You will surely agree that writing an executive summary is a great art and could be time consuming at times. But what if time is a problem and you have to deliver a smashing business plan within a set period. Well, the best approach is to keep your executive summary for the very end. In that way, not only would you be saving time but you can also deliver a great piece of work in record time.
Remember that the executive summary that you write, is a fundamental doorway to a great business. After you understand what is an executive summary about and the structure that you must follow, we will now tell you how to write a great one in the shortest conceivable time, under an hour.
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The Art of Writing an Executive Summary Quickly
The first and foremost rule in writing an executive summary that is both effective and fast is undoubtedly writing it last. Just by keeping it for the end, you can ensure that your executive summary pretty much includes all the key elements. Some of the key advantages of writing the executive summary at the end include:
- You are unlikely to miss out on key elements.
- You will surely remember to highlight the focus of your business plan.
- You get an opportunity to re-visit your entire business plan.
- The revision after completing the whole plan ensures that you can easily plug in loopholes if any.
- The executive summary can then become the vehicle that gives direction to your entire plan.
- It will set the course for your readers and be able to guide the readers in appropriate fashion.
- Lends cohesiveness to the entire plan.
That said one of the key aspects of writing a summary quickly is also developing a detailed know how about what to include in an executive summary?
Well, not only is that important for portraying a true picture about your business but also the fact that once you know what to include, you can quickly feed it in. Here is a quick lowdown of the key elements that you must remember while writing an executive summary. This is as per experts in the field and corporate who deal with these business plans on a day in day out basis.
Famous venture capitalist, speaker and author Guy Kawasaki said in his book, The Art of the Start,
“Of the effort you put into write a business plan, 80 percent should go into the executive summary. These are the most important paragraphs of your organization’s existence.”
Knowing just how important the executive summary is can scare many entrepreneurs away from even trying to write an executive summary. In reality, you already know how to write an executive summary. In fact, in the next hour you could answer the following 8 questions and be 90% of the way to a powerful business plan executive summary.
1. Business Focus
The art of writing an executive summary that is catchy is all about keeping the focus narrow. Identify the most interesting aspect of your business and make it a hero of the entire summary. Remember that it has to be something that is decidedly attention grabbing and something that will make the reader takes note. Your ultimate aim is to keep your reader’s attention completely riveted and focused on your plan. Including facts like sales data from past 6 months or an influential partner or even a noteworthy client is a good place to start.
2. Business Objective:
Remember that there is a set objective for every business. Each one has its roots entwined in a key purpose that the entrepreneur sets out to serve with. So try and introspect what problem your business envisages to solve and put it out in bold in the executive summary. It is very important that you make the reader feel connected to your dream. They must feel that unique indispensability. Now only you have the capability to address their pain or source of irritation. It is this element that will keep them totally hooked to your plan and summary specifically and read it till the end.
3. The Promise of Unique
But the problem is that you might not be the first one to come up with the solution that you are offering. There could be ten other players in the market who might be offering the same solution. In that case, how can you guarantee that yours will be better? Well, the only way to establish that would be to highlight what is unique about your solution and the factor that makes your solution stand apart in the crowd as such. The long-term sustainability of your solution is also an important consideration in this field.
4. Gauge The Market Potential
When we talk about sustainability in writing an executive summary, it is very important to gauge the market potential. So what if you have a unique solution to a great problem? If you do not have the sufficient market for your solution to market your solution, it will fall flat. Therefore the executive summary is the place where you need to highlight
- The potential market for your solution
- The number of people who could benefit
- A rough number of people facing the problem
- The kind of difference that your solution can bring about to those who are suffering
All these factors would help the readers decide about the efficacy of your business plan, and the benefit of a great executive summary is that this fact is quite easily conveyed to the readers.
5. Assess Your Profitability
You would realize that as you keep proceeding with your executive summary you are answering, you are answering some fundamental business basics one after another. The key purpose of a business is ringing in profit and writing an executive summary is all about highlighting this profitability in its truest form. If possible, it is always a good idea to demonstrate how and in what way your business makes for a profitable proposition.
6. Make Your Team Hero
Your business is a success not just because you have a great concept but also because your team is efficient enough to make it a possibility. So while you are writing an executive summary, never forget background information that includes the team that is handling the operation, the key partners and the prominent investors and bankers working with you.
7. Highlight Growth
How strongly is your business model growing and what is the key growth driver? Remember the basic of how to write an executive summary is a lot about bringing growth traction to the foreground.
8. Make A Reasonable Request
More often than not, the key purpose of your business plan is to request a banker or investor for more funds. Therefore it is important to make a reasonable analysis of your fund requirement and make a good job in convincing your reader about your absolute need for it.
Therefore, writing an executive summary is all about highlighting purpose but without making it obvious. It should be practical, to the point and crisp. The length should in no way exceed more than 10% of the overall plan. That’s exactly how you can ensure it can be delivered in an hour.