5 Steps for Writing an Executive Summary
Learn what to include in your executive summary and how to go about writing one.
- Less than two pages should be used to summarize the key ideas in your company strategy.
- Before creating your executive summary, draft your company strategy.
- If you utilize a template for an executive summary, modify it to meet your company strategy.
- This article is intended for startups and company owners who want to learn how to write a business plan’s executive summary part.
Anyone launching a new company is required to write a business plan outlining all of the organization’s specifics and objectives. An essential component of the business strategy is the executive summary.
We’ll go through the five phases to drafting an executive summary for your business plan, as well as what to include and what to leave out. As a starting point, we’ll also direct you to executive summary templates.
An executive summary is what?
A business plan is generally used by new entrepreneurs or business owners to pitch their fantastic business concept to potential stakeholders like angel investors. Obtaining funding from investors or persuading bankers to provide a business loan are the two goals of the business plan. An executive summary is a brief outline of a business strategy that focuses on the key points.
It’s not simply a basic outline; busy executives and potential investors might just read the executive summary of your business plan.
According to Ross Kimbarovsky, CEO and creator of Crowd spring, “the executive summary of a business plan is meant to attract the reader’s attention and concisely explain your business, the problem you are solving, the target audience, and critical financial facts.” The remainder of the plan might not be read if the executive summary is vague or fails to hold the reader’s interest.
Your executive summary has to be interesting and thorough, but it also needs to be short and simple to read. These papers should make up less than 10% of the whole company plan and range in length from one to four pages, ideally under two.
How should an executive summary be written?
Your organization and business plan will be specific to your executive summary. The majority of business owners and entrepreneurs follow the five stages below when writing their executive summary, nevertheless.
- First, draft a business strategy. The executive summary will skim over the most important points included in your business plan. Due to this, you should first draft the whole business plan before working on the executive summary. Only information from the business strategy should be included in the executive summary.
- Make your introduction interesting. Depending on your audience, “engaging” might mean different things. If you work in the tech sector, for instance, you may incorporate a quick narrative or a startling tech trend in your introduction. The introduction ought to be pertinent to your company and draw the audience in. Clearly stating your company plan’s goal and what the reader may anticipate finding there is equally important.
- Construct the executive summary. Examine your company strategy and note the most important details for your executive summary. Touch briefly but thoroughly on each of the major points in the company strategy. You can talk about your marketing strategy, your target market, your company’s description, your management group, and more. Your business plan should be clear enough for readers to grasp it without reading the remainder of the paper. They should be able to comprehend your fundamental plan from the summary, but ideally it will be interesting enough to persuade them to continue the work. (In the section following, we’ll go through exactly what should be in the executive summary.)
- Organize and edit your document. Put the most important information at the start of your executive summary so that it flows with the rest of your business plan’s contents. Using a list with bullets might help you highlight your major points. Check the document again for precision and clarity. Eliminate jargon, buzzwords, facts that are repeated, qualifying terms, and statements that are not backed by evidence. Make sure your executive summary may be used independently if necessary.
- Look for outside help. Since most business owners aren’t good writers, you should have a professional writer or editor review your paper to make sure it makes sense and addresses the points you want to make.
What information ought to be in an executive summary?
Your executive summary should contain information that is pertinent to your reader and is based on your company plan. For instance, if the objective of your business plan is to present a business concept to possible investors, you should place special emphasis on your financial needs and the intended use of the financing.
Whether or if your audience comprises of generalists or subject-matter specialists will affect the language you employ.
Although each organization will have different requirements for executive summaries, according to Marius Thauland, a business strategist at OMD EMEA, all executive summaries must have the following essential components:
- target market
- Services and goods
- Strategies for sales and marketing
- Competitive research
- Budgeting and funding for the procedures and operations
- Amount of personnel to be employed and involved
- How you intend to carry out the business plan
Highlight the information that is most important to your reader when summarizing each section. Include whatever data and stats they need to be aware of. Present important firm information and the business plan’s goal in your introduction. You should ask yourself the following questions to identify your executive summary’s important messages:
- What is it that you hope the reader will learn from this document?
- When people finish reading it, what do you want to happen?
Put yourself in the position of the business plan reader and consider what information you would want to see in the report, Thauland said. “Get their attention by keeping it straightforward, succinct, and professional. Additionally, it should entice readers to read the full article in order to comprehend even the smallest nuances.
What need to be omitted from an executive summary?
The following typical errors should be avoided while writing your executive summary:
- extending the length of your executive summary. Some people will stop reading an executive summary if it is longer than two pages. Most likely, you’re working with busy executives who could become overwhelmed by a long text.
- taking text from other executive summary sections and copying it. Reusing words from different parts and connecting them together out of context might come out as careless and unclear. Reading the same identical sentence again in a single paper is also unsettling. Instead, use unique, descriptive language to highlight the key ideas in your business strategy.
- Your executive summary has too many lists and subheadings. Recapitulate the key ideas of your business strategy in paragraph form without using subheadings after one and only one set of introduction bullets. For an executive summary, clarity and conciseness are more crucial than fancy layout.
- Your executive summary may use imprecise or passive wording. Your executive summary should reflect the fact that you are taking control of your company. Write in the active voice to let readers know you are in charge. Avoid any ambiguity in your wording by being as specific as possible about what your company will accomplish and how it will get there.
- In your executive summary, stay away from generalized statements. Avoid using generalizations in your executive summary, according to Kimbarovsky. It’s not necessary, for instance, to mention “your team’s desire for hard work.” This information is obvious and will detract from the crucial information in your executive summary.
- When writing your executive summary, avoid comparisons. Kimbarovsky suggests avoiding parallels to other companies in your executive summary. Don’t claim to be the following Facebook, Uber, or Amazon, Kimbarovsky said. “Amateurs use this comparison to demonstrate the potential value of their business. Instead, concentrate on offering the concrete evidence you feel demonstrates your company’s strength. It’s preferable if the investor recognizes the possibility and provides you this recognition.
Resources and templates for executive summaries
Online templates might assist you in organizing your paper if you’re producing an executive summary for the first time. However, your executive summary ought to acknowledge how distinctive your company is. Most likely, an internet template won’t have all the information you want for your executive summary. The use of templates as broad recommendations and modifications to meet your business plan and executive summary are advised by experts.
Here are some well-liked sites for executive summary templates to get you started:
- Form Swift. You may create and update documents on the Form Swift website, where you also have access to more than 500 templates. It explains the components of a strong executive summary and offers a form builder to make your executive summary. Step by step questions must be answered before your final work can be exported as a Word or PDF.
- Teams and organizations may more easily plan, manage, and report on projects thanks to the Smartsheet cloud-based platform. It provides a number of free executive summary templates that can be downloaded and used for company plans, startups, proposals, research reports, and building projects.
- net. Several free business templates are available on the Template.net website, including nine executive summary templates that differ depending on the project (e.g., business plan, startup, housing program development, proposal or marketing plan). Print the templates, then complete them with your pertinent information.
- Template Lab. For new company owners looking for multiple downloadable templates for analytics, finance, HR, marketing, operations, project management, and time management, the TemplateLab website is a one-stop shop. More than 30 free executive summary templates and examples are available.
- The Vertex42 website provides Word templates for legal documents, resumes, and letters, as well as Excel templates for executive summaries on budgets, invoicing, project management, and timesheets. Additionally, this website offers a free executive summary template that you may download into Word or Google Docs as well as in-depth information about executive summaries.
I’ll sum it all up.
Your executive summary should provide a two-page maximum glimpse of your company strategy. Write your executive summary when your business strategy is finished, and enlist outside assistance if required. The time and money you invest in creating a solid, interesting business plan and executive summary will be well worth it.