The executive summary is a critical part of any business plan, report or project. A summary of the main points, findings and recommendations of a longer business plan or proposal, the executive summary should be detailed but concise. It is crucial to write an effective, impactful, clear and convincing executive summary for your business plan because often this is the first thing readers will see. In some cases, it may be the only part a potential investor, partner or stakeholder will read.
In this informative guide, we’ll share tips and tricks to help you write a winning executive summary and provide executive summary examples and templates.
An executive summary should be an integral part of your project proposal or business plan. When creating your executive summary, always remember that the person or people who are reading it may have extremely busy schedules and limited time. There is a small window of time to impress, convince and persuade the individual or panel to back your business or get on board with your proposals. This means that the executive summary has to be punchy, detailed, informative, engaging, interesting and accurate.
As time is of the essence, it is best to keep your executive summary to a maximum of two pages. Ideally, it should not constitute more than 10% of the entire business plan. As well as being comprehensive and compelling , it is vital that your executive summary is quick and easy to read. You want to hold the attention of the reader from start to finish.
Here are some steps to follow to write your executive summary:
What should you include in your executive summary? To help you ensure that you check all of the boxes, here’s a list of points and elements to include in your executive summary for a project proposal and business plan.
If you are writing a project proposal, make sure you include the following in your executive summary:
If you are writing a business plan , your executive summary should include the following elements:
Here is an example of an executive summary for a project taken from Indeed.com ( source ):
Last year, our company spent $95,000 in contracted recyclable trash hauler fees. Upon further analysis, we discovered that much of our recyclable waste is due to office employees bringing single-use plastic bottles to work with them.
We can save an estimated $25,000 yearly on recycling fees by adding water refill stations and encouraging employees to use refillable water bottles.
Some employees may not be interested in using community water stations or refillable water bottles. We plan to use water refill units with software that tracks the amount of water used. We will encourage employee use by enacting an office reward system (catering days, food truck visits, etc.). We also plan to implement a “Go Green” initiative to promote phasing out single-use bottles. This will encourage team members to use the refill stations. (See section seven)
The initial cost to buy and install refill units is significant. However, this program will pay for itself within two years. Upkeep costs are minimal, so the units will save the company $25,000 yearly in recycling costs after two years. (See section eight)
We need approval for $45,000 to cover the purchase and installation to implement our new recycling initiative. The yearly upkeep will require a $5,000-a-year adjustment in our facility’s maintenance budget to ensure the continued functionality of the units and keep the program on target. We hope to begin this project by July 1, 2023.
This template for a project proposal executive summary is taken from getguru.com ( source ):
Here are some good executive summary examples for a business plan taken from HubSpot ( source ):
To create an executive summary that will help you to achieve your goals, here are some writing tips and some common mistakes to avoid:
Always remember that your business plan executive summary should be unique and relevant to your company. You can use samples, templates and examples to get ideas related to format, structure and content, but your executive summary should be tailored to your business plan or project proposal. It is critical to include data and information about your company and the specific objective or proposal. It is also helpful to consider the reader when creating your executive summary. This can help to ensure that you get the tone and the type of language right. If you’re looking for investors for a financial or legal firm, for example, using informal language or a relaxed, casual tone won’t fit with the business plan.
Before you send a business plan to an individual, or you meet with a panel to discuss your proposal, take the time to read the summary several times and check the content, format and grammar. Get to grips with the data and statistics you have used and ensure that you’re ready to answer questions or provide additional information. Try to put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Is your executive summary interesting and convincing? Do you want to read the whole thing and the rest of the business plan? Do you trust that the information is accurate and reliable? Do you want to find out more about the company or brand? Is there something special that makes this business or the project unique or compelling?
An executive summary is a crucial part of a business plan or project proposal. If you are looking for investors, or you’re hoping to get new partners on board, for example, it’s incredibly beneficial to ensure that you have an effective, impactful executive summary ready to impress them. Your summary should be concise, punchy, compelling and persuasive and it should provide a detailed overview of the essential elements and main points of your business plan. A statement-making executive summary can help you to attract potential investors and stakeholders and increase your chances of achieving key business objectives.