Most companies have a business plan in place. Even if you have a small business it’s a good road-map for you to follow. It helps to see where you started, where you are now, and keeps track of the goals you hope to meet. There are a number of ways the business plan can be set up, but most of them include an executive summary and the company’s mission statement in the first section.
Why include an Executive Summary and Mission Statement?
Upper managers only want to see condensed information. They don’t have time to go over every single detail about every department. They want to know what’s going on in the company, but only want to read the highlights. That’s why the executive summary is included in the first part of a business plan. It gives a top level summary of all the information included in the rest of it.
Another important reason to write a clear and concise executive summary is for potential investors or lenders. Just like the high level executive, people in financing don’t have time to read each detail about your company. They often have many documents to review and will be impressed if you can effectively summarize the key points of your enterprise.
Since the executive summary talks about everything in your business plan, you actually write it last, even though it shows up in the first part of your plan.
Here are some of the components to include:
- What the business plan is for i.e. secure funding, a guide for running your business, a way to track progress
- What your product or service is
- When and why your company was started
- Economic projections for 3 years
- Management experience
- Results of market research (who you will target)
- What makes your product or service necessary to consumers
- How you plan to use the capital you raise
Write it out in narrative form as you would a letter. Some people format it as a memo. Remember that it’s a summary, so write a number of drafts until you include all the required information without wasting words. Your ending statement should tell the reader why you know your business will be a success.
The next thing to do is write your mission statement, which is often included in the executive summary. The main purpose of the mission statement is to inspire the employees to support the company goals, to tell the world why you’re in business, and to state your values. They often include ways in which the company is making the world a better place to live.
If you are just starting out, be sure to get your employees in on the project of defining your mission. Everyone should have a chance to provide input. One way of doing this is to hold a brainstorming session where people just throw out words. They’re usually stuck to the walls on post-it notes or written on a white board. From there the list is drilled down until you find the words that fit your organization and then one or two people frame them in a statement. If you’ve been in business for a while, it’s a good idea to review your mission statement every five years or so. You always want it to be relevant to the times we live in and to include any major changes in the focus of your business.
Generally speaking, the most effective mission statements are relatively short but they still pack a punch. Some companies write long and complicated ones. By the time you’ve finished reading it, you aren’t sure what they’re trying to say. Keep it simple and get right to the point. It should be short enough that all the employees can memorize it, know what it means, and it makes them proud to work for the organization and promote company values.