still in the development stage?
  • What is your timeline for adding new products and services to the market?
  • What are the positives that make your products and services different from your competitors?
  • Do your products and services have any competitive advantage that your competitors’ products and services do not currently have?
  • Do your products or services have any competitive disadvantages that you need to overcome to compete with your competitors? If your answer is yes, state how you plan to overcome them,
  • How much does it cost to produce your products or services? How much do you plan to sell it for?
  • What is the price for your products and services compared to your competitors? Is pricing an issue?
  • What are your operating costs and will it be low enough for you to compete with your competitors and still take home a reasonable profit margin?
  • What is your plan for acquiring your products? Are you involved in the production of your products or services?
  • Are you the manufacturer and produce all the components you need to create your products? Do you assemble your products by using components supplied by other manufacturers? Do you purchase your products directly from suppliers or wholesalers?
  • Do you have a steady supply of products that you need to start your business? (If your business is yet to kick-off)
  • How do you plan to distribute your products or services to the market?

You can also hint at the marketing or promotion plans you have for your products or services such as how you plan to build awareness or retain customers. The next section is where you can go fully into details about your business’s marketing and sales plan.

6. Show and Explain Your Marketing and Sales Plan

Providing great products and services is wonderful, but it means nothing if you do not have a marketing and sales plan to inform your customers about them. Your marketing and sales plan is critical to the success of your business.

The sales and marketing section is where you show and offer a detailed explanation of your marketing and sales plan and how you plan to execute it. It covers your pricing plan, proposed advertising and promotion activities, activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success, and the benefits of your products and services.

There are several ways you can approach your marketing and sales strategy. Ideally, your marketing and sales strategy has to fit the unique needs of your business.

In this section, you describe how the plans your business has for attracting and retaining customers, and the exact process for making a sale happen. It is essential to thoroughly describe your complete marketing and sales plans because you are still going to reference this section when you are making financial projections for your business.

Outline Your Business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The sales and marketing section is where you outline your business’s unique selling proposition (USP). When you are developing your unique selling proposition, think about the strongest reasons why people should buy from you over your competition. That reason(s) is most likely a good fit to serve as your unique selling proposition (USP).

Target Market and Target Audience

Plans on how to get your products or services to your target market and how to get your target audience to buy them go into this section. You also highlight the strengths of your business here, particularly what sets them apart from your competition.

Target Market Vs Target Audience

Before you start writing your marketing and sales plan, you need to have properly defined your target audience and fleshed out your buyer persona. If you do not first understand the individual you are marketing to, your marketing and sales plan will lack any substance and easily fall.

Creating a Smart Marketing and Sales Plan

Marketing your products and services is an investment that requires you to spend money. Like any other investment, you have to generate a good return on investment (ROI) to justify using that marketing and sales plan. Good marketing and sales plans bring in high sales and profits to your company.

Avoid spending money on unproductive marketing channels. Do your research and find out the best marketing and sales plan that works best for your company.

Your marketing and sales plan can be broken into different parts: your positioning statement, pricing, promotion, packaging, advertising, public relations, content marketing, social media, and strategic alliances.

Your Positioning Statement

Your positioning statement is the first part of your marketing and sales plan. It refers to the way you present your company to your customers.

Are you the premium solution, the low-price solution, or are you the intermediary between the two extremes in the market? What do you offer that your competitors do not that can give you leverage in the market?

Before you start writing your positioning statement, you need to spend some time evaluating the current market conditions. Here are some questions that can help you to evaluate the market

  • What are the unique features or benefits that you offer that your competitors lack?
  • What are your customers’ primary needs and wants?
  • Why should a customer choose you over your competition? How do you plan to differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • How does your company’s solution compare with other solutions in the market?

After answering these questions, then you can start writing your positioning statement. Your positioning statement does not have to be in-depth or too long.

All you need to explain with your positioning statement are two focus areas. The first is the position of your company within the competitive landscape. The other focus area is the core value proposition that sets your company apart from other alternatives that your ideal customer might consider.

Here is a simple template you can use to develop a positioning statement.

For [description of target market] who [need of target market], [product or service] [how it meets the need]. Unlike [top competition], it [most essential distinguishing feature].

For example, let’s create the positioning statement for fictional accounting software and QuickBooks alternative , TBooks.

“For small business owners who need accounting services, TBooks is an accounting software that helps small businesses handle their small business bookkeeping basics quickly and easily. Unlike Wave, TBooks gives small businesses access to live sessions with top accountants.”

You can edit this positioning statement sample and fill it with your business details.

After writing your positioning statement, the next step is the pricing of your offerings. The overall positioning strategy you set in your positioning statement will often determine how you price your products or services.

Pricing is a powerful tool that sends a strong message to your customers. Failure to get your pricing strategy right can make or mar your business. If you are targeting a low-income audience, setting a premium price can result in low sales.

You can use pricing to communicate your positioning to your customers. For example, if you are offering a product at a premium price, you are sending a message to your customers that the product belongs to the premium category.

Basic Rules to Follow When Pricing Your Offering

Setting a price for your offering involves more than just putting a price tag on it. Deciding on the right pricing for your offering requires following some basic rules. They include covering your costs, primary and secondary profit center pricing, and matching the market rate.

  • Covering Your Costs: The price you set for your products or service should be more than it costs you to produce and deliver them. Every business has the same goal, to make a profit. Depending on the strategy you want to use, there are exceptions to this rule. However, the vast majority of businesses follow this rule.
  • Primary and Secondary Profit Center Pricing: When a company sets its price above the cost of production, it is making that product its primary profit center. A company can also decide not to make its initial price its primary profit center by selling below or at even with its production cost. It rather depends on the support product or even maintenance that is associated with the initial purchase to make its profit. The initial price thus became its secondary profit center.
  • Matching the Market Rate: A good rule to follow when pricing your products or services is to match your pricing with consumer demand and expectations. If you price your products or services beyond the price your customer perceives as the ideal price range, you may end up with no customers. Pricing your products too low below what your customer perceives as the ideal price range may lead to them undervaluing your offering.

Pricing Strategy

Your pricing strategy influences the price of your offering. There are several pricing strategies available for you to choose from when examining the right pricing strategy for your business. They include cost-plus pricing, market-based pricing, value pricing, and more.

Pricing strategy influences the price of offering

  • Cost-plus Pricing: This strategy is one of the simplest and oldest pricing strategies. Here you consider the cost of producing a unit of your product and then add a profit to it to arrive at your market price. It is an effective pricing strategy for manufacturers because it helps them cover their initial costs. Another name for the cost-plus pricing strategy is the markup pricing strategy.
  • Market-based Pricing: This pricing strategy analyses the market including competitors’ pricing and then sets a price based on what the market is expecting. With this pricing strategy, you can either set your price at the low-end or high-end of the market.
  • Value Pricing: This pricing strategy involves setting a price based on the value you are providing to your customer. When adopting a value-based pricing strategy, you have to set a price that your customers are willing to pay. Service-based businesses such as small business insurance providers , luxury goods sellers, and the fashion industry use this pricing strategy.

After carefully sorting out your positioning statement and pricing, the next item to look at is your promotional strategy. Your promotional strategy explains how you plan on communicating with your customers and prospects.

As a business, you must measure all your costs, including the cost of your promotions. You also want to measure how much sales your promotions bring for your business to determine its usefulness. Promotional strategies or programs that do not lead to profit need to be removed.

There are different types of promotional strategies you can adopt for your business, they include advertising, public relations, and content marketing.

Advertising

Your business plan should include your advertising plan which can be found in the marketing and sales plan section. You need to include an overview of your advertising plans such as the areas you plan to spend money on to advertise your business and offers.

Ensure that you make it clear in this section if your business will be advertising online or using the more traditional offline media, or the combination of both online and offline media. You can also include the advertising medium you want to use to raise awareness about your business and offers.

Some common online advertising mediums you can use include social media ads, landing pages, sales pages, SEO, Pay-Per-Click, emails, Google Ads, and others. Some common traditional and offline advertising mediums include word of mouth, radios, direct mail, televisions, flyers, billboards, posters, and others.

A key component of your advertising strategy is how you plan to measure the effectiveness and success of your advertising campaign. There is no point in sticking with an advertising plan or medium that does not produce results for your business in the long run.

Public Relations

A great way to reach your customers is to get the media to cover your business or product. Publicity, especially good ones, should be a part of your marketing and sales plan. In this section, show your plans for getting prominent reviews of your product from reputable publications and sources.

Your business needs that exposure to grow. If public relations is a crucial part of your promotional strategy, provide details about your public relations plan here.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a popular promotional strategy used by businesses to inform and attract their customers. It is about teaching and educating your prospects on various topics of interest in your niche, it does not just involve informing them about the benefits and features of the products and services you have,

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Businesses publish content usually for free where they provide useful information, tips, and advice so that their target market can be made aware of the importance of their products and services. Content marketing strategies seek to nurture prospects into buyers over time by simply providing value.

Your company can create a blog where it will be publishing content for its target market. You will need to use the best website builder such as Wix and Squarespace and the best web hosting services such as Bluehost, Hostinger, and other Bluehost alternatives to create a functional blog or website.

If content marketing is a crucial part of your promotional strategy (as it should be), detail your plans under promotions.

Including high-quality images of the packaging of your product in your business plan is a lovely idea. You can add the images of the packaging of that product in the marketing and sales plan section. If you are not selling a product, then you do not need to include any worry about the physical packaging of your product.

When organizing the packaging section of your business plan, you can answer the following questions to make maximum use of this section.

  • Is your choice of packaging consistent with your positioning strategy?
  • What key value proposition does your packaging communicate? (It should reflect the key value proposition of your business)
  • How does your packaging compare to that of your competitors?

Social Media

Your 21st-century business needs to have a good social media presence. Not having one is leaving out opportunities for growth and reaching out to your prospect.

You do not have to join the thousands of social media platforms out there. What you need to do is join the ones that your customers are active on and be active there.

Most popular social media platforms

Businesses use social media to provide information about their products such as promotions, discounts, the benefits of their products, and content on their blogs.

Social media is also a platform for engaging with your customers and getting feedback about your products or services. Make no mistake, more and more of your prospects are using social media channels to find more information about companies.

You need to consider the social media channels you want to prioritize your business (prioritize the ones your customers are active in) and your branding plans in this section.

Choosing the right social media platform

Strategic Alliances

If your company plans to work closely with other companies as part of your sales and marketing plan, include it in this section. Prove details about those partnerships in your business plan if you have already established them.

Strategic alliances can be beneficial for all parties involved including your company. Working closely with another company in the form of a partnership can provide access to a different target market segment for your company.

The company you are partnering with may also gain access to your target market or simply offer a new product or service (that of your company) to its customers.

Mutually beneficial partnerships can cover the weaknesses of one company with the strength of another. You should consider strategic alliances with companies that sell complimentary products to yours. For example, if you provide printers, you can partner with a company that produces ink since the customers that buy printers from you will also need inks for printing.

Steps Involved in Creating a Marketing and Sales Plan

1. Focus on Your Target Market

Identify who your customers are, the market you want to target. Then determine the best ways to get your products or services to your potential customers.

2. Evaluate Your Competition

One of the goals of having a marketing plan is to distinguish yourself from your competition. You cannot stand out from them without first knowing them in and out.

You can know your competitors by gathering information about their products, pricing, service, and advertising campaigns.

These questions can help you know your competition.

  • What makes your competition successful?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What are customers saying about your competition?

3. Consider Your Brand

Customers' perception of your brand has a strong impact on your sales. Your marketing and sales plan should seek to bolster the image of your brand. Before you start marketing your business, think about the message you want to pass across about your business and your products and services.

4. Focus on Benefits

The majority of your customers do not view your product in terms of features, what they want to know is the benefits and solutions your product offers. Think about the problems your product solves and the benefits it delivers, and use it to create the right sales and marketing message.

Your marketing plan should focus on what you want your customer to get instead of what you provide. Identify those benefits in your marketing and sales plan.

5. Focus on Differentiation

Your marketing and sales plan should look for a unique angle they can take that differentiates your business from the competition, even if the products offered are similar. Some good areas of differentiation you can use are your benefits, pricing, and features.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing Your Marketing and Sales Plan

  • What is your company’s budget for sales and marketing campaigns?
  • What key metrics will you use to determine if your marketing plans are successful?
  • What are your alternatives if your initial marketing efforts do not succeed?
  • Who are the sales representatives you need to promote your products or services?
  • What are the marketing and sales channels you plan to use? How do you plan to get your products in front of your ideal customers?
  • Where will you sell your products?

You may want to include samples of marketing materials you plan to use such as print ads, website descriptions, and social media ads. While it is not compulsory to include these samples, it can help you better communicate your marketing and sales plan and objectives.

The purpose of the marketing and sales section is to answer this question “How will you reach your customers?” If you cannot convincingly provide an answer to this question, you need to rework your marketing and sales section.

7. Clearly Show Your Funding Request

If you are writing your business plan to ask for funding from investors or financial institutions, the funding request section is where you will outline your funding requirements. The funding request section should answer the question ‘How much money will your business need in the near future (3 to 5 years)?’

A good funding request section will clearly outline and explain the amount of funding your business needs over the next five years. You need to know the amount of money your business needs to make an accurate funding request.

Also, when writing your funding request, provide details of how the funds will be used over the period. Specify if you want to use the funds to buy raw materials or machinery, pay salaries, pay for advertisements, and cover specific bills such as rent and electricity.

In addition to explaining what you want to use the funds requested for, you need to clearly state the projected return on investment (ROI) . Investors and creditors want to know if your business can generate profit for them if they put funds into it.

Ensure you do not inflate the figures and stay as realistic as possible. Investors and financial institutions you are seeking funds from will do their research before investing money in your business.

If you are not sure of an exact number to request from, you can use some range of numbers as rough estimates. Add a best-case scenario and a work-case scenario to your funding request. Also, include a description of your strategic future financial plans such as selling your business or paying off debts.

Funding Request: Debt or Equity?

When making your funding request, specify the type of funding you want. Do you want debt or equity? Draw out the terms that will be applicable for the funding, and the length of time the funding request will cover.

Case for Equity

If your new business has not yet started generating profits, you are most likely preparing to sell equity in your business to raise capital at the early stage. Equity here refers to ownership. In this case, you are selling a portion of your company to raise capital.

Although this method of raising capital for your business does not put your business in debt, keep in mind that an equity owner may expect to play a key role in company decisions even if he does not hold a major stake in the company.

Most equity sales for startups are usually private transactions . If you are making a funding request by offering equity in exchange for funding, let the investor know that they will be paid a dividend (a share of the company’s profit). Also, let the investor know the process for selling their equity in your business.

Case for Debt

You may decide not to offer equity in exchange for funds, instead, you make a funding request with the promise to pay back the money borrowed at the agreed time frame.

When making a funding request with an agreement to pay back, note that you will have to repay your creditors both the principal amount borrowed and the interest on it. Financial institutions offer this type of funding for businesses.

Large companies combine both equity and debt in their capital structure. When drafting your business plan, decide if you want to offer both or one over the other.

Before you sell equity in exchange for funding in your business, consider if you are willing to accept not being in total control of your business. Also, before you seek loans in your funding request section, ensure that the terms of repayment are favorable.

You should set a clear timeline in your funding request so that potential investors and creditors can know what you are expecting. Some investors and creditors may agree to your funding request and then delay payment for longer than 30 days, meanwhile, your business needs an immediate cash injection to operate efficiently.

Additional Tips for Writing the Funding Request Section of your Business Plan

The funding request section is not necessary for every business, it is only needed by businesses who plan to use their business plan to secure funding.

If you are adding the funding request section to your business plan, provide an itemized summary of how you plan to use the funds requested. Hiring a lawyer, accountant, or other professionals may be necessary for the proper development of this section.

You should also gather and use financial statements that add credibility and support to your funding requests. Ensure that the financial statements you use should include your projected financial data such as projected cash flows, forecast statements, and expenditure budgets.

If you are an existing business, include all historical financial statements such as cash flow statements, balance sheets and income statements .

Provide monthly and quarterly financial statements for a year. If your business has records that date back beyond the one-year mark, add the yearly statements of those years. These documents are for the appendix section of your business plan.

8. Detail Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projections

If you used the funding request section in your business plan, supplement it with a financial plan, metrics, and projections. This section paints a picture of the past performance of your business and then goes ahead to make an informed projection about its future.

The goal of this section is to convince readers that your business is going to be a financial success. It outlines your business plan to generate enough profit to repay the loan (with interest if applicable) and to generate a decent return on investment for investors.

If you have an existing business already in operation, use this section to demonstrate stability through finance. This section should include your cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements covering the last three to five years. If your business has some acceptable collateral that you can use to acquire loans, list it in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

Apart from current financial statements, this section should also contain a prospective financial outlook that spans the next five years. Include forecasted income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, and capital expenditure budget.

If your business is new and is not yet generating profit, use clear and realistic projections to show the potentials of your business.

When drafting this section, research industry norms and the performance of comparable businesses. Your financial projections should cover at least five years. State the logic behind your financial projections. Remember you can always make adjustments to this section as the variables change.

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section create a baseline which your business can either exceed or fail to reach. If your business fails to reach your projections in this section, you need to understand why it failed.

Investors and loan managers spend a lot of time going through the financial plan, metrics, and projection section compared to other parts of the business plan. Ensure you spend time creating credible financial analyses for your business in this section.

Many entrepreneurs find this section daunting to write. You do not need a business degree to create a solid financial forecast for your business. Business finances, especially for startups, are not as complicated as they seem. There are several online tools and templates that make writing this section so much easier.

Use Graphs and Charts

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business. Charts and images make it easier to communicate your finances.

Accuracy in this section is key, ensure you carefully analyze your past financial statements properly before making financial projects.

Address the Risk Factors and Show Realistic Financial Projections

Keep your financial plan, metrics, and projection realistic. It is okay to be optimistic in your financial projection, however, you have to justify it.

You should also address the various risk factors associated with your business in this section. Investors want to know the potential risks involved, show them. You should also show your plans for mitigating those risks.

What You Should In The Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection Section of Your Business Plan

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section of your business plan should have monthly sales and revenue forecasts for the first year. It should also include annual projections that cover 3 to 5 years.

A three-year projection is a basic requirement to have in your business plan. However, some investors may request a five-year forecast.

Your business plan should include the following financial statements: sales forecast, personnel plan, income statement, income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and an exit strategy.

1. Sales Forecast

Sales forecast refers to your projections about the number of sales your business is going to record over the next few years. It is typically broken into several rows, with each row assigned to a core product or service that your business is offering.

One common mistake people make in their business plan is to break down the sales forecast section into long details. A sales forecast should forecast the high-level details.

For example, if you are forecasting sales for a payroll software provider, you could break down your forecast into target market segments or subscription categories.

Benefits of Sales Forecasting

Your sales forecast section should also have a corresponding row for each sales row to cover the direct cost or Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). The objective of these rows is to show the expenses that your business incurs in making and delivering your product or service.

Note that your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) should only cover those direct costs incurred when making your products. Other indirect expenses such as insurance, salaries, payroll tax, and rent should not be included.

For example, the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) for a restaurant is the cost of ingredients while for a consulting company it will be the cost of paper and other presentation materials.

Factors that affect sales forecasting

2. Personnel Plan

The personnel plan section is where you provide details about the payment plan for your employees. For a small business, you can easily list every position in your company and how much you plan to pay in the personnel plan.

However, for larger businesses, you have to break the personnel plan into functional groups such as sales and marketing.

The personnel plan will also include the cost of an employee beyond salary, commonly referred to as the employee burden. These costs include insurance, payroll taxes , and other essential costs incurred monthly as a result of having employees on your payroll.

True HR Cost Infographic

3. Income Statement

The income statement section shows if your business is making a profit or taking a loss. Another name for the income statement is the profit and loss (P&L). It takes data from your sales forecast and personnel plan and adds other ongoing expenses you incur while running your business.

The income statement section

Every business plan should have an income statement. It subtracts your business expenses from its earnings to show if your business is generating profit or incurring losses.

The income statement has the following items: sales, Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), gross margin, operating expenses, total operating expenses, operating income , total expenses, and net profit.

  • Sales refer to the revenue your business generates from selling its products or services. Other names for sales are income or revenue.
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) refers to the total cost of selling your products. Other names for COGS are direct costs or cost of sales. Manufacturing businesses use the Costs of Goods Manufactured (COGM) .
  • Gross Margin is the figure you get when you subtract your COGS from your sales. In your income statement, you can express it as a percentage of total sales (Gross margin / Sales = Gross Margin Percent).
  • Operating Expenses refer to all the expenses you incur from running your business. It exempts the COGS because it stands alone as a core part of your income statement. You also have to exclude taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Your operating expenses include salaries, marketing expenses, research and development (R&D) expenses, and other expenses.
  • Total Operating Expenses refers to the sum of all your operating expenses including those exemptions named above under operating expenses.
  • Operating Income refers to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. It is simply known as the acronym EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). Calculating your operating income is simple, all you need to do is to subtract your COGS and total operating expenses from your sales.
  • Total Expenses refer to the sum of your operating expenses and your business’ interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
  • Net profit shows whether your business has made a profit or taken a loss during a given timeframe.

4. Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement tracks the money you have in the bank at any given point. It is often confused with the income statement or the profit and loss statement. They are both different types of financial statements. The income statement calculates your profits and losses while the cash flow statement shows you how much you have in the bank.

Cash Flow Statement Example

5. Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a financial statement that provides an overview of the financial health of your business. It contains information about the assets and liabilities of your company, and owner’s or shareholders’ equity.

You can get the net worth of your company by subtracting your company’s liabilities from its assets.

Balance sheet Formula

6. Exit Strategy

The exit strategy refers to a probable plan for selling your business either to the public in an IPO or to another company. It is the last thing you include in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

You can choose to omit the exit strategy from your business plan if you plan to maintain full ownership of your business and do not plan on seeking angel investment or virtual capitalist (VC) funding.

Investors may want to know what your exit plan is. They invest in your business to get a good return on investment.

Your exit strategy does not have to include long and boring details. Ensure you identify some interested parties who may be interested in buying the company if it becomes a success.

Exit Strategy Section of Business Plan Infographic

Key Questions to Answer with Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection

Your financial plan, metrics, and projection section helps investors, creditors, or your internal managers to understand what your expenses are, the amount of cash you need, and what it takes to make your company profitable. It also shows what you will be doing with any funding.

You do not need to show actual financial data if you do not have one. Adding forecasts and projections to your financial statements is added proof that your strategy is feasible and shows investors you have planned properly.

Here are some key questions to answer to help you develop this section.

  • What is your sales forecast for the next year?
  • When will your company achieve a positive cash flow?
  • What are the core expenses you need to operate?
  • How much money do you need upfront to operate or grow your company?
  • How will you use the loans or investments?

9. Add an Appendix to Your Business Plan

Adding an appendix to your business plan is optional. It is a useful place to put any charts, tables, legal notes, definitions, permits, résumés, and other critical information that do not fit into other sections of your business plan.

The appendix section is where you would want to include details of a patent or patent-pending if you have one. You can always add illustrations or images of your products here. It is the last section of your business plan.

When writing your business plan, there are details you cut short or remove to prevent the entire section from becoming too lengthy. There are also details you want to include in the business plan but are not a good fit for any of the previous sections. You can add that additional information to the appendix section.

Businesses also use the appendix section to include supporting documents or other materials specially requested by investors or lenders.

You can include just about any information that supports the assumptions and statements you made in the business plan under the appendix. It is the one place in the business plan where unrelated data and information can coexist amicably.

If your appendix section is lengthy, try organizing it by adding a table of contents at the beginning of the appendix section. It is also advisable to group similar information to make it easier for the reader to access them.

A well-organized appendix section makes it easier to share your information clearly and concisely. Add footnotes throughout the rest of the business plan or make references in the plan to the documents in the appendix.

The appendix section is usually only necessary if you are seeking funding from investors or lenders, or hoping to attract partners.

People reading business plans do not want to spend time going through a heap of backup information, numbers, and charts. Keep these documents or information in the Appendix section in case the reader wants to dig deeper.

Common Items to Include in the Appendix Section of Your Business Plan

The appendix section includes documents that supplement or support the information or claims given in other sections of the business plans. Common items you can include in the appendix section include:

  • Additional data about the process of manufacturing or creation
  • Additional description of products or services such as product schematics
  • Additional financial documents or projections
  • Articles of incorporation and status
  • Backup for market research or competitive analysis
  • Bank statements
  • Business registries
  • Client testimonials (if your business is already running)
  • Copies of insurances
  • Credit histories (personal or/and business)
  • Deeds and permits
  • Equipment leases
  • Examples of marketing and advertising collateral
  • Industry associations and memberships
  • Images of product
  • Intellectual property
  • Key customer contracts
  • Legal documents and other contracts
  • Letters of reference
  • Links to references
  • Market research data
  • Organizational charts
  • Photographs of potential facilities
  • Professional licenses pertaining to your legal structure or type of business
  • Purchase orders
  • Resumes of the founder(s) and key managers
  • State and federal identification numbers or codes
  • Trademarks or patents’ registrations

Avoid using the appendix section as a place to dump any document or information you feel like adding. Only add documents or information that you support or increase the credibility of your business plan.

Tips and Strategies for Writing a Convincing Business Plan

To achieve a perfect business plan, you need to consider some key tips and strategies. These tips will raise the efficiency of your business plan above average.

1. Know Your Audience

When writing a business plan, you need to know your audience . Business owners write business plans for different reasons. Your business plan has to be specific. For example, you can write business plans to potential investors, banks, and even fellow board members of the company.

The audience you are writing to determines the structure of the business plan. As a business owner, you have to know your audience. Not everyone will be your audience. Knowing your audience will help you to narrow the scope of your business plan.

Consider what your audience wants to see in your projects, the likely questions they might ask, and what interests them.

  • A business plan used to address a company's board members will center on its employment schemes, internal affairs, projects, stakeholders, etc.
  • A business plan for financial institutions will talk about the size of your market and the chances for you to pay back any loans you demand.
  • A business plan for investors will show proof that you can return the investment capital within a specific time. In addition, it discusses your financial projections, tractions, and market size.

2. Get Inspiration from People

Writing a business plan from scratch as an entrepreneur can be daunting. That is why you need the right inspiration to push you to write one. You can gain inspiration from the successful business plans of other businesses. Look at their business plans, the style they use, the structure of the project, etc.

To make your business plan easier to create, search companies related to your business to get an exact copy of what you need to create an effective business plan. You can also make references while citing examples in your business plans.

When drafting your business plan, get as much help from others as you possibly can. By getting inspiration from people, you can create something better than what they have.

3. Avoid Being Over Optimistic

Many business owners make use of strong adjectives to qualify their content. One of the big mistakes entrepreneurs make when preparing a business plan is promising too much.

The use of superlatives and over-optimistic claims can prepare the audience for more than you can offer. In the end, you disappoint the confidence they have in you.

In most cases, the best option is to be realistic with your claims and statistics. Most of the investors can sense a bit of incompetency from the overuse of superlatives. As a new entrepreneur, do not be tempted to over-promise to get the interests of investors.

The concept of entrepreneurship centers on risks, nothing is certain when you make future analyses. What separates the best is the ability to do careful research and work towards achieving that, not promising more than you can achieve.

To make an excellent first impression as an entrepreneur, replace superlatives with compelling data-driven content. In this way, you are more specific than someone promising a huge ROI from an investment.

4. Keep it Simple and Short

When writing business plans, ensure you keep them simple throughout. Irrespective of the purpose of the business plan, your goal is to convince the audience.

One way to achieve this goal is to make them understand your proposal. Therefore, it would be best if you avoid the use of complex grammar to express yourself. It would be a huge turn-off if the people you want to convince are not familiar with your use of words.

Another thing to note is the length of your business plan. It would be best if you made it as brief as possible.

You hardly see investors or agencies that read through an extremely long document. In that case, if your first few pages can’t convince them, then you have lost it. The more pages you write, the higher the chances of you derailing from the essential contents.

To ensure your business plan has a high conversion rate, you need to dispose of every unnecessary information. For example, if you have a strategy that you are not sure of, it would be best to leave it out of the plan.

5. Make an Outline and Follow Through

A perfect business plan must have touched every part needed to convince the audience. Business owners get easily tempted to concentrate more on their products than on other sections. Doing this can be detrimental to the efficiency of the business plan.

For example, imagine you talking about a product but omitting or providing very little information about the target audience. You will leave your clients confused.

To ensure that your business plan communicates your full business model to readers, you have to input all the necessary information in it. One of the best ways to achieve this is to design a structure and stick to it.

This structure is what guides you throughout the writing. To make your work easier, you can assign an estimated word count or page limit to every section to avoid making it too bulky for easy reading. As a guide, the necessary things your business plan must contain are:

  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Product or service description
  • Target audience
  • Market size
  • Competition analysis
  • Financial projections

Some specific businesses can include some other essential sections, but these are the key sections that must be in every business plan.

6. Ask a Professional to Proofread

When writing a business plan, you must tie all loose ends to get a perfect result. When you are done with writing, call a professional to go through the document for you. You are bound to make mistakes, and the way to correct them is to get external help.

You should get a professional in your field who can relate to every section of your business plan. It would be easier for the professional to notice the inner flaws in the document than an editor with no knowledge of your business.

In addition to getting a professional to proofread, get an editor to proofread and edit your document. The editor will help you identify grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and inappropriate writing styles.

Writing a business plan can be daunting, but you can surmount that obstacle and get the best out of it with these tips.

Business Plan Examples and Templates That’ll Save You Tons of Time

1. hubspot's one-page business plan.

HubSpot's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan template by HubSpot is the perfect guide for businesses of any size, irrespective of their business strategy. Although the template is condensed into a page, your final business plan should not be a page long! The template is designed to ask helpful questions that can help you develop your business plan.

Hubspot’s one-page business plan template is divided into nine fields:

  • Business opportunity
  • Company description
  • Industry analysis
  • Target market
  • Implementation timeline
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial summary
  • Funding required

2. Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplans' free business plan template is investor-approved. It is a rich template used by prestigious educational institutions such as Babson College and Princeton University to teach entrepreneurs how to create a business plan.

The template has six sections: the executive summary, opportunity, execution, company, financial plan, and appendix. There is a step-by-step guide for writing every little detail in the business plan. Follow the instructions each step of the way and you will create a business plan that impresses investors or lenders easily.

3. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot’s downloadable business plan template is a more comprehensive option compared to the one-page business template by HubSpot. This free and downloadable business plan template is designed for entrepreneurs.

The template is a comprehensive guide and checklist for business owners just starting their businesses. It tells you everything you need to fill in each section of the business plan and how to do it.

There are nine sections in this business plan template: an executive summary, company and business description, product and services line, market analysis, marketing plan, sales plan, legal notes, financial considerations, and appendix.

4. Business Plan by My Own Business Institute

The Business Profile

My Own Business Institute (MOBI) which is a part of Santa Clara University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers a free business plan template. You can either copy the free business template from the link provided above or download it as a Word document.

The comprehensive template consists of a whopping 15 sections.

  • The Business Profile
  • The Vision and the People
  • Home-Based Business and Freelance Business Opportunities
  • Organization
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Business Insurance
  • Communication Tools
  • Acquisitions
  • Location and Leasing
  • Accounting and Cash Flow
  • Opening and Marketing
  • Managing Employees
  • Expanding and Handling Problems

There are lots of helpful tips on how to fill each section in the free business plan template by MOBI.

5. Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score is an American nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs build successful companies. This business plan template for startups by Score is available for free download. The business plan template asks a whooping 150 generic questions that help entrepreneurs from different fields to set up the perfect business plan.

The business plan template for startups contains clear instructions and worksheets, all you have to do is answer the questions and fill the worksheets.

There are nine sections in the business plan template: executive summary, company description, products and services, marketing plan, operational plan, management and organization, startup expenses and capitalization, financial plan, and appendices.

The ‘refining the plan’ resource contains instructions that help you modify your business plan to suit your specific needs, industry, and target audience. After you have completed Score’s business plan template, you can work with a SCORE mentor for expert advice in business planning.

6. Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

The minimalist architecture business plan template is a simple template by Venngage that you can customize to suit your business needs .

There are five sections in the template: an executive summary, statement of problem, approach and methodology, qualifications, and schedule and benchmark. The business plan template has instructions that guide users on what to fill in each section.

7. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers two free business plan templates, filled with practical real-life examples that you can model to create your business plan. Both free business plan templates are written by fictional business owners: Rebecca who owns a consulting firm, and Andrew who owns a toy company.

There are five sections in the two SBA’s free business plan templates.

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Service Line
  • Marketing and Sales

8. The $100 Startup's One-Page Business Plan

The $100 Startup's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan by the $100 startup is a simple business plan template for entrepreneurs who do not want to create a long and complicated plan . You can include more details in the appendices for funders who want more information beyond what you can put in the one-page business plan.

There are five sections in the one-page business plan such as overview, ka-ching, hustling, success, and obstacles or challenges or open questions. You can answer all the questions using one or two sentences.

9. PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

The free business plan template by PandaDoc is a comprehensive 15-page document that describes the information you should include in every section.

There are 11 sections in PandaDoc’s free business plan template.

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Products and services
  • Operations plan
  • Management organization
  • Financial plan
  • Conclusion / Call to action
  • Confidentiality statement

You have to sign up for its 14-day free trial to access the template. You will find different business plan templates on PandaDoc once you sign up (including templates for general businesses and specific businesses such as bakeries, startups, restaurants, salons, hotels, and coffee shops)

PandaDoc allows you to customize its business plan templates to fit the needs of your business. After editing the template, you can send it to interested parties and track opens and views through PandaDoc.

10. Invoiceberry Templates for Word, Open Office, Excel, or PPT

Invoiceberry Templates Business Concept

InvoiceBerry is a U.K based online invoicing and tracking platform that offers free business plan templates in .docx, .odt, .xlsx, and .pptx formats for freelancers and small businesses.

Before you can download the free business plan template, it will ask you to give it your email address. After you complete the little task, it will send the download link to your inbox for you to download. It also provides a business plan checklist in .xlsx file format that ensures you add the right information to the business plan.

Alternatives to the Traditional Business Plan

A business plan is very important in mapping out how one expects their business to grow over a set number of years, particularly when they need external investment in their business. However, many investors do not have the time to watch you present your business plan. It is a long and boring read.

Luckily, there are three alternatives to the traditional business plan (the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck). These alternatives are less laborious and easier and quicker to present to investors.

Business Model Canvas (BMC)

The business model canvas is a business tool used to present all the important components of setting up a business, such as customers, route to market, value proposition, and finance in a single sheet. It provides a very focused blueprint that defines your business initially which you can later expand on if needed.

Business Model Canvas (BMC) Infographic

The sheet is divided mainly into company, industry, and consumer models that are interconnected in how they find problems and proffer solutions.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas was developed by founder Alexander Osterwalder to answer important business questions. It contains nine segments.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

  • Key Partners: Who will be occupying important executive positions in your business? What do they bring to the table? Will there be a third party involved with the company?
  • Key Activities: What important activities will production entail? What activities will be carried out to ensure the smooth running of the company?
  • The Product’s Value Propositions: What does your product do? How will it be different from other products?
  • Customer Segments: What demography of consumers are you targeting? What are the habits of these consumers? Who are the MVPs of your target consumers?
  • Customer Relationships: How will the team support and work with its customer base? How do you intend to build and maintain trust with the customer?
  • Key Resources: What type of personnel and tools will be needed? What size of the budget will they need access to?
  • Channels: How do you plan to create awareness of your products? How do you intend to transport your product to the customer?
  • Cost Structure: What is the estimated cost of production? How much will distribution cost?
  • Revenue Streams: For what value are customers willing to pay? How do they prefer to pay for the product? Are there any external revenues attached apart from the main source? How do the revenue streams contribute to the overall revenue?

Lean Canvas

The lean canvas is a problem-oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas. It was proposed by Ash Maurya, creator of Lean Stack as a development of the business model generation. It uses a more problem-focused approach and it majorly targets entrepreneurs and startup businesses.

The lean canvas is a problem oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas

Lean Canvas uses the same 9 blocks concept as the business model canvas, however, they have been modified slightly to suit the needs and purpose of a small startup. The key partners, key activities, customer relationships, and key resources are replaced by new segments which are:

  • Problem: Simple and straightforward number of problems you have identified, ideally three.
  • Solution: The solutions to each problem.
  • Unfair Advantage: Something you possess that can't be easily bought or replicated.
  • Key Metrics: Important numbers that will tell how your business is doing.

Startup Pitch Deck

While the business model canvas compresses into a factual sheet, startup pitch decks expand flamboyantly.

Pitch decks, through slides, convey your business plan, often through graphs and images used to emphasize estimations and observations in your presentation. Entrepreneurs often use pitch decks to fully convince their target audience of their plans before discussing funding arrangements.

Startup Pitch Deck Presentation

Considering the likelihood of it being used in a small time frame, a good startup pitch deck should ideally contain 20 slides or less to have enough time to answer questions from the audience.

Unlike the standard and lean business model canvases, a pitch deck doesn't have a set template on how to present your business plan but there are still important components to it. These components often mirror those of the business model canvas except that they are in slide form and contain more details.

Airbnb Pitch Deck

Using Airbnb (one of the most successful start-ups in recent history) for reference, the important components of a good slide are listed below.

  • Cover/Introduction Slide: Here, you should include your company's name and mission statement. Your mission statement should be a very catchy tagline. Also, include personal information and contact details to provide an easy link for potential investors.
  • Problem Slide: This slide requires you to create a connection with the audience or the investor that you are pitching. For example in their pitch, Airbnb summarized the most important problems it would solve in three brief points – pricing of hotels, disconnection from city culture, and connection problems for local bookings.
  • Solution Slide: This slide includes your core value proposition. List simple and direct solutions to the problems you have mentioned
  • Customer Analysis: Here you will provide information on the customers you will be offering your service to. The identity of your customers plays an important part in fundraising as well as the long-run viability of the business.
  • Market Validation: Use competitive analysis to show numbers that prove the presence of a market for your product, industry behavior in the present and the long run, as well as the percentage of the market you aim to attract. It shows that you understand your competitors and customers and convinces investors of the opportunities presented in the market.
  • Business Model: Your business model is the hook of your presentation. It may vary in complexity but it should generally include a pricing system informed by your market analysis. The goal of the slide is to confirm your business model is easy to implement.
  • Marketing Strategy: This slide should summarize a few customer acquisition methods that you plan to use to grow the business.
  • Competitive Advantage: What this slide will do is provide information on what will set you apart and make you a more attractive option to customers. It could be the possession of technology that is not widely known in the market.
  • Team Slide: Here you will give a brief description of your team. Include your key management personnel here and their specific roles in the company. Include their educational background, job history, and skillsets. Also, talk about their accomplishments in their careers so far to build investors' confidence in members of your team.
  • Traction Slide: This validates the company’s business model by showing growth through early sales and support. The slide aims to reduce any lingering fears in potential investors by showing realistic periodic milestones and profit margins. It can include current sales, growth, valuable customers, pre-orders, or data from surveys outlining current consumer interest.
  • Funding Slide: This slide is popularly referred to as ‘the ask'. Here you will include important details like how much is needed to get your business off the ground and how the funding will be spent to help the company reach its goals.
  • Appendix Slides: Your pitch deck appendix should always be included alongside a standard pitch presentation. It consists of additional slides you could not show in the pitch deck but you need to complement your presentation.

It is important to support your calculations with pictorial renditions. Infographics, such as pie charts or bar graphs, will be more effective in presenting the information than just listing numbers. For example, a six-month graph that shows rising profit margins will easily look more impressive than merely writing it.

Lastly, since a pitch deck is primarily used to secure meetings and you may be sharing your pitch with several investors, it is advisable to keep a separate public version that doesn't include financials. Only disclose the one with projections once you have secured a link with an investor.

Advantages of the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck over the Traditional Business Plan

  • Time-Saving: Writing a detailed traditional business plan could take weeks or months. On the other hand, all three alternatives can be done in a few days or even one night of brainstorming if you have a comprehensive understanding of your business.
  • Easier to Understand: Since the information presented is almost entirely factual, it puts focus on what is most important in running the business. They cut away the excess pages of fillers in a traditional business plan and allow investors to see what is driving the business and what is getting in the way.
  • Easy to Update: Businesses typically present their business plans to many potential investors before they secure funding. What this means is that you may regularly have to amend your presentation to update statistics or adjust to audience-specific needs. For a traditional business plan, this could mean rewriting a whole section of your plan. For the three alternatives, updating is much easier because they are not voluminous.
  • Guide for a More In-depth Business Plan: All three alternatives have the added benefit of being able to double as a sketch of your business plan if the need to create one arises in the future.

Business Plan FAQ

Business plans are important for any entrepreneur who is looking for a framework to run their company over some time or seeking external support. Although they are essential for new businesses, every company should ideally have a business plan to track their growth from time to time.  They can be used by startups seeking investments or loans to convey their business ideas or an employee to convince his boss of the feasibility of starting a new project. They can also be used by companies seeking to recruit high-profile employee targets into key positions or trying to secure partnerships with other firms.

Business plans often vary depending on your target audience, the scope, and the goals for the plan. Startup plans are the most common among the different types of business plans.  A start-up plan is used by a new business to present all the necessary information to help get the business up and running. They are usually used by entrepreneurs who are seeking funding from investors or bank loans. The established company alternative to a start-up plan is a feasibility plan. A feasibility plan is often used by an established company looking for new business opportunities. They are used to show the upsides of creating a new product for a consumer base. Because the audience is usually company people, it requires less company analysis. The third type of business plan is the lean business plan. A lean business plan is a brief, straight-to-the-point breakdown of your ideas and analysis for your business. It does not contain details of your proposal and can be written on one page. Finally, you have the what-if plan. As it implies, a what-if plan is a preparation for the worst-case scenario. You must always be prepared for the possibility of your original plan being rejected. A good what-if plan will serve as a good plan B to the original.

A good business plan has 10 key components. They include an executive plan, product analysis, desired customer base, company analysis, industry analysis, marketing strategy, sales strategy, financial projection, funding, and appendix. Executive Plan Your business should begin with your executive plan. An executive plan will provide early insight into what you are planning to achieve with your business. It should include your mission statement and highlight some of the important points which you will explain later. Product Analysis The next component of your business plan is your product analysis. A key part of this section is explaining the type of item or service you are going to offer as well as the market problems your product will solve. Desired Consumer Base Your product analysis should be supplemented with a detailed breakdown of your desired consumer base. Investors are always interested in knowing the economic power of your market as well as potential MVP customers. Company Analysis The next component of your business plan is your company analysis. Here, you explain how you want to run your business. It will include your operational strategy, an insight into the workforce needed to keep the company running, and important executive positions. It will also provide a calculation of expected operational costs.  Industry Analysis A good business plan should also contain well laid out industry analysis. It is important to convince potential investors you know the companies you will be competing with, as well as your plans to gain an edge on the competition. Marketing Strategy Your business plan should also include your marketing strategy. This is how you intend to spread awareness of your product. It should include a detailed explanation of the company brand as well as your advertising methods. Sales Strategy Your sales strategy comes after the market strategy. Here you give an overview of your company's pricing strategy and how you aim to maximize profits. You can also explain how your prices will adapt to market behaviors. Financial Projection The financial projection is the next component of your business plan. It explains your company's expected running cost and revenue earned during the tenure of the business plan. Financial projection gives a clear idea of how your company will develop in the future. Funding The next component of your business plan is funding. You have to detail how much external investment you need to get your business idea off the ground here. Appendix The last component of your plan is the appendix. This is where you put licenses, graphs, or key information that does not fit in any of the other components.

The business model canvas is a business management tool used to quickly define your business idea and model. It is often used when investors need you to pitch your business idea during a brief window.

A pitch deck is similar to a business model canvas except that it makes use of slides in its presentation. A pitch is not primarily used to secure funding, rather its main purpose is to entice potential investors by selling a very optimistic outlook on the business.

Business plan competitions help you evaluate the strength of your business plan. By participating in business plan competitions, you are improving your experience. The experience provides you with a degree of validation while practicing important skills. The main motivation for entering into the competitions is often to secure funding by finishing in podium positions. There is also the chance that you may catch the eye of a casual observer outside of the competition. These competitions also provide good networking opportunities. You could meet mentors who will take a keen interest in guiding you in your business journey. You also have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs whose ideas can complement yours.

Exlore Further

  • 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)
  • 13 Sources of Business Finance For Companies & Sole Traders
  • 5 Common Types of Business Structures (+ Pros & Cons)
  • How to Buy a Business in 8 Steps (+ Due Diligence Checklist)

Was This Article Helpful?

Martin luenendonk.

' src=

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.

Growthink logo white

Business Plan Executive Summary with Example

Written by Dave Lavinsky

pen pencil and checklist

Executive Summary of a Business Plan

The Executive Summary is the most important part of your business plan. This is because it’s the first section in your plan, and if it doesn’t excite readers, they won’t continue reviewing it. Importantly, there is a way to ensure your executive summary is compelling and includes the key information readers expect. In this article, you’ll learn how to craft the perfect executive summary for your business plan.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

Table of Contents:

What is an executive summary, why do i need an executive summary, how long should an executive summary be for a business plan, how to write an executive summary for a business plan + template, sample executive summary, other helpful resources for writing your business plan.

An executive summary of a business plan gives readers an overview of your business plan and highlights its key points.

The executive summary should start with a brief overview of your business concept. Then it should briefly summarize each section of your business plan: your industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan and funding needs.

If presented for funding, the executive summary provides the lender or investor a quick snapshot which helps them determine their interest level and if they should continue reading the rest of the business plan.

An effective executive summary is a quick version of your complete business plan. You need to keep it simple and succinct in order to grab the reader’s attention and convince them it’s in their best interest to keep reading.

As mentioned above, your business plan is a detailed document that requires time to read. Capturing the reader’s attention with a concise format that provides an interesting overview of your plan saves them time and indicates which parts of the business plan may be most important to read in detail. This increases the odds that your business plan will be read and your business idea understood. This is why you need a well-written executive summary.

When structuring your executive summary, the first thing to keep in mind is that it should be short and comprehensive. The length of your executive summary should never exceed 3 pages; the ideal length is one or two pages.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

To write a compelling executive summary, follow the steps below and use our executive summary template as a guide:

State the Problem and/or Business Opportunity

Briefly describe your business idea, provide key information about your company history, conduct market research about your industry, identify the target market or ideal customer, explain your competitive advantage, establish relevant milestones for your business to achieve, develop a financial plan, describe the qualifications of your management team.

To help you get started, you can download our executive summary example business plan pdf here.

Whether you’re a large or small business, your executive summary is the first thing someone reads that forms an opinion of your business. Whether they decide to read your detailed business plan or push it aside depends on how good your executive summary is. We hope your executive summary guide helps you craft an effective and impactful executive summary. That way, readers will be more likely to read your full plan, request an in-person meeting, and give you funding to pursue your business plans.

Looking to get started on your business plan’s executive summary? Take a look at the business plan executive summary example below!

Finish Your Business Plan in 1 Day!

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your business plan?

With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

Shoutmouth.com Executive Summary

Business Overview Launched late last year, Shoutmouth.com is the most comprehensive music news website on the Internet.

Music is one of the most searched and accessed interests on the Internet. Top music artists like Taylor Swift receive over 5 million searches each month. In addition, over 500 music artists each receive over 25,000 searches a month.

However, music fans are largely unsatisfied when it comes to the news and information they seek on the artists they love. This is because most music websites (e.g., RollingStone.com, MTV.com, Billboard.com, etc.) cover only the top eight to ten music stories each day – the stories with mass appeal. This type of generic coverage does not satisfy the needs of serious music fans. Music fans generally listen to many different artists and genres of music. By publishing over 100 music stories each day, Shoutmouth enables these fans to read news on all their favorite artists.

In addition to publishing comprehensive music news on over 1200 music artists, Shoutmouth is a social network that allows fans to meet and communicate with other fans about music, and allows them to:

  • Create personal profiles
  • Interact with other members
  • Provide comments on news stories and music videos
  • Submit news stories and videos
  • Recommend new music artists to add to the community
  • Receive customized news and email alerts on their favorite artists

Success Factors

Shoutmouth is uniquely qualified to succeed due to the following reasons:

  • Entrepreneurial track record : Shoutmouth’s CEO and team have helped launch numerous successful ventures.
  • Monetization track record : Over the past two years, Shoutmouth’s founders have run one of the most successful online affiliate marketing programs, having sold products to over 500,000 music customers online.
  • Key milestones completed : Shoutmouth’s founders have invested $500,000 to-date to staff the company (we currently have an 11-person full-time team), build the core technology, and launch the site. We have succeeded in gaining initial customer traction with 50,000 unique visitors in March, 100,000 unique visitors in April, and 200,000 unique visitors in May.

Unique Investment Metrics

The Shoutmouth investment opportunity is very exciting due to the metrics of the business.

To begin, over the past five years, over twenty social networks have been acquired. The value in these networks is their relationships with large numbers of customers, which allow acquirers to effectively sell to this target audience.

The sales price of these social networks has ranged from $25 to $137 per member. Shoutmouth has the ability to enroll members at less than $1 each, thus providing an extraordinary return on marketing expenditures. In fact, during a recent test, we were able to sign-up 2,000 members to artist-specific Shoutmouth newsletters at a cost of only 43 cents per member.

While we are building Shoutmouth to last, potential acquirers include many types of companies that seek relationships with music fans such as music media/publishing (e.g., MTV, Rolling Stone), ticketing (e.g., Ticketmaster, LiveNation) and digital music sales firms (e.g., iTunes).

Financial Strategy, Needs and Exit Strategy

While Shoutmouth’s technological, marketing and operational infrastructure has been developed, we currently require $3 million to execute on our marketing and technology plan over the next 24 months until we hit profitability.

Shoutmouth will primarily generate revenues from selling advertising space. As technologies evolve that allow us to seamlessly integrate music sampling and purchasing on our site, sales of downloadable music are also expected to become a significant revenue source. To a lesser extent, we may sell other music-related items such as ringtones, concert tickets, and apparel.

Topline projections over the next three years are as follows:

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Shoutmouth Members 626,876 4,289,580 9,577,020
Unique Visitors 2,348,050 8,390,187 18,633,659
Total Page Views (Millions) 20.7 273.5 781.0
Revenues $165,431 $2,461,127 $7,810,354
Expenses $1,407,958 $2,591,978 $2,838,423
EBITDA ($1,242,527) ($130,851) $4,971,931

Business Plan Template

summary of a business plan

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

When you’re starting a business, one of the most important documents you’ll need to create is a business plan. A well-written business plan can help you secure funding from investors, convince suppliers to do business with you, and give you a roadmap for how your business will grow.

Wondering how to develop a good business plan ? In addition to all of the usual sections–like your company overview, products and services, market analysis, and financial projections–you also need to write an executive summary. The executive summary will decide whether potential investors will read the next sections of your business plan, which is why it’s the most crucial part of your proposal. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what an executive summary is, tips for writing a good one, and the mistakes you should avoid at all costs. 

What Is an Executive Summary, and Why Do You Need One?

An executive summary is a brief, yet comprehensive overview of your business plan. It should touch on all of the key points of your business, and then convince the reader to keep reading.

You can think of it as a preview of what’s to come, written in a concise, easy-to-understand format that describes your company goals, objectives, and projected financial impact. Although all sections of your business plan are important, the executive summary is critical because investors will base their decision on whether or not to read the rest of your proposal on how well you write it.

What’s more, if you’re writing for potential investors, they might even turn down a well-written business plan that doesn’t include an executive summary, which is why it might be a good idea to invest in a dedicated freelance business plan writer .

How to Write an Executive Summary for Your Business Plan

Now that you know why an executive summary is important, it’s time to learn how to write one–but before you set out to write an executive summary, make sure you’re clear about what a business plan is and why it’s important . 

With that being said, here are a few tips to help you write your summary: 

1. Start With a Bang

When readers see the first sentence of your executive summary, they should be hooked immediately. This means that you need to start with a strong opening that will grab their attention and keep them reading.

2. Explain Your Business in Detail

Your executive summary should provide a detailed overview of your entire business plan, including its core ideas and projected financial impact. This means that you need to describe all aspects of your company in enough detail so that readers can easily understand what it is and how it will succeed.

3. Back Up Your Claims With Data

When you’re writing an executive summary, it’s important to back up all of your claims with relevant data and statistics. This can include things like market research or financial projections, which will help illustrate the potential value of your business.

4. Use Persuasive Language

An executive summary is not the time to be shy–you need to use persuasive language that will convince readers to invest in your business. This means using strong verbs and making bold statements about your company’s potential.

5. Keep It Short and Sweet

Although you want to include all of the important details about your business in your executive summary, you also need to keep it concise. Aim for no more than two or three pages, and use clear, direct language.

6. Include a Call to Action

Your executive summary should end with a strong call to action that encourages readers to learn more about your business. This can be something as simple as inviting them to read the next sections of your business plan, or a suggestion to get in touch with you for more information.

What Are the Mistakes to Avoid When Writing an Executive Summary?

Just as there are steps you can take to write a strong executive summary, there are also mistakes that you should avoid at all costs. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t be vague or overly general . Your executive summary should be detailed and specific, not just a vague overview of your business.
  • Don’t include anything that isn’t relevant to your goals as a company . An executive summary is meant to highlight the most important aspects of your business, so save the details for later sections.
  • Don’t be afraid to make bold claims . When you’re writing an executive summary, it’s okay to be confident and assertive in your language. Just remember to back up your statements with data and statistics.
  • Don’t forget to proofread . Once you’ve finished writing your executive summary, be sure to proofread it carefully for any errors or typos. This is not the time to skimp on quality and may be another reason to hire a professional business plan writer.

How to Develop a Business Plan

How to Develop a Business Plan

What Is a Business Plan, and Why Is It Important?

What Is a Business Plan, and Why Is It Important?

Related posts, what are the roles of support personnel, what is remote customer service, what does a customer support agent do, write a comment cancel reply.

Save my name & email for next time.

  • How Guru Works
  • Work Agreements

Type above and press Enter to search. Press Esc to cancel.

Ownr Blog  > Magazine  > Strategy & Insights  > How-Tos  > How to Write an Effective Executive Summary for your Business Plan

How to Write an Effective Executive Summary for your Business Plan

Ownr Author

Whether you’ve been in business for years or you’re just starting out on your entrepreneurship journey, you’ve probably heard all about the importance of a strong business plan . This widely used business document gives you the chance to dig into the details of your business, ensuring you catch mistakes or weak points before it’s too late and allowing you to think through important information for your business.

Business plans aren’t just useful for you as an entrepreneur , although they’re definitely handy to create and refer back to regularly. They’re also helpful if you plan to secure funding for your business. A bank or other lenders will want to see that you’ve carefully created a strategic plan and shown that your enterprise can be profitable before they provide you with funds. You may even find a business plan competition to enter, giving you an opportunity to win funds.

The executive summary is the opening section of a traditional business plan , but its relative brevity compared to some of the longer and more daunting sections mean that it’s often overlooked. Don’t be fooled by their short length: executive summaries can make or break a business plan, so read on to find out how to make your executive summary as strong as possible.

  • What is an executive summary in a business plan?

An executive summary is the first section of a business plan and is meant to provide an overview of the plan, drawing attention to the most critical areas. It isn’t just a simple rewriting of the plan in short form. Instead, it is a strategic component of the plan that conveys all of the essential information to busy readers in a short, engaging, and easily understandable way.

  • Why is an executive summary important?

An executive summary is an essential component of a strong business plan. It should be written with a target audience of busy investors in mind. These individuals may have hundreds of plans come across their desks, and the chances of them reading your complete business plan from start to finish when they’re just evaluating your business idea is very slim.

When sending your plan to investors, imagine that they’ll only read your executive summary. It’s your chance to capture your audience’s attention and ensure that your business gets consideration for funding.

Ready to start building your business plan? Ownr’s Blueprint is exactly what you need. Give our free business plan generator a try today.

  • How long should an executive summary be in a business plan?

Your executive summary should be one or two pages in length and shouldn’t exceed 10 per cent of your finished business plan. That means that if your plan is 10 pages long, you should keep the summary to one page in length.

  • What to include in an executive summary of a business plan

Your executive summary should include a high-level overview of what the rest of the plan contains, with an emphasis on the aspects that are of interest to those you might be pitching for business loans and other types of funding. Key sections of your business plan executive summary include:

  • The business opportunity

The business opportunity section tells the reader that you’ve identified a need or opportunity in the market and describes your business is uniquely suited to meeting that need.

  • A description of your target market

Here, you’ll describe who you plan to sell your product or service to and why they’re a good target market for your offering. You can back this up with some relevant data to capture the reader’s attention, such as how many dollars your target market spends annually on your type of product or service. Learn more about creating a market analysis for your business plan .

  • Your business model

Summarize what it is exactly that your business will be doing. How will you create and deliver your product or service to your target market, and how will you generate revenue?

  • Your marketing plan

Marketing and sales are key components in any business strategy, and without them even a fantastic product may not generate much traction. Summarize how you plan to market your product and capture sales.

  • Your competition

Showing familiarity with your competition demonstrates that you’ve done your research and know what you’re up against. Include an overview of your primary competitors, including your competitive advantage and how you plan to capture market share for your business.

  • A financial overview

The financial portion of the summary shows that you’ve thought through all of the costs associated with starting and running your business in the first few years, as well as realistic and informed sales projections for the first three years. Financial planning is particularly important if your goal is to access funds, as lenders will want to see that the business can be successful and that they’ll get a return on their investment.

If you’ve already been in business for some time, this section should include a summary of your financial history and any major wins or successes.

You may have a business structure involving lots of decision-makers and employees , or you may be a business of one. In either case, you should include information about all of the key people involved in your business, including their areas of expertise and previous experience if relevant.

  • Your implementation plan

The implementation plan section explains how you will take your business from idea to launch.

  • Your funding needs

The funding needs section explains how much funding you are looking for and how exactly it will be spent. It outlines how the spending will result in growth for the business.

  • 7 tips for writing an executive summary that gets noticed

While all executive summaries contain more or less the same type of information, they aren’t all created equal. There are a few tips you can implement to make sure yours helps your business plan stand out.

  • 1. Think of your executive summary as a pitch

Rather than simply summarizing a lengthy document to prepare the reader, imagine that you only have the one or two pages of your executive summary to convince a lender to fund your business . Imagine it’s your entire business pitch , and inject it with the enthusiasm that any good pitch deserves.

  • 2. Write it last

Just because it’s the first part of your business plan doesn’t mean it should be the first section you write. Instead, write the entire business plan before getting to the summary. This gives you the chance to really work through all of your thoughts as you write the formal plan so that by the time you get the summary you’ve already processed the information contained in the document and it’ll be easier to pick out the key parts you should include.

  • 3. Keep your executive summary short

You may have crafted a lengthy and detailed business plan, but the executive summary really shouldn’t exceed two pages. Spend plenty of time working on those two pages to make sure they are clear, informative, and engaging.

  • 4. Prioritize sections based on importance and strengths

While you should touch on all of the sections of a business plan that we went over in this article, each business is unique. Summaries for plans will vary in their structure depending on the business. Your primary audience may be most interested in your unique logistical capabilities, your technical expertise, or some other aspect particular to your business.

  • 5. Avoid using cliched language

The business world, and particularly the world of venture capital, can be riddled with trendy phrases that don’t necessarily communicate much. For example, it’s become very common for startup companies to describe themselves as “disruptive,” rendering that word meaningless. Proofread your executive summary checking for cliches or buzzwords, and try to replace them.

  • 6. Pay attention to your tone

While you may want to edit your executive summary a little bit depending on who the audience is, you should typically maintain a clear and professional tone. It should be easy to understand while avoiding being too casual.

  • 7. Do your research

You’ll have surely done your research while coming up with the content for your business plan, so your executive summary is a chance to let your knowledge shine. Here, you can show that you really know your stuff when it comes to your industry, your market, your target demographic, and your business. It’s also wise to do your research regarding the audience for your executive summary. This is a critical document that can make a difference in terms of your chances of getting funding, so knowing who will be reading it and tailoring it to them can be helpful.

  • Business plan executive summary template

Looking to create your own business plan? Ownr has got you covered. Blueprint is our completely free business plan generator that will help you pull together all the elements required for a professional level business plan. Over the course of ten modules, you’ll answer some easy-to-follow questions about your business, and Blueprint will collect your answers in a downloadable PDF that you can print and share with your network. So don’t wait, get started on turning your dream business into a reality today.

  • Writing a good executive summary is an important part of being an entrepreneur

Finally, try to tap into the excitement you have for your business! Your aim is to get the reader of your executive summary excited about your business too, so tap into the things that made you want to start your business in the first place. With this mindset, you’ll be able to write an executive summary that’s sure to get you noticed.

facebook

This article offers general information only, is current as of the date of publication, and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.

  • Inspiration
  • Money & Retirement
  • Accounting, Taxes & Insurance
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Side Hustles
  • Productivity
  • Business Strategy Tips
  • Branding & Marketing
  • Business Trends

Everything you need to write a killer executive summary for your business plan

What is Executive Summary—and Why Should You Care?

Executive Summary is the first and most important section of a business plan, providing a snapshot of the overall plan with the aim to compel the reader to continue reading the full document by highlighting its most important components and strengths .

Keep reading for insider tips from a professional business writer on how exactly to write a captivating executive summary that will maximize the impact and success of your business plan.

You’ll discover:

  • Why: Critical importance of an executive summary
  • What: The key elements you need to include
  • How: The best structure—length, layout and components

Importance: Why is Executive Summary Important in a Business Plan?

Executive summary is the most important part of a business plan because it is the first and only opportunity to grab readers’ interest as they review this section prior to deciding whether or not to read the rest of the document.

No matter how excellent your business idea, it is the executive summary alone that persuades a reader to spend more time with the plan to find out more about your venture.

Some financiers receive hundreds of business plans every month. Understandably, they do not read them all . Instead, they can tell in a couple of paragraphs if it is something they may be interested in.

The Executive Summary is so important, in fact, that some investors and lenders prefer to receive just the summary and financials before requesting the full business plan. So if you can hook your readers here, they will ask for more.

Similarly, senior decision-makers on many company or bank boards and committees will often read nothing else than an executive summary when approving a decision to back a business.

In other words, your Executive Summary is the  first impression  many readers will get of your business. Make sure it is a great one. Only a  clear ,  concise , and  compelling  summary of your business right up front twill persuade readers to wade through the rest of the plan.

Contents: What Should an Executive Summary for a Business Plan Include?

Executive summary brings the separate parts of a business plan together to sum up what the business is, where it is going, why it will be successful – and why it is worthy of backing . Highlight the most important and impressive facts about the company , management , offering , market , strategy and financials .

When completed, your executive summary will answer these questions for your readers:

  • What is your business all about ?
  • What are the most compelling qualities?
  • Is the business likely to succeed and why?

Executive summary is an introduction to your business, which provides a brief snapshot of your plan as a whole. To that end, concisely highlight the most important concepts and impressive features from each section of your completed plan, addressing the following areas:

Business plan sections: What readers look for:
What you sell Your basic business concept makes sense
Your audience and ideal customer
The problem you solve for customers
Market opportunity Opportunity in the market A compelling market exists for your product/service
Future of the industry
Competitive advantage Your business has significant competitive advantages
Financial Projections Funding requirements Backers have an excellent chance to make money / get money back
Financial forecast, growth plans and expected returns Your financial projections are realistic
Strategy Mission Your business has been thoroughly planned—you know where you are going and how to get there
Goals
KPIs
Company description Management team The management is capable
Track record to date
Location

Essentially, you should make it crystal clear to the that a compelling market opportunity exists for your product/service and demonstrate that your business is well-positioned to exploit it .

Remember to be brief and concise . Organize the information in a way that gives the best impression of your business to your target reader. Combine related topics if that improves the flow of the document.

If the readers of your executive summary conclude that the above elements exist in your business, they are likely to commit to reading the rest of your business plan.

So, let’s examine each of the key elements in more detail to make the reader excited about the potential of your business plan and interested to read further:

Mission Statement

Answer this question for your readers:

  • What is your business on a mission to create and why?

Aim: Convince the reader that your basic business concept makes sense.

Give a concise overview of your business idea, purpose and goals. Summarize why you have created this company and what your business is all about in one or two sentences, but no more than a paragraph.

Products and Services

Answer these questions for your readers:

  • What product(s) and/or service(s) does your business provide?
  • What problems are you solving for your target customers and how?
  • What makes your product/service different and compelling for the customers to buy?

Aim: Demonstrate to the reader that your product/service solves a real problem in the market and that the problem is worth solving.

Briefly describe the products and services your company provides and what problems you solve for your target customers, making the case for why your product will be successful:

Description:

List the products or services your company sells or plans to sell.

Problem & Solution:

Explain the need for the products or services:

  • Problem: Summarize the problem your product/service solves and why it is worth solving. In other words, what is it that your customers need and cannot find elsewhere.
  • Solution: Summarize how you will solve the problem that your customers face.

Value Proposition:

Outline why your product or service will be valuable to your customers and the advantages that will make it compelling enough for them to purchase.

Market Opportunity

  • Who are your (ideal) target customers?
  • Is there a real market demand for your product/service?
  • What is the size of the market opportunity?

Aim: Convince the reader that large and compelling market demand opportunity exists for your product/service.

List the target market you intend to reach and explain why you chose it:

Target Market:

Provide a brief description of your ideal customers and how do they break down into recognizable types or segments.

Market Analysis:

Indicate that you have done thorough market analysis by providing a summary of your market research results, including:

  • How many potential customers are there for your solution (target market)
  • What proportion of the market your company can reasonably capture (market share)
  • Forecast estimating what the future holds for the industry and market demand

Competitive Advantage

  • Who are your competitors?
  • How is the market currently divided?
  • What advantages does your company have over the competition?

Aim: Convince the reader that your business has a significant competitive edge to succeed in your target market.

This section is where you describe the gap in your target market, how your solution can fill it, and the competitive advantages that will enable you to exploit this market gap.

Hence, include information about your competition and what differentiates your business:

Competitors and Market Distribution:

Who are you up against? What other options do your customers have to address their needs? Indicate the nature of your competition and how the market is currently divided.

Competitive Advantage:

What comparative advantage does your product/service have?

Show your conclusions on your company’s competitive position and why your company will be able to compete successfully. Remember to list any important distinctions, such as patents, major contracts, or letters-of-intent.

Unique Selling Proposition:

What unique selling proposition will help your business succeed?

What makes your solution better for your customers compared to the competition?

Is competition going to get tougher?

Summarize your conclusions on whether competition is going to intensify going forward.

Company Description

Company information:.

  • Is the management team capable?
  • What are the basic details of your business?
  • What is the company’s current stage of development?
  • What are some of the milestones you’ve met?

Aim: Convince the reader that your business has the right structure and capable management team in place to succeed.

Your goal is to demonstrate that you are well-positioned to exploit the market opportunity by highlighting the positive factors in your company’s management, structure and history.

Company Details:

Include a short statement that covers the basic company details, such as the company name, when your business was formed, the names of the founders and their roles, number of employees, business location(s), and legal status.

Stage of Development:

State whether your company is a startup or continuing business, when it was founded, how far along the product or service is in its creation, and if you’ve already made sales or started shipping.

Track Record:

  • If you are an established business, provide a brief history of the company’s trading activity to date, including financial and market growth highlights.
  • If you are just starting a business, you won’t have as much information as an established company. Instead, focus on your experience and background as well as the decisions that led you to start this particular enterprise.

Management:

Briefly describe the bios of the key members of your management team , particularly those of company founders/owners , as well as the key professional advisors .

What do they bring to the table that will position your company well to take advantage of the market opportunity and make the business a success?

Highlight management’s vision and passion , along with the relevant skills , experience , qualifications , subject-matter expertise , business acumen , industry connections and other capabilities as they relate to the venture.

Operations:

Showcase the key operational features that will give the business a competitive edge.

This could include anything from an advantageous location, through innovative manufacturing technology and processes, to preferential supplier and distribution agreements – and anything in between.

Outline the strategy to achieve the company’s goals and continuously strengthen its competitive position.

Next, indicate the keys to success that you intend to use in order to implement that strategy, such as:

  • Marketing and Sales: Briefly describe the methods you will utilize to reach your target customers to market your offering and secure sales.
  • Operations and Resources: Summarize the most important resources and operational features your company will deploy to implement its strategy.

Address your plans for where you would like to take your business in the future.

Spell out the objectives you have for the company, what you plan to do:

  • Where do you expect the business to be in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years ?
  • What are some of the key milestones you plan to meet?
  • What are your long-term goals ?
  • What is your potential exit strategy ?

Make an educated projection for the expected performance of your business, including:

  • Sales volume and value
  • Cash flow position
  • Profitability
  • Number of employees
  • Number of locations
  • Market share
  • New products

Financial Forecast

Summarize the expected financial outlook and performance for your business, answering the following questions for your readers:

  • How much do you expect to make in the first year of your business?
  • What kind of growth do you expect to see in the following years?
  • If you do not expect your business to be profitable , do you have a strategic reason for running at a loss?
  • What are the key metrics that you need to watch?
  • Will your backers (if any) be able to get their money back and when ?
  • Are your financial projections realistic ?

In general, it is customary to indicate financial information for years one through three or five , depending on the requirements of the business plan reader. Typically, this includes Year 1 and Year 3 / 5 results; and Year 10 / long-term goals.

However, your readers can find the detail of the projected financials further on in the plan. In this section, only provide the highlights of your forecast and encourage the reader to keep reading to learn more about your company.

Funding Requirements

How will you fund your business to get it started and grow it to the next level?

  • Is it already self-sufficient?
  • Do you plan to invest your own money?
  • Do you seek outside financing?

If the business does not require any outside financing, you can note that here or just remove this section from your plan altogether.

When you are using the business plan for financing purposes, explain how much money is needed, from whom, and how you will utilize it to grow your business, hinting at an exit opportunity:

  • Existing Source of Funds: Include information about your current lenders and investors, if any.
  • Funding Requirements: Indicate how much money you are seeking, from what sources, and perhaps even under what conditions.
  • Use of Funds: Specify how the raised funds will be used.
  • Exit Strategy: Hint at how the backers will get their money out, with the expected timing and returns.

Tips: How Do You Write an Executive Summary?

Writing an executive summary is arguably the most fun – and important – part of writing a business plan.

You have already completed all the research, thinking and writing about market demand, competition, strategy, operations and financials.

All that is left to do now is to summarize the key conclusions into a coherent narrative , answering the million-dollar question:

Why is your plan worthy of backing?

Here are 7 tried and tested tips to prepare a compelling summary of your business that will convince the readers to read through the rest of your plan:

Target Audience (Tip #1)

Ask yourself: “Who will be reading my business plan?”

Since the summary is what the reader reads first, and may be the only section read at all, you can significantly improve your chances of a positive reception if you know the answer to that question before you prepare your executive summary.

Remember, your reader is only going to spend a few minutes , or even seconds , on your executive summary. This is especially true if you are targeting busy investors or lenders for whom it is not unusual to review more than 1,000 each year.

Naturally, the readers are going to focus on the issues that interest and concern them most . If you understand their priorities, you will be better able to craft the summary to “push the right buttons”. For example:

  • Bankers are likely to look for aspects of your business that minimize risk to make sure the loan is secure and they will get their money back.
  • Investors are focused on aspects that maximize the potential of your company scaling significantly and rapidly, because they will receive a share of that success.
  • Management may be interested in accessing new markets for the company.

Do your homework to discover the interests and concerns of your most likely business plan recipients, and then write and organize the summary in a way that most appeals to your target audience:

  • Place the issues most important to the reader near the top of your summary.
  • Order the sections in any way that gives the best impression of your business to your target reader.
  • In the text itself, give more emphasis to those aspects that concern your reader most.

If you are not able to identify the specific person who will read your plan, just focus on the general type of a person that is most likely to receive it and their concerns. 

However, it is not a good idea to tailor the executive summary for just one specific person or organization, especially if your plan is likely to end up in the hands multiple and/or unknown recipients.

To be on the safe side, target your summary to address general institutional concerns rather than individual preferences.

Insider Tips: Writing a Winning Executive Summary

Convey your enthusiasm (tip #2).

The Executive Summary enables the readers to quickly understand the highlights of your business and decide whether to commit more of their time to reading the full plan.

To that end, you need to motivate and entice the readers by your own optimism about how well-positioned your business is to exploit a compelling market opportunity, conveyed in a dynamic , positive and confident tone.

Write Executive Summary Last (Tip #3)

Your executive summary will be the last chapter of the business plan that you prepare.

Even though the executive summary always appears first in the completed document, it is usually crafted last after you have had a chance to carefully consider all key aspects of your business throughout the rest of the plan.

The executive summary is the place where you bring all your planning together and sum up the separate parts of your business proposal to provide an overall outline and highlight the strengths of your entire plan.

Therefore, you will find it much easier and faster to come back and produce this section once you have completed the rest of your business plan.

That way, you will have thought through all the elements of your business, work out the details, and be prepared to summarize them. This approach will not only increase the consistency and accuracy of the plan, but also help make it more compelling .

So, if you have not yet finalized the other sections of your plan, proceed to the next section, and return to the executive summary when you have completed the rest of your plan.

Once finished, the executive summary will become “ Chapter 1 ” of your business plan document.

Summarize Highlights (Tip #4)

A good summary contains highlights from all of the subsequent sections of the business plan.

To achieve that, select the key points from each section of your completed plan by summarizing conclusions you have reached in each area. Remember to focus only on the most important and impressive features of your business.

What sets your business apart from the competition? Early on in your summary, showcase your distinguishing qualities and make sure you describe your winning concept in a way that any reader can easily grasp .

Use logical writing to tell a story, freely changing the order of sections and combining related topics if that helps to improve the flow and make a good impression.

Make Each Word Count (Tip #5)

The executive summary provides a brief snapshot of your business, casting a spotlight on the most important facts and concepts from your entire business plan.

As a result, this section should be clear , concise and to the point. Make each word should count.

Avoid Jargon (Tip #6)

In case the summary read by people unfamiliar with your industry, avoid any technical jargon or provide sufficient explanatory notes .

Edit, Edit, … And Edit Some More (Tip #7)

By the time you reach the executive summary, you may be tired from all the planning and writing. However, remember that this really is the most important section of the business plan.

The best investment you can make is to spend sufficient time to perfect the summary, including ruthless editing . There are professional editors who can help you make it flawless.

Design: How Do You Design an Executive Summary?

Looks matter. Your business plan will be well researched, analysed and written, but it must also be well presented. While your plan will ultimately be judged on the quality of your business concept and strategy, you also want to make sure it gives the best first impression possible.

And nowhere is presentation more important than in the executive summary, because for all readers it will be the first page(s) they read – and some will read nothing else.

The key advice here is: Break it Up . Large, dense blocks of text intimidate readers.

Dividing the Summary text with paragraph headings, bullet points and white space makes the information on a page more inviting and appealing:

  • Paragraphs: Break up the Summary into paragraphs that roughly mirror the sections of your business plan
  • Brief: Keep each topic as brief as possible
  • Subheads: Insert informative topic headings at the beginning of each paragraph to help readers’ quick comprehension
  • Bullets: Use bullet points to highlight the most compelling information
  • Numbers: Use numbers instead of words where appropriate
  • Visuals: Include a (small) chart or graph if it helps to clarify an important point
  • Spacing: Use white space to break up the text to make the page look less intimidating. Single space text, but leave an extra line of space between paragraphs.

Because you are limited to so few pages, it may seem counterintuitive to give up space for visual considerations, but these effective techniques make your Summary much more accessible to the business plan readers.

The way you prepare and present the executive summary is an indicator of your professionalism. A polished Summary sheds a favourable light on your business. A sloppy one works against you.

Length: How long is an executive summary?

The executive summary in a business plan should be no more than 2-3 pages in length, with 1 page being perfectly acceptable and often preferable. The advantage to the busy business plan reader is that they are able to skim through this short summary in a few seconds and read it in full in less than 5 minutes .

Sign up for our Newsletter

Get more articles just like this straight into your mailbox.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

ZenBusinessPlans

Home » Business Plans

How to Write a Business Plan Executive Summary [Sample Template]

Executive Summary

A good executive summary is the holy grail of good business plan writing. Even though it comes after you have written and thought through every other facet of your business, it is arguably the most important part of the puzzle. As its name implies, the executive summary is a brief overview of your business plan. Call it an introduction to your business and you would be very right.

The executive summary gives time-crunched executives or VCs  that high-level overview that will either persuade them to read your plan further or toss it in a trashcan without a second thought. Even though the executive summary is the first thing that the readers of your business plan will go through, you should write it last because it summarizes everything from that start to the end of your business plan.

Also, it is usually the first and probably the most important thing that busy investors consider before deciding if your business plan is worth spending a minute on. Secondly, since it’s a summary, you will only be highlighting the main facets of what you have uncovered over the course of writing your business plan. Below is a list of what your executive summary should include:

Components of a Business Plan Executive Summary

  • Business concept (what you do or what you intend to do)
  • Business goals and vision (what you want to achieve)
  • Product/service description and differentiation (what you offer and what makes it different)
  • Target market (who you want to sell to)
  • Marketing plan (how you plan to reach your customers)
  • Current financial state (what you currently make in revenue—for existing business looking at expansion, or how much you already have on ground—for startups)
  • Projected financial state (what you foresee making in revenue)
  • The request (how much funds you are asking for)
  • The team (who runs your business)

Your business plan executive summary must provide brief information on the following areas of your business;

  • The target market : it has to describe the type of customers you will be targeting.
  • Business model : it should describe your products or services and what will make them appealing to the target market.
  • Marketing and sales strategy : it should touch briefly your plans for marketing your products or services.
  • The competition : since competition is a major part of business, so it has to describe how you plan on dealing with the completion and gaining market share. It should equally state your competitive advantage.
  • Financial analysis : it should summarize your financial plan
  • Owners/Staff : it should describe the owners and the key staff members and the expertise they bring to the venture.
  • Implementation plan : it should briefly outline the schedule for taking your business from the planning stage to opening your doors.
  • An overview of funding requirements : you need to state the amount of funding you need, and what the money would be used for.
  • Growth highlights : it should give any instances of growth and, if possible, illustrate that growth with graphs or charts.
  • Future Plans : This doesn’t have to be too detailed, but it should give anyone reading your summary an idea of where your business is heading and how you intend to get there.

Writing a business plan executive summary is not that difficult, you only need to include the summary of the details that were listed above. You executive summary should be arranged this way;

Writing a Business Plan Executive Summary – Sample Template

You can start by describing your company, your mission and vision statements. Include your Business Name and address. If you are lost for words on how to describe your company, think about how you want your employees, customers and the business community to view your company.

This intro paragraph should be attention-getting from the start. It is wise to bring in impressive attributes of your company, but be specific here. Potential investors will want to see real evidence of demonstrated skills and unique abilities. Use this section to highlight company or employee accolades, albeit briefly. Describe the organizational structure and name key employees.

The names and titles of key employees are sufficient; however, include a brief description of executive team members’ responsibilities and duties. Include a list of satellite offices, contact information for each location and how many employees would work in each location.

2. Your business offering

Write a description of what your business aims to offer to its target market. Here, you should give a description of the product or service the business expects to offer. Highlight the products or services in a way that sounds appealing and sets you apart from the competition. The aim of the executive summary is to intrigue the reader enough to read what the rest of the business plan holds.

3. Your finances

This section is where you now talk about the financial aspects of your business. Disclose all business partners, investors and banks you have business relationships with. Explain the role of each entity or individual, the amounts invested or financed, and fiduciary terms and responsibilities.

If you are proposing your business plan to additional lending institutions or investors, this information can strengthen your plan by illustrating confidence others have in your ability to operate a successful business. This section should also include sales and profit projections for the business. You are free to use charts or graphs to reflect this information if it would provide more insight than texts.

Construct the final section of your executive summary by drafting comments about your organization’s accomplishments, accolades or remarkable growth. In this section, briefly describe your plan for achieving your company’s future goals.

Having discussed how an executive plan is written, let’s go further by looking at tips on how to ensure that your executive summary is perfectly written.

8 Tips for Writing a Perfect Business Plan Executive Summary

A. you must ensure that your first paragraph is strong enough.

To attract the reader’s attention and compel them to read the rest of the summary. For example, you can start by stating a market problem that your business promises to fix.

b. Remember, it’s all a summary

So, keep it short. The business plan itself will provide the details. So, don’t waste the reader’s time or irritate them by adding unnecessary details in your executive summary.

c. Use strong and positive language

Don’t weaken or dilute your statements with inappropriate words. For example, instead of writing “Our business might just become the market winner in the next five years”, write “Our business is poised to become the market winner in the next five years.”

d. Although there is no standard page length for executive summaries

It is better to keep it within two pages. Always resist the temptation to stuff your business plan’s executive summary with details that are already covered in the rest of the plan. Remember, the summary is meant to present facts about your business and entice the reader to read the rest of the plan.

e. Fine-tune your executive summary after writing it

Read it aloud to yourself. Does it sound great to you? Does it sound clear and brief, but detailed ? If you are satisfied with it, let someone else who knows nothing about your business read it and give suggestions on how you can improve it.

f. Customize the executive summary for your target audience

If your motive is to entice investors, for instance, your summary should hammer on the benefits that investors stand to gain from the opportunity you are presenting to them. Also, use formal or informal language depending on what’s more appropriate for your target audience.

g. Read the executive summary aloud once again

Putting yourself in place of the reader this time. Does the summary trigger your interest in the business or put you off instantly? Does the summary sound too good to be true, due to the choice of words? After reading it thoroughly, make necessary adjustments.

h. Clear your vocabularies of any self-glorifying superlatives

Clichés, and overused expressions that you may not be able to back up. Avoid words like “ best ”, “ ground-breaking ”, “ cutting-edge ”, “ world class ”, etc. Investors and other readers see those words almost every day and they tend to overlook their real meanings.

In conclusion

When writing your executive summary, even though it comes first, but aim to write it last after you have written the rest of your plan. This is the only way to know what exactly you should include when writing it. You have already done the research, so use that when pulling together the salient points of the executive summary.

Also, ensure that you check, double-check and triple-check your executive summary for any errors. Grammatical and spelling errors should be eradicated. But more importantly, your financial projections should contain absolutely no errors. Just one slight financial error will make you an amateur to any savvy investor.

Again, don’t be afraid to let your passion or excitement for your business come through in your executive summary. Investors typically believe that it takes a certain kind of entrepreneur to make a successful business, so capitalize on your commitment to get the backing you need.

More on Business Plans

  • Product overview
  • All features
  • App integrations

CAPABILITIES

  • project icon Project management
  • Project views
  • Custom fields
  • Status updates
  • goal icon Goals and reporting
  • Reporting dashboards
  • workflow icon Workflows and automation
  • portfolio icon Resource management
  • Time tracking
  • my-task icon Admin and security
  • Admin console
  • asana-intelligence icon Asana AI
  • list icon Personal
  • premium icon Starter
  • briefcase icon Advanced
  • Goal management
  • Organizational planning
  • Campaign management
  • Creative production
  • Content calendars
  • Marketing strategic planning
  • Resource planning
  • Project intake
  • Product launches
  • Employee onboarding
  • View all uses arrow-right icon

Project plans

  • Team goals & objectives
  • Team continuity
  • Meeting agenda
  • View all templates arrow-right icon
  • Work management resources Discover best practices, watch webinars, get insights
  • What's new Learn about the latest and greatest from Asana
  • Customer stories See how the world's best organizations drive work innovation with Asana
  • Help Center Get lots of tips, tricks, and advice to get the most from Asana
  • Asana Academy Sign up for interactive courses and webinars to learn Asana
  • Developers Learn more about building apps on the Asana platform
  • Community programs Connect with and learn from Asana customers around the world
  • Events Find out about upcoming events near you
  • Partners Learn more about our partner programs
  • Support Need help? Contact the Asana support team
  • Asana for nonprofits Get more information on our nonprofit discount program, and apply.

Featured Reads

summary of a business plan

  • Project planning |
  • How to write an executive summary, with ...

How to write an executive summary, with examples

Julia Martins contributor headshot

The best way to do that is with an executive summary. If you’ve never written an executive summary, this article has all you need to know to plan, write, and share them with your team.

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is an overview of a document. The length and scope of your executive summary will differ depending on the document it’s summarizing, but in general an executive summary can be anywhere from one to two pages long. In the document, you’ll want to share all of the information your readers and important stakeholders need to know.

Imagine it this way: if your high-level stakeholders were to only read your executive summary, would they have all of the information they need to succeed? If so, your summary has done its job.

You’ll often find executive summaries of:

Business cases

Project proposals

Research documents

Environmental studies

Market surveys

In general, there are four parts to any executive summary:

Start with the problem or need the document is solving.

Outline the recommended solution.

Explain the solution’s value.

Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work.

What is an executive summary in project management?

In project management, an executive summary is a way to bring clarity to cross-functional collaborators, team leadership, and project stakeholders . Think of it like a project’s “ elevator pitch ” for team members who don’t have the time or the need to dive into all of the project’s details.

The main difference between an executive summary in project management and a more traditional executive summary in a business plan is that the former should be created at the beginning of your project—whereas the latter should be created after you’ve written your business plan. For example, to write an executive summary of an environmental study, you would compile a report on the results and findings once your study was over. But for an executive summary in project management, you want to cover what the project is aiming to achieve and why those goals matter.

The same four parts apply to an executive summary in project management:

Start with the problem or need the project is solving.  Why is this project happening? What insight, customer feedback, product plan, or other need caused it to come to life?

Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives.  How is the project going to solve the problem you established in the first part? What are the project goals and objectives?

Explain the solution’s value.  Once you’ve finished your project, what will happen? How will this improve and solve the problem you established in the first part?

Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work.  This is another opportunity to reiterate why the problem is important, and why the project matters. It can also be helpful to reference your audience and how your solution will solve their problem. Finally, include any relevant next steps.

If you’ve never written an executive summary before, you might be curious about where it fits into other project management elements. Here’s how executive summaries stack up:

Executive summary vs. project plan

A  project plan  is a blueprint of the key elements your project will accomplish in order to hit your project goals and objectives. Project plans will include your goals, success metrics, stakeholders and roles, budget, milestones and deliverables, timeline and schedule, and communication plan .

An executive summary is a summary of the most important information in your project plan. Think of the absolutely crucial things your management team needs to know when they land in your project, before they even have a chance to look at the project plan—that’s your executive summary.

Executive summary vs. project overview

Project overviews and executive summaries often have similar elements—they both contain a summary of important project information. However, your project overview should be directly attached to your project. There should be a direct line of sight between your project and your project overview.

While you can include your executive summary in your project depending on what type of  project management tool  you use, it may also be a stand-alone document.

Executive summary vs. project objectives

Your executive summary should contain and expand upon your  project objectives  in the second part ( Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives ). In addition to including your project objectives, your executive summary should also include why achieving your project objectives will add value, as well as provide details about how you’re going to get there.

The benefits of an executive summary

You may be asking: why should I write an executive summary for my project? Isn’t the project plan enough?

Well, like we mentioned earlier, not everyone has the time or need to dive into your project and see, from a glance, what the goals are and why they matter.  Work management tools  like Asana help you capture a lot of crucial information about a project, so you and your team have clarity on who’s doing what by when. Your executive summary is designed less for team members who are actively working on the project and more for stakeholders outside of the project who want quick insight and answers about why your project matters.

An effective executive summary gives stakeholders a big-picture view of the entire project and its important points—without requiring them to dive into all the details. Then, if they want more information, they can access the project plan or navigate through tasks in your work management tool.

How to write a great executive summary, with examples

Every executive summary has four parts. In order to write a great executive summary, follow this template. Then once you’ve written your executive summary, read it again to make sure it includes all of the key information your stakeholders need to know.

1. Start with the problem or need the project is solving

At the beginning of your executive summary, start by explaining why this document (and the project it represents) matter. Take some time to outline what the problem is, including any research or customer feedback you’ve gotten . Clarify how this problem is important and relevant to your customers, and why solving it matters.

For example, let’s imagine you work for a watch manufacturing company. Your project is to devise a simpler, cheaper watch that still appeals to luxury buyers while also targeting a new bracket of customers.

Example executive summary:

In recent customer feedback sessions, 52% of customers have expressed a need for a simpler and cheaper version of our product. In surveys of customers who have chosen competitor watches, price is mentioned 87% of the time. To best serve our existing customers, and to branch into new markets, we need to develop a series of watches that we can sell at an appropriate price point for this market.

2. Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives

Now that you’ve outlined the problem, explain what your solution is. Unlike an abstract or outline, you should be  prescriptive  in your solution—that is to say, you should work to convince your readers that your solution is the right one. This is less of a brainstorming section and more of a place to support your recommended solution.

Because you’re creating your executive summary at the beginning of your project, it’s ok if you don’t have all of your deliverables and milestones mapped out. But this is your chance to describe, in broad strokes, what will happen during the project. If you need help formulating a high-level overview of your project’s main deliverables and timeline, consider creating a  project roadmap  before diving into your executive summary.

Continuing our example executive summary:

Our new watch series will begin at 20% cheaper than our current cheapest option, with the potential for 40%+ cheaper options depending on material and movement. In order to offer these prices, we will do the following:

Offer watches in new materials, including potentially silicone or wood

Use high-quality quartz movement instead of in-house automatic movement

Introduce customizable band options, with a focus on choice and flexibility over traditional luxury

Note that every watch will still be rigorously quality controlled in order to maintain the same world-class speed and precision of our current offerings.

3. Explain the solution’s value

At this point, you begin to get into more details about how your solution will impact and improve upon the problem you outlined in the beginning. What, if any, results do you expect? This is the section to include any relevant financial information, project risks, or potential benefits. You should also relate this project back to your company goals or  OKRs . How does this work map to your company objectives?

With new offerings that are between 20% and 40% cheaper than our current cheapest option, we expect to be able to break into the casual watch market, while still supporting our luxury brand. That will help us hit FY22’s Objective 3: Expanding the brand. These new offerings have the potential to bring in upwards of three million dollars in profits annually, which will help us hit FY22’s Objective 1: 7 million dollars in annual profit.

Early customer feedback sessions indicate that cheaper options will not impact the value or prestige of the luxury brand, though this is a risk that should be factored in during design. In order to mitigate that risk, the product marketing team will begin working on their go-to-market strategy six months before the launch.

4. Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work

Now that you’ve shared all of this important information with executive stakeholders, this final section is your chance to guide their understanding of the impact and importance of this work on the organization. What, if anything, should they take away from your executive summary?

To round out our example executive summary:

Cheaper and varied offerings not only allow us to break into a new market—it will also expand our brand in a positive way. With the attention from these new offerings, plus the anticipated demand for cheaper watches, we expect to increase market share by 2% annually. For more information, read our  go-to-market strategy  and  customer feedback documentation .

Example of an executive summary

When you put it all together, this is what your executive summary might look like:

[Product UI] Example executive summary in Asana (Project Overview)

Common mistakes people make when writing executive summaries

You’re not going to become an executive summary-writing pro overnight, and that’s ok. As you get started, use the four-part template provided in this article as a guide. Then, as you continue to hone your executive summary writing skills, here are a few common pitfalls to avoid:

Avoid using jargon

Your executive summary is a document that anyone, from project contributors to executive stakeholders, should be able to read and understand. Remember that you’re much closer to the daily work and individual tasks than your stakeholders will be, so read your executive summary once over to make sure there’s no unnecessary jargon. Where you can, explain the jargon, or skip it all together.

Remember: this isn’t a full report

Your executive summary is just that—a summary. If you find yourself getting into the details of specific tasks, due dates, and attachments, try taking a step back and asking yourself if that information really belongs in your executive summary. Some details are important—you want your summary to be actionable and engaging. But keep in mind that the wealth of information in your project will be captured in your  work management tool , not your executive summary.

Make sure the summary can stand alone

You know this project inside and out, but your stakeholders won’t. Once you’ve written your executive summary, take a second look to make sure the summary can stand on its own. Is there any context your stakeholders need in order to understand the summary? If so, weave it into your executive summary, or consider linking out to it as additional information.

Always proofread

Your executive summary is a living document, and if you miss a typo you can always go back in and fix it. But it never hurts to proofread or send to a colleague for a fresh set of eyes.

In summary: an executive summary is a must-have

Executive summaries are a great way to get everyone up to date and on the same page about your project. If you have a lot of project stakeholders who need quick insight into what the project is solving and why it matters, an executive summary is the perfect way to give them the information they need.

For more tips about how to connect high-level strategy and plans to daily execution, read our article about strategic planning .

Related resources

summary of a business plan

How Asana uses work management for employee onboarding

summary of a business plan

4 ways to establish roles and responsibilities for team success

summary of a business plan

Cost control: How to monitor project spending to increase profitability

summary of a business plan

How to use a feasibility study in project management

  • Search Search Please fill out this field.
  • Building Your Business
  • Becoming an Owner
  • Business Plans

Executive Summary of the Business Plan

How to Write an Executive Summary That Gets Your Business Plan Read

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

summary of a business plan

CP Cheah / Getty Images

An executive summary of a business plan is an overview. Its purpose is to summarize the key points of a document for its readers, saving them time and preparing them for the upcoming content.

Think of the executive summary as an advance organizer for the reader. Above all else, it must be clear and concise. But it also has to entice the reader to read the rest of the business plan .

This is why the executive summary is often called the most important part of the business plan. If it doesn’t capture the reader's attention, the plan will be set aside unread—a disaster if you've written your business plan as part of an attempt to get money to start your new business . (Getting startup money is not the only reason to write a business plan; there are other just-as-important reasons .)

Because it is an overview of the entire plan, it is common to write the executive summary last (and writing it last can make it much easier).

What Information Goes in an Executive Summary?

The information you need to include varies somewhat depending on whether your business is a startup or an established business.

For a startup business typically one of the main goals of the business plan is to convince banks, angel investors , or venture capitalists to invest in your business by providing startup capital in the form of debt or equity financing .

In order to do so you will have to provide a solid case for your business idea which makes your executive summary all the more important. A typical executive summary for a startup company includes the following sections:

  • The business opportunity. Describe the need or the opportunity.
  • Taking advantage of the opportunity. Explain how will your business will serve the market.
  • The target market . Describe the customer base you will be targeting.
  • Business model . Describe your products or services and and what will make them appealing to the target market.
  • Marketing and sales strategy . Briefly outline your plans for marketing your products and services.
  • The competition. Describe your competition and your strategy for getting market share. What is your competitive advantage, e.g. what will you offer to customers that your competitors cannot?
  • Financial analysis. Summarize the financial plan including projections for at least the next three years.
  • Owners/Staff. Describe the owners and the key staff members and the expertise they bring to the venture.
  • Implementation plan. Outline the schedule for taking your business from the planning stage to opening your doors.

For established businesses the executive summary typically includes information about achievements, growth plans , etc. A typical executive summary outline for an established business includes:

  • Mission Statement . Articulates the purpose of your business. In a few sentences describe what your company does and your core values and business philosophy.
  • Company Information. Give a brief history of your company —d escribe your products or services, when and where it was formed, who the owners and key employees are, statistics such as the number of employees, business locations, etc.
  • Business Highlights. Describe the evolution of the businesshow it has grown, including year-over-year revenue increases, profitability, increases in market share, number of customers, etc.
  • Financial Summary. If the purpose of updating the business plan is to seek additional financing for expansion, then give a brief financial summary.
  • Future goals. Describe your goals for the business . If you are seeking financing explain how additional funding will be used to expand the business or otherwise increase profits.

How Do I Write an Executive Summary of a Business Plan?

Start by following the list above and writing one to two sentences about each topic (depending on whether your business is a startup or an established business). No more! 

The Easy Way of Writing One

Having trouble getting started? The easiest way of writing the executive summary is to review your business plan and take a summary sentence or two from each of the business plan sections you’ve already written.

If you compare the list above to the sections outlined in the  Business Plan Outline , you’ll see that this could work very well.

Then finish your business plan’s executive summary with a clinching closing sentence or two that answers the reader’s question, “Why is this a winning business?”

For example, an executive summary for a pet-sitting business might conclude: “The loving on-site professional care that Pet Grandma will provide is sure to appeal to both cat and dog owners throughout the West Vancouver area.”

(You may find it useful to read the entire Pet Grandma  executive summary example  before you write your own.)

Tips for Writing the Business Plan’s Executive Summary

  • Focus on providing a summary.  The business plan itself will provide the details and whether bank managers or investors, the readers of your plan don’t want to have their time wasted.
  • Keep your language strong and positive.  Don’t weaken your executive summary with weak language. Instead of writing, “Dogstar Industries might be in an excellent position to win government contracts,” write “Dogstar Industries will be in an excellent position.”
  • Keep it short–no more than two pages long . Resist the temptation to pad your business plan’s executive summary with details (or pleas). The job of the executive summary is to present the facts and entice your reader to read the rest of the business plan, not tell him everything.
  • Polish your executive summary.  Read it aloud. Does it flow or does it sound choppy? Is it clear and succinct? Once it sounds good to you, have someone else who knows nothing about your business read it and make suggestions for improvement.
  • Tailor it to your audience.  If the purpose of your business plan is to  entice investors , for instance, your executive summary should focus on the opportunity your business provides investors and why the opportunity is special. If the purpose of your business plan is to get a small business loan , focus on highlighting what traditional lenders want to see, such as management's experience in the industry and the fact that you have both collateral and strategies in place to minimize the lender's risk.
  • Put yourself in your readers’ place. And read your executive summary again. Does it generate interest or excitement in the reader? If not, why? Also try giving it to a friend or relative to read, who is not engaged in the business. If you've done a good job on the executive summary, an impartial third party should be able to understand it.

Remember, the executive summary will be the first thing your readers read. If it's poorly written, it will also be the last thing they read, as they set the rest of your business plan aside unread.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. " Business Plan Guidelines ," Page 2.

Corporate Finance Institute. " Executive Summary ."

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. " How to Prepare Your Business Plan ," Page 167.

Iowa State University. " Types and Sources of Financing for Start-up Businesses ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

Clute Institute. " Using Business Plans for Teaching Entrepreneurship ," Page 733.

Everything that you need to know to start your own business. From business ideas to researching the competition.

Practical and real-world advice on how to run your business — from managing employees to keeping the books

Our best expert advice on how to grow your business — from attracting new customers to keeping existing customers happy and having the capital to do it.

Entrepreneurs and industry leaders share their best advice on how to take your company to the next level.

  • Business Ideas
  • Human Resources
  • Business Financing
  • Growth Studio
  • Ask the Board

Looking for your local chamber?

Interested in partnering with us?

Start » startup, a guide to writing an executive summary for your business plan.

An executive summary should include a concise overview of your business and pique the interest of readers.

 Man working at laptop

The most crucial component of any business plan is the executive summary. It’s usually the first thing investors will read about your business, so it should thoroughly summarize your objectives and pique the reader’s interest in learning more.

Like all first impressions, you rarely get a second chance to make a great one. Here’s what you need to know about writing an executive summary that will leave a lasting impact on your readers.

What information is included in an executive summary?

The specific information you provide in your executive summary will vary depending on your industry, your goals and whether you own a startup or an established business. The summary should be one to two pages in length and sum up the more detailed content in the rest of your business plan, including:

  • Who you are. Start with the basics. List your business name, location and contact information. For established businesses, give a brief history of your company and provide your mission statement . Include the names of the owners and the key players in your business, as well as the number of employees you have.
  • The business opportunity. Describe the market need or problem for which your business has a solution.
  • How you address that opportunity. Explain your business model and how your products or services will satisfy that market need or problem.
  • Competition. Provide an overview of your competition and how your products or services differ from theirs.
  • Target market. Describe the specific customer base you plan to attract to your business.
  • M arketing strategy. Explain how you plan to reach your target market and entice them to your products or services.
  • Financial summary. For established businesses, provide a financial summary and state whether you are seeking additional funding or not. For startups, list your financial plan and include your projections for the next few years.

Although it will be the first section of your business plan, most experts recommend writing your executive summary at the end of your drafting process.

How to write an executive summary

Writing an executive summary from scratch is a daunting process. Here are a few tips to help you create a strong executive summary:

  • Write it last. Although it will be the first section of your business plan, most experts recommend writing your executive summary at the end of your drafting process. Doing so will ensure that you have all the detailed information you need to refer back to when writing the summary.
  • Be brief, yet precise. An executive summary should be just that: a summary. You don’t need to go into great detail here as the business plan itself should provide all the details needed to attract investors, lenders, buyers or new business partners. Be brief and provide a high-level overview of your business plan.
  • Know your audience. Just as you tailor a sales pitch to a specific audience, your executive summary should highlight the information your readers will find most interesting and valuable. If you are trying to attract investors or new partners, focus on how your business can be beneficial to their long-term success. If you’re applying for a business loan, focus on your financial reports and show that your business is reliable and that you present minimal risk.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Applications are open for the CO—100! Now is your chance to join an exclusive group of outstanding small businesses. Share your story with us — apply today .

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here .

Apply for the CO—100!

The CO—100 is an exclusive list of the 100 best and brightest small and mid-sized businesses in America. Enter today to share your story and get recognized.

summary of a business plan

Get recognized. Get rewarded. Get $25K.

Is your small business one of the best in America? Apply for our premier awards program for small businesses, the CO—100, today to get recognized and rewarded. One hundred businesses will be honored and one business will be awarded $25,000.

By continuing on our website, you agree to our use of cookies for statistical and personalisation purposes. Know More

Welcome to CO—

Designed for business owners, CO— is a site that connects like minds and delivers actionable insights for next-level growth.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce 1615 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20062

Social links

Looking for local chamber, stay in touch.

  • Get Started

Home >> #realtalk Blog >> Manage a business >> How to Write an Effe…

How to Write an Effective One-page Business Plan (Free Template)

By Homebase Team

Person writing in a notebook

If you’ve started—or are starting—a business, you’ve probably heard the words ‘business plan’ a few too many times. And while the term is definitely tossed around pretty often, there’s a good reason for it: it’s important.

But if you’re imagining a supermassive document that takes ages to create—think again. Not every business plan is the size of an encyclopedia. In fact, in many cases, you might even be able to get away with a one-page business plan.

So if you find yourself in need of one, or need to give your existing plan a refresh, we’ve got your back. Scroll to get all the details you need to create a one-page business plan that’ll kick your business into high gear. We’ve even got a free, downloadable business plan template to help you get started.

Why do you need a business plan?

A business plan is basically a blueprint for your business. It outlines everything from your business goals to the steps you’ll take to get there.

It serves two main purposes:

  • To help you set your business up for success.  As you put together your business plan, you’re essentially forced to think strategically about all your business goals and activities . Are they realistic? Is something likely to go wrong? What haven’t you thought of? The goal is for you to walk away feeling confident in the future of your business—and then some.
  • To communicate the value of your business to others.  It’s rare that entrepreneurs—like yourself—will go it 100% alone. You’ll likely work with partners, investors, or vendors to bring your business to life. A business plan gives them confidence in you and your business so they can support you in the best way possible.

While taking the time to create a business plan can feel like you’re wasting all-too-precious time, it can help keep you focused and make better business decisions so you can grow your small business. 

What are the 7 main points in a business plan?

Every business plan is unique, which is part of the reason writing one can feel a tad overwhelming. You can’t just copy and paste the plan from another business.

Luckily, the skeleton of every plan is actually very similar. Whether you’re creating a plan for a neighborhood daycare or that cool new bar down the street , here are a few main points that you’ll find in every comprehensive business plan.

1. Executive summary

Your executive summary is an overview of your business plan. 

Think about this section like a TL;DR or too long, don’t read . If someone wants to understand the gist of your business plan in just a few minutes, what information would they need to know?

If you find yourself just sharing your executive summary, consider a one-page business plan instead. More on that below.

2. Company overview and description

In this section, you should introduce your business to the reader. By the time they finish reading this section, they should have a good idea of who you are, what you do, and what you sell.

Don’t be afraid to dive into your own background and why you decided to start this business as well. Building a small business is personal and your story can go a long way in giving the reader some context behind your business. 

3. Market and competitive analysis

Every business needs customers. So, here’s where you’ll dive into who they are and the potential target market of your business. 

You’ll also want to take note of potential competitors that may impact your business. These might be direct competitors, but could also be similar businesses that may compete for your customers’ time and money. For example, if you’re opening a cycling studio, you might consider any other type of fitness studio to be a competitor.

Competition isn’t a bad thing, it’s just important to be aware of it and how you can stand out from the crowd. 

4. Business offerings

Here’s where you’ll outline exactly what products or services your business will offer. It doesn’t have to be a complete laundry list but it should give readers a general idea of what to expect.

For example, if you’re opening a bakery , this might be a sample of your menu. Or if you’re an HVAC repair company , you might share an overview of the services you’ll offer your customers. 

5. Management and operational plan

From managing employees and inventory to securing equipment and a lease, there’s also a lot that happens behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly. Every business plan should touch on how you’ll manage the day-to-day of your business.

This is also a great place to indicate key milestones and timelines so you know that you’re on track for a successful grand opening. 

6. Sales, marketing, and PR strategy

Now that you’ve got all the research and operational plans in place , it’s time to start attracting customers and securing those sales. Even with the best products or services in town, every business can use a little marketing boost. Feel free to get creative. From social media to paid ads, there are tons of ways you can spread the word about your budding business . 

7. Financial forecast and budget

No one loves to crunch financials, but when it comes to business, money talks. And a strong financial plan is key to the long-term success of your business.

This final section of your business plan should estimate the costs, revenue, and profits of your business in the short and long term. How do you plan to finance your business? What costs will you incur before opening day ? What are the ongoing costs?

Not only will this give your vendors and investors confidence in your business, but it helps you make sure that your business is profitable in the long run.

What is a one-page business plan?

A one-page business plan is essentially a condensed version of a full business plan.  

It covers all the core information about your business, without overwhelming the reader with irrelevant details. The goal is to summarize your business plan for yourself and potential stakeholders.

Depending on your business needs, this concise document can be all you need to get your business off the ground. Or it could serve as a stepping stone to a more robust plan in the future. 

Benefits of a one-page business plan.

Bigger isn’t always better—and one-page business plans are here to prove it.

Here are some benefits and reasons why you might opt for a one-page business plan:

  • To kickstart your business planning: A full business plan can be incredibly daunting. A one-page business plan gives you a place to start without feeling overwhelmed with the nitty gritty. 
  • To share and distribute: Sometimes potential vendors, partners, or investors want to get more information about your business before they sign on officially. Instead of leaving them with a massive document, a one-page business plan helps you share the relevant need-to-know information easily.
  • To focus on the key details: If you’re early on in the business ideation process and want to make sure you have all the important information, a one-page business plan can help you easily validate your business plan.
  • To save time: In the long term, you should still expect to put together a full business plan at some point. However, if you’re in a time crunch, a one-page plan can help you get the important insights without the time commitment.
  • To easily edit: In an ever-changing business environment, a one-page business plan is much easier to keep updated. 

What to include in a one-page business plan.

Remember those sections we mentioned earlier that make up a full business plan? The goal here is to shrink it without losing any of the important details. 

So let’s look at the sections and dig into how you can adapt them to cover all the details of your business—all on one page. 

Summary and overview

Start your one-pager by sharing the name of your business, what you do, and your main value proposition.

The problem and your solution

In a few sentences, share the problem that your business solves and how you solve it, aka why your business should exist.

Depending on your business, you may also want to share a few of your team members, like an executive chef for a restaurant, or a lead veterinarian for your vet clinic , to help readers put a face to your business. 

Target market

Briefly describe who you expect to be a customer and their characteristics.

Competitor overview

Here, you’ll touch on potential competitors and what makes your business different.

Business timeline

Share the key milestones for your business. For example, when you’ll start marketing your business, when you’ll hire employees , and when you expect to open.

Sales and marketing plan

Here you’ll quickly highlight the key marketing activities that you’ll use to drive new customers to your business. Try to stick to the most interesting or high-value stuff, like a website or social media .

Financial projections

Outline your expected revenue , expenses, and profits to give the reader an idea of your financial future.

Tips for creating a one-page business plan.

If you’ve ever written something with a limited word count, you know that sometimes keeping things concise can be easier said than done.

As you get writing your one-page business plan, here are some of our top tips so you can make the most of that one page.

  • Focus on the need-to-know information.
  • Avoid fluff and keep your sentences short.
  • Link out to additional resources and material if more information is necessary.
  • Don’t be afraid to strategically incorporate visuals to emphasize the important points.
  • Feel free to up sections or have different versions of your one-page business plan based on who’s reading it. 
  • Get creative with formatting to keep information organized.

One-page business plan example.

If you’re skeptical that all that information can fit on one page—we get it. Lucky for you, we have proof.

Here’s an example that you can use to start thinking about your business plan.

Example of business plan

Download our free one-page business plan template.

A one-page business plan is one of the most important pages you’ll write for your business. While there’s a lot to think about, it’s certainly worth the effort.

Good news: we’ve done the heavy lifting for you by putting together this winning one-page business plan template. All that’s left for you to do is fill in the sections and get ready to launch your business.

One page business plan template

Keep your team on track with one app to manage everything from scheduling to team communication.

Get your team in sync with our easy-to-use, all-in-one employee app.

One-page business plan FAQs

Why should you create a business plan.

There are several reasons you should create a business plan, such as:

  • Improving your decision-making as you start and grow your business.
  • Setting realistic goals and timelines.
  • Attracting top-notch suppliers, investors, and even employees.
  • Keeping your business profitable and your financials in order.

What types of companies need a business plan?

From brand-new small businesses to established corporations, companies of all shapes and sizes need a business plan. It’s a key part of setting your business up for success and improving your business trajectory.

Even if you already have a business plan in place, revisiting it from time to time can help you stay on track with your goals and adapt as your business changes.

Can a business plan be one page?

Yes, in many cases a business page can be one page. The trick to creating an effective one-page business plan is making sure that you’re covering the most important pieces of information. 

Our top tips? Keep it as concise and organized as possible, so you can effectively communicate the value of your business to your audience.

Writing a one-page business plan is simple. You can create a business plan from scratch or use a free template like the one above to stay on track, but generally, the steps to writing a one-page business plan include:

  • Start with a short executive summary and value proposition to introduce your business.
  • Share the problem your business solves and your solution.
  • Give an outline of top competitors and how your business compares.
  • Create a timeline of key milestones.
  • Outline your sales and marketing plan for attracting customers.
  • Summarize your financial projections and funding plans.

Remember:  This is not legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, please consult a lawyer, CPA, or other appropriate professional advisor or agency.

Related posts

June 26, 2024

How to Start a Construction Business in 8 Easy Steps

Being able to build something from the ground up is an incredible skill: a skill you can monetize into your…

Top 4 Strategies to Grow Your Construction Business

For those in the construction business, laying the foundation for a house can be a piece of cake. But what…

How to Start a Retail Business: A Beginner’s Guide

So, you want to start a retail business. What now? There’s the idea, the products, the space, taxes, the employees,…

How to Start a Cleaning Business in 6 Steps

So you want to start a cleaning business. You want to work for yourself, you love a good Mr. Clean…

How to Start a Coffee Business in 10 Steps

Does the thought of running your own business make you jittery with excitement? How about going to work every day…

How to Start a Catering Business in 10 Steps

There are a lot of reasons to take a love of cooking down the path of entrepreneurship with a catering…

Subscribe to our newsletter

Looking for ways to stay up to date on employment laws and small business news?

Homebase makes managing hourly work easier for over 100,000 local businesses. With free employee scheduling , time tracking , and team communication , managers and employees can spend less time on paperwork and more time on growing their business.

  • Hiring & onboarding
  • Team communication
  • Employee happiness
  • HR & compliance
  • Integrations
  • Food & beverage
  • Beauty & wellness
  • Medical & veterinary
  • Home & repair
  • Hospitality & leisure
  • Education & caregiving
  • Contact sales
  • Become a Partner
  • Careers – We’re hiring!
  • #realtalk Blog

Comscore

  • Newsletters
  • Best Industries
  • Business Plans
  • Home-Based Business
  • The UPS Store
  • Customer Service
  • Black in Business
  • Your Next Move
  • Female Founders
  • Best Workplaces
  • Company Culture
  • Public Speaking
  • HR/Benefits
  • Productivity
  • All the Hats
  • Digital Transformation
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Bringing Innovation to Market
  • Cloud Computing
  • Social Media
  • Data Detectives
  • Exit Interview
  • Bootstrapping
  • Crowdfunding
  • Venture Capital
  • Business Models
  • Personal Finance
  • Founder-Friendly Investors
  • Upcoming Events
  • Inc. 5000 Vision Conference
  • Become a Sponsor
  • Cox Business
  • Verizon Business
  • Branded Content
  • Apply Inc. 5000 US

Inc. Premium

Subscribe to Inc. Magazine

How to Write a Summary Business Plan

A business plan doesn't have to be all encompassing, especially when you're trying to generate buzz. here are the elements you really need..

How to Write a Summary Business Plan

When writing a business plan, it's easy to get lost in the details. You want to demonstrate how you've studied the ins and outs of the marketplace and have crunched every conceivable number. But, really, writing a 100+ page business plan is not the best use of your energy.

'I vividly remember years of lengthy business planning cycles that literally produced books - encased in three-ring binders,' says Denise Barnwell, president of Transformation Marketing in West Orange, New Jersey. 'The ritual of producing these big-company business plan ‘bibles' was mostly endured by all. But small business owners don't have time or patience to produce lengthy business plans – they need action plans.'

Fleshing out your business in such detail can be a worthwhile exercise for an entrepreneur, but the truth is that it's not likely anyone else will ever spend the time to read it – whether you're competing in a business plan competition or trying to raise money from investors. That's why you also should be thinking about how to put together a summary or short-form business plan that ranges anywhere from two pages to 15.

The shorter you can make your summary business plan, the better. You want to focus on just a few key elements of your business that will generate the most excitement among those reading it -- without requiring them to invest a weekend in doing so. You can always pass along a more detailed plan to those interested later. 'One of the most common mistakes is for people to get bogged down in details,' says Mark Herschberg, a veteran entrepreneur and instructor at MIT. 'You don't need to describe every feature, or have detailed product designs. If your investors have detailed questions, they'll ask for more information.'

Dig Deeper: How to Write a Great Business Plan

How to Write a Summary Business Plan: A Few Don'ts

With that in mind, here are some suggestions for things to leave OUT of your summary business plan, according to Malla Haridat, founder and CEO of New York City-based New Designs for Life, an organization that teaches children about entrepreneurship:

  • Excessive market research: 'You need to do a tight analysis of your product or service and the competitors. But you should be able to summarize it into one page max.'
  • An overwritten product description: 'You need to spend no more than a paragraph on this.'
  • Detailed finances: 'Bottom line - How much money do you have?  How much does it take to run the business?  How much will you earn (hopefully)?'

Dig Deeper: 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Business Plan

How to Write a Summary Business Plan: The Essential Pieces

Turning to what you DO want to focus on, consider the following tips offered by Ken Halkin , a business consultant in Amesbury, Massachusetts:

1. Description: Kick off your plan with a one-page description of your business. Give a brief history of the business and its ownership structure by focusing on:  

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • Where you are

2. Vision Statement: Write a concise one- or two-paragraph vision statement, which gives your answer to the question: 'What do we want this company to become over the next five to 10 years?'  

3. Mission Statement: Lay the groundwork for your 'brand promise' in a one or two paragraph description of what your company will be to its customers.  

4. Values: Provide a list of three to five core principles upon which you will build the business and stick to no matter what.  

5. Goals: Make a list of three to five long-term goals that translate your company's vision into specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-specific objectives.  

6. Market research: Take the next two to three pages to briefly answer the following questions:  

  • What do you know about your industry?
  • What do you know about your competition?
  • Who is your target customer and what do you know about them (i.e. demographics, buying patterns)?

6(a). Market differentiation: Take the next page to detail what makes your product or service unique in the market by answering questions like:

  • What makes you different from your competition that actually matters to your target customer?
  • What is your unique value proposition?
  • What is your big bold brand promise?

6(b). Marketing message: Based on the answers you outline above, take the next half page to explain the message you plan to communicate to your target market.

6(c). Marketing mix: Use the next page or so to detail the methods you will use to deliver that message.

6(d). Measurement: Follow the previous two sections with another half-page describing how you will measure the effectiveness of each of those delivery methods and, based on the results, adjust your plan accordingly.

7. Sales: Take the next full page to summarize your sales plan by answering these questions:

  • What is your overall sales process?
  • What are the specific steps in your process?

               - How are leads generated?                - How are they researched/qualified?                - How do you get in front of your customer?                - How do you close the sale?

  • How will you achieve the optimal sales cycle?

8. Operations plan: Now, take one to two pages to answer the following questions:

  • How will you produce the product and/or deliver the service?
  • What are the logistics?
  • What business process will you employ?
  • What facility, equipment, and other resource needs are involved?
  • How will you assure and measure quality and customer satisfaction?
  • Who are the key players?
  • What are their backgrounds and qualifications?
  • What are their specific roles?
  • How will the business be organized (org. chart)?

9. Personnel Plan: Use one page to describe your 'people' plan by answering questions like:

  • What personnel are needed now to accomplish current goals?
  • How will the number of people needed change with the growth of the business?

10. Financial Plan: As noted earlier, keep the details about your financials brief, using the same narrative style you have been using throughout the plan. Then, use a footnote to alert readers that more detailed financial schedules and assumptions will exist in a separate document. To keep focused, consider telling your story by providing the following information:

  • Start-up costs, if applicable
  • Revenue projections with detailed assumptions
  • Three- to five-year cash-flow projections
  • Three- to five-year balance sheet projections
  • Sources and uses of funds if you are raising capital

11. Executive Summary: Save the beginning for the end by taking one to two pages to write a concise synopsis of the entire plan. 

If you have followed these guidelines, the narrative portion of your plan should be 10 to 15 pages, with perhaps another eight to 15 pages of attachments and schedules related to the additional details of the marketing and financial sections. Halkin also recommends that you put together a detailed strategic plan that establishes the strategies, steps, accountability and timelines for achieving the one-year goals of the business.

For additional help, look to resources such as the ' The One-Page Business Plan ' or entrepreneurial coach Verne Harnish's book, Mastering The Rockefeller Habits , that espouse summarizing your business with a single page of text.

Dig Deeper: Tools for Creating a Business Plan

The Daily Digest for Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders

Privacy Policy

AI ASSISTANTS

Upmetrics AI Your go-to AI-powered business assistant

AI Writing Assist Write, translate, and refine your text with AI

AI Financial Assist Automated forecasts and AI recommendations

TOP FEATURES

AI Business Plan Generator Create business plans faster with AI

Financial Forecasting Make accurate financial forecasts faster

INTEGRATIONS

Quickbooks (Coming soon...) Sync and compare with your quickbooks data

Strategic Planning Develop actionable strategic plans on-the-go

AI Pitch Deck Generator Use AI to generate your investor deck

Xero Sync and compare with your Xero data

See how easy it is to plan your business with Upmetrics: Take a Tour  →

AI-powered business planning software

Very useful business plan software connected to AI. Saved a lot of time, money and energy. Their team is highly skilled and always here to help.

- Julien López

BY USE CASE

Secure Funding, Loans, Grants Create plans that get you funded

Starting & Launching a Business Plan your business for launch and success

Validate Your Business Idea Discover the potential of your business idea

E2 Visa Business Plan Create a business plan to support your E2 - Visa

Business Consultant & Advisors Plan with your team members and clients

Incubators & Accelerators Empowering startups for growth

Business Schools & Educators Simplify business plan education for students

Students & Learners Your e-tutor for business planning

  • Sample Plans

WHY UPMETRICS?

Reviews See why customers love Upmetrics

Customer Success Stories Read our customer success stories

Blogs Latest business planning tips and strategies

Strategic Planning Templates Ready-to-use strategic plan templates

Business Plan Course A step-by-step business planning course

Help Center Help & guides to plan your business

Ebooks & Guides A free resource hub on business planning

Business Tools Free business tools to help you grow

How to Write a Business Plan Conclusion?

  • Vinay Kevadia
  • June 20, 2024

business plane conclusion

Completed writing your business plan?

Let’s wrap it up with a conclusion that ends your business plan on an exciting and positive note. Not to forget—a conclusion that convinces the readers about your business’s potential to succeed.

In this blog post, you will learn exactly how to write a conclusion of a business plan and get an example to guide you.

Let’s get started.

What is a business plan conclusion?

A business plan conclusion is the final section concluding very concisely the points discussed in your business plan.

It reinforces the business’s strengths and feasibility and reassures the readers of potential business success. It clarifies the reader’s benefit of associating with your business and convinces them of a profitable investment opportunity.

A conclusion is about 3-4 paragraphs long and is designed to drive action and leave a lasting impression on reader’s minds.

Business plan conclusion vs. executive summary

Many people confuse a conclusion and an executive summary to be the same. However, they are not. Let’s see how.

  • An executive summary is a broad overview of your entire business plan. The conclusion, on the other hand, is a concise summary reinforcing the key takeaways of your plan.
  • While an executive summary introduces the readers to your business idea, a conclusion convinces them to take the desired action.
  • An executive summary is a preview of what the plan will be about. The conclusion, on the contrary, is a review of what the plan has discussed.
  • An executive summary is concise. However, conclusions are more concise covering only the aspects that can drive decisions and actions.

Clear enough, right? Let’s move ahead.

Why is a business plan conclusion important?

Although a conclusion is not mandatory, it is an important aspect of a business plan. It communicates your passion and commitment to a business idea and convinces the readers of your ability to succeed.

A conclusion synthesizes the key insights of your business plan focusing on aspects such as market analysis, business strategy, competitive advantage, and milestones. It reinforces your plan’s vision and establishes your strategic position amongst readers.

A well-crafted conclusion will drive desired actions from the readers. It can seal the deal and fulfill your objective of writing a business plan .

How to write a conclusion for your business plan?

From what information to include to where to place the conclusion—this section will guide you to write an impactful conclusion for your business plan.

1. Choose the right placement

There are two places for you to place your conclusion. It can either be after your executive summary or at the end of the document.

The location changes depending on who you plan to present your business plan with.

If you prepare a business plan for investors , placing your conclusion after the executive summary will increase the likelihood of it getting read.

However, the conclusion should be placed at the end for business plans that are prepared for internal use and business partners. Conclusion in this case reviews and emphasizes the company’s strengths.

2. Place the right information

The information in your conclusion changes depending on your audience and the intent of the business plan.

For instance, if you’re a new business trying to secure funds, your conclusion can synthesize the key details about the following:

  • Funding demands
  • Benefit to the investors
  • Target market and target customers
  • Solution for the problem
  • Marketing strategy
  • Team members and their expertise
  • Financial projections
  • Competitive advantage
  • Launch plan

However, if you’re a small business trying to grow or use this plan for internal use, consider covering key insights from the following aspects:

  • Mission statement
  • History and the milestones
  • Data supporting growth
  • Industry trends
  • Financial summary
  • Long-term goals and objectives

These are the details you can cover while writing your conclusion. However, including every bit of these in your conclusion is unnecessary.

Think from your reader’s perspective. Determine the information that would excite them about your business and form your conclusion accordingly.

3. Include stats and visuals

Now that you’ve decided on the placement and information to be included in your conclusion, it’s time to make your conclusion zesty.

How? Get the facts and stats that would support the claims you make in your conclusion.

For instance, if you’re promising growth, show market research that supports your claim. Again, if you’re promising a certain return on investment, include the statistics that can make investors believe you.

Sway away from vague statements and assumptions. And, if you feel that the statistic would be best absorbed through visual charts or graphics, don’t be afraid to add one.

4. Add a CTA

If you want the readers to take action, guide them. Add a crisp clear call to action(CTA) and explain how the readers would benefit from taking that action.

For instance, 

  • Join us as a silent partner by investing in Beanco.
  • Invest $2 M and secure a 20% stake in equity.
  • Support our growth by sharing references.

Don’t beat around the bush. If you are making a funding request, be unapologetic. And even if not, your CTA should suggest how a reader can support your growth.

5. Review and proofread

Once your conclusion is ready, re-read and proofread it for any grammatical or spelling errors. Fix the flow and remove fluff to make your conclusion crisp and persuasive.

Get your friends and business partners to read the conclusion and check if the message you are trying to send is crisp and clear. If not, make the necessary adjustments.

Business plan conclusion example

Use this business plan conclusion as a reference and tailor yours keeping in mind the needs, objectives, and audience for your business plan.

Launching EcoRide Electric Scooters will revolutionize urban transportation by providing an eco-friendly, efficient, and affordable solution for city commuters. Our innovative design and advanced technology will set us apart in the rapidly growing market for sustainable transport options.

We are poised to make a significant impact on urban mobility, and we want [Investor’s Name] to be a foundational part of our journey. By investing in EcoRide Electric Scooters, [Investor’s Name] will benefit in the following ways:

  • Joining a groundbreaking startup with a vision to reduce urban pollution and traffic congestion, led by a passionate team with over 20 years of combined experience in the automotive and tech industries.
  • Supporting the development and deployment of cutting-edge electric scooters, contributing to a cleaner, greener urban environment.
  • Gaining equity in a high-potential startup with a scalable business model and the potential for significant returns as we expand to new markets.

Together, we can transform urban transportation, reduce carbon footprints, and create a sustainable future for city dwellers. If you share our vision for a cleaner, more efficient urban commute, partner with us.

Let’s conclude your business plan

Now that you have understood the process and referred to an example, let’s conclude your business plan.

Identify the information you must highlight, encapsulate it into a powerful conclusion, and pair it with an even more powerful CTA.

However, remember that the conclusion just seals the deal. It’s the business plan that will hook your readers till the end. With Upmetrics’s AI business plan generator , you can create truly engaging business plans in just about 10 minutes.

So, improvise your business plan, sum it up with a convincing conclusion, and send over your business plan to your potential investors to secure funding.

Build your Business Plan Faster

with step-by-step Guidance & AI Assistance.

crossline

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should a business plan conclusion be.

A conclusion of your business plan can be anywhere between 2-3 paragraphs long. In this ideal length, you must outline the key takeaways of your plan, clarify the next step to the readers, and explain to them the benefit of supporting your business.

What is the most important part of a business plan conclusion?

A CTA is the most important part of the conclusion, especially if you are trying to raise funds. However, if you are writing a plan for internal purposes, focus more on synthesizing the key essentials of a plan.

Can I include new information in the conclusion?

A conclusion does not introduce any new information. It simply reinforces the business’s position and convinces the readers to take the desired action for one last time. For instance, offer funding for your business.

Is it necessary to include a call to action in the conclusion?

It is very important to add a crisp clear CTA while concluding your plan. You can’t expect the readers to invest in your business or help you grow if you don’t clarify the steps to take action.

About the Author

summary of a business plan

Vinay Kevadiya

Vinay Kevadiya is the founder and CEO of Upmetrics, the #1 business planning software. His ultimate goal with Upmetrics is to revolutionize how entrepreneurs create, manage, and execute their business plans. He enjoys sharing his insights on business planning and other relevant topics through his articles and blog posts. Read more

Reach Your Goals with Accurate Planning

Newsom, lawmakers use cuts, reserves and ‘fiscal emergency’ declaration to solve budget deficit

Gavin Newsom speaks in front of a sign that says "The California Blueprint"

  • Copy Link URL Copied!

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic lawmakers struck a deal Saturday to make $16 billion in cuts, declare a statewide fiscal emergency and pull money from the state’s rainy-day reserves to balance a $46.8-billion budget deficit.

The agreement for a $297.7-billion spending plan is the result of weeks of contentious negotiations with labor unions and business interests after weaker-than-anticipated revenue forced Newsom and lawmakers to scale back California’s progressive policy agenda. The shortfall inspired a tug-of-war over coveted state dollars that has caused rifts between the governor and some of his closest allies at the Capitol.

Among the more high-profile changes, the 2024-25 budget plan delays a minimum wage increase for healthcare workers until at least October, cuts $1.1 billion for affordable housing and slashes $750 million in funding for the state prison system.

California’s business community also took a hit, with the three-year suspension of nearly $15 billion in tax breaks a year earlier than Newsom initially proposed.

“This agreement sets the state on a path for long-term fiscal stability — addressing the current shortfall and strengthening budget resilience down the road,” Newsom said in statement. “We’re making sure to preserve programs that serve millions of Californians, including key funding for education, health care, expanded behavioral health services and combating homelessness.”

The deficit marks a dramatic reversal of California’s financial standing from a projected $100-billion surplus two years ago and creates a challenging political narrative for Newsom, who often boasts of the state being an essential economic engine for the nation.

The governor is required by law to declare a statewide budget emergency before he can take money from the reserves to address the deficit. But an emergency declaration gives fodder to critics who have accused Democrats of mismanaging the state’s finances and overspending.

Despite the shortfall, the California economy remains strong, and the state has more revenue to spend than it did when Newsom took office.

“This is not a revenue problem,” said David Crane, president of Govern for California, a nonprofit that seeks to oppose the influence of labor unions on state government. “The deficit is a result of expenditures.”

In April, Newsom touted the fact that the California economy held its position as the fifth largest in the world , saying the state “continues to punch above its weight.”

The state government’s financial problem can be blamed in part on poor revenue projections that led Newsom and lawmakers to allocate more money for programs than they had available to spend.

The state’s progressive tax structure leaves government dependent on revenue from income taxes paid by chief executives and other top earners, which are subject to stock-market fluctuations and difficult to predict. Additionally, the delay of the 2022 tax filing deadline from April to November forced California leaders to craft the current budget without a full understanding of how much state tax revenue had declined.

Newsom anticipated California’s deficit to grow when he signed the budget last year and said he dedicated much of the new money in his spending plan to one-time funding increases that he could easily halt if revenue were to fall. The cuts include $500 million for a loan program to fund affordable student housing at colleges and a reduction of $485 million for work-study programs.

Yet the governor and lawmakers have been criticized for choosing to pull money from the state’s rainy-day fund — $5.1 billion in 2024-25 and $7.1 billion planned the following year — to avoid deeper cuts. Democrats also plan to take $900 million from a safety-net reserve account next year.

Tapping into the state’s piggy bank now has raised concerns about what could happen to programs serving California’s neediest if the economy falls into recession and revenue drops even lower.

Democrats at the Capitol released a broad overview of some of the cuts the Legislature will vote on next week, before the budget takes effect July 1.

Newsom and lawmakers said the agreement includes proposed legislation requiring the state, in the future, to set aside surplus funds for subsequent budget years as a means to protect against revenue swings and a constitutional amendment in 2026 to increase the rainy-day fund. Details were not shared with the announcement.

Here’s what we know so far about the agreement.

Pushing off a healthcare minimum wage hike

Newsom signed a bill into law last year to give healthcare workers a minimum wage increase to $25 per hour. He waited a few weeks to explain that he wouldn’t allow the law to take effect if the state budget crisis worsened .

At the time, the Department of Finance estimated that the law could cost the state $2 billion. Labor unions said the cost was closer to $300 million, if the state required hospitals to cover much of the expenditure.

Newsom’s concerns, which he said he shared with unions before he signed the law, set off months of private negotiations over when to raise wages and how to pay for the increase.

Those talks ended with the budget agreement, which delays the pay hike from taking effect until Oct. 15 at the earliest, instead of this month, as originally planned.

The start date for the pay hike hinges on one of two scenarios: state revenue in the first quarter of the fiscal year coming in 3% above projections, or more federal funding for hospitals through a quality-assurance fee. If neither happens, the increase could be delayed beyond October.

Lawmakers and the governor are essentially using the quality-assurance fee as a mechanism to ensure that hospitals can pay for the increase. Hospitals pay quality-assurance fees; the federal government matches the money, then remits the funding back to hospitals.

The federal increase requested by the state is expected to cover 30% of the cost of higher wages for hospitals.

The budget pegs the state’s cost for the program at $600 million in 2024-25.

Dave Regan, president of SEIU United Healthcare Workers West, said “workers are disappointed” that the wage hike won’t kick in this summer but recognized that legislative leaders and Newsom listened to the union’s concerns despite the shortfall.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom leaves the stage after delivering his budget proposal in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. California faces a projected budget deficit of $22.5 billion for the coming fiscal year, Newsom announced Tuesday, just days into his second term. It’s a sharp turnaround from last year’s $98 billion surplus. (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas)

As deficit estimate hits $68 billion, Newsom seeks ‘major changes’ to healthcare wage law

Gov. Gavin Newsom said his staff has been working with Democrats in the Legislature on the state’s healthcare minimum wage law in light of budget concerns.

Dec. 7, 2023

No solution on battle over MCO tax

The question of how to use the proceeds of a tax on managed care organizations, known as the MCO tax, turned out to be the most difficult to answer in budget negotiations — so challenging, in fact, that talks fizzled out, and Newsom threatened to oppose a ballot measure backed by some of his closest allies.

The tax applies to health insurance providers that charge fixed monthly payments for services and acts as a mechanism to allow California to collect billions in additional federal funds for Medi-Cal, the healthcare system for low-income residents.

Newsom and lawmakers renewed the tax last June and agreed to use some of the proceeds to raise reimbursement rates to providers who serve Medi-Cal patients. For years, doctors have waged an unsuccessful campaign to raise rates, arguing that the reimbursements are too low, result in a shortage of doctors willing to accept patients and restrict access to care.

But Newsom reversed course and proposed taking more than $6 billion from the Medi-Cal rate increases over multiple years and using the funding instead to avoid cuts to the program.

The change pitted Newsom against a coalition led by the California Medical Assn. and Planned Parenthood, two groups that have supported the governor’s causes and backed his campaigns.

The coalition called for the governor to stick to the agreement he made in 2023 to raise rates for providers. It also is leading a charge to pass a measure on the 2024 ballot that would permanently establish an MCO tax to fund higher reimbursement rates and other Medi-Cal services.

The governor wants the coalition to take the measure off the ballot. He wants the funds to be flexible so the state can use the money if necessary to support the Medi-Cal system in the future.

The coalition has so far declined to take the measure off the ballot, fearing that Democrats would divert the funding again. The talks ended in a stalemate.

The final state budget includes $6.9 billion next year to support the Medi-Cal system.

Newsom and lawmakers agreed to offer a smaller pot of money for “provider rate increases and investments” from the MCO tax, but far less money than was previously set aside. The budget includes $133 million in 2024-25 and a plan to raise that to $728 million in 2025-26 and $1.2 billion the following year.

Democrats said the MCO funding would become “inoperable,” essentially eliminated, if the measure is approved on the 2024 ballot.

Jodi Hicks, chief executive of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said the tenets of the ballot initiative were negotiated last year with safety-net providers and policymakers. The coalition’s measure, if approved in November, would provide the state $2 billion for general Medi-Cal costs, outside of rate increases, annually in 2025 and 2026.

“The intent of the initiative was to make historic investments in the Medi-Cal program and provide for a generational change for patients and how they experience access to care,” Hicks said.

The governor threatened to campaign against the measure as the budget talks soured this year, setting up the possibility that he could challenge his supporters in the November election.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses some of the ways that have been used to reduce the state's budget deficit in his revised 2024-25 state budget unveiled during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Secret negotiations heat up in Sacramento as budget, ballot deadlines loom

California officials must finalize the state budget and the list of measures that will go on the ballot by the end of June. Secret budget conversations are intertwined with deal-making around the 2024 ballot.

June 17, 2024

A pause on business tax breaks

The budget deal limits total tax credits for businesses in the state to $5 million per filer and pauses a net operating loss tax deduction for businesses with income of more than $1 million in 2024, 2025 and 2026.

In a concession to the business community, Newsom and lawmakers are allowing companies to receive refunds for the tax credits after the limits end.

Newsom originally proposed halting and capping the tax breaks beginning in 2025. But Democrats in the Legislature pushed to apply the changes a year earlier, allowing them to avoid cuts to other programs.

The administration said the changes to the tax breaks will increase revenue by nearly $15 billion through 2026.

The early start could hurt businesses who were planning to deduct losses from their 2024 taxes and now have to scramble to scale back on employees or inventory to cover the cost of an unexpectedly higher bill. The limit also marks the second time in five years that the state has capped tax credits, which could turn away companies that operate in California.

Big cut to prisons

Lawmakers previously proposed an additional $1 billion in cuts to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, including at least $12 million in reductions to the governor’s project to transform San Quentin . Newsom’s proposed cuts had included $80.6 million in savings from the newly announced deactivation of 46 housing units at 13 state prisons.

The final agreement drops funding for corrections by $750 million through next budget year, which includes $400 million from Newsom’s plan to cut state operations and eliminate vacant jobs. Overall, the budget reductions to operations and personnel across all of state government saves nearly $2.2 billion.

From left, Gov. Gavin Newsom; Sen. Mike McGuire; and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas

With deadline nearing, Newsom and lawmakers disagree over solutions to California budget crisis

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic lawmakers work to settle their differences over a few key budget cuts to reduce California’s massive deficit.

June 5, 2024

Newsom supports another round of homelessness grants

In late May, Democrats in the Legislature proposed spending $1 billion more than the governor had budgeted on a sixth round of Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention grants to local governments. At the same time, lawmakers proposed cutting $100 million in funding to clean up homeless encampments in the current budget year.

The final budget deal appears to show a compromise.

The deal includes $1 billion in additional homelessness grants, which the governor and lawmakers said would be tied to new accountability measures to make sure local governments use the funding appropriately. The agreement also provides $150 million next year for encampment grants.

Broadband internet access for all — a little later

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the need to improve access to broadband internet in homes across California when K-12 education shifted from the classroom to remote learning. Low-income families and those who live in rural areas often lack the same level of connectivity as more wealthy communities.

Newsom has sought to make internet access more equitable under a “broadband for all” initiative.

The spending plan delays $550 million in funding for “last mile” work, which connects the network to homes, until the 2027 budget year. The budget agreement still offers $250 million next year for a program to expand and improve the fiber-optic network under “middle-mile” projects, and Democrats intend to provide a total of $2 billion for last-mile work over multiple years.

A funding delay for public schools

Under Proposition 98, approved by voters in 1988, California has a minimum funding guarantee for schools and community colleges.

This year, Newsom proposed an unusual maneuver to re-characterize funding in 2022-23 to reflect the lower-than-expected state revenue.

The California Teachers Assn. said the change would have reduced funding for schools by about $12 billion over two years. The union ran a television ad criticizing Newsom’s proposal to pressure him to reverse course.

Newsom and teachers agreed late last month to a complicated solution that suspends the minimum funding guarantee and delays $5.5 billion in funding until future years.

More to Read

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - APRIL 15: Kim Ballon a Ventura County In Home Support Services (IHSS) care provider attends to Marjorie Williams, 84, at her Thousand Oaks home as California does little to track safety of health care workers during the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. Ballon is worried about a lack of protective gear though she regularly cares for elderly clients, helping them bathe and multiple tasks. (keep as a silhouette) Thousand Oaks on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 in Thousand Oaks, CA. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Newsom’s budget plan saves vital programs for immigrants, but kids and hungry seniors may suffer

June 26, 2024

Gov. Gavin Newsom with three budget chart lines going up and down.

Can California control its boom-and-bust budget?

June 11, 2024

FILE - California Gov. Gavin Newsom answers a reporters question about his revised 2024-25 state budget during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, May 10, 2024. The California Teachers Association has criticized Newsom's budget proposal, saying it would wreak havoc on school funding. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Teachers criticize Newsom’s budget proposal, saying it would ‘wreak havoc on funding for our schools’

May 17, 2024

Start your day right

Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

summary of a business plan

Taryn Luna covers Gov. Gavin Newsom and California politics in Sacramento for the Los Angeles Times.

More From the Los Angeles Times

FILE - Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. A New York man has pleaded guilty to charges that he snatched away a police officer’s can of pepper spray during a chaotic clash with officers guarding the U.S. Capitol building during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot. Authorities on Friday, May 24, 2024 said Troy Weeks was among a group that tried to overwhelm officers who were blocking an entryway to the building as supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol grounds in protest of Trump’s election loss.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

Column: A Supreme Court ruling may help Jan. 6 rioters. Here’s why it’s less likely to help Trump

President Joe Biden speaks at a presidential debate watch party, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Here’s why it would be tough for Democrats to replace Joe Biden on the presidential ticket

June 28, 2024

FILE - In this photo illuminated by an off-camera flash, a tarp covers a portion of a homeless person's tent on a bridge overlooking the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. The United States experienced a dramatic 12% increase in homelessness as soaring rents and a decline in coronavirus pandemic assistance combined to put housing out of reach for more Americans, federal officials said Friday, Dec. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Opinion: The Supreme Court’s purely ideological reasoning will change our lives

Nuns comfort a Palestinian woman as she mourns the death of a relative, killed in Israeli airstrikes that hit a church, during a funeral service in Gaza City, Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. An Israeli airstrike hit a Greek Orthodox church housing displaced Palestinians near the hospital late Thursday. The military said it had targeted a Hamas command center nearby, causing damage to a church wall. Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry said 16 Palestinian Christians were killed. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)

Ali: Racism and bigotry get a pass in 2024 as Trump talk that once shocked is normalized

IMAGES

  1. Business Plan Executive Summary

    summary of a business plan

  2. Executive Summary Template For Business Plan

    summary of a business plan

  3. How To Write A Business Plan

    summary of a business plan

  4. Business PLAN

    summary of a business plan

  5. Business Plan Executive Summary Example & Template

    summary of a business plan

  6. How to Create a Business Plan (7+ Business Plan Templates)

    summary of a business plan

VIDEO

  1. Crafting a Compelling Executive Summary A Comprehensive Guide

  2. Rich Dad Poor Dad Book Summary Robert T. Kiyosaki, Best ideas

  3. Setting Up Your Company Branding

  4. Advanced Salesforce Integration

  5. Why choose The Business Plan Company?

  6. बड़ा आदमी बनने के लिए नौकरी नहीं बिजनेस करे

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Executive Summary (+ Examples)

    Here's a streamlined approach to crafting an impactful executive summary: 1. Start with Your Business Overview. Company Name: Begin with the name of your business. Location: Provide the location of your business operations. Business model: Briefly describe how you make money, the producfs and/or services your business offers.

  2. Business Plan Executive Summary Example & Template

    Learn how to write an executive summary for your business plan that covers the key sections and components in a concise way. See an example of an executive summary and get tips on how to create one.

  3. How to Write an Executive Summary in 6 Steps

    A business plan consists of several pieces, from an executive summary and market analysis to a financial plan and projections. The executive summary will be the first part of your business plan.

  4. How to Write a Killer Executive Summary

    3. Keep it short. Ideally, the executive summary is short—usually just a page or two, five at the outside—and highlights the points you've made elsewhere in your business plan. Whatever length you land on, just focus on being brief and concise. Keep it as short as you can without missing the essentials.

  5. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

    Describe Your Services or Products. The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you're offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit ...

  6. How to Write a Business Plan: Guide + Examples

    The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally just one to two pages. Most people write it last because it's a summary of the complete business plan. Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan.

  7. How to Write an Executive Summary

    Place the executive summary near the beginning of the business plan. Before you write the executive summary, you'll have to write the rest of the business plan first. The executive summary should contain all relevant information about the business, including name, mission, services offered, market, and financial projections. Was this page helpful?

  8. How to Write an Executive Summary Execs Can't Ignore [+ 5 Top Examples]

    Executive Summary vs. Business Plan. All business plans have an executive summary, but not all executive summaries belong to business plans. A business plan includes a company overview, short-term and long-term goals, information on your product or service, sales targets, expense budgets, your marketing plan, and even team information. Business plans are very detailed and comprehensive.

  9. How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

    Summary. Consider the audience. Ensure that the executive summary can stand alone. Use formatting tools to good advantage. Keep it brief. Keep it simple. Proofread it. If you'd like an expert to proofread your business plan - or any of your writing - get in touch!

  10. How to Write an Executive Summary

    Write the executive summary. Go through your business plan and identify critical points to include in your executive summary. Touch on each business plan key point concisely but comprehensively ...

  11. How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

    1. Create Your Executive Summary. The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans. Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

  12. Business Plan Executive Summary with Example

    The executive summary should start with a brief overview of your business concept. Then it should briefly summarize each section of your business plan: your industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan and funding needs. If presented for funding, the executive ...

  13. How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

    With that being said, here are a few tips to help you write your summary: 1. Start With a Bang. When readers see the first sentence of your executive summary, they should be hooked immediately. This means that you need to start with a strong opening that will grab their attention and keep them reading. 2.

  14. How to Write an Executive Summary for Your Business Plan

    Keep your executive summary short. You may have crafted a lengthy and detailed business plan, but the executive summary really shouldn't exceed two pages. Spend plenty of time working on those two pages to make sure they are clear, informative, and engaging. 4. Prioritize sections based on importance and strengths.

  15. Business Plan Executive Summary: The Exhaustive Guide

    Executive summary is an introduction to your business, which provides a brief snapshot of your plan as a whole. To that end, concisely highlight the most important concepts and impressive features from each section of your completed plan, addressing the following areas: Business plan sections: What readers look for: Products and services.

  16. How to Write a Great Executive Summary in a Business Plan

    An executive summary is a concise and compelling overview of the whole business plan. It includes and highlights all the key points of the plan as an introduction. It should be clear, well-structured, and engaging, prompting the reader to want to learn more. It also should provide enough information to convey the business plan's purpose.

  17. Business Plan Executive Summary [Sample Template for 2022]

    8 Tips for Writing a Perfect Business Plan Executive Summary. a. You must ensure that your first paragraph is strong enough. To attract the reader's attention and compel them to read the rest of the summary. For example, you can start by stating a market problem that your business promises to fix.

  18. Write your business plan

    Traditional business plans use some combination of these nine sections. Executive summary. Briefly tell your reader what your company is and why it will be successful. Include your mission statement, your product or service, and basic information about your company's leadership team, employees, and location.

  19. How to write an executive summary, with examples

    The main difference between an executive summary in project management and a more traditional executive summary in a business plan is that the former should be created at the beginning of your project—whereas the latter should be created after you've written your business plan. For example, to write an executive summary of an environmental ...

  20. Executive Summary of the Business Plan

    An executive summary of a business plan is an overview. Its purpose is to summarize the key points of a document for its readers, saving them time and preparing them for the upcoming content. Think of the executive summary as an advance organizer for the reader. Above all else, it must be clear and concise.

  21. How to Write a Great Business Plan: The Executive Summary

    Since a business plan should above all help you start and grow your business, your Executive Summary should first and foremost help you do the following. 1. Refine and tighten your concept. Think ...

  22. How to Write an Executive Summary for Your Business Plan

    The summary should be one to two pages in length and sum up the more detailed content in the rest of your business plan, including: Who you are. Start with the basics. List your business name, location and contact information. For established businesses, give a brief history of your company and provide your mission statement.

  23. How to Write an Effective One-page Business Plan (Free Template)

    Start with a short executive summary and value proposition to introduce your business. Share the problem your business solves and your solution. Give an outline of top competitors and how your business compares. Create a timeline of key milestones. Outline your sales and marketing plan for attracting customers.

  24. How to Write a Summary Business Plan

    4. Values: Provide a list of three to five core principles upon which you will build the business and stick to no matter what. 5. Goals: Make a list of three to five long-term goals that translate ...

  25. How to Write a Business Plan

    1. Draft an Executive Summary and Mission Statement. T he executive summary belongs at the top of your business plan. It's your opportunity to grab your reader's attention by highlighting all ...

  26. How to Write a Business Plan Conclusion?

    An executive summary is a broad overview of your entire business plan. The conclusion, on the other hand, is a concise summary reinforcing the key takeaways of your plan. While an executive summary introduces the readers to your business idea, a conclusion convinces them to take the desired action.

  27. Executive Summary Template For Business Plan

    This collection brings together all the great resources and tools including samp - Business Plan - Ideas of Tips On Buying A House #buyinghouse #housebuying - This collection brings together all the great resources and tools including samples and templates to help you write one page business plan.

  28. Services

    Vast services. Rich experience. Real results. At Deloitte, we see every challenge as an opportunity for growth. Working alongside you, our people combine innovation and insight to solve your toughest problems. With leading business knowledge and industry experience, our variety of services help your business make an impact. Audit & Assurance.

  29. The housing market is 'stuck' until at least 2026, Bank of America

    Economists at Bank of America warned this week that the US housing market is "stuck and we are not convinced it will become unstuck" until 2026 — or later. The bank said home prices will ...

  30. Newsom, Democrats use cuts, reserves and 'budget emergency' declaration

    The agreement for a $297.7-billion spending plan is the result of weeks of contentious negotiations with labor unions and business interests after weaker-than-anticipated revenue forced Newsom and ...