New Business Development > Starting a Business > Feasibility and Business Plans

Create Your Own Business Plan -- Executive Summary

File C5-69
Updated March, 2010

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Cover/Request Page

The cover page is an introduction to your business proposal.  It should contain the following.

  • Company name
  • Address and contact information
  • Date of the business plan
  • You may want to put a colored picture of your product on the cover page. 
  • If the business plan is of a highly confidential and/or proprietary nature, its cover page should stipulate that fact, along with prohibitions regarding reproduction or further dissemination.
  • If you are using the business plan as a vehicle to seek financing for your business, you may want to include statements on the cover page about your funding request so lenders will know immediately what you are asking for.  Include the amount and type of funding requested, how it will be used and why it will help the business be profitable.
  • You may want to have your attorney draft a statement that the business plan is not an offering of securities.

To provide a professional look, you may want to use high quality paper and put the plan in a binder.

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary is different than a traditional summary.  It should cover more than just the high points of the business plan.  It should excite people and make them enthused about your business concept.

The Executive Summary should be comprehensive, yet concise and to the point.  It should stand on its own and not make reference to the body of the business plan.  For example, you should not use language in the executive summary like “in the business plan we will show that”.  It should distill the essence of your business and show why it will be successful.

To provide a comprehensive summary, many topics need to be covered.  However, each topic should be covered using only one or two sentences or less.  You may want to include the following items in your summary. 

1) The company (project)

  • Name
  • When founded (started)
  • What does it do (expect to do)
  • What is the legal organization (expected legal organization)
  • Where is it located (expected to be located) 

2) Business model (essence of what the business does and how it functions)

3) Business (project) stage(s) (the stages covered by the business plan)

  • Investigation
  • Seed
  • Start-up
  • Ramp-up
  • Expansion
  • Consolidation/merge
  • Other 

4) Purpose(s) of the business plan

  • Implementation guide
  • Attract equity investment
  • Attract debt financing
  • Other

5) Vision and mission (broad terms)

  • Where do you want to go
  • How will you get there

6) Description of the product, market and competition

  • Describe the function and attributes of the product.
  • What is the target market and who are the target customers.
  • Describe why the target market customers will buy your product.
  • Describe the product distribution structure.
  • Describe your relationships and commitments with purchasers/distributors of the product.
  • List the other players in the market and how you will compete against them

7) Founders and management team

  • Names
  • Background/experience/education
  • Role in company (project)
  • Describe why the founders/managers will succeed
  • Other 

8) Location and description

  • Offices
  • Facilities
  • Technology
  • Other

9) Summary of financial projections

  • Production, processing, distribution and/or marketing budgets.
  • Sales projections
  • Cash flow budgets
  • Pro forma income statements
  • Pro forma net worth statements

10) Why will the business be successful?

11) Type and amount of financial assistance requested (if applicable)

 

Don Hofstrand, retired extension value added agriculture specialist, agdm@iastate.edu