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How To: Your Business Plan – Part 1. The Executive Summary and Business Background

NEWS

How To: Your Business Plan – Part 1. The Executive Summary and Business Background


Whether you’re in the research phase, or close to finalising a purchase, a comprehensive business plan will prove invaluable throughout the process.

A thriving business will always have a detailed business plan behind it, supporting the longevity and profitability of your business, and assisting in obtaining finance for initial purchase or future expansion.

In taking the time to put this document together, you’ll view your prospective business through a new lens, and be able to identify the past, present and future of your business with a vision for success. You’ll find yourself referring back to your plan frequently, and it will evolve alongside your business growth.

Your business plan leads with your Executive Summary and Business Background, a place for you to define and expand on the ‘elevator pitch’ of the business you’re interested in purchasing.

The Executive Summary

Your Executive Summary is where you establish the what of your business, and this section should illustrate a snapshot of what your (soon to be) business offers to the market.

Keep in mind, if you are sharing this document with potential investors, the Executive Summary is what will be read first – you want to capture the pertinent business details and showcase what makes it viable and profitable, and encourage the viewer to read on.

Think of your Executive Summary as the teaser blurb of a book – you may only have a paragraph or less to spark interest in the reader, so keep your wording punchy, to-the-point and clear.

You’ll also want to discuss what phase your business is currently in, for example: is this business a startup that’s recently launched, or in the process of expanding?

Next up, you’ll be detailing your growth plan. How do you plan to grow the business, and what are the key drivers that will allow you to move forward with increased capacity and capabilities? This segment of your document is also where you’ll drill down on the unique selling points of the business, and identify the factors that will ensure future growth after you’ve purchased it.

Your Executive Summary should distil your business down to the essential points, and if you’re struggling to articulate this part of your Business Plan, you may wish to progress further along with the document. You can then circle back to your Executive Summary once you’ve had time to deep-dive into other areas of the business, coming back with a clearer view of the need-to-know points.

The Business Background

The second section of your Business Plan is your Business Background, the area where you’ll set out the specifics of the business. Depending on the business you’re considering, there may be a lot of information to get through, so keep your writing lean and factual, as much of your Business Background section will be reporting the critical details.

To start, you’ll want to include the specific type of business (retail, manufacturing or service-based), business facilities and location, the number of employees and their roles, as well as the organisational and operational structure.

Next, summarise the track record of the business, and what has taken place in order for the business to be where it is today. You may like to lay out a chronological list that highlights major points in the business e.g. launch date, relocation or new ownership. You’ll also want to note down any key business pivots that have occurred up until this point in time.

Once you have this critical information written, it’s time to identify the short-term and long-term goals you have for the business, and the date you aim to complete these by. These may be goals that are revenue-focused or goals that target new additions to your team of employees or increasing your marketing reach. Short-term goals will keep you on track across the day-to-day success of the business, while well-considered long-term goals will ensure that you stay on your trajectory to hit key business milestones with a vision for big-picture growth.

Finally, your Business Background should share the products and/or services your business offers, locations and outlets currently active (including your headquarters or main office), as well as any IP (intellectual property) that the business owns. If you’re describing a service or product, assume that the reader hasn’t come across your business or a similar business before, and clearly outline all relevant details.

By now, you’ve completed the first segment of your Business Plan, a base which you can continue to build on for the remaining sections of the document. Remember, your business plan is an important safeguard that you put in place when purchasing a business, and a blueprint for your future success.