The Executive Summary

The executive summary is a snapshot of the business plan. It's the 30-pager on a post card. Venture capitalists need to be able to see at a glance whether your project is likely to interest them. They can only do justice to so many business plans per month.

Although the executive summary is always read before the business plan, you should deal with it after completing the full plan because it is easier to cut down a proposal than to inflate a summary. In a sentence or paragraph of not more than 30 words, the summary should explain the product and why it is a genuine marketing opportunity. Briefly introduce the management team. Explain how you will get from Silicon Valley to Wall Street. Outline the timetable. Suggest the return on investment, and say how much money you need.

Good Executive Summaries are rarely longer than four pages. Most run to two. So don't repeat anything. Although it's a précis of your business plan, it shouldn't steal the business plan's thunder. The two should tell the same story in different words.

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