How to Write an Executive Summary

How to Write an Executive Summary

The executive summary is right at the beginning of the business plan. It is a section that the addressee of your business plan will read while deciding on your business. In most cases, you have a chance to express yourself in this part. Many investors decide here whether to get a job or not. That’s why the executive summary comes first among the crucial points. The purpose of the entire business plan is to meet the expectations of your interlocutor. So, you have to start this business right here and in the right way. If you want to write an executive summary, you need to keep it short and professional. While writing an executive summary, you should remember to include the following items.

  • Your business concept: you should briefly describe your product or service, market, and business model. 
  • Financial data: it should include a summary of your financial data. That summary must include key points such as sales, profitability, breakeven point, cash flow.
  • Financial need: you must indicate how much investment you need, along with the reason.
  • Current state: here you should summarize the current situation about your market situation and financial situation.
  • Your achievements: here, you may talk about the goals you have set so far and the topics you have been successful in.

Points to Include in an Effective Executive Summary

  • Business history
  • Business objectives
  • The competitive advantage increases the likelihood of success against its competitors.
  • Projected growth
  • Key members of the business

At the end of the executive summary, you should also mention:

  • Why your business is a winning idea
  • Why your business has to be successful

Executive summaries may be two types, depending on their intended use. Let’s examine these types now.

official executive summary

Official Executive Summary

A formal executive summary is a direct shot of the company. For this, you may view an executive summary example in Harvard Business Review’s Creating a Business Plan. Briefly, one of these examples is as follows:

“The Private Communications Company incorporated under the laws of the State of Florida on November 8, 2007. Its headquarter is in Berkeley, California. The company aims to develop and market the original phone service product. We will describe this purpose of the company in detail below. The company requested the Revenue Administration to qualify as “Company” in terms of tax, under the relevant provisions of the financial income law. The company predicts that it will be described as such. However, the company has not yet received a certificate of approval.

Edward R. Defty and Andrew P. Lazslo founded the company. The founders, together with Paul Hoff and Ann Mecada, manage the company. The management team owns 100% of the company’s issued and outstanding shares with certain members of a commercial law firm. This commercial law firm is located in Miami.

The company has developed a unique product. This product is designed to allow people to talk and socialize from an ordinary phone while remaining anonymous and in privacy.”

Executive Summaries as Mission Statements

The purpose of an executive summary is to provide an overview of the businesses. It may also contain content that will encourage the reader’s attention to read the continuation of the business plan. For this, a mission statement may be added to encourage the reader to continue. This section is called the mission statement. This section should express the opportunity and approach it has caught in one short sentence. In the book we quoted, the following sentence included as an example of the mission statement of the PCC:

“To provide consumers with a unique service that provides all the benefits of telephone communication while protecting the privacy of users.”

How to Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan requires attention. Another section you should include in your business plan is the part where you define your job. The points you should mention here are:

You should clearly state how the planned work will be successful within the framework of your business concept. While expressing this, you should also answer the questions of why and in what ways.

It is a difficult task to explain a business idea. Knowing a lot about your business, market, and competitors are the only thing to make that simple. A summary of your business begins with a summary of your industry. You may talk about the present in the sector. You may also talk about the possibilities that may arise in the future. Talk about the market in the industry in which you will be directly involved. Besides, you should mention other markets available. This is important in explaining your plans for new products and services that may emerge. While explaining your business, be sure to highlight what you will do new in the market. It is useful to heed the following suggestions of HBR:

“Take a look back at this section after you have written your business plan. Then, rewrite your job description. Rethinking the issues covered by your business plan may lead to changes in your job description.

Job Introduction Content

  • Your business concept
  • The current state of your business
  • Which markets do you target?
  • What kind of job it is
  • What exactly the product or service is
  • Why people will use yours and not other products or services
  • Financial information about your business
  • Financial projections of your business

While doing all these, there is an important; To share enthusiasm and pass the interest in your work. You will provide financial details and statements about your business in the next sections. You should include measured information on risks and costs in these sections. But, the important thing is to convey the feeling that will encourage your interlocutor to read.

how to write an executive summary effectively

How to Write an Executive Summary Effectively

Here are some tips to get you to write an effective executive summary.

Look at Your Executive Summary Through the Eyes of Your Target Audience

When you start to write an executive summary, think in terms of your target audience. It could be a banker, investor, or a potential partner among your target audience. If you were one of them, what would you think? What makes your business worth investing your time and money? Use the answers to these questions as the focus of your executive summary.

Start With the Outline

Go to every part of your business plan. Identify key findings. Shoot the most important sentence, phrase, figure, or truth from each. Include a description of each of these key points at the end of your executive summary. Include comments and transitions that logically match the flow of explanations.

Take the Most Crucial Point

Put your most important and influential statement at the beginning of your executive summary. So it will be more likely to be read. As you write, speak directly to your target audience. Feel free to show your passion and enthusiasm in your executive summary.

Get Help From Images

An image may be effective more than a thousand words in an executive summary. A graphic image showing one of the key points you include in your project management summary may have this effect. Use this to supplement your key phrases. There are two important points you may make for your executive summary. These are:

  • Make it easy to scan your executive summary.
  • Highlight the most important parts.

Use the following methods to do these things:

  • Subheadings
  • Substances
  • Short paragraphs

These types of formattings are the most important components to write an executive summary.

Make It Short and to the Point

There are no rules when it comes to the length of your executive summary. But, generally, use it to get your highlights. Be direct, clear, and persuasive. Do not use overly descriptive text.

Use Links

Executive summaries in small business plans should be able to stand alone. They must be able to support themselves. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to give readers the option to get more information with little effort. Let readers jump to other parts of your business plan. Doing this helps them validate your claims. Use bridges to provide this.

There Is Always…

No matter how carefully you wrote it, your executive summary always has typos. Read your executive summary to determine these. At this point, it’s good to have a new set of eyes and someone who pays attention to existing details. Ask them to review your executive summary for typos. Correcting your entire business plan isn’t also a bad idea. However, at least make sure your executive summary is perfect.

where to place the executive summary in a business plan

Where to Place the Executive Summary in a Business Plan

The executive summary of a business plan should be the first thing in the business plan. It comes right after the table of contents. In some business plans, authors place the executive summary before the table of contents. Executive summary ranks first in business plans. However, authors should write an executive summary last, after developed all supporting information. It’s impossible to summarize business plans effectively if you’re not completely sure what they contain.

FAQ About How to Write an Executive Summary

What questions should an executive summary answer?

Shortly, what is this executive summary about?
Why is this executive summary is important?
Why was this executive summary undertaken?
What are the main findings and consequences?
What is more to do?
How to implement these findings?

What are the topics that an executive summary should not include?

The executive summary should not contain everything you want to say. You must only include what the customer needs to hear to decide whether you’re their best option.

How long should an executive summary be?

There is an ideal length that a good executive summary should have. This ideal length is between 5% and 10% of the entire report.

Should I put references in my executive summary?

The executive summary only mirrors the main structure of the report. An executive summary must be readable independently of the report. You should not refer to references elsewhere in the report in an executive summary.

Who reads the executive summaries?

The answer is hidden inside the question. An executive summary is written for executives who don’t have time to read the entire report. 

Briefly, How to Write an Executive Summary

An executive summary is at the top of business plans. Many investors decide here whether to invest or not. So, that’s what makes it important to know how to write an executive summary. There are a few points you should consider to write an executive summary. Executive summaries are also important for small businesses.

There are some executive summary templates on the internet. You may use an executive summary template to write an executive summary. Executive summaries are essential for business plans. In the executive summary, you should briefly mention topics such as market research and marketing plan. An executive summary appeals to executives with little time. So, keep it short. Also, make it stunning. So, busy investors will find it worth their time. By the way, since our topic is professionalism in writing, we feel obligated to show you how to write a professional bio. Read on to get some tips.

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After working for so many years in the screenwriting business, Ralph decided that he needed to be more involved with the digital world. Therefore he became a content writer by putting his skills into practice after learning about subjects he's interested in, mostly social media.

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