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Business Plan Guide:
2. Summary of Plan

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IMPORTANT: Write this summary when your plan is at its final draft stage.

Hit the highlights and cover all key issues. Avoid detail – focus on matters of strategic importance to the business. If desired, cross-reference the reader to the sections containing detailed text e.g. More details in Section XX.

Suggested Length & Structure:

Write the summary after the detailed plan has been drafted.

Limit this section to two or, at most, three pages. As a guide, the summary should never exceed 10% of the total number of pages (excluding appendices) in your plan. See Length of a Plan.

Address the needs and interest of the reader: what basic information does the reader need to get orientated or to become interested in the business? Consider devising slightly different summaries for different categories of reader.

Use one short section or one/two paragraphs to summarize the content of each main section of the plan.

Instead of continuous flowing text, consider using bullet points like this:

 
 
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  • Start the summary on a new page immediately after 1. Introduction to Plan.
  • Give this section plenty of thought and time as it is the most important single part of the entire plan.
  • Its contents should be very clear and interesting. Sell the business and its plans in a professional manner.
  • Be positive by avoid exaggeration. Do not include any material in the summary that is not also covered in the body of the plan.
  • If tabulating data, use simple, high-level tables. For example:

Five year income statement
This table was "pasted in" as picture from Exl-Plan, PlanWare's Excel-based financial planner. It is fully-integrated and
linked to cash flow forecasts and projected balance sheets and to a much more detailed project ions.

  • Use a chart or two to highlight key issues. A picture can be worth a thousand words, as the following charts show.

Five year cash flow projections
These charts were "pasted in" as pictures from Exl-Plan, PlanWare's Excel-based financial planner.

Once the summary has been drafted, give the draft final plan to an honest, critical outsider to review.


Additional Help

Free-Plan, a comprehensive 150-page Business Plan Guide and Template based on this business plan guide, can be downloaded for free here.
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Projection
Software
Cashflow
Forecasting
Software
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Plan
Template
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Plan
Guide
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Freeware
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Planning
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More
Planning
Tools
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