A business plan's executive summary is a concise digest of all components. Though it is first in most business plans, it often is written last. Once you're done with all of the other components, you'll return to it and make needed changes to ensure consistency and accuracy. Or better, you will use it as you develop your business plan, pulling it out and revising it as needed. When you reach your ultimate destination, a complete and thorough business plan, your executive summary will be ready to serve as its map.
What are the typical components of a business plan? The answer depends on the specifics of the plan. However, as most business plans include the same types of information, some generalizations can be made. For example, most business plan executive summaries include:
Keys to success
The order of these components will be dictated by the type of business. Fortunately, it is easy to reorder components of your business plan and your executive summary as it grows.
A concept is an idea. You think your community could use an exotic pet trainer and an idea is conceived: Why don't you train exotic pets? It is the core question of your business idea. It is a summary of your question rephrased: Is an exotic pet training service a viable business opportunity for me? These questions will lead to others, each requiring an answer before a decision can be made. Your business plan is a document written to convince yourself and possibly others that such a business concept is viable. If it isn't, the business plan won't get finished.
A mission is a purpose. A mission statement is a written declaration of a purpose. In your business plan, it briefly explains the function of your business. It can be a single sentence or a paragraph. It should use concrete rather than abstract words. Your business's mission statement should be unique and not describe any other business. It should be focused on the opportunity and tell readers specifically what your business is about.
A concise mission statement is the most important component of your business plan. As your business grows, new opportunities will arise. Your business's mission statement will help you focus on the reasons you got into the business and help keep you on track. If a business is unsuccessful or less than successful, an imprecise mission statement is often the cause.
The Rest of the Executive Summary
The other three components of an executive summary (marketing, keys to success, and capital requirements) are summarized from other components of your business plan.