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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

Project plans

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 to Write an Executive Summary: A Quick Guide


Writing an Executive Summary

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, investment proposal or project proposal. On the other hand, they’re used to introduce your business or project to investors and other stakeholders, so it must be persuasive to spark their interest.

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.

Related: Free Executive Summary Template for Word

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 or not, 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.

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, yet intuitive, task management tools make it easy to get everything prioritized and done on time. Try it free today.

List view in ProjectManager

How to Write an Executive Summary

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

However, when writing an executive summary there are guidelines to make sure 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 are 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 in order 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 to better hear what’s coming, so 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. Jokes are hard. Stick to your strengths, but remember, most readers only give you a few sentences to win them over before they move on.

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

Relevant Information

The executive summary should not 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 is set up, then 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, testimonial from satisfied clients or whatever else you offer that is unique. But don’t make this too much about you. Be sure to keep the name of the potential client at the forefront.

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

Related: 10 Essential Excel Report Templates

What to Include in an Executive Summary

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

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

As we’ve learned above, your executive summary must extract the main points of all the sections of your business plan. A business plan is the document that describes all the aspects of a business, such as its business model, products or services, objectives, 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:

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:

Now that we’ve learned that executive summaries can vary depending on the type of document you’re working on, you’re ready to use our executive summary template.

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

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 for a business plan or project plan executive summary.

Executive summary template for Word

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 get yourself bogged 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. No, you’re not seeking the Pulitzer Prize in Literature, but you also 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 style. You want to write in a way that is 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 make sure that spelling is correct, and there are no typos or grammatical mistakes. Whoever wrote the executive summary is not 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 will surely color how a reader thinks of your company.

Criticism of Executive Summaries

Every good argument needs a rebuttal, and while we’re advocating for the proper use of an executive summary, it would 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 is 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 an award-winning project management software that helps you organize tasks, projects and teams. We have everything you need to manage each phase of your project, so you can complete your work on time and under budget.

Work How You Want to Work

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 into 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 make sure 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 the work in and the potential client sees that and contracts you for the project. However, if you don’t have a reliable, easy-to-use and robust 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 naught.

ProjectManager is a cloud-based 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 a Great Executive Summary

Lindsay Kramer

In business, a lot of information is conveyed through lengthy, comprehensive documents like white papers, business plans, case studies, and research reports. A lot of money and other resource investments are on the line in most business decisions, so leaders and investors need to understand every factor and variable involved before making those decisions.

But the business world tends to move quickly, and that means professionals often don’t have the time to read extensive reports before starting projects or making decisions. This is where the executive summary comes in. An executive summary is a condensed version of a longer business document that enables readers to absorb the same information more quickly.

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What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is the abridged form of a business document. Although it can be tempting to compare an executive summary to an abstract for an academic report or paper, there is a key difference between these two types of document: An abstract is a synopsis of a report or paper that sums up the document, while an executive summary is a shortened version that still hits all the main document’s key points.

An executive summary gives readers, often business leaders, investors, partners, or purchasers, a sneak peek of the full contents so they can make decisions about how to proceed with the company or proposal. In this way, it’s similar to an elevator pitch , except it’s representing a piece of writing rather than an individual’s goals.

What types of documents or projects require an executive summary?

Often, executive summaries are associated with business plans. When an executive summary is part of a business plan, its purpose is largely to engage prospective investors and buyers.

But a business plan isn’t the only place you might find an executive summary. They’re also used with:

Sections of an executive summary

Generally, an executive summary for a business plan includes the following sections:

The table of contents lists the sections included in the main document. This gives an even more concise overview of the document and the executive summary itself.

In the company background/about section, the reader learns about the company’s mission statement , market position, niche, and goals. In some cases, this section also includes a brief history of the company. This section provides context for the goals and strategies explained in the rest of the executive summary and the plan as a whole.

Market opportunities

This section discusses the opportunities present in the current market. It may present these opportunities as a problem to solve or as a need that can be fulfilled.

After introducing the opportunities, problems, or needs present in the current market, the solution section discusses how the company can capitalize on them.

This section discusses how the business is uniquely positioned to succeed in reaching its goals through its plans.

The financial highlights section includes any financial insights relevant to the plan, such as current profit levels and expenses, and any funding the company hopes to secure.

These sections can vary somewhat depending on the document being summarized. For example, an executive summary for a project proposal might include a section that analyzes the state of the company’s industry as well as its specific market. It might also include a section that justifies the proposed course of action, citing internal concerns and how it fits into the company’s overall strategy.

Despite variations in their sections and content, every executive summary has the same goal: to provide a concise, informative look at the document so readers can engage with the company or plan more easily.

How to write an executive summary

Create an outline.

With just about any kind of writing, the best way to start is by creating an outline. An outline achieves a few goals:

Your outline serves as a useful tool when you prewrite . Ideally, the executive summary is the part of your document you write last, since you can’t summarize the full document if you don’t yet have a full document. With the full document in hand, jot down the key sections you need to include in your executive summary and the points to hit in each section. By doing this, you’re creating an outline after you’ve written (or been given) the full document and before you write the executive summary.

State and define the purpose or problem

As you write, remember your executive summary’s purpose. This should drive everything you write, including how you frame the problem the project aims to solve and where you include relevant statistics to support the proposed solution.

When writing about the purpose or problem the plan solves, give as much context as necessary without overexplaining. Remember, your readers will get the full story from the main document. However, the executive summary should give them a strong enough grasp of the problem that they aren’t surprised by anything they read in the full document.

Solution or next steps

After clearly defining the purpose or problem, explain the solution to that problem or the next steps outlined in your strategy. Similar to the section about the document’s purpose, this section should be comprehensive enough to give the reader a solid understanding of the solution without getting bogged down with lengthy explanations.

An executive summary’s conclusion is, in a lot of ways, just like any other conclusion . It reiterates the key points you made in the executive summary’s body sections, answers any questions the reader might have, and leaves them with a clear sense of what to do next (which is usually to read the full document).

How to format an executive summary

An executive summary doesn’t need to stick to a specific length or word count . Usually, they’re one to two pages long. However, achieving the goal—concisely explaining the document’s main points in a way that’s both authentic and engaging—is far more important than fitting a specific format.

Because an executive summary is part of a business document, it’s important to use a professional tone. That said, keep the jargon to a minimum—many of your executive summary’s readers, such as prospective buyers, might not be in your industry and will understand the document better if you use plain language . Use your discretion, though—if you know the document will be shared and read only internally, jargon might not be a concern.

Executive summary vs. an abstract

An abstract is a short overview of an academic document. It doesn’t answer everything; it acts as a teaser by giving the reader just enough information to make them start formulating questions and anticipate the answers they’ll find in the main document. In addition to this, an abstract helps the reader quickly determine whether the document contains the information they’re looking for. When the reader is doing research, abstracts save them a lot of time.

An executive summary, in contrast, provides a condensed version of the main document. Its goal isn’t to get the reader’s mind to formulate questions; it’s to give a full summary so they know what to expect from the main document.

Executive summary vs. project plan

A project plan is a blueprint for a project. It’s similar to an outline in that it maps the project’s big-picture elements, such as goals, budget, milestones, stakeholders, and success metrics. An executive summary is less technical than a project plan. It offers a rundown of the project’s most important information but doesn’t go as deep with statistics and figures.

Executive summary FAQs

An executive summary is a condensed version of a longer business document.

What is its purpose?

The purpose of an executive summary is to provide a quick look at the content in a longer business document. This makes it easier for readers, who may be business leaders, prospective partners and vendors, or investors, to understand and engage with the full document.

What kind of documents or projects require an executive summary?

What are the sections of an executive summary?

Each executive summary is unique, but they generally include the following sections:

how to write an executive summary

How to Write a Successful Executive Summary [Template + Example]

Gregg Rosenzweig


What is an executive summary? Short. Concise. Powerful. Executive summaries are the first page (or pages) of a business plan or proposal. The best grab attention as they offer a compelling snapshot of what’s to come — but also possess the ability to stand alone. They don’t mince words, since stakes are high, as they cover the touch points necessary to win that next meeting, advocacy, support, and even the holy grail: an investment partner.

Let’s be honest: The executive summary is the most important part of a business plan. You might think it’s all those pages behind it with rich detail, impressive stats and long, flowing paragraphs describing your awesomeness… but it’s not.

The executive summary is the first thing your readers will see. The teaser. The cheat sheet. Your best shot. It’s your one chance to grab a potential investor’s interest — and keep it. If you win it, a capital investment could follow. Lose it, and said opportunity could go bye-bye. Not good for you, your company or the business plan to follow, which consequently, is now dead on arrival.

The executive summary is the first thing seen,  but it should be the last thing written  — because it’s a snapshot of the business plan to come. So, knowing that fact, let’s get into  the kind of persuasive copy that goes into this ever-so-important opening act. Yet, before we do that, please know there’s not one way  to do an executive summary — but there are best practices and guidelines to keep in mind as you write yours. Points to hit, things to be cognizant of, ways to win interest as the eyes move down the page.

To that end, I asked Dave Lavinsky , business plan expert and co-founder of  Growthink , a Los Angeles-based company that helps private companies raise capital — what  he  thinks. He was nice enough to walk us through various elements he deems essential.

The 3 questions an executive summary must answer: 1) What do you? 2) Why does it matter? 3) Why are you uniquely qualified to succeed?

In Lavinsky’s opinion, here are the questions an executive summary must answer in the first two paragraphs:

According to Lavinsky, the single most important goal of the executive summary is “to get investors to read more and then cut right to the chase to say, ‘Hey, let’s have a meeting.’ Because they’re not going to write you a check without meeting with you.”

If you’re going to achieve that, there are some other things you will need to keep in mind as you get into writing your executive summary —  otherwise known as the most important part of the business plan that could make or break your company!

How to write an executive summary: stylistically

How long should an executive summary be?

1. How long should an executive summary be?

The general consensus is that most executive summaries are anywhere between 1 to 3 pages long, however, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. The content is what’s most important so based on certain variables — including how long the plan is and what you  need  to say to present the most compelling case — you should let that dictate the length, not “a rule” per se.

Lavinsky says, “it does depend on the complexity of the business. I tend to like a one-page executive summary… that being said, I wrote a business plan years back and needed two pages because the technology was so sophisticated that it required a little more space.”

2. What tone of voice should be used?

What is the traditional executive summary format?

3.  What is the traditional executive summary format?

This is where getting down to brass tacks matters.

Because you’re dealing with extremely busy people — decision-makers at companies — you’re going to want to serve this information up in digestible, not daunting fashion. Usually, that means paragraphs and supportive bullet points. Big picture items, not excruciating detail; bullets instead of bulky blocks of text; and precise, deliberate language instead of prose-y purgatory.

That’s the format people reading a business plan expect to see. It’s what keeps people engaged, eating it up, and wanting to read more. One popular way to lay out your executive summary is to do it in a way that mirrors the order of things to come in the plan itself. Have a look at the executive summary template that Dave Lavinsky likes below and decide if it could work well for you.

[Author note:  This is just one example of an executive summary template. Depending on how complex your business is — there certainly could be other ways to do it, so feel free to tweak accordingly.]

Example of the executive summary template that Lavinsky likes.

Here’s an example of the executive summary template that Lavinsky likes:

This opening paragraph section (addressed previously) is the one that answers the essential question in a line or two about who you are as a company, what you do (as a product or service), and even where you’re located to give a sense of the geography.

Why It Matters 

Your second paragraph. It covers the market size, the lack of competition in your space (if that applies) and why your company is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a unique opportunity. This is the place to instill a dose of urgency, if it applies. Remember: There are windows of opportunity. Don’t let this one close on account of forgetting to make your proposal feel well-timed.

[*The following can appear as bullets or small paragraphs depending on what style suits your fancy, and your company.]

Industry Analysis

Customer Analysis

Competitive Snapshot

Marketing Plan

Management Team

Financial Plan

Another section to consider is “Company Analysis.” According to Lavinsky, “I always talk about how the best indicator of future success is past success. So, if there are milestones that your company has already achieved, it’s important to show the investor or lender that you have a track record of hitting milestones and achieving goals (if you’re looking for capital). This lends credibility that if they lend you money, you will do the same and they’ll get a return.”

Tot Squad example of an executive summary.

Now, here’s an actual example of an executive summary — and why it works:

In 2011, Jennifer Sexton founded the company  Tot Squad  during her time at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In fact, it was based on a business idea that took first place in the Kellogg Cup MBA Business Plan Competition in 2010. As with most startups, the company has evolved a bit since its original conception, but as Sexton points out, Tot Squad is now “a marketplace that connects new parents to all of the services they need, both in person and online via video chat.”

As the company has grown and evolved, so has the information she puts into her executive summary. I’ve included an example below of one comprehensive executive summary Sexton wrote for Tot Squad back in 2018 — right before her company won a 60-second elevator pitch competition at Launch Scale in 2019. At the event, her company was deemed “most likely to achieve $50-100M in sales and be the next startup Unicorn or Pegasus” by entrepreneur/angel investor, Jason Calacanis.

[Please note: Many sections in Sexton’s executive summary are consistent with Dave Lavinsky’s advice, but the headers have different names.] 

Tot Squad Incorporation type:  C-Corp, Consumer Services Contact:  Jennifer Saxton [contact info] totsquad.com Tot Squad is a platform of services with expertise in the maintenance, safety education and installation of baby gear. Company Summary:  Tot Squad is a baby gear services company aiming to be the “Geek Squad” of the baby industry. Our mobile fleet provides cleaning, repairs, and installation of car seats and strollers, in partnership with retailers like Nordstrom, Babies R Us, and Whole Foods. We have corporate operations in SoCal and NYC, our first franchise recently opened in Washington, DC, and we have over 200 car seat safety affiliates in 40 states. We plan to pilot an in-store service center with a major big-box baby retailer this spring, and expect to sign a service contract with Uber this month. Management Team:  Founder & CEO Jen Saxton graduated from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, where Tot Squad won the prestigious Kellogg Cup MBA Business Plan Competition. CFO John Mattox and Head of Marketing, Ann Singhakowinta, are both graduates of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. COO Shanna Johnson is a graduate of Columbia University and has spent 10 years scaling people-intensive start-ups. David McKinnon, co-founder of franchise conglomerate Service Brands (Molly Maid, Mr. Handyman, other service co’s with $300M+ sales) is an investor/advisor, and leader of this round of fundraising. Customer Problem:  Busy parents struggle with the time, hassle and frustration that baby gear can present. Car seats and strollers are dirty, break easily, and are challenging to assemble/install. 90% of car seats are misused, and car accidents are the #1 cause of death for kids. Simultaneously, retailers are struggling to compete vs online retail, and bringing services in store draws foot traffic and boosts sales. Rideshare companies want to appeal to families and need experts in car seat safety and cleaning/quality assurance to provide kid-friendly services. Target Market:  Our end consumers are busy, affluent parents in desirable neighborhoods who spend hundreds, up to a thousand dollars, on a stroller and want to maintain their investment. 65% of Tot Squad customers are women, with 70% between 25-44 years of age. Customers shop in higher-end retail and boutiques. We target both time-stretched working mothers, as well as more budget-conscious parents who need occasional cleaning/repairs help. Customer Segments:  We are growing via franchise sales and B2B partnerships with large companies like Uber and Amazon. Expansion through B2B sales, from gear manufacturers to automotive partners, grows the brand’s equity and creates consistent revenue streams. As a first mover with no major threats, we’ve got great traction. Business Model : Our business brings foot traffic to stores, creating a captive audience that increases sales (Nordstrom Baby Dept sees 30-40% comps on days of events). In addition to scaling through franchising, we plan to offer a kiosk-style “in-store service center” within a big box retailer, a la Geek Squad, where we can sell 1-2 year “extended warranty” service packages on registries. Competitive Advantage:  Our strategic partnerships with national retailers and manufacturers provide brand credibility, lead generation (zero customer acquisition cost) and key retail locations (for new franchisees) from Day 1 and create competitive barriers to entry. Our team of certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians also sets us apart from competition. For franchisees, the proven business model, turnkey marketing/sales/operations, technology infrastructure and insurance accessibility are key. Product & Services : We do the dirty work that busy parents don’t have the time or energy to deal with. We clean car seats and strollers using eco-friendly products and steamers. We offer car seat installations by Child Passenger Safety Technicians and are an Authorized Service Center for major stroller brands. Most services can be performed in less than 60 minutes for $20-80. We do daily popups with major retailers for moms’ convenience. Competitors : There is a handful of small competitors, sprinkled around the country, mostly home-based businesses with only a local radius. Our largest competitor, Stroller Spa, is a low-volume, high price point player that works as a hobby business. BabyBubbles is a NYC-based company whose main growth driver is not their gear services, but their privately labeled cleaning products and diaper laundering services. Parents also use local police for safety checks. There are no national brands in any of the service lines on our platform. Financials (USD thousands) 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Systemwide Sales $225 $837 $5,687 $19,685 $50,563 EBITDA -$457 -$506 $668 $4,404 $9,780 Raising $1.0M-$1.5MM at $5.0M pre-money valuation, ~$1.1M committed. Round led by David McKinnon.

Download a PDF version of the Tot Squad executive summary.

Tot Squad summary

Here are four things I love about this executive summary for Tot Squad:

1. I love the opening line in Sexton’s  Company Summary : “Tot Squad is a baby gear services company aiming to be the ‘Geek Squad’ of the baby industry.” It gives a clear, quick descriptor of what Tot Squad is, their industry and who they aspire to be.

2.  In the  Management Team section, not only is Sexton sure to highlight the impressive college credentials and business school degrees of her management team, but also the highly relevant industry experience of the person leading this round of fundraising for her company, “David McKinnon, co-founder of franchise conglomerate Service Brands (Molly Maid, Mr. Handyman, other service co’s with $300M+ sales).” A morsel sure to catch the interest/attention of the reader and win credibility.

3. Having already legitimized her company’s position by stating their existing partnerships (Nordstrom, Babies R Us, and Whole Foods), Sexton does a great job of speaking to the  Customer Problem  they’re solving while addressing their  Customer Segment , citing Tot Squad as well-positioned to succeed, i.e., “As a first mover with no major threats, we’ve got great traction.”

4. In the  Financials  section at the bottom, Sexton lays out her company earnings to date and shows impressive growth projections into the near future. Most importantly, she also cites the financial ask so the reader knows what’s being proposed.

Now that we’ve covered all the things  to do  in your executive summary, here’s a quick list of things  not  to do. Things that will inevitably repel investors and potentially drive away the capital investment (or partner) your company oh-so-needs to survive.

Things not to do in high-level business summaries

Here are five things  NOT  to do in an executive summary:

Now that we’ve gone through the do’s and the don’ts, think about the approach that will work best for your business. If you’re a business person, entrepreneur, even a freelance writer , it can only help to understand your end-game by having a sound business plan — highlighted by a powerful executive summary that demonstrates why you’ll swim where others sink.

Now, get to work.

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How To Write an Effective Executive Summary to Yield Results

By Kate Eby | April 3, 2018

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In this article, you'll learn how to craft an organized, well written executive summary the next time you have to gain the attention of a time-strapped audience.

Included on this page, you’ll find information on how to write an executive summary that wins the proposal, how to format your executive summary , an executive summary checklist , and more. 

What Is the Purpose of the Executive Summary?

An executive summary should be clear and concise (typically one to two pages long) and present the main points in a formal tone. The purpose of an executive summary is to pique the reader’s curiosity by presenting facts from the larger piece of content it is summarizing.

The executive summary can be either a portion of a business document (a business plan, project proposal, or report) or long articles and documents common in research-driven communities and academia. When crafted correctly, the executive summary provides an overview of the information and objectives in the larger document. The executive summary stands alone from the content it summarizes, and should include the essential information, the recommendations, the findings, and the conclusion of the more extensive document.

The Benefits of a Well Written Executive Summary

A well planned, well written executive summary is a valuable tool because it prioritizes the reader’s time and reduces the effort required to learn the critical aspects of the content. The summary can convey the purpose of your business plan, project proposal, product launch presentation, or sales pitch to keep the reader engaged and reading further, or empowered to take action. Even if it is the only thing your audience reads, a strong executive summary creates value for the reader as a first impression. Use the executive summary to make a business case, support a position, or tell a story. The reader should know how the subject of your content impacts them, benefits their work, their company, or their projects after reading the executive summary.  

Various industries use executive summaries as a communication tool, including healthcare, education, government, technology, real estate, finance, law, the nonprofit sector, and more. One of the benefits of using an executive summary is that it is not exclusive to one type of communication. Executive summaries show up in a variety of use cases, including the following:

Business plans

Legal briefs

Product launch plans

College campus surveys

Market research reports

Environmental studies

Project proposals

Hospital planning and evaluation

How to Write an Executive Summary

Crafting a useful executive summary requires more than simply cutting and pasting vital information from the body of your report or proposal. The executive summary may be the only part of the report your target audience reads, so you should spend the time to make it valuable.

It doesn’t have to be an intimidating process, but before you begin writing, you should ask the following critical questions:

Who depends on the information? When you write the executive summary, decide who you are targeting and the critical information that audience needs. What do they need to know to make a decision? What would they already know? Do you have a specific customer you want to reach with your message or story? Writing the executive summary with that audience in mind will make it useful because the story you’re telling about your business, project, or proposal will resonate.

What is the objective? While it’s true that an executive summary recaps essential information from the body of the content it summarizes, that is its function, not its purpose. Write the summary to your intended audience and include the crucial information that supports your objective for creating the document. What do you need the reader to understand? Is the aim to recommend change based on the results of your research? What needs to happen for the project plan to succeed based on your proposal? Let your objectives determine the content and context of your summary.  

What are you recommending? Use the executive summary to draw conclusions and make recommendations to the reader. If your report presents the need for change, recommend the actions that the body of your document supports in the summary. State the benefits of your product or service, or the solutions you provide more detail on in the proposal. Ultimately, don’t make the reader work to find out what action they need to take: Make your recommendations clear in the executive summary.

How will you make an impression? The “executive” summary earned its name from the need to get the upper management’s attention. Executives did not have the time to read every word of every document. The summary had to make an impression because it might be the only part of the material that would be read. Regardless of its origins, the principle of using the summary to make an impression on the reader is sound, as that impression might encourage the reader to keep reading or take action. Consider how you shape the message, organize the sections of your summary, or present research to stand out in a brief space.

Executive Summary Checklist

After you answer these questions and begin writing your document, refer to the following checklist as you develop the executive summary.

Executive Summary Checklist

Download Executive Summary Checklist

What Is the Format of an Executive Summary?

Every executive summary intends to distill information to the reader upfront, so it is typically placed first in the document. (Sometimes it is a separate section of a formal business document listed in the table of contents.)

When used in a less formal manner, the executive summary is an opening paragraph, a separate one-page summary memo, or the first page of a report. For example, if your goal is to raise capital, use the executive summary like an investor profile that provides the reader the information necessary to land the meeting or get the funding, without further reading.

The format and length vary based on the purpose of the content that you are summarizing; there is no set structure to follow. Here are some formatting tips that you can use for any executive summary, regardless of the style:

Order of Appearance : Beyond the introduction, decide what sections of the summary are most important to the purpose of the document. Organize your subheadings or sections in that order. Use bullet points and plenty of spacing between the different parts of the summary to make the content more accessible to scanning eyes. By doing so, you naturally discard information better left to the body of the document, and you honor the reader’s time by prioritizing the message, recommendations, conclusions, or solutions in the longer document.  

How Much Is Too Much : Executive summaries vary in length based on the type of content they summarize or their purpose. Some recommend keeping the summary to a specific percentage of the overall document, while others advocate a set number of pages. Focus on keeping the summary brief but comprehensive, with the most important information available to the reader.

Audience Aim : The tone and language of the executive summary should match that of the target audience. Avoid using technical jargon that requires definitions, and present the information in an accessible manner based on the knowledge and expertise of your intended audience. Do not include acronyms or highlight data that need an extensive background for context, and avoid using casual, informal tones. That said, an executive summary used in internal communications will have a different tone and style than one used in external communication tools.

One-page Executive Summary Template

One Page Executive Summary Template

This template is designed to fit your executive summary on one page. Take advantage of the short sections and bullet points to keep the document concise and hook the reader with the information that will keep them reading. Organize the key points by customizing the subheadings to emphasize their importance based on your purpose for the document.

Download One-page Executive Summary Template

Excel  |  Word  |  PDF

What Are the Common Pitfalls of Executive Summaries?

When formatting and organizing the executive summary, beware of the following pitfalls that plague poorly written and poorly planned summaries:

Fact or Persuasion : Support your motives and the objective of the executive summary with the facts. If the summary is for a sales proposal or pitch deck, persuade your reader up front with data and information, not buzzwords and cliches. If the executive summary includes generalizations or opinions that you don't support within your material with market research, project examples, independent data, testimonials, etc., you risk misleading the reader. Avoid writing a summary that leads clients, policy makers, or management to an unsupported recommendation or conclusion for the sake of persuasion — instead, focus on the facts.  

Relevance Over Repetition : By nature, the executive summary is a repetitive summary of content. Therefore, only include the most relevant details — those that summarize the true purpose of the overall content. Use the rest of your business plan, research report, or client proposal to cover topics relevant background information at length. If you try to cut and paste too much information and context from your longer business or research document into the summary, the details might overshadow the impression you want to make on the reader. The background becomes the introduction, and you risk losing a reader’s attention (especially an online audience).

Consistency Is Key : The executive summary highlights the substance of the larger piece of content. Don’t feature information here that is not covered in the body of the proposal. Avoid using different subheadings to organize copy in the body of the report. For example, if you highlight “Project Milestones” in the executive summary, do not list them in a new section for “Project Goals” in the business proposal. Use the tone and language you establish in the summary throughout the material. If you target an audience without expertise in the subject matter, don’t switch to highly technical analysis in the body copy. Finally, if you cover something in the executive summary, cover it again in the report. Don’t make the reader work to learn more about something you highlighted in the summary.

Draw a Clear Conclusion : Write an executive summary that comes to a conclusion and supports your purpose for creating the document. Keep the reader’s interest in mind when you summarize a lengthy project proposal or report. Does the reader have a clear understanding of the solutions you propose? Can they identify the problems you solve? If the executive summary is the only thing they read, can they take action on your recommendations or anticipate a desired outcome based on the information you included?

Executive Summary Outline Template - PowerPoint

Executive Summary Outline Presentation Template

Use this free template to outline your next big presentation, or keep it updated as a live meeting record to keep up with your evolving internal business plans or funding needs. The slides are formatted to outline the important elements of a formal business plan summary. You can customize the slides to fit the order of importance for your content’s purpose or extend each. Use the slides as an outline to keep track of the content you want to summarize after every update or draft of the report.

‌ Download Executive Summary Outline Template - PowerPoint

What to Include in an Executive Summary

You will determine the components of each executive summary you write based on the reason for writing it and your target audience.

For example, a business plan for an external audience includes financial information and details on the size and scale of a company; startups seeking funding and investors will highlight specific financial requirements and how they impact the business strategy. Executive summaries vary in the content they cover, but here is a common framework:

Introduction : This opening statement, paragraph, or section should clearly state the document’s purpose and the content to follow. How you will use this section depends on the desired outcome for the reader or audience, who should immediately find value in the information you present. Therefore, the details included in the introduction should grab and hold the reader’s attention.  

Company Information : When writing an executive summary for an external audience, include your company name, a description of your mission or purpose, contact information, location, and the size and scale of your operations. In some cases, the summary introduces the founders, investors, and corporate leadership. It might include background information of each that outlines previous industry or startup experience, or historical context on the current state of the company. When used in a presentation or research report, introduce the team presenting or responsible for the report’s findings.

Products and Services : The executive summary is the place to highlight the problem you solve or the need you fulfill. For a report, this is where you might highlight what you researched and what the reader should know about your findings. For a project proposal, include what you’re planning to accomplish and what you need to make it successful. For marketing plans or product launch presentations, tell the reader why your service or product is relevant at this particular moment in time.

Market Analysis : The executive summary of a business plan might profile the target customer and explain the market opportunity for a product or service. Consider answering questions like: Is there a five year plan for this market? How do you anticipate growing the customer base and improving market share? What stands out from your research about your customers that the reader should know?

Competition Analysis : This section should include answers to the following questions:

What is the competitive advantage of your proposed solution or product and who or what do you compete with in this market?

What are the opportunities now and in the future?

What are the risks in your market and your product or service?

Do you have relevant experience with major competitors?

What are the future plans for growth and what obstacles do you anticipate addressing?

Financials : The executive summary might summarize key financial data that is relevant to the reader or data that supports your research. If the purpose is to secure funding, include the specific amount you are requesting. Be sure to provide context for the financial data or any number you highlight in the executive summary. This section is a great way to highlight growth, or to use metrics to provide perspective on the company.

Conclusions : Recap your findings, the problem and solution discussed, or the project and work proposed. If there is a decision the reader needs to make, be direct about it. Make the outcomes obvious, but leave enough intrigue for the rest of the content to follow.

How Do You End An Executive Summary?

Although the executive summary begins a document, it concludes so that it can stand alone from the rest of the content and still be of value. Use the conclusion to recap your findings, make recommendations, and propose solutions to the problem.

If there is a decision you want the reader to make, ask make a call to action in this section. If you are summarizing a research report, summarize the findings and the research methods used to conclude the work. Make the outcomes or recommendations visible, but leave enough out to incentivize the audience to continue reading. Close the executive summary with a strong statement or transition that sets up the theme or central message to the story you tell in the report or proposal.

What Should Be in the Executive Summary of a Business Plan?

Traditional business plans differ in context and content based on if the audience is internal or external. Both audiences benefit from some of the previously discussed elements of the executive summary (like a substantial introduction).

However, the summary of an internal business plan does not require a section that introduces management or key personnel. An external business plan targets an audience that expects to find crucial financial information in the summary. When you develop the executive summary of the business plan, determine the information to include based on the audience and purpose of the document.

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

This executive summary template is designed to get your business plan noticed and reviewed. In this scenario, you’re presenting to an external audience and therefore should include more attention to detail with a standard business plan document. Use bullet points and clear, formal language to guide the reader to the most important information about your company.

Download Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Excel  |  Word  |  PDF  | Smartsheet

You can find a variety of templates for various industries and needs by reading “Free Executive Summary Templates.”

What Should Be in an Executive Summary of a Report?

Josh Bernoff spent 20 years writing and editing reports for Forrester Research. He is an advocate of creating actionable reports that tell a story. He believes that the executive summary is crucial.

“If the report is a story, the right executive summary is the same story, written briefly,” writes Bernoff . He recommends imagining that your readers ask you questions like, “What’s the coolest stuff in this report?” and “What did you find out?” while writing the report.

“Your answer, written directly to the reader, is the executive summary,” Bernoff explains in his book.

The executive summary of a report requires vivid details that grab online readers’ attention in a hurry. According to Bernoff, the summary recaps the story you want to tell behind all the words in the report. Using this advice as a guidepost, consider including the following answers to these questions to create your report’s summary:

What is the central plot of your report?

Why is this story important?

What are the most memorable scenes (examples, data, case study results, etc.) from the different sections of the report?

How does your research address the story’s central conflict (the problem solved)?

How does your research support the story’s conclusion?

What actions does the story recommend the reader be aware of?

The executive summary of lengthy research reports — especially those used in academic articles, scientific journals, government studies, or healthcare initiatives — require additional formatting considerations and elements not found in business plans or proposals. Consider the following guidelines when developing the executive summary of a research report:

Present the sections of the executive summary in the same order as in the main report.

Do not include information or research that is not supported and presented in the body of the report.

Draw a conclusion with the executive summary that justifies the research and provides recommendations.

Use a tone and language to describe technical information that readers without advanced knowledge or expertise of the subject matter can understand.

Remember that an executive summary of a report is distinct from an abstract. Abstracts are shorter overviews of a report and are common in academia. They familiarize the reader with a synopsis of the research that is much shorter than an executive summary. You can also think of an abstract as a standalone statement that helps the reader determine if they will read on. The executive summary, by contrast, summarizes the research in a structure that includes the summary, methods, results, conclusions, and recommendations for the reader without necessarily having to read further.

Research Report Executive Summary Template

Research Report Executive Summary Template

Use this template to create a synopsis of research results for reports — these will typically be longer than an executive summary for a business plan and proposal. The template is formatted to accommodate in-depth reports that need space for charts and tables to illustrate research data. It is designed to summarize technical information in a concise manner, with clear subheadings that communicate key findings to readers with various expertise and interest.

Download Research Report Executive Summary Template

Word  |  PDF

Get Funding with Your Executive Summary

Startups seeking capital investment from venture capital funds and angel investors can repurpose the executive summary from a business plan as a more concise, less formal investor profile.

This type of summary memo is stripped down and focused on the specific financial requirements and how the funding makes an impact on the business strategy. It is the perfect template to create a profile on investor platform websites like AngelList and Gust . Use the following tips to transform traditional business plan summaries into the pitch that lands you a meeting or funding:

Include the specific dollar amount you’re requesting, the purpose for the funds raised, and any relevant data such as repayment terms, collateral, equity share information, etc.

Keep the financial data simple and round to the nearest whole dollar amount.

List founders, partners, and key management personnel and highlight specific domain expertise or previous startup experience.

Describe your company’s growth plan and the proposed exit strategy.

Remove any industry buzzwords, meaningless phrases, and cliches (for example “the Uber of…,” “game-changing,” “disruptive,” “next Facebook,” “world-class,” etc.).

Mention noteworthy achievements, intellectual property, important business partnerships, or information on product development stages in test markets.

Describe work in progress and highlight relevant information about customer growth, market demand, and product development.

Startup Executive Summary Template

Startup Executive Summary Template

Transform your executive summary into an investor document with this template. It acts as a one-page pitch that serves as your company profile on investor platforms. You can repurpose this template and save it as a PDF summary memo to land future meetings with investors. For more information on business plans for startups, including free budget templates, read “ Free Startup Plan, Budget & Cost Templates .”

Download Startup Executive Summary Template

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    How to write a great executive summary, with examples 1. Start with the problem or need the project is solving. At the beginning of your executive summary, start by... 2. Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives. Now that you’ve outlined the problem, explain what... 3. Explain ...

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    How to write an executive summary 1. Research effective executive summaries. Before you write your own executive summary, it may be helpful to review... 2. Reread your document. Before you can write an executive summary, you must have a complete document or proposal. 3. Write the first paragraph. In ...

  3. How to Write an Executive Summary (Best Format)

    Here’s the structure of our executive summary template: Introduction: What is 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 ...

  4. How to Write an Executive Summary

    Writing an executive summary will help your audience quickly understand the policy problem and proposed solution of your report. It is intended for a busy reader; and is a stand-alone, 1-2 page actionable document of no more than 1000 words. Good executive summaries start by introducing your project: What policy problem drives the work?

  5. How to Write a Great Executive Summary

    Ideally, the executive summary is the part of your document you write last, since you can’t summarize the full document if you don’t yet have a full document. With the full document in hand, jot down the key sections you need to include in your executive summary and the points to hit in each section. By doing this, you’re creating an ...

  6. Writing an Executive Summary

    An executive summary should summarize the key points of the report. It should restate the purpose of the report, highlight the major points of the report, and describe any results, conclusions, or recommendations from the report.

  7. How To Write an Executive Summary (Templates Plus Example)

    How to write an executive summary Here are five steps you can take to write an effective executive summary: 1. Provide an overview of your project The first section of an effective executive summary is an introduction that provides readers with an overview of your proposed project.

  8. How to Write an Executive Summary: Step-By-Step (2023)

    How to write an executive summary Step 1: Start with an attention-grabbing opening. Open with a bang. Capture the client’s attention right out of the gate. Step 2: Define the problem. Clearly state the problem or goal your proposal aims to address. You want to assure the... Step 3: Describe the ...

  9. How to Write a Successful Executive Summary [Template

    Concise. Powerful. Executive summaries are the first page (or pages) of a business plan or proposal. The best grab attention as they offer a compelling snapshot of what’s to come — but also possess the ability to stand alone. They don’t mince words, since stakes are high, as they cover the touch points necessary to win that next meeting ...

  10. How to Write an Executive Summary

    An executive summary should be clear and concise (typically one to two pages long) and present the main points in a formal tone. The purpose of an executive summary is to pique the reader’s curiosity by presenting facts from the larger piece of content it is summarizing.