billdrop's picture
billdrop March 20, 2017 - 8:08am

What Is an Executive Summary Business Plan? How to write a company executive summary? It should introduce your business, and your product, Are there any tips that you can provide? I am currently on the task of writing one, but confusion and perplexities are fringing at the back of my mind.

Jeffrey Vines's picture
Jeffrey Vines from Dallas is reading Wool April 11, 2017 - 6:53am

I've written several Executive Summaries in the context of raising money for a start-up company.


Think of it like this.

You've created a 20-40 page business plan. This plan should cover the team being assembled, the problem being solved, the market size, the competitive landscape, and the  product/service that is being built to attack the opportunity.

A potential investor/advisor/partner/board member will have to go through all 20-40 pages and analyze all of your sources, assumptions, and conclusions. 

They are looking for:

1. Is the markest sized appropriately.  Are the size assumptions correct and is it big enough to warrent going after.

2. Is the competitor analysis correct. Have you thought of all the competitors, do you understand their core value props, pricing, etc.  

Hint: If you say there are no competitors then your comeptive analysis is wrong or your market sizing is wrong.  No competitors means that not a single person/company has been able to make money in your space.  That's a bad sign and investors will usually walk away.  This is a hot button for me, and I could write a book on the failures of entrepreneurs to identify competitors (maybe more like a novella).

3. Will the proposed product/service satisfy the problem

4. Most Important!   Will this team be able to adapt and overcome the obstacles that will block progress.

All of that is A LOT of work.  Why would someone spend that much time reviewing a plan from someone they can't personally vouch for......     enter the executive summary (which could also be done in 'pitch deck' form)

You're giving your plan to an executive. Time is their most valuable commodity.  In a presentation you may have 1 or 2 slides before they lose interest.  In an executive summary, every paragraph is sink or swim.

Your executive summary should provide the key points from each section of the business plan. Somone should be able to read it and understand what's being proposed.  The business plan itself will provide the proof that the executive summary isn't a bunch of BS.


If you read the first paragraph thought "My business plan doesn't have that because I'm not starting that type of project" then I have two reactions.

1. Yes it does

2. If it really doesn't then why do you need a business plan?

Let's take two examples.  I'll use fake data so it's quicker for me.

A Novel

The Opportunity: There aren't enough zombie, vampire genre mashup books  

The Market Size:  The zombie genre market is X size, and the Vampire genre is Y size.  There is roughly Z% overlap as identifyed by the following survey/amazon data

The Competitors:  There have been 10 books in this mash-up and they have done the following numbers...

The Product: I'm proposing book X which will have the following elements...

The Team: I've written books in genre X that is releated (and hopefully have been published and made money). I have published the following short stories. Etc.

This one is a bit tricky.  Publishers have way better data than authors, so they know these trends better than authors.  I just thought it would be a fun exercise to show how to break down a non-traditional business plan.

A Restarant

The Opportunity:  There aren't enough greek restaurants in Lincoln, Nebraska (I have no idea if this is true)

The Market Size: The population is X, and there are roughly Y plates of food sold every week at price point Z. There is a greek community of size A that can provide an expected minimum support.

The Competitors:  Nikolini's on 6th street opened 2 years ago and there it's still popular.

The Product:  I'm going to offer cuisine at price point X and locate the restaurant in area Y because of the following population densities.

The Team:  I was chef at restaurant A, I ran restaurant B, and the front of the house will be run by Joe from Restaurant C.


Hope this helps!