Monday, January 30, 2012

Business plan: Executive summary

(Writing a Business Plan)
The Executive Summary is the single most important section of the Business Plan. For many readers it could be the only page of the document that they read and for this reason you should keep it down to a single page, with as much 'white space' and bullet points as is reasonable ... The point is to be as concise as you can while engaging interest and excitement to learn more.

Remember, the key question your readers will have in their mind is What's in it for me? Assuming that the majority of the readers of a Business Plan are investors, whether they're making a loan or buying shares, then you've really got to use this section of the plan to show them how this idea is going to make them more money than the alternatives open to them.

Because this section is the most critical to get right then it is wise to make it the very last thing that you write; although, of course, it's often a good idea to start drafting things much earlier as you go along and making tweaks and refinements as you get more detail.

It's not usual to be able to write even the simplest business plan in a day because to do it right there is a lot of work to do on each of the sections; and re-work, refinement and refining will serve you well at this stage. It's much easier to do it now than after investment resources have been committed and expensive changes have to be made.

A good exercise is to try to answer the following questions in a single paragraph:
  • Why what you propose is needed
  • What you will do
  • How you will do it
  • Who you will do it for
  • When you will do it
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