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Writing a Business Plan, Part I - Executive Summary

Prepared By: Melissa C. Marsh, Los Angeles Business Attorney
Written: March 2009

How To Write A Business Plan.

Writing a business plan is a tedious task, but your efforts should pay off regardless of whether you are seeking financing. Writing the plan generally will provide the business owner with added clarity, focus, and knowledge regarding their target market, target consumer, and the status of their competition. Part 1 of this article explores your cover page, executive summary, and table of contents. The cover page will provide the reader with his or her first impression about your professionalism and standards. The Table of Contents will indicate how well you organized your plan. And most importantly, your executive summary will determine whether the reader will continue reading the rest of your plan. For this reason, these three elements of your business plan must be "perfect" both in substance and presentation.

Business Plans - The Cover Page

You are probably saying to yourself: How complicated can a cover page be? Well, you might be surprised at how many business owners leave crucial information off the cover page. The purpose of a cover page is to tell the reader what he or she is about to read and how to reach the writer. Your cover page is also a way to get your business plan noticed out of the 100s or 1000s of plans sitting in the pile. The Cover Page to your business plan should say the words "Business Plan," and should include:

  • your name and business name
  • your company logo
  • the date
  • your contact information, including: address, telephone number, facsimile number, and email address

The Table of Contents Is A Guide

Your Table of Contents should provide the reader with a quick and easy way to navigate your business plan. Each page of your business plan should be numbered and the table of contents should include page numbers. After you assemble your plan and number your pages, go back to the table of contents and insert the correct page numbers. Be sure to list headings for major sections as well as for important subsections.

The Executive Summary Is The Most Important Section Of A Business Plan

The Executive Summary is by far the most important part of your business plan. Although it is often the first part read, you should prepare it last. The Executive Summary should be a one to three page clear, concise, and enticing snap shot of your entire business backed by supporting industry statistics, market research, and other information.

Go to: Writing a Business Plan, Part II - Your Business Description

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© 2009 Melissa C. Marsh. All Rights Reserved.

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Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site was prepared by Melissa C. Marsh for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information provided in my articles and alerts should not be relied upon, or used as a substitute for professional legal advice from an attorney you retain to advise or represent you. Your use of this Internet site does not create an attorney- client relationship. Transmission of this article is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. All uses of the contents of this site, other than personal uses, are prohibited. You may print or email a copy of any information posted on this web site for your own personal, non-commercial, use, but you may not publish any of the articles or posts on this web site without the Express Written Permission of Melissa C. Marsh.

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Located in Los Angeles, California, the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh handles business law and corporation law matters as a lawyer for clients throughout Los Angeles including Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West LA as well as Riverside County, San Fernando, Ventura County, and Santa Clarita. Attorney Melissa C. Marsh has considerable experience handling business matters both nationally and internationally. We routinely assist our clients with incorporation, forming a California corporation, forming a California llc, partnership, annual minutes, shareholder meetings, director meetings, getting a taxpayer ID number (EIN), buying a business, selling a business, commercial lease review, employee disputes, independent contractors, construction, and personal matters such as preparing a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and more.