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How to Write an Executive Summary (Example & Template Included)

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Here’s the good news: an executive summary is short. It’s part of a larger document like a business plan, business case or project proposal and, as the name implies, summarizes the longer report.

Here’s the bad news: it’s a critical document that can be challenging to write because an executive summary serves several important purposes. On one hand, executive summaries are used to outline each section of your business plan, an investment proposal or project proposal. On the other hand, they’re used to introduce your business or project to investors and other stakeholders, so they must be persuasive to spark their interest.

Writing an Executive Summary

The pressure of writing an executive summary comes from the fact that everyone will pay attention to it, as it sits at the top of that heap of documents. It explains all that follows and can make or break your business plan or project plan . The executive summary must know the needs of the potential clients or investors and zero in on them like a laser. Fortunately, we’ll show you how to write and format your executive summary to do just that.

Getting everything organized for your executive summary can be challenging. ProjectManager can help you get your thoughts in order and collaborate with your team. Our powerful task management tools make it easy to get everything prioritized and done on time. Try it free today.

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What Is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary is a short section of a larger document like a business plan , investment proposal or project proposal. It’s mostly used to give investors and stakeholders a quick overview of important information about a business plan like the company description, market analysis and financial information.

It contains a short statement that addresses the problem or proposal detailed in the attached documents and features background information, a concise analysis and a conclusion. An executive summary is designed to help executives and investors decide whether to go forth with the proposal, making it critically important. Pitch decks are often used along with executive summaries to talk about the benefits and main selling points of a business plan or project.

Unlike an abstract, which is a short overview, an executive summary format is a condensed form of the documents contained in the proposal. Abstracts are more commonly used in academic and research-oriented writing and act as a teaser for the reader to see if they want to read on.

what should an executive summary for a business plan include

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Executive Summary Template

Use this free Executive Summary Template for Word to manage your projects better.

How to Write an Executive Summary

Executive summaries vary depending on the document they’re attached to. You can write an executive summary for a business plan, project proposal, research document, or business case, among other documents and reports.

However, when writing an executive summary, there are guidelines to ensure you hit all the bases.

Executive Summary Length

According to the many books that have been written about executive summaries, as well as training courses, seminars and professional speakers, the agreed-upon length for an executive summary format should be about five to 10 percent of the length of the whole report.

Appropriate Language

The language used should be appropriate for the target audience. One of the most important things to know before you write professionally is to understand who you’re addressing. If you’re writing for a group of engineers, the language you’ll use will differ greatly from how you would write to a group of financiers.

That includes more than just the words, but the content and depth of explanation. Remember, it’s a summary, and people will be reading it to quickly and easily pull out the main points.

Pithy Introduction

You also want to capture a reader’s attention immediately in the opening paragraph. Just like a speech often opens with a joke to break the tension and put people at ease, a strong introductory paragraph can pull a reader in and make them want to read on. That doesn’t mean you start with a joke. Stick to your strengths, but remember, most readers only give you a few sentences to win them over before they move on.

Don’t forget to explain who you are as an organization and why you have the skills, personnel and experience to solve the problem raised in the proposal. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy biography, often just your name, address and contact information will do, though you’ll also want to highlight your strengths as they pertain to the business plan or project proposal .

Relevant Information

The executive summary shouldn’t stray from the material that follows it. It’s a summary, not a place to bring up new ideas. To do so would be confusing and would jeopardize your whole proposal.

Establish the need or the problem, and convince the target audience that it must be solved. Once that’s set up, it’s important to recommend the solution and show what the value is. Be clear and firm in your recommendation.

Justify your cause. Be sure to note the key reasons why your organization is the perfect fit for the solution you’re proposing. This is the point where you differentiate yourself from competitors, be that due to methodology, testimonials from satisfied clients or whatever else you offer that’s unique. But don’t make this too much about you. Be sure to keep the name of the potential client at the forefront.

Don’t neglect a strong conclusion, where you can wrap things up and once more highlight the main points.

Related: 10 Essential Excel Report Templates

What to Include in an Executive Summary

The content of your executive summary must reflect what’s in the larger document which it is part of. You’ll find many executive summary examples on the web, but to keep things simple, we’ll focus on business plans and project proposals.

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

As we’ve learned above, your executive summary must extract the main points of all the sections of your business plan. A business plan is a document that describes all the aspects of a business, such as its business model, products or services, objectives and marketing plan , among other things. They’re commonly used by startups to pitch their ideas to investors.

Here are the most commonly used business plan sections:

  • Company description: Provide a brief background of your company, such as when it was established, its mission, vision and core values.
  • Products & services: Describe the products or services your company will provide to its customers.
  • Organization and management: Explain the legal structure of your business and the members of the top management team.
  • SWOT analysis: A SWOT analysis explains the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your business. They describe the internal and external factors that impact your business competitiveness.
  • Industry & market analysis: This section should provide an overview of the industry and market in which your business will compete.
  • Operations: Explain the main aspects of your business operations and what sets it apart from competitors.
  • Marketing plan: Your marketing plan describes the various strategies that your business will use to reach its customers and sell products or services.
  • Financial planning: Here, you should provide an overview of the financial state of your business. Include income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements.
  • Funding request: If you’re creating your business plan to request funding, make sure to explain what type of funding you need, the timeframe for your funding request and an explanation of how the funds will be used.

We’ve created an executive summary example to help you better understand how this document works when using it, to sum up a business plan.

To put all of that information together, here’s the basic format of an executive summary. You can find this same information in our free executive summary template :

  • Introduction, be sure to know your audience
  • Table of contents in the form of a bulleted list
  • Explain the company’s role and identify strengths
  • Explain the need, or the problem, and its importance
  • Recommend a solution and explain its value
  • Justify said solution by explaining how it fits the organization
  • A strong conclusion that once more wraps up the importance of the project

You can use it as an executive summary example and add or remove some of its elements to adjust it to your needs. Our sample executive summary has the main elements that you’ll need project executive summary.

Executive summary template for Word

Executive Summary Example

For this executive summary example, we’ll imagine a company named ABC Clothing, a small business that manufactures eco-friendly clothing products and it’s preparing a business plan to secure funding from new investors.

Company Description We are ABC Clothing, an environmentally-friendly manufacturer of apparel. We’ve developed a unique method of production and sourcing of materials that allows us to create eco-friendly products at a low cost . We have intellectual property for our production processes and materials, which gives us an advantage in the market.

  • Mission: Our mission is to use recycled materials and sustainable methods of production to create clothing products that are great for our customers and our planet.
  • Vision: Becoming a leader in the apparel industry while generating a positive impact on the environment.

Products & Services We offer high-quality clothing products for men, women and all genders. (Here you should include pictures of your product portfolio to spark the interest of your readers)

Industry & Market Analysis Even though the fashion industry’s year-over-year growth has been affected by pandemics in recent years, the global apparel market is expected to continue growing at a steady pace. In addition, the market share of sustainable apparel has grown year-over-year at a higher pace than the overall fashion industry.

Marketing Plan Our marketing plan relies on the use of digital marketing strategies and online sales, which gives us a competitive advantage over traditional retailers that focus their marketing efforts on brick-and-mortar stores.

Operations Our production plant is able to recycle different types of plastic and cotton waste to turn it into materials that we use to manufacture our products . We’ve partnered with a transportation company that sorts and distributes our products inside the United States efficiently and cost-effectively.

Financial Planning Our business is profitable, as documented in our balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement. The company doesn’t have any significant debt that might compromise its continuity. These and other financial factors make it a healthy investment.

Funding Request We’re requesting funding for the expansion of our production capacity, which will allow us to increase our production output in order to meet our increasing customer demand, enter new markets, reduce our costs and improve our competitiveness.

If you’d like to see more executive summary examples for your business plan, you can visit the U.S. small business administration website. They have business plans with executive summary examples you can download and use.

Executive summaries are also a great way to outline the elements of a project plan for a project proposal. Let’s learn what those elements are.

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Project Proposal

An executive summary for your project proposal will capture the most important information from your project management plan. Here’s the structure of our executive summary template:

  • Introduction: What’s the purpose of your project?
  • Company description: Show why you’re the right team to take on the project.
  • Need/problem: What is the problem that it’s solving?
  • Unique solution: What is your value proposition and what are the main selling points of your project?
  • Proof: Evidence, research and feasibility studies that support how your company can solve the issue.
  • Resources: Outline the resources needed for the project
  • Return on investment/funding request: Explain the profitability of your project and what’s in for the investors.
  • Competition/market analysis: What’s your target market? Who are your competitors? How does your company differentiate from them?
  • Marketing plan: Create a marketing plan that describes your company’s marketing strategies, sales and partnership plans.
  • Budget/financial planning: What’s the budget that you need for your project plan?
  • Timeline: What’s the estimated timeline to complete the project?
  • Team: Who are the project team members and why are they qualified?
  • Conclusions:  What are the project takeaways?

Now that we’ve learned that executive summaries can vary depending on the type of document you’re working on, you’re ready for the next step.

What to Do After Writing an Executive Summary

As with anything you write, you should always start with a draft. The first draft should hit all the marks addressed above but don’t bog yourself down in making the prose perfect. Think of the first draft as an exploratory mission. You’re gathering all the pertinent information.

Next, you want to thoroughly review the document to ensure that nothing important has been left out or missed. Make sure the focus is sharp and clear, and that it speaks directly to your potential client’s needs.

Proofread for Style & Grammar

But don’t neglect the writing. Be sure that you’re not repeating words, falling into cliché or other hallmarks of bad writing. You don’t want to bore the reader to the point that they miss the reason why you’re the organization that can help them succeed.

You’ve checked the content and the prose, but don’t forget the style. You want to write in a way that’s natural and not overly formal, but one that speaks in the manner of your target audience . If they’re a conservative firm, well then, maybe formality is called for. But more and more modern companies have a casual corporate culture, and formal writing could mistakenly cause them to think of you as old and outdated.

The last run should be proofing the copy. That means double-checking to ensure that spelling is correct, and there are no typos or grammatical mistakes. Whoever wrote the executive summary isn’t the best person to edit it, however. They can easily gloss over errors because of their familiarity with the work. Find someone who excels at copy-editing. If you deliver sloppy content, it shows a lack of professionalism that’ll surely color how a reader thinks of your company.

Criticism of Executive Summaries

While we’re advocating for the proper use of an executive summary, it’d be neglectful to avoid mentioning some critiques. The most common is that an executive summary by design is too simple to capture the complexity of a large and complicated project.

It’s true that many executives might only read the summary, and in so doing, miss the nuance of the proposal. That’s a risk. But if the executive summary follows the guidelines stated above, it should give a full picture of the proposal and create interest for the reader to delve deeper into the documents to get the details.

Remember, executive summaries can be written poorly or well. They can fail to focus on results or the solution to the proposal’s problem or do so in a vague, general way that has no impact on the reader. You can do a hundred things wrong, but if you follow the rules, then the onus falls on the reader.

ProjectManager Turns an Executive Summary Into a Project

Your executive summary got the project approved. Now the real work begins. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps you organize tasks, projects and teams. We have everything you need to manage each phase of your project, so you can complete your work on time and under budget.

Work How You Want

Because project managers and teams work differently, our software is flexible. We have multiple project views, such as the kanban board, which visualizes workflow. Managers like the transparency it provides in the production cycle, while teams get to focus only on those tasks they have the capacity to complete. Are you more comfortable with tasks lists or Gantt charts? We have those, too.

A screenshot of the Kanban board project view

Live Tracking for Better Management

To ensure your project meets time and cost expectations, we have features that monitor and track progress so you can control any deviations that might occur. Our software is cloud-based, so the data you see on our dashboard is always up to date, helping you make better decisions. Make that executive summary a reality with ProjectManager.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

You’ve now researched and written a persuasive executive summary to lead your proposal. You’ve put in the work and the potential client sees that and contracts you for the project. However, if you don’t have a reliable set of project management tools like Gantt charts , kanban boards and project calendars at hand to plan, monitor and report on the work, then all that preparation will be for nothing.

ProjectManager is online project management software that gives you real-time data and a collaborative platform to work efficiently and productively. But don’t take our word for it, take a free 30-day trial.

Click here to browse ProjectManager's free templates

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How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

3-minute read

  • 19th November 2023

An executive summary is the part of a business plan that gives an outline of the main plan. So to write an executive summary, we first need to read the business plan carefully and understand its key points. These key points are what we will condense to form the executive summary. It’s important to ensure that the executive summary can stand alone because plenty of users will read only that and not the main business plan. We could say that the business plan is the original TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)!

But first, let’s take a quick look at what goes into a business plan so we can focus on the sections we need for our executive summary.

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that sets out a business’s strategy and the means of achieving it. The business plan usually contains the following sections:

How to Write an Executive Summary

The executive summary covers the same headings as the main business plan but not in so much detail. This is where our editing skills come to the fore!

The following six steps explain how to approach writing the executive summary.

Consider the Audience

Who will be using the summary? The business plan might be issued only to a very specific group of people, in which case, their needs are paramount and specialized. If the business plan is going out on wider release, we need to think about what a general reader will want to know.

Check That It Makes Sense on Its Own

Make sure the summary can be read as a stand-alone document for users who won’t read the whole plan.

Use Formatting Effectively

Make good use of formatting, headings, numbering, and bullets to increase clarity and readability.

Keep It Brief

One page (or around ten percent of the total word count for a large document) is great.

Avoid Jargon

Try to avoid jargon and use straightforward language. Readers of the executive summary might not have business backgrounds (for instance, if they are friend and family investors in a small start-up business).

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Proofread the Executive Summary

The executive summary will very likely be the first – and perhaps the only – part of the business plan some people will read, and it must be error-free to make a professional impression.

●  Consider the audience .

●  Ensure that the executive summary can stand alone.

●  Use formatting tools to good advantage.

●  Keep it brief.

●  Keep it simple.

●  Proofread it.

If you’d like an expert to proofread your business plan – or any of your writing – get in touch!

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5 Steps for Writing an Executive Summary

Table of contents.

what should an executive summary for a business plan include

Anyone starting a new business must create a business plan that clearly outlines the organization’s details and goals. The executive summary is a crucial element of that business plan.

We’ll explore five steps to writing your business plan’s executive summary, including what to include and avoid. We’ll also point you toward executive summary templates to help you get started. 

What is an executive summary?

New entrepreneurs or business owners typically use a business plan to present their great business idea to potential stakeholders like angel investors . The purpose of the business plan is to attract financing from investors or convince banking executives to get a bank loan for their business . An executive summary is a business plan overview that succinctly highlights its most essential elements. 

It’s not just a general outline; the executive summary might be the only part of your business plan that busy executives and potential investors read. 

“The executive summary of a business plan is designed to capture the reader’s attention and briefly explain your business, the problem you are solving, the target audience, and key financial information,” Ross Kimbarovsky, CEO and founder of Crowdspring, told Business News Daily. “If the executive summary lacks specific information or does not capture the attention of the reader, the rest of the plan might not be read.”

While your executive summary should be engaging and comprehensive, it must also be quick and easy to read. These documents average one to four pages – ideally, under two pages – and should comprise less than 10% of your entire business plan.

Along with an executive summary, a business plan will include your business’s legal structure , the products and services you sell, and a financial plan with sales forecasts .

How do you write an executive summary?

Your executive summary will be unique to your organization and business plan. However, most entrepreneurs and business owners take the following five steps when creating their executive summary.

  • Write your business plan first. The executive summary will briefly cover the most essential topics your business plan covers. For this reason, you should write the entire business plan first, and then create your executive summary. The executive summary should only cover facts and details included in the business plan.
  • Write an engaging introduction. What constitutes “engaging” depends on your audience. For example, if you’re in the tech industry, your introduction may include a surprising tech trend or brief story. The introduction must be relevant to your business and capture your audience’s attention. It is also crucial to identify your business plan’s objective and what the reader can expect to find in the document.
  • Write the executive summary. Go through your business plan and identify critical points to include in your executive summary. Touch on each business plan key point concisely but comprehensively. You may mention your marketing plan , target audience, company description, management team, and more. Readers should be able to understand your business plan without reading the rest of the document. Ideally, the summary will be engaging enough to convince them to finish the document, but they should be able to understand your basic plan from your summary. (We’ll detail what to include in the executive summary in the next section.)
  • Edit and organize your document. Organize your executive summary to flow with your business plan’s contents, placing the most critical components at the beginning. A bulleted list is helpful for drawing attention to your main points. Double-check the document for accuracy and clarity. Remove buzzwords, repetitive information, qualifying words, jargon, passive language and unsupported claims. Verify that your executive summary can act as a standalone document if needed.
  • Seek outside assistance. Since most entrepreneurs aren’t writing experts, have a professional writer or editor look over your document to ensure it flows smoothly and covers the points you’re trying to convey.

What should you include in an executive summary?

Your executive summary is based on your business plan and should include details relevant to your reader. For example, if your business plan’s goal is pitching a business idea to potential investors , you should emphasize your financial requirements and how you will use the funding. 

The type of language you use depends on whether your audience consists of generalists or industry experts.

While executive summary specifics will vary by company, Marius Thauland, business strategist at OMD EMEA, says all executive summaries should include a few critical elements:

  • Target audience
  • Products and services
  • Marketing and sales strategies
  • Competitive analysis
  • Funding and budget allocation for the processes and operations
  • Number of employees to be hired and involved
  • How you’ll implement the business plan 

When synthesizing each section, highlight the details most relevant to your reader. Include any facts and statistics they must know. In your introduction, present pertinent company information and clearly state the business plan’s objective. To pinpoint key messages for your executive summary, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What do you want the reader to take away from the document? 
  • What do you want to happen after they read it? 

“Put yourself in the business plan reader’s shoes, and think about what you would like to know in the report,” Thauland advised. “Get their attention by making it simple and brief yet still professional. It should also attract them to read the entire document to understand even the minute details.”

If securing financing is your priority, read our reviews of the best business loans to compare options.

What should you avoid in an executive summary?

When writing your executive summary, be aware of the following common mistakes: 

  • Making your executive summary too long. An executive summary longer than two pages will deter some readers. You’re likely dealing with busy executives, and an overlong stretch of text can overwhelm them.
  • Copying and pasting from other executive summary sections. Reusing phrases from other sections and stringing them together without context can seem confusing and sloppy. It’s also off-putting to read the same exact phrase twice within the same document. Instead, summarize your business plan’s central points in new, descriptive language.
  • Too many lists and subheadings in your executive summary. After one – and only one – introductory set of bullets, recap your business plan’s main points in paragraph form without subheadings. Concision and clarity are more important for an executive summary than formatting tricks.
  • Passive or unclear language in your executive summary. You’re taking the reins of your business, and your executive summary should show that. Use active voice in your writing so everyone knows you’re running the show. Be as clear as possible in your language, leaving no questions about what your business will do and how it will get there.
  • Avoid general descriptions in your executive summary. Kimbarovsky said it’s best to avoid generalities in your executive summary. For example, there’s no need to include a line about “your team’s passion for hard work.” This information is a given and will take attention away from your executive summary’s critical details.
  • Don’t use comparisons in your executive summary. Kimbarovsky also advises staying away from comparisons to other businesses in your executive summary. “Don’t say you will be the next Facebook, Uber or Amazon,” said Kimbarovsky. “Amateurs make this comparison to try and show how valuable their company could be. Instead, focus on providing the actual facts that you believe prove you have a strong company. It’s better if the investor gives you this accolade because they see the opportunity.”

When you’re starting a new business, the first people you should hire include a product manager, chief technology officer (CTO) , chief marketing officer and chief financial officer.

Executive summary templates and resources

If you’re writing an executive summary for the first time, online templates can help you outline your document. However, your business is unique, and your executive summary should reflect that. An online template probably won’t cover every detail you’ll need in your executive summary. Experts recommend using templates as general guidelines and tailoring them to fit your business plan and executive summary.

To get you started, here are some popular executive summary template resources:

  • FormSwift. The FormSwift website lets you create and edit documents and gives you access to over 500 templates. It details what an effective executive summary includes and provides a form builder to help you create your executive summary. Fill out a step-by-step questionnaire and export your finished document via PDF or Word.
  • Smartsheet. The Smartsheet cloud-based platform makes planning, managing and reporting on projects easier for teams and organizations. It offers several free downloadable executive summary templates for business plans, startups, proposals, research reports and construction projects.
  • Template.net. The Template.net website provides several free business templates, including nine free executive summary templates that vary by project (e.g., business plan, startup, housing program development, proposal or marketing plan). Print out the templates and fill in your relevant details.
  • TemplateLab. The TemplateLab website is a one-stop shop for new business owners seeking various downloadable templates for analytics, finance, HR, marketing, operations, project management, and time management. You’ll find over 30 free executive summary templates and examples.
  • Vertex42. The Vertex42 website offers Excel templates for executive summaries on budgets, invoices, project management and timesheets, as well as Word templates for legal forms, resumes and letters. This site also provides extensive information on executive summaries and a free executive summary template you can download into Word or Google Docs.

Summing it all up

Your executive summary should preview your business plan in, at most, two pages. Wait until your business plan is complete to write your executive summary, and seek outside help as necessary. A thorough, engaging business plan and executive summary are well worth the time and money you put into them. 

Max Freedman contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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First Steps: Writing the Executive Summary of Your Business Plan This quick guide offers tips that will help you create the executive summary for your business plan.

By The Staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. • Jan 4, 2015

In their book Write Your Business Plan , the staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. offer an in-depth understanding of what's essential to any business plan, what's appropriate for your venture, and what it takes to ensure success. In this edited excerpt, the authors outline what to include in your business plan's executive summary and why.

The first part of your business plan that anybody will see is the executive summary. It's a brief look at the key elements of the whole plan—and it's critical.

The executive summary should be only a page or two. In it, you may include your mission and vision statements, a brief sketch of your plans and goals, a quick look at your company and its organization, an outline of your strategy, and highlights of your financial status and needs. Your executive summary is the CliffsNotes of your business plan.

The summary is the most important part of your whole plan, so you want it to be as strong as possible because it's the first thing people read in your plan, and we all know the power of a strong first impression. This is where you want to wow people and make them think.

The executive summary has to perform a host of jobs. First and foremost, it should grab the reader's attention. It has to briefly hit the high points of your plan. It should point readers with questions requiring detailed responses to the full-length sections of your plan where they can get answers. It should ease the task of anybody whose job it is to read it, and it should make that task enjoyable by presenting an interesting and compelling account of your company.

Here's a suggested format for an executive summary:

1. What's the business idea, what problem does it solve and how does it fit into the marketplace?

You'll need to explain why your idea has merit and how it can solve a common problem by making things easier, faster, or cheaper for the prospective customer(s). No matter how brilliantly crafted, written and presented your business plan is, it will be difficult to win your investors, and later customers, with a bad idea. Therefore, you want to wow them first with your idea! If they're not interested, no matter what your financials are, they won't help.

2. How much will it cost, and how much financing are you seeking?

Provide a short explanation of how you'll use any financing you seek. Tell investors why you need the money. Nobody wants to lend you money if they don't know exactly why you need it. It's not necessary to get into much detail here—just make it clear that you need it for x, y and z. You should also let the reader know how the investment will help the company grow and/or increase its profits. Why else would you be seeking funding? The best use of somebody else's money is to buy or build something that will make more money, both for you and for that person.

3. What will the return be to the investor? Over what length of time?

In your executive summary, consider the following:

  • Friends and family want to get their money back someday but are not very interested in timing and returns.
  • Bankers look for free cash flow to pay back the principal and interest of their loan. They also look closely at management experience and marketing. They may ask for collateral. By law they have to be conservative, that is, risk averse, so they are not great candidates for risky financing.
  • Angel investors look for moderate rates of return, usually above the prime rate, plus some capital appreciation. They sometimes want to be involved at a hands-on level.
  • Venture capitalists seek annual compound rates of return in the area of 35 to 50 percent per annum. They seldom want to go longer than three to five years to cash out. They always want to know what the exit strategy is.

Don't forget yourself: It's a rare company that doesn't have any investment from the entrepreneur or entrepreneurs who started it.

4. How will the ownership be divided?

When a business starts generating profits and plowing them back into the firm, value can build rapidly. Even if you aren't in an industry likely to purchase buildings or patent valuable technology, the business derives value from the fact that it can generate profits into the future.

Spell out who owns what. If you have many equity investors coupled with a pile of creditors, this can get pretty complicated. For the summary section of your plan, a basic description such as "Ownership of the company will be divided so that each of the four original partners owns 25 percent" will suffice. If you have to negotiate details of exactly what any equity investors will get, there's time to do that later. For now, you just want to give people an idea of how the ownership will be divided.

Additional questions you may want to consider answering in your executive summary include:

  • What is the management team?
  • What are the product and competitive strategies?
  • What is your marketing plan?
  • What is your exit strategy?

Give It a Happy Ending

The summary is the place to put your best foot forward, to talk up the upside and downplay the downside. As always, accentuating the positive doesn't mean exaggeration or lying. If there's a really important, unusual risk factor in your plan—such as that one certain big customer has to make a huge order for the whole plan to work—then you'll want to mention that in your summary. But run-of-the-mill risks like unexpected competition or customer reluctance can be ignored here. Paint a convincing portrait of an opportunity so compelling that only a dullard wouldn't recognize it and desire to take part in it.

The key to the executive summary is to pick out the best aspects of every part of your plan. So extract the essence of each key part, and offer your readers a highlight reel of your business.

Entrepreneur Staff

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How to Write An Executive Summary for a Business Plan

It is important to know how to write an executive summary for a business plan, particularly if you expect an outside source to read it. 3 min read

It is important to know how to write an executive summary for a business plan, particularly if you expect an outside source to read it. This part of your business plan will provide a brief, but thorough overview of the most critical details of your company so that you can attract investors or reach other important goals as an organization.

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary can be defined as a short introduction in your business plan. The goal of the executive summary is to highlight the key points of the plan for anyone who reads it, which helps to save time and lets them know what the rest of the business plan will include.

It is essentially an advance organizer. The executive summary can often be considered the most crucial part of a business plan. It will describe a business, which problems it will solve, the target market, and a highlight of the financials.

Every plan will not need a summary. It is crucial for the plans that are written for outsiders. It will take considerable effort to write an excellent summary. If there is no real business use for it, do not write the summary.

There are many jobs that are accomplished by an executive summary . It needs to show readers the answers to their questions by pointing to the section with detailed information about their query. It should also make it easier for anyone who has to read it while making it enjoyable, through the presentation of interesting and useful facts about a company.

What Should an Executive Summary Include?

What needs to be included in an executive summary will largely depend on the business. The summary for a start-up and an established company will vary greatly. For start-ups, the primary goal of the business plan is to get money by convincing banks, venture capitalists, or angel investors to invest in a business by providing equity or debt financing.

To accomplish this, a company will need to present a tight case for a business idea. This is where the executive summary is very important.

An executive summary needs to include the following :

  • Who are you? You need to provide the name of your business, its location, and all contact information.
  • What do you offer and what problems will your business solve ? You should include a short description of the products and services you provide and why it is needed. The business does not need to solve a huge social problem, but it needs to show why it meets a specific need in the market.
  • Who is your target market? You need to describe the type of customer you are trying to reach. Your product can define itself through its name in some cases, such as “Prius dashboard accessory.” If this is not the case, simply provide a short description of who your target customer is.
  • What is the purpose of your business plan? You need to state whether you are trying to get investments or a bank loan. The executive summary is really only needed when you are sharing your plan with outsiders.
  • Who is your competition? Talk about your competition and describe the strategies you will implement for getting a share of the market. Name your competitive advantages and how you stand out against the competition.
  • How are your finances? You should include a financial analysis to summarize your financial plan. You also need to include all projections for the next three years.
  • What is your size and scale? For instance, if you own an existing company, this information can consist of simply adding your most recent sales numbers. For a start-up, it can be a short description of your goals or aspirations for the next one to three years.
  • Are there any further critical details? You should mention any important, defining detailed information that will be important to whoever reads your summary. For example, you could include that those who founded the company are all local MBA students or any development grants you have received.

If you need help with writing an executive summary for your business plan, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law, and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.

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  • Creating a Business Plan
  • Business Plan Format: Everything you Need to Know
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  • Parts of Business Plan and Definition
  • Business Description Outline
  • Contents of a Business Plan
  • Startup Business Plan Presentation Template

Everything you need to write a killer executive summary for your business plan

What is Executive Summary—and Why Should You Care?

Executive Summary is the first and most important section of a business plan, providing a snapshot of the overall plan with the aim to compel the reader to continue reading the full document by highlighting its most important components and strengths .

Keep reading for insider tips from a professional business writer on how exactly to write a captivating executive summary that will maximize the impact and success of your business plan.

You’ll discover:

  • Why: Critical importance of an executive summary
  • What: The key elements you need to include
  • How: The best structure—length, layout and components

Importance: Why is Executive Summary Important in a Business Plan?

Executive summary is the most important part of a business plan because it is the first and only opportunity to grab readers’ interest as they review this section prior to deciding whether or not to read the rest of the document.

No matter how excellent your business idea, it is the executive summary alone that persuades a reader to spend more time with the plan to find out more about your venture.

Some financiers receive hundreds of business plans every month. Understandably, they do not read them all . Instead, they can tell in a couple of paragraphs if it is something they may be interested in.

The Executive Summary is so important, in fact, that some investors and lenders prefer to receive just the summary and financials before requesting the full business plan. So if you can hook your readers here, they will ask for more.

Similarly, senior decision-makers on many company or bank boards and committees will often read nothing else than an executive summary when approving a decision to back a business.

In other words, your Executive Summary is the  first impression  many readers will get of your business. Make sure it is a great one. Only a  clear ,  concise , and  compelling  summary of your business right up front twill persuade readers to wade through the rest of the plan.

Contents: What Should an Executive Summary for a Business Plan Include?

Executive summary brings the separate parts of a business plan together to sum up what the business is, where it is going, why it will be successful – and why it is worthy of backing . Highlight the most important and impressive facts about the company , management , offering , market , strategy and financials .

When completed, your executive summary will answer these questions for your readers:

  • What is your business all about ?
  • What are the most compelling qualities?
  • Is the business likely to succeed and why?

Executive summary is an introduction to your business, which provides a brief snapshot of your plan as a whole. To that end, concisely highlight the most important concepts and impressive features from each section of your completed plan, addressing the following areas:

Essentially, you should make it crystal clear to the that a compelling market opportunity exists for your product/service and demonstrate that your business is well-positioned to exploit it .

Remember to be brief and concise . Organize the information in a way that gives the best impression of your business to your target reader. Combine related topics if that improves the flow of the document.

If the readers of your executive summary conclude that the above elements exist in your business, they are likely to commit to reading the rest of your business plan.

So, let’s examine each of the key elements in more detail to make the reader excited about the potential of your business plan and interested to read further:

Mission Statement

Answer this question for your readers:

  • What is your business on a mission to create and why?

Aim: Convince the reader that your basic business concept makes sense.

Give a concise overview of your business idea, purpose and goals. Summarize why you have created this company and what your business is all about in one or two sentences, but no more than a paragraph.

Products and Services

Answer these questions for your readers:

  • What product(s) and/or service(s) does your business provide?
  • What problems are you solving for your target customers and how?
  • What makes your product/service different and compelling for the customers to buy?

Aim: Demonstrate to the reader that your product/service solves a real problem in the market and that the problem is worth solving.

Briefly describe the products and services your company provides and what problems you solve for your target customers, making the case for why your product will be successful:

Description:

List the products or services your company sells or plans to sell.

Problem & Solution:

Explain the need for the products or services:

  • Problem: Summarize the problem your product/service solves and why it is worth solving. In other words, what is it that your customers need and cannot find elsewhere.
  • Solution: Summarize how you will solve the problem that your customers face.

Value Proposition:

Outline why your product or service will be valuable to your customers and the advantages that will make it compelling enough for them to purchase.

Market Opportunity

  • Who are your (ideal) target customers?
  • Is there a real market demand for your product/service?
  • What is the size of the market opportunity?

Aim: Convince the reader that large and compelling market demand opportunity exists for your product/service.

List the target market you intend to reach and explain why you chose it:

Target Market:

Provide a brief description of your ideal customers and how do they break down into recognizable types or segments.

Market Analysis:

Indicate that you have done thorough market analysis by providing a summary of your market research results, including:

  • How many potential customers are there for your solution (target market)
  • What proportion of the market your company can reasonably capture (market share)
  • Forecast estimating what the future holds for the industry and market demand

Competitive Advantage

  • Who are your competitors?
  • How is the market currently divided?
  • What advantages does your company have over the competition?

Aim: Convince the reader that your business has a significant competitive edge to succeed in your target market.

This section is where you describe the gap in your target market, how your solution can fill it, and the competitive advantages that will enable you to exploit this market gap.

Hence, include information about your competition and what differentiates your business:

Competitors and Market Distribution:

Who are you up against? What other options do your customers have to address their needs? Indicate the nature of your competition and how the market is currently divided.

Competitive Advantage:

What comparative advantage does your product/service have?

Show your conclusions on your company’s competitive position and why your company will be able to compete successfully. Remember to list any important distinctions, such as patents, major contracts, or letters-of-intent.

Unique Selling Proposition:

What unique selling proposition will help your business succeed?

What makes your solution better for your customers compared to the competition?

Is competition going to get tougher?

Summarize your conclusions on whether competition is going to intensify going forward.

Company Description

Company information:.

  • Is the management team capable?
  • What are the basic details of your business?
  • What is the company’s current stage of development?
  • What are some of the milestones you’ve met?

Aim: Convince the reader that your business has the right structure and capable management team in place to succeed.

Your goal is to demonstrate that you are well-positioned to exploit the market opportunity by highlighting the positive factors in your company’s management, structure and history.

Company Details:

Include a short statement that covers the basic company details, such as the company name, when your business was formed, the names of the founders and their roles, number of employees, business location(s), and legal status.

Stage of Development:

State whether your company is a startup or continuing business, when it was founded, how far along the product or service is in its creation, and if you’ve already made sales or started shipping.

Track Record:

  • If you are an established business, provide a brief history of the company’s trading activity to date, including financial and market growth highlights.
  • If you are just starting a business, you won’t have as much information as an established company. Instead, focus on your experience and background as well as the decisions that led you to start this particular enterprise.

Management:

Briefly describe the bios of the key members of your management team , particularly those of company founders/owners , as well as the key professional advisors .

What do they bring to the table that will position your company well to take advantage of the market opportunity and make the business a success?

Highlight management’s vision and passion , along with the relevant skills , experience , qualifications , subject-matter expertise , business acumen , industry connections and other capabilities as they relate to the venture.

Operations:

Showcase the key operational features that will give the business a competitive edge.

This could include anything from an advantageous location, through innovative manufacturing technology and processes, to preferential supplier and distribution agreements – and anything in between.

Outline the strategy to achieve the company’s goals and continuously strengthen its competitive position.

Next, indicate the keys to success that you intend to use in order to implement that strategy, such as:

  • Marketing and Sales: Briefly describe the methods you will utilize to reach your target customers to market your offering and secure sales.
  • Operations and Resources: Summarize the most important resources and operational features your company will deploy to implement its strategy.

Address your plans for where you would like to take your business in the future.

Spell out the objectives you have for the company, what you plan to do:

  • Where do you expect the business to be in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years ?
  • What are some of the key milestones you plan to meet?
  • What are your long-term goals ?
  • What is your potential exit strategy ?

Make an educated projection for the expected performance of your business, including:

  • Sales volume and value
  • Cash flow position
  • Profitability
  • Number of employees
  • Number of locations
  • Market share
  • New products

Financial Forecast

Summarize the expected financial outlook and performance for your business, answering the following questions for your readers:

  • How much do you expect to make in the first year of your business?
  • What kind of growth do you expect to see in the following years?
  • If you do not expect your business to be profitable , do you have a strategic reason for running at a loss?
  • What are the key metrics that you need to watch?
  • Will your backers (if any) be able to get their money back and when ?
  • Are your financial projections realistic ?

In general, it is customary to indicate financial information for years one through three or five , depending on the requirements of the business plan reader. Typically, this includes Year 1 and Year 3 / 5 results; and Year 10 / long-term goals.

However, your readers can find the detail of the projected financials further on in the plan. In this section, only provide the highlights of your forecast and encourage the reader to keep reading to learn more about your company.

Funding Requirements

How will you fund your business to get it started and grow it to the next level?

  • Is it already self-sufficient?
  • Do you plan to invest your own money?
  • Do you seek outside financing?

If the business does not require any outside financing, you can note that here or just remove this section from your plan altogether.

When you are using the business plan for financing purposes, explain how much money is needed, from whom, and how you will utilize it to grow your business, hinting at an exit opportunity:

  • Existing Source of Funds: Include information about your current lenders and investors, if any.
  • Funding Requirements: Indicate how much money you are seeking, from what sources, and perhaps even under what conditions.
  • Use of Funds: Specify how the raised funds will be used.
  • Exit Strategy: Hint at how the backers will get their money out, with the expected timing and returns.

Tips: How Do You Write an Executive Summary?

Writing an executive summary is arguably the most fun – and important – part of writing a business plan.

You have already completed all the research, thinking and writing about market demand, competition, strategy, operations and financials.

All that is left to do now is to summarize the key conclusions into a coherent narrative , answering the million-dollar question:

Why is your plan worthy of backing?

Here are 7 tried and tested tips to prepare a compelling summary of your business that will convince the readers to read through the rest of your plan:

Target Audience (Tip #1)

Ask yourself: “Who will be reading my business plan?”

Since the summary is what the reader reads first, and may be the only section read at all, you can significantly improve your chances of a positive reception if you know the answer to that question before you prepare your executive summary.

Remember, your reader is only going to spend a few minutes , or even seconds , on your executive summary. This is especially true if you are targeting busy investors or lenders for whom it is not unusual to review more than 1,000 each year.

Naturally, the readers are going to focus on the issues that interest and concern them most . If you understand their priorities, you will be better able to craft the summary to “push the right buttons”. For example:

  • Bankers are likely to look for aspects of your business that minimize risk to make sure the loan is secure and they will get their money back.
  • Investors are focused on aspects that maximize the potential of your company scaling significantly and rapidly, because they will receive a share of that success.
  • Management may be interested in accessing new markets for the company.

Do your homework to discover the interests and concerns of your most likely business plan recipients, and then write and organize the summary in a way that most appeals to your target audience:

  • Place the issues most important to the reader near the top of your summary.
  • Order the sections in any way that gives the best impression of your business to your target reader.
  • In the text itself, give more emphasis to those aspects that concern your reader most.

If you are not able to identify the specific person who will read your plan, just focus on the general type of a person that is most likely to receive it and their concerns. 

However, it is not a good idea to tailor the executive summary for just one specific person or organization, especially if your plan is likely to end up in the hands multiple and/or unknown recipients.

To be on the safe side, target your summary to address general institutional concerns rather than individual preferences.

Insider Tips: Writing a Winning Executive Summary

Convey your enthusiasm (tip #2).

The Executive Summary enables the readers to quickly understand the highlights of your business and decide whether to commit more of their time to reading the full plan.

To that end, you need to motivate and entice the readers by your own optimism about how well-positioned your business is to exploit a compelling market opportunity, conveyed in a dynamic , positive and confident tone.

Write Executive Summary Last (Tip #3)

Your executive summary will be the last chapter of the business plan that you prepare.

Even though the executive summary always appears first in the completed document, it is usually crafted last after you have had a chance to carefully consider all key aspects of your business throughout the rest of the plan.

The executive summary is the place where you bring all your planning together and sum up the separate parts of your business proposal to provide an overall outline and highlight the strengths of your entire plan.

Therefore, you will find it much easier and faster to come back and produce this section once you have completed the rest of your business plan.

That way, you will have thought through all the elements of your business, work out the details, and be prepared to summarize them. This approach will not only increase the consistency and accuracy of the plan, but also help make it more compelling .

So, if you have not yet finalized the other sections of your plan, proceed to the next section, and return to the executive summary when you have completed the rest of your plan.

Once finished, the executive summary will become “ Chapter 1 ” of your business plan document.

Summarize Highlights (Tip #4)

A good summary contains highlights from all of the subsequent sections of the business plan.

To achieve that, select the key points from each section of your completed plan by summarizing conclusions you have reached in each area. Remember to focus only on the most important and impressive features of your business.

What sets your business apart from the competition? Early on in your summary, showcase your distinguishing qualities and make sure you describe your winning concept in a way that any reader can easily grasp .

Use logical writing to tell a story, freely changing the order of sections and combining related topics if that helps to improve the flow and make a good impression.

Make Each Word Count (Tip #5)

The executive summary provides a brief snapshot of your business, casting a spotlight on the most important facts and concepts from your entire business plan.

As a result, this section should be clear , concise and to the point. Make each word should count.

Avoid Jargon (Tip #6)

In case the summary read by people unfamiliar with your industry, avoid any technical jargon or provide sufficient explanatory notes .

Edit, Edit, … And Edit Some More (Tip #7)

By the time you reach the executive summary, you may be tired from all the planning and writing. However, remember that this really is the most important section of the business plan.

The best investment you can make is to spend sufficient time to perfect the summary, including ruthless editing . There are professional editors who can help you make it flawless.

Design: How Do You Design an Executive Summary?

Looks matter. Your business plan will be well researched, analysed and written, but it must also be well presented. While your plan will ultimately be judged on the quality of your business concept and strategy, you also want to make sure it gives the best first impression possible.

And nowhere is presentation more important than in the executive summary, because for all readers it will be the first page(s) they read – and some will read nothing else.

The key advice here is: Break it Up . Large, dense blocks of text intimidate readers.

Dividing the Summary text with paragraph headings, bullet points and white space makes the information on a page more inviting and appealing:

  • Paragraphs: Break up the Summary into paragraphs that roughly mirror the sections of your business plan
  • Brief: Keep each topic as brief as possible
  • Subheads: Insert informative topic headings at the beginning of each paragraph to help readers’ quick comprehension
  • Bullets: Use bullet points to highlight the most compelling information
  • Numbers: Use numbers instead of words where appropriate
  • Visuals: Include a (small) chart or graph if it helps to clarify an important point
  • Spacing: Use white space to break up the text to make the page look less intimidating. Single space text, but leave an extra line of space between paragraphs.

Because you are limited to so few pages, it may seem counterintuitive to give up space for visual considerations, but these effective techniques make your Summary much more accessible to the business plan readers.

The way you prepare and present the executive summary is an indicator of your professionalism. A polished Summary sheds a favourable light on your business. A sloppy one works against you.

Length: How long is an executive summary?

The executive summary in a business plan should be no more than 2-3 pages in length, with 1 page being perfectly acceptable and often preferable. The advantage to the busy business plan reader is that they are able to skim through this short summary in a few seconds and read it in full in less than 5 minutes .

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Start » startup, a guide to writing an executive summary for your business plan.

An executive summary should include a concise overview of your business and pique the interest of readers.

 Man working at laptop

The most crucial component of any business plan is the executive summary. It’s usually the first thing investors will read about your business, so it should thoroughly summarize your objectives and pique the reader’s interest in learning more.

Like all first impressions, you rarely get a second chance to make a great one. Here’s what you need to know about writing an executive summary that will leave a lasting impact on your readers.

What information is included in an executive summary?

The specific information you provide in your executive summary will vary depending on your industry, your goals and whether you own a startup or an established business. The summary should be one to two pages in length and sum up the more detailed content in the rest of your business plan, including:

  • Who you are. Start with the basics. List your business name, location and contact information. For established businesses, give a brief history of your company and provide your mission statement . Include the names of the owners and the key players in your business, as well as the number of employees you have.
  • The business opportunity. Describe the market need or problem for which your business has a solution.
  • How you address that opportunity. Explain your business model and how your products or services will satisfy that market need or problem.
  • Competition. Provide an overview of your competition and how your products or services differ from theirs.
  • Target market. Describe the specific customer base you plan to attract to your business.
  • M arketing strategy. Explain how you plan to reach your target market and entice them to your products or services.
  • Financial summary. For established businesses, provide a financial summary and state whether you are seeking additional funding or not. For startups, list your financial plan and include your projections for the next few years.

Although it will be the first section of your business plan, most experts recommend writing your executive summary at the end of your drafting process.

How to write an executive summary

Writing an executive summary from scratch is a daunting process. Here are a few tips to help you create a strong executive summary:

  • Write it last. Although it will be the first section of your business plan, most experts recommend writing your executive summary at the end of your drafting process. Doing so will ensure that you have all the detailed information you need to refer back to when writing the summary.
  • Be brief, yet precise. An executive summary should be just that: a summary. You don’t need to go into great detail here as the business plan itself should provide all the details needed to attract investors, lenders, buyers or new business partners. Be brief and provide a high-level overview of your business plan.
  • Know your audience. Just as you tailor a sales pitch to a specific audience, your executive summary should highlight the information your readers will find most interesting and valuable. If you are trying to attract investors or new partners, focus on how your business can be beneficial to their long-term success. If you’re applying for a business loan, focus on your financial reports and show that your business is reliable and that you present minimal risk.

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How to Write an Executive Summary

Written by Dave Lavinsky

pen pencil and checklist

Executive Summary of a Business Plan

On this page:, what is an executive summary, why do i need an executive summary, executive summary length, key elements of an executive summary, how do i write an executive summary for a business plan, the dos and don’ts of creating a great executive summary, summary of writing a great executive summary, business plan executive summary example, executive summary frequently asked questions.

  • Other Helpful Business Plan Articles

An executive summary of a business plan gives readers an overview of your business plan and highlights its key points.

The executive summary should start with a brief overview of your business concept. Then it should briefly summarize each section of your business plan: your industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan and funding needs.

If presented for funding, the executive summary provides the lender or investor a quick snapshot which helps them determine their interest level and if they should continue reading the rest of the business plan.

An effective executive summary is a quick version of your complete business plan. You need to keep it simple and succinct in order to grab the reader’s attention and convince them it’s in their best interest to keep reading.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

As mentioned above, your business plan is a detailed document that requires time to read. Capturing the reader’s attention with a concise, interesting overview of your plan saves them time and indicates which parts of the business plan may be most important to read in detail. This increases the odds that your business plan will be read and your business idea understood. This is why you need a well-written executive summary.

When structuring your executive summary, the first thing to keep in mind is that it should be short and comprehensive. The length of your business plan executive summary should never exceed 3 pages; the ideal length is 1-2 pages.

The following are the key elements to include in your business plan executive summary:

  • The problem statement or business opportunity — Generally there is a gap or a problem in the market which your business aims to solve. This is your problem statement and it must be included in the summary, as investors want to understand if the world truly needs your company’s products and/or services.
  • Your business idea – The next thing a reader would want to know is how you plan to approach the problem and solve it. This is your business model and it should briefly describe how your product or service can help solve the problem.
  • Company history – The best indicator of future success is past success. Your company’s history helps the reader understand how your business has evolved and grown over the years and what you’ve been able to accomplish. Even startups have generally accomplished milestones like choosing a company name, conceiving products, finding a location, etc.
  • Industry – Here you will detail the industry in which you are operating, it’s size and if any trends are positively or negatively influencing it. This gives readers a sense of the size of the opportunity you are pursuing.
  • The target market or customer – Every business has a target customer base or a target market on which they focus. Here you will detail the types of customers you target and their demographic and psychographic profiles.
  • Competition – When you venture into a market or an industry, there are generally other players with which you compete. Knowing your competition is important and market research is crucial to success. Readers of your plan want to know who your competitors are, their strengths and in what areas you will have competitive advantage. Discussing the competitive landscape is a crucial component of a strong executive summary.
  • Milestones – In addition to showing relevant milestones your company has achieved, you need to explain your timeline for key milestones or key points in the future. Include dates you hope to launch products, achieve sales milestones, hire key employees, etc.
  • Financial plan – If you are requesting funding from investors or banks, they will want to know how you are going to their funds. A brief financial summary covering key points of how and where you plan to allocate the funds should be included in the summary. For existing businesses, you should also provide a history/summary of past financial performance. Finally, for all businesses, you need to provide future financial projections so investors can determine whether they might get an adequate return from investing in you and lenders can ascertain whether or not you will be able to repay your debts.
  • Management Team – In this section, you will introduce the key members of your team. The success or failure of your company depends largely on the people involved. So, any reader surely wants to know how well equipped your team is. Mention key staff members and the experience and skills they bring, in the executive summary.

To help you get started, you can download our executive summary example business plan pdf here.

Your executive summary is the most important part of your business plan since it’s the first thing investors, lenders and/or other readers see. And if they aren’t impressed, they’ll stop reading and you’ll lose them forever. To give yourself the best chances of success, follow these steps to write your executive summary.

1) Complete the rest of your business plan. Your executive summary provides highlights of each section of your business plan. As such, you need to first write those sections. Then, read each section and figure out what information from each must be included in the executive summary. For instance, if your industry analysis section mentioned that your industry’s current size is $100 billion and is projected to grow by 90% per year over the next 5 years, this is an exciting statistic and opportunity that should be mentioned in your executive summary.

2) Start with a one to two line description of your company. Your executive summary must start with a simple description of your company. Readers must be able to quickly and easily understand what your company does so they can decide whether they’re interested in the opportunity. If readers can’t quickly understand what you do, many will stop reading and you’ll lose the ability to get them involved in your company.

3) Create your executive summary structure. Start by creating headers for each section of your business plan. For example, you should have a marketing plan header, a customer analysis header, etc. Then, within each header, summarize the most important point you mentioned in that section.  For example, under your marketing plan, you would write your three most important promotional tactics. Under customer analysis, you’d write a detailed one to two line description of your target customers. Then figure out the best way to organize your executive summary. You can either keep the headers, or create new headers like “business overview” and “unique success factors” in which you cut and paste the old sections as appropriate.

4) Make it shorter. Mark Twain once wrote “If I had more time, i would have written a shorter letter.” The more concise your executive summary is, the more successful it will. Read through your executive summary and aggressively edit it so you convey your key messages in the least amount of words possible.

5) Bring in outside readers. Find at least five people to read your executive summary. Ask them to spend no more than five minutes doing so. Then ask them questions about it. Did they understand what your company does? Are they able to recite back to you your company’s value proposition? If the readers are unable to understand and get excited by your executive summary, then you need to keep working on it.

There are certain mistakes often made in writing an executive summary. If these little glitches can be avoided, writing a flawless executive summary for your business plan is not difficult. So here are a few important tips and tricks for you to remember.

  • Write the summary last – You executive summary should follow nearly the same order as your detailed business plan. Which is why it is important that you write the summary only after you are done with all your research and have finished writing your detailed business plan. This ensures that you include only the most salient parts of your business plan and can write a clear and concise summary.
  • Use a positive and confident tone – The language and tone that you use in writing any document makes a huge impact on how it is received by the reader. Since the executive summary must convince the reader your plan will work, your language should be strong and assertive. For instance, instead of using words like “might” or “could” use words like “will”. Don’t let the readers doubt your capability by using weak language or tone of writing.
  • Don’t give away everything in the summary – Many a times we make this mistake of giving too much background or too many details in the summary. Details are meant for the full business plan. Your executive summary is meant to direct people towards the detailed plan, so avoid sharing everything in the summary itself.
  • Cover the bases – The executive summary must cover the important questions asked and answered by your business plan. The three most important questions are “What is the definition of the business you are in?”, “What is the market size and need?” and “How is the company uniquely qualified to succeed in that market?”
  • Simplify – define your business in a way that it can be understood within the short executive summary. To do this, you must be able to use plain language and only one or two sentences for this definition. If there are additional elements to the business which will go beyond its core or become future potential directions you will take, the executive summary is not the place to go into those. Make sure the business definition can be summed up so that anyone with only a very basic understanding of the industry can understand.
  • Make sure the logic flows – This is true within the plan as a whole, and within the executive summary. The logic of why your specific team and resources are suited for the specific market opportunity you identified and why you’ve chosen the marketing methods you have should be apparent and raise no red flags. If there is a jump in the logic – for example, it is not clear how the management team has any expertise suited for the business in question – then readers will move on to another plan rather than read on to answer that question in the body of the plan. This logic should be clear, although in concise and simplified format, even within the executive summary.
  • Ensure the content of your summary matches your business plan – The information that you share in your executive summary should match what you have in your full business plan. Make sure that there are no discrepancies between the two.
  • Avoid repeating content in the executive summary – You already have very little space to include everything you should in your executive summary. Repeating content wastes precious space.

Whether you’re a large or small business, your executive summary is the first thing someone reads that forms an opinion of your business. Whether they decide to read your detailed business plan or push it aside depends on how good your executive summary is. We hope your executive summary guide helps you craft an effective and impactful executive summary. That way, readers will be more likely to read your full plan, request an in-person meeting, and give you funding to pursue your business plans.

Looking to get started on your business plan’s executive summary? Take a look at the business plan executive summary example below!

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Shoutmouth.com Executive Summary Template

Business Overview

Launched late last year, Shoutmouth.com is the most comprehensive music news website on the Internet .

Music is one of the most searched and accessed interests on the Internet. Top music artists like Taylor Swift receive over 5 million searches each month. In addition, over 500 music artists each receive over 25,000 searches a month.

However, music fans are largely unsatisfied when it comes to the news and information they seek on the artists they love. This is because most music websites (e.g., RollingStone.com, MTV.com, Billboard.com, etc.) cover only the top eight to ten music stories each day – the stories with mass appeal. This type of generic coverage does not satisfy the needs of serious music fans. Music fans generally listen to many different artists and genres of music. By publishing over 100 music stories each day, Shoutmouth enables these fans to read news on all their favorite artists.

In addition to publishing comprehensive music news on over 1200 music artists, Shoutmouth is a social network that allows fans to meet and communicate with other fans about music, and allows them to:

  • Create personal profiles
  • Interact with other members
  • Provide comments on news stories and music videos
  • Submit news stories and videos
  • Recommend new music artists to add to the community
  • Receive customized news and email alerts on their favorite artists

Success Factors

Shoutmouth is uniquely qualified to succeed due to the following reasons:

  • Entrepreneurial track record : Shoutmouth’s CEO and team have helped launch numerous successful ventures.
  • Monetization track record : Over the past two years, Shoutmouth’s founders have run one of the most successful online affiliate marketing programs, having sold products to over 500,000 music customers online.
  • Key milestones completed : Shoutmouth’s founders have invested $500,000 to-date to staff the company (we currently have an 11-person full-time team), build the core technology, and launch the site. We have succeeded in gaining initial customer traction with 50,000 unique visitors in March, 100,000 unique visitors in April, and 200,000 unique visitors in May.

Unique Investment Metrics

The Shoutmouth investment opportunity is very exciting due to the metrics of the business.

To begin, over the past five years, over twenty social networks have been acquired. The value in these networks is their relationships with large numbers of customers, which allow acquirers to effectively sell to this audience.

The sales price of these social networks has ranged from $25 to $137 per member. Shoutmouth has the ability to enroll members at less than $1 each, thus providing an extraordinary return on marketing expenditures. In fact, during a recent test, we were able to sign-up 2,000 members to artist-specific Shoutmouth newsletters at a cost of only 43 cents per member.

While we are building Shoutmouth to last, potential acquirers include many types of companies that seek relationships with music fans such as music media/publishing (e.g., MTV, Rolling Stone), ticketing (e.g., Ticketmaster, LiveNation) and digital music sales firms (e.g., iTunes).

Financial Strategy, Needs and Exit Strategy

While Shoutmouth’s technological, marketing and operational infrastructure has been developed, we currently require $3 million to execute on our marketing and technology plan over the next 24 months until we hit profitability.

Shoutmouth will primarily generate revenues from selling advertising space. As technologies evolve that allow us to seamlessly integrate music sampling and purchasing on our site, sales of downloadable music are also expected to become a significant revenue source. To a lesser extent, we may sell other music-related items such as ringtones, concert tickets, and apparel.

Topline projections over the next three years are as follows:

Other Resources for Writing Your Business Plan

  • How to Expertly Write the Company Description in Your Business Plan
  • How to Write the Market Analysis Section of a Business Plan
  • The Customer Analysis Section of Your Business Plan
  • Completing the Competitive Analysis Section of Your Business Plan
  • The Management Team Section of Your Business Plan
  • Financial Assumptions and Your Business Plan
  • How to Create Financial Projections for Your Business Plan
  • Everything You Need to Know about the Business Plan Appendix
  • Business Plan Conclusion: Summary & Recap

What is the purpose of an executive summary?

An executive summary provides a quick overview of your business plan. It succinctly describes your business. It gives a summary of each of the other sections of your plan (e.g., marketing plan, financial plan, customer analysis, etc.). And it answers the key question that investors and lenders need to know: why is your business uniquely qualified to succeed?

What is included in an executive summary?

Your executive summary should include an overview of your business concept, a summary of each of the key sections of your plan (company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan) and answer why your business is uniquely qualified to succeed.

How long is an executive summary?

Your executive summary should be one to two pages. Remember that the goal of the summary is simply to excite the reader into continuing through your full plan. Give them a summary of the key highlights of your business and invite them to learn more by reading the full business plan.

How do you start off a summary?

If the first paragraph of your executive summary isn’t compelling enough, you’ll immediately lose readers. So, start your executive summary by clearly stating what your business does and why your company is unique. Then give a summary of each of the other sections of your plan (e.g., competitive analysis, industry analysis, etc.).

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

Business Plan Template & Guide for Small Businesses

How to create an executive summary for a business plan

Table of Contents

What to include in an executive summary

Startup companies, established businesses, how long should the executive summary be, tips on how to create an executive summary for a business plan, leave it until the end, focus on providing a summary, use strong and positive language, polish it up, tailor it to your audience, show off your efficient financial management.

An executive summary of a business plan is an overview that summarises the key points of the document to prepare readers for the upcoming content. When done well, an executive summary entices the reader to keep reading. But, the summary can also cause readers to lose interest if you fail to hook their attention. 

This guide will show you how to write an executive summary for your small business plan to ensure you include everything you need. We’ll cover the following points:

  • What to include in your executive summary
  • How long the summary should be
  • How the right accounting software can help

The information to include in your executive summary depends on where you are in your business venture and what your goal is with writing a business plan. Plans for startups and established businesses typically have different purposes.

Say you’re a startup looking for funding from banks, angel investors , or venture capitalists . In that case, you’ll need to provide a solid case for your business idea to convince investors that it’s a good investment. 

For that reason, a typical executive summary for a startup company will include: 

  • Business opportunity – describe the need or opportunity for your solution and how your business will serve the market. 
  • Target market – describe the customer base you will target and why. Learn how to define your target market .
  • Business model – describe your products or services and how they will appeal to your target market. 
  • Marketing and sales strategy – how do you plan to market your solution to your target market? Outline any plans you have and why you believe they will work.
  • Financial projection – summarise your financial plan for at least the next three years, including expected startup costs , projected income, and your budgeting plans.  
  • Owners – describe the owners of your business (in this case, you) and the expertise they bring to the business.
  • Implementation plan – outline the plan and timeline for taking your business from the planning stage to the launch. 

If your business is already up and running, the purpose of your business plan is likely to secure funding to support your growth plans. For example, you may want to expand your product line or add to your existing services. 

So an executive summary for an established business typically includes:

  • Mission statement – this is where you articulate the purpose of your business by describing what your company does and outlining your core values and business philosophy.
  • Company information – share some background information about your business. Describe your solution, business set-up (freelancer or limited company), owners, business locations, and so on. 
  • Business highlights – describe how your business has evolved over time. Include things like year-on-year revenue increases, profitability, number of customers/clients, and increases in market share.
  • Financial summary – if the purpose of writing your business plan is to seek additional financing, give a brief summary of how much you’ll need and why. 
  • Future goals –  this is where you describe the goals and objectives you have for your business. If you seek financing, explain how you’ll use it to expand the business and any other ways you’ll increase its profitability.

Ideally, your executive summary should be under one-two pages, but it can be longer if absolutely necessary. 

The general rule of thumb is to keep your executive summary as short as possible while still covering the relevant points. Readers will have limited time and attention to read your summary, so getting the key details out as quickly as possible is crucial. 

Follow the tips below to create an executive summary that provides value and grabs the reader’s attention from the get-go.

It’s best to leave your executive summary for last, so you know exactly what the key points are in your business plan. If you don’t know where to begin when writing your summary, the easiest way is to take a summary sentence or two from each business plan section. 

The key to a good executive summary is to avoid going into too much detail. That’s what the business plan itself is for. Your readers don’t want to have their time wasted, so keep the summary brief and to the point. 

You want your summary to pull the reader in and encourage them to read the entire business plan. So use language that creates excitement and shows the reader what a fantastic business you are. For example, instead of writing “this could have potential to succeed in different markets…”, write “this shows excellent potential to succeed in different markets…”

Your executive summary should be easy to read. A great way to test how well your text flows is to read it aloud. Is it clear and concise, or does it sound choppy? Once you’re happy with how your text sounds, let someone read it who knows nothing about your business. Then ask them for suggestions for improvement. 

It’s important to ensure that your summary appeals to the people you expect to read it. So if your goal is to entice investors, focus on highlighting the opportunity your business provides. If the purpose is to get a small business loan , focus on aspects that traditional lenders want to see. Highlight your industry experience and show your collateral and strategies to minimise the lenders’ risk. 

Your executive summary (and entire business plan) should demonstrate why your business is worth investing in. So do what you can to boost your business profitability. 

An excellent way to do this is by investing in a solution that optimises your financial management, like Countingup. This unique two-in-one business current account and accounting software lets you manage all your financial data from one simple app. 

Countingup helps you improve your financial health in several ways. Its automatic expense categorisation feature sorts your costs into HMRC-approved categories, keeping your records organised for you. The app also generates running cash flow reports and tax estimates so you can see how your business performs at any given time.

These features, along with all the other handy tools Countingup offers, give you an easy way to keep track of your expenses, income, profits and loss. This way, you can make informed decisions to improve your profitability and share them in your business plan. 

Find out more here . 

Countingup

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How to write an executive summary in 10 steps

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Whether presenting a business plan, sharing project updates with stakeholders, or submitting a project proposal, an executive summary helps you grab attention and convey key insights.

Think of it as a condensed version of a document, report, or proposal that highlights the most important information clearly and concisely. It's like a "cheat sheet" that gives you a snapshot of the main points without reading the entire thing.

Throughout the article, we'll explore some examples of executive summaries to give you a better understanding of how they can be applied. Plus, we'll provide you with ready-to-use templates and best practices for writing compelling executive summaries.

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What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is a concise overview of a longer document or report. It is typically written for busy executives or decision-makers who may not have the time to read the entire document but still need to grasp its key points and recommendations. 

An effective executive summary should capture the essence of the document, highlighting the most important information in a brief and easily understandable way. It should provide a snapshot of the document's purpose, methodology, major findings, and key recommendations. The summary should be written in a way that allows the reader to quickly grasp the main ideas and make informed decisions based on the information presented.

Why do you need to write one?

For a business owner , an executive summary is one of the most important documents you will have. Like a business plan , they help you lay out the potential value of your business and your potential for success. 

Unlike a business proposal, however, an executive summary is designed to be read in a brief amount of time. That makes them ideal for a variety of uses, like project proposals and research summaries. Sending your strategic plan to a prospective investor or stakeholder likely won’t get you far. But a brief report that clearly states your key findings and what’s in it for them might help you — and your proposal — stand out. It isn't all the details. It's what gets you the meeting to share more.

An executive summary is also a business document that can travel without you. It may be presented to other leaders and potential investors. If it’s written well, it will take on a life of its own. You may find that you get support and resources from places you never imagined.

What should be included in an executive summary?

Your executive summary should include brief descriptions of who your product, service, or proposal is for and your competitive advantage. Be sure to introduce your report concisely yet clearly . Note the most important points and its overall purpose––what do you hope to achieve with this report? 

Also, include any necessary background information and statistics about the industry, high-level information about your business model, necessary financial information, or other insights you discuss in the report. Depending on your proposal, you may want to consider summarizing a market analysis of your target market.

Typically, an executive summary follows a structured format, including sections such as:

  • Introduction: Provides a brief background and context for the document.
  • Objective or purpose: Clearly states the goal of the document and what it aims to achieve.
  • Methodology: Briefly describes the approach, data sources, and methods used to conduct the research or analysis.
  • Findings: Summarizes the main findings, conclusions, or results derived from the document.
  • Recommendations: Outlines the key recommendations or proposed actions based on the findings.
  • Conclusion: Provides a concise wrap-up of the main points and emphasizes the significance of the document.

presenting-to-board-meeting-executive-summary-example

How do you write an executive summary?

When tackling an executive summary, it's all about following a structured approach to ensure you effectively communicate those crucial points, findings, and recommendations. Let’s walk through some steps and best practices to make it a breeze:

Step 1: Get to know the document

Take the time to dive into the full document or report that your executive summary will be based on. Read it thoroughly and identify the main objectives, key findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Step 2: Know your audience

Think about who you're writing the executive summary for. Consider their knowledge level, interests, and priorities. This helps you tailor the summary to their needs and make it relevant and impactful.

Step 3: Outline the structure

Create an outline for your executive summary with sections like introduction, objective, methodology, findings, recommendations, and conclusion. This way, you'll have a logical flow that's easy to follow.

Step 4: Start strong

Kick off your executive summary with a captivating opening statement. Make it concise, engaging, and impactful to hook the reader and make them want to keep reading.

Step 5: Summarize objectives and methodology

Give a brief overview of the document's objectives and the methodology used to achieve them. This sets the context and helps the reader understand the approach taken.

Step 6: Highlight key findings

Summarize the main findings, conclusions, or results. Focus on the juiciest and most relevant points that support the document's purpose. Keep it clear and concise to get the message across effectively.

Step 7: Present key recommendations

Outline the important recommendations or proposed actions based on the findings. Clearly state what needs to be done, why it matters, and how it aligns with the document's objectives. Make those recommendations actionable and realistic.

Step 8: Keep it snappy

Remember, an executive summary should be short and sweet. Skip unnecessary details, jargon, or technical language . Use straightforward language that hits the mark.

Step 9: Review and polish

Once you've written the executive summary, give it a careful review for clarity, coherence, and accuracy. Make sure it captures the essence of the full document and represents its content faithfully. Take the extra step to edit out any fluff or repetition.

Step 10: Dress to impress

Consider formatting and presentation. Use headings, bullet points, and formatting styles to make it visually appealing and easy to skim. If it makes sense, include some graphs, charts, or visuals to highlight key points.

Tips for writing an effective executive summary

  • Adapt your language and tone to suit your audience.
  • Keep things concise and crystal clear—say no to jargon.
  • Focus on the most important info that packs a punch.
  • Give enough context without overwhelming your reader.
  • Use strong and persuasive language to make your recommendations shine.
  • Make sure your executive summary makes sense even if the full document isn't read.
  • Proofread like a pro to catch any pesky grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors.

Executive summary template for business plans

Here's a general template for creating an executive summary specifically for business plans:

[Your Company Name]

[Business Plan Title]

Business overview

Provide a brief introduction to your company, including its name, location, industry, and mission statement . Describe your unique value proposition and what sets your business apart from competitors.

Market analysis

Summarize the key findings of your market research. Provide an overview of the target market, its size, growth potential, and relevant trends. Highlight your understanding of customer needs, preferences, and behaviors.

Product or service offering

Outline your core products or services, including their key features and benefits. Emphasize how your offerings address customer pain points and provide value. Highlight any unique selling points or competitive advantages.

Business model

Explain your business model and revenue generation strategy. Describe how you will generate revenue, the pricing structure, and any distribution channels or partnerships that contribute to your business's success.

Marketing and sales strategy

Summarize your marketing and sales approach. Highlight the key tactics and channels you will use to reach and attract customers. Discuss your promotional strategies, pricing strategies, and customer acquisition plans.

Management team

Introduce the key members of your management team and their relevant experience. Highlight their expertise and how it positions the team to execute the business plan successfully. Include any notable advisors or board members.

Financial projections

Summarize your financial projections, including revenue forecasts, expected expenses, and projected profitability. Highlight any key financial metrics or milestones. Briefly mention your funding needs, if applicable.

Funding requirements

If seeking funding, outline your funding requirements, including the amount needed, its purpose, and the potential sources of funding you are considering. Summarize the expected return on investment for potential investors.

Reiterate the vision and potential of your business. Summarize the key points of your business plan, emphasizing its viability, market potential, and the expertise of your team. Convey confidence in the success of your venture.

Note: Keep the executive summary concise and focused, typically within one to two pages. Use clear and compelling language, emphasizing the unique aspects of your business. Tailor the template to suit your specific business plan, adjusting sections and details accordingly.

Remember, the executive summary serves as an introduction to your business plan and should pique the reader's interest, conveying the value and potential of your business in a concise and persuasive manner.

Executive summary examples

Every executive summary will be unique to the organization's goals, vision, and brand identity. We put together two general examples of executive summaries to spark your creativity and offer some inspiration. 

These are not intended to be used as-is but more to offer ideas for how you may want to put your own executive summary together. Be sure to personalize your own summary with specific statistics and relevant data points to make the most impact.

Example 1: executive summary for a communications business plan

Introduction:

We're thrilled to present our innovative [insert product] that aims to revolutionize the way people connect and engage. Our vision is to empower individuals and businesses with seamless communication solutions that break barriers and foster meaningful connections.

Market opportunity:

The communications industry is evolving rapidly, and we've identified a significant opportunity in the market. With the proliferation of remote work, the need for reliable and efficient communication tools has skyrocketed. Our extensive market research indicates a demand for solutions that prioritize user experience, security, and flexibility.

Product offering:

At [Company Name], we've developed a suite of cutting-edge communication tools designed to meet the diverse needs of our customers. Our flagship product is a unified communication platform that integrates voice, video, messaging, and collaboration features into a seamless user experience. We also offer customizable solutions for businesses of all sizes, catering to their unique communication requirements.

Unique value proposition:

What sets us apart from the competition? Our user-centric approach and commitment to innovation. We prioritize user experience by creating intuitive interfaces and seamless interactions. Our solutions are scalable, adaptable, and designed to keep up with evolving technological trends. By combining ease of use with advanced features, we deliver unparalleled value to our customers.

Target market:

Our primary focus is on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that require efficient and cost-effective communication tools. We also cater to individuals, remote teams, and larger enterprises seeking reliable and secure communication solutions. Our target market encompasses industries such as technology, finance, healthcare, and professional services.

Business model:

To generate revenue, we employ a subscription-based business model. Customers can choose from different plans tailored to their specific needs, paying a monthly or annual fee. We also offer additional services such as customization, integration, and customer support, creating additional revenue streams and fostering long-term customer relationships.

Marketing and sales strategy:

Our marketing strategy centers around building brand awareness through targeted digital campaigns, content marketing, and strategic partnerships. We'll leverage social media, industry influencers, and online communities to reach our target audience. Additionally, our sales team will engage in proactive outreach, nurturing leads and providing personalized consultations to convert prospects into loyal customers.

Team and expertise:

Our team is composed of experienced professionals with a deep understanding of the communications industry. Led by our visionary founder and supported by a skilled and diverse team, we have the expertise to drive innovation, develop robust products, and deliver exceptional customer service. We're passionate about our mission and dedicated to making a lasting impact in the market.

Financial projections:

Based on extensive market research and financial analysis, we anticipate strong growth and profitability. Our financial projections indicate steady revenue streams, with increasing customer adoption and market share. We're committed to managing costs effectively, optimizing our resources, and continuously reinvesting in research and development.

Funding requirements:

To fuel our ambitious growth plans and accelerate product development, we're seeking [funding amount] in funding. These funds will be allocated towards expanding our team, scaling our infrastructure, marketing efforts, and ongoing product innovation. We believe this investment will position us for success and solidify our market presence.

Conclusion:

In summary, [Company Name] is poised to disrupt the communications industry with our innovative solutions and customer-centric approach. We're ready to make a positive impact by empowering individuals and businesses to communicate effectively and effortlessly. Join us on this exciting journey as we redefine the future of communication. Together, we'll shape a connected world like never before.

Example 2: executive summary for a project proposal

[Project Name]

[Project Proposal Date]

Hello! We're thrilled to present our project proposal for [Project Name]. This executive summary will provide you with a high-level overview of the project, its objectives, and the value it brings.

Project overview:

Our project aims to [describe the project's purpose and scope]. It's a response to [identify the problem or opportunity] and has the potential to bring significant benefits to [stakeholders or target audience]. Through meticulous planning and execution, we're confident in our ability to achieve the desired outcomes.

Objectives:

The primary goal of our project is to [state the overarching objective]. In addition, we have specific objectives such as [list specific objectives]. By accomplishing these goals, we'll create a positive impact and drive meaningful change.

Our proposed approach for this project is based on a thorough analysis of the situation and best practices. We'll adopt a structured methodology that includes [describe the key project phases or activities]. This approach ensures efficient utilization of resources and maximizes project outcomes.

The benefits of this project are truly exciting. Through its implementation, we anticipate [describe the anticipated benefits or outcomes]. These benefits include [list specific benefits], which will have a lasting and positive effect on [stakeholders or target audience].

Implementation timeline:

We've devised a comprehensive timeline to guide the project from initiation to completion. The project is divided into distinct phases, with well-defined milestones and deliverables. Our timeline ensures that tasks are executed in a timely manner, allowing us to stay on track and deliver results.

Resource requirements:

To successfully execute this project, we've identified the key resources needed. This includes [list the resources required, such as human resources, technology, equipment, and funding]. We're confident in our ability to secure the necessary resources and allocate them effectively to ensure project success.

A project of this nature requires a well-planned budget. Based on our analysis, we've estimated the required funding to be [state the budget amount]. This budget encompasses all project-related costs and aligns with the anticipated benefits and outcomes.

Our project proposal is an exciting opportunity to address [the problem or opportunity] and create tangible value for [stakeholders or target audience]. With a clear vision, defined objectives, and a robust implementation plan, we're ready to embark on this journey. Join us as we bring this project to life and make a lasting impact. 

person-holding-one-sheet-executive-summary-example

Is an executive summary the same as a project plan?

While both are important components of project management and documentation , they serve different purposes and contain distinct information.

An executive summary, as discussed earlier, is a concise overview of a longer document or report. It provides a snapshot of the key points, findings, and recommendations. It focuses on high-level information and aims to provide an overview of the document's purpose, methodology, findings, and recommendations.

On the other hand, a project plan is a detailed document that outlines the specific activities, tasks, timelines, resources, and milestones associated with a project. It serves as a roadmap for project execution, providing a comprehensive understanding of how the project will be carried out.

A project plan typically includes objectives, scope, deliverables, schedule, budget, resource allocation, risk management, and communication strategies. It is intended for project team members, stakeholders, and those directly involved in the execution.

In summary, an executive summary offers a condensed overview of a document's key points, while a project plan provides a comprehensive and detailed roadmap for executing a project.

Executive summaries vs. abstracts

An executive summary is not the same as an abstract. Executive summaries focus on the main points of a proposal. They highlight when and why a reader should invest in the company or project.

An abstract, on the other hand, concentrates on what the business does and its marketing plan. It typically doesn’t include detailed information about finances.

While it is usually compelling, it’s less of an elevator pitch and more of a summary. The goal of an abstract is to inform, not to persuade. On the other hand, the goal of an executive summary is to give readers who are pressed for time just enough information that they’ll want to look further into your proposition.

When do you use an executive summary?

An executive summary is used in various situations where there is a need to present a condensed overview of a longer document or report. Here are some common instances when an executive summary is used:

  • Business proposals: When submitting a business proposal to potential investors, partners, or stakeholders, an executive summary is often included. It provides a concise overview of the proposal, highlighting the key aspects such as the business idea, market analysis, competitive advantage, financial projections, and recommended actions.
  • Reports and research studies: Lengthy reports or research studies often include an executive summary at the beginning. This allows decision-makers, executives, or other stakeholders to quickly understand the purpose, methodology, findings, and recommendations of the report without going through the entire document.
  • Project updates: During the course of a project, project managers may prepare executive summaries to provide updates to stakeholders or higher-level management. These summaries give a brief overview of the project's progress, achievements, challenges, and upcoming milestones.
  • Strategic plans: When developing strategic plans for an organization, an executive summary is often included to provide an overview of the plan's goals, objectives, strategies, and key initiatives. It allows executives and stakeholders to grasp the essence of the strategic plan and its implications without reading the entire document.
  • Funding requests: When seeking funding for a project or venture, an executive summary is commonly used as part of the funding proposal. It provides a succinct summary of the project, highlighting its significance, potential impact, financial requirements, and expected outcomes.

In general, an executive summary is used whenever there is a need to communicate the main points, findings, and recommendations of a document concisely and efficiently to individuals who may not have the time or inclination to read the entire content. It serves as a valuable tool for understanding and facilitates quick decision-making.

5 ways project managers can use executive summaries

Project managers can use executive summaries in various ways to effectively communicate project updates, status reports, or proposals to stakeholders and higher-level management. Here are some ways project managers can use executive summaries:

  • Project status updates: Project managers can provide regular executive summaries to stakeholders and management to communicate the current status of the project. The summary should include key achievements, milestones reached, challenges encountered, and any adjustments to the project plan. It allows stakeholders to quickly grasp the project's progress and make informed decisions or provide guidance as needed.
  • Project proposals: When pitching a project idea or seeking approval for a new project, project managers can prepare an executive summary to present the essential aspects of the project. The summary should outline the project's objectives, scope, anticipated benefits, resource requirements, estimated timeline, and potential risks. It helps decision-makers understand the project's value and make an informed choice about its initiation.
  • Project closure reports: At the end of a project, project managers can prepare an executive summary as part of the project closure report. The summary should highlight the project's overall success, key deliverables achieved, lessons learned, and recommendations for future projects. It provides a concise overview of the project's outcomes and acts as a valuable reference for future initiatives.
  • Steering committee meetings: When project managers present updates or seek guidance from a steering committee or governance board, an executive summary can be an effective tool. The summary should cover the important aspects of the project, such as progress, issues, risks, and upcoming milestones. It ensures that decision-makers are well-informed about the project's status and can provide relevant guidance or support.
  • Change requests: When submitting a change request for a project, project managers can include an executive summary to summarize the proposed change, its impact on the project, potential risks, and benefits. It helps stakeholders and decision-makers quickly assess the change request and make informed decisions about its implementation.

Using executive summaries, project managers can efficiently communicate project-related information to stakeholders, executives, and decision-makers. The summaries provide a concise overview of the project's status, proposals, or closure reports, allowing stakeholders to quickly understand the key points and take appropriate action.

When should you not use an executive summary?

While executive summaries are widely used in many situations, there are some cases where they may not be necessary or suitable. Here are a few scenarios where an executive summary may not be appropriate, along with alternative approaches:

  • Highly technical documents: If the document contains highly technical or specialized information that requires a detailed understanding, an executive summary alone may not be sufficient. In such cases, it is better to provide the complete document and supplement it with explanatory materials, presentations , or meetings where experts can explain and discuss the technical details.
  • Personal or creative writing: Executive summaries are typically used for informational or analytical documents. If the content is more personal in nature, such as a memoir, novel, or creative piece, an executive summary may not be relevant. Instead, focus on providing an engaging introduction or book blurb that entices readers and conveys the essence of the work.
  • Short documents: If the document itself is already concise and can be easily read in its entirety, an executive summary may be redundant. In these cases, it is more effective to present the complete document without an additional summary.
  • Interactive presentations: In situations where you can present information interactively, such as in meetings, workshops, or conferences, it may be more effective to engage the audience directly rather than relying solely on an executive summary. Use visual aids, demonstrations, discussions, and Q&A sessions to convey the necessary information and capture the audience's attention.

Final thoughts on writing a compelling executive summary

An executive summary isn’t the kitchen sink — it’s the bells and whistles. Geared toward busy decision-makers, these one-pagers communicate your case for action and proposed solutions. When it’s written well, your audience will walk away with an understanding of what needs to be done, why it needs to happen, and why they should help it move forward. 

But writing it well doesn’t just mean spell-checking. It means tailoring your communication to an influential, yet busy and distracted audience. To be effective, you’ll need to write your proposal with empathy and an understanding of what matters to them .

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How to Write a Business Plan Executive Summary

  • Written By Dave Lavinsky

inspire investors to read more

What is the Executive Summary?

A business plan executive summary is a short overview of your business plan for investors who are interested in learning more about your startup or existing business. It should be concise, engaging, and informative.

What is the Purpose of the Business Plan Executive Summary?

The purpose of an executive summary is to give potential investors insight into your goals and intentions as well as an understanding of the specifics surrounding your business. It includes all the information the reader needs to know in order to make an investment decision.

The executive summary is the first thing that your audience will read to get an idea about what your business is all about. You can make it easy for them by providing a concise explanation of what your business does, why it’s needed, how you plan on making money from it, and what customers you’re targeting. This means that the document needs to cover all these important points while being brief enough to not scare away readers who might want more information about your business venture.

How Long Should a Business Plan Executive Summary Be?

The executive summary for a business plan should generally be between one and three pages long; more than that may appear excessive to the reader, while less may not provide enough information to convince an investor to provide funding for your company.

Steps to Writing an Executive Summary

  • Write the Executive Summary Last . Once you’ve completed writing your entire business plan, you’ll have learned the key points which set your business apart and which should convince readers to join you.
  • Make a List of the Most Important Points . Write a sentence or bullet point for each argument you want to include in the executive summary. Include all the things you want to cover in your summary, including market research and analysis, management team, financial information, product development plans, and projected growth plans. You can also use headers to keep your thoughts organized.
  • Describe Your Company’s Unique Background . Potential investors will want to know what makes you qualified to execute on your ideas, so here’s where you elaborate on all of your experience and insight into the business world. Include any other projects that your team members have been successful with in the past along with information regarding why you’re qualified to achieve the business’ goals.
  • Identify Your Product or Service . You need to provide a description that gives potential investors a clear image of what you’re offering whether it’s something tangible, like a product, or something intangible, like software or a service.
  • Explain the Benefits of Your Product or Service . This is a key part of your executive summary. Here you need to identify why your product or service is better than other options and how it appeals to your target audience.
  • Address Issues or Concerns Head On . Your potential investors are going to want to know if there are any risks involved with working with their company so they can decide if they want to take them on. Here you need to talk about the problems that may arise from implementing your plan and how they can be addressed if or when they happen.
  • Describe Your Management Team . Document the qualifications of your team and how your team has the experience and expertise to make your company a success.

Tips for a Great Executive Summary

Make it short but informative. If you can summarize the key points in just one page, do it. If you need up to 3 pages to detail the key information, that’s ok too.

Investors invest in people more than ideas. The most successful business plan summaries highlight the founders’ passion and enthusiasm for their project as well as their background and achievements. Investors want to know about the team members involved in the venture – who are they? Why do they matter? Who is managing whom? How experienced are the entrepreneurs?

Explain exactly what your product or service does. This includes how it will benefit customers and why there’s a need for it. You should also show how your business is different and why you’re better than the competition.

Make sure you proofread everything. It all comes down to attention to detail, so make sure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors before you distribute the document. Not only will this make it look professional, but it’ll also show potential investors that you respect their time and don’t plan on wasting it by making careless mistakes during your business endeavors.

Business Plan Executive Summary Example

The executive summary is a brief overview of your business that serves as the first thing an investor will read when they consider investing in your business. It should be concise and informative without sounding like a marketing brochure. It includes all the information needed for them to make their decision about whether or not they want to invest in your business venture.

Below is an example of an executive summary:

Hosmer Sunglasses Executive Summary

Company & concept.

Hosmer Sunglasses (hereinafter referred to as “Hosmer” or “the Company”), is a California-based sunglass manufacturer offering the most cutting-edge sunglass frames in the world today. Along with a chic appearance, DNS frames have a unique characteristic that satisfies sport enthusiast consumers – silicon hinges. These hinges are exceptionally flexible and can be bent from a 90-degree angle to a 180-degree angle without breaking. This characteristic results in an intricate blend of comfort and durability heretofore unseen in the sunglass industry.

The Hosmer brand is poised for success in the U.S., and throughout North America, because it is a proven, unique product with meaningful consumer benefits. Consider the following:

  • The Hosmer brand is currently distributed in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and England, where over the past two years, over 1 million pairs have been sold per year.
  • The brand’s success in fashion-conscious France and western Europe should translate well to fashion-conscious Americans.
  • Hosmer’s hinge differentiates the brand from every other sunglass company. It is a unique product difference that provides consumers with both fashion and performance, two key consumer needs.
  • Hosmer recently launched U.S. operations and has already sold Hosmer sunglasses through nearly 15 retailers in four western states, and has established endorsements with over 20 sports celebrities.

Hosmer has a solid foundation from which to grow, great products with unique features, a superb management team, and an ideal climate to break into the $2.9 billion U.S. sunglass industry.

Industry Analysis

According to the Sunglass Association of America, retail sales of plano (non-prescription) sunglasses, clip-on sunglasses, and children’s sunglasses (hereinafter collectively referred to as “sunwear”) totaled $2.9 billion last year. Premium-priced sunglasses are driving the plano sunwear market. Plano sunglasses priced at $100 or more accounted for more than 49% of all sunwear sales among independent retail locations last year.

The Sunglass Association of America has projected that the dollar volume for retail sales of plano sunwear will grow 1.7% next year. Plano sunglass vendors are also bullish about sales in this year and beyond as a result of the growth of technology, particularly the growth of laser surgery and e-commerce.

Customers and Competition

Buyers of premium sports sunglasses are typically males aged 15-35 who participate in non-traditional outdoor sports referred to as “extreme sports” — i.e., skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, mountain bike riding, and motorcycling. They also include participants of certain traditional sports, including skiing, volleyball, and golf.

Customer ratings show that a key need of extreme sports participants with regards to sunglasses is durability. While many participants are satisfied with the looks of sunglasses by manufacturers such as Oakley, they vigorously complain that such glasses tend to break easily. Since sunglasses are most prone to break at the hinge, and since Hosmer sunglasses have silicon hinges, they are unlikely to break. And, although several companies market premium sports sunglasses to this customer base, none manufactures sunglasses with silicon hinges or with the superior quality of DNS frames.

Within the premium sunglass market, it is projected that Hosmer’s primary competitors will be Smith, Dragon, Arnette (owned by Luxottica Group), Spy, Black Flys, Oakley, and Bolle.

Marketing Plan

Hosmer’s initial target market is males aged 15-35 who participate in the extreme and traditional sports noted above. This group consists primarily of “early adopters” who are most likely to be attracted to the unique Hosmer brand. Penetrating this segment will build a “buzz” around the brand, which will cause other customer groups to purchase the product soon thereafter.

Hosmer will initially offer the 8 DNS frames that have hinges. These frames will be available in a variety of colors and lens types, resulting in a selection of approximately 50 different SKUs. Hosmer controls the lenses it installs in the DNS frames. Currently, the Company uses Paletz Sulter lenses and is considering a switch to Sola lenses for some or all its frames. Both Paletz Sulter and Sola are top-notch brands, either of which would protect Hosmer wearers from the well-documented perils of excessive exposure to sunlight. By virtue of the superior design and quality of both its frames and lenses, Hosmer’s sunglasses command a premium price of $90 to $130.

Distribution will be developed through a network of representatives. At the outset, Hosmer will utilize the following outlets for distribution of the Hosmer brand: (1) independent sporting goods specialty stores; (2) sporting goods retail chains; (3) sunglass specialty stores; (4) specialty/trendy stores; and (5) optical retailers.

Hosmer has developed a comprehensive promotions strategy. It will market to retailers through advertisements in trade journals and trade show exhibitions, in addition to direct sales from representatives. Consumers will be targeted via grassroots marketing campaigns including attending and sponsoring various surfing events, biking events, and skateboard tournaments and exhibitions. The company will also advertise in the print and cable media that is most popular among the target audience. Hosmer will also continue to recruit celebrity endorsers and create strategic alliances. Dozens of professional and amateur athletes already wear the Hosmer brand. Finally, Hosmer is developing a comprehensive website that educates consumers about the Company and its products.

Management Team

The Company has not only assembled a top-notch management team but one with extremely strong marketing backgrounds. The team includes:

  • Jane Smith , President, whose experience includes…
  • Bob Smith , Vice President of Sales & Marketing, whose experience includes…
  • Jen Smith , Sales Manager, whose experience includes…
  • Mike Smith , Manager of Endorsements, whose experience includes…

Financial Plan

The average pair of Hosmer sunglasses wholesales for $55.39 and costs Hosmer approximately $15 landed (after shipping, etc.). The result is substantial gross margins of 72.9%. The Company expects sales and profitability over the next five years to be as follows:

Year 1 losses result from the substantial infrastructure (e.g., staffing, general and administrative expenses, etc.) and marketing expenditures needed to promote the Hosmer brand. The long-term increase of sales due to these efforts yield a nearly break-even Year 2, and increasing sales and net income thereafter.

Hosmer currently seeks $5 million, primarily for infrastructure, marketing, inventory, and working capital needs. The Company’s exit strategy is the most likely strategic acquisition or sales of distribution rights in the U.S. and/or other regions.

How PlanBuildr Can Help

If you need help writing an executive summary, our business plan writers are here to help. We’ve worked with 1,000+ entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives to help them craft a successful business plan including an executive summary to grab an investor’s attention from the very beginning.

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Mistakes To Avoid When Writing an Executive Summary

Learn how to create a strong executive summary for your business plan

  • Writing Your Executive Summary First

Making the Executive Summary Too Long

Not engaging the reader, how to write a good executive summary, frequently asked questions (faqs).

paulaphoto / Getty Images

Writing an executive summary is a key step in creating a business plan. An executive summary is a brief synopsis of your business's main points—but more than that, it's an opportunity to draw in the reader.

If you plan to apply for small business loans or seek funding from investors, it's important to have an executive summary that makes a solid first impression. Crafting a well-written summary begins with knowing which mistakes to avoid.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan executive summary offers an overview of the plan itself and what the business is all about.
  • An effective executive summary conveys the most important aspects of the plan in short form while pushing the reader to want to learn more.
  • Rambling and including unrealistic goals or projections are some of the most common mistakes business owners make when writing an executive summary.
  • It may be worth investing in a professionally written business plan if you're struggling to create a memorable executive summary or flesh out the other parts of the plan.

Writing Your Executive Summary Before Other Parts of the Business Plan

An executive summary is meant to sum up the main takeaways of the business plan. Focusing on writing an executive summary before you've outlined the rest of your business plan can be a mistake if you're not able to summarize the business accurately.

A traditional business plan looks something like this:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Organization and management
  • Service and product line
  • Marketing and sales
  • Funding request
  • Financial projections

Although the executive summary is the first thing the reader sees, it should be the last thing you write after you've covered all the other sections in detail. This can help ensure you're including the most important elements in the executive summary.

A business plan for a startup may look very different and emphasize things such as key partnerships, customer relationships, revenue streams, and the company's overall value proposition.

An executive summary should encapsulate all the major points of your business plan in a few paragraphs. A good rule of thumb when writing an executive summary for a business plan is to make it no more than three to five pages. Anything longer than that and your reader may get confused or bored.

Allocating one paragraph for each section included in your business plan can help you keep the length under control. Remember, the executive summary is sort of like the highlight reel that you're using to pique the reader's interest. You want to hit the high points first and dig into the meatier details later.

If three to five pages doesn’t work, aim to have your executive summary length be equivalent to 5% to 10% of the total business plan length.

A good executive summary should capture your reader's attention and encourage them to continue reading the rest of your business plan. Writing an executive summary that's dry or lacks a sense of personality can be off-putting to readers.

While your business plan executive summary should include some key facts about your business, it doesn't simply have to be a lot of figures or bland details. Instead, think of it as telling your business's story in a nutshell. Be selective with your wording and leave out anything unnecessary to the key points you're trying to make.

Consider what kind of return on investment (ROI) you might be able to get by outsourcing the executive summary or business plan to a professional writer versus writing it yourself.

Writing an executive summary for a business plan shouldn't be stressful if you know what mistakes to avoid and what to include. Here are some simple tips for writing an effective executive summary:

  • Write it last : It's worth repeating that the executive summary should be the last thing you write after you've completed the rest of the business plan. Writing the summary last ensures that you have all the information you need to write it comprehensively.
  • Tell your story : Your executive summary is a chance to hook readers, and sharing some of your business story can be a great way to do just that. Just remember to keep the summary on point and avoid unnecessary tangents.
  • Show your passion : It's OK to show your passion for or belief in your business in the executive summary. In fact, that can be a good thing if it conveys to investors or lenders that you're committed to making the business a success.
  • Tailor it to your reader : The way you approach a small business lender may be very different from how you approach an investor if you need funding to launch or grow your company. So your executive summary should be written in a way designed to appeal to each type of reader while offering the most pertinent information they want to see. Also, consider the industry you're in. If you run a retail store, for example, your executive summary and business plan may look different from one for a construction business.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread : Spelling errors, grammatical errors, and typos can tank even the most well-written executive summary. Before finalizing your business plan, it's wise to review it thoroughly to look for any mistakes that need to be corrected. You can also ask someone else to copy edit it for you.

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is the introductory section of a business plan that showcases key information about the business. An executive summary offers an overview of your business at a glance and should be designed to entice the reader to learn more.

How long should an executive summary be?

Generally speaking, an executive summary should be no more than five pages or 5% to 10% of the total length of the business plan. An executive summary that's too long may cause readers to lose interest, while one that's too short may not be compelling enough to convince them to keep reading.

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December 22, 2023

Can't find what you're looking for?

What is an Executive Summary?: A Guide to How to Write an Effective Executive Summary

An executive summary is a cruical step for any businesses to take. However, writing executive summaries can be challenging. This post will guide you in this proccess, with the Decktopus!

What's Inside?

An executive summary is a concise and tabloid document that is derived from a longer and comprehensive document. Intended for busy readers, the goal of an ideal executive summary is to deliver the main points, create a shared understanding, and convince the reader to read the full report.

executive summary

However, creating an executive summary can be challenging. As its name suggests, an executive summary should be short but should include enough information as well. Thus, most businesses, entrepreneurs, and employees use executive summary templates.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through what an executive summary is, how to write an executive summary, provide examples of executive summary and executive summary template . With Decktopus , you can easily compose an executive summary within a few seconds!

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary or management summary is the overview of a longer and more complicated report. Executive summaries include key points of the report, such as the purpose, major points, results, conclusion, practical implications, discussions, and recommendations mentioned in the report.

An executive summary can be created for many types of reports. 

You can create an executive summary of:

  • Business Plan
  • Investment Proposal
  • Project Proposal/ Plan
  • Research Review
  • Annual/ Monthly Report

The definition of an executive summary is based on the easiness and function of it. With an executive summary, higher-ups, department leaders, C-level executives, lenders, or supervisors can quickly review the concepts, make decisions, and create action plans.

summary

What is the difference between executive summary vs. business plan?

All business plans include an executive summary at the beginning of the report. An executive summary is the most important part of the business plan. While reading the executive summary, the reader will decide whether the report is worth reading.

Thus, an executive summary should be intriguing and attention-grabbing.

A business plan is a roadmap for your business. This report consists of the company’s objectives, milestones, progress, and future plans. The report also includes how to meet these objectives and related strategies.

The revisions on the existing strategies and how to implement new strategies about management and marketing should also be included.

Components of a business plan can be listed as: 

  • Mission and Purpose
  • Company Description and Management
  • Products or Services Provided
  • Industry Analysis 
  • Target Market
  • Marketing Plan
  • Implementation Timeline
  • Financial Summary and Funding

These components are explained in detail in a business plan. 

All business plans include an executive summary. However, not all executive summaries belong to a business plan. 

As it can be understood, a business plan is a comprehensive report on many dimensions of the business. In contrast, an executive summary is the short version of the business plan, including the same headlines. An executive summary is added at the beginning of the business plan as an extensive outline or table of contents. 

What is the difference between executive summary vs. abstract?

Abstracts are similar to executive summaries. However, abstracts are more common in science and research. Typically, abstracts are prepared to inform rather than persuade.

An executive summary is an introduction but also a stand-alone document that can be presented separately. It is an informative opening statement for your business plan. But it can also be separated from the business plan to apply for funding or present to the investors.

Purpose of An Executive Summary

You may ask yourself why even write an executive summary. After all, you have already combined a longer report. However, an executive summary has many functions: 

Time saver: An executive summary is shorter and quicker to read than the whole report.

Outline: An executive summary will outline all the important parts of the document.

Clarity: Executive summaries highlight the key points. Thus allowing the reader to have a preliminary understanding of the subject before reading the whole report. 

Convince: An executive summary should be able to convince readers to read the report it is based on. After looking at your summary, an investor or stakeholder should be interested enough in your plan to read the whole report.

An executive summary is essential for communication inside a company, business, or organization. It is also useful for stakeholders and investors to take a look at the proposal on a larger scale before diving into it in more detail. 

bussines

Thus, an executive summary, also known as a speed read, will make you stand out from others. Everyone can create a long business plan. However, creating an executive summary will show your skills and knowledge.

An executive summary can be thought of as an elevator pitch. If you can give enough information in a short paper, then the audience will understand that you are truly grasping this subject.

How to Write an Executive Summary?

As mentioned, an executive summary should highlight the document's main topics. So, there are different types of executive summaries. However, an executive summary should include everything in the business plan or project proposal.

Generally, an exemplary summary includes:  

  • Introduction
  • Company Description
  • Need/ Problem
  • Product/ Services
  • Competition/ Market Analysis
  • Financial Planning/ Funding and Budget

Each main point should be explained in a short paragraph. An executive summary is usually one to two pages. It shouldn’t be longer than 1000 words. Of course, these are flexible! Depending on your content, you may create a longer or shorter summary. However, be careful that the order of the topics in the full report and the order of the topics in the executive summary are the same!

1) Introduction: 

A brief introduction for the purpose of the summary should be given. This short paragraph should include background information on the project or the plan being summarized.

2) Company Description:

The description of the company should include the name of the company, its location, and its mission. Also, you should add the management team, advisors, and the team working on the mentioned project. It is also a good idea to include a brief history of the company, to familiarize readers with previous works of the company.

3) Need/ Problem:

In this section, talk about the gap in the market. This part should identify what kind of need or problem your product will address. What policy problem are your services needed for, and why is this problem important enough to spend resources on. Describe the urgency and need for the solution of this problem in the market.

4) Product/ Services:

Explain what your product or service is. You should explain how this product will correspond or solve the existing problem in the market. You should give justification for your product as the unique solution for the problem and support this with research or feasibility studies. 

5) Competition/ Market Analysis:

In this part, you should identify the main competitors in the market. By analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, you can implement new strategies as well. You should describe the market size and growth opportunities present in this industry. 

marketing

6) Marketing Plan:

In this section, you should outline ley marketing strategies. Marketing strategies should be based on the target audience, marketing platforms, and channels. In addition, you can include pricing strategy in this part as well. Lastly, you can highlight how to measure the effectiveness of the marketing strategies. This can be changes in the number of users or products sold after implementing a marketing strategy. 

7) Resources:

You should be able to identify what resources you have now and what you need in the future. These include human capital (team members, advisors), physical resources (equipment, facilities), and technical resources (software, tools). Depending on your project, you may highlight some more than others. 

8) Financial Planning/ Funding and Budget:

In this part, you should answer the necessary budget for your project or business. Create a financial plan on how much financial support you need and how you plan to use these resources. In addition, mention your current budget, funding, and support if you have any on this business or project plan. Don’t forget to mention how readers will benefit from supporting this business plan.

9) Timeline:

In this part, give a time window for the completion of your project or business. You can give information on how long the service/ product creation will take when to apply specific marketing strategies, and how much time is needed to reach specific milestones. You can easily create a visually pleasing timeline with the timeline templates by Decktopus! 

10) Conclusion:

In this last section, you should end strongly with a few sentences. You should encourage readers to take a look at the longer business plan and invest in your project. It may be favorable to imply the value and potential favors of this project/ business. Call to action!

Tips for Writing an Executive Summary

Here are other useful tips that are worth considering before finalizing your executive summary:

How can Decktopus Help? 

Decktopus is an AI-powered multi-functional tool that helps users create complicated forms of slides, graphs, charts, infographics, and many more. Though Decktopus is essentially a presentation tool, there are over 100+ templates that can be used for many different goals. 

Decktopus AI

This tool can be used by anyone: business owners, digital creators, educators, students, company workers, bloggers, and many more! There is no need for any experience in content creation! With the AI assistant provided by Decktopus, you can generate all types of content you need!

Decktopus Executive Summary Maker

Decktopus AI creates slides based on the information you have provided on your topic, the aim of the presentation, the audience, the duration of the presentation, and template choice.

Decktopus has specific templates for creating executive summaries and project proposals. There are over 60+ templates that can be used for this specific purpose. With the help of AI, after answering the five questions, Decktopus AI will automatically create your much-needed executive summary!

Try Decktopus AI now!

You can create a ready-to-present executive summary with just one click!

decktopus ai

You can choose from a wide range of templates based on your needs. Each template offers different opportunities. While some of them are more minimalistic, others are more aesthetically pleasing. Whatever template you choose, Decktopus will create a slide with graphs, logos, images, and relevant information! 

graph

You can make changes to the created slides as well! Decktopus offers a variety of functions, allowing easiness of changes afterward. You can change the colors on your template, create new graphs or charts, or reorganize existing slides.

template

Create a deck now!

Here is a list of the wide range of features available in the Decktopus: 

1) 100+ templates

2) Chart Maker

3) AI Image Generator

4) PDF to Deck Import

5) AI Assistant

6) AI created Q&A Session Notes

7) Rehearsal Mode

8) Presentation Notes

Try Decktopus for FREE! You can experience Decktopus and witness its abilities!

Frequently Asked Questions

question

1) How to use an executive summary template?

In Decktopus, you can choose the executive summary template and leave the rest to the Decktopus AI. The AI will automatically create an executive summary for you! You can also find other formats and edit them as you please!

2) Where can I find executive summary samples/ examples?

There are many executive summary templates available online. However, all templates need adjustments to fit your best needs. Decktopus offers ready executive summary templates that are specifically created for your business. You can also visit Microsoft.

3) How to create an executive summary slide?

For creating any type of slide, Decktopus is the first choice! For your executive summary slides as well, Decktopus is ready to help. You can also refer to this website .

what should an executive summary for a business plan include

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Project Management

10 executive summary examples and how to write one yourself (with ai).

ClickUp Contributor

December 20, 2023

In a world where people have the attention span of a goldfish (or less), we don’t make time to read long, detailed documents unless they are valuable to us. So, how do we convince the reader that the document is valuable? That’s where the executive summary comes in.

What is an Executive Summary?

1. identify the story, 2. bring the data, 3. expand on the benefits, 4. conclude powerfully, best practices for writing executive summary, 1. board report executive summary, 2. research report executive summary example from mckinsey, 3. study report executive summary by the un, 4. project performance report executive summary, 5. payroll report executive summary template, 6. mailchimp content style guide’s tl;dr, 7. clickup release notes, 8. the title and description of a new yorker article, 9. survey report executive summary by harvard, 10. meta executive summary with clickup ai.

An executive summary is a shorter version of a longer corporate document. It summarizes the salient points of a business plan, proposal, or report so executives can get the gist and read further about what matters to them.

In other words, the tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) version.

A typical executive summary includes: 

  • Problem statement
  • Proposed solution
  • Expected outcomes

This might vary depending on what you write an executive summary for. Let’s take the example of a project report. You might have to replace the proposed solution and expected outcomes with execution solutions and actual outcomes achieved, respectively. Or, if you’re writing a business plan, research proposal, or market analysis, you might include your methodology, too. 

Now that you know the purpose of an executive summary, let’s see how to write one.

How to Write Executive Summaries and Examples

While an executive summary is just a condensed version of a longer report, it isn’t easy to write. It needs to capture the essence of the report, outline the salient points, and tell a story as compelling as the full report. Here are some ways you can achieve that.

Just stating facts and data wouldn’t be a compelling read for anyone. So, identify the story that really impacts people’s lives. While industry terms like workflow optimization or cost control capture people’s attention, they don’t tell the real story behind your efforts. Focus on the latter.

If you’re writing the project executive summary in software development, you might begin with what matters to the reader as follows.

In 2020, the retail major was managing its inventory on spreadsheets. So, whenever a customer asked whether a product was in stock, a staff member had to walk across the 5000 sq. ft. store to check, often with the customer in tow. The new ABC digital inventory management system records stock in and out online in real time. The staff member can check and confirm in a flash. More pertinently, the customers themselves can check at any of the 25 kiosks throughout the store.

While the story is more important, data isn’t useless. Accurate and relevant data helps establish credibility. Your next section might say the following in the ABC digital inventory management system example.

Since the implementation of the ABC inventory management system, the retail major has seen: 85% decrease in time taken to check stock 75% decrease in time taken to find where stock is placed

The data demonstrates that there has been real improvement. However, for the reader to understand its impact, you must explain the benefits. This can be done with real-life scenarios or even quotes. For example,

Adrian, the customer service manager at the Central Park store, says, “Now, from anywhere—a kiosk, the checkout counter, or my mobile phone—I can quickly check stock and confirm we have the products the customer needs. I see that customers are delighted at getting their answers instantly.”

You can also use data to do this. For example, you can explain how the decreased time taken to check stock has increased staff productivity, customer satisfaction, or company revenue. Or you can include your suggestions here. Based on your observations, explain the process improvement methodologies you recommend.

This is the time to complete the story. Here, talk about how your project has delivered the changes in the present and sets up for an even more prosperous future. This could be something like:

The ABC inventory management system marks the first step in the retail major’s digital transformation journey. By Q2 next year, we will link the store solution to the e-commerce inventory platform to give 360-degree visibility into the stock situation. This would also enable a new sales channel in the form of Buy Online, Pick Up in Store (BOPIS), enabling same-day fulfillment.

While you write your executive summary, here are some best practices to remember.

Keep it short and simple : The length might depend on the report you’re summarizing, but it’s best to keep it under one page for quick reading. Also, avoid cliches and jargon; make it easy to read. A quick business plan under one page is the best first impression you can make.

Focus on the target audience : Not all executive summaries are read by business executives. Often, you might want to address your summary to peers, vendors, partners, or even teens. Know your target audience and customize your executive summary accordingly.

Use the right tool : You can, of course, use Notepad or Word doc to write your executive summaries. But give it a boost with modern document software like ClickUp Docs .

  • Use rich formatting features without jumping through hoops
  • Style the critical information with color-coded banners, buttons, and more
  • Collaborate in real time with comments, action items, and trackable tasks
  • Securely share with anyone with appropriate access controls

Pick a suitable template : If it’s your first time writing an executive summary, we’ve got your back. Fire up one of ClickUp’s executive summary templates or content writing templates , and kickstart your work.

Get the AI boost : If you’ve thoughtfully created your report, you can write your executive summary much quicker with one of the many AI writing tools . For instance, ClickUp AI offers a single-click summarize option right on ClickUp Docs.

What’s more? ClickUp AI supports you in brainstorming new ideas, writing the first drafts of your executive summaries, and proofreading them for good measure. 

10 Executive Summary Examples

Now that we have discussed the theory of executive summary writing, let’s look at some examples to see what it looks like in practice. Here are ten to learn from or emulate.

ClickUp Board Report Template

Periodically, the board would expect to see a report on the organization’s performance. Various departments typically write their reports, which are consolidated into a board report. An effective executive summary of this would include the following.

  • Revenue and expenditure
  • Key areas of focus
  • Critical success factors
  • Financial information
  • Challenges and roadblocks

This ClickUp Board Report Summary Template brings all these aspects together to get you started on your executive summary right away. You can customize this free executive summary template to suit your needs and fill in the data as appropriate.

Mckinsey report

McKinsey, one of the world’s leading consulting firms, publishes dozens of research reports annually. For every one of them, they write executive summaries, often called ‘in brief.’

In this report titled, ‘ Performance through people: Transforming human capital into competitive advantage ,’ the executive summary takes a two-pronged approach. It presents key insights in text on one page and data in infographics on the next.

Insights in text : The report begins by directly addressing the primary purpose of the research. Below are the first few sentences.

How does developing talent affect financial returns for firms? This research finds that companies with a dual focus on developing human capital and managing it well have a performance edge. 

This section summarizes the key insights from the research. The headlines of each section are presented in bold, making it easy for the reader to skim.

Data in visuals : The text section is followed by an infographic of the key findings from the data. Within one page, it presents all the graphs relevant to the reader engagingly.

Within two pages, McKinsey gives the reader a bird’s eye view of what to expect, customized for the target market, from the 40-page document. 

You can read the executive summary of this report on McKinsey’s website .

The Adaptation Gap Report 2023 by the United Nations Environment Programme is a 112-page report with a rather detailed executive summary, stretching eight pages. The depth of information and seriousness of the topics covered demand an extended executive summary.

Yet, the writers make every effort to make it engaging with a combination of typography, design, and graphs. It begins with the following.

Despite the clear signs of accelerating climate risks and impacts worldwide, the adaptation finance gap is widening and now stands at between US$194 billion and US$366 billion per year. Adaptation finance needs are 10–18 times as great as current international public adaptation finance flows – at least 50 percent higher than previously estimated.

In the following pages, it presents graphs to demonstrate the underpinnings of these key findings.

UN report

Every project manager creates performance reports at the end of each week, month, or quarter. This typically includes the tasks tracking , burn up, burn down, hours spent, etc. 

While this can be written down in a list, presenting this information as a slide with visual elements is far more effective. 

One way to achieve this is to use ClickUp’s project summary templates , which offer custom-designed templates for various project management purposes.

The other way is to use the dynamic reports on the ClickUp Dashboard , which brings together all the key metrics and keeps them updated in real time for you to share with anyone you’d like to.

Burn up and burn down

Human resources or people management teams create payroll reports, typically in spreadsheets, for every payment period—bi-weekly or monthly. This data is also helpful for building financial projections. For the senior finance leaders, they often create an executive summary of critical information, such as:

  • Total salaries paid
  • Deductions across categories
  • Year-to-date salary expenses
  • Paid time off credits
  • Net pay summary

ClickUp’s Payroll Summary Report Template can save time by automatically gathering all relevant data from the platform. When data is unavailable on ClickUp, you can highlight any text to @mention team members who can fill in the correct information.

Once complete, you can update the Doc’s settings for access control and share it with the management team instantly.

A company description or how it projects itself is often important to stand out in a crowded market. Mailchimp stood out with its style guide. The guide is comprehensive and widely used by smaller content teams that don’t yet have their own.

Mailchimp has made it public and available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license for anyone to adapt to their needs.

While every section in this style guide is engaging and valuable, for the purposes of this article, we want to draw your attention to the tl;dr section , which acts as a quasi-executive summary.

It is a bulleted list of seven sub-sections, highlighting the foundations of Mailchimp’s writing style. 

Mailchimp style guide

The striking thing about this tl;dr version is its simplicity. Even without any visual elements, infographics, or charts, this page gives readers a real and actionable summary of the entire style guide. 

When we speak of executive summary, we almost always think of a smaller version of an entire document. It need not be so. 

For a software engineering team, the release notes are a kind of executive summary of all the changes/upgrades made in the latest version.

clickup release notes 3.04

Take the example of ClickUp’s release notes 3.04 . Each release gets:

  • An organized yet concise summary of all the changes that have been made
  • “ClickTips” to help readers make the best use of new features
  • Visuals and app images to show how the changes look
  • Links to help pages of each of those features so the reader can learn more
  • A list of bugs fixed
  • And any other resources, such as on-demand webinars or training

These release notes inform users and developers of the latest upgrades to the ClickUp platform without overwhelming them with the details.

New Yorker article

The New Yorker Magazine wrote a 10,000-word profile of Geoffrey Hinton , a computer scientist and cognitive psychologist, for their November 20, 2023 issue, titled ‘Metamorphosis.’ Even in podcast form, it’s over 60 minutes long.

When it was published online, they needed a title and description that summarized the article in a way that attracted a lay reader’s attention to click and read. The headline captures the primary conflict explored in the article. The description introduces the protagonist. 

While this is typically not what we’d categorize as an executive summary, it is a fantastic example of capturing the essence of a long article in a few powerful words. 

This executive summary serves as an inspiration for writers, irrespective of what you’re writing about, to summarize their main points not just briefly but also powerfully and attractively.

In the spring of 2019, Harvard University conducted its first-ever survey about campus culture. The executive summary of the report on these survey responses makes for great reading. It is also a great example of how to honestly and authentically present key findings, even unpleasant ones.

Executive summary - Harvard report

The executive summary is honest on multiple fronts. It admits that:

  • 2019 was the first time in history that Harvard surveyed campus culture
  • Three in ten of the Harvard community don’t feel like they belong
  • 34% of students disagreed with the belief that Harvard will take appropriate action against incidents of harassment and discrimination
  • Those from historically underrepresented and disadvantaged groups reported less positive views

At the end of this, the executive summary outlines the specific steps Harvard will take to address these responses from the community.

Project managers can use this as inspiration for handling executive summaries of projects that have gone awry. It helps leaders take responsibility for what has occurred and build systems to prevent future mistakes.

Not all executive summaries have to be written manually by you. A free executive summary template is also something to explore. Plenty of tools offer it. Dozens of AI tools for automation can summarize text in seconds. Here’s what ClickUp AI returned when we inserted the article above and asked for a summary.

The article discusses the purpose and importance of an executive summary, which provides a brief overview of detailed documents, making them more palatable for readers with limited time.  Executive summaries typically include problem statements, proposed solutions, expected outcomes, and a conclusion. To create a compelling summary, it’s crucial to identify the main story, incorporate relevant data, expand on benefits, and conclude powerfully.  The use of modern document software like ClickUp Docs and AI tools like ClickUp AI can enhance the quality and efficiency of writing executive summaries. The article also provides practical examples of executive summaries across different fields, showcasing their versatility and applicability. This provides a great starting point for those who fear the blank page. You can now edit this to add details, add images, or insert a quote. 

With ClickUp AI, you can choose the tone (from professional, straightforward, inspirational, optimistic, casual, confident, friendly, or humorous) and creativity (low, medium, and high) to customize the summary to your needs.

That’s not all! For project managers and business leaders, ClickUp AI offers a wide range of writing and summarizing tools for scope documents, project briefs, meeting agendas, statements of work, survey questions, and more.

You can tag people to invite input or feedback. You can also convert comments into tasks and manage them effortlessly, all in one place.

Never used AI for writing before? No worries there, too. Here are AI prompt templates that will get you started instantly.

With a custom-built AI assistant tailored to your role, you can work faster, write better, spark creativity, and be significantly more productive.

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executive summary

What is an Executive Summary (with Example): The 5 Mistakes You Should Avoid 

Debashis Konger

  • March 14, 2022

An executive summary is a concise overview of what something is about.

As a business professional, you know that an excellent executive summary can make a big difference in how well a document gets read and understood by others.

Whether you’re writing a proposal or report or just trying to get someone interested in your idea, having a clear and concise summary makes a huge difference.

Table of Contents

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary (ES) or executive outline is a condensed version of a longer document.

The ES should contain the main points of the report. In addition, it should include information such as the purpose of the study, the methodology used, the findings, the conclusions, and recommendations.

An executive summary is usually written for senior executives unfamiliar with the topic at hand.

This type of writing is often found in reports, presentations, proposals, and other documents where the writer has limited time to convey important information.

An executive summary should always begin with the title; then immediately follow with a concise sentence stating the purpose of the study.

Next, present a brief overview of the project and its goals. After that, summarize the significant findings of the research. Finally, provide a conclusion that summarizes the key takeaways from the study.

what-is-an-executive-summary

  • Every time you sit down to write an executive summary, you have to reinvent the wheel and make it 100% tailored to that one customer, that one investor, or that one board member. ( storydoc.com )

How to Write an Executive Summary and Why to Write it?

Executive summary writing is similar to writing a business plan.

The main difference between the two is that a business plan focuses on financial projections, whereas an executive summary focuses on what you’re going to do about something.

When you write an executive summary, you’re writing about a specific project that you’ve decided to take on.

For example, you could write an executive summary for a research paper, a proposal, or a thesis.

But most people use them when they prepare their annual reports and/or quarterly reports for stockholders.

Writing an executive summary takes some practice, but if you work hard enough, you’ll eventually get better at this skill.

Whether you’re preparing a report for school or work, a cover letter, or a proposal, an executive summary can help communicate your ideas to others more effectively.

1. Start With the Title – Include the Project Purpose

The first step in creating an executive summary is to decide on the overall purpose of the document.

This could be anything from summarizing a lengthy report to giving feedback to a client. If you’re working on a particular project, you may want to explain why you chose this specific project and how it fits into your more extensive portfolio.

2. State Your Objectives – Define What You Want to Achieve

Now that you know what you want to achieve through your project think about the objectives of writing your executive summary.

How will this particular piece benefit your audience? Are there any questions you need to be answered by the end of the project? What key findings does this project produce?

You might also consider using these questions as a checklist to ensure your executive summary meets all your project’s requirements.

For example, “Why did I choose this project?” and “What was my goal with this project?” can help you assess whether your project fulfills the stated purposes of the project outline.

3. Summarize the Results

An executive summary should always start with a title and a short summary of the results. This should include the following elements:

• A brief description of the project

• Any technical terms used in the research

• Key findings, such as recommendations

• Conclusions based on the data collected

A good executive summary should answer the following questions:

• Who are the intended audiences?

• What information will they need to understand the project?

• How will this project add value to their lives?

You may find it helpful to set up a template before you start writing. You could even create several templates, so you don’t have to spend too much time coming up with new ones every time you start a project.

4. Conclusion

After you’ve summarized the results of your project, you’ll want to conclude the document.

The conclusion section helps readers see the big picture. It brings together everything you learned throughout the rest of your report.

So make sure you carefully plan this part of your writing process.

5. References & Resources

Finally, you should reference sources used in your project and list any resources (such as websites) that helped you complete it.

Make sure that you provide links to valuable resources whenever possible. Also, keep in mind that many academic institutions require referencing for projects completed outside of class.

Why should you write an executive summary?

what is an executive summary

First, you should write an executive summary if you have a goal or objective.

This means that you’re writing an executive summary because you want to accomplish something.

For example, maybe you want to apply to graduate school. Or perhaps you want to get a job after graduation.

Whatever your goal is, you must first decide it before you can write an executive summary.

Second, writing an executive summary makes you more marketable to potential employers and clients.

An executive summary gives the reader a quick overview of what you’ve done and who you are as a professional. This allows them to quickly learn about you and how you can benefit them.

Third, writing executive summaries teaches you the basics of effective communication. Your ability to communicate effectively will continue to grow as you work with different types of documents over the years.

What to Include in an Executive Summary:

An executive summary is a short document that summarizes what is included in a more extended report. It’s meant to be read quickly instead of wading through pages of text and charts.

An executive summary should address three main points:

• What is the purpose of the report?

• Who is the audience?

• Why does the reader care about the information?

When writing an executive summary, focus first on answering these questions.

1 . What Is The Purpose Of The Report?

A report summarizing an investment opportunity may explain the company’s business strategy or provide details about the specific project.

An executive summary may summarize the key findings that evaluated a product or service. A report about a scientific experiment may describe the results of the research.

2. Who Is The Audience?

The audience for an executive summary usually consists of people who have read the full report.

The summary must accurately reflect the original document’s content and answer the questions posed in the title of the report.

3. Why Does The Reader Care About The Information?

The report’s author wants readers to understand the importance of the information presented in the report.

To do this effectively, the executive summary should highlight the most critical aspects of the report.

This means focusing on the critical points of the report rather than repeating everything found in the original document.

For example, if the report explains why a particular financial instrument is attractive, the executive summary should state why investors should consider buying the security.

If the report provides background information about the company, the executive summary should give context so that readers understand why the information is essential.

4. Include Key Points In Your Executive Summary

Include some of the following elements in your executive summary:

• Title page

• Introduction

• Background

• Conclusion

Title Page:

This part of the executive summary includes the name of the report, its title, author(s), publisher, publication date, and location.

The title page may also contain contact information and acknowledgments.

The abstract briefly describes the content of the report. It typically begins with a one-sentence summary of the report’s main points.

Introduction:

The introduction briefly states the report’s purpose and provides information about the subject matter.

Usually, it begins with a thesis statement that defines the key concepts and terms used in the report.

Background:

The background section describes the history of the subject being reported upon.

It also gives an overview of the organization or type of business involved in producing the report.

Conclusion:

The conclusion presents a summary of the report’s major points. It should clearly show how the report answers the question that prompted its creation.

What to Avoid:

what should an executive summary for a business plan include

Many people still don’t realize what an executive summary really is. An executive summary is a short statement about your business proposal.

It’s a summary of everything in your report that helps the reader understand what you’re trying to do.

In fact, an executive summary is often one of the first things a client sees in your proposal.

So, what should you avoid in an executive summary?

Here are the top 5 mistakes you shouldn’t make:

1. Don’t Make Your Executive Summary Too Long

Most clients won’t read every word of the entire document. They’ll skim it, take notes, and then decide whether to hire you based on what they see.

Keep your executive summary under 1 page. The average person skims over a page and decides within 30 seconds if they want to continue reading.

If you write a more extended executive summary, you may cause the client to skip past you and go straight to the following proposal.

2. Don’t Include Unnecessary Details

Executive summaries aren’t meant to provide a full explanation of your project. Instead, you should include information that’s relevant to the reader.

For example, if you’re writing an executive summary for a marketing plan, don’t give details on your company’s history. That’s not relevant.

Instead, focus on what would interest your target audience most: your product, service, or idea.

3. Don’t Include Marketing Information

Don’t use your executive summary to promote yourself or your company. Focus instead on explaining your idea so that your potential customer understands why this is important to them.

Once you’ve done that, you can talk about yourself or your company later in the proposal.

4. Avoid Using Excessive Grammar Or Punctuation Marks

As mentioned earlier, your job isn’t to sell yourself or your company. Your goal is to convince your client that you’re the best person for the job.

You need to create a clear message that makes your case to accomplish this.

Avoid using words like “I,” “me,” “myself,” and “my” whenever possible. The same goes for the phrases “it was my idea” and “we did it.”

Use simple language that emphasizes the benefits of your proposal. You want to show that you’re capable of delivering results professionally.

5. Don’t Use Wordy Language

While you can add personality to your proposals, don’t use too many adjectives. Just stick to factual information.

Also, avoid using passive voice. For example, say: “We had a great experience working with X company.” Don’t say: “X company worked well with us.” Active voice is better than passive voice.

By avoiding these five common mistakes in your executive summary, you’ll increase your chances of getting hired.

Executive Summary Example 1: A Study of Obesity Among Adults With Low Income and Education Levels

Introduction

Obesity is a significant public health concern affecting both children and adults worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 2 billion adults are overweight and 400 million are obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has increased from 30% of U.S. adults in 1980 to almost 40% today. While the prevalence of obesity among children has decreased since the late 1990s, the rate of increase among adults has been much higher. In fact, according to the CDC, the number of obese adults rose from 17.5% in 1999 to 29.6% in 2010.

To determine whether obesity rates differ among adults with different socioeconomic backgrounds, researchers used data collected during the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the CDC from 2005 through 2007. These surveys consist of interviews and physical examinations administered to more than 20,000 participants aged 18 years and older. Participants completed questionnaires about their lifestyle habits, including diet, exercise, and alcohol intake. Researchers also measured height and weight to calculate body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight. BMI was calculated using the formula: Weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared.

From the NHANES survey, researchers identified 3,926 individuals who had low income and/or low educational status. Of these individuals, 1,879 (46%) were classified as obese. Compared to those with high incomes and/or college degrees, obese individuals with low incomes and/or low educational levels were significantly less likely. However, they did not have significantly different dietary patterns compared to other groups. They also reported exercising less frequently than others and consuming fewer fruits and vegetables. However, no significant differences were found regarding alcohol consumption.

While it is clear that obesity affects all social classes, lower socioeconomic status does not necessarily lead to poorer eating habits or lack of exercise. Further studies need to be done to identify the link between obesity and low socioeconomic status.

1. How long should an executive summary be?

An Executive Summary is a short document that summarizes the report’s main points. It’s usually around 500-1000 words.

2. What is an executive summary in a business plan?

An Executive Summary (ES) is your business plan’s first section. It’s designed to grab the reader’s attention and provide them with a quick overview of what you are doing, why you are doing it, who you are doing it for, and how you intend to achieve success.

3. What is the difference between an executive summary and a summary?

An executive summary is shorter than a summary. A summary is usually one page. It provides a brief description of the contents of the report. It contains information about the report’s purpose, its audience, and its structure. The executive summary is similar to a synopsis.

The Bottom Line: 

An executive summary is the first paragraph of your Business Plan. This is where you introduce yourself and tell readers what you’re going to do. You can use this space to describe the problem you want to solve, the market opportunity you see, your target customer, your business objective, and your business model.

The executive summary should be written in the third person, passive voice, and present tense and should be concise.

Debashis Konger

Debashis Konger

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  • How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

Ogi Djuraskovic

If you’re starting a new business or taking an existing one to the next stage, you need a business plan . This document serves several different purposes, so you should strip it down to essential facts and definitions. Internally, you’ll use it as a roadmap for growth. 

On multiple occasions, this document will double as your business pitch. You’ll need to show it to your investors and stakeholders to prove that you mean business. 

The only challenge is that business plans are known to be long and tiresome to examine. 

A well-crafted executive summary can soften the blow, serving as a cover page and a hook for your business plan. Since writing an executive summary requires some finesse, we’ve put together a set of best practices and guidelines to help you to get it right.

Here are a few essential tips to keep in mind when writing an executive summary for a business plan.

What is an executive summary?

If you have any school books lying around, take a look at how each lesson begins. There will be a table of contents or something similar to that. While some books use bullet points for this purpose, many have a few paragraphs to summarize a lesson. 

The purpose of this summary is twofold: 

  • First, it needs to introduce the lesson to the readers. Before they dive in, the readers should know what to expect. Most importantly, they need to know whether or not reading the full lesson will be worth their time. 
  • Also, a lesson summary must entice the readers. Can you imagine learning about the sustainability benefits of concrete at fifteen? That’s about as exciting as your business pitch is to high-end executives. You must pique their interest.

All good summaries must introduce and engage their readers. An executive summary for a business plan is not an exception. It is an overview that helps you to summarize the key points of your business plan so that readers can grasp the gist of it in a few minutes. 

Let’s face it – most stakeholders, angel investors, and venture capitalists will only skim through your business plan. Business plans tend to be extensive, and these professionals are usually busy, but they won’t mind looking through an abridged version over lunch.

Here’s what a good executive summary should look like. 

Core information to include

An executive summary of a business plan should be comprehensive. It must cover all of the key information from your business plan, ranging from your company mission statement to your short-term and long-term goals. 

Finding a way to include all of the essentials but still keeping it brief is a challenge. We’ll share a few editing tricks later, but here’s some general advice for making your executive summary short but sweet – think about your audience as you make decisions about content . 

You should only include details relevant to your readers, such as:  

Mission statement or vision statement

Whether you’re a startup looking for an angel investor or an established business pursuing expansion capital, your executive summary should sell your business to potential financiers. Pitch your business idea and make a case for your core value.

 Here are some questions to answer: 

  • What is the purpose of your business?
  • What makes you unique in the market?
  • What is your business philosophy? 

This should help you to concisely define your business.

Using no more than two sentences, you should paint your business as a strong investment opportunity. Again, it’s useful to think from the readers’ perspective. 

Ownership information

Just as you can’t introduce a book without naming its author, you can’t talk about your business to potential investors without listing the owners and key staff members. If it’s relevant to your pitch, you can also include a brief history of your company, where you describe the formative years of your business and add key statistics. 

Business model

If investors are going to finance your business, they must clearly understand how you’re making a profit. 

Other potential highlights that could be important for understanding the business opportunity or the request you’re trying to make are your annual revenue increases, increases in market share, and the number of customers. As long as it supports your point, it’s not redundant. 

Financial information

Your financial plan is something potential investors will want to know about, so this one is a no-brainer. Be careful not to overshare, though. For the purposes of the executive summary, it’s enough to provide an overview of the projections for the next few years. If they want to know more about your calculations, they can turn to your business plan. 

Market information

Your business plan should include a detailed market research report, along with your strategy for entering the market or increasing your market share. You should summarize these findings and the action plan in a few sentences for the executive summary.

Investors will want to read about how you plan to position your company in the market, answer common challenges, and grow your business. 

Your customers

Who is your ideal customer? Every aspect of your business depends on this, so it’s only natural to include it in your pitch to investors. Describe your target audience in demographic, geographic, behavioral, and psychographic terms as briefly as possible. 

Growth projections

The goal of every business is to keep growing. Savvy leaders set SMART goals for their business, making them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. The results are growth projections or data-based predictions of how much their business can grow over a specified period. A business plan should lay out projections for a few years into the future. 

Usually, there are key milestones that every business must achieve to stay on track and keep growing. There’s also a schedule that keeps these milestones SMART. You don’t have to include these details in your executive summary, but there should be a timeframe and a couple of key deadlines so that investors can draw their own financial projections. 

Products or services

The section describing your products and services is the core of your business plan. It deserves a similar spot in your summary, maybe even the longest paragraph. 

Here’s what to include in this section of the summary:

  • What do you aim to solve with your products or services?
  • How will your products or services help your customers? 
  • How do your products or services fit into your target market?
  • How are they different from what’s already out there? 

No one wants to invest in a business with a bad product. You can assemble a team of respected experts and bring experienced leaders on board, but you still won’t be able to find investors. That is why startups must pay special attention to this part of the executive summary. If you have a great product, investors could be willing to back you up, regardless of your inexperience.

Sales and marketing

You can’t describe a viable product without knowing how to sell it to your target audience. This is a job for sales and marketing. Your business plan will explain your sales and marketing strategies in depth, so you don’t need to repeat everything in the executive summary. 

For this part, a brief overview of your marketing plan will suffice. 

In addition to describing your target audience, you can mention your overall game plan for reaching and converting potential customers. A few words on pricing, placement, and promotion won’t hurt, as well as the channels and methods that you’ll use to achieve your goals. You can include  action plan templates  that can serve as a blueprint for your team to use for all future campaigns.

Main competitors and competitive edge

Do you have a strategy for dealing with the competition? Are you planning to bring them down with competitive prices or fair-game marketing? Are you in a position to claim a special place in the market? Is your product unique, or just better – and how?

In this part, you should deliver a recap of your competitive analysis and pinpoint the unique selling point (USP) of your business offer. 

Company goals

We’ve already mentioned the SMART approach to goal-setting, which helps deliver specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound objectives. It’s another make-or-break part of a business plan and, more importantly, a determining segment of your business venture. You should have already defined your company goals with clarity and careful wording.

Now, you can simply rephrase and shorten those goals in the executive summary and adjust the language so that it speaks directly to the readers. 

General writing approach

Whether or not a piece of writing will have any impact on its reader depends on phrasing, structure, tone, and similar elements. Selecting the content to include in your executive summary is only half of the assignment. 

Getting the style right is the most challenging aspect of writing business documents for most people. This is usually the case with the executive summary, too. 

If you’re putting down your business ideas, plans, and processes to paper for the first time, we suggest taking some time to find the right writing approach. We’ve prepared a few notes that you can use as guidelines during this process. 

Be short and concise

For all of the reasons we’ve discussed above, an executive summary for a business plan should be short. Two pages is a good length. Unless your business plan is exceptionally exhaustive, you should be able to make your point in about three minutes. 

By this count, each section should be two sentences long. 

Adjust the text to your audience

Although we’ve mentioned this a few times, the importance of customizing the text to the audience can hardly be overstated. It takes some craft, but don’t worry. 

You’re more than capable of writing an engaging executive summary. You only need to think like your readers for a short while. Ask yourself what is important to them, what grabs their attention, and what would motivate them to take an interest in your summary. 

You need a strong introduction, so start from there. 

For example, if you’re pitching to the tech elite, find an angle they’ve never heard before. It can be a lesser-known stat or an anecdote that shines a new light on old topics. You can go the extra mile and conduct a survey or interview customers. 

It’s also essential to adjust your language and tone depending on your readers’ awareness stage. If you’re pitching to investors outside of your niche or industry, describe your business solutions by drawing comparisons to something that they can relate to. 

Even if your executive summary is aimed at professionals from your industry, you should still avoid jargon. A business plan is a formal document, and jargon is inappropriate for this type of discourse. Your language should be non-descriptive, clear, and to the point. 

Another thing to steer clear of is passive voice, as it can be complicated to understand. Generalizations and cliche language show a lack of conviction and experience. You should not claim to be the next best business in the town if you’re still a startup. 

Be positive

By “positive” language, linguists mean “informative, proactive, and helpful.” This is a self-development technique of using positive words and affirmative forms to deliver a friendly and supportive tone that is effective when used in a professional context.   

Positive words such as dependable , agile , or empowering communicate confidence and determination. They signal a can-do attitude that is compelling and hard to resist. 

Don’t repeat information

In an effort to include as much information as possible, first-timers often make the mistake of adding too many subheadings and lists. Try to avoid this. Also, don’t copy phrases from the business plan without any context. The executive summary should have a nice flow and read like a compelling presentation, so use logically connected paragraphs.  

Write your summary section at the end 

Since the executive summary is an overview of the business plan, it only makes sense to write this part last after you’ve completed the document from start to finish.  

Conclusion 

An executive summary for a business plan is short but difficult to get just right. It should convey all of the brilliance of your business plan in no more than two pages, yet remain informative and engaging. We’re confident that these guidelines will help you to fine-tune this document to your audience’s perspective. 

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How to Write Your Executive Summary for Specific Audiences

Male entrepreneur sitting at a desk in a home office. Chatting on the phone about his business and trying to fine tune his message for specific people.

6 min. read

Updated November 30, 2023

Let’s take a couple of real-world cases. First, the executive summary for a formal business plan, which will be used in a venture competition or as a tool for seeking outside investment. Second, the executive summary for a bank, as part of a loan document. Third, the executive summary for internal use, for employees, or managing a plan. Each of these is a different animal.

The Classic: Seeking Investment

This summary, whether you like it or not, performs a sales function. You are selling your concept, your startup, or your growing company to an outsider who is interested in becoming an investor. So put yourself in the investor’s place and emphasize the elements that will make her money.

What’s strongest about your plan, compared to others? Make that a highlight. You might even lead with it. For example, if you’ve got a venture already backed by major brand-name backers, say so early in the summary. If you’ve got a founders team that includes several known entrepreneurs with good track records, then get that up front. If you have a good business track record, like impressive early sales or landmark deals with major channels or corporations or governments, put that first. If you have an amazing new invention or break-through technology, lead with that. Use good judgement. You’re an editor, at this point, looking at things through the audience’s eyes.

So the order depends on the specifics of your company, but, regardless of order, here are some elements you should definitely include:

  • The heart of the plan . That includes the essential reason for buying, the target market, and key elements that match identifiable core competencies and market opportunities.
  • If you have a new product or new technology, sell it to the investors . Sell it by showing there are already customers and commitments, if you can. If you don’t have that, and you have a patent, then say so, but don’t think you don’t have to defend the patent. Be prepared for objections and don’t make the summary imply that a patent alone is enough. If you have working prototypes, say so.
  • Description of the management team . You can’t get away with saying nothing about this. If you have to depend on board members or advisors, so be it; investors are always looking for the team . The better the track record, the lower the risk. If your team has no experience, say very little.
  • Some key numbers . Usually this includes a sales forecast. In some rare cases, some Web companies can get away with forecasting traffic; in those cases, however, they’d better explain a  business model . Sales are almost always essential, and profits are good too, if you have a realistic projection. Include just a few numbers as bait in the summary, don’t go too deep.
  • The offering to investors . What do you want from investors, and what are you prepared to give in return. You have to see the deal from the investors’ point of view. Don’t tell them just how great your company will be, tell them how they make money. They want to know how much money you need now and how much equity you are prepared to give.
  • About the business model: if you have a traditional business, the business model is obvious . You have to explain it only if it’s not obvious. Channels of distribution can make a big difference too; if your business depends on physical distribution, you should show that you know the channel and that your projections are realistic. Your sales should assume channel margins too.

The Summary for Lenders

Read through my recommended points for the investment or venture competition-oriented summary, and think about the revisions you’ll want for a summary for a bank. Here are some highlights you want to hit:

  • The heart of the plan . Just about the same as for investors. People want to know what you’re doing.
  • Financial history . How long have you been in business? What legal formation or legal entity is involved? Who owns this company, and what kind of financial history do they have?
  • A balance sheet . Banks can’t lend you money for ideas; they need to secure the money with assets. You have to have more assets than liabilities.
  • Payment history . Your company has to live with the debt and payment record it has, and the bank has to check that. Give a head start.
  • Description of the management team . You can’t get away with saying nothing about this. If you have to depend on board members or advisors, so be it; investors are always looking for the team. The better the track record, the lower the risk. If your team has no experience, say very little.
  • Some key numbers . Usually this includes a sales forecast . In some rare cases, some Web companies can get away with forecasting traffic; in those cases, however, they’d better explain a business model. Sales are almost always essential, and profits are good too, if you have a realistic projection. Include just a few numbers to make your reader interested in the summary; don’t go too deep.
  • For bank purposes, expect to submit a complete financial projection  including profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow, both for recent past and projected into the future.

What Else Should an Executive Summary Include?

For a standard summary you should generally include:

What’s your biggest business challenge right now?

  • business name
  • business location
  • what product or service you sell
  • purpose of the plan

Another paragraph should highlight important points, such as projected sales and profits, unit sales, profitability and keys to success. Include the news you don’t want anyone to miss. This is a good place to put a highlights chart, a bar chart that shows sales, gross margin, and profits before interest and taxes for the next three years. You should also cite and explain those numbers in the text.

How long should an executive summary be?

The shorter the better. If you can say it in a single page, then wow, that’s really impressive. Generally two pages is better than five, and five is better than 10, but ten pages is probably too much.

Stay sensitive to the exact purpose and audience. These days you run into situations in which people use the phrase “executive summary” to mean “business plan, but keep it short.” Always ask if you can.

Particularly in venture competitions, find out what the general standard is and how the summary will be used. I’ve seen competitions (and been among the judges as well) in which the best summaries were penalized for being short. Longer summaries seemed to do better because they included more information and the judges were impressed. The short ones didn’t get a chance to make all the points they wanted.

Realize that some people say summary or summary memo when what they want is a one-page letter or email. As I said above, always ask if you can.

If you check around, you’ll see that experts differ on how long an executive summary or summary memo should be. Some insist that it takes just a page or two, others recommend a more detailed summary, taking as much as ten pages, covering enough information to substitute for the plan itself. Although business plans of 50 pages used to be common, investors and lenders these days expect a concise, focused plan.

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Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.

what should an executive summary for a business plan include

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Don’t assume that your manager is aware of all you’ve accomplished. Here’s how to artfully highlight what you’ve done this year.

Writing a self-assessment can feel like an afterthought, but it’s a critical part of your overall performance review. Managers with many direct reports likely won’t have visibility into or remember all of your notable accomplishments from the year, and they don’t have time to read a long recap. The author offers five steps for drafting a self-assessment that covers your most impactful accomplishments and demonstrates self-awareness through a lens of improvement and development: 1) Focus on the entire year; 2) consider company and functional goals; 3) look for alignment with those goals; 4) seek feedback from colleagues; and 5) draft a concise list of accomplishments.

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IR-2023-235, Dec. 11, 2023

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers to take important actions now to help them file their 2023 federal income tax return next year.

This is the second in a series of reminders to help taxpayers get ready for the upcoming filing season. The Get ready page on IRS.gov outlines steps taxpayers can take now to make filing easier in 2024.

Here's what's new and what to consider before filing next year.

IRS Online Account enhancements

Taxpayers and Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) holders can now access their Online Account and view, approve and electronically sign power of attorney and tax information authorizations from their tax professional.

With an Online Account, individuals can also:

  • View their tax owed and payment history and schedule payments.
  • Request tax transcripts.
  • View or apply for payment plans.
  • See digital copies of some IRS notices.
  • View key data from their most recently filed tax return, including adjusted gross income.
  • Validate bank accounts and save multiple accounts, eliminating the need to re-enter bank account information every time they make a payment.

Avoid refund delays and understand refund timing

Many different factors can affect the timing of a refund after the IRS receives a tax return. Although the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, the IRS cautions taxpayers not to rely on receiving a 2023 federal tax refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills. Some returns may require additional review and may take longer to process if IRS systems detect a possible error, the return is missing information or there is suspected identity theft or fraud.

Also, the IRS cannot issue refunds for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund – not just the portion associated with the EITC or ACTC. The IRS expects most EITC and ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards by Feb. 27, 2024, if the taxpayer chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.

Last quarterly payment for 2023 is due on Jan. 16, 2024

Taxpayers may need to consider estimated or additional tax payments due to non-wage income from unemployment, self-employment, annuity income or even digital assets. The Tax Withholding Estimator on IRS.gov can help wage earners determine if there's a need to consider an additional tax payment to avoid an unexpected tax bill when they file.

Gather 2023 tax documents

Taxpayers should develop a record keeping system − electronic or paper − that keeps important information in one place. This includes year-end income documents like Forms W-2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks or other payers, Forms 1099-K from third party payment networks, Forms 1099-NEC for nonemployee compensation, Forms 1099-MISC for miscellaneous income or Forms 1099-INT for interest paid, as well as records documenting all digital asset transactions.

When they have all their documentation, taxpayers are in the best position to file an accurate return and avoid processing or refund delays.

1099-K reporting threshold delayed

Following feedback from taxpayers, tax professionals and payment processors and to reduce taxpayer confusion, the IRS delayed the new $600 Form 1099-K reporting threshold for third party settlement organizations for calendar year 2023.

As the IRS continues to work to implement the new law, the agency will treat 2023 as an additional transition year. This will reduce the potential confusion caused by the distribution of Forms 1099-K sent to many taxpayers who wouldn't expect one and may not have a tax obligation. As a result, reporting will not be required unless the taxpayer receives over $20,000 and has more than 200 transactions in 2023.

Given the complexity of the new provision and the large number of individual taxpayers affected, the IRS is planning for a threshold of $5,000 for tax year 2024 as part of a phase-in to implement the $600 reporting threshold enacted under the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

It is important for taxpayers to understand why they received a Form 1099-K , then use the form and their other records to help figure and report their correct income on their tax return. It is also important for taxpayers to know what to do if they received a Form 1099-K but shouldn't have .

There's no change to the taxability of income. All income, including from part-time work, side jobs or the sale of goods is still taxable. Taxpayers must report all income on their tax return unless it's excluded by law, whether they receive a Form 1099-K, a Form 1099-NEC, Form 1099-MISC or any other information return.

Understand energy related credits

Taxpayers who bought a vehicle in 2023 should review the changes under the  Inflation Reduction Act of 2022  to see if they qualify for the credits for new electric vehicles purchased in 2022 or before or the new clean vehicles purchased in 2023 or after . To claim either credit, taxpayers will need to provide the vehicle's VIN and file  Form 8936, Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit , with their tax return.

If taxpayers made energy improvements to their home , tax credits are available for a portion of qualifying expenses. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 expanded the credit amounts and types of qualifying expenses. To claim the credit, taxpayers need to file  Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits , Part II, with their tax return.

Speed tax refunds with direct deposit

Filing electronically and choosing direct deposit is the fastest way for taxpayers to get their tax refund. Direct deposit gives individuals access to their refund faster than a paper check.

Those without a bank account can learn how to open an account at an FDIC insured bank or through the national Credit Union Locator tool . Veterans should see the Veterans Benefits Banking Program for access to financial services at participating banks.

Prepaid debit cards or mobile apps may allow direct deposit of tax refunds. The prepaid debit cards or mobile apps must have routing and account numbers associated with them to enter on the tax return. Check with the mobile app provider or financial institution to confirm which numbers to use.

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  1. 30+ Perfect Executive Summary Examples & Templates ᐅ TemplateLab

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    what should an executive summary for a business plan include

  4. Business Plan Executive Summary

    what should an executive summary for a business plan include

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  6. Business Plan Executive Summary Examples & Tips to Write One

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COMMENTS

  1. Business Plan Executive Summary Example & Template

    Business Plan Executive Summary Example & Template Kimberlee Leonard, Cassie Bottorff Contributor, Editor Reviewed By Brette Sember, J.D. contributor Updated: Oct 17, 2022, 2:00pm Editorial...

  2. How to Write an Executive Summary (Example & Template Included)

    An executive summary is a short section of a larger document like a business plan, investment proposal or project proposal. It's mostly used to give investors and stakeholders a quick overview of important information about a business plan like the company description, market analysis and financial information.

  3. How to Write a Killer Executive Summary

    An executive summary isn't just the beginning of your business plan - it's your opening act, your first chance to impress potential investors, banks, clients and other stakeholders. An effective executive summary gives decision-makers critical information about your business instantly.

  4. How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

    19th November 2023 How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan An executive summary is the part of a business plan that gives an outline of the main plan. So to write an executive summary, we first need to read the business plan carefully and understand its key points.

  5. How to Write an Executive Summary

    Along with an executive summary, a business plan will include your business's legal structure, the products and services you sell, and a financial plan with sales forecasts. How do you...

  6. Executive Summary of the Business Plan

    A typical executive summary for a startup company includes the following sections: The business opportunity. Describe the need or the opportunity. Taking advantage of the opportunity. Explain how will your business will serve the market. The target market. Describe the customer base you will be targeting. Business model.

  7. How to Write a Business Plan Executive Summary That Sells Your Idea

    Key Takeaways The purpose of an executive summary Common mistakes to avoid This is part 8 / 8 of Write Your Business Plan: Section 3: Selling Your Product and Team series. The first part of...

  8. How To Write an Executive Summary With Example

    The executive summary should contain all relevant information about the business, including name, mission, services offered, market, and financial projections. How To Write an Executive Summary The executive summary goes near the beginning of the business plan but is written last.

  9. Executive Summary

    An executive summary is the first section of a business plan or proposal that provides a brief overview of the document and contains its main points. In other words, it is a condensed version of a complete business plan or proposal. It is primarily used in the business world, but its application in academia is also possible.

  10. First Steps: Writing the Executive Summary of Your Business Plan

    The executive summary should be only a page or two. In it, you may include your mission and vision statements, a brief sketch of your plans and goals, a quick look at your company and its ...

  11. How to Write An Executive Summary for a Business Plan

    An executive summary needs to include the following: Who are you? You need to provide the name of your business, its location, and all contact information. What do you offer and what problems will your business solve? You should include a short description of the products and services you provide and why it is needed.

  12. Business Plan Executive Summary: The Exhaustive Guide

    How: The best structure—length, layout and components Importance: Why is Executive Summary Important in a Business Plan? Executive summary is the most important part of a business plan because it is the first and only opportunity to grab readers' interest as they review this section prior to deciding whether or not to read the rest of the document.

  13. How to Write an Executive Summary for Your Business Plan

    An executive summary should include a concise overview of your business and pique the interest of readers. By: Sean Peek , Contributor Share Though it is the first section of your business plan, experts recommend that executive summaries should be written last. — Getty Images

  14. How to Write an Executive Summary For a Business Plan ...

    When structuring your executive summary, the first thing to keep in mind is that it should be short and comprehensive. The length of your business plan executive summary should never exceed 3 pages; the ideal length is 1-2 pages. Key Elements of an Executive Summary. The following are the key elements to include in your business plan executive ...

  15. How to create an executive summary for a business plan

    For that reason, a typical executive summary for a startup company will include: Business opportunity - describe the need or opportunity for your solution and how your business will serve the market. Target market - describe the customer base you will target and why. Learn how to define your target market.

  16. How to write an executive summary in 10 steps

    Your executive summary should include brief descriptions of who your product, service, or proposal is for and your competitive advantage. ... Remember, the executive summary serves as an introduction to your business plan and should pique the reader's interest, conveying the value and potential of your business in a concise and persuasive ...

  17. Executive Summary Template: What To Include

    What is an Executive Summary? This is a brief that precedes a business plan when seeking new partners, business loans or a an early round of funding for a startup venture. It sums up the business ...

  18. How to Write an Executive Summary for Your Business Plan

    What to include in an executive summary of a business plan. Your executive summary should include a high-level overview of what the rest of the plan contains, with an emphasis on the aspects that are of interest to those you might be pitching for business loans and other types of funding. Key sections of your business plan executive summary ...

  19. How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

    Include all the things you want to cover in your summary, including market research and analysis, management team, financial information, product development plans, and projected growth plans. You can also use headers to keep your thoughts organized. Describe Your Company's Unique Background.

  20. Mistakes To Avoid When Writing an Executive Summary

    Company description Market analysis Organization and management Service and product line Marketing and sales Funding request Financial projections Appendix Although the executive summary is the first thing the reader sees, it should be the last thing you write after you've covered all the other sections in detail.

  21. What is an Executive Summary?: A Guide to How to Write an Effective

    All business plans include an executive summary. However, not all executive summaries belong to a business plan. As it can be understood, a business plan is a comprehensive report on many dimensions of the business. In contrast, an executive summary is the short version of the business plan, including the same headlines.

  22. 10 Executive Summary Examples And How to Write One Yourself

    While an executive summary is just a condensed version of a longer report, it isn't easy to write. It needs to capture the essence of the report, outline the salient points, and tell a story as compelling as the full report. Here are some ways you can achieve that. 1. Identify the story.

  23. What is an Executive Summary (with Example): The 5 Mistakes You Should

    Questions 1. How long should an executive summary be? 2. What is an executive summary in a business plan? 3. What is the difference between an executive summary and a summary? The Bottom Line: What is an Executive Summary? An executive summary (ES) or executive outline is a condensed version of a longer document.

  24. How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

    Here's what a good executive summary should look like. Core information to include. An executive summary of a business plan should be comprehensive. It must cover all of the key information from your business plan, ranging from your company mission statement to your short-term and long-term goals.

  25. How to Write Your Executive Summary for Specific Audiences

    For a standard summary you should generally include: business name. business location. what product or service you sell. purpose of the plan. Another paragraph should highlight important points, such as projected sales and profits, unit sales, profitability and keys to success.

  26. How to Write an Effective Self-Assessment

    Marlo Lyons career, executive, and team coach and the award-winning author of Wanted - A New Career: The Definitive Playbook for Transitioning to a New Career or Finding Your Dream Job. You can ...

  27. Get ready to file in 2024: What's new and what to consider

    Last quarterly payment for 2023 is due on Jan. 16, 2024. Taxpayers may need to consider estimated or additional tax payments due to non-wage income from unemployment, self-employment, annuity income or even digital assets. The Tax Withholding Estimator on IRS.gov can help wage earners determine if there's a need to consider an additional tax ...