The Importance of the Executive Summary

Selling Tool

Have you ever stood in a bookstore looking at the paperback books? Typically you see the cover graphics and then read the back cover to get a teaser summary of the book. This back cover is like the executive summary of the book. It’s not just a review — it builds your curiosity, with intrigue, wonder, and the excitement that you will get when you read the book. If the person reviewing your business plan never gets past the executive summary there is little hope that they will be interested in assisting you. Write your executive summary as a selling tool to get the reader enticed to jump into the rest of the plan. Shorter and more intriguing is better than all-encompassing, but offer enough information that the reader will understand what you are trying to do.

Do We Talk Money?

It is appropriate to clearly spell out how you are going to spend the money you seek, and how this funding leads to profitability. Not so clear is when you come right out and ask for the funds – and how much. It is difficult to give the same business plan to a bank and also to an equity investor.

Experts vary on this. Some would encourage you to clearly detail how much money you need, what you are giving up or offering for collateral, and how the money is repaid or returned to the parties involved. Other people would tell you that this is a separate negotiation, best left to later. It is difficult to address this issue until you have developed the financial projections. Another reason to consider revising the business plan after the financial projections are finished. A compromise it to discuss the money need and how it will be used in general terms (or maybe a range) and wait to be specific to a later.