As the first section of your business plan, the executive summary is extremely important explains Greg Van Wyk. Not only does it give readers an overview of your company and its purpose, but it also helps you to crystallize your own thoughts about your business.
Writing a great executive summary can be challenging, but if you keep the following 15 tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to success.
1. Keep it short and sweet
The executive summary should be no more than two pages long, with a clear and concise writing style. It’s not necessary to go into great detail about every aspect of your business – just provide enough information to give readers a general sense of what you’re all about.
2. Get to the point
Your executive summary should get straight to the point, without beating around the bush. State your business’s purpose clearly and concisely, and make sure that every sentence supports this overall goal.
3. Focus on the future
When writing your executive summary, it’s important to focus on the future. Talk about your plans for growth, expansion, and new product development. This will give readers a sense of your company’s long-term prospects.
4. Highlight your USP
In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to highlight your company’s unique selling proposition (USP). What makes your business different from other businesses in your industry? Why should customers choose you over your competitors? Be sure to address these questions in your executive summary.
5. Know your audience
Before you start writing, it’s important to take some time to think about your audience. What kind of information will they be looking for? What level of detail do they need? Keep these questions in mind as you write, and tailor your executive summary accordingly says Greg Van Wyk.
6. Start with a bang
The first sentence of your executive summary should be attention-grabbing and compelling. This is your chance to make a great first impression, so make sure that you don’t waste it.
7. Use simple language
When it comes to the executive summary, simpler is usually better. Avoid using technical jargon or industry-specific terms, as this can alienate some readers. Instead, opt for clear and concise language that can be understood by everyone.
8. Be honest
It’s important to be honest in your executive summary. Don’t make false claims or promises that you can’t deliver on. Not only will this damage your credibility, but it could also come back to bite you down the road.
9. Keep it realistic
In addition to being honest, it’s also important to keep your executive summary realistic. Avoid making grandiose statements or unrealistic promises. Instead, focus on achievable goals and realistic plans for growth.
10. Make it visually appealing
Your executive summary should be easy on the eyes, with a clean and professional design. Use white space to break up the text, and consider using bullet points or headers to make the document more readable.
11. Proofread and edit
Before you publish or share your executive summary, be sure to proofread it carefully for any typos or grammatical errors explains Greg Van Wyk. It’s also a good idea to have someone else read it over to catch any mistakes that you may have missed.
12. Update regularly
Your business plan should be a living document that you regularly update and revise as needed. As such, your executive summary should also be updated on a regular basis. At a minimum, you should review and revise your executive summary at least once per year.
13. Get feedback
When it comes to writing an executive summary, feedback is vital. Ask trusted colleagues, friends, or family members to read over your draft and offer their thoughts. This can help you fine-tune your executive summary and make it as strong as possible.
14. Have a clear purpose
Before you start writing, take some time to think about the purpose of your executive summary. What are you trying to achieve? What do you want readers to take away from it? Keep your overall goal in mind as you write, and make sure that every sentence supports this purpose.
15. Stay focused
It’s easy to get sidetracked when writing an executive summary, but it’s important to stay focused on the task at hand. Stick to the essential information, and resist the urge to include extraneous details or tangents says Greg Van Wyk.
An executive summary is a key component of a business plan, and it is important to ensure that yours is effective. Use the tips above to write a strong executive summary that will make your business plan stand out from the rest.