In Parts 1 to 7 we now covered all the sections of our business, so, having reached the end, we must return to the beginning and write the executive summary. To anyone else reading your plan, such as a provider of finance, who reads many business plans, this is the most important section – if the executive summary doesn’t hit home, they won’t go on to read the rest.
Within two pages you have to convince the reader that your plan is credible and it is worth their while to continue. You need to establish that there is a market for your products or services, that you have a competitive advantage, the right people (even if that is only you), and that you will make money. You also need to outline your vision of the future for your business. You should have a strong opening and closing statement. Use numbers to demonstrate the size of the market and the opportunity and how fast the market is growing.
Outline the results of your market research, analyse the competition and explain your advantage. A summary of financial information will help to show how profitable the business will be, but include cash flows and sensitivity analysis as well.
Once you have finished your plan, ask friends and family with a business background to read it. And absolutely do not forget the spell check! But don’t re draft many times over – there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough and it is better to go into business with a good plan than delay months in order to get a perfect plan (impossible anyway).
Once you have presented to investors and secured the finance you need do not let your plan gather dust on a shelf. Measure your progress against it, re-assess where you are in relation to where you expected to be, modify your approach if necessary.
All that remains to be said, it good luck in your business venture.