Whether you’ve made a perfect business plan or an investment proposal for a great idea, you will need an executive summary to preface your detailed report. The short summary should include the important details of your report, but it’s crucial not to bore the reader with minor details.
Add a few words highlighting your best tactics. It might be a low or high price, high value, distribute via the web, market via social media, focus on repeat business, or whatever.
What are the things to include in an executive summary?
The executive summary is also an important measure to know which elements of your products or company have the clearest selling points, and which aspects require a bit more attention. How to start writing the best executive summary? Most of the times movies start with a fight scene or can see that magazines article open with a funny report, just like that you will need a strong hook for your executive summary. These things must be included in the short summary.
- Major details of your company
- The problem
- Your solution to the problem (with contingency plans)
- Why is it important to start now?
These things shouldn’t be included while making an executive summary. Avoid these things while writing your summary.
- Analysis of the problem
- Charts and numbers (details of the report)
- Feedbacks and glowing reviews
- Jargons and Clichés
- Unnecessary Superlatives
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Why write an executive summary?
Capitalists, lenders, executives, managing directors, and CEOs are mostly busy. That means an executive summary is the best gateway for your business plan to get read. This helps to get investment and loans. Let’s explain this a bit more in details. If you are a busy entrepreneur, I come up with a detailed document of 100 pages and ask you to go through it. You’ll probably ask me, “Why should I read this?” This is just because nobody likes these detailed reports before they are in a big deal and bound by contracts. Now, instead of bringing 100 pages, if I come up with one or two pages document which covers the most important aspects of the business plan or investment idea, you will definitely think of reading it.
According to Bonjour, most of the investors will read the executive summary to decide if they will read 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, so having a strong executive summary is key to convince the investors.
The First Paragraph of Executive Summary
As we’ve already discussed that you’ll need a strong hook to start with your summary, you will need to write the following things in the first paragraph of the executive summary.
Start with a sentence or two outlining the major strategy you’d follow. Keep that in mind as you go through the day.
- What do you do for whom? (Why only you?)
- How do you do it differently? Your uniqueness.
- Why are you particularly good at it? (Expertise and Experience )
It is also important to note that, “Most business plans start with a story that tries to create excitement, and this doesn’t always work.”
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Let’s consider another case, If you start your executive summary with a boring line or two, the reader will stop reading it. So, we can say that your executive summary also needs an executive summary to get read. The first paragraph needs to compel the reader to read till the end of the summary. Perhaps you have a compelling aha! the moment, so you might start with that. If you’ve identified a problem in the marketplace that isn’t being adequately serviced, you might start with that.
The body of Executive Summary
There is no specific structure or rules for an executive summary, but there are a few guidelines you must follow to ascertain your business plan or investment proposal gets the right attention it deserves. To make an executive summary template for your idea, firstly, you need to write about your core strengths. Use the following things!
- Use bullet points to present your ideas
- Always use concise language
- The highlights of the recent past
- Recent milestones met
- Key milestones for the future
Some of the investors also want to know about the management team with their key qualifications, track records and backgrounds.
According to experts, writing about these questions when putting together your executive summary will help you to an extent.
- Do you have a unique partnership?
- Whether you have existing customers and traction?
- Write about patents or technology that you
- Is your marketing plan good enough for social marketing?
Depending on your audience, you can also try a more rigid approach to the executive summary. If you need an executive summary template, the things to care about would be company description, problem, and its solutions and the importance of working on the idea in a specific time.
The Tone of an Executive Summary, Humorous or Strictly Professional?
This totally depends on who your readers are. You have to study facts and figures about the people you are going to deal with. Most of the times, you’re presenting your plan to investors, so make sure the language of the executive summary caters to their backgrounds and interests. For instance, if you know your investor has a degree in software engineering, your tone and language might be different from that in the executive summary presented to an investor who studied chemical engineering.
What is the right length for an executive summary?
Every executive summary should be unique. It depends on the size of the business plan or investment proposal to suggest the size of the summary. However, mostly, an executive summary should be one page and two pages long at max. The size doesn’t matter but the content in the summary.
When writing an executive summary, remember that your primary goal isn’t to get you a cheque. The goal of the executive summary is to get the reader to read the rest of your business plan and schedule a meeting with you. Think about smart and creative ways that you can make your executive summary compelling to your intended audience, so you could meet your business goals.
One page executive summary example
There could be so many examples but to just give you an idea, here is a format of the content to be included in your summary. You can also download one-page executive summary in pdf.
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