Every report, white paper, presentation, brochure or planning document has a one or two-page section summarising the contents. Although it’s the first part of the index, it’s usually the final pages developed and written.
People reading your plan will likely come from two different mindsets requiring two entirely different communication strategies.
Some people like to know every little detail before they make any decisions. Others just need an overview before deciding whether to delve more into the detail.
It’s also the section that’s referred to most often in later stages of discussions. Your readers may make additional notes to refer to at a later date.
Together with the financial forecasts, this section is always the most referenced. Therefore, it’s important to get it correctly structured and robust.
If this section was only read by potential investors before they decided whether to read more detail, then it has to sell your ideas and have solid numbers.
Standard practice for small businesses is to have a one or two-page overview of the business. It should convey the company objectives, the investment required, and profit projections while highlighting your knowledge of the industry sector chosen.
In those two pages there are usually seven paragraphs from the headings in your document as follows:
A skeleton outline developed before the main detail is fleshed out guides your summary and final plan. Use the headings described above to write a short paragraph from your initial ideas.
Create the final summary pages once you’ve completed the main document. You can duplicate elements into this from pages contained in your plan as it’s just a condensed version of your detailed document.
As it’s short, make every word count. Don’t add in information that isn’t pertinent to convince your reader of its worth. You can also use this summarised plan to send out to potential investors, suppliers, partners and even staff members. Many entrepreneurs use it as a reference point for the months after they start trading.
There are 16 different summaries in each of our sample plans you can read online for various industries with some available to download in MS Word. Here are six examples:
Below are additional examples of what you could write for the above sections.
ABC Trading Limited are to take over the tenancy of a local corner shop from the existing owners. ABC has a franchise with Costcutter and will sell their full range of products. The ABC owners have both run successful stores over the past 14 years.
The local area does not have any other convenience stores that sell branded products. There’s just one local Aldi store and newsagent that sell a limited range of similar goods. The current owners produce an annual profit of £64,500 from their unbranded shop.
We believe the opportunity for this franchise with lower prices enables us to compete well while improving the financial health of our company.