The Company Summary

A component that is critical to introducing your business plan to investors is the Company Summary. The Company Summary contains the basic details of your company, such as a short description of the company's history, a mention of products and services, the company's location, and what segment the company will target. The Company Summary will also include a mission statement and a summary of start-up expenses.

The first thing a summary often contains is the name of the company. A company name (the legal entity) is not always the name used for doing business with the public. To make this important distinction, a company name will often be paired with a "dba" (doing business as) to differentiate your company's legal and public names. If you've created your legal name, but are stumped on an effective public name, consider making your service offering a part of the moniker. The key to a public name is flexibility over the course of your business' lifetime.

A mission statement is often the centerpiece of the Company Summary. To be completely effective, the mission statement must combine your most heartfelt principles as well as practical objectives. It must also contain the elements that will define your business for the near future. Since businesses do not operate in a vacuum, and objectives change over the years, re-drafting your mission statement will be a probable occurrence. But setting down core objectives for your corporate culture will aid these later revisions.

The start-up summary is the short version of the start-up funding table that will appear later in the business plan. It is a table that lists a set of expenses that will be lost at start-up (i.e. advertising, equipment, legal expenses, etc.) as well as your start-up assets. This set of information is perfect short-hand for an investor. A note about the location of your company is another crucial part of the Company Summary. Even if you're a start-up and haven't decided on a space, or your existing business is still looking for a new location, it won't hurt your business plan to mention that you're searching for a new place of business. Taken as a whole, these components will be the perfect summary for your company.