Executive Summaries are as important as a great in-depth solar business plan since most investors and lenders do not want to review a detailed plan until they have been enticed or interested by a review of a concise and outlined Executive Summary. There is no rule of thumb on the length or detail that should be included in an Executive Summary, just like there is no set guideline for business plans. However, there are guidelines as noted below:
* Small solar business plans – Even a ten-page business plan that should suffice with attached forecasts for some investors or for the SBA FastTrack Program should have an Executive Summary, typically one page. For even smaller plans, a tight one-page cover letter that includes a few bulleted key items from the business plan may also suffice.
* Medium-sized plans – For solar business plans that are typically 15-30 pages in length, seek an added layer of equity investment and need more detail, an Executive Summary of 1-2 pages is recommended. The Executive Summary should follow the Table of Contents of the most important business plan sections that are included in the solar business plan, with a maximum of a paragraph summarizing each section.
* Larger solar business plans – These are typically 30-50 pages or more, with the Executive Summary could be expanded to two pages maximum. Again, it should include the same concise information following the Table of Contents from the sections of the entire plan including summarizing what could be 10-15 pages of forecasts and cash flow analysis into a paragraph and a summary chart.
These are general guidelines only. In more detailed and lengthier plans, the best Executive Summaries are completed after the solar business plan or energy business plan is completed so that the best of the plan is condensed into an Executive Summary that gets the attention of SBA Lenders or equity investors.
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