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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.

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.

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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.

Executive summary examples

Sometimes the best way to learn is to see how other people are doing it. The U.S. Small Business Administration has multiple business plan examples; you can flip to the executive summary to help you write your own executive summary. For more inspiration, here is an example from Harvard Business School :

Executive summary template

After all the information we threw your way, you're probably itching to get started. If you're ready to apply what you just learned, download our free business plan template. Our template will not only make it easier to write your executive summary; it will also guide you in writing the rest of your business plan.

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, with examples

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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 a Powerful Executive Summary [+4 Top Examples]

Caroline Forsey

Published: August 31, 2023

Whether you're an entrepreneur looking for investors for your small business or the CEO of a large corporation, an executive summary can help you succeed and is a critical component for long-term growth.

Executive summary with examples

A short, attention-grabbing executive summary is an essential part of your business plan . Done correctly, it will ensure your company becomes or remains a key player in your industry. In this post, you’ll learn what an executive summary is and how to write one that engages investors, customers, and general audiences.

Executive Summary

An executive summary is a brief overview of a long document, such as a business plan, proposal, or report. It's a section that grabs readers’ attention and summarizes critical information from the document, such as the problem or opportunity being addressed, objectives, key findings, goals, and recommendations.

Some documents that may have an executive summary include:

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

Ultimately, the executive summary is meant to inform readers of the most important information in the document, so they don't have to read it all and can get caught up quickly.

executive summary on a business plan

Free Executive Summary Template

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

  • Company & Opportunity
  • Industry & Market Analysis
  • Management & Operations
  • Financial Plan

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

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, your company's short-term and long-term goals, information on your product or service, sales targets, expense budgets, your marketing plan, and a list including each member of your management team. In this case, the executive summary is the first section of the business plan that convinces readers that it’s worth their time to read the whole thing.

Business plans are very detailed and comprehensive, and can be as short as a dozen pages or as long as 100 pages. However, a CEO or investor might not have the interest or time to read your full business plan without first getting the general gist of your company or goals through an executive summary.

Executive Summary vs. Mission Statement

Mission statements and executive summaries are typically both 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.

Ultimately, your mission statement provides direction for developing your business plan, while your executive summary describes your business plan to executives and shareholders.

Executive Summary vs. Company Description

Like mission statements and executive summaries, company descriptions can also be found in business plans as well as the “About us” page of your website . It provides an overview of your business, including essential details like company history, what your company does, unique selling points, goals, management team, and overall value proposition.

Executive Summary vs. Objective

An objective is a specific goal or target that your company takes aims to achieve its overall goal. It is a concrete, measurable outcome that guides your business’s actions and decisions. Objectives are usually set at the strategic level and are typically aligned with the company’s mission, vision, and overall strategic plan.

Company objectives are often included in executive summaries, but are not the sole focus of them.

What is the purpose of an executive summary?

Writing an executive summary may not seem that necessary. After all, you can find the same information just by reading the rest of the document.

However, the executive summary serves many purposes for your document and those who read it. Here are some of the benefits of having one:

  • It saves your readers time. CEOs and investors often have limited time to review lengthy documents. An executive summary allows them to quickly grasp the main points, key findings, and recommendations without needing to read the entire document.
  • It provides clarity and conciseness. By providing a condensed overview, executive summaries help to distill complex information and present it in a manner that’s easy to understand.
  • It helps with document navigation. For longer documents or reports, an executive summary provides a roadmap for readers. It helps them navigate through the document by signaling the main sections or topics covered, improving overall document usability and accessibility.

To write an impressive executive summary that effectively embodies all the important elements of your business plan, we've cultivated a list of necessary components for an executive summary, as well as an example to get you started.

Follow Along With HubSpot's Executive Summary Template

Executive summary template from HubSpot

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How to write an executive summary.

A good executive summary tells your company’s story, contains in-depth research, conveys information with an appropriate tone, is void of clichés, and follows your business plan’s structure. These elements will ensure your executive summary is effective, informative, and impactful.

1. Tell your story.

When investors or CEO's read your executive summary, they should understand what your business is about. This is one of the first elements of your business plan, so it should set the tone.

In your executive summary, be sure to tell your story and include an overview about what your company does and why you do what you do. You can also briefly highlight important details about your company’s management.

For instance, you could talk about your founder or CEO’s qualifications and motivations. You can also provide a high-level summary of your company’s business operations and any management methods or best practices that you abide by.

You’ll also want to explain the problem or opportunity that is being addressed, and how it is valuable to investors and customers. Think of this like an elevator pitch . If someone stopped reading and you only had the executive summary to explain your company, what information would you include?

2. Highlight important data.

An executive summary, while short, should include plenty of research.

Highlight the most important findings and insights from the document, including any critical data or statistics discovered in your competitor analysis . While your business plan will flesh out the details, it's important to include your key findings in your executive summary.

You should also provide a basic rundown of your target market, how you plan on addressing their needs and pain points, and how you will reach them.

Additionally, you should include key financial information. The main points you should cover are the overall budget, the price per product/service, and your financial projections.

3. Pay attention to your tone.

Although the tone of your executive summary should be professional and concise, it should also be true to your company and target audience. Aim to convey a sense of authority and credibility while remaining accessible and engaging.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Focus on presenting information objectively with facts and evidence.
  • Don’t voice your personal opinions or use subjective statements.
  • Strive for clarity and simplicity in your language and ensure that your message is easily understood.
  • Avoid unnecessarily complexity or convolution.
  • Don’t use hyperbole or excessive claims.
  • Use strong verbs, active voice, and concise language to make your points effectively.
  • Aim to resonate with the reader’s interests and concerns.

By striking the right balance between professionalism, clarity, and engagement, you can effectively deliver your message and compel the reader to take action or make informed decisions based on the summary.

4. Avoid cliché language.

With any style of writing, it's best to avoid clichés. Clichés can convey the wrong message or be misunderstood, which is something you want to avoid when someone reads your executive summary.

Additionally, clichés tend to overpromise and under-deliver. For example, including something like “The Best Restaurant in Town” isn‘t true because you’re untested as a business. Your executive summary should reflect the truth and who you are as a company.

To avoid clichés while writing, it’s essential to be aware of their presence. Familiarize yourself with common clichés and be mindful of them as you write. Some examples include:

  • “Thinking outside the box”
  • “Innovative solutions”
  • “Cutting-edge technology”

Instead of relying on these overused phrases, be descriptive and embrace the uniqueness of your brand when writing your executive summary. For instance, there’s no need to vaguely refer to your product as a “game-changer,” when you could explain how it benefits your target audience instead. Show, don’t tell.

By staying true to your voice and delivering an honest message, you can keep your writing fresh and your audience engaged.

5. Write it after completing your business plan.

An executive summary is a summary of your business plan. However, it‘s hard to write a summary when you haven’t written your business plan yet. That's why your executive summary should be the final thing you write.

By saving this step for last, you’re able to gain a thorough understanding of the entire plan, including your business’s goals, strategies, market analysis, and financial projections. This enables you to accurately depict the most important aspects in your summary.

If you write you executive summary first, you’re more likely to miscommunicate the essence of your business plan to executives and shareholders. Sure, you may have an outline prepare, but not having all the information can lead to inconsistencies or inaccuracies in your summary. You also risk including irrelevant details or omitting important details that come up during the planning process.

Ultimately, writing your executive summary last ensures that precisely represents the content and findings your plan.

If you don’t have a business plan yet, don’t worry; we have a comprehensive business plan template to help you create one quickly and effectively.

Featured Resource: Business Plan Template

how to write executive summary: use business plan template from hubspot

Download Your Free Template Here

Now that you know how to write an executive summary, let's dive into the details of what to include.

What to Include in Your Executive Summary

Your business plan should convey your company‘s mission, your product, a plan for how you’ll stand out from competitors, your financial projections, your company's short and long-term goals, your buyer persona, and your market fit.

Ultimately, an executive summary should provide a preview for investors or CEO's, so they know what to expect from the rest of your report. Your executive summary should include:

  • The name, location, and mission of your company
  • A description of your company, including management, advisors, and brief history
  • Your product or service, where your product fits in the market, and how your product differs from competitors in the industry
  • Financial considerations, start-up funding requirements, or the purpose behind your business plan — mention what you hope the reader will help your company accomplish

How long should an executive summary be?

While there is no hard and fast rule for the exact length, executive summaries typically range from one to three pages. However, it's important to note that the length should be determined by the document it accompanies and the content itself rather than a predetermined page count.

At the end of the day, your executive summary should engage the reader and highlight the most important points of your document while avoiding unnecessary details.

Feeling at a loss? Download a free template below that will take you through the executive summary creation process.

Executive Summary Template

executive summary template from hubspot

Download Your Free Executive Summary Template Here

In this free executive summary template, you’ll be able to outline several pieces of information, including:

  • Introduction: Explain what your executive summary contains.
  • Company & Opportunity: Explain who you are and your biggest opportunities for growth.
  • Industry & Market Analysis: Explain the state of your industry and your target market.
  • Management & Operations: Explain who your key leaders are and their roles.
  • Implementation & Marketing: Explain how you plan to deploy your product to the marketplace.
  • Financial Plan: Explain your company’s finances. Change the verbiage depending on whether you’re writing to investors or a general audience.
  • Conclusion: Summarize what you’ve covered.

Ready? Download your free executive summary template .

To understand more tactically how an executive summary should look, let’s review a few examples.

Executive Summary Examples

1. connected.

executive summary example: connected

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How to write a business plan

  • One-page plan
  • Executive summary
  • Products and services
  • Market analysis
  • Competition
  • Marketing and sales
  • Milestones and metrics
  • Company and team
  • Financial plan

Write an executive summary

Vector of a bulleted list of information. Represents the brief but informative executive summary.

How to Write an Executive Summary

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.

On this page

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.

Start your plan

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.

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?

What is the purpose of an executive summary?

How do you start an executive summary?

How do you write a good executive summary?

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How To Write an Executive Summary With Example

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 on a business plan

How To Write an Executive Summary

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. See an example of a business plan's executive summary so you can begin writing one of your own.

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.

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.

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 business 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.

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5 Steps for Writing an Executive Summary

Table of contents.

executive summary on a business plan

  • An executive summary should highlight your business plan’s essential points in fewer than two pages.
  • Write your business plan before writing your executive summary.
  • If you use an executive summary template, tailor it to fit your business plan.
  • This article is for entrepreneurs and startups who want to understand how to create the executive summary section of their business plan.

Anyone starting a new business must create a business plan that clearly outlines the organization’s details and goals. The executive summary is a crucial element of that business plan.

We’ll explore five steps to writing your business plan’s executive summary, including what to include and avoid. We’ll also point you toward executive summary templates to help you get started. 

What is an executive summary?

New entrepreneurs or business owners typically use a business plan to present their great business idea to potential stakeholders like angel investors . The purpose of the business plan is to attract financing from investors or convince banking executives to get a bank loan for their business . An executive summary is a business plan overview that succinctly highlights its most essential elements. 

It’s not just a general outline; the executive summary might be the only part of your business plan that busy executives and potential investors read. 

“The executive summary of a business plan is designed to capture the reader’s attention and briefly explain your business, the problem you are solving, the target audience, and key financial information,” Ross Kimbarovsky, CEO and founder of Crowdspring, told Business News Daily. “If the executive summary lacks specific information or does not capture the attention of the reader, the rest of the plan might not be read.”

While your executive summary should be engaging and comprehensive, it must also be quick and easy to read. These documents average one to four pages – ideally, under two pages – and should comprise less than 10% of your entire business plan.

Along with an executive summary, a business plan will include your business’s legal structure , the products and services you sell, and a financial plan with sales forecasts .

How do you write an executive summary?

Your executive summary will be unique to your organization and business plan. However, most entrepreneurs and business owners take the following five steps when creating their executive summary.

  • Write your business plan first. The executive summary will briefly cover the most essential topics your business plan covers. For this reason, you should write the entire business plan first, and then create your executive summary. The executive summary should only cover facts and details included in the business plan.
  • Write an engaging introduction. What constitutes “engaging” depends on your audience. For example, if you’re in the tech industry, your introduction may include a surprising tech trend or brief story. The introduction must be relevant to your business and capture your audience’s attention. It is also crucial to identify your business plan’s objective and what the reader can expect to find in the document.
  • Write the executive summary. Go through your business plan and identify critical points to include in your executive summary. Touch on each business plan key point concisely but comprehensively. You may mention your marketing plan , target audience, company description, management team, and more. Readers should be able to understand your business plan without reading the rest of the document. Ideally, the summary will be engaging enough to convince them to finish the document, but they should be able to understand your basic plan from your summary. (We’ll detail what to include in the executive summary in the next section.)
  • Edit and organize your document. Organize your executive summary to flow with your business plan’s contents, placing the most critical components at the beginning. A bulleted list is helpful for drawing attention to your main points. Double-check the document for accuracy and clarity. Remove buzzwords, repetitive information, qualifying words, jargon, passive language and unsupported claims. Verify that your executive summary can act as a standalone document if needed.
  • Seek outside assistance. Since most entrepreneurs aren’t writing experts, have a professional writer or editor look over your document to ensure it flows smoothly and covers the points you’re trying to convey.

What should you include in an executive summary?

Your executive summary is based on your business plan and should include details relevant to your reader. For example, if your business plan’s goal is pitching a business idea to potential investors , you should emphasize your financial requirements and how you will use the funding. 

The type of language you use depends on whether your audience consists of generalists or industry experts.

While executive summary specifics will vary by company, Marius Thauland, business strategist at OMD EMEA, says all executive summaries should include a few critical elements:

  • Target audience
  • Products and services
  • Marketing and sales strategies
  • Competitive analysis
  • Funding and budget allocation for the processes and operations
  • Number of employees to be hired and involved
  • How you’ll implement the business plan 

When synthesizing each section, highlight the details most relevant to your reader. Include any facts and statistics they must know. In your introduction, present pertinent company information and clearly state the business plan’s objective. To pinpoint key messages for your executive summary, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What do you want the reader to take away from the document? 
  • What do you want to happen after they read it? 

“Put yourself in the business plan reader’s shoes, and think about what you would like to know in the report,” Thauland advised. “Get their attention by making it simple and brief yet still professional. It should also attract them to read the entire document to understand even the minute details.”

If securing financing is your priority, read our reviews of the best business loans to compare options.

What should you avoid in an executive summary?

When writing your executive summary, be aware of the following common mistakes: 

  • Making your executive summary too long. An executive summary longer than two pages will deter some readers. You’re likely dealing with busy executives, and an overlong stretch of text can overwhelm them.
  • Copying and pasting from other executive summary sections. Reusing phrases from other sections and stringing them together without context can seem confusing and sloppy. It’s also off-putting to read the same exact phrase twice within the same document. Instead, summarize your business plan’s central points in new, descriptive language.
  • Too many lists and subheadings in your executive summary. After one – and only one – introductory set of bullets, recap your business plan’s main points in paragraph form without subheadings. Concision and clarity are more important for an executive summary than formatting tricks.
  • Passive or unclear language in your executive summary. You’re taking the reins of your business, and your executive summary should show that. Use active voice in your writing so everyone knows you’re running the show. Be as clear as possible in your language, leaving no questions about what your business will do and how it will get there.
  • Avoid general descriptions in your executive summary. Kimbarovsky said it’s best to avoid generalities in your executive summary. For example, there’s no need to include a line about “your team’s passion for hard work.” This information is a given and will take attention away from your executive summary’s critical details.
  • Don’t use comparisons in your executive summary. Kimbarovsky also advises staying away from comparisons to other businesses in your executive summary. “Don’t say you will be the next Facebook, Uber or Amazon,” said Kimbarovsky. “Amateurs make this comparison to try and show how valuable their company could be. Instead, focus on providing the actual facts that you believe prove you have a strong company. It’s better if the investor gives you this accolade because they see the opportunity.”

When you’re starting a new business, the first people you should hire include a product manager, chief technology officer (CTO) , chief marketing officer and chief financial officer.

Executive summary templates and resources

If you’re writing an executive summary for the first time, online templates can help you outline your document. However, your business is unique, and your executive summary should reflect that. An online template probably won’t cover every detail you’ll need in your executive summary. Experts recommend using templates as general guidelines and tailoring them to fit your business plan and executive summary.

To get you started, here are some popular executive summary template resources:

  • FormSwift. The FormSwift website lets you create and edit documents and gives you access to over 500 templates. It details what an effective executive summary includes and provides a form builder to help you create your executive summary. Fill out a step-by-step questionnaire and export your finished document via PDF or Word.
  • Smartsheet. The Smartsheet cloud-based platform makes planning, managing and reporting on projects easier for teams and organizations. It offers several free downloadable executive summary templates for business plans, startups, proposals, research reports and construction projects.
  • Template.net. The Template.net website provides several free business templates, including nine free executive summary templates that vary by project (e.g., business plan, startup, housing program development, proposal or marketing plan). Print out the templates and fill in your relevant details.
  • TemplateLab. The TemplateLab website is a one-stop shop for new business owners seeking various downloadable templates for analytics, finance, HR, marketing, operations, project management, and time management. You’ll find over 30 free executive summary templates and examples.
  • Vertex42. The Vertex42 website offers Excel templates for executive summaries on budgets, invoices, project management and timesheets, as well as Word templates for legal forms, resumes and letters. This site also provides extensive information on executive summaries and a free executive summary template you can download into Word or Google Docs.

Summing it all up

Your executive summary should preview your business plan in, at most, two pages. Wait until your business plan is complete to write your executive summary, and seek outside help as necessary. A thorough, engaging business plan and executive summary are well worth the time and money you put into them. 

Max Freedman contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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

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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.

Writing 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.

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.

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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 on a business plan

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Executive Summary Template

Use this free Executive Summary Template for Word to manage your projects better.

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, 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 .

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.

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 baseline 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 to use our executive summary 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

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.

Work How You Want

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.

Click here to browse ProjectManager's free templates

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Start » startup, a guide to writing an executive summary for your business plan.

An executive summary should include a concise overview of your business and pique the interest of readers.

 Man working at laptop

The most crucial component of any business plan is the executive summary. It’s usually the first thing investors will read about your business, so it should thoroughly summarize your objectives and pique the reader’s interest in learning more.

Like all first impressions, you rarely get a second chance to make a great one. Here’s what you need to know about writing an executive summary that will leave a lasting impact on your readers.

What information is included in an executive summary?

The specific information you provide in your executive summary will vary depending on your industry, your goals and whether you own a startup or an established business. The summary should be one to two pages in length and sum up the more detailed content in the rest of your business plan, including:

  • Who you are. Start with the basics. List your business name, location and contact information. For established businesses, give a brief history of your company and provide your mission statement . Include the names of the owners and the key players in your business, as well as the number of employees you have.
  • The business opportunity. Describe the market need or problem for which your business has a solution.
  • How you address that opportunity. Explain your business model and how your products or services will satisfy that market need or problem.
  • Competition. Provide an overview of your competition and how your products or services differ from theirs.
  • Target market. Describe the specific customer base you plan to attract to your business.
  • M arketing strategy. Explain how you plan to reach your target market and entice them to your products or services.
  • Financial summary. For established businesses, provide a financial summary and state whether you are seeking additional funding or not. For startups, list your financial plan and include your projections for the next few years.

Although it will be the first section of your business plan, most experts recommend writing your executive summary at the end of your drafting process.

How to write an executive summary

Writing an executive summary from scratch is a daunting process. Here are a few tips to help you create a strong executive summary:

  • Write it last. Although it will be the first section of your business plan, most experts recommend writing your executive summary at the end of your drafting process. Doing so will ensure that you have all the detailed information you need to refer back to when writing the summary.
  • Be brief, yet precise. An executive summary should be just that: a summary. You don’t need to go into great detail here as the business plan itself should provide all the details needed to attract investors, lenders, buyers or new business partners. Be brief and provide a high-level overview of your business plan.
  • Know your audience. Just as you tailor a sales pitch to a specific audience, your executive summary should highlight the information your readers will find most interesting and valuable. If you are trying to attract investors or new partners, focus on how your business can be beneficial to their long-term success. If you’re applying for a business loan, focus on your financial reports and show that your business is reliable and that you present minimal risk.

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Why your business plan's executive summary is so important.

Why your business plan's executive summary is so important (+ how to write one)

If you plan to launch your own small business , then you'll need to write an executive summary as part of your full business plan. In this article, we'll answer all your pressing questions, including: What the heck is an executive summary, anyway? What’s the purpose of an executive summary? And how do I actually create a well-written executive summary?

Executive summaries are arguably one of the most critical sections of a business plan —and they're also one of the trickiest to write. The executive summary is the first part of your complete business plan that someone will read, so it needs to be compelling in order to convince someone to read the whole thing.

But here’s the catch: 55% of people spend less than 15 seconds actively reading content, based on data published in Time Magazine . This means the limited window of time you have to convince someone your business plan is worth their attention depends on a strong executive summary. No pressure or anything.

For that reason, it’s important to know how to draft a concise executive summary that makes an impact and communicates the goals of your small business. But have no fear, just read on to learn how!

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is essentially an outline of your business plan. If your full business plan is a roadmap, your executive summary is your roadmap's roadmap. It gives your readers a heads up about what you'll talk about in the rest of your business plan. For all intents and purposes, your business's executive summary is your elevator pitch.

Business Plan Executive Summary Example and Template.

The purpose of an executive summary

If there's one section of your business plan everyone is going to read, it's the executive summary. Your business plan's executive summary exists to give readers an overview of the entire document. It should outline what they can expect to learn and motivate them to keep reading on.

“Investors will read the executive summary to decide if they will even bother reading the rest of the business plan. It’s rare for an investor or lender to read an entire business plan, at least in the initial stages of analysis and consideration for funding,” says Eric Markowitz , Inc.com Staff Writer.

Keep your goals and purpose in mind when writing your executive summary.

If your business is a startup, the purpose of your business plan (and executive summary) will likely be to get banks or investors to provide you with financing. So, when writing your executive summary, highlight the financial requirements of your business and why your business is worthy of funding.

If you're a more established business owner, then your executive summary will talk more about your achievements, evolution, and goals for the future.

How to write an executive summary for a business plan

Your business's executive summary should be as short as possible, ideally only one or two pages long.

Remember that you're vouching for yourself and your business in your executive summary, so make sure your language is confident and positive!

Bad example : We might not be the best or the most established protein powder brand, but we probably have the most passion and love out of all our competitors.

Good example: With some vegan protein powder products on the market currently, we expect mild competition and are confident we will be able to build a strong market position.

It's best practice to avoid talking about more fluffy, subjective points and cliches (like passion, hard work, etc.) so you can focus more on the practical information and facts your readers want to know about (like why they should actually invest or partner with your business). You also want to seem confident in yourself and your business, so avoid words like "might," "maybe," or "could" and opt for more definitive words, like "will"!

Remember that your executive summary should fill in the blanks for your readers. Keep your target audience in mind and try to answer their questions, rather than create new ones, or they may get confused and stop reading. Give them a reason not to go back to checking their current value of Bitcoin. 

"Put yourself in the business plan reader's shoes and think about what you would like to know in the report," Marius Thauland, business strategist at Leiekontor, told Business News Daily . "Get their attention by making it simple and brief yet still professional. It should also attract them to read the entire document to understand even the minute details."

There's no specific way to order the different sections of your executive summary, but you'll want to put the most important information or your strongest points first . The first sentence and paragraph of your executive summary is especially important, since these are what will reel your readers in.

We'll give you an idea of how to do this below.

What to include in the executive summary of your business plan

Questions to ask in your executive summary: Who's your competition?; Is there demand?; Who's running your business?; Who's your target audience?; How will you launch your business?

Despite being the first page of your business plan, it’s a good idea to write your executive summary section last. This trick allows you to get a clear picture of what specific material from the full business plan you need to introduce in the executive summary. So if you haven't written the rest of your business plan yet, stop, maybe check out our articles on writing a business plan (wink wink nudge nudge), and come back here once you're done.

Since the goal of a business plan is to persuade the reader to invest in your business, your executive summary needs to demonstrate why this investment would be a smart financial decision. The kicker is: you need to do all of this in 1-2 pages.

To get started, The Balance Small Business suggests including the following eight sections. Choose the topics most relevant to your business and write one or two sentences about each of them. And remember to order them from most important to least important! ‍

1. Business opportunity

What demand or need is there for your business and how will you meet this demand? Talk about a problem or a gap in the market, and why your business alone has all the answers. ‍

2. Target market

What demographic do you intend to reach as your customer base? Who's going to be buying your product? ‍

3. Business model

Use this part to give more juicy details about your business idea. What products or services will your business offer, and what makes them desirable? ‍

4. Marketing/Sales strategy

What will your methods be to create brand recognition for these products or services? You might want to consider marketing techniques like social media, paid media, or email marketing. ‍

‍ 5. Competition

Give your readers the low-down of your industry. What businesses will you compete with for market share, and what does your business offer that your competitors do not? How big and competitive is your industry? How will you stand out against other small businesses? Are there any industry trends you should bring up? ‍

6. Financial analysis

Investors and banks will be especially interested in this part. What is your plan to manage your business finances, and what is your projected revenue for the first three years of your business? You should go into detail about how you will distribute your funding and spell out what your investors will get out of it. ‍

7. Owners/Staff

In this section, you can give a brief overview of your business's history. Who are the owners and lead staff members of your business and what important skills or credentials do they bring? ‍

8. Implementation plan

What is your framework and timeline to move from a concept to launching an actual business?

Effective executive summary examples

Sitting down to start writing an executive summary and putting all the pieces together can be challenging .  

To think about it differently, you might consider grouping the above details into a few specific categories: ‍

Mission statement

What are the core values and central purpose of your business? ‍

Company information

What products or services do you offer, how long has your business been in operation, who are the owners and lead staff members, and how many business locations do you manage? ‍

Financial summary

What is the current and projected state of your finances and do you need an investor to help you expand? ‍

Future goals

What objectives or projects will this financial investment be used for?

Keep in mind that, as you write your own executive summary, you should consider the industry and market that you are entering, the customers you’ll be interacting with, and the things your business will need to succeed (financial backing, upfront costs, additional workforce, etc). Here’s an example of a good executive summary template to guide you as you embark on writing your own executive summary.

Executive summary/business plan example: Vegan Protein Blitz

Company: Vegan Protein Blitz: Animal-free protein powder ‍

Our Mission

Vegan Protein Blitz: Animal-Free Protein Powder offers 25 grams of protein per serving without any use of animal protein—similar to, and in many cases, more than, the average amount of protein in similar products. We intend to appeal to those within the fitness community who are looking for a great-tasting protein powder without compromising on the amount of protein per serving. With some vegan protein powder products on the market currently, we expect mild competition and are confident we will be able to build a strong market position.

The Company and Management

Vegan Protein Blitz: Animal-Free Protein Powder was founded in 2018 by Sarah Bailey, a certified personal trainer and former food scientist, who couldn’t find a vegan protein powder that tasted good and provided the amount she needed to fuel her fitness routine. Her kitchen is based in San Diego, California, where she employs two full-time employees and three part-time employees.

Along with Sarah Bailey, Vegan Protein Blitz: Animal-Free Protein Powder has a board of advisors. The advisors are:

  • Laura Henry, partner at Food Inc.
  • Kristin Smith, CEO of Just Nuts Vegan Health Bars

Our Product

We offer animal-free protein powder that is made with all-natural sugar sources and no preservatives. Our customers are health-conscious and serious about fueling their bodies with animal-free whole foods. We plan to grow quickly, with an initial goal of building a full-time marketing team of fitness advocates and professionals who understand the industry and our customers’ needs.

Our Competitive Advantages

While there are other vegan protein powders on the national market, there are none that are made with all-natural sugar and with a comparable amount of protein as that of an animal-based powder. With the expertise of our founder Sarah Bailey, we also stand out as a company that truly understands the audience. Please see our market research (Section 3) for more information on why consumers are demanding this expertise.

Financial Considerations

Our sales projections for the first year are $600,000 with a 10% growth rate over the next two years. By year three, we project 55% gross margins and will have ten full-time employees. The salary for each employee will be $60,000 USD.

Startup Financing Requirements

We are seeking to raise $250,000 in startup funds to finance the first year. The owner has invested $40,000 to meet working capital requirements, and will use a loan of $80,000 to supplement the rest.

More executive summary templates

Need more business plan examples, or ready to create your own executive summary with a template? Here are a few we found around the web:

  • US Small Business Association
  • Template.net

Final tips for writing an executive summary

Earning investor interest in your business is critical to getting access to the things your business will need to succeed, and a solid executive summary can help you do that. Writing your full business plan first can help you get clarity on the strongest key points of your business proposal, which you can use to build out your executive summary.

Most importantly, keep this section of your business plan straightforward and concise, making it easy for the reader to understand what you’re doing and why it matters.

Brush up on your writing skills

You're an entrepreneur, and you probably didn't start your business to write business plans . Free online editing tools and resources like Hemingway and Grammarly can help you punch up and polish your writing. Just copy and paste your executive summary into the software, and it will let you know where your writing needs to be more clear.

Get to the point

Remember what we said about keeping it short? We mean it. Even if there's a really clever sentence that you're super proud of, it's gotta go if it doesn't contribute to your summary. You don't want to give too much detail (that's what the rest of your business plan is for!) or repeat yourself.

Always proofread your work a couple of times before calling it a day! Reading your executive summary out loud can help you identify awkward phrasing and catch any typos you might have missed. Another idea is to copy and paste it into a text-to-speech program to hear what it sounds like out loud. It also helps to print out your executive summary and edit the physical document, which helps you see it from a fresh perspective. 

Get feedback

If you have a kind friend, family member, or fellow business owner, you should ask them to take a look at your executive summary/business plan and give their constructive criticism. If they understand your goals and plan and seem excited about your idea, that's a good sign! If they give your business plan back to you with a bunch of red marks and a confused look on their faces, that's probably a sign for you to make sure your executive summary flows more logically.

Related Posts

Once your business is off the ground, Wave will be ready and waiting for you. Send free invoices, get paid, track expenses, pay your team, and balance your books with our beginner-friendly financial management software.

executive summary on a business plan

The information and tips shared on this blog are meant to be used as learning and personal development tools as you launch, run and grow your business. While a good place to start, these articles should not take the place of personalized advice from professionals. As our lawyers would say: “All content on Wave’s blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.” Additionally, Wave is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and others cannot re-use or publish it without our written consent.

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First Steps: Writing the Executive Summary of Your Business Plan This quick guide offers tips that will help you create the executive summary for your business plan.

By The Staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. • Jan 4, 2015

In their book Write Your Business Plan , the staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. offer an in-depth understanding of what's essential to any business plan, what's appropriate for your venture, and what it takes to ensure success. In this edited excerpt, the authors outline what to include in your business plan's executive summary and why.

The first part of your business plan that anybody will see is the executive summary. It's a brief look at the key elements of the whole plan—and it's critical.

The executive summary should be only a page or two. In it, you may include your mission and vision statements, a brief sketch of your plans and goals, a quick look at your company and its organization, an outline of your strategy, and highlights of your financial status and needs. Your executive summary is the CliffsNotes of your business plan.

The summary is the most important part of your whole plan, so you want it to be as strong as possible because it's the first thing people read in your plan, and we all know the power of a strong first impression. This is where you want to wow people and make them think.

The executive summary has to perform a host of jobs. First and foremost, it should grab the reader's attention. It has to briefly hit the high points of your plan. It should point readers with questions requiring detailed responses to the full-length sections of your plan where they can get answers. It should ease the task of anybody whose job it is to read it, and it should make that task enjoyable by presenting an interesting and compelling account of your company.

Here's a suggested format for an executive summary:

1. What's the business idea, what problem does it solve and how does it fit into the marketplace?

You'll need to explain why your idea has merit and how it can solve a common problem by making things easier, faster, or cheaper for the prospective customer(s). No matter how brilliantly crafted, written and presented your business plan is, it will be difficult to win your investors, and later customers, with a bad idea. Therefore, you want to wow them first with your idea! If they're not interested, no matter what your financials are, they won't help.

2. How much will it cost, and how much financing are you seeking?

Provide a short explanation of how you'll use any financing you seek. Tell investors why you need the money. Nobody wants to lend you money if they don't know exactly why you need it. It's not necessary to get into much detail here—just make it clear that you need it for x, y and z. You should also let the reader know how the investment will help the company grow and/or increase its profits. Why else would you be seeking funding? The best use of somebody else's money is to buy or build something that will make more money, both for you and for that person.

3. What will the return be to the investor? Over what length of time?

In your executive summary, consider the following:

  • Friends and family want to get their money back someday but are not very interested in timing and returns.
  • Bankers look for free cash flow to pay back the principal and interest of their loan. They also look closely at management experience and marketing. They may ask for collateral. By law they have to be conservative, that is, risk averse, so they are not great candidates for risky financing.
  • Angel investors look for moderate rates of return, usually above the prime rate, plus some capital appreciation. They sometimes want to be involved at a hands-on level.
  • Venture capitalists seek annual compound rates of return in the area of 35 to 50 percent per annum. They seldom want to go longer than three to five years to cash out. They always want to know what the exit strategy is.

Don't forget yourself: It's a rare company that doesn't have any investment from the entrepreneur or entrepreneurs who started it.

4. How will the ownership be divided?

When a business starts generating profits and plowing them back into the firm, value can build rapidly. Even if you aren't in an industry likely to purchase buildings or patent valuable technology, the business derives value from the fact that it can generate profits into the future.

Spell out who owns what. If you have many equity investors coupled with a pile of creditors, this can get pretty complicated. For the summary section of your plan, a basic description such as "Ownership of the company will be divided so that each of the four original partners owns 25 percent" will suffice. If you have to negotiate details of exactly what any equity investors will get, there's time to do that later. For now, you just want to give people an idea of how the ownership will be divided.

Additional questions you may want to consider answering in your executive summary include:

  • What is the management team?
  • What are the product and competitive strategies?
  • What is your marketing plan?
  • What is your exit strategy?

Give It a Happy Ending

The summary is the place to put your best foot forward, to talk up the upside and downplay the downside. As always, accentuating the positive doesn't mean exaggeration or lying. If there's a really important, unusual risk factor in your plan—such as that one certain big customer has to make a huge order for the whole plan to work—then you'll want to mention that in your summary. But run-of-the-mill risks like unexpected competition or customer reluctance can be ignored here. Paint a convincing portrait of an opportunity so compelling that only a dullard wouldn't recognize it and desire to take part in it.

The key to the executive summary is to pick out the best aspects of every part of your plan. So extract the essence of each key part, and offer your readers a highlight reel of your business.

Entrepreneur Staff

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executive summary on a business plan

How to Write an Executive Summary

Written by Dave Lavinsky

pen pencil and checklist

Executive Summary of a Business Plan

On this page:, what is an executive summary, why do i need an executive summary, executive summary length, key elements of an executive summary, how do i write an executive summary for a business plan, the dos and don’ts of creating a great executive summary, summary of writing a great executive summary, business plan executive summary example, executive summary frequently asked questions.

  • Other Helpful Business Plan Articles

An executive summary of a business plan is a section that gives reader an overview of the business opportunity and your entire business plan. It explains the type of business the company operates and summarizes the key facts and strategies supporting the businesses’s growth.

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.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

As mentioned above, your business plan is a detailed document that requires time to read. Capturing the reader’s attention with a concise, 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 business plan executive summary should never exceed 3 pages; the ideal length is 1-2 pages.

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The following are the key elements to include in your business plan executive summary:

  • The problem statement or business opportunity — Generally there is a gap or a problem in the market which your business aims to solve. This is your problem statement and it must be included in the summary, as investors want to understand if the world truly needs your company’s products and/or services.
  • Your business idea – The next thing a reader would want to know is how you plan to approach the problem and solve it. This is your business model and it should briefly describe how your product or service can help solve the problem.
  • Company history – The best indicator of future success is past success. Your company’s history helps the reader understand how your business has evolved and grown over the years and what you’ve been able to accomplish. Even startups have generally accomplished milestones like choosing a company name, conceiving products, finding a location, etc.
  • Industry – Here you will detail the industry in which you are operating, it’s size and if any trends are positively or negatively influencing it. This gives readers a sense of the size of the opportunity you are pursuing.
  • The target market or customer – Every business has a target customer base or a target market on which they focus. Here you will detail the types of customers you target and their demographic and psychographic profiles.
  • Competition – When you venture into a market or an industry, there are generally other players with which you compete. Knowing your competition is important and market research is crucial to success. Readers of your plan want to know who your competitors are, their strengths and in what areas you will have competitive advantage. Discussing the competitive landscape is a crucial component of a strong executive summary.
  • Milestones – In addition to showing relevant milestones your company has achieved, you need to explain your timeline for key milestones or key points in the future. Include dates you hope to launch products, achieve sales milestones, hire key employees, etc.
  • Financial plan – If you are requesting funding from investors or banks, they will want to know how you are going to their funds. A brief financial summary covering key points of how and where you plan to allocate the funds should be included in the summary. For existing businesses, you should also provide a history/summary of past financial performance. Finally, for all businesses, you need to provide future financial projections so investors can determine whether they might get an adequate return from investing in you and lenders can ascertain whether or not you will be able to repay your debts.
  • Management Team – In this section, you will introduce the key members of your team. The success or failure of your company depends largely on the people involved. So, any reader surely wants to know how well equipped your team is. Mention key staff members and the experience and skills they bring, in the executive summary.

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

Your executive summary is the most important part of your business plan since it’s the first thing investors, lenders and/or other readers see. And if they aren’t impressed, they’ll stop reading and you’ll lose them forever. To give yourself the best chances of success, follow these steps to write your executive summary.

1) Complete the rest of your business plan. Your executive summary provides highlights of each section of your business plan. As such, you need to first write those sections. Then, read each section and figure out what information from each must be included in the executive summary. For instance, if your industry analysis section mentioned that your industry’s current size is $100 billion and is projected to grow by 90% per year over the next 5 years, this is an exciting statistic and opportunity that should be mentioned in your executive summary.

2) Start with a one to two line description of your company. Your executive summary must start with a simple description of your company. Readers must be able to quickly and easily understand what your company does so they can decide whether they’re interested in the opportunity. If readers can’t quickly understand what you do, many will stop reading and you’ll lose the ability to get them involved in your company.

3) Create your executive summary structure. Start by creating headers for each section of your business plan. For example, you should have a marketing plan header, a customer analysis header, etc. Then, within each header, summarize the most important point you mentioned in that section.  For example, under your marketing plan, you would write your three most important promotional tactics. Under customer analysis, you’d write a detailed one to two line description of your target customers. Then figure out the best way to organize your executive summary. You can either keep the headers, or create new headers like “business overview” and “unique success factors” in which you cut and paste the old sections as appropriate.

4) Make it shorter. Mark Twain once wrote “If I had more time, i would have written a shorter letter.” The more concise your executive summary is, the more successful it will. Read through your executive summary and aggressively edit it so you convey your key messages in the least amount of words possible.

5) Bring in outside readers. Find at least five people to read your executive summary. Ask them to spend no more than five minutes doing so. Then ask them questions about it. Did they understand what your company does? Are they able to recite back to you your company’s value proposition? If the readers are unable to understand and get excited by your executive summary, then you need to keep working on it.

There are certain mistakes often made in writing an executive summary. If these little glitches can be avoided, writing a flawless executive summary for your business plan is not difficult. So here are a few important tips and tricks for you to remember.

  • Write the summary last – You executive summary should follow nearly the same order as your detailed business plan. Which is why it is important that you write the summary only after you are done with all your research and have finished writing your detailed business plan. This ensures that you include only the most salient parts of your business plan and can write a clear and concise summary.
  • Use a positive and confident tone – The language and tone that you use in writing any document makes a huge impact on how it is received by the reader. Since the executive summary must convince the reader your plan will work, your language should be strong and assertive. For instance, instead of using words like “might” or “could” use words like “will”. Don’t let the readers doubt your capability by using weak language or tone of writing.
  • Don’t give away everything in the summary – Many a times we make this mistake of giving too much background or too many details in the summary. Details are meant for the full business plan. Your executive summary is meant to direct people towards the detailed plan, so avoid sharing everything in the summary itself.
  • Cover the bases – The executive summary must cover the important questions asked and answered by your business plan. The three most important questions are “What is the definition of the business you are in?”, “What is the market size and need?” and “How is the company uniquely qualified to succeed in that market?”
  • Simplify – define your business in a way that it can be understood within the short executive summary. To do this, you must be able to use plain language and only one or two sentences for this definition. If there are additional elements to the business which will go beyond its core or become future potential directions you will take, the executive summary is not the place to go into those. Make sure the business definition can be summed up so that anyone with only a very basic understanding of the industry can understand.
  • Make sure the logic flows – This is true within the plan as a whole, and within the executive summary. The logic of why your specific team and resources are suited for the specific market opportunity you identified and why you’ve chosen the marketing methods you have should be apparent and raise no red flags. If there is a jump in the logic – for example, it is not clear how the management team has any expertise suited for the business in question – then readers will move on to another plan rather than read on to answer that question in the body of the plan. This logic should be clear, although in concise and simplified format, even within the executive summary.
  • Ensure the content of your summary matches your business plan – The information that you share in your executive summary should match what you have in your full business plan. Make sure that there are no discrepancies between the two.
  • Avoid repeating content in the executive summary – You already have very little space to include everything you should in your executive summary. Repeating content wastes precious space.

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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Shoutmouth.com Executive Summary Template

Business Overview

Launched late last year, Shoutmouth.com 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., RollingStone.com, MTV.com, Billboard.com, 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 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:

Other Resources for Writing Your Business Plan

  • How to Expertly Write the Company Description in Your Business Plan
  • How to Write the Market Analysis Section of a Business Plan
  • The Customer Analysis Section of Your Business Plan
  • Completing the Competitive Analysis Section of Your Business Plan
  • The Management Team Section of Your Business Plan
  • Financial Assumptions and Your Business Plan
  • How to Create Financial Projections for Your Business Plan
  • Everything You Need to Know about the Business Plan Appendix
  • Business Plan Conclusion: Summary & Recap

What is the purpose of an executive summary?

An executive summary provides a quick overview of your business plan. It succinctly describes your business. It gives a summary of each of the other sections of your plan (e.g., marketing plan, financial plan, customer analysis, etc.). And it answers the key question that investors and lenders need to know: why is your business uniquely qualified to succeed?

What is included in an executive summary?

Your executive summary should include an overview of your business concept, a summary of each of the key sections of your plan (company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan) and answer why your business is uniquely qualified to succeed.

How long is an executive summary?

Your executive summary should be one to two pages. Remember that the goal of the summary is simply to excite the reader into continuing through your full plan. Give them a summary of the key highlights of your business and invite them to learn more by reading the full business plan.

How do you start off a summary?

If the first paragraph of your executive summary isn’t compelling enough, you’ll immediately lose readers. So, start your executive summary by clearly stating what your business does and why your company is unique. Then give a summary of each of the other sections of your plan (e.g., competitive analysis, industry analysis, etc.).

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

Business Plan Template & Guide for Small Businesses

How to Write An Executive Summary for a Business Plan

It is important to know how to write an executive summary for a business plan, particularly if you expect an outside source to read it. 3 min read

It is important to know how to write an executive summary for a business plan, particularly if you expect an outside source to read it. This part of your business plan will provide a brief, but thorough overview of the most critical details of your company so that you can attract investors or reach other important goals as an organization.

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary can be defined as a short introduction in your business plan. The goal of the executive summary is to highlight the key points of the plan for anyone who reads it, which helps to save time and lets them know what the rest of the business plan will include.

It is essentially an advance organizer. The executive summary can often be considered the most crucial part of a business plan. It will describe a business, which problems it will solve, the target market, and a highlight of the financials.

Every plan will not need a summary. It is crucial for the plans that are written for outsiders. It will take considerable effort to write an excellent summary. If there is no real business use for it, do not write the summary.

There are many jobs that are accomplished by an executive summary . It needs to show readers the answers to their questions by pointing to the section with detailed information about their query. It should also make it easier for anyone who has to read it while making it enjoyable, through the presentation of interesting and useful facts about a company.

What Should an Executive Summary Include?

What needs to be included in an executive summary will largely depend on the business. The summary for a start-up and an established company will vary greatly. For start-ups, the primary goal of the business plan is to get money by convincing banks, venture capitalists, or angel investors to invest in a business by providing equity or debt financing.

To accomplish this, a company will need to present a tight case for a business idea. This is where the executive summary is very important.

An executive summary needs to include the following :

  • Who are you? You need to provide the name of your business, its location, and all contact information.
  • What do you offer and what problems will your business solve ? You should include a short description of the products and services you provide and why it is needed. The business does not need to solve a huge social problem, but it needs to show why it meets a specific need in the market.
  • Who is your target market? You need to describe the type of customer you are trying to reach. Your product can define itself through its name in some cases, such as “Prius dashboard accessory.” If this is not the case, simply provide a short description of who your target customer is.
  • What is the purpose of your business plan? You need to state whether you are trying to get investments or a bank loan. The executive summary is really only needed when you are sharing your plan with outsiders.
  • Who is your competition? Talk about your competition and describe the strategies you will implement for getting a share of the market. Name your competitive advantages and how you stand out against the competition.
  • How are your finances? You should include a financial analysis to summarize your financial plan. You also need to include all projections for the next three years.
  • What is your size and scale? For instance, if you own an existing company, this information can consist of simply adding your most recent sales numbers. For a start-up, it can be a short description of your goals or aspirations for the next one to three years.
  • Are there any further critical details? You should mention any important, defining detailed information that will be important to whoever reads your summary. For example, you could include that those who founded the company are all local MBA students or any development grants you have received.

If you need help with writing an executive summary for your business plan, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law, and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.

Hire the top business lawyers and save up to 60% on legal fees

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Executive Summary Example For A Business Plan

Executive Summary Template

Free Executive Summary Template

Executive Summary Example

The Executive Summary writing could be overwhelming. Hence we have come up with a detailed business plan executive summary example . We hope that this example explains you well and helps you with an executive summary outline that serves your objection.

Important details about the example:

The following example is explicitly drawn out for people wanting to start child care services in America. The business name/domain and other important details are fictional facts and figures. We, as a company has solely used the details to draw an example for our readers like you. Any relevance in the details and the format of the business plan’s executive summary is completely coincidental.

Executive Summary Example of a Child Care Business Plan:

Executive summary for samantha’s child care services.

child care services

Samantha’s Child Care Services is a day child care service center in Seattle, Washington.

The center offers daycare and hands-on learning facilities for children between three to five. The center is headed by Samantha Wheeler, from UCLA University with 15 years of experience working as Principal of CIS of Seattle.

The main objective of presenting this executive summary for child care is to seek investments.

Today’s children need a hands-on learning experience right from the start. They need to learn the lessons that don’t feel like ‘learning’. They should not feel forced to learn. Rather, they must enjoy it. They need a curriculum that allows them to read, write, play, and have fun.

On the contrary, the school system is failing.

Samatha Wheeler, the founder, and director of Samantha’s Child Care Services is trained and has been teaching and looking after children for more than 5 years.

According to her experience, here are the solutions Samantha’s Child Care Services offer:

  • Offering practical learning experiences
  • Including activities like developing activities in art, self-defense, robotics, phonics, and others under the same roof.
  • We will nurture and look after the neighborhood children like their parents would by offering more than just babysitting.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to offer holistic childcare along with fun and engaging extracurricular activities to children. So that they don’t miss the joy of community.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to offer every child here fun and an international standard daycare center where kids can be groomed and prepared to be leaders of tomorrow.

Target Market

Samantha’s Child Care Services will be offering child care/development for infants aged three to five.

Our services are specifically for families where both parents (or all elders) are working professionals. And due to work obligations, can not manage child care during the day.

Which includes:

  • Corporate Executives
  • Business Professionals
  • Sports Professionals
  • Government Officials

We will be targeting parents and guardians who are looking for a daycare center that offers help in the overall development of their child.

Competition and Competitive Advantages:

Direct competition:.

  • Sunflower Day Care
  • Little Lilies Child Care

Indirect Competition:

Tertiary competition:, competitive advantages.

  • We offer quality childcare services with hands-on early education at affordable prices
  • Everything that a child needs for a healthy and happy childhood, we provide under one roof.
  • It’s not just another child care center. But a child’s second home. Where every child is looked after and nurtured, physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

Procedure and Implementations

The current procedure at Samantha’s Child Care Services are:

  • Renovating the center
  • Management provisions
  • Recruiting teacher’s staff
  • Recruiting a team of pediatric nurses and counselors
  • Setting up the marketing team
  • Culinary team to suffice breakfast and lunch provision

Financial Summary

Samantha’s Child Services has been a side hustle for the last two years. During that time, it’s been quite stable. However, upon the thought of expansion, here are a few financial facts and figures for Samantha’s Child Care Services:

  • Our sales projections for the first year are $270,000.
  • We project a growth rate of 10% per year for the first three years.
  • The salary for each partner will be $30,000

Financing Requirements

We are seeking an operating line of $100,000 to finance our first-year growth. Samantha Wheeler, the founder has invested $47,000 to meet working capital requirements.

Write executive summary for your business plan

Define your business idea

Identify business metrics.

The business metrics are also called key performance indicators . These key indicators vary with the type of business. However, here are a few metrics you can consider regardless of your business-

  • Year-on-year revenue
  • Number of customers and users
  • Industry rankings and positions
  • Marketing investments and results
  • Year-on-year return on investments

Pay attention to your niche

Use simple language, don’t write the executive summary first.

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The Ultimate Guide: How To Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

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Audrey Goodwin

2023-08-28 16:04:12 • Filed to: Software for Business • Proven solutions

In the world of business, the executive summary holds immense power. The key unlocks doors for investors, lenders, and stakeholders. This small but mighty section sets the tone, outlining your business plan's core. A captivating executive summary isn't just words on paper – it's your ticket to funding and unwavering support.

In this guide, we'll uncover its magic and show you how to write an executive summary for a business plan , opening up avenues of opportunity. Get ready to master the art of concise communication and secure the backing your venture deserves.

write an executive summary for a business plan

Part 1. Understanding the Key Elements of an Executive Summary

An executive summary is like a compass for your business plan's investors, lenders, and stakeholders. It's a short, powerful section showing them your business's heart. Let's look at the key parts:

  • Introduction: Start by telling your main goals and mission. This gives the summary its base and helps people understand your business.
  • Unique Points and Wins: Show what makes you special. Tell me about your achievements. This gives a taste of why you're a great choice.
  • Money Talk: Share about your money plans. How much you'll make, need, and where it'll go. This helps people see how you'll handle money.
  • Marketing Moves: Share your simple marketing plan. Whom do you want to reach, how, and what do you know about your market? This helps people see your marketing smarts.
  • Know the Scene: Share key facts about your market. Trends, your competition, and what you've learned about the market. This proves you did your homework.

Remember, this summary is your first hello. It's like a trailer for your plan:

  • Simple and Clear: Keep your words simple.
  • Show What's Special: Talk about why you're great.
  • Money Matters: Share your financial plans.
  • Marketing Made Easy: Explain your marketing plan.
  • Market Facts: Give market insights.

An executive summary is like a tiny guide. It's small but strong:

  • Start Strong: Open with your goals.
  • Be Unique: Share what sets you apart.
  • Money Moves: Tell your financial plans.
  • Market Wise: Explain your marketing and market facts.
  • Impress Fast: This summary is your first chance to impress.

In short, the executive summary is a big deal. It helps people see what's cool about your business, how you'll handle money, and how well you know your market. Keep it short, clear, and packed with the good stuff. It's your business's trailer, so make it catchy!

Part 2. Step-by-Step Guide on Writing an Executive Summary

An executive summary is a crucial part of any business plan. It's a short overview that gives a taste of what's inside. Now that you understand the key elements let's delve into crafting your executive summary step by step.

1. Gathering and Reviewing Business Plan Information

Before you begin writing, closely examine your entire business plan. Identify the most critical information that must be included in the executive summary. Your business goals, unique selling points, financial projections, marketing strategies, and market insights could be this. Remember, the summary is a condensed version, so choose wisely.

2. Crafting an Engaging Introduction

Your opening statement matters – it's the first thing readers will see. Start strong with an attention-grabbing introduction setting the tone for the summary. Consider a compelling fact, a thought-provoking question, or a bold statement. This is your chance to make them want to keep reading.

3. Structuring the Executive Summary

Organize the information logically. Begin with a brief overview of your business goals and mission. Then, move on to your unique selling points and achievements. Following that, delve into your financial projections and funding needs. Next, present your marketing strategies and target audience. Conclude with your market insights and competition analysis. This order ensures clarity and coherence, making it easier for readers to follow your story.

4. Writing the Executive Summary Content

Each section's content needs to be summarized effectively. Keep your business goals concise – focus on the core objectives. When presenting your unique selling points, highlight what makes you stand out. The financial section shares key numbers like revenue projections and funding requirements. Describe your marketing strategies and goals, and provide a snapshot of your market research findings.

5. Adding a Strong Call-to-Action

Don't forget the call to action as you wrap up your executive summary. Leave readers with a clear next step, such as scheduling a meeting, visiting your website, or reaching out for more information. Include your contact details to make it easy for them to connect with you. A strong call to action ensures that your hard work doesn't stop at the summary – it prompts action.

Remember, the executive summary is your business's highlight reel. It's concise but powerful, showcasing the essence of your plan. Following these steps, you can create an executive summary that captures Attention and compels readers to engage further.

Tips for Writing a Compelling Business Plan Summary

Here are some quick tips for crafting a compelling business plan summary:

  • Get to the Point: Keep it short and sweet. Highlight the most important details.
  • Focus on What Matters: Highlight your business's key goals, strengths, and financial projections.
  • Grab Attention Early: Start with an attention-grabbing opening statement that hooks the reader.
  • Be Clear and Concise: Use simple language and avoid jargon. Make every word count.
  • Show Uniqueness: Spotlight what sets your business apart from others in the market.
  • Numbers Speak: Share vital financial numbers like revenue projections and funding needs.
  • Keep It Coherent: Organize your points logically for easy understanding.
  • Think of the Reader : Consider what investors or lenders want to know most.
  • End with Impact: Finish strong with a call to action that prompts further interest.
  • Edit and Polish: Review, revise, and proofread for clarity and correctness.

Remember, the executive summary is your chance to make a powerful first impression. Keep it clear, focused, and compelling.

Part 3. PDFelement for a Professional Executive Summary

pdfelement

Creating an executive summary in PDFelement is a breeze. Start by selecting a business plan template or open your existing document. Use PDF editing features to easily customize the content, formatting, and layout.

PDFelement offers AI-powered writing assistance to make your executive summary shine. The PDFelement AI suggests improvements for clarity and impact. It helps refine sentences and enhance overall readability.

With its business plan templates, intuitive editing tools, and AI writing support, PDFelement streamlines crafting a professional executive summary. It simplifies content creation, ensuring your executive summary impresses investors and stakeholders.

Creating a Business Executive Summary with PDFelement

Crafting a business executive summary with PDFelement is straightforward. This tool streamlines the process, offering templates, editing features, and AI assistance. Create an impactful summary effortlessly, impressing stakeholders and investors.

Choosing a Suitable Business Plan Template

To begin, explore PDFelement's template mall. Browse the options to find a business plan template that fits your needs.

Step 1. Open PDFelement and navigate to the template section. Click " Templates ."

create pdf

Step 2. Choose a design that aligns with your business's style and objectives. Consider the tone you want to convey to your readers.

download on app store

By following these steps, you'll swiftly find and select a suitable business plan template that forms the foundation of your executive summary.

Writing the Executive Summary Draft With PDFelement

With PDFelement, crafting your executive summary draft is effortless:

Step 1. Open your chosen template and start writing your draft. As you go, engage the AI-powered writing assistance feature .

open pdf template

Step 2. The AI analyzes your text and suggests enhancements for clarity and grammar. Review these suggestions and apply them to enhance your content.

pdfelement lets chat feature

Following these concise steps, you'll seamlessly write your executive summary draft using PDFelement's AI-powered writing assistance, ensuring your message is polished and professional.

Personalizing the Executive Summary

Personalizing your executive summary with PDFelement is a breeze:

Step 1. Open your draft and make it your own. Add key points and tailor the language to your business's unique voice.

pdfelement edit tool

Step 2. Enhance your summary's impact by incorporating relevant visuals. Use PDFelement's Edit tool to seamlessly add images and charts that support your content.

add text and images

Following these straightforward steps, you'll customize your executive summary to reflect your business's individuality and enhance its visual appeal within PDFelement's user-friendly interface.

Utilizing Annotations and Comments for Collaboration and Feedback

Leveraging annotations and comments in PDFelement for collaboration is simple:

Step 1. Share your executive summary draft with colleagues and stakeholders. They can add annotations and comments directly to the PDF.

add comment and annotations

Step 2. Review the annotations and comments gathered. Use them as valuable insights to enhance your summary. Revise and refine your content as needed.

save the document

By following these easy steps, you'll harness PDFelement's collaborative features to gather feedback, improve your executive summary, and ensure a well-rounded and polished final document.

PDFelement empowers you to create a compelling executive summary effortlessly. You can craft a personalized and impactful summary with its templates, AI assistance, and collaboration features. Elevate your business plan's first impression and secure the attention of investors and stakeholders. Start using PDFelement today for a polished and effective executive summary.

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BUSINESS STRATEGIES

How to create a food truck business plan

  • Nirit Braun

How to create a food truck business plan

A food truck business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the strategies, goals and financial projections for a food truck venture. It serves as a roadmap for starting and operating a successful mobile food business.

The plan below will provide a detailed overview of your company's mission, target market, menu offerings, marketing strategies, operational procedures, business website and financial projections.

Looking to take your food truck online? Take Wix’s website builder for a spin.

Why create a food truck business plan? Top benefits to consider

When starting a business , having a well-defined and thorough business plan is crucial. This is true for any type of business , but especially true for food truck entrepreneurs, as the mobile nature of the operation and the unique challenges it presents require careful planning and strategizing. A business plan helps you accomplish the following:

Create a business blueprint: A business plan acts as a blueprint for your mobile eats venture. It helps you establish a solid foundation by clearly defining your company's mission, vision and values. This clarity of purpose is essential for setting the direction and tone of your business.

Understand your target market: A well-researched business plan helps you identify your ideal customers, their preferences and purchasing behaviors. By gaining insights into your market, you can tailor your menu offerings, pricing and marketing strategies to effectively attract and retain customers.

Outline all business operations: A comprehensive food truck business plan considers the operational aspects of your business in detail. It includes information on sourcing ingredients, managing inventory, organizing staffing requirements and maintaining food safety standards. By planning these procedures in advance, you can ensure smooth and efficient operations once your business is up and running.

Secure funding: In order to raise money for your business , potential investors and lenders will require a well-prepared business plan. A thorough plan demonstrates your commitment to the venture and showcases your financial projections, including start-up costs, revenue forecasts and potential profitability. It gives investors confidence in the viability and potential return on investment of your business.

Allocate resources: Writing a business plan forces you to thoroughly analyze and understand what resources, supplies and staff are needed to start and operate your food truck business. It helps you identify the equipment, ingredients and permits required for your mobile kitchen, as well as the necessary staffing levels.

Anticipate challenges and risks: By conducting a thorough market analysis and understanding the competitive landscape, you can identify potential hurdles and plan accordingly. Furthermore, by conducting a financial analysis, you can identify potential cash flow issues and devise strategies to address them proactively.

Monitor progress and performance: A well-designed business plan provides a benchmark against which you can track your progress and measure your performance. It allows you to set key performance indicators (KPIs) and track your business' financial health, customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

How to create a food truck business plan in 7 steps

A well-crafted food truck business plan consists of several key components that provide a comprehensive overview of your venture. These seven steps help you articulate your business concept, strategize your operations and outline your financial projections.

Executive summary

Company name and domain name

Market analysis and research

Operations plan

Marketing and advertising plan

Financial plan

01. Executive summary

The executive summary is a concise overview of your entire food truck business plan. It provides a snapshot of your company, its goals and the strategies you'll employ to achieve them. Although it appears at the beginning of your plan, it's often best to write the executive summary last, as it summarizes the content and highlights the most significant points. A clear executive summary should include:

A high-level description of your food truck business

Key objectives and mission statement

A summary of your target market and competitive advantage

An overview of your management team and their qualifications

Financial projections and funding requirements

Example of an executive summary: "[Food truck name] is a mobile eatery that offers a diverse menu of gourmet street food inspired by international flavors. Our mission is to provide high-quality, delicious and convenient meals to customers on the go. With a focus on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, we aim to satisfy the taste buds of food enthusiasts in [target market]. Our experienced team consists of seasoned chefs who bring their culinary expertise and passion for innovative dishes. We are seeking [dollar amount] in funding, which will be used to cover initial start-up costs, purchase equipment and build brand awareness through marketing initiatives."

02. Company name and domain name

The name of your food truck business plays a crucial role in establishing brand awareness and trust among your target audience. It should be memorable, descriptive and reflective of your brand identity. While deciding how to name a business , consider its relevance to your cuisine, the uniqueness of the name within the industry and its potential for trademark registration. This is an important step to consider before taking steps to register your business .

A business name generator can be a helpful tool to generate ideas and inspire creativity. It can provide a list of potential names based on keywords or themes related to food and your concept. To narrow it down further, you can use a restaurant name generator for more food-focused ideas.

In addition to the company name, consider securing a domain name for your food truck business. The domain name should ideally match your business name or reflect the type of cuisine you offer. Check the availability of the domain name through domain registration platforms to ensure it is not already taken. Selecting a memorable and relevant domain name is essential for building a strong online presence and making it easy for potential customers to find you.

03. Market analysis and research

There are more than 36,000 food truck businesses in the U.S. as of 2023, so knowing where you stand—and how you’ll stand out—is vital. Market analysis and research help you gain insights into your target market, understand customer preferences and identify your competitive landscape. Conduct thorough research on your target demographic, studying their eating habits, preferences and purchasing power.

Assess the local food truck industry by analyzing existing businesses, their offerings, pricing and customer reviews. Identify any gaps in the market that your food truck can fill or potential niches you could target. This information will guide your business strategy and help you position your food truck effectively.

04. Operations plan

The operations plan outlines the logistical aspects of your food truck business. It includes details about your location, permits and licenses required, equipment needed and staffing requirements.

Determine the best location for your food truck based on factors such as high foot traffic, parking availability and proximity to your target market. Research local regulations and obtain the necessary permits and licenses to run your food truck legally.

Consider the equipment needed to operate your food truck efficiently. This may include a commercial-grade kitchen, refrigeration systems, cooking appliances, serving counters and point-of-sale systems. Ensure that you outline the costs associated with acquiring and maintaining this equipment.

Staffing needs should be addressed as well, including the number of employees required, their roles and any necessary training. You may need to hire a chef, cooks, servers and support staff, depending on the scale of your operations.

05. Marketing and advertising plan

The marketing and advertising plan outlines how you intend to promote your food truck business and attract customers. Identify the most effective marketing strategies for reaching your target audience, such as social media marketing, local events, partnerships or collaborations with other businesses.

You’ll want to make sure your branding is represented by clean, eye-catching and professional visuals as you embark on marketing endeavors. If you don’t yet have a logo, you can use a logo maker to help you generate ideas. For food trucks in particular, a restaurant logo maker or food logo maker can be especially helpful.

Consider then creating a presence on social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, to showcase your food, engage with customers and build a loyal following. Develop a content plan that includes high-quality photos and engaging captions to captivate potential customers.

Utilize local events and festivals to reach a wider audience. Explore opportunities to collaborate with local businesses, such as hosting pop-up events or offering special discounts for their customers.

You should also implement a customer feedback system to track satisfaction levels, address concerns and continuously improve your offerings. Encourage customers to leave reviews on platforms like Yelp and Google to establish credibility and attract new customers.

06. Financial plan

The financial plan is a crucial part of any business plan, as it outlines the financial projections, funding requirements and revenue forecast for your food truck business. It helps you assess the financial feasibility of your venture and make informed decisions regarding pricing strategies and growth plans.

Include a comprehensive breakdown of your start-up costs, such as vehicle acquisition, equipment, permits, licenses and initial inventory. Current estimates place the average cost to start a food truck business somewhere around $55,000 . Determine your fixed and variable costs, including ingredient costs, staff wages, fuel and maintenance expenses. Project your revenue based on your estimated sales volume and pricing structure.

Additionally, consider different sources of funding for your food truck, such as personal savings, loans or potential investors. Outline the repayment plan for any borrowed funds and include a timeline for reaching profitability.

07. Appendices

Appendices provide additional supporting documents and information that enhance the credibility of your food truck business plan. Include items like your menu, sample recipes, your chef's credentials, market research data, financial spreadsheets and any legal documents or permits required for operation.

By including relevant supporting materials, you demonstrate your preparedness and attention to detail, increasing the confidence of potential investors and lenders in your business concept.

steps for developing a business plan

Food truck business plan template

Creating a food truck business plan can be a daunting task, especially if you're starting from scratch. Fortunately, there are templates and resources available to help you streamline the process and create a comprehensive plan. This template provides structure and guides you through the various components of a food truck business plan.

Executive summary: Outline your business overview, mission statement, competitive advantage, management team and financial projections or funding requirements.

Company name and domain name: List the name of your food truck business and the URL/domain name for your business website.

Market analysis and research: This should cover your target market demographics, competitive analysis and niche identification.

Operations: Explain your general area of operation, any equipment or staffing requirements, and permits and licenses you hold.

Marketing and advertising: Include your plans for social media marketing, participating in local events and collaborations, and a customer feedback system.

Financial plan: Outline your start-up costs, fixed and variable costs, revenue projections and sources of funding.

Appendices: Provide a sample menu and recipes, the chef's credentials or any other market research data.

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COMMENTS

  1. Business Plan Executive Summary Example & Template

    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...

  2. Executive Summary of the Business Plan

    An executive summary of a business plan is an overview. Its purpose is to summarize the key points of a document for its readers, saving them time and preparing them for the upcoming content. Think of the executive summary as an advance organizer for the reader. Above all else, it must be clear and concise.

  3. How to Write an Executive Summary in 6 Steps

    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...

  4. 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.

  5. How to Write a Powerful Executive Summary [+4 Top Examples]

    An executive summary is a brief overview of a long document, such as a business plan, proposal, or report. It's a section that grabs readers' attention and summarizes critical information from the document, such as the problem or opportunity being addressed, objectives, key findings, goals, and recommendations.

  6. How to Write a Great 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.

  7. How To Write an Executive Summary With Example

    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. See an example of a business plan's executive summary so you can begin writing one of your own. Key Takeaways

  8. How to Write an Executive Summary

    An executive summary is a business plan overview that succinctly highlights its most essential elements. It's not just a general outline; the executive summary might be the only part of...

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

    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.

  10. How To Write an Executive Summary (With Example)

    Jennifer Herrity Updated July 21, 2023 An executive summary is a section of a larger document that summarizes the main points so readers can quickly familiarize themselves with the material. This can be a useful feature in a lengthy business document or one that many people are likely to review.

  11. Executive Summary

    An executive summary is the first section of a business plan or proposal that provides a brief overview of the document and contains its main points. In other words, it is a condensed version of a complete business plan or proposal. It is primarily used in the business world, but its application in academia is also possible.

  12. How To Write A Good Business Plan Executive Summary

    An executive summary is a brief, positive synopsis of the business and goes at the beginning of your business plan. An executive summary is normally about one to two pages long, contains two-sentence overviews of each section within the plan, and covers the most important information about the business.

  13. How to Write an Executive Summary for Your Business Plan

    The summary should be one to two pages in length and sum up the more detailed content in the rest of your business plan, including: Who you are. Start with the basics. List your business name, location and contact information. For established businesses, give a brief history of your company and provide your mission statement.

  14. Write an Executive Summary

    Most business owners have a general idea of the executive summary that comes with the traditional business plan. However, in the real world, summaries come up much more often than just in the business plan. How to create the summary, and how to use it, depends on the business objective. The summary you say every day

  15. Why the Executive Summary is a Critical Part of Your Business Plan

    An executive summary is essentially an outline of your business plan. If your full business plan is a roadmap, your executive summary is your roadmap's roadmap. It gives your readers a heads up about what you'll talk about in the rest of your business plan. For all intents and purposes, your business's executive summary is your elevator pitch. ‍

  16. How To Write A Business Plan (2023 Guide)

    A solid business plan is essential for any new business. ... Drafting the Summary. An executive summary is an extremely important first step in your business. You have to be able to put the basic ...

  17. First Steps: Writing the Executive Summary of Your Business Plan

    The executive summary has to perform a host of jobs. First and foremost, it should grab the reader's attention. It has to briefly hit the high points of your plan. It should point readers with ...

  18. How to Write an Executive Summary For a Business Plan ...

    An executive summary of a business plan is a section that gives reader an overview of the business opportunity and your entire business plan. It explains the type of business the company operates and summarizes the key facts and strategies supporting the businesses's growth.

  19. How to Write a Great Business Plan: The Executive Summary

    Since a business plan should above all help you start and grow your business, your Executive Summary should first and foremost help you do the following. 1. Refine and tighten your concept. Think ...

  20. 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.

  21. Executive summary

    - A good business plan includes the following, number one, the executive summary. Number two, the company summary. Number three, market analysis.

  22. How to Write An Executive Summary for a Business Plan

    The goal of the executive summary is to highlight the key points of the plan for anyone who reads it, which helps to save time and lets them know what the rest of the business plan will include. It is essentially an advance organizer. The executive summary can often be considered the most crucial part of a business plan.

  23. Business Plan Executive Summary Example & Template

    Financing Requirements. We are seeking an operating line of $100,000 to finance our first-year growth. Samantha Wheeler, the founder has invested $47,000 to meet working capital requirements. Even if you don't own a childcare center, you can still implement this business plan executive summary format for your business.

  24. The Ultimate Guide: How To Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

    Part 2. Step-by-Step Guide on Writing an Executive Summary. Part 3. PDFelement for a Professional Executive Summary. Part 1. Understanding the Key Elements of an Executive Summary. An executive summary is like a compass for your business plan's investors, lenders, and stakeholders. It's a short, powerful section showing them your business's heart.

  25. Sample Executive Summary, SME Marketing Plan

    The Executive Summary is a synopsis of the entire marketing plan. Since some investors only read this section to determine whether they should spend more time evaluating your plan (and company ...

  26. How to create a food truck business plan

    A well-crafted food truck business plan consists of several key components that provide a comprehensive overview of your venture. These seven steps help you articulate your business concept, strategize your operations and outline your financial projections. Executive summary. Company name and domain name.