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Business Plan Executive Summary Example & Template

Kimberlee Leonard

Updated: Jun 3, 2024, 1:03pm

Business Plan Executive Summary Example & Template

Table of Contents

Components of an executive summary, how to write an executive summary, example of an executive summary, frequently asked questions.

A business plan is a document that you create that outlines your company’s objectives and how you plan to meet those objectives. Every business plan has key sections such as management and marketing. It should also have an executive summary, which is a synopsis of each of the plan sections in a one- to two-page overview. This guide will help you create an executive summary for your business plan that is comprehensive while being concise.

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The executive summary should mimic the sections found in the business plan . It is just a more concise way of stating what’s in the plan so that a reader can get a broad overview of what to expect.

State the company’s mission statement and provide a few sentences on what the company’s purpose is.

Company History and Management

This section describes the basics of where the company is located, how long it has been in operation, who is running it and what their level of experience is. Remember that this is a summary and that you’ll expand on management experience within the business plan itself. But the reader should know the basics of the company structure and who is running the company from this section.

Products or Services

This section tells the reader what the product or service of the company is. Every company does something. This is where you outline exactly what you do and how you solve a problem for the consumer.

This is an important section that summarizes how large the market is for the product or service. In the business plan, you’ll do a complete market analysis. Here, you will write the key takeaways that show that you have the potential to grow the business because there are consumers in the market for it.

Competitive Advantages

This is where you will summarize what makes you better than the competitors. Identify key strengths that will be reasons why consumers will choose you over another company.

Financial Projections

This is where you estimate the sales projections for the first years in business. At a minimum, you should have at least one year’s projections, but it may be better to have three to five years if you can project that far ahead.

Startup Financing Requirements

This states what it will cost to get the company launched and running. You may tackle this as a first-year requirement or if you have made further projections, look at two to three years of cost needs.

The executive summary is found at the start of the business plan, even though it is a summary of the plan. However, you should write the executive summary last. Writing the summary once you have done the work and written the business plan will be easier. After all, it is a summary of what is in the plan. Keep the executive summary limited to two pages so that it doesn’t take someone a long time to peruse what the summary says.

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It might be easier to write an executive summary if you know what to expect. Here is an example of an executive summary that you can use as a template.

executive summary for business plan examples

Bottom Line

Writing an executive summary doesn’t need to be difficult if you’ve already done the work of writing the business plan itself. Take the elements from the plan and summarize each section. Point out key details that will make the reader want to learn more about the company and its financing needs.

How long is an executive summary?

An executive summary should be one to two pages and no more. This is just enough information to help the reader determine their overall interest in the company.

Does an executive summary have keywords?

The executive summary uses keywords to help sell the idea of the business. As such, there may be enumeration, causation and contrasting words.

How do I write a business plan?

If you have business partners, make sure to collaborate with them to ensure that the plan accurately reflects the goals of all parties involved. You can use our simple business plan template to get started.

What basic items should be included in a business plan?

When writing out a business plan, you want to make sure that you cover everything related to your concept for the business,  an analysis of the industry―including potential customers and an overview of the market for your goods or services―how you plan to execute your vision for the business, how you plan to grow the business if it becomes successful and all financial data around the business, including current cash on hand, potential investors and budget plans for the next few years.

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Kimberlee Leonard has 22 years of experience as a freelance writer. Her work has been featured on US News and World Report, and Fit Small Business. She brings practical experience as a business owner and insurance agent to her role as a small business writer.

Cassie is a deputy editor collaborating with teams around the world while living in the beautiful hills of Kentucky. Focusing on bringing growth to small businesses, she is passionate about economic development and has held positions on the boards of directors of two non-profit organizations seeking to revitalize her former railroad town. Prior to joining the team at Forbes Advisor, Cassie was a content operations manager and copywriting manager.


How to Write an Executive Summary (+ Examples)

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  • March 21, 2024
  • Business Plan , How to Write

executive summary example

The executive summary is the cornerstone of any business plan, serving as a gateway for readers to understand the essence of your proposal.

It summarizes the plan’s key points into a digestible format, making it crucial for capturing the interest of investors, partners, and stakeholders.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what the executive summary is, why we use it, and also how you can create one for your business plan. Let’s dive in!

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary is a concise and compelling overview of a business plan (or simply a report), designed to provide readers, such as investors, partners, or upper management, with a quick and clear understanding of the document’s most critical aspects.

For a business plan, it summarizes the key points including the business overview , market analysis , strategy plan timeline and financial projections.

Typically, the executive summary is the first section of a business plan, but it should be written last to ensure it accurately reflects the content of the entire document.

The primary goal of an executive summary is to engage the reader’s interest and encourage them to read the full document.

It should be succinct, typically no more than one to two pages, and articulate enough to stand on its own, presenting the essence of the business proposal or report without requiring the reader to go through the entire document for basic understanding.

Why Do We Use It?

The executive summary plays a crucial role in whether a business plan opens doors to funding, partnerships, or other opportunities . It’s often the first (and sometimes the only) part of the plan that stakeholders read, making it essential for making a strong, positive first impression. As such, we use it in order to:

  • Capture Attention: Given the volume of business plans investors, partners, and lenders might receive, an executive summary’s primary function is to grab the reader’s attention quickly. It highlights the most compelling aspects of the business to encourage further reading.
  • Save Time: It provides a succinct overview of the business plan, allowing readers to understand the key points without going through the entire document. This is particularly beneficial for busy stakeholders who need to make informed decisions efficiently.
  • Facilitate Understanding: An executive summary distills complex business concepts and strategies into a concise format. Therefore, it makes it easier for readers to grasp the business’s core mission, strategic direction, and potential for success.
  • Driving Action: By summarizing the financial projections and funding requirements, an executive summary can effectively communicate the investment opportunity. Indeed the investment opportunity, whether to raise money from investors or a loan from a bank, is the most common reason why we prepare business plans.
  • Setting the Tone: The executive summary sets the tone for the entire business plan. A well-written summary indicates a well-thought-out business plan, reflecting the professionalism and competence of the management team.

How to Write an Executive Summary in 4 Simple Steps

Here’s a streamlined approach to crafting an impactful executive summary:

1. Start with Your Business Overview

  • Company Name: Begin with the name of your business.
  • Location: Provide the location of your business operations.
  • Business model: Briefly describe how you make money, the producfs and/or services your business offers.

2. Highlight the Market Opportunity

  • Target Market : Identify your target market and its size.
  • Market Trends : Highlight the key market trends that justify the need for your product or service.
  • Competitive Landscape : Describe how your business is positioned to meet this need effectively.

3. Present Your Management Team

  • Team Overview: Introduce the key members of your management team and their roles.
  • Experience: Highlight relevant experience and skills that contribute to the business’s success.

4. Include Financial Projections

  • Financial Summary: Provide a snapshot of key financial projections, including revenue, profits, and cash flow over the next three to five years.
  • Funding Requirements: If seeking investment, specify the amount needed and how it will be used.

2 Executive Summary Examples

Here are 2 examples you can use as an inspiration to create yours. These are taken from our coffee shop and hair salon business plan templates.

Coffee Shop Executive Summary

executive summary for business plan examples

Hair Salon Executive Summary

executive summary for business plan examples

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How to Write an Executive Summary

Make Writing Your Executive Summary Easier With This Example

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

executive summary for business plan examples

What to Include in an Executive Summary

Executive summary example.

The Balance / Jo Zhou

An executive summary is a brief overview at the beginning of your business plan. It should provide a short, concise summary of your business that captures the reader's attention and gives them an interest in learning more about it.

The executive summary is important as it sets the tone for the entire business plan and can often be the deciding factor in whether the reader continues. See an example of a business plan's executive summary and learn the key components of one so you can begin writing one of your own.

The executive summary goes near the beginning of the business plan but is written last. To include a summary of the different parts of your business plan, you'll need to write them first.

When you write the executive summary, keep it under two pages. The executive summary should contain brief summaries of other sections of the plan. 

The idea is to give a brief overview of your business first before going into detail about each of the different parts.

The executive summary should contain all of the important information about your business, such as:

  • Business name
  • Business location
  • Your mission as a company
  • A history of the company
  • Management and advisors
  • Services or products offered
  • The market for your offerings
  • Your business's competitive advantages
  • Your financial projections
  • Startup financing required, if any

Format the executive summary clearly and attractively, with headings for each section. Your word processing software may have a template you can use that will make your business plan look good.

It's always easier to write something if you can read an example first, so here's an executive summary example that you can use as a model for your own business plan's executive summary.

This executive summary is for a fictional company called Pet Grandma Inc.

Company Mission

Pet Grandma Inc. offers superior on-site pet sitting and exercising services for dogs and cats, providing the personal loving pet care that the owners themselves would provide if they were home. Our team will ensure that pet owners can take business trips or vacations knowing that their pets are in good hands.

Company and Management

Pet Grandma Inc. is headquartered in the City of West Vancouver and incorporated in the Province of British Columbia. The company is owned by partners Pat Simpson and Terry Estelle. Pat has extensive experience in animal care while Terry has worked in  sales and marketing  for 15 years.

The management of Pet Grandma Inc. consists of co-owners Pat Simpson and Terry Estelle. Both partners will be taking hands-on management roles in the company. In addition, we have assembled a  board of advisors  to provide management expertise. The advisors are:

  •  Juliette LeCroix, partner at LeCroix Accounting LLP
  •  Carey Boniface, veterinarian and partner at Little Tree Animal Care Clinic
  •  John Toms, president of Toms Communications Ltd.

Our clients are dog owners and cat owners who choose to leave their pets at home when they travel, or who want their pets to have company when their owners are at work. Pet Grandma Inc. offers a variety of pet care services, all in the pet’s home environment, including:

  • Dog walking
  • Daily visits
  • 24-hour care for days or weeks
  • Administration of medications by qualified staff
  • Emergency treatment in case of illness (arranged through veterinarians)
  • Plant watering
  • Mail collection
  • Garbage/recycling

Across Canada, the pet care industry has seen an explosion of growth over the last three years. West Vancouver is an affluent area with a high pet density. Our  market research  has shown that nine out of 10 pet owners polled in West Vancouver would prefer to have their pets cared for in their own homes when they travel rather than be kenneled and six out of 10 would consider having a pet sitter provide company for their dog when they were at work.

Competitive Advantages

While there are currently eight businesses offering pet sitting in West Vancouver, only three of these offer on-site pet care and none offers “pet visit” services for working pet owners.

Pet Grandma’s marketing strategy is to emphasize the quality of pet care we provide (“a Grandma for your pet!”) and the availability of our services. Dog owners who work, for instance, will come home to find happy, friendly companions who have already been exercised and walked, instead of demanding, whiny animals.

All pet services will be provided by animal care-certified staff.

All employees are insured and bonded.

Financial Projections

Based on the size of our market and our defined market area, our  sales projections  for the first year are $340,000. We project a growth rate of 10% per year for the first three years.

The salary for each of the co-owners will be $40,000. At startup, we will have six trained staff to provide pet services and expect to hire four more this year once  financing  is secured. To begin with, co-owner Pat Simpson will be scheduling appointments and coordinating services, but we plan to hire a full-time receptionist this year as well.

Already we have service commitments from more than 40 clients and plan to aggressively build our client base through newspaper, website, social media, and direct mail advertising. The loving, on-site professional care that Pet Grandma Inc. will provide is sure to appeal to cat and dog owners throughout the West Vancouver area.

Startup Financing Requirements

We are seeking an operating line of $150,000 to finance our first-year growth. Together, the co-owners have invested $62,000 to meet working capital requirements.

Key Takeaways

  • An executive summary is a concise overview of the business plan.
  • Place the executive summary near the beginning of the business plan.
  • Before you write the executive summary, you'll have to write the rest of the business plan first.
  • The executive summary should contain all relevant information about the business, including name, mission, services offered, market, and financial projections.

Executive Summary Examples for Business Plans, Project Plans, and Research Projects

By Kate Eby | February 8, 2024

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Executive summaries allow decision-makers to quickly grasp the key points of important documents and make decisions. We’ve collected a variety of executive summary examples and templates that you can use as models for your executive summaries. 

Included in this article, you’ll find a  business plan executive summary example , a  project proposal executive summary example , a  research report executive summary example , and more. Plus, learn  how to fix common executive summary mistakes .

What Are the Main Components of an Executive Summary?

An  executive summary is a concise overview of a larger document, report, or proposal. It gives high-level executives or decision-makers a quick understanding of the main points of a longer document without requiring them to read the whole text.   

These are the components you might include in an executive summary:   

  • Problem Statement: Clearly state the problem or challenge the company, product, or project addresses.
  • Key Proposition: Outline the proposed solution or key value proposition.
  • Market Analysis: Summarize findings about the market, customer needs, or competition.
  • Key Features and Benefits: Highlight the main features or benefits of the proposed solution or strategy.
  • Financial Summary: Provide a snapshot of financial aspects, such as cost, revenue projections, or return on investment (ROI).
  • Next Steps: Briefly describe the next steps or strategy for implementation.

Simple Executive Summary Example

The following simple executive summary presents a concise statement of key findings and links them directly to a strategic recommendation. It provides a clear snapshot of the situation and the proposed action, which is essential for an executive summary.

Problem Statement

Many small businesses struggle with inefficient inventory management, leading to lost sales and increased operational costs.

Key Proposition

Our company proposes an AI-driven inventory management system that automates tracking and forecasting, tailored for small businesses.

Market Analysis

Research shows a 40 percent increase in demand for automated inventory solutions in the small business sector, with a significant gap in affordable, user-friendly options.

Key Features and Benefits

The system offers real-time inventory tracking, predictive restocking alerts, and an intuitive interface, reducing inventory errors by an estimated 50 percent.

Financial Summary

Our projected development cost is five hundred thousand dollars with a break-even point in 18 months. The expected ROI is 200 percent in three years, tapping into a market with a potential revenue of five million dollars annually.

Development will commence in Q1 2024, with a pilot launch in Q3. Full market release is scheduled for Q1 2025, followed by targeted marketing campaigns and customer feedback integration for further enhancements.

Executive Summary Template

Executive Summary Example Template

Download a Blank Executive Summary Template for

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Download an Example Executive Summary Template for

Available in blank and example versions, this executive summary template guides you in succinctly presenting key information about your business plan or project to stakeholders. Simply fill in each section with relevant details to create a concise overview that highlights problems, solutions, market potential, product features, financials, and next steps.

Business Plan Executive Summary Example

Review the following example for a business plan executive summary of an eco-friendly transportation company. This example provides a clear, brief overview that is essential when you want to engage stakeholders and set the stage for more detailed discussions.

In urban areas, the lack of convenient, eco-friendly transportation options leads to increased traffic congestion and pollution.

GreenGo Mobility Solutions proposes a network of e-bike sharing stations, offering an affordable, sustainable, and flexible transportation alternative.

There is a growing trend toward eco-friendly transport in cities, with a 60 percent increase in e-bike usage. Surveys show high interest among urban commuters for more accessible e-bike options.

Key Features and Benefits 

Our e-bikes are equipped with GPS tracking and easy-to-use interfaces. The bikes are designed for urban environments, offering a convenient and environmentally friendly commuting option.

The project requires an initial investment of two million dollars, with projected annual revenue of five million dollars by the third year. We anticipate a break-even point within two years, based on subscription and pay-per-use models.

Marketing Plan Executive Summary Example

In the following example, an executive summary outlines a marketing initiative within a company, detailing both the challenge and the strategic response. It provides a clear overview of the marketing plan’s objectives, actions, and expected outcomes.

We have seen a decline in new user adoption of our company's flagship software product over the past year.

Initiate a Revitalize and Engage campaign, focusing on updating the product’s user interface and enhancing customer engagement through social media and community building.

Competitor analysis and customer feedback indicate a need for more intuitive design and stronger community presence to attract and retain users.

The campaign will introduce a sleek, user-friendly interface and a robust online community platform, aiming to increase user engagement and satisfaction.

The campaign requires a budget of five hundred thousand dollars, with an expected increase in user adoption rates by 20 percent within the first year post-implementation.

Begin a UI redesign in Q2 2024, launch a social media engagement strategy in Q3, and roll out the updated product with community features in Q4.

Project Proposal Executive Summary Example

The example executive summary below demonstrates a well-structured project proposal that succinctly identifies a specific challenge and proposes an actionable solution. It provides a comprehensive snapshot of the project, including its rationale, expected benefits, financial implications, and implementation timeline.

Our current customer relationship management (CRM) system is outdated, leading to inefficiencies in sales tracking and client management.

We propose the development and implementation of a new, custom-built CRM system to streamline sales processes and enhance customer engagement.

Internal analysis indicates a 35 percent increase in process efficiency with a modern CRM system, while competitor benchmarking shows significant advantages in customer retention.

The new CRM will offer real-time sales tracking, automated client communication tools, and advanced analytics features, improving sales efficiency and customer satisfaction.

The estimated project cost is two million dollars, with a projected increase in sales efficiency by 50 percent and customer retention by 20 percent within two years.

Initiate the project in Q2 2024, with phase-wise implementation and employee training, aiming for full deployment by the end of Q4 2024.

Startup Executive Summary Example

Startups need to communicate their vision to potential investors and key stakeholders. In this example, an executive summary helps convey the startup’s vision with a concise summary of the business opportunity, unique selling proposition, market potential, and action plan.

There is a growing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly home cleaning products, but the market lacks options that are both effective and affordable.

EcoClean Innovations is a startup offering a line of environmentally friendly, biodegradable cleaning products made from natural ingredients, catering to eco-conscious consumers.

Market trends show a 50 percent increase in consumer preference for green homecare products, with a significant gap in cost-effective options.

Our products are non-toxic and competitively priced, and they have a minimal environmental footprint, addressing the need for effective and sustainable cleaning solutions.

We require an initial investment of one million dollars, projecting a 30 percent market penetration in the eco-friendly segment within the first two years.

Launch with an initial range of products by Q3 2024, followed by marketing campaigns targeting eco-conscious communities and online marketplaces.

Real Estate Development Executive Summary Example

In the following executive summary example for a construction project, the author outlines their vision for the Greenway Residential Complex. This summary captures the essence of the construction project proposal, presenting key information in a concise and structured format.

The growing urban population in Metro City has led to a shortage of affordable, eco-friendly housing options, resulting in increased living costs and environmental concerns. Key Proposition

Our project proposes the development of the Greenway Residential Complex, a sustainable and affordable housing solution. Utilizing innovative construction methods and eco-friendly materials, the complex aims to provide a balanced urban living experience that is both cost-effective and environmentally responsible.

Research indicates a high demand for eco-conscious housing in Metro City, with a market gap in affordable segments. Surveys show that young families and professionals are actively seeking sustainable living options that align with their environmental values and budget constraints.

  • Sustainable design incorporating solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and green spaces
  • Affordable pricing, targeting middle-income families and young professionals
  • Proximity to public transportation and city centers, reducing commute times and the carbon footprint
  • High-quality, energy-efficient building materials, ensuring lower utility costs and a smaller environmental impact
  • Estimated project cost: Fifty million dollars
  • Anticipated revenue from sales: Seventy million dollars, with a projected ROI of 40 percent over five years
  • Funding secured from green building grants and private investors
  • Finalize construction permits and approvals by Q2 2024.
  • Begin construction in Q3 2024, with a projected completion date in Q4 2026.
  • Launch a marketing campaign targeting eco-conscious families and professionals. Tip:  In this example, notice how helpful it is to use bullet points to convey certain information. Using bulleted lists is a great way to organize and present information in an executive summary.

Construction Project Executive Summary Example

Construction projects have many moving parts, which means executive summaries need to capture a lot of information in a small space. Consider a construction-specific executive summary template to ensure that stakeholders are keyed into the most vital project information.

Construction Project Executive Summary Example Template

Download a Blank Construction Project Executive Summary Template for

Microsoft Word |  Adobe PDF | Google Docs

Download an Example Construction Project Executive Summary Template for

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs

This construction project executive summary template allows users to give a high-level overview of the key aspects of a project, such as status, risks, issues, and changes. Available in both blank and sample versions, this editable template condenses complex project information into an easily digestible format. To use it, simply fill in each section with relevant, concise information about the current state and progress of your construction project, ensuring it remains updated and reflective of any changes or developments.

Renewable Energy Initiative Executive Summary Example

A renewable energy initiative executive summary should highlight the project’s objectives, strategies, and potential impact, as well as its contribution to environmental sustainability. In the following example, the summary articulates the project’s vision and its alignment with global environmental goals.

The urgent need to address environmental challenges and the increasing global demand for energy underscore the importance of transitioning to renewable energy sources. The reliance on traditional fossil fuels is unsustainable and contributes significantly to climate change.

The SunWind Project is a pioneering initiative combining solar and wind power to create a robust and sustainable energy solution. This project aims to leverage the strengths of both solar and wind energy, ensuring a continuous and reliable power supply while significantly reducing carbon emissions.

The renewable energy sector is experiencing rapid growth, fueled by global environmental policies and a rising consumer preference for sustainable energy. This shift presents an opportunity for the SunWind Project.

The project is unique in its integration of solar panels and wind turbines, ensuring consistent energy production under varying weather conditions. This scalable approach is designed to adapt to increasing energy demands. By significantly reducing the carbon footprint, the project supports global environmental sustainability goals and has the potential to power thousands of homes and businesses.

The SunWind Project has an estimated cost of two hundred million dollars, with projected revenues from energy sales anticipated to be around three hundred million dollars over the next 10 years. This represents a potential ROI of 50 percent. The project is poised to benefit from green energy grants, government subsidies, and private investments.

Immediate steps include securing the necessary environmental permits and clearances. The construction phase, slated to begin in the second quarter of 2024, will focus on installing solar panels and wind turbines, with a goal to commence energy production by the end of 2025.

One-Paragraph Healthcare Executive Summary Example

An executive summary of a healthcare initiative needs to do the following: concisely identify a pressing healthcare issue, present a tailored solution with its benefits, summarize market needs and competition, and outline the financial viability and next steps. 

In the following example, notice how an executive summary can capture all key elements in a single paragraph:

The HealthFirst Community Wellness Initiative addresses the critical problem of rising chronic illness rates in urban areas, focusing on diabetes and heart disease. Our comprehensive solution involves launching community health centers that provide preventive care, lifestyle education, and regular health screenings, as well as cater to the specific needs of urban populations. Market analysis indicates a significant demand for accessible healthcare services in these areas, with a lack of preventive and educational resources being a key gap. The initiative’s main features include state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, personalized health plans, and collaboration with local fitness and nutrition experts, offering benefits such as improved community health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs. Financially, the project is expected to be sustainable, with a mix of funding from public health grants and private partnerships. We are projecting a positive ROI within three years due to reduced hospital admissions. The next steps involve securing funding, establishing partnerships with local health professionals and organizations, and launching a pilot center in the downtown district, with a plan to expand to five more urban areas within two years.

Nonprofit Executive Summary Example

An executive summary for a nonprofit organization should communicate the essence of a project or initiative to donors and volunteers. It should concisely outline the organization’s mission, goals, and key solutions while also detailing strategies, actions, and their impact.

DWB Executive Summary Examples

  This  executive summary example from Doctors Without Borders emphasizes the inadequacy of current Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agendas in meeting the needs of vulnerable populations. It then proposes six key recommendations to address these shortcomings. 

This executive summary succinctly identifies the core issue — inequitable access to healthcare — and clearly outlines actionable recommendations. This document helps facilitate advocacy and policy change, which are central to this organization’s goals.

Research Report Executive Summary Example

An executive summary in a research report concisely presents the key findings, conclusions, and recommendations derived from a research project. It covers elements such as the project topic, background, research methods, and critical insights, tailored for quick understanding and decision-making.

In this real-world  exampl e from the ASPCA , the executive summary details a study showing that veterinary hospitals’ proactive discussions about pet health insurance positively impacted hospital revenue and increased patient visits. 

ASPCA Executive Summary Example

Notice how this summary concisely outlines the study’s purpose, methodology, and significant findings, providing a clear overview for readers. In addition, it highlights the study’s relevance and implications for veterinary practices, emphasizing the practical benefits of educating clients about pet health insurance.

Research Report Executive Summary Template

Research Report Executive Summary Example Template

Download a Blank Research Report Executive Summary Template for

Microsoft Word |  Adobe PDF | Google Docs Download an Example Research Report Executive Summary Template for

To create your own research report executive summary, download this customizable template. Available in blank and example versions and three printable formats, this template serves as a structured guide to organize and present the key components of a research report. Simply fill in each section with specific details about your research, including the project topic, background information, methods used, conclusions, and recommendations.

Research Project Proposal Executive Summary Example

An executive summary for a research project focuses mainly on the research question, methods, and expected outcomes. These summaries often point out how important the research could be and what impact it might have on the field.  

Research Project Proposal Executive Summary Template

Download a Blank Research Project Proposal Executive Summary Template for Microsoft Word | Google Docs  

Download an Example Research Project Proposal Executive Template for Microsoft Word | Google Docs

Teams can use this one-page executive summary — available in a blank or sample version — to concisely present the key elements of a research project to stakeholders, potential funders, or academic committees. By structuring the summary with specific sections such as background, objectives, and methodology, you can be sure that you’ve clearly and briefly outlined all critical aspects of your research.

Executive Summary Slide Example

Executive summaries are often documents that one distributes to executives, potential investors, and other stakeholders. However, slideshow presentations can facilitate a more interactive discussion. Plus, the inclusion of charts, graphs, and other images can better illustrate key points.  

Single Slide Executive Summary Example Template

Download an Example Single Slide Executive Summary Template for

PowerPoint | Google Slides

Download a Blank Single Slide Executive Summary Template for

This executive summary slide template is a versatile tool for succinctly conveying key project information in a single, visually engaging slide. You can enter your project information in the blank template or download the sample version for additional guidance. Input relevant details in each section, such as an overview of your project and next steps. The template allows users to insert their own text, graphics, and data. Copy your completed slide into a longer presentation, or use it on its own as a visual complement to any stakeholder presentation.

How to Improve Your Executive Summary

A poorly constructed executive summary can serve as an instructive example of what to avoid. Ineffective executive summaries might be too detailed or technical, lack focus on key points, or omit a clear call to action. 

Here are examples of the three most common mistakes found in executive summaries:

Includes Too Many Details or Technical Information

Too Detailed Exectuive Summary Example

This example demonstrates one of the most common mistakes, which is including too much detail or overly technical language. It dives deeply into the specific technical specifications of the equipment and financial metrics, which might be overwhelming for readers. A more effective executive summary would focus on the broader objectives, expected impacts, and benefits of the project in a language that is accessible to a non-technical audience.

Lacks Focus on Key Points  

Unfocused Executive Summary Example

Sometimes, summaries fail to clearly highlight the most critical aspects of the project or proposal. This summary lacks focus concerning the key points of the Pathways to Knowledge project. A more effective summary would concisely state the project’s goal, significance, and anticipated outcomes.

Omits a Clear Call to Action or Conclusion  

No Call to Action Executive Summary Example

Failing to include a clear conclusion or call to action is another common mistake. The summary should not only inform but also persuade and guide the reader toward the desired action or decision. This summary outlines the project’s goals and structure, but omits a clear call to action. The document doesn’t specify what is expected from the reader or potential stakeholders, such as support, partnership, funding, or involvement in the project.

Corrected Example

To create a more effective example, start by removing overly technical details. (Stakeholders don’t need to know the specific standards with which the training modules are aligned or which types of processors power your computers.) Next, take out unnecessary details that stray from the main point of the project. An executive summary is not the place to discuss the origins of the project idea or the elements your team has not yet decided on. Finally, always conclude your executive summary with a clear call to action.

The Pathways to Knowledge project is a pioneering educational initiative by a nonprofit organization, aimed at bridging the educational divide in underprivileged and remote communities. This project involves the deployment of Mobile Education Hubs: state-of-the-art, solar-powered mobile units that are equipped with educational resources, technology, and internet access. These hubs are designed to travel to various underserved areas, providing children and adults with access to quality educational materials, online learning platforms, and virtual tutoring. Each hub also hosts workshops and seminars led by educators and experts, covering a wide range of subjects from basic literacy and numeracy to vocational training and digital literacy. The initiative seeks to empower communities by enhancing educational opportunities, fostering a culture of lifelong learning, and equipping individuals with the skills necessary for the 21st-century job market. By focusing on accessibility and adaptability, the Pathways to Knowledge project aspires to create a ripple effect of educational advancement and social upliftment across diverse communities.

Master the Art of Writing Executive Summaries with Examples for Business Plans, Project Plans, and Research Projects from Smartsheet

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How to Write an Executive Summary Execs Can't Ignore [+ 5 Top Examples]

Ramona Sukhraj

Published: May 30, 2024

Early in my career, I was intimidated by executive summaries. They sounded so corporate and formal. But, proper name aside, they’re really just the elevator pitch or the TL;DR (too long, didn’t read) of a document.

Executive summary with examples

Writing an executive summary is an important leadership skill, whether you're an entrepreneur creating a business plan or a CEO delivering a quarterly report.

Download Now: Free Executive Summary Template

So, let’s sharpen that skill.

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary is a brief overview of a longer professional document, like a business plan, proposal, or report. It's commonly at the beginning of a document and aims to grab a reader’s attention while summarizing critical information such as the problem or opportunity being addressed, objectives, key findings, goals, and recommendations.

Ultimately, an executive summary gives readers a concise overview of the most important information in a document, so they don't have to read the entire thing.

Think of it like the SparkNotes of the business world.

Documents that frequently have an executive summary include:

  • Business plans
  • Research reports
  • Project proposals
  • Annual reports

How does it differ from other business statements? Let’s compare.

executive summary for business plan examples

Free Executive Summary Template

Use this executive summary template to provide a summary of your report, business plan, or memo.

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Executive Summary vs. Business Plan

All business plans have an executive summary, but not all executive summaries belong to business plans.

A business plan includes a company overview, short-term and long-term goals, information on your product or service, sales targets, expense budgets, your marketing plan, and even team information

Business plans are very detailed and comprehensive. They can be as short as a dozen pages or as long as 100 pages. The executive summary is the first section of the business plan.

An in-demand CEO or investor might not have the bandwidth to read your full business plan without first understanding your company or goals. That’s where an executive summary comes in handy.

Note: Need help putting together your business plan? We’ve got a template for you.

Executive Summary vs. Mission Statement

Mission statements and executive summaries are typically found in business plans, but they serve different purposes.

A mission statement defines your organization’s purpose, values, and vision. It’s your company’s North Star and communicates your core identity and reason for existence. On the other hand, an executive summary provides a high-level overview of the document.

HubSpot features its mission statement on its “about” page.

I also love how we define key terms to help readers understand the rest of the report. This is an excellent example of setting the tone for the rest of your document in an executive summary and making it easier to navigate.

3. ClickUp: Product Update Release Notes

Now, I know this article is about writing an executive summary, but I love ClickUp’s unique approach with its product release notes videos.

ClickUp sets a great example for writing an executive summary

This digital report from research firm McKinsey Global Institute features an executive summary titled “At a Glance.”

mckinsey summarizes its key points using an "at a glance" section

Here, the organization recaps the key findings from its 56-page research report in six easy-to-skim bullet points.

It’s compelling, easy to digest, and makes it easy to jump into the full report with download links.

5. UN: World Economic Situation and Prospects 2024

Finally, we have a fairly traditional approach to an executive summary from the United Nations (UN) , clocking in at 16 pages.

Now, I know. Sixteen pages seems lengthy, but the full report is just shy of 200 pages.

The executive summary highlights the report’s largest conclusions with headers. Then, it expands on those headers with relevant statistics. It also uses bold font to draw attention to the countries or regions affected (something the reader will likely be most interested in).

The tone and visual design are both formal, which matches the esteem of the United Nations. Overall, this executive summary does an admirable job of making the report's information more approachable.

Make your executive summary memorable.

Make sure your executive summary is strong. Tell your story. Include compelling data and facts. Use easy-to-understand and digest language. If you can, get visual.

An executive summary should be concise, but also memorable. After all, this may be the only part of your proposal, report, or analysis that actually gets read.

Use the guidance above to ensure your executive summary resonates with your audience and opens the door to the opportunities you crave.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to Write an Executive Summary

Folder with a light bulb emerging from it. Represents summarizing your business as an executive summary from a larger document.

9 min. read

Updated December 13, 2023

Download Now: Free Executive Summary Template →

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.

Creating an executive summary is more than just a writing exercise. It requires careful crafting and strategic thinking, as well as an ability to balance the needs to be both succinct and comprehensive.

YouTube video

  • What is an executive summary?

The executive summary is a brief introduction and summary of your business plan. It introduces your business, the problem you solve, and what you’re asking from your readers. Anyone should be able to understand your business by simply reading this section of your plan.

While structurally it is the first chapter of your plan—you should write it last. Once you know the details of your business inside and out, you will be better prepared to write this section.

  • Why write an executive summary?

The business plan executive summary provides quick access to critical information from your more detailed business plan.

It is essential for informing anyone outside of your business. Many people—including investors and bankers—will only read your summary. Others will use it to decide if they should read the rest. For you, it is a snapshot of your business to reference when planning or revising your strategy.

Now if you’re writing a business plan solely for internal use you may not need an executive summary. However, some internal plans may necessitate writing an executive summary for assignment—such as for an annual operations plan or a strategic plan .

It takes some effort to do a good summary, so if you don’t have a business use in mind, don’t do it.

  • How long should it be?

Business plan executive summaries should be as short as possible. Your audience has limited time and attention and they want to quickly get the details of your business plan.

Try to keep your executive summary under two pages if possible, although it can be longer if absolutely necessary. If you have a one-page business plan, you can even use that as your executive summary.

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  • Executive summary outline

Two pages isn’t a ton of space to capture the full scope of your vision for the business. That means every sentence of your executive summary counts.

You will want to immediately capture the reader’s attention with a compelling introduction. Without getting too lengthy, present who you are as an organization, the problem you are seeking to solve, your skills, and why you are the best entity to solve the problem you’ve outlined.

It’s crucial to establish the need or problem your business is solving in a clear manner, in order to convince your audience that it must be addressed. Following that, recommend the solution and show its value. Be clear and firm in your recommendation, making sure to justify your cause and highlighting key reasons why your organization is the perfect fit for the solution you’re proposing. Finally, a strong conclusion is needed to reiterate the main points and wrap up the executive summary.

What to include in your executive summary

1. business overview.

A one-sentence description that explains what you do, why you do it, and how you do it.

Summarize the problem you’re solving in the market and reference any data that solidifies that there is a need.

3. Solution

Describe your product or service and how it addresses the problem you identified.

4. Target market

Who is your ideal customer? Describe who they are, how they’ll benefit, and why they’re an attainable customer base.

5. Competition

Who are your competitors? List out any primary competition as well as alternatives that your customers may consider. Include key details about their current offerings, promotions, and business strategy.

6. Your team

In your executive summary, outline your organizational structure and current team. List out brief explanations of who you and your team are, your qualifications, and what your function will be within the business. It may be valuable to also highlight any gaps in your team and how you intend to fill them. If you have potential partners or candidates in mind, briefly mention them and expand on their qualifications within your full business plan.

7. Financial summary

Highlight key aspects of your financial plan that address sales, expenses, and profitability. Try to keep these in chart or graph form to ensure the information is easy to consume and resonates visually.

8. Funding requirements

This section is only necessary if you’re seeking out funding or pitching to investors. Be sure to throw out your financing number and reasoning upfront, rather than hiding it later on in your plan. It helps investors understand your position, what you’re asking for, and how you’ll use it.

9. Milestones and traction

Add initial sales, pre-sales, newsletter sign-ups, or anything else that showcases customer interest. Outline what steps you’ve already taken to launch your business, the milestones you’ve hit, and your goals and milestones for the next month, six months, year, etc.

Executive summary vs introduction

A common mistake some people make when starting an executive summary outline is thinking it performs the same function as the introduction to their business plan. In fact, the two serve different purposes and contain different types of information, even though they are both essential.

As we’ve discussed, the executive summary is a high-level overview of the entire business plan. The introduction, by contrast, dives deeper into your business, providing information about the nature of your business, the history of your company, your mission statement, products or services, and the specific problem that your business solves.

The introduction is more detailed, and usually comes right after the executive summary.

On the other hand, the introduction gives investors or lenders – anyone reading your business plan – a sense of why they should continue reading. Think of it more as the space to tell stakeholders why you are speaking to them. An executive summary can also serve this purpose, but the introduction is meant to speak more directly to your target audience, while an executive summary could give a larger audience a general overview of your business.

Tips for writing an effective executive summary

Here are a few best practices to make writing your executive summary easier, and ultimately more effective. 

1. Think of an executive summary as your pitch

The executive summary is like an elevator pitch. You’re selling someone on reading your full plan while quickly summarizing the key points. Readers will expect it to cover certain areas of your business—such as the product, market, and financial highlights, at the very least.

While you need to include what’s necessary, you should also highlight areas that you believe will spark the reader’s interest. Remember, you’re telling the brief but convincing story of your business with this summary. Just be sure that you’re able to back it up with the right details with the rest of your business plan. 

2. Write it last

Even though the executive summary is at the beginning of a finished business plan, many experienced entrepreneurs choose to write it after everything else. In theory, this makes it easier to write since all of the information is already written out and just needs to be condensed into a shorter format. 

Now, if you’ve started with a one-page plan, this process is even easier. Just use your one-page plan as a starting point and add additional details to any sections that need it. You may even find that no changes are necessary.  

3. Keep it short

Ideally, the executive summary is short—usually just a page or two, five at the outside—and highlights the points you’ve made elsewhere in your business plan. Whatever length you land on, just focus on being brief and concise. Keep it as short as you can without missing the essentials. 

4. Keep it simple

Form follows function, so don’t overcomplicate or over-explain things. The best executive summaries are a mixture of short text, broken up with bullets and subheadings, and illustrations, such as a bar chart showing financial highlights. 

Run through a legibility test after writing your summary. Is it easy to skim through? Are the right pieces of information jumping out? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then work back through and try breaking up information or adjusting the formatting.

5. Create an executive summary outline based on importance and strengths

Organize your executive summary outline so that the most important information appears first. While there are specific components to include, there is no set order of appearance. So, use the order to show emphasis.

Lead with what you want to get the most attention, and add the rest by order of importance. For example, you may start with the problem because that can add drama and urgency that tees up the solution you provide.

Additional resources to write a great executive summary

Need more information and guidance to craft a convincing executive summary? Check out these in-depth resources and templates.

Key mistakes to avoid when writing an executive summary

Here are the critical mistakes you should avoid when writing your executive summary.

How to write your executive summary for specific audiences

The executive summary should tell your audience exactly what your business is, what it does, and why it’s worth their time. Here’s how you can take it a step further and fine-tune it for specific people.

How to develop a mission statement

Learn to put a heart behind the business and create an easy-to-understand narrative by writing a mission statement.

Executive Summary FAQ

What is in an executive summary?

The executive summary of a business plan is a brief introduction and summary of your business strategy, operations, and goals.

What is the purpose of an executive summary?

An executive summary is typically written to convince someone to read your more detailed plan. For investors, it may be the only thing they look at when deciding if they’d like to hear your pitch. Loan officers may review it to determine if your business seems financially sound. And partners, mentors, or anyone else may use it to determine if they want to be involved with your business.

How do you start an executive summary?

While there is no required order for an executive summary, it’s often recommended that you lead with the problem you’re solving or the purpose of your business. This will help frame your intent for the reader, and ideally make them more interested in learning more.

How do you write a good executive summary?

A good executive summary is brief, convincing, and easy to read. Focus on keeping things short and concise, only including necessary information. Be sure to lead and highlight anything that is especially interesting or important about your business. And after writing, spend some time reviewing and reformatting to make your summary as attractive to read as possible.

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.

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Table of Contents

  • What to include
  • Writing tips
  • Additional resources

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How to Write an Executive Summary in 6 Steps

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When you’re starting a business, one of the first things you need to do is write a business plan. Your business plan is like a roadmap for your business, so you can lay out your goals and a concrete plan for how you’ll reach them.

Not only is a business plan essential for any business owner, but it’s also a requirement if you decide to apply for small business funding or find investors. After all, before a bank or individual hands over any money, they’ll want to be sure your company is on solid ground (so they can get their money back).

A business plan consists of several pieces, from an executive summary and market analysis to a financial plan and projections. The executive summary will be the first part of your business plan.

If wondering how to write an executive summary has kept you from completing your business plan, we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll explain what an executive summary is and provide tips for writing your own so your business plan can start strong.

executive summary for business plan examples

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is a short, informative, and easy-to-read opening statement to your business plan. Even though it’s just one to two pages, the executive summary is incredibly important.

An executive summary tells the story of what your business does, why an investor might be interested in giving funds to your business, why their investment will be well-spent, and why you do what you do. An executive summary should be informative, but it should also capture a busy reader’s attention.

How much do you need?

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Why write an executive summary?

Anyone you’re sending your executive summary and business plan to is likely busy—very busy. An entire business plan is long, involved, and deals with a lot of numbers.

Someone busy wants to get an understanding of your business, and they want to do it quickly, which is to say not by diving into a complicated, 80-page business plan. That’s where your executive summary comes in.

An executive summary provides just the opportunity to hook someone’s interest, tell them about your business, and offer a clear selling point as to why they should consider investing in your business.

Your executive summary is your chance to sell your business to potential investors and show them your business is worth not only their money but also their time.

What to include in an executive summary

By its nature, an executive summary is short. You must be able to clearly communicate the idea of your business, what sets you apart, and how you plan to grow into a successful enterprise.

The subsequent sections of your business plan will go into more detail, but your executive summary should include the most critical pieces of your business plan—enough to stand on its own, as it’s often the only thing a prospective investor will read. Here’s what your executive summary should include—consider it an executive summary template from which you can model your own.

1. The hook

The first sentence and paragraph of your executive summary determine whether or not the entire executive summary gets read. That’s why the hook or introduction is so important.

In general, a hook is considered anything that will get a reader’s attention. While an executive summary is a formal business document, you do want your hook to make you stand out from the crowd—without wasting time.

Your hook can be sharing something creative about your company, an interesting fact, or just a very well-crafted description of your business. It’s crucial to craft your hook with the personality of your reader in mind. Give them something that will make your company stand out and be memorable among a sea of other business plans.

Grab their attention in the first paragraph, and you’re much more likely to get your executive summary read, which could lead to an investment.

2. Company description summary

Now that you’ve hooked your reader, it’s time to get into some general information about your business. If an investor is going to give you money, after all, they first need to understand what your company does or what product you sell and who is managing the company.

Your company description should include information about your business, such as when it was formed and where you’re located; your products or services; the founders or executive team, including names and specific roles; and any additional details about the management team or style.

3. Market analysis

Your market analysis in the executive summary is a brief description of what the market for your business looks like. You want to show that you have done your research and proven that there is a need for your specific product or services. Some questions you should answer:

Who are your competitors?

Is there a demand for your products or services?

What advantages do you have that make your business unique in comparison to others?

To reiterate, stick to the highlights of your market analysis in your executive summary. You’ll provide a complete analysis in a separate section of your business plan, but you should be able to communicate enough in the executive summary that a potential investor can gauge whether your business has potential.

4. Products and services

Now that you’ve established a need in the market, it’s time to show just how your business will fill it. This section of your executive summary is all about highlighting the product or service that your company offers. Talk about your current sales, the growth you’ve seen so far, and any other highlights that are a selling point for your company.

This is also a good time to identify what sets your business apart and gives you a competitive advantage. After all, it’s unlikely that your business is the first of its kind. Highlight what you do better than the competition and why potential customers will choose your product or service over the other options on the market.

5. Financial information and projections

In this section of your executive summary, you want to give the reader an overview of your current business financials. Again, you’ll go more in-depth into this section later in your business plan, so just provide some highlights. Include your current sales and profits (if you have any), as well as what funding you’re hoping to acquire and how this will affect your financials in the next few years.

This is also where you can explain what funding, if any, you’ve received in the past. If you paid back your loan on time, this is an especially bright selling point for potential lenders.

6. Future plans

While asking for what funding you need is essential, you’ve also got to make clear what you’re going to use that funding for. If you’re asking for money, you want the person to know you have a plan to put those funds to good use.

Are you hoping to open another location, expand your product line, invest in your marketing efforts? This final section of your executive summary should detail where you want your business to go in the future, as well as drive home how funding can help you get there.

Tips for writing an executive summary

Even if you include each part of a good executive summary, you might not get noticed. What is written can be just as important as how it’s written. An executive summary has to strike a delicate balance between formal, personable, confident, and humble.

1. Be concise

An executive summary should include everything that’s in your business plan, just in a much shorter format. Writing a concise executive summary is no easy task and will require many revisions to get to the final draft. And while this is the first section of your executive summary, you’ll want to write it last, after you’ve put together all the other elements.

To choose your most important points and what should be included in the executive summary, go through your business plan, and pull out single-line bullet points. Go back through those bullet points and eliminate everything unnecessary to understanding your business.

Once you have your list of bullet points narrowed down, you can start writing your executive summary. Once it’s written, go back in and remove any unnecessary information. Remember, you should only be including the highlights—you have the rest of your business plan to go into more detail. The shorter and clearer your executive summary is, the more likely someone is to read it.

2. Use bullet points

One simple way to make your executive summary more readable is to use bullet points. If someone is reading quickly or skimming your executive summary, extra whitespace can make the content faster and easier to read.

Short paragraphs, short sentences, and bullet points all make an executive summary easier to skim—which is likely what the reader is doing. If important numbers and convincing stats jump out at the reader, they’re more likely to keep reading.

3. Speak to your audience

When writing your executive summary, be sure to think about who will be reading it; that’s who you’re speaking to. If you can personalize your executive summary to the personality and interests of the person who will read it, you’re more likely to capture their attention.

Personalizing might come in the form of a name in the salutation, sharing details in a specific way you know that person likes and the tone of your writing. An executive summary deals with business, so it will generally have a formal tone. But, different industries may be comfortable with some creativity of language or using shorthand to refer to certain ideas.

Know who you’re speaking to and use the right tone to speak to them. That might be formal and deferential, expert and clipped, informal and personable, or any other appropriate tone. This may also involve writing different versions of your executive summary for different audiences.

4. Play to your strengths

One of the best ways to catch the attention of your reader is to share why your business is unique. What makes your business unique is also what makes your business strong, which can capture a reader’s interest and show them why your business is worth investing in. Be sure to highlight these strengths from the start of your executive summary.

5. Get a test reader

Once you’ve written and edited your executive summary, you need a test reader. While someone in your industry or another business owner can be a great resource, you should also consider finding a test reader with limited knowledge of your business and industry. Your executive summary should be so clear that anyone can understand it, so having a variety of test readers can help identify any confusing language.

If you don’t have access to a test reader, consider using tools such as Hemingway App and Grammarly to ensure you’ve written something that’s easy to read and uses proper grammar.

How long should an executive summary be?

There’s no firm rule on how long an executive summary should be, as it depends on the length of your business plan and the depth of understanding needed by the reader to fully grasp your ask.

That being said, it should be as short and concise as you can get it. In general, an executive summary should be one to two pages in length.

You can fudge the length slightly by adjusting the margin and font size, but don’t forget readability is just as important as length. You want to leave plenty of white space and have a large enough font that the reader is comfortable while reading your executive summary. If your executive summary is hard to read, it’s less likely your reader will take the time to read your business plan.

What to avoid in an executive summary

While the rules for writing a stellar executive summary can be fuzzy, there are a few clear rules for what to avoid in your executive summary.

Your executive summary should avoid:

Focusing on investment. Instead, focus on getting the reader to be interested enough to continue and read your business plan or at least schedule a meeting with you.

Clichés, superlatives, and claims that aren’t backed up by fact. Your executive summary isn’t marketing material. It should be straightforward and clear.

Avoiding the executive summary no-nos is just as important as striking the right tone and getting in the necessary information for your reader.

The bottom line

While an executive summary is short, it’s challenging to write. Your executive summary condenses your entire introduction, business description, business plan, market analysis, financial projections, and ask into one to two pages. Condensing information down to its most essential form takes time and many drafts. When you’re putting together your business plan’s executive summary, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to write it and to seek the help of friends or colleagues for editing it to perfection.

However, some tools make crafting a business plan, including your executive summary, a simpler process. A business plan template is a great place to start, and business plan software can especially help with the design of your business plan. After all, a well-written executive summary can make all the difference in obtaining funding for your business, so you’ll want all the help you can get.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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How to write an executive summary in 10 steps


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.

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.


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


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.


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.


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. 


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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Allaya Cooks-Campbell

With over 15 years of content experience, Allaya Cooks Campbell has written for outlets such as ScaryMommy, HRzone, and HuffPost. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and is a certified yoga instructor as well as a certified Integrative Wellness & Life Coach. Allaya is passionate about whole-person wellness, yoga, and mental health.

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Business Plan Executive Summary with Example

Written by Dave Lavinsky

pen pencil and checklist

Executive Summary of a Business Plan

The Executive Summary is the most important part of your business plan. This is because it’s the first section in your plan, and if it doesn’t excite readers, they won’t continue reviewing it. Importantly, there is a way to ensure your executive summary is compelling and includes the key information readers expect. In this article, you’ll learn how to craft the perfect executive summary for your business plan.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

Table of Contents:

What is an executive summary, why do i need an executive summary, how long should an executive summary be for a business plan, how to write an executive summary for a business plan + template, sample executive summary, other helpful resources for writing your business plan.

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.

As mentioned above, your business plan is a detailed document that requires time to read. Capturing the reader’s attention with a concise format that provides an 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 executive summary should never exceed 3 pages; the ideal length is one or two pages.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

To write a compelling executive summary, follow the steps below and use our executive summary template as a guide:

State the Problem and/or Business Opportunity

Briefly describe your business idea, provide key information about your company history, conduct market research about your industry, identify the target market or ideal customer, explain your competitive advantage, establish relevant milestones for your business to achieve, develop a financial plan, describe the qualifications of your management team.

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

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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Business Overview Launched late last year, 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.,,,, 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 target 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:

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Shoutmouth Members 626,876 4,289,580 9,577,020
Unique Visitors 2,348,050 8,390,187 18,633,659
Total Page Views (Millions) 20.7 273.5 781.0
Revenues $165,431 $2,461,127 $7,810,354
Expenses $1,407,958 $2,591,978 $2,838,423
EBITDA ($1,242,527) ($130,851) $4,971,931

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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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Executive Summary Examples & Templates

When introducing your business to angel investors, stakeholders, and venture capitalists, they won’t want to sit through fifty pages explaining why they should work with you. A simple and effective way to present your business in a palatable way is to write an executive summary. This document can tell the potential investors what to expect from the meeting where you will discuss your business plan or investment proposal. It will summarize the reason for your project.

Have you ever prepared an executive summary? If not, the following guideline and Executive Summary Example should help you create a concise and compelling one.

What Is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary is a broad overview of a business document that tells the reader everything they need to know about a business plan or investment proposal. While the length and scope will often depend on the document being summarized, most executive summaries are about one to two pages long. Important documents that usually include an executive summary include:

  • Project plans
  • Business cases
  • Project proposals
  • Environmental studies
  • Research documents
  • Market surveys

Purpose of an Executive Summary

As mentioned, most lenders, executives, managers, and investors will not want to take time out of their busy day to read an entire novel-sized document. Still, they will want to know what your plan is about and why they should invest in or approve it. A summarized version of the plan – the executive summary – presents an analysis of all your arguments, funding considerations, and projected returns, among other key details. This is often enough to convince them to take a better look at your plan.

Essential Elements of an Executive Summary

A business plan consists of your company’s mission, vision, product or service description, brand identity, goals, target market, and financial projections. In turn, an executive summary should be a short version of your business plan. It should contain the following details:

  • Your company’s name and office locations
  • Mission and vision
  • A brief history and company description
  • An overview of your management, advisors, and employees
  • A product or service description, including its niche market and competition status – how does it stand out from products from other companies?
  • Company goals and objectives
  • Startup financial budget and projected returns
  • A review of how the reader can help you accomplish your goals

How to Write an Executive Summary

Most executive summaries have four main parts: the problem, the solution, the value of the solution, and the takeaway. The following step-by-step guide will help you flesh out these elements with information that your stakeholders want to know.

Step 1: Define the Pain Point

Start by defining the problem that your business plan or project proposal aims to solve. Include market research and customer feedback to back up your claims and explain why this problem is worth solving. How will solve it helps your target market? Why does it matter?

Step 2: Outline Your Solution

Next, explain your solution and convince the stakeholder that it is the right approach to the problem. Answer the question, ‘how will my product or service solve the problem?’ Once you have, support your solution with facts and figures.

Tip: At the time of writing an executive summary, you will often not have the complete map of your product or service and milestones. Rather than use this document to brainstorm, briefly tell the reader what you plan to do and back it with success-rate research.

Step 3: Expound on the Value of Your Solution

Now, go into detail about how the solution you have described will solve the problem you defined in step 1. Why is your solution important? What results will it yield? This is also where you should highlight potential returns, projected risks, and financial projections for the solution. You should also explain how it ties into your company’s mission, vision, and goals.

Step 4: Supply the Takeaway

Lastly, guide the reader to a takeaway by telling them what they should conclude from your executive summary. Think of this as one final chance to convince them to get on board.

Executive Summary Example

The following is an Executive Summary Example for the imaginary company: Green Future Ltd.

Company Mission

Green Future Ltd. provides green energy solutions to factories, industries, warehouses, and homes, allowing efficient functioning that is safe to both the user and the environment. Our mission is to help you watch TV, drive your tractor, and perform your manufacturing process without worrying about your health or those around you.

Company and Management

The Green Future Ltd.’s main office is located in Jersey City, New Jersey, with branches in Huntington Beach and Bayonne. It is owned and run by Holly Howard, Ph.D., an environmental engineer at MIT, and James Sutton, MBA, who has 30 years of experience in green solar energy solutions.

The company management consists of the two owners and a board of advisors that includes:

  • Malcolm Right, CEO of Right Engineering Firm LLP
  • Att. Grace Hawkins of the Law Offices of Grace Hawkins (Environmental Law)
  • Hellen Irene of ABC Marketing and Accounting

Our Services

We cater to industries, companies, farms, and homeowners that would like to switch to more affordable, environment-friendly, and efficient energy sources and systems. Our services include:

  • Solar panel installation
  • Panel restorations
  • Windmill constructions
  • Biogas plant construction
  • Bio-digester system installation
  • Energy consultations
  • Large scale green energy solutions
  • Energy recycling
  • Round-the-clock repair services

Recently, the call for industries to turn to green energy has become more prominent. More and more companies in New Jersey are looking for ways to optimize their energy use for more efficiency in industrial processes, a smaller carbon footprint, and affordable solutions. According to our market research, eight out of every ten business owners in Jersey City alone plan to switch to solar energy within the next five years.

Competitive Edge

Currently, there are five companies offering green energy solutions in New Jersey but none at our scale. Four of these businesses cater to small-scale farms and homes, while one only focuses on large plants. Green Future Ltd. emphasizes its all-size approach because our solutions can be up or downscaled to meet the needs of a single homeowner or multi-warehouse industry. Our technicians are also highly accredited and from prestigious engineering schools in the country.

Financial Projections

Our market research shows sales projections of $3.6 million for the first year and a steep 20 percent growth rate for the next four years.

Startup Requirements

Green Future Ltd will need $1.5 million in startup costs to finance this first year of operation. The owners have already invested $900,000 toward the capital.

Executive Summary Samples & Templates

Executive Summary Example #01

An executive summary is a brief overview of a business plan or project proposal, usually found among the first pages of the entire document. It captures the reader’s attention and tells them everything they need to know about the company, your plans, and where they come in – so they can decide whether to invest in or approve your plan (project). If you are preparing to meet with potential stakeholders, this guide and the Executive Summary Example should help you capture and keep their attention.

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

February 14, 2024

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.

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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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How to Write a Great Executive Summary in a Business Plan

Executive Summary Template

Free Executive Summary Template

  • March 2, 2024

11 Min Read

executive summary

We all know that pursuing investors for funding or entrepreneurs for partnership is a challenging task. But an engaging executive summary makes it easy for you.

A well-written executive summary acts as the first impression in convincing your readers of anything related to your business.

But the question is how to write one!

See, include all the sections in the summary, highlight all the main points of the business plan, keep the language simple & clear, and voila, you will have a nice executive summary.

But if you want to know more about how to write an engaging executive summary in a business plan with all the tips, then hop on, let’s begin.

What is a business plan executive summary?

An executive summary is a concise and compelling overview of the whole business plan. It includes and highlights all the key points of the plan as an introduction.

It should be clear, well-structured, and engaging, prompting the reader to want to learn more. It also should provide enough information to convey the business plan’s purpose.

Simply put, it is an outline of the business plan. And it helps readers to understand your business before making any decision.

Executive Summary vs. Business Plan

A business plan is a detailed document that has sections like executive summary, company’s description, product or services, market analysis, marketing & sales strategy, management team, and more.

Whereas, an executive summary is a concise overview of the whole business plan. It also acts like an elevator pitch with a brief information about the business.

The length of a business plan can range from ten pages to fifty pages longs, while an executive summary is only a couple of pages long. Generally, the executive summary is written after writing the entire business plan.

Now as we know the difference between a business plan and an executive summary, let’s move forward with the actual purpose of the summary.

Purpose of an executive summary

An Executive summary is one of the core parts of the business plan, and it has many purposes instead of just being a section, let’s see:

Concise overview

An executive summary is a short version of your business plan. Since not everyone has time to read the full plan, a well-crafted summary gives investors a quick overview of your business, helping them make decisions right there and then.


Executive summary plays a crucial role in the decision-making journey. As it presents all the facts and key findings of the business concisely, it helps decision-makers get a quick overview in no time. This way, readers do not have that fear of not making an informed decision.


An executive summary makes a document more accessible to a wider audience. Those who are not an expert in understanding all the technicalities of the plan can get the gist of the entire business plan by reading an executive summary.

Now that you know the importance of writing an executive summary, let us move forward with the topic of how to actually write one.

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executive summary for business plan examples

How to write an executive summary for a business plan

1. introduce the purpose.

First things first, let your readers know what is this all about—meaning what your document is all about and which business you are doing.

Then introduce the purpose your business plan is going to address. This way you are setting the base of your business plan, giving a clear idea to the readers about why this document is important.

2. Give the company description

Here, briefly describe your company. It includes things like business name , location, owners, company history, and other such things of the business that matter.

If you are just starting up, then focus on the qualifications and responsibilities of your team members.

Highlight any key milestones or achievements demonstrating your company’s growth and success. This section should give readers a clear understanding of what your company does, why it exists, and how it has evolved.

3. State the problem and how will you solve it

Mention the problem in the market first that your product or service will help solve. This will make your readers confident about your market research and your offerings.

Then showcase the innovative solution your business will offer. Highlight the unique value proposition of your business along with it. Also, mention how your product or service is a market fit and has demand in the industry.

4. Outline market analysis

Once you have defined the problem and solution, it is time to mention the market landscape for your business. It should include the market size, expected growth, target market, and all other demographics.

Also, highlight your competitive advantage here. And mention the market share you are going to capture.

5. Define your business model

In this section, mention how your business earns the revenue and how it works. It sets a clear picture of how your company will make a profit and cover the costs.

This information is necessary for investors, so make sure to present it engagingly and realistically.

6. Give an overview of your marketing and sales strategies

Once you start the business, one of the most important things investors would want to know is how will you attract customers. Therefore, this section is all about what strategies you will implement to bring in new customers and how your business will retain them.

It includes the brand message, logo, marketing medium, and all other tools you have for marketing. Apart from that, it also showcases the seriousness of reaching the sales goal of your business.

7. Mention the team you hired or will hire

Provide an overview of the organizational structure and current team. Introduce yourself and your team members, along with their qualifications and roles in the firm.

Also, identify any gaps and the needs of other employees in the business. In short, this section gives readers a clear understanding of your team’s capabilities and how you plan to leverage their skills for the success of your business.

8. Mention your financial summary

In this part, you outline your company’s current brief financial summary and future projections. It includes annual revenue, sales and expenses, and milestones for the coming years.

For existing companies, former years’ revenue and sales numbers can act as evidence to support forecasts. For startups, it is suggested to include all the costs as it will help investors to know completely about the financial picture of your company before making any decision.

9. Funding requirement

If you are preparing your business plan’s executive summary for seeking funding, then make sure to include this section. Make sure what you include in this section and what you ask practically.

Some of the questions you need to answer in this section are:

  • How much funding do you need in total?
  • How much have you already secured?
  • How much are you seeking from the current readers?
  • Where are you going to use this funding?
  • How much will this funding impact your business?

Answering these questions will help investors get a quick look at your funding requirements without having to wait till the end of your business plan. This saves time and is more efficient.

How long should an executive summary be?

Before you write an executive summary, this question might have occurred to you a lot more times what is the ideal length of a summary, right? Worry not, let’s discuss the length here.

Keep your executive summary as short as possible, because your audience has limited time and attention span.

Generally, executive summaries are 1-2 pages long, but you can exceed this norm if necessary. However, it is necessary to consider the length of the business plan too before you finalize the length of the executive summary.

The key over here is to get the reader’s attention and highlight all the essential points of a detailed business plan.

Tips for writing an effective executive summary

Understand your audience.

Before writing the summary, you need to first know and understand your audience. Consider their background, knowledge level, and expectations to ensure that the summary matches their expectations.

Keep it as an elevator pitch

Remember, executive summaries are like elevator pitches. You’re selling your business just by reading the focus points only.

Perhaps readers would want to know every aspect of your business, and with a well-written summary, they can have the essence of the business in no time.

Keep it short and sweet

Ideally, a great executive summary is about a page or two. Whatever length seems ideal to you, make sure to make it a brief and not a detailed one. Keep it as short as you can without missing the needed part.

Prefer to write it last

Though being the first sections, entrepreneurs generally choose to write the executive summary at the end, till then, they have a thorough knowledge of the entire plan.

And it is easier to write the summary after having all the focus points to write about. So, prefer writing the summary in the end.

Use a structured format and highlight the main points first

You have to present your summary in an organized structure, though change the order as per the importance. You can highlight the main things first and then gradually go to the financial plan. In short, in skim reading, your audience should get the crux.

Example of a business plan executive summary

A couple of pages is not enough to give every detail of your business in the summary. So, including everything important and in an engaging manner becomes a challenge.

This even includes writing a compelling introduction to grab readers’ attention. Too much isn’t it? To overcome that, explore the below-given executive summary example as inspiration to write yours.

Business Name: Elegance Bistro Location: Queens, New York Type of Business: Restaurant

Elegance Bistro is a new upscale dining establishment located in the vibrant borough of Queens, New York. Our mission is to provide an elegant and unforgettable dining experience, combining exceptional service with a curated menu of gourmet dishes inspired by global cuisine.

Despite the diverse culinary scene in Queens, there is a lack of upscale dining options that offer a refined ambiance and high-quality cuisine. Residents and visitors seeking an upscale dining experience often have to travel to Manhattan, leading to a gap in the market that Elegance Bistro aims to fill.

Elegance Bistro will provide a sophisticated dining experience that showcases the rich diversity of flavors and ingredients found in global cuisine. Our menu will feature a selection of expertly crafted dishes made from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, ensuring freshness and quality in every bite.

Market Analysis

Queens is a thriving culinary destination, known for its diverse population and vibrant food scene. With a growing number of residents and tourists seeking unique dining experiences, there is a significant opportunity for a high-end restaurant like Elegance Bistro to attract a discerning clientele. There is a competition for the same, but our dining experience with appealing ambiance stands out from all.

Our curated menu includes all the culinary dishes that are popular among New Yorkers and tourists.

Our mission at Elegance Bistro is to elevate the dining experience in Queens by offering exceptional cuisine, impeccable service, and a warm, inviting atmosphere that celebrates the art of dining.

Financial Position

Based on our market research and projected sales, we anticipate generating annual revenues of $1.5 million in our first year of operation, with a net profit margin of 15%. Our startup costs are estimated at $500,000, which will be primarily used for leasehold improvements, kitchen equipment, and initial marketing efforts.

Year Revenue COGS Operating expense EBITDA
1 $500,000 $150,000 $100,000 $150,000
2 $600,000 $180,000 $120,000 $180,000
3 $700,000 $210,000 $140,000 $210,000
4 $800,000 $240,000 $160,000 $240,000
5 $900,000 $270,000 $180,000 $270,000

Funding Requirement

To fund our startup costs and initial operating expenses, we are seeking a total investment of $750,000. This will allow us to launch Elegance Bistro successfully and establish a strong presence in the Queens dining scene.

So, finally, you know what it takes to write an engaging executive summary. We hope this has been helpful to you in your writing journey.

If you are still confused or don’t know where to start, then you can always rely on good business plan software like Upmetrics—an AI business plan generator . It will provide you with step-by-step guidance and AI assistance, so you don’t have to roam to and fro for the next step. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is executive summary first in the business plan.

Yes, an executive summary is the first chapter of the business plan. Yet, people prefer to write it at the last, after having the full knowledge of the whole business plan.

What writing style should I use?

An executive summary serves as the introduction to the business plan. So, ideally, it should be in a professional tone. However, whichever writing style you choose, make sure it is clear, concise, engaging, and maintains professionalism. 

What are the key elements of an effective executive summary?

Key elements of an effective executive summary are:

  • Introduction
  • Problem statement
  • Market analysis
  • Value proposition
  • Business model
  • Financial Overview
  • Implementation plan
  • Call to action

By including these key elements in your executive summary, you can effectively communicate the key points of your business and make a strong impression on your audience.

What is the best format for an executive summary?

The best format for an executive summary is one that is clear, concise, and well-organized.

It should provide a brief overview of the main points of the document, including the purpose, problem & solution, market analysis, unique value proposition, business model, financial position, team, milestones, funding requirements, and call to action.

The format should be easy to read and understand, with headings and subheadings to break up the text.

When should I update my executive summary?

You should update your executive summary whenever any necessary changes to your business impact the information in the summary.

If there are no frequent changes, then you should change your executive summary at least once in a quarter, two quarters, or a year.

About the Author

executive summary for business plan examples

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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executive summary for business plan examples

How To Write an Executive Summary in 2024 + 4 Real-World Examples

Learn how to write an executive summary that perfectly captures your brand and business strategy.

executive summary

An executive summary serves as a crucial part of your business plan. Learn how to write one that draws your readers in and shares your company mission.

To launch, promote, and expand your small business, you’ll need to be able to articulate what makes it special to the people who matter, including consumers in your target market, potential investors, and the media. One of the best ways to do this is through an executive summary.

Read on to learn the role an executive summary plays in a successful business or organization, and how to write an executive summary that perfectly captures your brand and business strategy .

Table of contents

What is an executive summary?

When to use an executive summary, how to write an executive summary, 3 executive summary examples, you’re ready to write your own executive summary, executive summary faq.

An executive summary is a short document containing the most important information about your business (or, if you’re just starting out, your business model or idea). Executive summaries often appear at the beginning of a longer report or document, such as a business plan or project proposal .

A good executive summary provides a high-level overview of your business that not only provides essential information about your business, but also grabs a reader’s attention.

Executive summaries are written for and used in a variety of contexts, including:

  • Business plan
  • Project proposal
  • Investment proposal
  • Public relations/ media pitch
  • Shareholder report

Regardless of the format or audience, a well-written executive summary typically acts as a “front cover,” offering the key points of the entire document in a way that convinces your target audience to buy, invest, approve, publish, or take some other desired step.

  • Answer the right questions
  • Use AI to help
  • Keep it concise
  • Ask someone to edit your summary
  • Write a boilerplate version

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to writing an effective executive summary, because it always depends on the context and who you’re writing it for. The most important and compelling information changes depending on the scenario.

Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and consider the information most important to them. For instance, the executive summary for a proposal for a prospective investor may be more persuasive and forward-looking, with a focus on how profitable you expect your business to be in the future. Meanwhile, an executive summary for market research should highlight some of the findings or results from a more retrospective point of view.

Whatever your overarching purpose, consider the following tips and common mistakes while writing your executive summary.

1. Answer the right questions

Whether you’re writing an executive summary to customers, your management team , or an entirely new audience, make sure to answer the following questions:

  • Who are you? Provide a brief company description that explains your brand. Depending on your audience, you may want to focus on what you’ve achieved, or the value and benefits of your products.
  • What will your audience learn? Give readers a quick overview of what follows in the larger document: market analysis, a project plan, or a description of a new business, etc.
  • Why should your audience care? Consider why you’ve prepared the larger document. Are you looking to secure funding? If so, what does a potential investor stand to gain?
  • What highlights should readers be excited about? Tease some of the most critical information or details to come.

2. Use AI to help

Not everyone’s a writer. AI language processing tools can help if you have writer’s block. You can even use AI to automate the process, especially if you produce a lot of documents that need executive summaries.

AI-powered algorithms can sift through data efficiently, identifying key information and trends, and condensing them into a concise executive summary. This not only saves valuable time but also ensures summaries are data-driven and aligned with the succeeding information.

And as new data becomes available or when reports are updated, AI can automatically revise and update the summaries, ensuring they remain current and relevant. This is particularly valuable in industries where information changes rapidly, such as finance, health care, and technology.

While AI can generate summaries that are coherent and informative, it may lack the context and deeper understanding that a human writer can provide. So it’s always important to review and add your own touch.

3. Keep it concise

The length of your executive summary heavily depends on the context. For example, an executive summary for an entirely new business plan likely will be more detailed than one for, say, a product launch press kit .

In any case, an executive summary generally should not exceed a few pages, or 5% of the overall length of the longer document.

To keep your executive summary short, be sure to include only the main points or key findings of the larger piece, saving any unnecessary background details for later sections. If appropriate, consider using bullet points or graphics to quickly communicate the essentials.

4. Ask someone to edit your summary

Writing an executive summary that convinces decision makers to read your full business plan or proposal is no easy task, and chances are you won’t get it right the first time. With that in mind, editing is an essential step to drafting an executive summary. You might even consider hiring a professional writer to handle it for you.

If you don’t have the time or budget for a professional, consider sending your draft executive summary to a trusted team member, or even someone outside your organization. Be sure to brief them about the purpose of the executive summary and who’s going to be reading it.

5. Write a boilerplate version

As a business owner, you’ll be producing a range of documents, including project proposals, annual reports, press releases , and internal onboarding documents. Rather than reinventing the wheel with each new output, consider preparing an executive summary template to serve as a foundation for each new document. You can then rework this executive summary for more specific purposes.

Remember, your executive summary should set the stage for whatever is to come next. The executive summary is the first impression you give your audience, so think about what you want that impression to be and then craft your summary around that.

Executive summaries can vary from business to business and document to document. Here are a few diverse examples of an executive summary.

  • Allbirds sustainability report
  • Love Your Melon press release
  • Cotopaxi impact report

1. Allbirds sustainability report

Allbirds uses an executive summary to describe its mission-driven company as part of its 2022 Flight Status report . Sustainability is a major value of the Allbirds brand, and this report will be read by consumers and investors who are interested in the company’s environmental impact.

Screenshot of Allbirds 2022 Flight Status report executive summary

Here, Allbirds devotes just a few paragraphs out of 28 pages to its executive summary, which outlines the company’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and highlights the results of its efforts in the previous year.

The summary is short but sweet, offering a concise analysis of the company’s achievements without feeling too self-congratulatory. As an added bonus, Allbirds includes a graph on the next page to communicate its message visually.

2. Love Your Melon press release

Like most brands, Love Your Melon includes a brief, boilerplate executive summary in every press release, such as this one . Love Your Melon’s executive summary is essentially a company description meant for a wider audience, and has likely been reused for many different purposes.

Screenshot of Love Your Melon about page

Here, the executive summary is titled “About Love Your Melon” and describes the brand’s mission to fight pediatric cancer. Love Your Melon also includes specific metrics—always ideal for persuasive purposes, especially because numbers don’t lie—touting its 215,000 gifted hats to children and $8.3 million in donations. Furthermore, the executive summary provides a call to action (CTA) for readers to learn more about the brand on social media.

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3. Cotopaxi impact report

Cotopaxi , another CSR-minded brand, also publishes an annual impact report detailing the contributions it’s made toward social and sustainable goals. For its 2022 Impact Report , Cotopaxi begins with an executive summary divided into two sections. The first section, “About Cotopaxi,” provides a broad overview of the company, including its mission to fight poverty, its corporate footprint, and some financial information.

Screenshot of Cotopaxi 2022 Impact Report about Cotopaxi executive summary

The second section, “About This Report,” previews what topics readers will learn about in the pages that follow, as well as the sources of the information and limits of the report’s scope and focus.

Screenshot of Cotopaxi 2022 Impact Report about the report executive summary

While relatively dense, Cotopaxi’s executive summary offers readers everything they need to know about the company’s impact and the report’s authority in just a few pages.

Your executive summary is more than just an introduction to a report or document: it serves as the highlight reel that draws your audience in. Writing a persuasive executive summary will undoubtedly take a few tries, but with the advice and examples above, you’ll be well on your way.

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How long is an executive summary?

The exact length of an executive summary will depend on what kind of business document it’s a part of, as well as its intended audience. In general, though, an executive summary should be no more than a few pages, or 5% to 10% of the document’s overall length.

What should an executive summary include?

  • An introduction to the document
  • Highlights and key points in the document
  • What readers can expect to learn from the document

What should not be included in an executive summary?

An executive summary should offer the broad strokes of your business plan, proposal, or report, without including all the details or getting overly technical. The goal is to write an executive summary that draws the reader in and provides just enough context for the document that follows.

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executive summary for business plan examples

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  • How to write an executive summary, with ...

How to write an executive summary, with examples

Julia Martins contributor headshot

The best way to do that is with an executive summary. If you’ve never written an executive summary, this article has all you need to know to plan, write, and share them with your team.

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is an overview of a document. The length and scope of your executive summary will differ depending on the document it’s summarizing, but in general an executive summary can be anywhere from one to two pages long. In the document, you’ll want to share all of the information your readers and important stakeholders need to know.

Imagine it this way: if your high-level stakeholders were to only read your executive summary, would they have all of the information they need to succeed? If so, your summary has done its job.

You’ll often find executive summaries of:

Business cases

Project proposals

Research documents

Environmental studies

Market surveys

In general, there are four parts to any executive summary:

Start with the problem or need the document is solving.

Outline the recommended solution.

Explain the solution’s value.

Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work.

What is an executive summary in project management?

In project management, an executive summary is a way to bring clarity to cross-functional collaborators, team leadership, and project stakeholders . Think of it like a project’s “ elevator pitch ” for team members who don’t have the time or the need to dive into all of the project’s details.

The main difference between an executive summary in project management and a more traditional executive summary in a business plan is that the former should be created at the beginning of your project—whereas the latter should be created after you’ve written your business plan. For example, to write an executive summary of an environmental study, you would compile a report on the results and findings once your study was over. But for an executive summary in project management, you want to cover what the project is aiming to achieve and why those goals matter.

The same four parts apply to an executive summary in project management:

Start with the problem or need the project is solving.  Why is this project happening? What insight, customer feedback, product plan, or other need caused it to come to life?

Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives.  How is the project going to solve the problem you established in the first part? What are the project goals and objectives?

Explain the solution’s value.  Once you’ve finished your project, what will happen? How will this improve and solve the problem you established in the first part?

Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work.  This is another opportunity to reiterate why the problem is important, and why the project matters. It can also be helpful to reference your audience and how your solution will solve their problem. Finally, include any relevant next steps.

If you’ve never written an executive summary before, you might be curious about where it fits into other project management elements. Here’s how executive summaries stack up:

Executive summary vs. project plan

A  project plan  is a blueprint of the key elements your project will accomplish in order to hit your project goals and objectives. Project plans will include your goals, success metrics, stakeholders and roles, budget, milestones and deliverables, timeline and schedule, and communication plan .

An executive summary is a summary of the most important information in your project plan. Think of the absolutely crucial things your management team needs to know when they land in your project, before they even have a chance to look at the project plan—that’s your executive summary.

Executive summary vs. project overview

Project overviews and executive summaries often have similar elements—they both contain a summary of important project information. However, your project overview should be directly attached to your project. There should be a direct line of sight between your project and your project overview.

While you can include your executive summary in your project depending on what type of  project management tool  you use, it may also be a stand-alone document.

Executive summary vs. project objectives

Your executive summary should contain and expand upon your  project objectives  in the second part ( Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives ). In addition to including your project objectives, your executive summary should also include why achieving your project objectives will add value, as well as provide details about how you’re going to get there.

The benefits of an executive summary

You may be asking: why should I write an executive summary for my project? Isn’t the project plan enough?

Well, like we mentioned earlier, not everyone has the time or need to dive into your project and see, from a glance, what the goals are and why they matter.  Work management tools  like Asana help you capture a lot of crucial information about a project, so you and your team have clarity on who’s doing what by when. Your executive summary is designed less for team members who are actively working on the project and more for stakeholders outside of the project who want quick insight and answers about why your project matters.

An effective executive summary gives stakeholders a big-picture view of the entire project and its important points—without requiring them to dive into all the details. Then, if they want more information, they can access the project plan or navigate through tasks in your work management tool.

How to write a great executive summary, with examples

Every executive summary has four parts. In order to write a great executive summary, follow this template. Then once you’ve written your executive summary, read it again to make sure it includes all of the key information your stakeholders need to know.

1. Start with the problem or need the project is solving

At the beginning of your executive summary, start by explaining why this document (and the project it represents) matter. Take some time to outline what the problem is, including any research or customer feedback you’ve gotten . Clarify how this problem is important and relevant to your customers, and why solving it matters.

For example, let’s imagine you work for a watch manufacturing company. Your project is to devise a simpler, cheaper watch that still appeals to luxury buyers while also targeting a new bracket of customers.

Example executive summary:

In recent customer feedback sessions, 52% of customers have expressed a need for a simpler and cheaper version of our product. In surveys of customers who have chosen competitor watches, price is mentioned 87% of the time. To best serve our existing customers, and to branch into new markets, we need to develop a series of watches that we can sell at an appropriate price point for this market.

2. Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives

Now that you’ve outlined the problem, explain what your solution is. Unlike an abstract or outline, you should be  prescriptive  in your solution—that is to say, you should work to convince your readers that your solution is the right one. This is less of a brainstorming section and more of a place to support your recommended solution.

Because you’re creating your executive summary at the beginning of your project, it’s ok if you don’t have all of your deliverables and milestones mapped out. But this is your chance to describe, in broad strokes, what will happen during the project. If you need help formulating a high-level overview of your project’s main deliverables and timeline, consider creating a  project roadmap  before diving into your executive summary.

Continuing our example executive summary:

Our new watch series will begin at 20% cheaper than our current cheapest option, with the potential for 40%+ cheaper options depending on material and movement. In order to offer these prices, we will do the following:

Offer watches in new materials, including potentially silicone or wood

Use high-quality quartz movement instead of in-house automatic movement

Introduce customizable band options, with a focus on choice and flexibility over traditional luxury

Note that every watch will still be rigorously quality controlled in order to maintain the same world-class speed and precision of our current offerings.

3. Explain the solution’s value

At this point, you begin to get into more details about how your solution will impact and improve upon the problem you outlined in the beginning. What, if any, results do you expect? This is the section to include any relevant financial information, project risks, or potential benefits. You should also relate this project back to your company goals or  OKRs . How does this work map to your company objectives?

With new offerings that are between 20% and 40% cheaper than our current cheapest option, we expect to be able to break into the casual watch market, while still supporting our luxury brand. That will help us hit FY22’s Objective 3: Expanding the brand. These new offerings have the potential to bring in upwards of three million dollars in profits annually, which will help us hit FY22’s Objective 1: 7 million dollars in annual profit.

Early customer feedback sessions indicate that cheaper options will not impact the value or prestige of the luxury brand, though this is a risk that should be factored in during design. In order to mitigate that risk, the product marketing team will begin working on their go-to-market strategy six months before the launch.

4. Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work

Now that you’ve shared all of this important information with executive stakeholders, this final section is your chance to guide their understanding of the impact and importance of this work on the organization. What, if anything, should they take away from your executive summary?

To round out our example executive summary:

Cheaper and varied offerings not only allow us to break into a new market—it will also expand our brand in a positive way. With the attention from these new offerings, plus the anticipated demand for cheaper watches, we expect to increase market share by 2% annually. For more information, read our  go-to-market strategy  and  customer feedback documentation .

Example of an executive summary

When you put it all together, this is what your executive summary might look like:

[Product UI] Example executive summary in Asana (Project Overview)

Common mistakes people make when writing executive summaries

You’re not going to become an executive summary-writing pro overnight, and that’s ok. As you get started, use the four-part template provided in this article as a guide. Then, as you continue to hone your executive summary writing skills, here are a few common pitfalls to avoid:

Avoid using jargon

Your executive summary is a document that anyone, from project contributors to executive stakeholders, should be able to read and understand. Remember that you’re much closer to the daily work and individual tasks than your stakeholders will be, so read your executive summary once over to make sure there’s no unnecessary jargon. Where you can, explain the jargon, or skip it all together.

Remember: this isn’t a full report

Your executive summary is just that—a summary. If you find yourself getting into the details of specific tasks, due dates, and attachments, try taking a step back and asking yourself if that information really belongs in your executive summary. Some details are important—you want your summary to be actionable and engaging. But keep in mind that the wealth of information in your project will be captured in your  work management tool , not your executive summary.

Make sure the summary can stand alone

You know this project inside and out, but your stakeholders won’t. Once you’ve written your executive summary, take a second look to make sure the summary can stand on its own. Is there any context your stakeholders need in order to understand the summary? If so, weave it into your executive summary, or consider linking out to it as additional information.

Always proofread

Your executive summary is a living document, and if you miss a typo you can always go back in and fix it. But it never hurts to proofread or send to a colleague for a fresh set of eyes.

In summary: an executive summary is a must-have

Executive summaries are a great way to get everyone up to date and on the same page about your project. If you have a lot of project stakeholders who need quick insight into what the project is solving and why it matters, an executive summary is the perfect way to give them the information they need.

For more tips about how to connect high-level strategy and plans to daily execution, read our article about strategic planning .

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How Asana uses work management for employee onboarding

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4 ways to establish roles and responsibilities for team success

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Cost control: How to monitor project spending to increase profitability

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How to Write an Effective Executive Summary with Examples

Make writing your executive summary easier with these expert-vetted business plan executive summary examples

Download Business Plan Executive Summary Examples

Business Plan Executive Summary Examples

Download Executive Summary Template in Word Format

Download Executive Summary Template in PDF Format

executive summary sample

Download Executive Summary Template in Word

Download Executive Summary Template in PDF

No matter if you are presenting a business plan or an investment proposal, you need to preface your report with an executive summary. Executive summaries serve several important purposes, making them critical documents that can be challenging to write.

Executive summaries are used to introduce your project or business to investors, which is why they must be persuasive to catch their attention. The executive summary should cover your report’s major details, but you shouldn’t bore the reader with detail.

Let the report’s analysis, charts, and glowing reviews speak for themselves. During this section, you should grab your reader’s attention and tell them what you do and why they should read the rest of your business plan or proposal.

This article explains what an executive summary is, what benefits it has, what should be included, and how to write one. To help you accomplish this, we’ll show you how to write an executive summary that sets your business plan apart from the rest.

How to write an executive summary

What is a Perfect Executive Summary?

The executive summary is commonly used by businesses to secure traditional funding from banks and other lenders. Effective executive summaries can quickly and persuasively convey the potential benefits of an investment and help secure capital.

An executive summary is an essence and an essential part of the business plan . It provides a short, concise, and optimistic overview of the business, aims to capture the intended stakeholders’ attention, and provides them with a thoughtful glimpse of business nature. It should describe your business, the problem it solves, your target market , and financial highlights.

The Executive Summary concise the Company’s mission and goals, how a business will start or perform its operations, and how it is looking forward to the future outlook keeping in view the market and industry trends.

Dig Deeper : How to write an effective business plan


Is it Necessary to Write an Executive Summary in Business Plan?

Executive summaries are intended to capture the reader’s attention and encourage them to read further for more information. If your executive summary provides enough value to the reader, then they might be motivated to take action without actually reading your entire business plan.

Many of the people who read business plans, including lenders, investors, and executives, simply don’t have time to read the entire document, so executive summaries let them absorb the key points and quickly assess multiple proposals at once.

How Long Should an Executive Summary be?

An executive summary should be as short as possible. You need to get your business plan across to your audience quickly since they have limited time. Ideally, your executive summary should be under 2 pages , but you can extend it if you have to.

  • Introduction –draws a complete picture of the organization’s aims and objectives and how they will be achieved.
  • Describe your product or service and the problem your business solves- Explain your product or service and why it is necessary. It’s not essential for your business to solve a larger social issue, but it should address a customer need or market opportunity.
  • Target market – Include a clear and concise definition of your target market, as well as the need or pain point that you hope to solve.
  • Competition – identifies the competition , competitive advantages, and strategies for getting market share. Do you compete on price, quality, or something else? Describe what makes your company different .
  • Marketing and sales strategy – briefly outline the plans for marketing products/services.
  • Financial Overview- Here you should make sales projections for the next five years after your business plan is implemented. Identify your break-even point, and inform your audience when you expect to turn a profit.
  • Management – The following is a brief history of the organization, its management, staff, and partners. A potential investor wants to know who is behind the business idea and why you and your team are the best for the job. 
  • Funding Needs- The executive summary of your business plan should state how much money you are seeking for your business. Investors will want to know this in advance and not have to dig through a business plan for it.
  • Evidence of Financial Stability-  A banker will look for evidence of your financial stability, such as your net worth, assets, and financial history, when you apply for a loan.

The Executive Summary includes information about achievements, growth plans, expansion plans, and established business marketing strategies. An executive summary outlined for an established business includes : 

  • Business information – Gives a brief history of the business, when and where it was formed, products or services, owners and key employees, statistics such as the number of employees, and business locations.
  • Business highlights – define the business’s evolution and how it has grown, including year-over-year revenue increases, profitability, increases in market share, and customer numbers.
  • Financial Summary – if the purpose of updating the business plan is to seek additional financing for expansion, it gives a brief financial summary.
  • Future goals – describes the goals for the business. If the business seeks financing, explain how additional funding will be used to expand the business or otherwise increase profits.

Get our proven business plan examples to help you create your plan quickly and easily.

How Long Should an Executive Summary be

8 Tips For Writing an Effective DIY Executive Summary

Whatever your reasons for writing an executive summary are, there are a few general rules of thumb that will make it easier, and ultimately more effective. Keep these in mind as you begin:

1. Attract The Reader’s Attention.

In addition to being informative, a good executive summary should also capture the audience’s attention immediately so that they feel compelled to read the rest of the report.

It should be thorough, but it shouldn’t divulge everything. Investors should be able to read your executive summary and feel like they have a general understanding of your business concept, your abilities, and the kind of information they’ll find inside the plan,” Ferriolo said . “This is your chance to draw them in and make them want to know more.”

2. Consider Revising Your Executive Summary Until It Can Stand Alone.

It should be easy for a person without prior knowledge of your business or industry to grasp the key findings from your research, as well as the primary parts of your business plan , with a tightly informative introduction, body, and conclusion.

3. Write It Last

Your business plan shouldn’t begin with your summary. Many experienced entrepreneurs (including me) like to write an executive summary after they’ve finished their full business plan.

4. Keep Your Executive Summary Short

Keep it short and to the point. I know experts who recommend a single page, just a page or two, no more than five, and sometimes even longer. For me, less is more. Keep it concise without omitting anything essential.

5. Start Off Strong

You can capture the reader’s attention by beginning your summary with a thought-provoking statistic or a related and inspiring quote.

6. Keep A Positive Attitude

The executive summary should highlight only the positive aspects of your research and business plan. You should leave the discussion of risks, obstacles, and challenges to the body of your plan. Maintain a positive tone throughout your summary.

7. Sections Should Be Prioritized Based On Importance And Strength

The most important information should appear at the top of your executive summary. You should begin with the most important item and follow up with items in order of importance. A summary that starts with a problem often inspires drama and urgency , which tees up the solution in your business.

8. Provide Supporting Research.

Make sure you provide research to support the claims you make in the executive summary and cite this in the footnotes of a business plan.

Tips for Writing an Effective DIY Executive Summary

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How to Write an Executive Summary for a Bank Loan

As part of a loan application, a banker needs to know and understand your business in order to provide a loan, but they don’t take risks.

The executive summary must address the main points mentioned at the beginning of this article, plus a few selected points that highlight stability, assets on the balance sheet, and financial history and prove that the loan is not risky.

The banking law forbids banks from lending money to businesses that do not have enough assets to cover the full value of the loan, and then some. Bank regulations prohibit this.

Indicate Your Net Worth

A banker wants to look at the personal net worth of the owners of the firm, whereas investors want to see how much startup experience the management team has. The more collateral, money, or other investments you have, the better chance you have of obtaining the loan.

Your Financial History And Bankable Assets Should Be Transparent

In contrast to investors, bankers want to see past financial history and bankable assets. Provide every piece of financial information about yourself, current investors, and any past businesses.

Pro Tips: Learn how to write a financial plan in a business plan by pros!

Evidence Of Your Potential Stability And Longevity

Bankers want their commercial borrowers to offer future stability, instead of looking at possible exits. You don’t need exact figures, but defining growth, future cash flow, costs, and sales by year can serve as evidence of stability.

Bank Loans Are Risk-Free

Small business administrations (SBAs) in the United States work with local banks to guarantee some of the riskier small business loans, allowing small businesses to borrow money.

Traditional business plans are required for SBA loans, just as they are for bank loans. There should be an executive summary covering the five primary areas outlined in the first section.

Financial stability still needs to be described as you would for a bank. There may, however, be fewer restrictions and more funding will be available to riskier enterprises.

The executive summary is the first thing your readers will see. Moreover, if it’s poorly written, it will also be the last thing they read, as people will place your business plan aside unread.


How to Revise and Perfect your Executive Summary?

You may need to revise your business plan executive summary to make sure it checks all boxes. 

Business debtors and potential investors will look into your business plan executive summary. If it doesn’t catch their attention, they may put your proposal aside and don’t consider you for the loan or investment. 

You can improve and perfect your business plan executive summary by following these simple steps.

Note the Important Points of the Executive Summary 

You will start by reading your existing executive summary. The point is to note all the important points of your executive summary. You will write the headings as well as the description for each heading in only one sentence. 

When you note only the important points, it will force you to rethink your executive summary. As an executive summary works as a preface to your business plan, you’ll see how effectively your executive summary presents your business plan. This exercise will deepen your understanding and improve your presentation. 

Rewrite using the above Important Points 

Let’s get back to the grind and rewrite the executive summary. 

Use the notes you made in the last step. Expand the headings of the executive summary using those notes.

These are the headings you’ll use in the executive summary. 

  • Introduction to the Executive Summary 
  • Product or Service 
  • Target Market 
  • Competition 
  • Marketing Strategy 
  • Financial Overview 
  • Management Plan 
  • Funding Needs

Don’t look at your existing business plan executive summary. A fresh executive summary based on the points taken from the existing one is the goal of this exercise. 

Read it Loud

Once you have rewritten the business plan executive summary, read it aloud to hear how it sounds. Involving more of your sensory system helps you understand the text better. Also, reading a text aloud helps you notice flaws you might think didn’t exist. 

Use a Beta Reader 

A beta reader is anyone who has some knowledge of the topic and an interest in reading it for you. 

A beta reader can tell you if your business plan executive summary presents your business plan accurately and correctly and if it sounds convincing. 


Explore More Business Plan Executive Summary Examples

Use Wise Business Plans ‘ diverse collection of free business plan examples to find the one that fits your company’s profile, and use the free executive summary examples as inspiration for your own.

FAQs About Executive Summary Examples

Helpful resources, quick links.

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


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.

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.

Executive Summary Format & Template

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

How to Write 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.

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 .

executive summary for business plan examples

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Executive Summary Template

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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.

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.

Collaborate and organize documents such as the executive summary in ProjectManager

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.

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.

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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.

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How To Write an Executive Summary (with examples)

executive summary for business plan examples

An effective executive summary can mean the difference between a client win and the recycle bin. It's arguably the most valuable component of any business proposal , but many people get confused when it comes time to put pen to paper.

An executive summary is not actually about summarizing at all; it’s about selling. Here’s how to write a proposal executive summary that seals the deal, including the 5 key components you need and some helpful dos and don'ts.

(This article was originally published on 7/4/2017 and updated on 05/16/2023)

There is so much dissent surrounding the executive summary of a proposal— Where does the executive summary go? How long should an executive summary be? How do you format an executive summary? These uncertainties can add to the already stressful task of getting a winning proposal written, designed, and delivered to the prospective client on time. It’s time to set things straight.

What is an executive summary?

The executive summary is arguably the most valuable component of any proposal. It serves as an introduction, allowing readers to quickly get acquainted with your proposal by outlining what’s to come. It gives you an opportunity to sell your proposed solution and explain why the prospective client should choose you over the competition.

The purpose of an executive summary

First of all, the term “executive summary” needs a rebrand. The name itself speaks of stuffy suits, boring, jargon-filled reports, and boardrooms filled with cigar smoke and people ready to say no.

men in a boardroom

They can’t wait to read your executive summary.

In all seriousness, the word “summary” can be misleading, and this is the first mistake people often make when it comes to writing their executive summary. They think that the purpose of an executive summary is to explain the entire proposal in 250 words. But it’s not.

The real purpose of an executive summary is to engage your prospective client. It helps the prospect quickly decide whether they're going to read the rest of the proposal, pass it on to other decision-makers, or if it's destined for the recycle bin.

So you better make it good.

The executive summary of your proposal needs to grab the reader’s attention and pique their interest. Even though you and your team spent painstaking hours writing this proposal, selecting just the right graphics, and coming up with the best solution for your potential client’s problem, they may only read this one page and then flip to your pricing table.

That’s why this section needs to be specific and persuasive, with a focus on results and benefits of your company/product/service, rather than describing features. You can save the features for the body of the proposal.

When should you write the executive summary?

Whether you write the executive summary before or after the rest of the proposal is as contentious as the debate about the best part of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup: the chocolate or the peanut butter.

Some people feel that you should write the executive summary first because it can help you outline your concept and organize your thoughts for the entire proposal. That way, it acts as a guide for members of your team who are tasked with preparing sections of the proposal, ensuring that the big idea is consistent throughout, and that all necessary components are included.

Others feel strongly that you should write the executive summary after you’ve prepared the rest of the proposal because you’ve had a chance to work through the objectives and the solutions, and you’ll have a better idea of what to say and how to say it. Plus, things may have changed since you first started the proposal, so you might need to adjust your approach.

How to format an executive summary

The format of an executive summary is an important consideration that many people overlook. What do you include? How do you arrange the sections? To help you get started, here are the components of a good proposal executive summary:

The Opener: Capture their attention

You need an opener that's compelling. A way to get the potential client’s attention right away, and you do that by talking about THEM, not about you. Focus on the issue and the result, but be direct, concise, and evocative.

This is the time to hook them in — get them excited about what they’re going to read next.

The Need: We get it

Before a client hires you, they want to know that you get them. You can’t solve a problem that you don’t understand. This section of the executive summary is where you demonstrate your grasp of the situation. You could include a bit of your own research or a brief reference to your company’s experience dealing with a similar situation. You should also talk about how the client will benefit from solving the problem — what will change, the positive outcomes, the results.

Again, the focus here is on the prospect and their challenge, not on you and your company.

The Proposed Solution: We’ve got it

Now you’re in the spotlight. This section is where you talk about the brilliant solution you’re proposing and why it will work. But remember, this is just an overview. The prospect can read all the delicious details in the proposal, so keep it high level but still provide enough detail to convince them you have something specific and well thought out for them.

This section should start to provide your prospect with a sense of relief and get them excited about the result.

The Evidence: We can do it

It's time to show your stuff. Talk about why your company, your team, or your product is not only willing to take this challenge on, but how and why you're qualified to do so. Demonstrate what sets you apart and why they should choose you over the competition.

Maybe this is your niche market and you have lots of experience helping other companies with a similar issue. Maybe it’s a particular skill set your team possesses, your research, your algorithm, or your project management process. Or maybe you’ve won 27 Academy Awards for best picture, and you know you can make this a hit.

Talk about WHY you can make this a successful project and deliver results, but (broken record) keep it brief.

The Call to Action: Let’s do it

Keeping in mind that the purpose of the executive summary is to sell, it’s now time to close the deal.

Make the client feel like they have no other chance for happiness than to hire you and proves your solution is the one that will make their dreams come true.

Talk about why you want to work with them — a little flattery goes a long way — and about how, as partners, you will be successful.

Executive Summary Examples

Without further adieu, here are four (fictional) business proposal executive summary examples that will get your prospects excited to work with you.

1. Example of Ecommerce Executive Summary

Prospect: Gyuto -- Japanese chef knife brand Sender: ThinkBig -- Shopify design agency Project title: Shopify ecommerce Proposal

Gyuto sells what is arguably the coolest line of artisanal, sustainably-sourced kitchen knives in the world. They're handmade in Japan, capable of slicing tomatoes as thin as paper, and surprisingly affordable, considering the attention to detail. But as impressive as Gyuto knives are, you've got a static website that merely showcases low-res photos of your product line and requires customers to pick up the phone and place orders manually.

As you're well aware, placing orders manually is not sustainable. It’s severely limiting your potential for sales, and it's negatively affecting the way your customers perceive and experience the Gyuto brand. You need an ecommerce store so that customers can easily buy products from you directly at any time, from anywhere, however they want. This is the only way to grow your business online.

Lucky for you (and 1,000,000 other retailers around the world) there's Shopify. Shopify is an awesome hosted ecommerce app that empowers retailers with an easy-to-use, easy-to-manage, customizable online store and secure checkout. Shopify gives you control over the look and feel of your store and allows you to add products, manage inventory, track sales, and more. It's hassle-free ecommerce that allows you to focus on other aspects of your business.

We'll focus on implementing Shopify and leveraging its features to help drive Gyuto revenue and improve your customer experience. We'll also include powerful search and categorization so customers can easily and quickly find what they're looking for. We use best practices so that product pages convert users to add more items to their shopping cart. And then, most importantly, we’ll guide people down the conversion funnel to complete the checkout process. With this solution, we aim to grow your monthly sales by 50% within the next six months.

Here at ThinkBig, we're proud to be Shopify experts. That means we're among an elite group of developers who have been trained and approved by Shopify to help businesses like yours grow their online presence. Our Shopify status only enhances our already extensive knowledge of ecommerce trends, functionality, customer behaviour, and design. We've helped many businesses transform underperforming sites to an all-out sales boom just by improving their online shopping experience.

We love working with companies like Gyuto. Those who embrace the changes required for growth while still honouring their brand values and customer loyalty. With this attitude, a partnership with ThinkBig can transform Gyuto from mom and pop shop to family-run global online enterprise in a way that is manageable, sustainable, and profitable. We've done it for superstar brands like Dollar Shave Club, and for soon-to-be star brands like Rum Runners Rum Cake Factory.

If you're ready to increase your monthly sales by 50% in 6 months, we're ready to take you there. This proposal outlines in more detail how we'll do it, and what you can expect along the way. But your biggest expectation should be one of success.

As you can see, ThinkBig addresses all five aspects of a winning executive summary. They focus on the client with the opener, identify the prospect's need in the second paragraph, offer a solution with evidence to back it up, and include a clear call-to-action. While this sample executive summary is on the longer side, it tells the prospect exactly why ThinkBig is right for the job before they even get to the meat of the proposal.

2. Example of Marketing Executive Summary

Prospect: Pete’s Pizzeria -- Toronto pizza restaurant Sender: uGrow -- Social media marketing agency Project title: Social Media Marketing Proposal

Pete’s Pizzeria has been our favorite restaurant since the very first day we moved our offices to Toronto. The crispy-yet-fluffy crust is to die for, the sauce is otherworldly, and don’t even get us started on that fresh buffalo mozzarella you use. Surely this isn’t the first time you’re hearing this, but we have a feeling that you don’t hear it often enough. We noticed that you don’t have much of a social media presence, which is unfortunate because we think that everyone in the city should be lining up to eat at Pete’s Pizzeria.

If you weren’t already aware, social media is one of the most effective ways to expand your reach and grow your business. Without it, you’re leaving a giant, untapped pool of potential customers on the table and you risk losing existing, hungry customers to other restaurants that they follow. What you need is a social media marketing strategy to showcase your delicious restaurant in order to increase sales and customer loyalty.

Fortunately, uGrow can help. We’ll leverage Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to get your name out to millions of users. Here’s how: First, we’ll get you set up on each of the platforms and work with you to establish the Pete’s Pizzeria brand and voice. Then, we’ll take some stunning pictures of your food and write captions with trending hashtags. After that, we’ll create a consistent content calendar and posting schedule to maximize engagement. And to top it all off, we’ll manage all of the accounts to grow follower counts and increase traffic to your website. With this approach, we expect to increase your sales by 25% before year end.

At uGrow, we specialize in helping small, Toronto restaurants like Pete’s Pizzeria reach their full potential and grow their business. We’ve worked with over 75 restaurants across the city and throughout the GTA, and every one of our clients saw an increase in sales within three months of us taking over their social media. We’ve had several posts go viral, which resulted in our clients’ restaurants being completely sold out for the following weeks. All this to say: we love Pete’s Pizzeria and want to help you get the attention you deserve.

If you’re interested in increasing your sales by at least 25% by the end of the year, we can make it happen. This proposal goes into more detail on how exactly we plan to execute on your social media marketing strategy, and what you can expect once we start. Let’s get Pete’s Pizzeria trending.

In this sample executive summary, uGrow does a great job at playing to Pete’s Pizzeria’s pain points (whew!), and offers specific solutions and outcomes to build credibility with the prospect. uGrow also makes a great use of social proof to demonstrate its effectiveness with evidence from past clients.

3. Example of Cleaning Services Executive Summary

Prospect: ELC Holdings -- Property management company Sender: CLEAND -- Commercial cleaning services company Project title: Cleaning Services Proposal

With over 15,000 rentals in 3 states, ELC Holdings is one of the biggest property management companies in the midwest. Your growing portfolio of residential and commercial properties is seriously impressive, but we heard you could use some help keeping your commercial spaces in good shape. As people begin to return to the office, it’s essential that your properties are clean, safe, and compliant to public health guidelines.

As you know, maintaining commercial spaces is no walk in the park. It takes a lot of time and effort to clean even one floor, let alone 4. And that’s just one of your many buildings. But now more than ever, it’s important that your spaces are well-maintained so that your tenants feel safe and secure. It’s not an easy task, especially if you lack the staff and equipment. This is why you need commercial cleaning services.

Having spent over 25 years in the cleaning services industry, we’ve built an experienced team and an arsenal of cleaning equipment that will leave your building absolutely spotless. We offer daily, weekly, and biweekly cleaning arrangements to ensure that your buildings are always in perfect shape for your tenants. From the carpets to the ceilings and everything in between, we can help you clean and sanitize every last corner of your properties so you can rest assured that your tenants are happy.

CLEAND specializes in commercial cleaning services, and has worked with over 200 businesses across the Midwest. We currently have contracts with the United Center and the Auditorium Building in Chicago, and haven’t had a single complaint in the 10 years they’ve been using our services. We provide consistent, reliable results, and stand by our commitment to quality. In fact, if you aren’t happy with our services, we’ll pay the first month’s bill if you switch to another cleaning services company.

ELC Holdings is one of the biggest property management companies in the Midwest, and CLEAND is one of the best cleaning services companies in the area. What do you say we join forces? This proposal outlines how our services could benefit your company, and details what to expect if you choose to seize this opportunity.

This sample cleaning services executive summary immediately highlights the prospect’s pain points and explains why CLEAND is uniquely positioned to help relieve them. It incorporates all five components of a well-written executive summary and even highlights different service offerings before the prospect digs into the solutions section of CLEAND’s cleaning services proposal .

4. Executive Summary Template Example

Here's an example of an executive summary made using a customizable proposal template from Proposify's gallery.

Of course every executive summary needs to be tailored to your specific project, your potential client's needs, and your brand voice. But if you're looking for more inspiration, we have many other business proposal templates that you can customize yourself.

Proposal Executive Summary Example

Executive summary tips: The Do’s and Don’ts

Some other important points and guidelines to keep in mind when writing your executive summary:

Do: use a template for your executive summary Getting started is the hardest part of writing a proposal executive summary. If you’re struggling to get the ball rolling, consider using a business proposal template that includes a sample executive summary. This can help ensure that you cover everything an executive summary should include.

Don’t: make it too long

Some people recommend that the executive summary should be 10% of your entire proposal, but it’s best if you try to keep it to one page, two tops if it’s a larger proposal. Be mindful that if you’re working on an RFP, they may already set out a particular length limit, so you’ll want to stick to that.

Don’t: use jargon

This rule applies to everything but is especially important when writing proposals. Jargon can act as a smokescreen to mask the fact that someone doesn’t really know what they’re talking about, or it can confuse people if they’re not familiar with the same terms.

Don’t: use overly technical language

Unless you are absolutely sure that the only person who will read the executive summary is an engineer or a developer or someone who will understand exactly what you’re talking about, don’t get too technical. In some situations, you may need to reference certain details, but remember that this is a persuasive document—sell the benefits, not the features. Save the tech stuff for the proposal.

Don’t: talk about your company history

The history of your company does not belong in the executive summary. After all, the executive summary is about your prospective client, not about you. However, if it is appropriate and relevant, put it in the body of the proposal under “About Us” or something.

Do: focus on your prospective client

Think about what they want to know, not what you want to tell them. Like any piece of copy, you need to write for your audience, so make sure you think about them; what turns them off and what turns them on.

Do: mention your potential client’s company name

People like to hear their names and the same holds true for businesses. Make sure you reference your prospect’s full company name several times in the executive summary, so they feel like you’re focused on them.

Do: use plain language

The regular rules for writing apply to executive summaries. Use simple, short sentences that are clear and can be understood at almost any reading level, especially if you might be writing for people whose first language is not English. Don’t be pretentious - you’ll come off like an ass. Be concise, and be persuasive. Here are some more writing tips for writing an effective business proposal .

Do: proofread and edit

This probably goes without saying, but you really, really don’t want any typos in your executive summary. Get more than one set of eyes on your document before it goes out, and preferably someone who wasn’t involved in its creation.

We hope this executive summary guide will help turn your ho-hum executive summaries into wicked pitches of excellence. Remember to be persuasive, not pedantic. And if anyone has a suggestion on a new name for executive summary, bring it on.

Jennifer Faulkner

Director of Communications @proposify. Channeling Maria Von Trapp, Queen Elizabeth II, and my taxi-driving, yard-sale-obsessed grandmother. Professional word nerd and unapologetic disciple of the Oxford comma. Connect on LinkedIn

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executive summary for business plan examples

Free Executive Summary Template [PDF + Masterful Examples]

Use these templates to craft an effective executive summary for your business or project.

According to Time Magazine, 55% of people only read a piece of content for 15 seconds. Attention spans across the board are at an all-time low —  including those of potential investors and project stakeholders. If you want to capture and hold interest, then you need to craft an engaging executive summary that can effectively hold someone’s focus.

Before you dive into the details of your business plan or project proposal,  your first step should be an executive summary that captures the attention of those in a position to give buy-in.

Think of the executive summary as the back cover of your book. It convinces readers to purchase a copy because the storyline is worth their time. An investor or C-level executive with limited time probably won’t feel motivated to read a full business or product plan without a compelling executive summary.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to write a captivating executive summary, what to include in the document, and jumpstart yours with customizable templates.

What is an executive summary? 

An executive summary is a brief synopsis of a larger document such as a report or business plan. It provides a quick overview of your business plan with details like a description of your company, financial information, and market analysis.

The executive summary is made for lenders, investors, and busy executives who don’t have time to read the full proposal.

Done right, it zeroes in on what your prospective investor or project sponsor wants to hear and clearly communicates the value of your business or plan. Many investors or stakeholders will only read the executive summary during the first contact with your business, so all the information they need should be included. 

The goals of an executive summary include:

  • Grab the reader’s attention
  • Tell them what to expect in the business plan so they are motivated to keep reading
  • Provide a high-level overview of your company, your short-term and long-term goals
  • Acts as an elevator pitch

What is an executive summary in a business plan?

An executive summary in a business plan is a concise overview that provides a snapshot of the key elements of the plan as it pertains to the business overall. It outlines the business concept, objectives, market analysis, financial projections, and other essential information. The executive summary serves as a summary and introduction to the entire business plan, allowing lenders, investors, and decision-makers to quickly grasp the main points and make informed decisions.

What is an executive summary in project management?

An executive summary in project management is a summary of the most critical information of your project proposal. It’s everything that management needs to know when they land on your project before they review your project plan .

An executive summary in project management shouldn’t be confused with a project overview. While they have similar elements, an executive summary can stand alone as a document, while a project overview needs to be attached to your project.

Executive summary vs abstract

An abstract summarizes a document like a journal article while an executive summary sums up a longer document.

An abstract is mostly used in academia as a requirement when submitting conference papers, book proposals, or applying for a research grant. The abstract is not an excerpt but an original document that is self-sufficient.

An executive summary is aimed at a business audience. It contains information to help executives make funding decisions. Where the language in an abstract is technical, the language of an executive summary is non-technical. An executive summary is written as a condensed version of a project plan to secure buy-in while an abstract is written for orientation.

Executive summary vs introduction

The introduction is the first part of your project plan or business plan. It explains what the project is about and the goals you want to achieve. On the other hand, the executive summary is a standalone document condensed into a few paragraphs. It is thorough and high-level. Decision-makers can choose to read only the executive summary and still get the gist of the entire project proposal.

Think of the introduction as the first few pages of a long book with many chapters and an executive summary like a short book with only one chapter. You can understand both context and storyline when you read a short book. 

What should an executive summary include? 

For a project .

What is the problem you’re going to solve? What product plan, customer feedback, or insight led to this project? Why should it happen now ? These are questions to lead with in the opening paragraph of your executive summary.

What steps or methods are you taking to solve the problems you’ve listed in the opening paragraph? What are the goals and objectives you’ll achieve at the end of the project? Detail the answers in this section.

Value proposition

This is an important section where you briefly explain the value of the outcome. What is the ROI of the solution you’ve proposed? How will it improve service delivery and customer experience?

In a few sentences reiterate why it’s important to solve the problem now and the next steps or actions you want the reader to take.

For a business plan 

Introduction  .

For a business plan, the introduction is an opening statement that explains the purpose of the document. Your goal is to grab and hold the reader’s attention by clearly communicating the value of the business and the desired outcome. 

Company description

Include the following details in the company description:

  • Business name and location
  • Contact information
  • Description of the purpose
  • Leadership, founders, and current investors at your company
  • The team responsible for the project

Products and services

Briefly explain the problem you’re going to solve. If you’ve conducted research that shows a need for the proposal, include your findings here. Also, explain how you’ll accomplish the project goals and what you’ll need for success.

Market analysis

A few questions to answer in this section include:

  • Is there a market opportunity for the problem? 
  • How do you plan to grow your customer base and expand your market share? 
  • What is the five-year growth plan for this product/service? 
  • What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned about your target audience that the reader should know?

Competitive analysis

Questions to answer as part of your competitive analysis include:

  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are the present and future opportunities?
  • What is the unique value proposition of the product or service?
  • Do you have experience with competitors?
  • What are the risks particular to this niche or line of product?
  • What roadblocks do you expect to address?

Funding request and use

Use this section to sweeten the pot for investors. How much will you need to fund your business? What is the profitability of your business? How will investors benefit?

Financial projections 

Include financial data that supports your research such as:

  • The budget baseline for your business plan
  • Your projected revenue for the first three years
  • Your plan to manage finances
  • Your current and future business finances


The conclusion is a recap of the problem and the solution. Ask about the decision you want the reader to take. The outcomes should be obvious but leave room for intrigue so they feel compelled to read the rest of the business proposal.

Executive summary examples 

Executive summary presentation.

Often, executive summaries are presented to stakeholders in addition to the document. Get the templates below to snag these PowerPoint executive summary presentation templates.

Executive Summary PPT Template

One-page executive summary template  

A one-page executive summary is a short document with a big impact. You’ll present it as a mini version of a project plan during a meeting with decision-makers or as a business plan when pitching investors.

A few details to include in a one-page executive summary:

  • Business name
  • Financial information
  • Use of funding
  • Management team
  • Business model
  • Unique value proposition
  • Competitive advantage
  • Go-to-market strategy

Executive Summary Template One-Pager

Startup executive summary template

Your startup executive summary could be the difference between getting a pitch meeting or not. Venture capitalists and investors and overwhelmed with pitches from startups looking for a partnership. 

An executive summary is the fastest way for them to learn about your company and evaluate its potential. It’s usually a one-page document that is concise, yet detailed and engaging. Before writing your startup executive summary, determine the goal and ensure it matches what potential investors want to see.

Details to include in your startup executive summary:

  • A description of your product or service
  • The value proposition
  • Market analysis showing the merit of the project
  • Your current business model and future plans
  • An explanation of your market and customer base
  • Financial projections and funding request
  • Other special information that could sway a decision in your favor

Executive Summary for Business or Startup

Business plan executive summary template

The business plan executive summary shouldn’t exceed two pages. Make sure you’ve tailored it to your audience to show why the opportunity is special. An executive summary for a business plan should include:

  • Mission statement
  • Company information with details about your services or product
  • Business highlights describing how you’ve grown over the years. Include details of revenue increase, number of customers, profitability, revenue increase, and market share
  • Future goals
  • Financial summary
  • A closing sentence that reassures the value of the plan

Project executive summary template

The goal of a project executive summary is to show what life will look like after you’ve executed the project. Your executive summary should tell a story that helps the reader visualize the solution and inspire them to choose you.

The executive summary should be written as the final step of your project proposal template. This way, you save time revising the content.

Details to include in a project executive summary:

  • Summary of the challenge the client wants to solve
  • Description of how you’ll solve the pain point
  • Overview explaining how you’ve solved similar problems in the past
  • Unique value that competitors don’t offer

Marketing plan executive summary template

An executive summary for a marketing plan offers an overview of how you’ll reach your intended audience and drive conversions.

Details to include in a marketing plan executive summary:

  • Introduction
  • Brief description of your company and key leaders
  • Project goals and objectives
  • Your product or services and the major features and benefits
  • Description of market factors and trends affecting them
  • Who is your audience and how will you reach them?
  • Financial projections

Healthcare executive summary template

A healthcare executive summary template is used in formal communications for hospitals, government health agencies, and nonprofits. The template accommodates longer-research proposal plans targeted at a wider audience of the general public, external investors, and management.

Details to include in healthcare executive summary:

  • Project topic
  • Overview of the organization
  • Two to three key problems that have a profound impact on quality care, operations, or regulatory compliance
  • A proposed solution to each identified problem
  • Obstacles and opportunities
  • Policy changes and program proposal
  • Vision and recommendation

Executive summary report template

An executive summary for a research or analyst report offers an overview of key points from the research.

Details to include in a report executive summary report:

  • Brief description of your company
  • Analysis findings
  • Why these findings matter

Here's an example: 

Report Executive Summary Example

How to write an executive summary

1. write a problem-based introduction.

Use the opening paragraph to explain why your project matters. Outline the problem with supporting research or customer feedback to strengthen your claim. The reader should understand why it’s important to solve the problem now and the relevance to your customer base. 

A powerful way to grab attention is to open with a customer quote or thought-provoking statistic that forces the reader to sit up and listen.

For example:

“I wish this camera had a longer battery life span so I could record an entire football game on 4K without switching to full HD when the battery is low .” - Customer review
In a recent survey, 70% of our customers expressed a desire for a camera with a longer battery life that could last up to six hours while recording in 4k. 80% said they wouldn’t mind paying more for the convenience of not having to log extra battery packs when going out. To serve our existing clientele and improve our market share, we need to create a camcorder that performs at optimal levels while using fewer resources on battery life.

2. Tell your story

Use storytelling to explain the mission statement of your organization. Explain how you’ll use your skill and experience to solve the problem you’ve highlighted in the introduction. Storytelling sets the tone and gets the reader excited about reading the project plan.

3. Make sure you’ve done the research 

While an executive summary is short, it’s loaded with research. Research shows that you know your competitors, understand your target audience, and have a plan for capturing a significant market share.

Think of your executive summary like an elevator pitch. If an investor only read your executive summary without making it to the project proposal or business plan, what would you want them to know?

4. Outline the solution

After telling the reader the pain points and explaining your business credentials, use a bullet list to outline the solution. Your goal is to convince the reader that your solution is the best fit. Save deliverables and milestones for the project proposal. Instead, describe what will happen during the project so the user can picture the outcome working for them.

5. Show the value of the solution 

This is where you get into more details about the impact of the solution. Explain how the results provide relief and improve ROI for the company. include potential risks that may arise and relevant financial information such as income projections.

6. Formal or informal tone?

While an executive summary usually has a formal tone, your decisions should be based on your audience. 

Presenting to your C-level executives in your company? What language do they respond to? Don’t be afraid to break the mold if it gets the desired results. However, avoid clichés as they rub readers the wrong way.

If you’re presenting to investors, use language that resonates with your audience. Use personal pronouns like “I”, “you” and “we” over impersonal pronouns like “they” or “the company.

7. Make sure the summary can stand alone 

If you follow the clearly defined structure we’ve listed above, your executive summary can stand on its own merit. Keep revising the document until you’ve achieved this goal. The introduction, problem, solution, and conclusion should be detailed, yet concise. 

After writing, take a second look and read from the viewpoint of the decision-maker. Is there any section where more context is needed to clear confusion and help the reader understand the summary? Consider linking to a relevant section in the project proposal or explaining briefly in the summary.

8. Be concise

Every word in your executive summary must have an impact. The executive summary is not the place to brainstorm new ideas as it could jeopardize the project plan. 

Avoid using jargon words. Readers without prior knowledge of your company or niche should understand key findings by reading the executive summary alone.

 When you find yourself going deep into details, pull back and ask yourself if this belongs in the project proposal or executive summary. The goal is to keep the executive summary engaging and actionable.

9. Proofread for errors 

Before sending it off to executives or potential investors, read through the document three times in order to catch errors. It also helps to send it to a colleague to review with a fresh pair of eyes in case you missed a typo here and there.

10. Write the executive summary last

It takes longer to write an executive summary when you haven’t yet written the project proposal or business plan. Instead, wait to create a summary until you’ve written the full document, then pull details. This ensures that your executive summary captures the information you’ve detailed in the project plan.

Manage your executive summary templates with Guru

An executive summary is a quick and easy way to bring stakeholders up to speed on your project proposal. In a few paragraphs, you can communicate the problem, why it matters now and the key information they need to make a decision.

Rather than creating a new executive summary from scratch, these templates will add impact to your report and speed up the process. Use Guru’s knowledge management software to store your templates, collaborate remotely, and work efficiently on projects.

FAQ for executive summaries

Where does an executive summary go in a report.

Place the executive summary before the table of contents and after the title page. Include a page break before and after the executive summary.

How long should an executive summary be?

Most executive summaries are 5-10% of the length of the project proposal. Ideally, aim for one page for a 20-page project proposal.

Who is the audience of an executive summary?

The audience of an executive summary can include:

  • Project stakeholders
  • Management personnel who make decisions on funding
  • Venture capitalists
  • C-level executives

What is included in an executive summary?

Elements to include in an executive summary are:

  • A summary of the key points of the project proposal report
  • Major points of the report you want the reader to remember
  • The goal of the report
  • Results and recommendations from the report
  • Other details that enable the executive summary to function as a standalone document

WTO / Business / Proposals / 31 Executive Summary Examples (Guide + Free Templates)

31 Executive Summary Examples (Guide + Free Templates)

A well-crafted business proposal should grab the reader’s attention immediately and make them want to read your entire business plan; this is because there are instances where investors or sponsors make an early judgement and decision based on your business plan. Therefore, it is mandatory to write a great executive summary. By definition,

An executive summary is a synopsis and/or a brief introduction of your business strategy.

It helps to describe your business, the problems identified in the market and the possible solutions your business will provide, your target audience, and the business’s financial highlights. Moreover, this summary highlights the important sections and information in the main business plan document to the readers. 

Therefore, if you are planning on impressing your potential investors or sponsors, it is necessary that you craft a perfect summary that not only helps you over the investors but also highlights the key information contained in the rest of the proposal.

Notably, it can also be used in an already established organization. The executive summary plays a huge role in the formulation and presentation of a new strategic plan or a yearly operations scheme by emphasizing on the important points that are contained in the overall proposal.

Free Templates

Free Downloadable Executive Summary Template 01 as Word File

Executive Summary Format

Most businesses will have different business plans. Therefore, your summary will heavily rely on the purpose of your business objectives.

Here is a basic format for any executive summary:

  • Introduction– Your introduction should be direct to the point. It should state and describe the main purpose of the summary.
  • Need– It is mandatory to identify a need or a problem in the market that your proposal will solve; this will help capture the attention of the investors or sponsors into reading or considering your business proposal.
  • Solution– Once you have identified a problem, provide an implementable and working solution. By doing this, the investors will be interested in reading more of your summary. As a result, this will boost your credibility.
  • Proposal– Provide the investors with the idea of what your business is all about. The this summary should pinpoint a problem in the current market and highlight the best solutions to those problems.
  • Conclusion– provide a short and informative conclusion; this will help you leave an impression and urge the investors to read more. In most cases, this part is always a paragraph in length. 

Writing an Executive Summary

It is important to have the potential investors and stakeholders in mind when you are developing an executive summary; this is because most of them will want to get a detailed overview of your business proposal.

Therefore, you will have to break down the business plan into several detailed paragraphs to explain your business plan’s main points extensively.

Executive summary for a startup business

The main aim of those intending to set up a new business is to acquire the startup capital. Therefore, regardless of how you get the finances, it is necessary to make a great impression for your business by writing and capturing captivating information in your summary.

Below is how you can write this summary for startup businesses :

  • Discuss the business opportunity– To start with, provide a summary of the problem your business is intending to solve in the current market. It is important to briefly elaborate to the investors the problem you have identified and propose the best ways that you think your business will solve them. Ensure that your business description is clear and straight to the point to avoid boring your potential investors.
  • Tell how your startup will take advantage of that opportunity– Clarify how your business will influence and improve the market. It is necessary that you provide strategies and ways in which your business will help in solving the problem that you have identified in the market. Additionally, identify the resources that you require in order to adequately solve the identified problem.
  • Explain your target market– Describe your target audience in detail. It is obvious that no matter how good your business proposal is, without an appropriate market, the idea is considered useless. Therefore, introducing your target audience to your investors is really important. It is necessary for them to understand who you are targeting, their needs, and how to get to them.
  • Clarify the business sales and marketing– Explain the marketing strategies you will employ when running your business. Any business striving to build its reputation and retain its relevance in the market has to employ sales and marketing strategies that will propel their sales. Therefore it is mandatory to ensure that you brief your investors on the marketing and sales tactics that will help your business proposal become a reality and beneficial at the same time.
  • Discuss your business model– Give a rough idea of the products and services you will offer and why they will attract your target market. In this stage, you will show and explain to your potential investors the plans that you have that will make your business a success. Without a concrete business model, most investors will disregard your proposal. Therefore, you will have to provide the investors with your revenue plan, your vision and mission and introduce your team.
  • Provide a financial analysis– Briefly provide and explain your financial strategies. The financial information you provide in your summary will be a way to find out the level of interest of the investors. Therefore, highlight your current financial state, the financial support that you need, and the profit margin your business is likely to generate. While doing this, keep in mind what is as stake.
  • Describe your management team– Give a brief description of your team, their qualities, and skills. Explain why you chose them and the value they will add to your business. A qualified team will make it easy for the business to grow and gain relevance in the market. Presenting a well-trained and qualified manpower to the investors will help you win them over with ease.
  • Provide an implementation plan– Provide the key steps on how you and your team will take the business idea and create an actual business out of it. In most cases, the investors are interested in knowing how the business proposal will be actualized. It is important to have a well-organized and workable implementation plan that will oversee the birth of a successful business.

Executive summary for established business

An executive summary’s main aim in this stage is to highlight the organization’s accomplishments, development plans, marketing strategies, etc.

  • State the company’s mission– State and explain the main objective of the business.
  • Provide some company information– Briefly describe what the organization does, its location, the number of employees, the products and services it offers, its geographical location, and its statistics.
  • Highlight the achievements– Provide a brief history of the organization, the growth of the business over the years, show who your regular and potential clients are, the profits you make, and the market share you own.
  •  Include a financial summary– Briefly show how the business earns its profits, how it spends the earned revenue, and its investments; this may prove very important, especially when applying for a loan.
  • Describe the company’s future goals– What is the company planning to achieve in the near future. Show who the key players are in this plan and who is targeted by this plan.

Executive summary for marketing proposal

The main aim of a marketing proposal is to allow the potential clients to see beyond the marketing strategies employed and the finances involved in the whole plan. The main purpose is to see how the business will turn out.

Additionally, the summary will provide the client with what to expect both from the business and working with you.

Below are the steps to be followed when preparing an executive summary for a marketing proposal:

  • Introduction– Provide a brief explanation of what the project is all about and the main objective of the marketing plan.
  • Company information– Give a summary of the company’s history, its objectives, its structure, and the clients it targets and serves.
  • Project management team– Provide information of all the key individuals in the management team, their qualities, skills, and the role they play in realizing the organizational goals.
  • Market analysis– Briefly describe who you are selling to, the marketing strategies you employ, the current trends in the market, what is influencing these trends, and how they affect your reputation and credibility.
  • Products and services– Describe the Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) for the products and services you are offering. Moreover, provide an analysis of the competitive advantage they bring to the organization.
  • Marketing strategy– Point out and describe who your potential clients are and how to meet and satisfy their demands easily.
  • Financial planning and projections– Provide a brief financial statement that breaks down both the long and short-term financial and marketing activities. Additionally, it will provide data on the prospected budget and the projected Return on Investment (ROI).
  • Goals– Break down the aims of the advertising promotion and the approaches that will lead to the business’s success.

Executive summary for a report

Another important use of the executive summary is as a prologue for a report. In this case, this summary will provide you with a breakdown of the information found in the report. It includes the objective, methodology, and major findings of the report.

With this summary, you as the reader can establish and understand what is in the report before even reading the actual report.

Below are the steps that you can use to write an executive summary for a report:

  • Write an opening statement– You should provide a short but detailed background on the scope of the report. In this phase, you will be required to briefly introduce and explain the subject covered in the report. By doing this, the reader will have an idea of what the full report is all about.
  • Explain the purpose of the research– Point out the objectives of the study you have discussed in the report. This step will succinctly point out the main purpose of the report by highlighting the main objectives of the report.
  • Highlight the methodology– Here, discuss the methods that have been used in the report to gather data and the analysis techniques employed. You will be required to point out all the methods that you used to gather data and show what you used to examine the collected data.
  • Outline the key findings– When it comes to key findings, elaborate on the outcome of your study and the major takeaways that you would like your readers to know. Additionally, break down the findings in such a way that you only highlight the key points; this will make it easy for the readers to relate and understand what your report is talking about.
  • Describe your recommendations– Write the recommendations you made in the report, and you can also add some justifications of the points you have made. In order to justify your points, it is necessary that you provide a brief elaboration of what your future recommendations are depending on the subject that you have covered in your report.

Supplementary Topics to Cover

These are extra details that your summary might need to cover or have as you prepare it.

Evidence of early success

In case you are a young business and are preparing a business plan, you may need to provide evidence of traction in your summary. This involves surveys from customers and sales numbers. You do not have to write much, but evidence of early success is proof enough to show that your business is doing well.

Evidence of early success also shows that your products, business type, and your research about the market are well-established.

Future milestones

It may also be wise to include what your business hopes to achieve in the future in your summary. Businesses with complex structures like drug companies may benefit by writing their plans or milestones in their summary.

You will need to mention your future agendas and establish where you are currently and how you plan to move further forward.

Evidence of financial stability

This is necessary when you want a loan from a bank or any other financial institution. In your summary, the bank might need evidence of financial stability like your finances, your money history, and assets before offering you a loan.

Do’s and Don’ts to Consider

Just like most documents, there are things to do and things not to do when writing them. For you to write an effective executive summary, here are some things you should observe. Stick to the do’s and steer clear from the don’ts to have a successful summary.

Do: Write a shining intro paragraph.

An executive summary is somewhat lengthy, and your potential client might not read the whole proposal. Therefore, you need a strong and shining introduction that will get the client’s attention and trigger him/her to read your summary.

A powerful introduction paragraph will ensure that even though the client decides to skim through your summary, he/she will still spot evidence of your confidence, skills, and abilities as you sell him/her your ideas.

Don’t: Steer clear of sweeping generalizations or false information.

Avoid all repetitive and overused statements. Do not use cliché statements. Try to use creative, unique, and honest information. Professional work makes the client excited and attracted to the plan of your executive summary. 

Do: Provide a thoughtful aim to your audience.

After a powerful introduction, focus on tailoring your summary to address the client’s specific needs and issues. Try and offer well-researched and detailed information that directly addresses your client for you to grasp and keep their attention.

Even if you choose to use a template, ensure you edit it so that the client can relate to your work.

Don’t: Do not get technical.

Avoid in-depth explanations and technical language. Such language will not be able to grab your reader’s attention. Use simple language that will be attractive to the client and will push the client to read the whole summary.

Do: Offer up an identifiable goal.

Clients are mostly interested in the end goal or solutions more than their problems and how you plan to solve them. They appreciate what your results will be. You can focus on the returns or profits the client will make your executive summary more interesting.

Clients focus on the benefits they will achieve; hence, if you want your summary to be attractive enough for them, research the potential gains they will achieve.

Don’t: Do not get carried away

It might be exciting to write an executive summary. However, do not get carried away when writing one. Try and summarize your ideas in a way that captures the attention of your readers. A one-page summary might be more comprehensive than a 20-page one.

Do: Pay close attention to detail.

Avoid mistakes in your summary. Try and focus on the details of your proposal correctly. Ensure you check and edit any errors in your summary before you submit it. Any mistakes might make you look unprofessional and might not get your summary approved. 

Don’t: Do not leave it till last.

Most of us might have been told that it is way easier to write an executive summary after finishing your report. However, do not be tempted to write your summary as the last thing. Write your summary first to avoid having to re-write new points that might emerge. This summary will act as a map and guide you as you make the actual report.

Do: Leave your company history in the past.

Mentioning your previous successes in your summary is not an issue. In fact, it helps to lure potential clients into being actual clients. However, an executive summary is not a place for you to start explaining your business’ or company’s history. Get straight to defining the problem, stating the goal, identifying the issues, and state the solutions. And by doing this, you save your and the client’s time.

Quick Tips for Your Executive Summary

Here are some professional tips that will help you in not only writing this summary but also representing it in front of the investors.

Writing tips

  • As you prepare to write an executive summary, think of it as a pitch. It should be attention-grabbing and still powerful.
  • Ensure you avoid writing your summary last to ensure you do not waste time changing your whole report in case of new content.
  • Have a brief and precise summary . You do not want to bore your client even before he/she reads your full report.
  • This summary should be simple. Avoid jargon and technical language.
  • Ensure you prioritize your sections based on the importance and strength of the information
  • You can also use your executive summary for your summary memo . Since this summary is a brief breakdown of what is in a report, it can be used as a summary memo which also serves the same purpose but is shorter.
  • Try to view different summary examples and templates before writing to make it easier. Through that, you will learn different formats and details that you need to write a proper executive summary.

Investor seeking tips

  • Prepare a proper executive summary as investors tend to use them to screen for opportunities.
  • Remember that investors always require a full business plan to complete due diligence as they review their candidates. A properly written summary will ensure you have a full business plan.
  • When writing for investors, ensure you briefly mention your previous experience or industry expertise.
  • Inform the investors of the amount of money you intend to raise and inform them how you plan to spend it in your summary.
  • Investors would like to understand your exit strategy for them to know when they can get their shares and sell them to get a return.
  • Convince the investors to believe in you through your summary. Be persuasive with your facts.
  • Save your time and that of the investors by avoiding clichés and obvious statements.

Tips for bank loans

  • Ensure you outline your personal net worth if you are to secure a loan from the bank easily. The bank will need proper collateral before you can secure a loan.
  • A bank appreciates honesty and transparency when it comes to your financial history and bankable assets. 
  • Ensure you provide evidence of your potential stability and longevity for them to determine their exit strategy after a while.
  • Banks do not like taking risks when it comes to loaning a business. Ensure you have a properly written summary that establishes your funds and stability.

Frequently Asked Questions

An executive summary should be a full rundown of the whole report. The general rule is that it should be about 7% of the length of the whole document.

The executive summary is the first part of the report, even before an introduction but after the table of contents. It summarizes the entire document, and one can get the gist without reading the whole report. On the other hand, the introduction does not provide a summary but states a brief explanation of what will be found in the report. Also, an executive summary is always longer than the introduction.

If you are writing an executive summary for outsiders, then it is necessary to have one. If your business plan is for internal use, then you do not need to write an executive summary.

Final Words

An executive summary is a document that is used for business purposes. You write it to summarize the synopsis of your business strategy. You should not write a very lengthy executive summary. Make it concise and use simple language which will grab the client’s attention. Whether for a report, a marketing proposal, or a young or established business, an effective executive summary should be powerful and observe the stipulated format. You can download our free Executive Summary Templates today and get yourself a creative and unique executive summary.

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Brian Beers

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How to Write a Business Plan Outline in 9 Steps (Example Included!)

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Starting a business often begins with writing a business plan , especially if you need funding . It acts as a roadmap, guiding you through each stage of launching and managing your company, and it presents a clear, compelling case to potential investors and partners. But here's the thing: not everyone finds this step intuitive. That's where a business plan outline can be incredibly helpful.

Creating a detailed business plan outline helps you organize your thoughts and ensure you cover all the key aspects of your business strategy. Plus, it might be just what you need to overcome that blank page and start typing.

Below, you'll find an easy-to-follow guide on how to craft your business plan outline, and an example to show you what it should look like.

​​ Build your dream business with the help of a high-paying job—browse open jobs on The Muse »

What is an outline of a business plan?

Think of a business plan outline as the skeleton of your entire business plan. It gives a high-level overview of the main sections you'll need to flesh out later. It's not the final document but a crucial step in getting you there.

Simply put, it's like creating a detailed table of contents for your business plan, showing you exactly what information to include and how everything fits together. A well-structured business plan outline also helps you plan things ahead, saving time and effort.

Writing a business plan outline in 9 steps

Follow these steps to build your business plan outline and learn exactly what each section should include.

(Bear in mind that every business plan is unique, tailored to the specific needs and goals of the business. While the structure below is common, the order of sections may vary—only the executive summary will always come first.)

1. Executive summary

Imagine you have just 60 seconds to convince someone to invest in your business. That's the essence of a strong executive summary. Although it appears first on your business plan, this section is often written last because it sums up the entire plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch . This section gives a quick overview of your entire business plan, highlighting key points that grab the reader's attention.

Keep it clear and concise. Start with a brief overview of your business, including its name and what it offers. Summarize your mission statement and objectives, and don’t forget to mention crucial aspects like financial projections and competitive advantages.

2. Company description

Here's where you provide detailed information about your company. Begin with the business name and location. Describe the legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation) and ownership. If your business already exists, share a brief history.

For new ventures, explain the business's nature and the problems you aim to solve. Go into more detail about your vision and mission statements, outlining your goals and the principles guiding your business. This section helps potential investors and stakeholders grasp your company’s identity and purpose.

3. Market research and analysis

This section shares insights into your company’s industry. Start with a landscape analysis to give an overview of the market, including its size, growth rate, and key players.

Next, define your target market and customer demographics—age, location, income, and interests—detailing who your ideal customers are. Identify market needs and trends your business will address, and highlight customer pain points your product or service aims to solve.

Consider conducting a SWOT analysis to evaluate your business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and gain a strategic view of where your business stands in the competitive landscape.

4. Organization and management

Describe how your business is structured and who runs it. Outline the organizational structure, and if helps, include a chart. Introduce the leadership team and key personnel, highlighting their qualifications and roles. If you have a board of directors, mention them and briefly explain their involvement.

Then, outline your production processes, detailing how your product or service is (or will be) created—from sourcing materials to delivery—to give a comprehensive view of your operational capabilities.

5. Products and services

This section of your business plan outline is crucial for showing potential investors what makes your products and services unique and valuable.

Clearly describe what your business offers, emphasizing your unique selling propositions (USPs) and the benefits and features that set you apart from the competition. Talk about the product life cycle, including any plans for future updates.

If your business holds any intellectual property or proprietary technologies, detail them here to underscore your competitive advantages.

6. Marketing strategy

Having a fantastic product or service is just half the battle. The marketing plan section should outline how you'll reach your target market and convert them into customers.

Begin with market positioning and branding, explaining how you want your brand perceived. Detail your marketing and promotional strategies, including specific tactics to reach your target audience.

Discuss your sales strategy, focusing on how you'll convert leads into customers. Lastly, include your pricing strategy and provide a sales forecast, projecting your expected revenue over a certain period.

7. Operations plan

Here, the goal is to give a detailed overview of the physical and logistical aspects of your company. Start with the business location and facilities, describing where it operates and any significant physical assets. Detail the technology and equipment needed for daily operations.

Briefly describe your supply chain and logistics processes to illustrate how you manage inventory, procurement, and distribution. Finish it by outlining your production process and quality control measures to ensure your products or services consistently meet high standards.

8. Financial plan

Use this section of the business plan to show how your company will succeed financially. Include financial projections like income statements and cash flow statements. Specify how much capital you need and how you plan to use it, discussing funding sources.

Conduct a break-even analysis to estimate when your business will become profitable. Be transparent and address any financial risks and assumptions, outlining how you plan to mitigate them.

9. Appendices and exhibits

In this section, include any additional information that supports your business plan. This might be resumes of key personnel to highlight your team's expertise and experience, or even legal documents and agreements.

Include market research data and surveys to back up your market analysis. Add financial statements for a detailed look at your financial plan. Also, provide detailed product specifications to give a clear understanding of your products and services.

Here's a business plan outline example

Not quite there yet? Take a look at this business plan outline example—it will make everything clear for you.

3.1 Executive Summary

  • Overview of the business
  • Key points of the business plan

3.2 Company Description

  • Business name and location
  • History and nature of the business
  • Legal structure and ownership
  • Vision and mission statement

3.3 Market Research and Analysis

  • Industry analysis
  • Target market and customer demographics
  • Market needs, trends
  • Customer pain points
  • SWOT analysis

3.4 Organization and Management

  • Organizational structure
  • Leadership team and key personnel
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Board of directors (if applicable)
  • Production processes

3.5 Products and Services

  • Description of products or services offered
  • Unique selling propositions, benefits, features
  • Product lifecycle and development plans
  • Intellectual property and proprietary technologies

3.6 Marketing Strategy

  • Market positioning and branding
  • Marketing and promotional strategies
  • Sales strategy and tactics
  • Pricing strategy and sales forecast

3.7 Operations Plan

  • Business location and facilities
  • Technology and equipment
  • Supply chain and logistics
  • Production process and quality control

3.8 Financial Plan

  • Financial projections (income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements)
  • Funding requirements and sources
  • Break-even analysis
  • Financial risks and assumptions

3.9 Appendices and Exhibits (if applicable)

  • Supporting documents and additional information
  • Resumes of key personnel
  • Legal documents and agreements
  • Market research data and surveys
  • Financial Statements
  • Detailed Product Specifications

Bonus tips on how to write a winning business plan

Once you've done your business plan outline, it's time to fill in the gaps and craft a winning business plan. Here are some bonus tips to keep in mind:

  • Tailor it to fit your business : Customize sections to meet industry-specific needs and highlight what makes your business unique.
  • Keep it clear and concise : Use straightforward language and support your points with data to ensure easy understanding and avoid any confusion.
  • Set actionable and realistic goals : Define measurable objectives with clear timelines and milestones to track your progress.
  • Update regularly : Keep your plan dynamic by making regular updates to reflect changes in goals, market conditions, and strategies.
  • Seek feedback : Gain insights from mentors and advisors to refine your plan.

Read this next: How to Start a Business in 8 Steps: A Comprehensive Guide from Concept to Launch

executive summary for business plan examples


Business Plan Executive Summary

executive summary for business plan examples

Just like in any reading material, especially lengthy, consolidated ones, it is important to include a summary work plan that will give a background as to what the document is all about. This will help the reader/s prepare for what is up ahead and at the same time entice them to read on. If you are able to present compelling in your summary, it may convince your reader/s to give your document a chance.

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

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Executive Summary Startup Business Plan Template

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Business Plan Executive Summary Guide Example

Business Plan Executive Summary Guide Example

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Business Plan Executive Summary Example

Business Plan Executive Summary Example

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Lengthy Business Plan Executive Summary Example

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Boston Public Market Business Plan Executive Summary Example

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Oasis Business Plan Executive Summary Example

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Detailed Business Executive Summary Example

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Health Organization Business Plan Executive Summary Example

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County Airport Business Plane Executive Summary Example

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Mobile App Business Plan Executive Summary Example

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Revised Regional Business Plan Executive Summary Example

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What Is a Business Plan Executive Summary?

An  executive summary  is a section in a document that presents the highlights of the discussed topics. This includes the long term goal and the objectives of the business plan executive summary. The executive summary simplifies the discussions as well as state the purpose of the document. It is basically the summary of the entire document that is intended to encourage the reader/s to read further.

How to Write the Executive Summary of a Business Plan

Step 1: the company information.

Although the first paragraph of your executive summary is intended for an introduction , you can also use it formally introduce the business to the reader/s. You should use a compelling intro before you include the information of your business.

Step 2:  The Problem/S the Business Will Solve

If you have a personal mission statement for the company, it is more fitting to put it in this part. Although it is not a requirement in the business plan, the mission statement gives your business direction and defines the character and culture of your company. Your business is only viable if the products and/or services you provide answers or solves an existing problem in the market.

Step 3: The Solution the Business Will Provide

Since you have clearly determined the problem your business will address and solve, explain how your business will be able to do just that. This is where you present the solution your business will provide to the target consumers in order to address and solve such existing issue. However, you have to remember that this is only a budget summary .

Step 4: Concept of the Business

In this part, you need to explain the consumers you are trying to sell your products and/or service to. You also have to explain how your concept fits directly into what they need. This is where you explain and lay out how you will be able to entice your target clients through the concept you have already established.

What are the guidelines of making an executive summary of a business plan?

Writing it with too much or too little information can highly affect your chances of achieving your goal. It should be written once the entire business plan is completed. It should be 3–4 pages in length and should be attached on the first part of the business plan. Its ultimate goals should be enticing and convincing the reader/s to read the entire business plan. It needs to clearly outline the core idea and the main purpose of the business plan. It should be consistent with the contents of the entire business plan as well as the business pitch or presentation. It needs to be compelling, professional, and present the business as well as the owner in a good light so that the reader/s can be convinced to give the business a chance.

What to expect in an executive summary for a business plan?

Here is a list of what you should include in the executive summary of your business plan: name and location of the business, one-sentence summary explaining what separates the business from its competition, overview what problem the business intends to solve, brief explanation of how the business’s products or services solve the stated problem, honest acknowledgment of existing competitors and a short description of your business’s competitive advantages, description of your target customer evidence or proof that the products or services have a target market.

Why do you need an executive summary for a business plan?

It explains the purpose of your business, what you intend to produce or provide, how you plan to sustain it, and so on. Aside from helping you securing funding, a good business plan will also help you run your business since it includes all necessary stages and information needed to start and manage your business.

An executive summary of your business plan will help you present a comprehensive outline of your company’s purpose and goals. It is the part of your business plan that can either make or break your chances to achieving your purpose especially if it meant to help you secure financial aid.


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How Many Pages Should a Good Resume Be?

10 min read · Updated on March 27, 2024

Ronda Suder

One size doesn't fit all, but how do you determine how long your resume should be?

If you run a Google search using the keywords “how long should a resume be?” you're bound to come across a number of different opinions. Some people declare that an ideal resume should be one page long, regardless of how many years of experience you have, while others have no problem sending out a three-page resume chronicling every detail of their professional journey.

Let's set the record straight. When it comes to the ideal resume length, size does matter. Here's everything you need to know to answer the question, "how long should a resume be?"

How long should a resume be? The one-page myth 

Contrary to popular belief, you do  not  have to squeeze 15 or more years of work experience into a one-page resume. In fact, until recently, only entry-level candidates were urged to keep their resumes to one page, as most employers assumed someone who was new to the post-college workforce wouldn't have enough information to justify more than one page of resume real estate. But this resume-length rule may no longer apply to job seekers at  any  level, as career experts claim. 

These days, recruiters generally prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes, regardless of a candidate's years of experience. 

So, why the change in opinion? There are two factors to consider.

1. Graduates have more opportunities

First, unlike the graduates of 10 or more years ago, today's young professionals are entering the “real” working world with more experience to boost their resumes and impress employers. From internships to co-ops to freelance gigs and even contract work, students are encouraged to secure opportunities throughout their collegiate journey to help explore potential career paths, build their skills , and meet the  one to three years' experience requirements  that many “entry-level” jobs now demand. They're also more likely to have personal blogs or online portfolios, group projects, volunteer work, leadership programs, and relevant campus activities to boost their resumes without adding any unnecessary fluff. 

2. Hiring managers want clear career stories

Second, a  study by TopResume on professional vs self-written resumes  found that employers value resumes that provide a strong career narrative. In other words, recruiters want to see more than merely a timeline of your professional and educational experience; they want to be able to read your resume like a story. In order to create that story, your resume requires additional components such as a  professional summary , a section to list your relevant experience, skills, and so on — all of which take up more space.

But is the one-page resume dead?

Not exactly. Though it's true that the answer to “how long should a resume be for a college student or recent grad?” is no longer a single page, it still needs to make sense to go beyond that. While entry-level candidates should no longer feel pressured to cut their resumes down to one page, they shouldn't try to stretch to a two-page resume if it doesn't make sense. Career changers might also need to keep their resume to a single page.

College students and entry-level candidates

If you recently graduated from college and did  not  participate in many of the resume boosters mentioned above (e.g. internships, co-ops, volunteer work, extracurricular activities), then you likely won't have enough material to warrant a second page. The last thing you want to do is add irrelevant details, include outdated information, or get creative with your format in order to extend your resume to a second page. That's a waste of your time and will not impress employers. You're better off sticking with a one-page resume. 

So, if you're a recent college graduate, remove any references to your high school awards, scholarships, and extracurricular activities. Employers are more interested in the internships you completed, odd jobs you held, relevant experiences you had, and activities you participated in on campus while pursuing your degree. 

Career changers

In addition to recent college grads, if you're further along in your career and have decided to make a major career change, your resume may be reduced to only one page. The focus would be to highlight your transferable skills and parts of your experience that are relevant to this new job goal.

How long should a resume be? The golden rule

If you've been in the workforce for a number of years, you're entitled to a maximum of two full pages of resume real estate. This rule applies to most senior professionals, whether you've been in the workforce for seven years or 27 years.

The reality is that most recruiters  spend less than 10 seconds  reviewing a resume before deciding whether the applicant should receive further consideration. With so little time to make the right impression, it's important to present a succinct document that highlights the recent - and most relevant - parts of your professional experience, skills, and education .

How long should a resume be? Exceptions to the rules

While it's strongly encouraged to limit yourself to a two-page resume, there will be instances where this is near impossible. This often happens to professionals who have never-ending lists of technical skills and proficiencies, a large number of consulting gigs to explain, or a series of published works to include. If you fall into one of these categories, you may need to use the first part of a third page. However, try to avoid this if possible since there is still a limit to how many pages a resume should be.

There are three additional scenarios when your resume length is likely to exceed two standard 8.5" x 11" pages:

If you are looking for a job in academia or the sciences, your  academic CV or resume  should be more than two pages long. In fact, your resume could be up to 15 pages!

If you're applying for a job with the US federal government, your  federal resume  might be 3 to 7 pages long in order to fit all the required information. 

While an  international CV  — the type of document used to apply for positions in most countries outside of the US — should also be 1 to 2 pages long, the  size  of the paper is different. International CVs should be 1 to 2 pages of A4 (8.27” x 11.69”) paper, while resumes should be 1 to 2 pages of standard letter (8.5” x 11”) paper.

How to make your resume fit the appropriate page length

In order to help you meet these resume-length tips, limit the amount of experience you include to the last 15 years and tailor your resume to a 15-year window. Employers care most about the recent work you've been doing and how it ties back to their role's requirements, so place the emphasis of your resume on your current and relevant experience.

There are a number of ways you can incorporate your earlier experience into the resume without spilling over into a third or fourth page. Below are three considerations to do so.

Include a “Career Note” in a senior-level resume

If you only held one or two positions before the 15-year cut-off, you can provide a short career note that mentions the roles and titles you held.

executive summary for business plan examples

This format gives you some flexibility, as you may decide to summarize a few very similar roles into a short blurb to keep your resume length under two pages. For instance, you may say that your earlier experience includes “... Executive Assistant work for companies including Company A, Company B, and Company C.” If you worked with some name-drop-worthy clients, you have the ability to work those details into a blurb like this as well. However, the rule of thumb is to keep this note short and sweet, so eliminate unnecessary details such as employment dates. 

Click on the following link to see the entire two-page  sample resume for a senior professional .

Create an "Earlier Work History" section 

If you have 20+ years of experience or changed jobs frequently at the beginning of your career, you may need more than a one-liner to cover the work experience. An alternative is to add an “Earlier Career History” section at the bottom of your professional experience that lists the job title, company name, and location of each role.

executive summary for business plan examples

Experiment with different format techniques to meet the appropriate resume length

There are a number of additional resume-length tips and tricks  professional resume writers  use to help their clients meet these length restrictions. If you're having trouble making your resume fit within a specific number of pages, try experimenting with the font size, the spacing between paragraphs, and the margins. When experimenting with different design elements, make sure it's still easy for a reader to quickly scan the resume and identify the most important selling points.

Font Size: Depending on the font style you choose, you can usually shrink its size down to 10 or 10.5 points without turning your resume into a frustrating eye chart for the reader. Headers can similarly be reduced to 13 or 15 points without looking bad.

Font Styles:  Fonts such as Calibri, Calibri Light, Trebuchet MS, and Arial Narrow tend to take up less space than Times New Roman, Verdana, and Arial. By switching your resume over to a different font, you may be able to gain the extra space you need.

Spacing and Margins: Experiment with the overall spacing of your resume. You can decrease the margins of your resume down to 0.5 of an inch and reduce the spacing between different sections of your resume by 0.5 to 1 point without losing the document's white space.

Eliminations: If you're still listing your references or a note such as “References available upon request” at the bottom of your document, it's time to stop. This information is unnecessary and takes up precious resume real estate. Similarly, there's no need to list your street address at the top of your resume. If you're searching for a position in your current location and want employers to know you're a local candidate, include your city and state. However, leave your street address off to protect yourself from potential identity theft and free up another line of text.

How long should a resume be? A few final words

You now know the answer to the questions:

Is it better to have a one- or two-page resume?

Is a three-page resume too long?

How long should a resume be for senior professionals?

How long should a resume be for college students and entry-level candidates?

To sum it up, a two-page resume is preferred for most candidates at any level. As noted above, there are a few exceptions where a three-page resume is acceptable, and in rare instances, your resume might be even longer. In the case of recent college grads and career changers, your resume might only be a single page vs. two. All that to say, unless you clearly fall under one of the exceptions listed above, it's best to develop a two-page resume to share with prospective employers. 

Did these resume-length tips answer your question about how long your resume should be? Submit your resume for a  free resume review  to make sure it meets current best practice standards. 

This article was originally written by Amanda Augustine and has been updated by Ronda Suder. 

Recommended reading:

How to Sell Yourself on a Resume Without Sounding Arrogant

The Top 10 Resume Mistakes That Could Cost You the Job

What's the Difference Between an Objective Statement and a Summary?

Related Articles:

7 Signs Your Resume is Making You Look Old

Why a Simple Resume Layout is a Successful Resume

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See how your resume stacks up.

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Watch CBS News

What is Project 2025? What to know about the conservative blueprint for a second Trump administration

By Melissa Quinn , Jacob Rosen

Updated on: July 11, 2024 / 9:40 AM EDT / CBS News

Washington — Voters in recent weeks have begun to hear the name "Project 2025" invoked more and more by President Biden and Democrats, as they seek to sound the alarm about what could be in store if former President Donald Trump wins a second term in the White House.

Overseen by the conservative Heritage Foundation, the multi-pronged initiative includes a detailed blueprint for the next Republican president to usher in a sweeping overhaul of the executive branch.

Trump and his campaign have worked to distance themselves from Project 2025, with the former president going so far as to call some of the proposals "abysmal." But Democrats have continued to tie the transition project to Trump, especially as they find themselves mired in their own controversy over whether Mr. Biden should withdraw from the 2024 presidential contest following his startling debate performance last month.

Here is what to know about Project 2025:

What is Project 2025?

Project 2025 is a proposed presidential transition project that is composed of four pillars: a policy guide for the next presidential administration; a LinkedIn-style database of personnel who could serve in the next administration; training for that pool of candidates dubbed the "Presidential Administration Academy;" and a playbook of actions to be taken within the first 180 days in office.

It is led by two former Trump administration officials: Paul Dans, who was chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management and serves as director of the project, and Spencer Chretien, former special assistant to Trump and now the project's associate director.

Project 2025 is spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation, but includes an advisory board consisting of more than 100 conservative groups.

Much of the focus on — and criticism of — Project 2025 involves its first pillar, the nearly 900-page policy book that lays out an overhaul of the federal government. Called "Mandate for Leadership 2025: The Conservative Promise," the book builds on a "Mandate for Leadership" first published in January 1981, which sought to serve as a roadmap for Ronald Reagan's incoming administration.

The recommendations outlined in the sprawling plan reach every corner of the executive branch, from the Executive Office of the President to the Department of Homeland Security to the little-known Export-Import Bank. 

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with advisers in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D,C., on June 25, 2019.

The Heritage Foundation also created a "Mandate for Leadership" in 2015 ahead of Trump's first term. Two years into his presidency, it touted that Trump had instituted 64% of its policy recommendations, ranging from leaving the Paris Climate Accords, increasing military spending, and increasing off-shore drilling and developing federal lands. In July 2020, the Heritage Foundation gave its updated version of the book to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. 

The authors of many chapters are familiar names from the Trump administration, such as Russ Vought, who led the Office of Management and Budget; former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller; and Roger Severino, who was director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Vought is the policy director for the 2024 Republican National Committee's platform committee, which released its proposed platform on Monday. 

John McEntee, former director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office under Trump, is a senior advisor to the Heritage Foundation, and said that the group will "integrate a lot of our work" with the Trump campaign when the official transition efforts are announced in the next few months.

Candidates interested in applying for the Heritage Foundation's "Presidential Personnel Database" are vetted on a number of political stances, such as whether they agree or disagree with statements like "life has a right to legal protection from conception to natural death," and "the President should be able to advance his/her agenda through the bureaucracy without hindrance from unelected federal officials."

The contributions from ex-Trump administration officials have led its critics to tie Project 2025 to his reelection campaign, though the former president has attempted to distance himself from the initiative.

What are the Project 2025 plans?

Some of the policies in the Project 2025 agenda have been discussed by Republicans for years or pushed by Trump himself: less federal intervention in education and more support for school choice; work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults on food stamps; and a secure border with increased enforcement of immigration laws, mass deportations and construction of a border wall. 

But others have come under scrutiny in part because of the current political landscape. 

Abortion and social issues

In recommendations for the Department of Health and Human Services, the agenda calls for the Food and Drug Administration to reverse its 24-year-old approval of the widely used abortion pill mifepristone. Other proposed actions targeting medication abortion include reinstating more stringent rules for mifepristone's use, which would permit it to be taken up to seven weeks into a pregnancy, instead of the current 10 weeks, and requiring it to be dispensed in-person instead of through the mail.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group that is on the Project 2025 advisory board, was involved in a legal challenge to mifepristone's 2000 approval and more recent actions from the FDA that made it easier to obtain. But the Supreme Court rejected the case brought by a group of anti-abortion rights doctors and medical associations on procedural grounds.

The policy book also recommends the Justice Department enforce the Comstock Act against providers and distributors of abortion pills. That 1873 law prohibits drugs, medicines or instruments used in abortions from being sent through the mail.


Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade , the volume states that the Justice Department "in the next conservative administration should therefore announce its intent to enforce federal law against providers and distributors of such pills."

The guide recommends the next secretary of Health and Human Services get rid of the Reproductive Healthcare Access Task Force established by the Biden administration before Roe's reversal and create a "pro-life task force to ensure that all of the department's divisions seek to use their authority to promote the life and health of women and their unborn children."

In a section titled "The Family Agenda," the proposal recommends the Health and Human Services chief "proudly state that men and women are biological realities," and that "married men and women are the ideal, natural family structure because all children have a right to be raised by the men and women who conceived them."

Further, a program within the Health and Human Services Department should "maintain a biblically based, social science-reinforced definition of marriage and family."

During his first four years in office, Trump banned transgender people from serving in the military. Mr. Biden reversed that policy , but the Project 2025 policy book calls for the ban to be reinstated.

Targeting federal agencies, employees and policies

The agenda takes aim at longstanding federal agencies, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. The agency is a component of the Commerce Department and the policy guide calls for it to be downsized. 

NOAA's six offices, including the National Weather Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, "form a colossal operation that has become one of the main drivers of the climate change alarm industry and, as such, is harmful to future U.S. prosperity," the guide states. 

The Department of Homeland Security, established in 2002, should be dismantled and its agencies either combined with others, or moved under the purview of other departments altogether, the policy book states. For example, immigration-related entities from the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Health and Human Services should form a standalone, Cabinet-level border and immigration agency staffed by more than 100,000 employees, according to the agenda.

The Department of Homeland Security logo is seen on a law enforcement vehicle in Washington on March 7, 2017.

If the policy recommendations are implemented, another federal agency that could come under the knife by the next administration, with action from Congress, is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The agenda seeks to bring a push by conservatives to target diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, initiatives in higher education to the executive branch by wiping away a slew of DEI-related positions, policies and programs and calling for the elimination of funding for partners that promote DEI practices.

It states that U.S. Agency for International Development staff and grantees that "engage in ideological agitation on behalf of the DEI agenda" should be terminated. At the Treasury Department, the guide says the next administration should "treat the participation in any critical race theory or DEI initiative without objecting on constitutional or moral grounds, as per se grounds for termination of employment."

The Project 2025 policy book also takes aim at more innocuous functions of government. It calls for the next presidential administration to eliminate or reform the dietary guidelines that have been published by the Department of Agriculture for more than 40 years, which the authors claim have been "infiltrated" by issues like climate change and sustainability.


Trump made immigration a cornerstone of his last two presidential runs and has continued to hammer the issue during his 2024 campaign. Project 2025's agenda not only recommends finishing the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but urges the next administration to "take a creative and aggressive approach" to responding to drug cartels at the border. This approach includes using active-duty military personnel and the National Guard to help with arrest operations along the southern border.

A memo from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that prohibits enforcement actions from taking place at "sensitive" places like schools, playgrounds and churches should be rolled back, the policy guide states. 

When the Homeland Security secretary determines there is an "actual or anticipated mass migration of aliens" that presents "urgent circumstances" warranting a federal response, the agenda says the secretary can make rules and regulations, including through their expulsion, for as long as necessary. These rules, the guide states, aren't subject to the Administration Procedure Act, which governs the agency rule-making process.

What do Trump and his advisers say about Project 2025?

In a post to his social media platform on July 5, Trump wrote , "I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they're saying and some of the things they're saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them."

Trump's pushback to the initiative came after Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts said in a podcast interview that the nation is "in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be."

The former president continued to disavow the initiative this week, writing in another social media post  that he knows nothing about Project 2025.

"I have not seen it, have no idea who is in charge of it, and, unlike our very well received Republican Platform, had nothing to do with it," Trump wrote. "The Radical Left Democrats are having a field day, however, trying to hook me into whatever policies are stated or said. It is pure disinformation on their part. By now, after all of these years, everyone knows where I stand on EVERYTHING!"

While the former president said he doesn't know who is in charge of the initiative, the project's director, Dans, and associate director, Chretien, were high-ranking officials in his administration. Additionally, Ben Carson, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Trump; John Ratcliffe, former director of National Intelligence in the Trump administration; and Peter Navarro, who served as a top trade adviser to Trump in the White House, are listed as either authors or contributors to the policy agenda.

Still, even before Roberts' comments during "The War Room" podcast — typically hosted by conservative commentator Steve Bannon, who reported to federal prison to begin serving a four-month sentence last week — Trump's top campaign advisers have stressed that Project 2025 has no official ties to his reelection bid.

Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, senior advisers to the Trump campaign, said in a November statement that 2024 policy announcements will be made by Trump or his campaign team.

"Any personnel lists, policy agendas, or government plans published anywhere are merely suggestions," they said.

While the efforts by outside organizations are "appreciated," Wiles and LaCivita said, "none of these groups or individuals speak for President Trump or his campaign."

In response to Trump's post last week, Project 2025 reiterated that it was separate from the Trump campaign.

"As we've been saying for more than two years now, Project 2025 does not speak for any candidate or campaign. We are a coalition of more than 110 conservative groups advocating policy & personnel recommendations for the next conservative president. But it is ultimately up to that president, who we believe will be President Trump, to decide which recommendations to implement," a statement on the project's X account said.

The initiative has also pushed back on Democrats' claims about its policy proposals and accused them of lying about what the agenda contains.

What do Democrats say?

Despite their attempts to keep some distance from Project 2025, Democrats continue to connect Trump with the transition effort. The Biden-Harris campaign frequently posts about the project on X, tying it to a second Trump term.

Mr. Biden himself accused his Republican opponent of lying about his connections to the Project 2025 agenda, saying in a statement that the agenda was written for Trump and "should scare every single American." He claimed on his campaign social media account  Wednesday that Project 2025 "will destroy America."

Congressional Democrats have also begun pivoting to Project 2025 when asked in interviews about Mr. Biden's fitness for a second term following his lackluster showing at the June 27 debate, the first in which he went head-to-head with Trump.

"Trump is all about Project 2025," Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman told CNN on Monday. "I mean, that's what we really should be voting on right now. It's like, do we want the kind of president that is all about Project '25?"

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, one of Mr. Biden's closest allies on Capitol Hill, told reporters Monday that the agenda for the next Republican president was the sole topic he would talk about.

"Project 2025, that's my only concern," he said. "I don't want you or my granddaughter to live under that government."

In a statement reiterating her support for Mr. Biden, Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida called Project 2025 "MAGA Republicans' draconian 920-page plan to end U.S. democracy, give handouts to the wealthy and strip Americans of their freedoms."

What are Republicans saying about Project 2025?

Two GOP senators under consideration to serve as Trump's running mate sought to put space between the White House hopeful and Project 2025, casting it as merely the product of a think tank that puts forth ideas.

"It's the work of a think tank, of a center-right think tank, and that's what think tanks do," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

He said Trump's message to voters focuses on "restoring common sense, working-class values, and making our decisions on the basis of that."

Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance raised a similar sentiment in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," saying organizations will have good ideas and bad ideas.

"It's a 900-page document," he said Sunday. "I guarantee there are things that Trump likes and dislikes about that 900-page document. But he is the person who will determine the agenda of the next administration."

Jaala Brown contributed to this report.

Melissa Quinn is a politics reporter for She has written for outlets including the Washington Examiner, Daily Signal and Alexandria Times. Melissa covers U.S. politics, with a focus on the Supreme Court and federal courts.

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    Executive summaries allow decision-makers to quickly grasp the key points of important documents and make decisions. We've collected a variety of executive summary examples and templates that you can use as models for your executive summaries. Included in this article, you'll find a business plan executive summary example, a project ...

  6. How to Write an Executive Summary Execs Can't Ignore [+ 5 Top Examples]

    Executive Summary vs. Business Plan. All business plans have an executive summary, but not all executive summaries belong to business plans. A business plan includes a company overview, short-term and long-term goals, information on your product or service, sales targets, expense budgets, your marketing plan, and even team information. Business plans are very detailed and comprehensive.

  7. How to Write a Killer Executive Summary

    3. Keep it short. Ideally, the executive summary is short—usually just a page or two, five at the outside—and highlights the points you've made elsewhere in your business plan. Whatever length you land on, just focus on being brief and concise. Keep it as short as you can without missing the essentials.

  8. How to Write an Executive Summary in 6 Steps

    However, some tools make crafting a business plan, including your executive summary, a simpler process. A business plan template is a great place to start, and business plan software can ...

  9. How to write an executive summary in 10 steps

    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.

  10. Business Plan Executive Summary with Example

    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 ...

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

    Summary. 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!

  12. 20 Executive Summary Examples and Templates (Word

    A business plan consists of your company's mission, vision, product or service description, brand identity, goals, target market, and financial projections. In turn, an executive summary should be a short version of your business plan. It should contain the following details: Your company's name and office locations. Mission and vision.

  13. 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.

  14. How to Write a Great Executive Summary in a Business Plan

    An executive summary is a concise and compelling overview of the whole business plan. It includes and highlights all the key points of the plan as an introduction. It should be clear, well-structured, and engaging, prompting the reader to want to learn more. It also should provide enough information to convey the business plan's purpose.

  15. How To Write an Executive Summary in 2024 + 4 Real-World Examples

    The length of your executive summary heavily depends on the context. For example, an executive summary for an entirely new business plan likely will be more detailed than one for, say, a product launch press kit. In any case, an executive summary generally should not exceed a few pages, or 5% of the overall length of the longer document.

  16. How to write an executive summary, with examples

    The main difference between an executive summary in project management and a more traditional executive summary in a business plan is that the former should be created at the beginning of your project—whereas the latter should be created after you've written your business plan. For example, to write an executive summary of an environmental ...

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

    An executive summary is an essence and an essential part of the business plan. It provides a short, concise, and optimistic overview of the business, aims to capture the intended stakeholders' attention, and provides them with a thoughtful glimpse of business nature. It should describe your business, the problem it solves, your target market ...

  18. Executive Summary Example for an Effective Business Plan

    Want to impress a potential investor before they see your business plan? Learn how to write a stellar executive summary with these tips and examples.

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

    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.

  20. How To Write an Executive Summary (with examples)

    Executive Summary Examples. Without further adieu, here are four (fictional) business proposal executive summary examples that will get your prospects excited to work with you. 1. Example of Ecommerce Executive Summary Prospect: Gyuto -- Japanese chef knife brand Sender: ThinkBig -- Shopify design agency Project title: Shopify ecommerce Proposal

  21. Free Executive Summary Template [PDF + Masterful Examples]

    Business plan executive summary template. The business plan executive summary shouldn't exceed two pages. Make sure you've tailored it to your audience to show why the opportunity is special. An executive summary for a business plan should include: Mission statement; Company information with details about your services or product

  22. 31 Executive Summary Examples (Guide + Free Templates)

    It is important to have a well-organized and workable implementation plan that will oversee the birth of a successful business. Executive summary for established business. An executive summary's main aim in this stage is to highlight the organization's accomplishments, development plans, marketing strategies, etc.

  23. How to Write a Business Plan Outline in 9 Steps

    Here's a business plan outline example. Not quite there yet? Take a look at this business plan outline example—it will make everything clear for you. 3.1 Executive Summary. Overview of the business; Key points of the business plan; Objectives; 3.2 Company Description. Business name and location; History and nature of the business; Legal ...

  24. Business Plan Executive Summary

    The executive summary of a business plan is the first thing a potential investor (such as friends and family or your general network) or lender (such as a traditional bank) is going to read about your business. Get it right, and you could be on your way to securing financing. If you miss the mark, you could portray the wrong message about your ...

  25. Business Plan Executive Summary

    It should be written once the entire business plan is completed. It should be 3-4 pages in length and should be attached on the first part of the business plan. Its ultimate goals should be enticing and convincing the reader/s to read the entire business plan. It needs to clearly outline the core idea and the main purpose of the business plan.

  26. 27 Great Resume Summary Examples to Get Hired

    Results-driven Sales Executive with a proven track record of exceeding revenue targets and building strong client relationships ... in providing high-quality patient care. Skilled at patient assessment, medication administration, and treatment plan development. ... Business Analyst resume summary example "Results-driven Business Analyst with ...

  27. What is Project 2025? What to know about the conservative blueprint for

    The recommendations outlined in the sprawling plan reach every corner of the executive branch, from the Executive Office of the President to the Department of Homeland Security to the little-known ...