*This post is a part of a series about launching your dream business. You can read Lori’s previous posts here.

As you begin putting your business plan together, you will also begin to collect other important information that will prepare you for being a business owner. You will begin learning what it is to be an entrepreneur by establishing professional connections and by systematically educating yourself about the different parts of your business plan. Subsequent articles will review what you must learn in order to be a successful entrepreneur but for now we will focus on drafting your executive summary.

Now is the time to begin preparing your business plan by writing your executive summary. This section of the business plan expresses the goals and objectives of your business model. The executive summary details the purpose, the goals, and the methods by which you promote the success of your business. You will start to share your vision and why you are invested in the business venture with anyone and everyone, but remember that it is critically important to obtain as much professional support as possible when you begin collecting and formulating the information for your business plan.

The best way to begin this process is to approach your family and friends and other business owners with your idea. However, you will want to be discrete about your business idea until you have done your homework, developed your plan out-line, and secured any legal protection such as patent rights, trademarks, and legal status, etc… Initially you will want to present your idea in general terms and vague descriptions. This will prevent would-be profiteers from stealing your idea. When sharing your idea with professionals it is imperative to enter into a “confidentiality agreement” which will prevent them from legally disclosing your idea to others or claiming your idea as their own idea. By sharing your dream with others, you will receive valuable feedback while establishing a consensus, of public and personal opinions. This step will provide you with objective criticism and insight. This step will also help you focus on a couple of important factors as well. Public opinion will tell you whether your idea sparks curiosity and positive interest and this step reveals areas of weakness in your business model that will inform you of potential shortcomings. This process will educate you as to how you may need to refine your business plan and make it a more viable venture. This step is one of the most important steps in launching a small business but you will need to remain objective while developing your business plan so as not to become discouraged if the feedback is contrary.

Engaging other professionals affords you immediate insight into operating and managing a small business. Therefore, I recommend that you talk to as many business owners as you can about their concerns and their interests in owning a small business. When you ask them for their advice about starting a small business, most business owners are willing to share their experiences because their experiences are personal and it gives them an opportunity to tout their success. Even if their particular business is unrelated to the type of business you wish to start, their experience will afford you much wisdom about the various aspects of operating a business. Often an experienced entrepreneur has suffered the mistakes that arise from starting a new business and their methods of solving initial problem can serve as a model for your business plan.

As you continue to network and gather information, you will want to edit and restructure your executive summary. You will want your summary to be concise and thorough without being to lengthy so you will continually revise your summary to achieve optimum results. You will want to use business language when writing your executive summary and you will want to present concepts and supplemental aids that reflect potential, progress, and profitability. Once you have completed the business summary, you will have written it several times. Then it will only serve as a rough draft because you will be writing and formulating all of the other parts of your business plan and the structure of the other aspects of the business plan will generate the need to rewrite the summary and make it compatible with all of the other information.

In the next article, I will be presenting strategies for gathering information, for structuring your business plan, and for formulating concepts and supplemental aids that will compliment your presentation.

Lori Alissa Wright is a 50 year old transgender who has owned and managed an electrical contracting company for the past twenty years. She has raised 4 children and has 2 grandchildren. In her spare time she enjoys writing and composing contemporary music arrangements. Upon her decision to transition, she began dissolving the corporation and returned to college to pursue her dream. She is an NSCS member at Kaplan University where she is pursuing a master’s degree in Psychology and a doctorate degree in Social Anthropology. She hopes to earn the credentials to bring to public debate her lifelong experience with transgenderism.