“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

The executive summary (two to four pages) provides the details of your venture. Use the executive summary and business plan to communicate effectively with various stakeholders including potential investors, partners, customers and employees.

The documents will change over time. You’ll want to refresh the document on a regular basis to ensure that you capture key changes in the business. They can also offer the added benefit of encouraging your team to work together and put all of your intentions in one document.

Why write an executive summary?

The executive summary is one of your most important communication tools. Once you’ve made a cold call with your elevator pitch, the investor will review the executive summary to determine if they will set up a face-to-face meeting with your company. Since the investor will read the executive summary before the business plan, it must stand out and sell your investment opportunity.

Generally, in later-stage organizations, the executive summary follows the business plan. For early-stage companies, however, the outline from the pitch deck   provides an excellent starting point for crafting an executive summary prior to the full development of a business plan.

References

Business Development Bank of Canada. Effective business plan. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from http://www.bdc.ca/en/my_project/Projects/consulting/cs_business_plan.htm, now available at https://www.bdc.ca/en/solutions/consulting/Pages/cs_business_plan.aspx.
Kawasaki, G. The Zen of Business Plans. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/01/the_zen_of_busi.html.
Kawasaki, G. (2004).The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything.Toronto: Penguin Canada.
Kawasaki, G. (2008). Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition. Toronto: Penguin Canada.
Cardis, J., et al. (2001).Venture Capital: The Definitive Guide for Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Practitioners. Toronto: John Wiley & Sons.