Second, your business plan should be a tool you use to run and grow your business. Something you continue to use and refine over time. An excessively long business plan is a huge hassle to revise—you`re almost guaranteed that your plan will be relegated to a desk drawer, never to be seen again.
Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. In fact, it`s very common for investors to ask for only the executive summary when they are evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they`ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation, and more in-depth financials.
Because your executive summary is such a critical component of your business plan, you`ll want to make sure that it`s as clear and concise as possible. Cover the key highlights of your business, but don`t into too much detail. Ideally, your executive summary will be one to two pages at most, designed to be a quick read that sparks interest and makes your investors feel eager to hear more.
Projections are important not for their actual numbers as much as for their presentation of drivers, relationships between growth and spending, key spending priorities, sales aspirations, and assumptions related to cash flow. They have to be solid and integrated, but accuracy is much more a matter of transparent assumptions than accurately predicting the future.
In the beginning, one may have the urge to delve straight into specific strategies, such as evaluating production methods, studying market segments, and evaluating the competition—but do not do that, at least not yet.
If you are writing a business plan to get a bank loan or because you`re asking angel investors or venture capitalists for funding, you must include the details of what you need in the executive summary.