executive summary example for assignment

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Common Assignments: Executive Summaries

Basics of executive summaries.

Executive summaries are common in the Walden MBA program, but they are also found as part of some government and business documents. As a student, you should complete an executive summary when specifically requested to do so. An executive summary is a comprehensive review of a larger document. For example, a 35-page report may begin with a single-page executive summary all of the main information in the longer report. Any findings, conclusions, recommendations, or other details that appear in the larger document must be touched on in the executive summary. Readers should be able to read the executive summary alone and have a complete understanding of the larger document in its entirety.

How to Write an Executive Summary

It is important to meet all length and content expectations, so be sure to review the specific directions for your assignment. Also remember that the executive summary can only be written after the full-length document is complete.

Tips for completing the executive summary from Walden University (2013) include:

  • List all of the main points in the same order in which they occur in the paper that you are summarizing.
  • Take each point and turn it into a sentence.
  • Add additional sentences to clarify or explain each point.
  • Add a short introduction and a short conclusion. Include the name of the article, report, etc. and the author(s) in the introduction.
  • Check grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Check for plagiarism.
  • Read the summary slowly and carefully to make sure it covers all of the main points clearly, yet concisely. Also, check to be sure it is interesting. You want to catch your reader’s attention.
  • Set it aside. Let some time pass and read it again. Often, you will catch items that you did not see the first time.

For academic writing, be sure to include appropriate citations and a reference. This is typically not part of a business executive summary but should be included for purposes of this program.

Walden University. (2013). How to write an executive summary [Course handout]. https://class.waldenu.edu

Executive Summary Versus Abstract

Like an executive summary, an abstract is a short summary of a larger text. Both executive summaries and abstracts are meant to capture the main ideas, findings, and conclusions of a longer document.  Executive summaries, however, tend to include more details than abstracts. An abstract includes enough information for readers to decide if they want to read the full-length document. Executive summaries must include enough information for readers to understand the full-length document without reading it.

Another difference between executive summaries and abstracts are the fields where they are used. Generally, executive summaries are common in business and government, while abstracts are more common in academia and at Walden, especially when seeking publication in a professional journal.

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Grad Coach

How To Write A High-Impact Executive Summary

By Derek Jansen | January 2018

exec summary is your first impression

In this post, I’ll deconstruct the often-misunderstood executive summary and show you how to develop a high-impact executive summary for your assignment, research report or even your dissertation or thesis.

So, what is an executive summary?

An executive summary (sometimes called an abstract ) is quite simply a summary of summaries. In other words, an executive summary provides a concise summary of each of your assignment or report chapters/sections . More specifically, it should communicate the key points/insights/findings/suggestions from the following chapters:

  • Introduction
  • Recommendations
  • Implementation (if applicable)
  • Reflection (if applicable)

I’ll discuss which key points from each section need to be addressed a bit later. On a separate note – if you’re writing an executive summary for a dissertation or thesis, all of the concepts described in this post will still apply to you, however, you’ll include an additional paragraph about your methodology, and you’ll likely spend more word count discussing your analysis findings.

The 4 Important Attributes Of An Exec Summary

Before I discuss what goes into the executive summary, let’s quickly look at 4 attributes that make for a strong executive summary:

#1 – It should be able to stand alone.

The executive summary should be able to stand independently as an informative document . In other words, the reader should be able to grasp your broad argument without having to read the full document. Further reading should be purely for attaining more detail. Simply put, the executive summary should be a “Mini-Me” of the assignment.

This independence means that anything you write in the executive summary will need to be re-stated in the body of your assignment. A common mistake that students make is to introduce key points in the executive summary and then not discuss them again in the document – accordingly, the marker must view the main document as missing these key points. Simply put – make sure you discuss key points in both the executive summary and the main body . It will feel repetitive at times – this is normal.

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#2 – It should be written for the intelligent layman.

When crafting your executive summary, its useful to keep the intelligent layman front of mind. What I mean by this is that you should write your summary assuming that your reader (i.e. the marker) will be intelligent but won’t be familiar with your topic and/or industry. This means that you should explain any technical concepts, avoid jargon and explain acronyms before using them.

#3 – It should be concise.

Typically, your executive summary should be a one-pager (one and a half pages at worst). To summarise a 3000 – 5000-word document into one page is no easy task, so you’ll need to:

  • Present only the most important information (key insights, recommendations, etc).
  • Write concisely – i.e. with brevity and completeness.

To the first point, I’ll explain what the “most important” information is for each chapter shortly. To the second point (writing concisely), there are various ways to do this, including:

  • Using simple, straightforward language.
  • Using the active voice.
  • Removing bloaty adverbs and adjectives.
  • Reducing prepositional phrases.
  • Avoiding noun strings.

Does this sound like gibberish to you? Don’t worry! The Writing Center at the University of Wisconson-Madison provides a practical guide to writing more concisely, which you can download here.

On a related note, you typically would not include headings, citations or bulleted/numbered lists in your executive summary. These visual components tend to use a lot of space, which comes at a premium, as you know.

#4 – It should be written last.

Given that your executive summary is a summary of summaries, it needs to be written last , only once you’ve identified all your key insights, recommendations and so on. This probably sounds obvious, but many students start writing the summary first (potentially because of its position in the document) and then end up re-writing it multiple times, or they don’t rewrite it and consequently end up with an executive summary which is misaligned with the main document.

Simply put, you should leave this section until everything else is completed. Once your core body content is completed, you should read through the entire document again and create a bullet-point list of all the key points . From this list, you should then craft your executive summary . The approach will also help you identify gaps, contradictions and misalignments in your main document.

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So, what goes into an executive summary?

Right, let’s get into the meat of it and consider what exactly should go into your executive summary. As I’ve mentioned, you need to present only the absolutely key point points from each of your chapters, but what does this mean exactly?

Each chapter will typically take the form of 1 paragraph (with no headings) in your executive summary. So, 5 chapters means 5 paragraphs. Naturally, some will be longer than others (let this be informed by the mark allocation), but assuming one page contains 500 words, you’re aiming for roughly 100 words per paragraph (assuming a 5-paragraph structure). See why conciseness is key!

Now, let’s look at what the key points are for each chapter in the case of a typical MBA assignment or report. In the case of a dissertation or thesis, the paragraph structure would still mimic the chapter structure – you’d just have more chapters, and therefore, more paragraphs.

Paragraph 1: Introduction

This paragraph should cover the following points:

  • A very brief explanation of the business (what does it do, for whom and where?).
  • Clear identification and explanation of the problem or opportunity that will be the focus of the assignment/report.
  • A clear statement of the purpose of the assignment (i.e. what research questions will you seek to answer?).
  • Brief mention of what data sources were utilised (i.e. secondary research) and any fieldwork undertaken (i.e. primary research ).

In other words, your first paragraph should introduce the business, the problem/opportunity to be addressed, why it’s important, and how you approached your analysis. This paragraph should make it clear to the reader what the assignment is all about at a broad level. Here’s a practical example:

This assignment focuses on ABC Ltd, a XXX business based in XXX, which provides XXX to XXX customers. To date, the firm has relied almost exclusively on XXX marketing channel. Consequently, ABC Ltd has little understanding of consumer segments, wants, and needs. This marketing channel is now under regulatory threat due to XXX.  The core challenge, therefore, is that whilst ABC Ltd seeks to grow its market share, it has little understanding of its market characteristics or competitive set, and its sole marketing channel under regulatory threat. Accordingly, the objective of this assignment is XXX. The assignment draws on survey, interview, and industry data.

Paragraph 2: Analysis and findings

In this paragraph, you should discuss the following:

  • What exactly did you analyse? For example, you might have analysed the macro context (i.e. PESTLE analysis), followed by the meso (i.e. competitor or industry analysis) and then the micro (i.e. internal organisational analysis).
  • What were your key findings in relation to the purpose of the assignment? For example, you may have identified 4 potential causes of a problem and would then state them.

In other words, your second paragraph should concisely explain what you analysed and what your main findings were . An example of this:

Segmentation analysis, consisting of macro, industry and firm-level analyses, revealed a strong segmentation variable in the form of XXX, with distinct needs in each segment. Macro analysis revealed XXX, while industry and firm-level analyses suggested XXX. Subsequently, three potential target segments were established, namely XXX, XXX and XXX.  These were then evaluated using the Directional Policy Matrix, and the results indicated XXX.

From a presentation perspective, you might structure this section as:

  • Analysis 1, findings from analysis 1.
  • Analysis 2, findings from analysis 2.
  • Analysis 3, findings from analysis 3.

Importantly, you should only discuss the findings that are directly linked to the research questions (i.e. the purpose of the assignment) – don’t digress into interesting but less relevant findings. Given that the analysis chapter typically counts for a large proportion of marks, you could viably write 2-3 paragraphs for this. Be guided by the mark allocation.

Lastly, you should ensure that the findings you present here align well with the recommendations you’ll make in the next paragraph. Think about what your recommendations are, and, if necessary, reverse engineer this paragraph to create a strong link and logical flow from analysis to recommendations.

exec summary components

Paragraph 3: Recommendations

With the key findings from your analysis presented in the preceding paragraph, you should now discuss the following:

  • What are your key recommendations?
  • How do these solve the problems you found in your analysis?
  • Were there any further conclusions?

Simply put, this paragraph (or two) should present the main recommendations and justify their use (i.e. explain how they resolve the key issue). As mentioned before, it’s critically important that your recommendations tightly align with (and resolve) the key issues that you identified in the analysis. An example:

Based on the Directional Policy Matrix analysis, it is recommended that the firm target XXX segment, because of XXX. On this basis, a positioning of XXX is proposed, as this aligns with the segment’s key needs. Furthermore, a provisional high-level marketing mix is proposed. The key aspects of the marketing mix include XXX, XXX and XXX, as these align with the firm’s positioning of XXX. By adopting these recommendations, the key issue of XXX will be resolved.

Also, note that (typically) the tone changes from past to present tense when you get to the recommendations section.

Paragraph 4: Implementation

If your assignment brief requires an implementation/project plan-type section, this paragraph will typically include the following points:

  • Time requirements (how long will it take?)
  • People requirements (what skills are needed and where do you find them?)
  • Money requirements (what budget is required?)
  • How will the project or change be managed? (i.e. project management plan)
  • What risks exist and how will these be managed?

Depending on what level of detail is required by your assignment brief, you may need to present more, less or other details in this section. As always, be guided by the assignment brief.

A practical example:

A high-level implementation plan is proposed, including a stakeholder analysis, project plan and business case. Resource requirements are presented, detailing XXX, XXX and XXX requirements. A risk analysis is presented, revealing key risks including XXX, XXX and XXX. Risk management solutions are proposed, including XXX and XXX.  

executive summary example for assignment

Paragraph 5: Reflection

As with the implementation chapter, the need for a reflection chapter/section will vary between assignments and universities. If your assignment has this requirement, it’s typically good to cover the following points:

  • What were your key learnings? What were your ah-ha moments?
  • What has changed in the real world as a consequence of these learnings? I.e. how has your actual behaviour and approach to “X” changed, if any?
  • What are the benefits and/or disadvantages of this change, if any?

This section is very personal, and so each person’s reflections will be different. Don’t take the above points as gospel.

Time to test it out.

Once you’ve written up your executive summary and feel confident that it’s in good shape, it’s time to test it out on an unsuspecting intelligent layman. This is a critically important step, since you, as the writer, are simply too close to the work to judge whether it all makes sense to a first-time reader. In fact, you are the least suitable person on the planet!

So, find someone who is not familiar with your assignment topic (and ideally, not familiar with your industry), and ask them to have a read through your executive summary. Friends and family will usually tell you its great, regardless of the quality, so you need to test them on their understanding. Do this by asking them to give the details back to you in their own words. Poke and prod – can they tell you what the key issues and recommendations were (in their own words!). You’ll quickly spot the gaps this way, and be able to flesh out any weak areas.

  Wrapping up.

In this post, I’ve discussed how to write the all too often undercooked executive summary. I’ve discussed some important attributes of a strong executive summary, as well as the contents that typically go into it. To recap on the key points:

The key attributes of a high-impact executive summary:

  • It should be able to stand alone.
  • It should be written for the intelligent layman.
  • It should be concise.
  • It should be written last.

The key contents of a high-impact executive summary:

Each paragraph should cover a chapter from the document. For example, In the case of a typical assignment, it would be something like:

  • Summary of the introduction chapter.
  • Summary of the analysis chapter.
  • Summary of the recommendations and/or conclusions chapter.
  • Depending – summary of the implementation and reflection.

Lastly, don’t forget to test out your executive summary on an unsuspecting layman or two. This is probably the most important step of them all!

If you have any questions or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch here or leave a comment below.

You Might Also Like:

Quantitative results chapter in a dissertation

Thanks so much for your methodical process and explanation of Executive Summary. It is exactly what I was researching for.

Regards Saane

Derek Jansen

It’s a pleasure!

kemba franklyn

This was really helpful with how to structure my assignment.

Peter Neba

Thank you so much for the step by step process. It’s so helpful for beginners like me.

Anna H. Smith

Great! This post is very informative and gives clear guidance on to write an executive summary. Thanks very much for sharing this information, it’s very helpful.

Derek Jansen

Thanks for the feedback, Anna. Best of luck with your writing 🙂

Sheldon

Thank you for the great article, really helped explain what was needed.

Sandy

Great insight and tips . Thanks

Ruhi

Thank you so much for sharing this. It was exactly what I was looking for.

Thank you for your help

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executive summary example for assignment

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  • How to write an executive summary, with ...

How to write an executive summary, with examples

Julia Martins contributor headshot

The best way to do that is with an executive summary. If you’ve never written an executive summary, this article has all you need to know to plan, write, and share them with your team.

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is an overview of a document. The length and scope of your executive summary will differ depending on the document it’s summarizing, but in general an executive summary can be anywhere from one to two pages long. In the document, you’ll want to share all of the information your readers and important stakeholders need to know.

Imagine it this way: if your high-level stakeholders were to only read your executive summary, would they have all of the information they need to succeed? If so, your summary has done its job.

You’ll often find executive summaries of:

Business cases

Project proposals

Research documents

Environmental studies

Market surveys

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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An executive summary is a thorough overview of a research report or other type of document that synthesizes key points for its readers, saving them time and preparing them to understand the study's overall content. It is a separate, stand-alone document of sufficient detail and clarity to ensure that the reader can completely understand the contents of the main research study. An executive summary can be anywhere from 1-10 pages long depending on the length of the report, or it can be the summary of more than one document [e.g., papers submitted for a group project].

Bailey, Edward, P. The Plain English Approach to Business Writing . (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 73-80 Todorovic, Zelimir William and Marietta Wolczacka Frye. “Writing Effective Executive Summaries: An Interdisciplinary Examination.” In United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Conference Proceedings . (Decatur, IL: United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 2009): pp. 662-691.

Importance of a Good Executive Summary

Although an executive summary is similar to an abstract in that they both summarize the contents of a research study, there are several key differences. With research abstracts, the author's recommendations are rarely included, or if they are, they are implicit rather than explicit. Recommendations are generally not stated in academic abstracts because scholars operate in a discursive environment, where debates, discussions, and dialogs are meant to precede the implementation of any new research findings. The conceptual nature of much academic writing also means that recommendations arising from the findings are distributed widely and not easily or usefully encapsulated. Executive summaries are used mainly when a research study has been developed for an organizational partner, funding entity, or other external group that participated in the research . In such cases, the research report and executive summary are often written for policy makers outside of academe, while abstracts are written for the academic community. Professors, therefore, assign the writing of executive summaries so students can practice synthesizing and writing about the contents of comprehensive research studies for external stakeholder groups.

When preparing to write, keep in mind that:

  • An executive summary is not an abstract.
  • An executive summary is not an introduction.
  • An executive summary is not a preface.
  • An executive summary is not a random collection of highlights.

Christensen, Jay. Executive Summaries Complete The Report. California State University Northridge; Clayton, John. "Writing an Executive Summary that Means Business." Harvard Management Communication Letter (July 2003): 2-4; Keller, Chuck. "Stay Healthy with a Winning Executive Summary." Technical Communication 41 (1994): 511-517; Murphy, Herta A., Herbert W. Hildebrandt, and Jane P. Thomas. Effective Business Communications . New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997; Vassallo, Philip. "Executive Summaries: Where Less Really is More." ETC.: A Review of General Semantics 60 (Spring 2003): 83-90 .

Structure and Writing Style

Writing an Executive Summary

Read the Entire Document This may go without saying, but it is critically important that you read the entire research study thoroughly from start to finish before you begin to write the executive summary. Take notes as you go along, highlighting important statements of fact, key findings, and recommended courses of action. This will better prepare you for how to organize and summarize the study. Remember this is not a brief abstract of 300 words or less but, essentially, a mini-paper of your paper, with a focus on recommendations.

Isolate the Major Points Within the Original Document Choose which parts of the document are the most important to those who will read it. These points must be included within the executive summary in order to provide a thorough and complete explanation of what the document is trying to convey.

Separate the Main Sections Closely examine each section of the original document and discern the main differences in each. After you have a firm understanding about what each section offers in respect to the other sections, write a few sentences for each section describing the main ideas. Although the format may vary, the main sections of an executive summary likely will include the following:

  • An opening statement, with brief background information,
  • The purpose of research study,
  • Method of data gathering and analysis,
  • Overview of findings, and,
  • A description of each recommendation, accompanied by a justification. Note that the recommendations are sometimes quoted verbatim from the research study.

Combine the Information Use the information gathered to combine them into an executive summary that is no longer than 10% of the original document. Be concise! The purpose is to provide a brief explanation of the entire document with a focus on the recommendations that have emerged from your research. How you word this will likely differ depending on your audience and what they care about most. If necessary, selectively incorporate bullet points for emphasis and brevity. Re-read your Executive Summary After you've completed your executive summary, let it sit for a while before coming back to re-read it. Check to make sure that the summary will make sense as a separate document from the full research study. By taking some time before re-reading it, you allow yourself to see the summary with fresh, unbiased eyes.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Length of the Executive Summary As a general rule, the correct length of an executive summary is that it meets the criteria of no more pages than 10% of the number of pages in the original document, with an upper limit of no more than ten pages [i.e., ten pages for a 100 page document]. This requirement keeps the document short enough to be read by your audience, but long enough to allow it to be a complete, stand-alone synopsis. Cutting and Pasting With the exception of specific recommendations made in the study, do not simply cut and paste whole sections of the original document into the executive summary. You should paraphrase information from the longer document. Avoid taking up space with excessive subtitles and lists, unless they are absolutely necessary for the reader to have a complete understanding of the original document. Consider the Audience Although unlikely to be required by your professor, there is the possibility that more than one executive summary will have to be written for a given document [e.g., one for policy-makers, one for private industry, one for philanthropists]. This may only necessitate the rewriting of the introduction and conclusion, but it could require rewriting the entire summary in order to fit the needs of the reader. If necessary, be sure to consider the types of audiences who may benefit from your study and make adjustments accordingly. Clarity in Writing One of the biggest mistakes you can make is related to the clarity of your executive summary. Always note that your audience [or audiences] are likely seeing your research study for the first time. The best way to avoid a disorganized or cluttered executive summary is to write it after the study is completed. Always follow the same strategies for proofreading that you would for any research paper. Use Strong and Positive Language Don’t weaken your executive summary with passive, imprecise language. The executive summary is a stand-alone document intended to convince the reader to make a decision concerning whether to implement the recommendations you make. Once convinced, it is assumed that the full document will provide the details needed to implement the recommendations. Although you should resist the temptation to pad your summary with pleas or biased statements, do pay particular attention to ensuring that a sense of urgency is created in the implications, recommendations, and conclusions presented in the executive summary. Be sure to target readers who are likely to implement the recommendations.

Bailey, Edward, P. The Plain English Approach to Business Writing . (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 73-80; Christensen, Jay. Executive Summaries Complete The Report. California State University Northridge; Executive Summaries. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Clayton, John. "Writing an Executive Summary That Means Business." Harvard Management Communication Letter , 2003; Executive Summary. University Writing Center. Texas A&M University;  Green, Duncan. Writing an Executive Summary.   Oxfam’s Research Guidelines series ; Guidelines for Writing an Executive Summary. Astia.org; Markowitz, Eric. How to Write an Executive Summary. Inc. Magazine, September, 15, 2010; Kawaski, Guy. The Art of the Executive Summary. "How to Change the World" blog; Keller, Chuck. "Stay Healthy with a Winning Executive Summary." Technical Communication 41 (1994): 511-517; The Report Abstract and Executive Summary. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Executive Summaries. Effective Writing Center. University of Maryland; Kolin, Philip. Successful Writing at Work . 10th edition. (Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2013), p. 435-437; Moral, Mary. "Writing Recommendations and Executive Summaries." Keeping Good Companies 64 (June 2012): 274-278; Todorovic, Zelimir William and Marietta Wolczacka Frye. “Writing Effective Executive Summaries: An Interdisciplinary Examination.” In United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Conference Proceedings . (Decatur, IL: United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 2009): pp. 662-691.

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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.

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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.

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

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 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 for the next step.

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.

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How to write an executive summary in 10 steps

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Whether presenting a business plan, sharing project updates with stakeholders, or submitting a project proposal, an executive summary helps you grab attention and convey key insights.

Think of it as a condensed version of a document, report, or proposal that highlights the most important information clearly and concisely. It's like a "cheat sheet" that gives you a snapshot of the main points without reading the entire thing.

Throughout the article, we'll explore some examples of executive summaries to give you a better understanding of how they can be applied. Plus, we'll provide you with ready-to-use templates and best practices for writing compelling executive summaries.

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is a concise overview of a longer document or report. It is typically written for busy executives or decision-makers who may not have the time to read the entire document but still need to grasp its key points and recommendations. 

An effective executive summary should capture the essence of the document, highlighting the most important information in a brief and easily understandable way. It should provide a snapshot of the document's purpose, methodology, major findings, and key recommendations. The summary should be written in a way that allows the reader to quickly grasp the main ideas and make informed decisions based on the information presented.

Why do you need to write one?

For a business owner , an executive summary is one of the most important documents you will have. Like a business plan , they help you lay out the potential value of your business and your potential for success. 

Unlike a business proposal, however, an executive summary is designed to be read in a brief amount of time. That makes them ideal for a variety of uses, like project proposals and research summaries. Sending your strategic plan to a prospective investor or stakeholder likely won’t get you far. But a brief report that clearly states your key findings and what’s in it for them might help you — and your proposal — stand out. It isn't all the details. It's what gets you the meeting to share more.

An executive summary is also a business document that can travel without you. It may be presented to other leaders and potential investors. If it’s written well, it will take on a life of its own. You may find that you get support and resources from places you never imagined.

What should be included in an executive summary?

Your executive summary should include brief descriptions of who your product, service, or proposal is for and your competitive advantage. Be sure to introduce your report concisely yet clearly . Note the most important points and its overall purpose––what do you hope to achieve with this report? 

Also, include any necessary background information and statistics about the industry, high-level information about your business model, necessary financial information, or other insights you discuss in the report. Depending on your proposal, you may want to consider summarizing a market analysis of your target market.

Typically, an executive summary follows a structured format, including sections such as:

  • Introduction: Provides a brief background and context for the document.
  • Objective or purpose: Clearly states the goal of the document and what it aims to achieve.
  • Methodology: Briefly describes the approach, data sources, and methods used to conduct the research or analysis.
  • Findings: Summarizes the main findings, conclusions, or results derived from the document.
  • Recommendations: Outlines the key recommendations or proposed actions based on the findings.
  • Conclusion: Provides a concise wrap-up of the main points and emphasizes the significance of the document.

presenting-to-board-meeting-executive-summary-example

How do you write an executive summary?

When tackling an executive summary, it's all about following a structured approach to ensure you effectively communicate those crucial points, findings, and recommendations. Let’s walk through some steps and best practices to make it a breeze:

Step 1: Get to know the document

Take the time to dive into the full document or report that your executive summary will be based on. Read it thoroughly and identify the main objectives, key findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Step 2: Know your audience

Think about who you're writing the executive summary for. Consider their knowledge level, interests, and priorities. This helps you tailor the summary to their needs and make it relevant and impactful.

Step 3: Outline the structure

Create an outline for your executive summary with sections like introduction, objective, methodology, findings, recommendations, and conclusion. This way, you'll have a logical flow that's easy to follow.

Step 4: Start strong

Kick off your executive summary with a captivating opening statement. Make it concise, engaging, and impactful to hook the reader and make them want to keep reading.

Step 5: Summarize objectives and methodology

Give a brief overview of the document's objectives and the methodology used to achieve them. This sets the context and helps the reader understand the approach taken.

Step 6: Highlight key findings

Summarize the main findings, conclusions, or results. Focus on the juiciest and most relevant points that support the document's purpose. Keep it clear and concise to get the message across effectively.

Step 7: Present key recommendations

Outline the important recommendations or proposed actions based on the findings. Clearly state what needs to be done, why it matters, and how it aligns with the document's objectives. Make those recommendations actionable and realistic.

Step 8: Keep it snappy

Remember, an executive summary should be short and sweet. Skip unnecessary details, jargon, or technical language . Use straightforward language that hits the mark.

Step 9: Review and polish

Once you've written the executive summary, give it a careful review for clarity, coherence, and accuracy. Make sure it captures the essence of the full document and represents its content faithfully. Take the extra step to edit out any fluff or repetition.

Step 10: Dress to impress

Consider formatting and presentation. Use headings, bullet points, and formatting styles to make it visually appealing and easy to skim. If it makes sense, include some graphs, charts, or visuals to highlight key points.

Tips for writing an effective executive summary

  • Adapt your language and tone to suit your audience.
  • Keep things concise and crystal clear—say no to jargon.
  • Focus on the most important info that packs a punch.
  • Give enough context without overwhelming your reader.
  • Use strong and persuasive language to make your recommendations shine.
  • Make sure your executive summary makes sense even if the full document isn't read.
  • Proofread like a pro to catch any pesky grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors.

Executive summary template for business plans

Here's a general template for creating an executive summary specifically for business plans:

[Your Company Name]

[Business Plan Title]

Business overview

Provide a brief introduction to your company, including its name, location, industry, and mission statement . Describe your unique value proposition and what sets your business apart from competitors.

Market analysis

Summarize the key findings of your market research. Provide an overview of the target market, its size, growth potential, and relevant trends. Highlight your understanding of customer needs, preferences, and behaviors.

Product or service offering

Outline your core products or services, including their key features and benefits. Emphasize how your offerings address customer pain points and provide value. Highlight any unique selling points or competitive advantages.

Business model

Explain your business model and revenue generation strategy. Describe how you will generate revenue, the pricing structure, and any distribution channels or partnerships that contribute to your business's success.

Marketing and sales strategy

Summarize your marketing and sales approach. Highlight the key tactics and channels you will use to reach and attract customers. Discuss your promotional strategies, pricing strategies, and customer acquisition plans.

Management team

Introduce the key members of your management team and their relevant experience. Highlight their expertise and how it positions the team to execute the business plan successfully. Include any notable advisors or board members.

Financial projections

Summarize your financial projections, including revenue forecasts, expected expenses, and projected profitability. Highlight any key financial metrics or milestones. Briefly mention your funding needs, if applicable.

Funding requirements

If seeking funding, outline your funding requirements, including the amount needed, its purpose, and the potential sources of funding you are considering. Summarize the expected return on investment for potential investors.

Reiterate the vision and potential of your business. Summarize the key points of your business plan, emphasizing its viability, market potential, and the expertise of your team. Convey confidence in the success of your venture.

Note: Keep the executive summary concise and focused, typically within one to two pages. Use clear and compelling language, emphasizing the unique aspects of your business. Tailor the template to suit your specific business plan, adjusting sections and details accordingly.

Remember, the executive summary serves as an introduction to your business plan and should pique the reader's interest, conveying the value and potential of your business in a concise and persuasive manner.

Executive summary examples

Every executive summary will be unique to the organization's goals, vision, and brand identity. We put together two general examples of executive summaries to spark your creativity and offer some inspiration. 

These are not intended to be used as-is but more to offer ideas for how you may want to put your own executive summary together. Be sure to personalize your own summary with specific statistics and relevant data points to make the most impact.

Example 1: executive summary for a communications business plan

Introduction:

We're thrilled to present our innovative [insert product] that aims to revolutionize the way people connect and engage. Our vision is to empower individuals and businesses with seamless communication solutions that break barriers and foster meaningful connections.

Market opportunity:

The communications industry is evolving rapidly, and we've identified a significant opportunity in the market. With the proliferation of remote work, the need for reliable and efficient communication tools has skyrocketed. Our extensive market research indicates a demand for solutions that prioritize user experience, security, and flexibility.

Product offering:

At [Company Name], we've developed a suite of cutting-edge communication tools designed to meet the diverse needs of our customers. Our flagship product is a unified communication platform that integrates voice, video, messaging, and collaboration features into a seamless user experience. We also offer customizable solutions for businesses of all sizes, catering to their unique communication requirements.

Unique value proposition:

What sets us apart from the competition? Our user-centric approach and commitment to innovation. We prioritize user experience by creating intuitive interfaces and seamless interactions. Our solutions are scalable, adaptable, and designed to keep up with evolving technological trends. By combining ease of use with advanced features, we deliver unparalleled value to our customers.

Target market:

Our primary focus is on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that require efficient and cost-effective communication tools. We also cater to individuals, remote teams, and larger enterprises seeking reliable and secure communication solutions. Our target market encompasses industries such as technology, finance, healthcare, and professional services.

Business model:

To generate revenue, we employ a subscription-based business model. Customers can choose from different plans tailored to their specific needs, paying a monthly or annual fee. We also offer additional services such as customization, integration, and customer support, creating additional revenue streams and fostering long-term customer relationships.

Marketing and sales strategy:

Our marketing strategy centers around building brand awareness through targeted digital campaigns, content marketing, and strategic partnerships. We'll leverage social media, industry influencers, and online communities to reach our target audience. Additionally, our sales team will engage in proactive outreach, nurturing leads and providing personalized consultations to convert prospects into loyal customers.

Team and expertise:

Our team is composed of experienced professionals with a deep understanding of the communications industry. Led by our visionary founder and supported by a skilled and diverse team, we have the expertise to drive innovation, develop robust products, and deliver exceptional customer service. We're passionate about our mission and dedicated to making a lasting impact in the market.

Financial projections:

Based on extensive market research and financial analysis, we anticipate strong growth and profitability. Our financial projections indicate steady revenue streams, with increasing customer adoption and market share. We're committed to managing costs effectively, optimizing our resources, and continuously reinvesting in research and development.

Funding requirements:

To fuel our ambitious growth plans and accelerate product development, we're seeking [funding amount] in funding. These funds will be allocated towards expanding our team, scaling our infrastructure, marketing efforts, and ongoing product innovation. We believe this investment will position us for success and solidify our market presence.

Conclusion:

In summary, [Company Name] is poised to disrupt the communications industry with our innovative solutions and customer-centric approach. We're ready to make a positive impact by empowering individuals and businesses to communicate effectively and effortlessly. Join us on this exciting journey as we redefine the future of communication. Together, we'll shape a connected world like never before.

Example 2: executive summary for a project proposal

[Project Name]

[Project Proposal Date]

Hello! We're thrilled to present our project proposal for [Project Name]. This executive summary will provide you with a high-level overview of the project, its objectives, and the value it brings.

Project overview:

Our project aims to [describe the project's purpose and scope]. It's a response to [identify the problem or opportunity] and has the potential to bring significant benefits to [stakeholders or target audience]. Through meticulous planning and execution, we're confident in our ability to achieve the desired outcomes.

Objectives:

The primary goal of our project is to [state the overarching objective]. In addition, we have specific objectives such as [list specific objectives]. By accomplishing these goals, we'll create a positive impact and drive meaningful change.

Our proposed approach for this project is based on a thorough analysis of the situation and best practices. We'll adopt a structured methodology that includes [describe the key project phases or activities]. This approach ensures efficient utilization of resources and maximizes project outcomes.

The benefits of this project are truly exciting. Through its implementation, we anticipate [describe the anticipated benefits or outcomes]. These benefits include [list specific benefits], which will have a lasting and positive effect on [stakeholders or target audience].

Implementation timeline:

We've devised a comprehensive timeline to guide the project from initiation to completion. The project is divided into distinct phases, with well-defined milestones and deliverables. Our timeline ensures that tasks are executed in a timely manner, allowing us to stay on track and deliver results.

Resource requirements:

To successfully execute this project, we've identified the key resources needed. This includes [list the resources required, such as human resources, technology, equipment, and funding]. We're confident in our ability to secure the necessary resources and allocate them effectively to ensure project success.

A project of this nature requires a well-planned budget. Based on our analysis, we've estimated the required funding to be [state the budget amount]. This budget encompasses all project-related costs and aligns with the anticipated benefits and outcomes.

Our project proposal is an exciting opportunity to address [the problem or opportunity] and create tangible value for [stakeholders or target audience]. With a clear vision, defined objectives, and a robust implementation plan, we're ready to embark on this journey. Join us as we bring this project to life and make a lasting impact. 

person-holding-one-sheet-executive-summary-example

Is an executive summary the same as a project plan?

While both are important components of project management and documentation , they serve different purposes and contain distinct information.

An executive summary, as discussed earlier, is a concise overview of a longer document or report. It provides a snapshot of the key points, findings, and recommendations. It focuses on high-level information and aims to provide an overview of the document's purpose, methodology, findings, and recommendations.

On the other hand, a project plan is a detailed document that outlines the specific activities, tasks, timelines, resources, and milestones associated with a project. It serves as a roadmap for project execution, providing a comprehensive understanding of how the project will be carried out.

A project plan typically includes objectives, scope, deliverables, schedule, budget, resource allocation, risk management, and communication strategies. It is intended for project team members, stakeholders, and those directly involved in the execution.

In summary, an executive summary offers a condensed overview of a document's key points, while a project plan provides a comprehensive and detailed roadmap for executing a project.

Executive summaries vs. abstracts

An executive summary is not the same as an abstract. Executive summaries focus on the main points of a proposal. They highlight when and why a reader should invest in the company or project.

An abstract, on the other hand, concentrates on what the business does and its marketing plan. It typically doesn’t include detailed information about finances.

While it is usually compelling, it’s less of an elevator pitch and more of a summary. The goal of an abstract is to inform, not to persuade. On the other hand, the goal of an executive summary is to give readers who are pressed for time just enough information that they’ll want to look further into your proposition.

When do you use an executive summary?

An executive summary is used in various situations where there is a need to present a condensed overview of a longer document or report. Here are some common instances when an executive summary is used:

  • Business proposals: When submitting a business proposal to potential investors, partners, or stakeholders, an executive summary is often included. It provides a concise overview of the proposal, highlighting the key aspects such as the business idea, market analysis, competitive advantage, financial projections, and recommended actions.
  • Reports and research studies: Lengthy reports or research studies often include an executive summary at the beginning. This allows decision-makers, executives, or other stakeholders to quickly understand the purpose, methodology, findings, and recommendations of the report without going through the entire document.
  • Project updates: During the course of a project, project managers may prepare executive summaries to provide updates to stakeholders or higher-level management. These summaries give a brief overview of the project's progress, achievements, challenges, and upcoming milestones.
  • Strategic plans: When developing strategic plans for an organization, an executive summary is often included to provide an overview of the plan's goals, objectives, strategies, and key initiatives. It allows executives and stakeholders to grasp the essence of the strategic plan and its implications without reading the entire document.
  • Funding requests: When seeking funding for a project or venture, an executive summary is commonly used as part of the funding proposal. It provides a succinct summary of the project, highlighting its significance, potential impact, financial requirements, and expected outcomes.

In general, an executive summary is used whenever there is a need to communicate the main points, findings, and recommendations of a document concisely and efficiently to individuals who may not have the time or inclination to read the entire content. It serves as a valuable tool for understanding and facilitates quick decision-making.

5 ways project managers can use executive summaries

Project managers can use executive summaries in various ways to effectively communicate project updates, status reports, or proposals to stakeholders and higher-level management. Here are some ways project managers can use executive summaries:

  • Project status updates: Project managers can provide regular executive summaries to stakeholders and management to communicate the current status of the project. The summary should include key achievements, milestones reached, challenges encountered, and any adjustments to the project plan. It allows stakeholders to quickly grasp the project's progress and make informed decisions or provide guidance as needed.
  • Project proposals: When pitching a project idea or seeking approval for a new project, project managers can prepare an executive summary to present the essential aspects of the project. The summary should outline the project's objectives, scope, anticipated benefits, resource requirements, estimated timeline, and potential risks. It helps decision-makers understand the project's value and make an informed choice about its initiation.
  • Project closure reports: At the end of a project, project managers can prepare an executive summary as part of the project closure report. The summary should highlight the project's overall success, key deliverables achieved, lessons learned, and recommendations for future projects. It provides a concise overview of the project's outcomes and acts as a valuable reference for future initiatives.
  • Steering committee meetings: When project managers present updates or seek guidance from a steering committee or governance board, an executive summary can be an effective tool. The summary should cover the important aspects of the project, such as progress, issues, risks, and upcoming milestones. It ensures that decision-makers are well-informed about the project's status and can provide relevant guidance or support.
  • Change requests: When submitting a change request for a project, project managers can include an executive summary to summarize the proposed change, its impact on the project, potential risks, and benefits. It helps stakeholders and decision-makers quickly assess the change request and make informed decisions about its implementation.

Using executive summaries, project managers can efficiently communicate project-related information to stakeholders, executives, and decision-makers. The summaries provide a concise overview of the project's status, proposals, or closure reports, allowing stakeholders to quickly understand the key points and take appropriate action.

When should you not use an executive summary?

While executive summaries are widely used in many situations, there are some cases where they may not be necessary or suitable. Here are a few scenarios where an executive summary may not be appropriate, along with alternative approaches:

  • Highly technical documents: If the document contains highly technical or specialized information that requires a detailed understanding, an executive summary alone may not be sufficient. In such cases, it is better to provide the complete document and supplement it with explanatory materials, presentations , or meetings where experts can explain and discuss the technical details.
  • Personal or creative writing: Executive summaries are typically used for informational or analytical documents. If the content is more personal in nature, such as a memoir, novel, or creative piece, an executive summary may not be relevant. Instead, focus on providing an engaging introduction or book blurb that entices readers and conveys the essence of the work.
  • Short documents: If the document itself is already concise and can be easily read in its entirety, an executive summary may be redundant. In these cases, it is more effective to present the complete document without an additional summary.
  • Interactive presentations: In situations where you can present information interactively, such as in meetings, workshops, or conferences, it may be more effective to engage the audience directly rather than relying solely on an executive summary. Use visual aids, demonstrations, discussions, and Q&A sessions to convey the necessary information and capture the audience's attention.

Final thoughts on writing a compelling executive summary

An executive summary isn’t the kitchen sink — it’s the bells and whistles. Geared toward busy decision-makers, these one-pagers communicate your case for action and proposed solutions. When it’s written well, your audience will walk away with an understanding of what needs to be done, why it needs to happen, and why they should help it move forward. 

But writing it well doesn’t just mean spell-checking. It means tailoring your communication to an influential, yet busy and distracted audience. To be effective, you’ll need to write your proposal with empathy and an understanding of what matters to them .

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With over 15 years of content experience, Allaya Cooks Campbell has written for outlets such as ScaryMommy, HRzone, and HuffPost. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and is a certified yoga instructor as well as a certified Integrative Wellness & Life Coach. Allaya is passionate about whole-person wellness, yoga, and mental health.

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Executive Summary Examples for Business Plans, Project Plans, and Research Projects

By Kate Eby | February 8, 2024

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Executive summaries allow decision-makers to quickly grasp the key points of important documents and make decisions. We’ve collected a variety of executive summary examples and templates that you can use as models for your executive summaries. 

Included in this article, you’ll find a  business plan executive summary example , a  project proposal executive summary example , a  research report executive summary example , and more. Plus, learn  how to fix common executive summary mistakes .

What Are the Main Components of an Executive Summary?

An  executive summary is a concise overview of a larger document, report, or proposal. It gives high-level executives or decision-makers a quick understanding of the main points of a longer document without requiring them to read the whole text.   

These are the components you might include in an executive summary:   

  • Problem Statement: Clearly state the problem or challenge the company, product, or project addresses.
  • Key Proposition: Outline the proposed solution or key value proposition.
  • Market Analysis: Summarize findings about the market, customer needs, or competition.
  • Key Features and Benefits: Highlight the main features or benefits of the proposed solution or strategy.
  • Financial Summary: Provide a snapshot of financial aspects, such as cost, revenue projections, or return on investment (ROI).
  • Next Steps: Briefly describe the next steps or strategy for implementation.

Simple Executive Summary Example

The following simple executive summary presents a concise statement of key findings and links them directly to a strategic recommendation. It provides a clear snapshot of the situation and the proposed action, which is essential for an executive summary.

Problem Statement

Many small businesses struggle with inefficient inventory management, leading to lost sales and increased operational costs.

Key Proposition

Our company proposes an AI-driven inventory management system that automates tracking and forecasting, tailored for small businesses.

Market Analysis

Research shows a 40 percent increase in demand for automated inventory solutions in the small business sector, with a significant gap in affordable, user-friendly options.

Key Features and Benefits

The system offers real-time inventory tracking, predictive restocking alerts, and an intuitive interface, reducing inventory errors by an estimated 50 percent.

Financial Summary

Our projected development cost is five hundred thousand dollars with a break-even point in 18 months. The expected ROI is 200 percent in three years, tapping into a market with a potential revenue of five million dollars annually.

Development will commence in Q1 2024, with a pilot launch in Q3. Full market release is scheduled for Q1 2025, followed by targeted marketing campaigns and customer feedback integration for further enhancements.

Executive Summary Template

Executive Summary Example Template

Download a Blank Executive Summary Template for

Microsoft Word | Google Docs

Download an Example Executive Summary Template for

Available in blank and example versions, this executive summary template guides you in succinctly presenting key information about your business plan or project to stakeholders. Simply fill in each section with relevant details to create a concise overview that highlights problems, solutions, market potential, product features, financials, and next steps.

Business Plan Executive Summary Example

Review the following example for a business plan executive summary of an eco-friendly transportation company. This example provides a clear, brief overview that is essential when you want to engage stakeholders and set the stage for more detailed discussions.

In urban areas, the lack of convenient, eco-friendly transportation options leads to increased traffic congestion and pollution.

GreenGo Mobility Solutions proposes a network of e-bike sharing stations, offering an affordable, sustainable, and flexible transportation alternative.

There is a growing trend toward eco-friendly transport in cities, with a 60 percent increase in e-bike usage. Surveys show high interest among urban commuters for more accessible e-bike options.

Key Features and Benefits 

Our e-bikes are equipped with GPS tracking and easy-to-use interfaces. The bikes are designed for urban environments, offering a convenient and environmentally friendly commuting option.

The project requires an initial investment of two million dollars, with projected annual revenue of five million dollars by the third year. We anticipate a break-even point within two years, based on subscription and pay-per-use models.

Marketing Plan Executive Summary Example

In the following example, an executive summary outlines a marketing initiative within a company, detailing both the challenge and the strategic response. It provides a clear overview of the marketing plan’s objectives, actions, and expected outcomes.

We have seen a decline in new user adoption of our company's flagship software product over the past year.

Initiate a Revitalize and Engage campaign, focusing on updating the product’s user interface and enhancing customer engagement through social media and community building.

Competitor analysis and customer feedback indicate a need for more intuitive design and stronger community presence to attract and retain users.

The campaign will introduce a sleek, user-friendly interface and a robust online community platform, aiming to increase user engagement and satisfaction.

The campaign requires a budget of five hundred thousand dollars, with an expected increase in user adoption rates by 20 percent within the first year post-implementation.

Begin a UI redesign in Q2 2024, launch a social media engagement strategy in Q3, and roll out the updated product with community features in Q4.

Project Proposal Executive Summary Example

The example executive summary below demonstrates a well-structured project proposal that succinctly identifies a specific challenge and proposes an actionable solution. It provides a comprehensive snapshot of the project, including its rationale, expected benefits, financial implications, and implementation timeline.

Our current customer relationship management (CRM) system is outdated, leading to inefficiencies in sales tracking and client management.

We propose the development and implementation of a new, custom-built CRM system to streamline sales processes and enhance customer engagement.

Internal analysis indicates a 35 percent increase in process efficiency with a modern CRM system, while competitor benchmarking shows significant advantages in customer retention.

The new CRM will offer real-time sales tracking, automated client communication tools, and advanced analytics features, improving sales efficiency and customer satisfaction.

The estimated project cost is two million dollars, with a projected increase in sales efficiency by 50 percent and customer retention by 20 percent within two years.

Initiate the project in Q2 2024, with phase-wise implementation and employee training, aiming for full deployment by the end of Q4 2024.

Startup Executive Summary Example

Startups need to communicate their vision to potential investors and key stakeholders. In this example, an executive summary helps convey the startup’s vision with a concise summary of the business opportunity, unique selling proposition, market potential, and action plan.

There is a growing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly home cleaning products, but the market lacks options that are both effective and affordable.

EcoClean Innovations is a startup offering a line of environmentally friendly, biodegradable cleaning products made from natural ingredients, catering to eco-conscious consumers.

Market trends show a 50 percent increase in consumer preference for green homecare products, with a significant gap in cost-effective options.

Our products are non-toxic and competitively priced, and they have a minimal environmental footprint, addressing the need for effective and sustainable cleaning solutions.

We require an initial investment of one million dollars, projecting a 30 percent market penetration in the eco-friendly segment within the first two years.

Launch with an initial range of products by Q3 2024, followed by marketing campaigns targeting eco-conscious communities and online marketplaces.

Real Estate Development Executive Summary Example

In the following executive summary example for a construction project, the author outlines their vision for the Greenway Residential Complex. This summary captures the essence of the construction project proposal, presenting key information in a concise and structured format.

The growing urban population in Metro City has led to a shortage of affordable, eco-friendly housing options, resulting in increased living costs and environmental concerns. Key Proposition

Our project proposes the development of the Greenway Residential Complex, a sustainable and affordable housing solution. Utilizing innovative construction methods and eco-friendly materials, the complex aims to provide a balanced urban living experience that is both cost-effective and environmentally responsible.

Research indicates a high demand for eco-conscious housing in Metro City, with a market gap in affordable segments. Surveys show that young families and professionals are actively seeking sustainable living options that align with their environmental values and budget constraints.

  • Sustainable design incorporating solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and green spaces
  • Affordable pricing, targeting middle-income families and young professionals
  • Proximity to public transportation and city centers, reducing commute times and the carbon footprint
  • High-quality, energy-efficient building materials, ensuring lower utility costs and a smaller environmental impact
  • Estimated project cost: Fifty million dollars
  • Anticipated revenue from sales: Seventy million dollars, with a projected ROI of 40 percent over five years
  • Funding secured from green building grants and private investors
  • Finalize construction permits and approvals by Q2 2024.
  • Begin construction in Q3 2024, with a projected completion date in Q4 2026.
  • Launch a marketing campaign targeting eco-conscious families and professionals. Tip:  In this example, notice how helpful it is to use bullet points to convey certain information. Using bulleted lists is a great way to organize and present information in an executive summary.

Construction Project Executive Summary Example

Construction projects have many moving parts, which means executive summaries need to capture a lot of information in a small space. Consider a construction-specific executive summary template to ensure that stakeholders are keyed into the most vital project information.

Construction Project Executive Summary Example Template

Download a Blank Construction Project Executive Summary Template for

Microsoft Word |  Adobe PDF | Google Docs

Download an Example Construction Project Executive Summary Template for

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs

This construction project executive summary template allows users to give a high-level overview of the key aspects of a project, such as status, risks, issues, and changes. Available in both blank and sample versions, this editable template condenses complex project information into an easily digestible format. To use it, simply fill in each section with relevant, concise information about the current state and progress of your construction project, ensuring it remains updated and reflective of any changes or developments.

Renewable Energy Initiative Executive Summary Example

A renewable energy initiative executive summary should highlight the project’s objectives, strategies, and potential impact, as well as its contribution to environmental sustainability. In the following example, the summary articulates the project’s vision and its alignment with global environmental goals.

The urgent need to address environmental challenges and the increasing global demand for energy underscore the importance of transitioning to renewable energy sources. The reliance on traditional fossil fuels is unsustainable and contributes significantly to climate change.

The SunWind Project is a pioneering initiative combining solar and wind power to create a robust and sustainable energy solution. This project aims to leverage the strengths of both solar and wind energy, ensuring a continuous and reliable power supply while significantly reducing carbon emissions.

The renewable energy sector is experiencing rapid growth, fueled by global environmental policies and a rising consumer preference for sustainable energy. This shift presents an opportunity for the SunWind Project.

The project is unique in its integration of solar panels and wind turbines, ensuring consistent energy production under varying weather conditions. This scalable approach is designed to adapt to increasing energy demands. By significantly reducing the carbon footprint, the project supports global environmental sustainability goals and has the potential to power thousands of homes and businesses.

The SunWind Project has an estimated cost of two hundred million dollars, with projected revenues from energy sales anticipated to be around three hundred million dollars over the next 10 years. This represents a potential ROI of 50 percent. The project is poised to benefit from green energy grants, government subsidies, and private investments.

Immediate steps include securing the necessary environmental permits and clearances. The construction phase, slated to begin in the second quarter of 2024, will focus on installing solar panels and wind turbines, with a goal to commence energy production by the end of 2025.

One-Paragraph Healthcare Executive Summary Example

An executive summary of a healthcare initiative needs to do the following: concisely identify a pressing healthcare issue, present a tailored solution with its benefits, summarize market needs and competition, and outline the financial viability and next steps. 

In the following example, notice how an executive summary can capture all key elements in a single paragraph:

The HealthFirst Community Wellness Initiative addresses the critical problem of rising chronic illness rates in urban areas, focusing on diabetes and heart disease. Our comprehensive solution involves launching community health centers that provide preventive care, lifestyle education, and regular health screenings, as well as cater to the specific needs of urban populations. Market analysis indicates a significant demand for accessible healthcare services in these areas, with a lack of preventive and educational resources being a key gap. The initiative’s main features include state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, personalized health plans, and collaboration with local fitness and nutrition experts, offering benefits such as improved community health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs. Financially, the project is expected to be sustainable, with a mix of funding from public health grants and private partnerships. We are projecting a positive ROI within three years due to reduced hospital admissions. The next steps involve securing funding, establishing partnerships with local health professionals and organizations, and launching a pilot center in the downtown district, with a plan to expand to five more urban areas within two years.

Nonprofit Executive Summary Example

An executive summary for a nonprofit organization should communicate the essence of a project or initiative to donors and volunteers. It should concisely outline the organization’s mission, goals, and key solutions while also detailing strategies, actions, and their impact.

DWB Executive Summary Examples

  This  executive summary example from Doctors Without Borders emphasizes the inadequacy of current Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agendas in meeting the needs of vulnerable populations. It then proposes six key recommendations to address these shortcomings. 

This executive summary succinctly identifies the core issue — inequitable access to healthcare — and clearly outlines actionable recommendations. This document helps facilitate advocacy and policy change, which are central to this organization’s goals.

Research Report Executive Summary Example

An executive summary in a research report concisely presents the key findings, conclusions, and recommendations derived from a research project. It covers elements such as the project topic, background, research methods, and critical insights, tailored for quick understanding and decision-making.

In this real-world  exampl e from the ASPCA , the executive summary details a study showing that veterinary hospitals’ proactive discussions about pet health insurance positively impacted hospital revenue and increased patient visits. 

ASPCA Executive Summary Example

Notice how this summary concisely outlines the study’s purpose, methodology, and significant findings, providing a clear overview for readers. In addition, it highlights the study’s relevance and implications for veterinary practices, emphasizing the practical benefits of educating clients about pet health insurance.

Research Report Executive Summary Template

Research Report Executive Summary Example Template

Download a Blank Research Report Executive Summary Template for

Microsoft Word |  Adobe PDF | Google Docs Download an Example Research Report Executive Summary Template for

To create your own research report executive summary, download this customizable template. Available in blank and example versions and three printable formats, this template serves as a structured guide to organize and present the key components of a research report. Simply fill in each section with specific details about your research, including the project topic, background information, methods used, conclusions, and recommendations.

Research Project Proposal Executive Summary Example

An executive summary for a research project focuses mainly on the research question, methods, and expected outcomes. These summaries often point out how important the research could be and what impact it might have on the field.  

Research Project Proposal Executive Summary Template

Download a Blank Research Project Proposal Executive Summary Template for Microsoft Word | Google Docs  

Download an Example Research Project Proposal Executive Template for Microsoft Word | Google Docs

Teams can use this one-page executive summary — available in a blank or sample version — to concisely present the key elements of a research project to stakeholders, potential funders, or academic committees. By structuring the summary with specific sections such as background, objectives, and methodology, you can be sure that you’ve clearly and briefly outlined all critical aspects of your research.

Executive Summary Slide Example

Executive summaries are often documents that one distributes to executives, potential investors, and other stakeholders. However, slideshow presentations can facilitate a more interactive discussion. Plus, the inclusion of charts, graphs, and other images can better illustrate key points.  

Single Slide Executive Summary Example Template

Download an Example Single Slide Executive Summary Template for

PowerPoint | Google Slides

Download a Blank Single Slide Executive Summary Template for

This executive summary slide template is a versatile tool for succinctly conveying key project information in a single, visually engaging slide. You can enter your project information in the blank template or download the sample version for additional guidance. Input relevant details in each section, such as an overview of your project and next steps. The template allows users to insert their own text, graphics, and data. Copy your completed slide into a longer presentation, or use it on its own as a visual complement to any stakeholder presentation.

How to Improve Your Executive Summary

A poorly constructed executive summary can serve as an instructive example of what to avoid. Ineffective executive summaries might be too detailed or technical, lack focus on key points, or omit a clear call to action. 

Here are examples of the three most common mistakes found in executive summaries:

Includes Too Many Details or Technical Information

Too Detailed Exectuive Summary Example

This example demonstrates one of the most common mistakes, which is including too much detail or overly technical language. It dives deeply into the specific technical specifications of the equipment and financial metrics, which might be overwhelming for readers. A more effective executive summary would focus on the broader objectives, expected impacts, and benefits of the project in a language that is accessible to a non-technical audience.

Lacks Focus on Key Points  

Unfocused Executive Summary Example

Sometimes, summaries fail to clearly highlight the most critical aspects of the project or proposal. This summary lacks focus concerning the key points of the Pathways to Knowledge project. A more effective summary would concisely state the project’s goal, significance, and anticipated outcomes.

Omits a Clear Call to Action or Conclusion  

No Call to Action Executive Summary Example

Failing to include a clear conclusion or call to action is another common mistake. The summary should not only inform but also persuade and guide the reader toward the desired action or decision. This summary outlines the project’s goals and structure, but omits a clear call to action. The document doesn’t specify what is expected from the reader or potential stakeholders, such as support, partnership, funding, or involvement in the project.

Corrected Example

To create a more effective example, start by removing overly technical details. (Stakeholders don’t need to know the specific standards with which the training modules are aligned or which types of processors power your computers.) Next, take out unnecessary details that stray from the main point of the project. An executive summary is not the place to discuss the origins of the project idea or the elements your team has not yet decided on. Finally, always conclude your executive summary with a clear call to action.

The Pathways to Knowledge project is a pioneering educational initiative by a nonprofit organization, aimed at bridging the educational divide in underprivileged and remote communities. This project involves the deployment of Mobile Education Hubs: state-of-the-art, solar-powered mobile units that are equipped with educational resources, technology, and internet access. These hubs are designed to travel to various underserved areas, providing children and adults with access to quality educational materials, online learning platforms, and virtual tutoring. Each hub also hosts workshops and seminars led by educators and experts, covering a wide range of subjects from basic literacy and numeracy to vocational training and digital literacy. The initiative seeks to empower communities by enhancing educational opportunities, fostering a culture of lifelong learning, and equipping individuals with the skills necessary for the 21st-century job market. By focusing on accessibility and adaptability, the Pathways to Knowledge project aspires to create a ripple effect of educational advancement and social upliftment across diverse communities.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

The Report Abstract and Executive Summary

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The Abstract

The abstract is a crucial part of your report as it may be the only section read by people at the executive or managerial level who must make decisions based on what they read in your abstract. When you include specific content, it is important to remember these readers are looking for the information they need to make decisions.

The abstract is an overview that provides the reader with the main points and results, though it is not merely a listing of what the report contains. It is a summary of the essence of a report. For this reason, it should be crafted to present the most complete and compelling information possible. It is not a detective story building suspense as the reader hunts for clues, and should not be vague or obtuse in its content.

The abstract should include

  • Why the work was done (the basic problem), the specific purpose or objective, and the scope of the work if that is relevant. (College lab reports may not require this part of the abstract.)
  • How the work was done, the test methods or means of investigation
  • What was found—the results, conclusions, and recommendations

The abstract should

  • Not make references to material in the text
  • Not lose the message by burying the methods, results, conclusions, and recommendations in a sea of words
  • Not be written before the rest of the report

Therefore, a good abstract is

  • Self-sufficient

Evaluating abstracts

Because the abstract is of major importance in a report, a summary of effective qualities of abstracts is offered here.

A well-written abstract

  • Considers the readers it will encounter
  • States what was done and what results were found
  • Avoids vagueness by stating specific results
  • Uses past tense to report what was done
  • Is informative
  • Is self-sufficient and does not refer to the body of the report
  • Makes concrete, useful recommendations

Below are two abstracts. The first one, (A), was written by a student for a lab report, and the other one (B) was a revision written by someone with more experience in writing abstracts. Read both versions and try to figure out why the changes were made in B.

We studied the flow characteristics of meters, valves, and pipes that constitute a flow network. The meter coefficients for orifice and venture meters were determined. The orifice and venture coefficients were, on the average, 0.493 and 0.598, respectively. Fanning friction factors for pipes of different sizes and for gate and globe valves were also determined.

The accuracy with which the meter coefficients and friction factors were determined was affected by leaks in the piping network. In addition, air bubbles trapped in the pipes and manometers affected the accuracy with which pressure drops were measured. Hence, it is recommended that the piping system be checked to ensure the absence of any leaks. Furthermore, the fluid should be allowed to flow in the network for some time before taking any measurements, in order to get rid of the air trapped in the pipes and manometer.

In an orifice and a venturimeter in a flow network, we measured the meter coefficients to be 0.5 0.1 and 0.6 0.15. We measured the Fanning friction factors at steady state for several pipes and for gate and globe valves. The most important source of error was a leak in the piping network which has to be repaired in order to obtain more precise results.

The Executive Summary

The government and some companies have begun to request executive summaries at the beginning of a long report. An executive summary is a one-page statement of the problem, the purpose of the communication, and a summary of the results, conclusions, and recommendations. The same considerations of readers and situation should guide your executive summaries.

SharpSheets

500+ business plans and financial models

How to Write an Executive Summary (+ Examples)

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  • March 21, 2024
  • Business Plan , How to Write

executive summary example

The executive summary is the cornerstone of any business plan, serving as a gateway for readers to understand the essence of your proposal.

It summarizes the plan’s key points into a digestible format, making it crucial for capturing the interest of investors, partners, and stakeholders.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what the executive summary is, why we use it, and also how you can create one for your business plan. Let’s dive in!

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary is a concise and compelling overview of a business plan (or simply a report), designed to provide readers, such as investors, partners, or upper management, with a quick and clear understanding of the document’s most critical aspects.

For a business plan, it summarizes the key points including the business overview , market analysis , strategy plan timeline and financial projections.

Typically, the executive summary is the first section of a business plan, but it should be written last to ensure it accurately reflects the content of the entire document.

The primary goal of an executive summary is to engage the reader’s interest and encourage them to read the full document.

It should be succinct, typically no more than one to two pages, and articulate enough to stand on its own, presenting the essence of the business proposal or report without requiring the reader to go through the entire document for basic understanding.

Why Do We Use It?

The executive summary plays a crucial role in whether a business plan opens doors to funding, partnerships, or other opportunities . It’s often the first (and sometimes the only) part of the plan that stakeholders read, making it essential for making a strong, positive first impression. As such, we use it in order to:

  • Capture Attention: Given the volume of business plans investors, partners, and lenders might receive, an executive summary’s primary function is to grab the reader’s attention quickly. It highlights the most compelling aspects of the business to encourage further reading.
  • Save Time: It provides a succinct overview of the business plan, allowing readers to understand the key points without going through the entire document. This is particularly beneficial for busy stakeholders who need to make informed decisions efficiently.
  • Facilitate Understanding: An executive summary distills complex business concepts and strategies into a concise format. Therefore, it makes it easier for readers to grasp the business’s core mission, strategic direction, and potential for success.
  • Driving Action: By summarizing the financial projections and funding requirements, an executive summary can effectively communicate the investment opportunity. Indeed the investment opportunity, whether to raise money from investors or a loan from a bank, is the most common reason why we prepare business plans.
  • Setting the Tone: The executive summary sets the tone for the entire business plan. A well-written summary indicates a well-thought-out business plan, reflecting the professionalism and competence of the management team.

How to Write an Executive Summary in 4 Simple Steps

Here’s a streamlined approach to crafting an impactful executive summary:

1. Start with Your Business Overview

  • Company Name: Begin with the name of your business.
  • Location: Provide the location of your business operations.
  • Business model: Briefly describe how you make money, the producfs and/or services your business offers.

2. Highlight the Market Opportunity

  • Target Market : Identify your target market and its size.
  • Market Trends : Highlight the key market trends that justify the need for your product or service.
  • Competitive Landscape : Describe how your business is positioned to meet this need effectively.

3. Present Your Management Team

  • Team Overview: Introduce the key members of your management team and their roles.
  • Experience: Highlight relevant experience and skills that contribute to the business’s success.

4. Include Financial Projections

  • Financial Summary: Provide a snapshot of key financial projections, including revenue, profits, and cash flow over the next three to five years.
  • Funding Requirements: If seeking investment, specify the amount needed and how it will be used.

2 Executive Summary Examples

Here are 2 examples you can use as an inspiration to create yours. These are taken from our coffee shop and hair salon business plan templates.

Coffee Shop Executive Summary

executive summary example for assignment

Hair Salon Executive Summary

executive summary example for assignment

Privacy Overview

How To Write an Executive Summary

An effective executive summary can mean the difference between a client win and the recycle bin. It's arguably the most valuable component of any business proposal , but many people get confused when it comes time to put pen to paper.

An executive summary is not actually about summarizing at all; it’s about selling. Here’s how to write a proposal executive summary that seals the deal, including the 5 key components you need and some helpful dos and don'ts.

proposal executive summary

8 min. read

(This article was originally published on 7/4/2017 and updated on 05/16/2023)

There is so much dissent surrounding the executive summary of a proposal— Where does the executive summary go? How long should an executive summary be? How do you format an executive summary? These uncertainties can add to the already stressful task of getting a winning proposal written, designed, and delivered to the prospective client on time. It’s time to set things straight.

What is an executive summary?

The executive summary is arguably the most valuable component of any proposal. It serves as an introduction, allowing readers to quickly get acquainted with your proposal by outlining what’s to come. It gives you an opportunity to sell your proposed solution and explain why the prospective client should choose you over the competition.

The purpose of an executive summary

First of all, the term “executive summary” needs a rebrand. The name itself speaks of stuffy suits, boring, jargon-filled reports, and boardrooms filled with cigar smoke and people ready to say no.

men in a boardroom

They can’t wait to read your executive summary.

In all seriousness, the word “summary” can be misleading, and this is the first mistake people often make when it comes to writing their executive summary. They think that the purpose of an executive summary is to explain the entire proposal in 250 words. But it’s not.

The real purpose of an executive summary is to engage your prospective client. It helps the prospect quickly decide whether they're going to read the rest of the proposal, pass it on to other decision-makers, or if it's destined for the recycle bin.

So you better make it good.

The executive summary of your proposal needs to grab the reader’s attention and pique their interest. Even though you and your team spent painstaking hours writing this proposal, selecting just the right graphics, and coming up with the best solution for your potential client’s problem, they may only read this one page and then flip to your pricing table.

That’s why this section needs to be specific and persuasive, with a focus on results and benefits of your company/product/service, rather than describing features. You can save the features for the body of the proposal.

When should you write the executive summary?

Whether you write the executive summary before or after the rest of the proposal is as contentious as the debate about the best part of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup: the chocolate or the peanut butter.

Some people feel that you should write the executive summary first because it can help you outline your concept and organize your thoughts for the entire proposal. That way, it acts as a guide for members of your team who are tasked with preparing sections of the proposal, ensuring that the big idea is consistent throughout, and that all necessary components are included.

Others feel strongly that you should write the executive summary after you’ve prepared the rest of the proposal because you’ve had a chance to work through the objectives and the solutions, and you’ll have a better idea of what to say and how to say it. Plus, things may have changed since you first started the proposal, so you might need to adjust your approach.

How to format an executive summary

The format of an executive summary is an important consideration that many people overlook. What do you include? How do you arrange the sections? To help you get started, here are the components of a good proposal executive summary:

The Opener: Capture their attention

You need an opener that's compelling. A way to get the potential client’s attention right away, and you do that by talking about THEM, not about you. Focus on the issue and the result, but be direct, concise, and evocative.

This is the time to hook them in — get them excited about what they’re going to read next.

The Need: We get it

Before a client hires you, they want to know that you get them. You can’t solve a problem that you don’t understand. This section of the executive summary is where you demonstrate your grasp of the situation. You could include a bit of your own research or a brief reference to your company’s experience dealing with a similar situation. You should also talk about how the client will benefit from solving the problem — what will change, the positive outcomes, the results.

Again, the focus here is on the prospect and their challenge, not on you and your company.

The Proposed Solution: We’ve got it

Now you’re in the spotlight. This section is where you talk about the brilliant solution you’re proposing and why it will work. But remember, this is just an overview. The prospect can read all the delicious details in the proposal, so keep it high level but still provide enough detail to convince them you have something specific and well thought out for them.

This section should start to provide your prospect with a sense of relief and get them excited about the result.

The Evidence: We can do it

It's time to show your stuff. Talk about why your company, your team, or your product is not only willing to take this challenge on, but how and why you're qualified to do so. Demonstrate what sets you apart and why they should choose you over the competition.

Maybe this is your niche market and you have lots of experience helping other companies with a similar issue. Maybe it’s a particular skill set your team possesses, your research, your algorithm, or your project management process. Or maybe you’ve won 27 Academy Awards for best picture, and you know you can make this a hit.

Talk about WHY you can make this a successful project and deliver results, but (broken record) keep it brief.

The Call to Action: Let’s do it

Keeping in mind that the purpose of the executive summary is to sell, it’s now time to close the deal.

Make the client feel like they have no other chance for happiness than to hire you and proves your solution is the one that will make their dreams come true.

Talk about why you want to work with them — a little flattery goes a long way — and about how, as partners, you will be successful.

Executive Summary Examples

Without further adieu, here are four (fictional) business proposal executive summary examples that will get your prospects excited to work with you.

1. Example of Ecommerce Executive Summary

Prospect: Gyuto -- Japanese chef knife brand Sender: ThinkBig -- Shopify design agency Project title: Shopify ecommerce Proposal

Gyuto sells what is arguably the coolest line of artisanal, sustainably-sourced kitchen knives in the world. They're handmade in Japan, capable of slicing tomatoes as thin as paper, and surprisingly affordable, considering the attention to detail. But as impressive as Gyuto knives are, you've got a static website that merely showcases low-res photos of your product line and requires customers to pick up the phone and place orders manually.

As you're well aware, placing orders manually is not sustainable. It’s severely limiting your potential for sales, and it's negatively affecting the way your customers perceive and experience the Gyuto brand. You need an ecommerce store so that customers can easily buy products from you directly at any time, from anywhere, however they want. This is the only way to grow your business online.

Lucky for you (and 1,000,000 other retailers around the world) there's Shopify. Shopify is an awesome hosted ecommerce app that empowers retailers with an easy-to-use, easy-to-manage, customizable online store and secure checkout. Shopify gives you control over the look and feel of your store and allows you to add products, manage inventory, track sales, and more. It's hassle-free ecommerce that allows you to focus on other aspects of your business.

We'll focus on implementing Shopify and leveraging its features to help drive Gyuto revenue and improve your customer experience. We'll also include powerful search and categorization so customers can easily and quickly find what they're looking for. We use best practices so that product pages convert users to add more items to their shopping cart. And then, most importantly, we’ll guide people down the conversion funnel to complete the checkout process. With this solution, we aim to grow your monthly sales by 50% within the next six months.

Here at ThinkBig, we're proud to be Shopify experts. That means we're among an elite group of developers who have been trained and approved by Shopify to help businesses like yours grow their online presence. Our Shopify status only enhances our already extensive knowledge of ecommerce trends, functionality, customer behaviour, and design. We've helped many businesses transform underperforming sites to an all-out sales boom just by improving their online shopping experience.

We love working with companies like Gyuto. Those who embrace the changes required for growth while still honouring their brand values and customer loyalty. With this attitude, a partnership with ThinkBig can transform Gyuto from mom and pop shop to family-run global online enterprise in a way that is manageable, sustainable, and profitable. We've done it for superstar brands like Dollar Shave Club, and for soon-to-be star brands like Rum Runners Rum Cake Factory.

If you're ready to increase your monthly sales by 50% in 6 months, we're ready to take you there. This proposal outlines in more detail how we'll do it, and what you can expect along the way. But your biggest expectation should be one of success.

As you can see, ThinkBig addresses all five aspects of a winning executive summary. They focus on the client with the opener, identify the prospect's need in the second paragraph, offer a solution with evidence to back it up, and include a clear call-to-action. While this sample executive summary is on the longer side, it tells the prospect exactly why ThinkBig is right for the job before they even get to the meat of the proposal.

2. Example of Marketing Executive Summary

Prospect: Pete’s Pizzeria -- Toronto pizza restaurant Sender: uGrow -- Social media marketing agency Project title: Social Media Marketing Proposal

Pete’s Pizzeria has been our favorite restaurant since the very first day we moved our offices to Toronto. The crispy-yet-fluffy crust is to die for, the sauce is otherworldly, and don’t even get us started on that fresh buffalo mozzarella you use. Surely this isn’t the first time you’re hearing this, but we have a feeling that you don’t hear it often enough. We noticed that you don’t have much of a social media presence, which is unfortunate because we think that everyone in the city should be lining up to eat at Pete’s Pizzeria.

If you weren’t already aware, social media is one of the most effective ways to expand your reach and grow your business. Without it, you’re leaving a giant, untapped pool of potential customers on the table and you risk losing existing, hungry customers to other restaurants that they follow. What you need is a social media marketing strategy to showcase your delicious restaurant in order to increase sales and customer loyalty.

Fortunately, uGrow can help. We’ll leverage Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to get your name out to millions of users. Here’s how: First, we’ll get you set up on each of the platforms and work with you to establish the Pete’s Pizzeria brand and voice. Then, we’ll take some stunning pictures of your food and write captions with trending hashtags. After that, we’ll create a consistent content calendar and posting schedule to maximize engagement. And to top it all off, we’ll manage all of the accounts to grow follower counts and increase traffic to your website. With this approach, we expect to increase your sales by 25% before year end.

At uGrow, we specialize in helping small, Toronto restaurants like Pete’s Pizzeria reach their full potential and grow their business. We’ve worked with over 75 restaurants across the city and throughout the GTA, and every one of our clients saw an increase in sales within three months of us taking over their social media. We’ve had several posts go viral, which resulted in our clients’ restaurants being completely sold out for the following weeks. All this to say: we love Pete’s Pizzeria and want to help you get the attention you deserve.

If you’re interested in increasing your sales by at least 25% by the end of the year, we can make it happen. This proposal goes into more detail on how exactly we plan to execute on your social media marketing strategy, and what you can expect once we start. Let’s get Pete’s Pizzeria trending.

In this sample executive summary, uGrow does a great job at playing to Pete’s Pizzeria’s pain points (whew!), and offers specific solutions and outcomes to build credibility with the prospect. uGrow also makes a great use of social proof to demonstrate its effectiveness with evidence from past clients.

3. Example of Cleaning Services Executive Summary

Prospect: ELC Holdings -- Property management company Sender: CLEAND -- Commercial cleaning services company Project title: Cleaning Services Proposal

With over 15,000 rentals in 3 states, ELC Holdings is one of the biggest property management companies in the midwest. Your growing portfolio of residential and commercial properties is seriously impressive, but we heard you could use some help keeping your commercial spaces in good shape. As people begin to return to the office, it’s essential that your properties are clean, safe, and compliant to public health guidelines.

As you know, maintaining commercial spaces is no walk in the park. It takes a lot of time and effort to clean even one floor, let alone 4. And that’s just one of your many buildings. But now more than ever, it’s important that your spaces are well-maintained so that your tenants feel safe and secure. It’s not an easy task, especially if you lack the staff and equipment. This is why you need commercial cleaning services.

Having spent over 25 years in the cleaning services industry, we’ve built an experienced team and an arsenal of cleaning equipment that will leave your building absolutely spotless. We offer daily, weekly, and biweekly cleaning arrangements to ensure that your buildings are always in perfect shape for your tenants. From the carpets to the ceilings and everything in between, we can help you clean and sanitize every last corner of your properties so you can rest assured that your tenants are happy.

CLEAND specializes in commercial cleaning services, and has worked with over 200 businesses across the Midwest. We currently have contracts with the United Center and the Auditorium Building in Chicago, and haven’t had a single complaint in the 10 years they’ve been using our services. We provide consistent, reliable results, and stand by our commitment to quality. In fact, if you aren’t happy with our services, we’ll pay the first month’s bill if you switch to another cleaning services company.

ELC Holdings is one of the biggest property management companies in the Midwest, and CLEAND is one of the best cleaning services companies in the area. What do you say we join forces? This proposal outlines how our services could benefit your company, and details what to expect if you choose to seize this opportunity.

This sample cleaning services executive summary immediately highlights the prospect’s pain points and explains why CLEAND is uniquely positioned to help relieve them. It incorporates all five components of a well-written executive summary and even highlights different service offerings before the prospect digs into the solutions section of CLEAND’s cleaning services proposal .

4. Executive Summary Template Example

Here's an example of an executive summary made using a customizable proposal template from Proposify's gallery.

Of course every executive summary needs to be tailored to your specific project, your potential client's needs, and your brand voice. But if you're looking for more inspiration, we have many other business proposal templates that you can customize yourself.

Proposal Executive Summary Example

Executive summary tips: The Do’s and Don’ts

Some other important points and guidelines to keep in mind when writing your executive summary:

Do: use a template for your executive summary Getting started is the hardest part of writing a proposal executive summary. If you’re struggling to get the ball rolling, consider using a business proposal template that includes a sample executive summary. This can help ensure that you cover everything an executive summary should include.

Don’t: make it too long

Some people recommend that the executive summary should be 10% of your entire proposal, but it’s best if you try to keep it to one page, two tops if it’s a larger proposal. Be mindful that if you’re working on an RFP, they may already set out a particular length limit, so you’ll want to stick to that.

Don’t: use jargon

This rule applies to everything but is especially important when writing proposals. Jargon can act as a smokescreen to mask the fact that someone doesn’t really know what they’re talking about, or it can confuse people if they’re not familiar with the same terms.

Don’t: use overly technical language

Unless you are absolutely sure that the only person who will read the executive summary is an engineer or a developer or someone who will understand exactly what you’re talking about, don’t get too technical. In some situations, you may need to reference certain details, but remember that this is a persuasive document—sell the benefits, not the features. Save the tech stuff for the proposal.

Don’t: talk about your company history

The history of your company does not belong in the executive summary. After all, the executive summary is about your prospective client, not about you. However, if it is appropriate and relevant, put it in the body of the proposal under “About Us” or something.

Do: focus on your prospective client

Think about what they want to know, not what you want to tell them. Like any piece of copy, you need to write for your audience, so make sure you think about them; what turns them off and what turns them on.

Do: mention your potential client’s company name

People like to hear their names and the same holds true for businesses. Make sure you reference your prospect’s full company name several times in the executive summary, so they feel like you’re focused on them.

Do: use plain language

The regular rules for writing apply to executive summaries. Use simple, short sentences that are clear and can be understood at almost any reading level, especially if you might be writing for people whose first language is not English. Don’t be pretentious - you’ll come off like an ass. Be concise, and be persuasive. Here are some more writing tips for writing an effective business proposal .

Do: proofread and edit

This probably goes without saying, but you really, really don’t want any typos in your executive summary. Get more than one set of eyes on your document before it goes out, and preferably someone who wasn’t involved in its creation.

We hope this executive summary guide will help turn your ho-hum executive summaries into wicked pitches of excellence. Remember to be persuasive, not pedantic. And if anyone has a suggestion on a new name for executive summary, bring it on.

how to structure a proposal

How to Structure a Proposal

May 18, 2021

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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 example for assignment

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

Click to Download

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 an Executive Summary for a Report: Step By Step Guide with Examples

executive summary example for assignment

Table of contents

Peter Caputa

Enjoy reading this blog post written by our experts or partners.

If you want to see what Databox can do for you, click here .

So you have finally written a great comprehensive business report that took you weeks to create. You have included all the data from the different departments, compared it, done the analysis, made forecasts, and provided solutions to specific problems.

There is just one problem – the key stakeholders in the company don’t have enough time to go through the whole report.

Since the data and the KPIs that you included in the report are necessary for quality decision-making, you can see why this can become a huge issue.

Luckily, there is a way to present all of your key findings and not take too much of their time. This is done through executive summaries.

An executive summary is exactly what the name suggests – a summary. It is essentially a quick overview of all the most important metrics in the report. The purpose of this summary is to bring the attention of the highest-ranking members in the company to the most important KPIs that they will consider when making decisions.

While an executive summary is a rather short section, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to write. You will have to pay extra attention to every single sentence in order to avoid unnecessary information.

Do you want to learn how to create an informative executive summary? This guide will show you all you need to know.

What Is an Executive Report?

What is an executive summary in a report, how long should an executive summary be, who is the audience of an executive summary, what should be included in an executive summary report, how to write an executive summary report, common mistakes to avoid when writing executive summaries, executive report examples, executive summary templates, create executive reports in databox.

marketing_overview_hubspot_ga_dashboard_databox

Executive reports are used for keeping senior managers updated on the latest and most significant activities in the company. These reports have to be concise and accurate since they will have a huge impact on the most important business-related decisions.

Working for any sort of company requires writing different types of reports such as financial reports , marketing reports , sales reports , internal reports, and more.

What all of these reports have in common is that they are very comprehensive and typically require a lot of time to go through them –way too much time, if you ask busy managers.

They include a wealthy amount of data and a bunch of different metrics which are more useful for a particular team in the company. However, the highest-ranking members tend to be more focused on only the most essential KPIs that they need for making future decisions and strategies.

This is why executive reports come in handy. They are usually only a few pages long and they include only the most relevant details and data that incurred in a specific period.

An executive summary is the brief overview section included in a long report or document. This part of the report primarily focuses on the key topics and most important data within it. It can include an overall business goal of the company or short-term strategic objectives.

This summary is primarily useful for C-level managers who don’t have time to read the whole report but want to have an insight into the main KPIs and latest business performances.

Bank officials also may use executive summaries since it’s the quickest way for them to estimate whether your company represents a good investment opportunity.

Depending on your company’s practice, executive summaries can either be placed at the beginning of the report or as a formal section in the table of contents. 

The length of the summary depends on the type of report, but it is typically one or two pages long.

To know whether you have written a good executive summary, you can ask yourself, “Are the stakeholders going to have all the information they need to make decisions?”

If the answer is yes, you have done a good job.

There is no strict rule about how long executive summaries should be. Each company is unique which means the length will always vary. In most cases, it will depend on the size of the report/business plan.

However, a universal consensus is that it should be anywhere from one to four pages long or five to ten percent of the length of the report.

This is typically more than enough space to summarize the story behind the data and provide your stakeholders with the most important KPIs for future decision-making.

The people most interested in reading the executive summary are typically the ones who don’t have time to read the whole report and want a quick overview of the most important data and information.

These include:

  • Project stakeholders – The individuals or organizations that are actively involved in a project with your company.
  • Management personnel (decision-makers) – The highest-ranking employees in your company (manager, partner, general partner, etc.)
  • Investors – As we said, this could be bank officials who want a quick recap of your company’s performance so they can make an easier investment decision.
  • Venture capitalists – Investors who provide capital in exchange for equity stakes.
  • C-level executives – The chief executives in your business.

Related : Reporting Strategy for Multiple Audiences: 6 Tips for Getting Started

The components of your executive summary depend on what is included in the overall larger document. Executive summary elements may also vary depending on the type of document (business plan, project, report, etc.), but there are several components that are considered universal.

These are the main elements you should include:

  • Methods of analyzing the problem
  • Solutions to the problem
  • The ‘Why Now’ segment

Well-defined conclusion

The purpose of the summary should typically be included in the introduction as an opening statement. Explain what you aim to achieve with the document and communicate the value of your desired objective.

This part is supposed to grab your reader’s attention, so make sure they pay extra attention when writing it.

Problems are an unavoidable element in modern-day businesses, even in the most successful companies.

The second thing your executive summary needs to outline is what specific problem you are dealing with. It could be anything from product plans and customer feedback to sales revenue and marketing strategies.

Define the problems clearly so all the members know which areas need fixing.

3. Methods of analyzing the problem

Problem analysis methods are key for identifying the causes of the issue.

While figuring out the problems and the methods to solve them is immensely important, you shouldn’t overlook the things that caused them. This will help you from avoiding similar issues in the future.

4. Solutions to the problem

Now that you’ve introduced the stakeholders to the problems, it’s time to move on to your solutions. Think of a few different ways that could solve the issue and include as many details as you can.

5. The ‘Why Now’ segment

This is one of the most important parts of your executive summary.

The ‘Why Now’ segment showcases why the problem needs to be solved in a timely manner. You don’t want the readers to get the impression that there is plenty of time to fix the issue.

By displaying urgency in your summary, your report will have a much bigger impact.

One of the ways to display urgency visually is by adding performance benchmarks to your report. In case your business is not performing well as other companies within your industry, only one image showcasing which metrics are below the median could make a compelling case for the reader.

High churn example

For example, if you have discovered that your churn rate is much higher than for an average SaaS company, this may be a good indication that you have issues with poor customer service, poor marketing, pricing issues, potentially outdated product features, etc.

Benchmark Your Performance Against Hundreds of Companies Just Like Yours

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Browse Databox’s open Benchmark Groups and join ones relevant to your business to get free and instant performance benchmarks. 

Lastly, you should end your executive summary with a well-defined conclusion.

Make sure to include a recap of the problems, solutions, and the overall most important KPIs from the document.

Okay, so you understand the basics of executive summaries and why they are so important. However, you still aren’t sure how to write one.

Don’t worry.

Here are some of the best practices you can use to create amazing executive summaries that will impress your key stakeholders and high-ranking members.

Write it Last

Grab their attention, use appropriate language, talk strategy, include forecasts, highlight funding needs, make it short.

The most natural way to write your executive summary is by writing it at the end of your report/business plan.

This is because you will already have gone through all the most important information and data that should later be included.

A good suggestion is to take notes of all the significant KPIs that you think should be incorporated in the summary, it will make it easier for you to later categorize the data and you will have a clearer overview of the key parts of the report.

You may think that you already know which data you are going to include, but once you wrap up your report, you will probably run into certain things that you forgot to implement. It’s much easier to create an executive summary with all the data segmented in one place, than to rewrite it later.

While your primary goal when creating the executive summary is to make it informative, you also have to grab the attention of your readers so that you can motivate them to read the rest of the document.

Once they finish reading the last few sentences of the summary, the audience should be looking forward to checking out the remanding parts to get the full story.

If you are having trouble with finding ways to capture the reader’s attention, you can ask some of your colleagues from the sales department to lend a hand. After all, that’s their specialty.

One more important element is the type of language you use in the summary. Keep in mind who will be reading the summary, your language should be adjusted to a group of executives.

Make the summary understandable and avoid using complicated terms that may cause confusion, your goal is to feed the stakeholders with important information that will affect their decision-making.

This doesn’t only refer to the words that you use, the way in which you provide explanation should also be taken into consideration. People reading the report should be able to easily and quickly understand the main pain points that you highlighted.

You should have a specific part in your executive summary where you will focus on future strategies. This part should include information regarding your project, target market, program, and the problems that you think should be solved as soon as possible.

Also, you should provide some useful insights into the overall industry or field that your business operates in. Showcase some of the competitive advantages of your company and specific marketing insights that you think the readers would find interesting.

Related : What Is Strategic Reporting? 4 Report Examples to Get Inspiration From

Make one of the sections revolve around financial and sales forecasts for the next 1-3 years. Provide details of your breakeven points, such as where the expenses/revenues are equal and when you expect certain profits from your strategies.

This practice is mainly useful for business plans, but the same principle can be applied to reports. You can include predictions on how your overall objectives and goals will bring profit to the company.

Related : How Lone Fir Creative Uses Databox to Forecast, Set, & Achieve Agency & Client Goals

Don’t forget to talk about the funding needs for your projects since there is a high chance that investors will find their way to the executive summary as well.

You can even use a quotation from an influential figure that supports your upcoming projects. Include the costs that will incur but also provide profitability predictions that will persuade the investors to fund your projects.

While your report should include all of the most important metrics and data, aim for maximum conciseness.

Don’t include any information that may be abundant and try to keep the executive summary as short as possible. Creating a summary that takes up dozens of pages will lose its original purpose.

With a concise summary and clear communication of your messages, your readers will have an easy time understanding your thoughts and then take them into consideration.

Also, one last tip is to use a positive tone throughout the summary. You want your report to exude confidence and reassure the readers.

PRO TIP: How Well Are Your Marketing KPIs Performing?

Like most marketers and marketing managers, you want to know how well your efforts are translating into results each month. How much traffic and new contact conversions do you get? How many new contacts do you get from organic sessions? How are your email campaigns performing? How well are your landing pages converting? You might have to scramble to put all of this together in a single report, but now you can have it all at your fingertips in a single Databox dashboard.

Our Marketing Overview Dashboard includes data from Google Analytics 4 and HubSpot Marketing with key performance metrics like:

  • Sessions . The number of sessions can tell you how many times people are returning to your website. Obviously, the higher the better.
  • New Contacts from Sessions . How well is your campaign driving new contacts and customers?
  • Marketing Performance KPIs . Tracking the number of MQLs, SQLs, New Contacts and similar will help you identify how your marketing efforts contribute to sales.
  • Email Performance . Measure the success of your email campaigns from HubSpot. Keep an eye on your most important email marketing metrics such as number of sent emails, number of opened emails, open rate, email click-through rate, and more.
  • Blog Posts and Landing Pages . How many people have viewed your blog recently? How well are your landing pages performing?

Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics and HubSpot Marketing experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for monitoring your leads. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!

marketing_overview_hubspot_ga_dashboard_preview

You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.

To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Get the template 

Step 2: Connect your HubSpot and Google Analytics 4 accounts with Databox. 

Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.

No one expects you to become an expert executive summary writer overnight. Learning how to create great and meaningful summaries will inevitably take some time.

With the above-mentioned best practices in mind, you should also pay attention to avoiding certain mistakes that could reduce the value of your summaries.

Here are some examples.

Don’t use jargon

Avoid going into details, the summary should be able to stand alone, don’t forget to proofread.

From project stakeholders to C-level executives, everyone should be able to easily understand and read the information you gather in your summary.

Keep in mind, you are probably much more familiar with some of the technical terms that your departments use since you are closer to the daily work and individual tasks than your stakeholders.

Read your summary once again after you finish it to make sure there are no jargons you forgot to elaborate on.

Remember, your summary should be as short as possible, but still include all the key metrics and KPIs. There is no reason to go into details of specific projects, due dates, department performances, etc.

When creating the summary, ask yourself twice whether the information you included truly needs to be there.

Of course, there are certain details that bring value to the summary, but learn how to categorize the useful ones from the unnecessary ones.

While you will know your way around the project, that doesn’t apply to the readers.

After wrapping up the summary, go over it once again to see whether it can stand on its own. This means checking out if there is any sort of context that the readers will need in order to understand the summary.

If the answer is yes, you will have to redo the parts that can’t be understood by first-time readers.

Your executive summary is prone to changes, so making a typo isn’t the end of the world, you can always go back and fix it.

However, it’s not a bad idea to ask one of your colleagues to proofread it as well, just so you have an additional set of eyes.

Using reporting tools such as dashboards for executive reports can provide you with a birds-eye view of your company’s most important KPIs and data.

These dashboards work as visualization tools that will make all the important metrics much more understandable to your internal stakeholders.

Since executive reports on their own don’t include any visual elements such as graphs or charts, these dashboards basically grant them superpowers.

Executive reporting dashboards also make the decision-making process easier since there won’t be any misunderstandings regarding the meaning of the data.

Not only will you be able to gather the data in real-time, but you can also connect different sources onto the dashboard can use the visuals for performance comparisons.

Interested in giving executive report dashboards a try? Let’s check out some of the best examples.

Marketing Performance Dashboard

Customer support performance dashboard, financial overview dashboard, saas management dashboard, sales kpi dashboard.

To stay on top of your key user acquisition metrics, such as visit to leads conversion rates, email traffic, blog traffic, and more, you can use this Marketing Performance Dashboard .

You can pull in data from advanced tools such as HubSpot Marketing and Google Analytics to get a full overview of how your website generates leads.

Some of the things you will learn through this dashboard are:

  • Which traffic sources are generating the most amount of leads
  • How to track which number of users are new to your website
  • How to compare the traffic you are getting from your email with blog traffic
  • How to stay on top of lead generation goals each month
  • How to be sure that your marketing activities are paying off

The key metrics included are bounce rate, new users, page/session, pageview, and average session duration.

Marketing Performance Dashboard

You can use the Customer Support Performance Dashboard to track the overall performance of your customer service and check out how efficient individual agents are.

This simple and customizable dashboard will help you stay in touch with new conversation numbers, open/closed conversations by teammates, number of leads, and much more.

Also, you will get the answers to questions such as:

  • How many new conversations did my customer support agents deal with yesterday/last week/last month?
  • How many conversations are currently in progress?
  • In which way are customer conversations tagged on Intercom?
  • How to track the number of leads that the support team is generating?
  • What is the best way to measure the performance of my customer support team?

Some of the key metrics are leads, open conversations, new conversations, tags by tag name, closed conversations, and more.

Customer Support Performance Dashboard

Want to know how much income your business generated last month? How to measure the financial health of your business? How about figuring out the best way to track credit card purchases?

You can track all of these things and more by using the Financial Overview Dashboard .

This free customizable dashboard will help you gain an insight into all of your business’s financial operations, cash flow, bank accounts, sales, expenses, and plenty more.

Understanding your company from a financial standpoint is one of the most important ingredients of good decision-making.

With key metrics such as gross profit, net income, open invoices, total expenses, and dozens more – all gathered in one financial reporting software , you will have no problems staying on top of your financial activities.

Financial Overview Dashboard

Use this SaaS Management Dashboard to have a clear overview of your business’s KPIs in real-time. This customizable dashboard will help you stay competitive in the SaaS industry by providing you with comprehensive data that can you can visualize, making it more understandable.

You will be able to:

  • See how your company is growing on an annual basis
  • Have a detailed outline of your weakest and strongest months
  • Determine which strategies are most efficient in driving revenue

The key metrics included in this dashboard are recurring revenue, churn by type, MRR changes, and customer changes.

SaaS Management Dashboard

Do you want to monitor your sales team’s output and outcomes? Interested in tracking average deal sizes, number of won deals, new deals created, and more?

This Sales KPI Dashboard can help you do just that.

It serves as a perfect tool for sales managers that are looking for the best way to create detailed overviews of their performances. It also helps achieve sales manager goals for the pre-set time periods.

By connecting your HubSpot account to this customizable dashboard, you can learn:

  • What’s the average deal size
  • The number of open, closed, and lost deals each month
  • How much revenue you can expect from the new deals
  • How your business is progressing towards the overall sales goals

Sales KPI Dashboard

Although you probably understand what your executive summary should include by now, you may still need a bit of help with creating a clear outline to follow.

We thought about that too. Here are some template examples that will help you create executive summaries for different kinds of business needs.

Here is an executive summary template for a business plan:

  • [Company profile (with relevant history)]
  • [Company contact details]
  • [Description of products and/or services]
  • [Unique proposition]
  • [Competitive advantage]
  • [Intellectual property]
  • [Development status]
  • [Market opportunity]
  • [Target market]
  • [Competitors]
  • [Funding needs]
  • [Potential price of goods]
  • [Projected profit margins for year one and two]
  • [Summarize main points]

Executive summary template for marketing plan:

  • [Product description]
  • [Unique customer characteristics]
  • [Customer spending habits]
  • [Relationship to product]
  • [Access channels]
  • [Value and credibility of product]
  • [Product competitive advantage]
  • [Creative outlook]
  • [Goal statement]
  • [Forecasted cost]
  • [Next week]
  • [Next month]

Executive summary template for a research report

  • [Project topic]
  • [Name | Date]
  • [Report introduction]
  • [Background]
  • [Research methods]
  • [Conclusions]
  • [Recommendations]

Executive summary template for project executive

  • [Project name]
  • [Program name]
  • [Project lead]
  • [Prepared by]
  • [Project milestones]
  • [Status overviews]
  • [New requests]
  • [Issues summary]
  • [Project notes]

For the longest time, writing executive reports has been seen as a grueling and time-consuming process that will require many sleepless nights to get the job done right.

While there is plenty of truth to this, modern automated reporting software has revolutionized these writing nightmares.

Databox is one of those tools.

With Databox, you will be able to connect data from multiple sources into one comprehensive dashboard. Also, you are going to gain access to different types of charts and graphs that you can use for data visualization and make the report much more understandable to the readers.

Using a modernized tool like Databox will provide you with a faster, more accurate, and more efficient reporting process.

This advanced software allows you easily create your own customizable reports that can be adjusted in real-time as soon as new data emerges.

Who says executive reporting has to be a tedious process? Sign up for our free trial and see how easy creating executive reports can be. 

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Examples

Executive Summary

executive summary example for assignment

An effectively structured background or context will be able to stand on its own, meaning it breaks down the topic into informative paragraphs. It contains all essential and relevant information and data that will help the reader comprehend your  business report  as a whole. With that said, it is natural for documents to have an executive summary . It is the compact and precise version of all the essential details on your record. It is more than just an introduction because it is a complete document on its own.

executive summary samples

25+ Executive Summary Samples

1. executive summary report template.

Executive Summary Report Template

  • Google Docs

Size: A4 & US

2. Executive Summary Proposal Template

Executive Summary Proposal Template

3. Marketing Plan Executive Summary

Marketing Plan Executive Summary

4. Executive Summary Startup Business Plan Template

Executive Summary Startup Business Plan Template1

  • Apple Pages

Size: 33 KB

5. Project Executive Summary Template

Project Executive Summary Template

Size: 125 KB

6. Research Report Executive Summary Template

Research Report Executive Summary Template

Size: 120 KB

7. Executive Summary Template

Executive Summary Template

Size: 160 KB

8. Startup Executive Summary Template

Startup Executive Summary Template

Size: 121 KB

9. Healthcare Executive Summary Template

Healthcare Executive Summary Template

Size: 128 KB

10. Proposal Executive Summary Template

Proposal Executive Summary Template1

11. Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Business Plan Executive Summary Template1

Size: 127 KB

12. One-Page Executive Summary Template

One Page Executive Summary Template

Size: 171 KB

13. Product Launch Executive Summary Template

Product Launch Executive Summary Template

14. Construction Project Executive Summary Template

Construction Project Executive Summary Template

Size: 169 KB

15. Free Project Charter Executive Summary Template

Free Project Charter Executive Summary Template

Size: 141 KB

16. Executive Summary Template Example

Executive Summary Template Example

Size: 168 KB

17. WHO Executive Summary Example

WHO Executive Summary Example

Size: 194 KB

18. Work Inequalities Executive Summary Example

Work Inequalities Executive Summary Example

Size: 304 KB

19. Risk Management Executive Summary Example

Risk Management Executive Summary Example

Size: 73 KB

20. Foundation Executive Summary Example

Foundation Executive Summary Example

Size: 65 KB

21. Data Revolution Executive Summary Example

Data Revolution Executive Summary Example

Size: 401 KB

22. UN Executive Summary Example

UN Executive Summary Example

Size: 397 KB

23. Executive Summary Format Example

Executivev Summary Format Example

Size: 124 KB

24. Annual Report Executive Summary Example

Annual Report Execcutive Summary Example

Size: 444 KB

25. Fifth Quarterly Report Executive Summary Example

Fifth Quarterly Report Executive Summary Example

Size: 79 KB

26. Integrated Framework Executive Summary Example

Integrated Framework Executive Summary Example

Size: 283 KB

27. Work Plan Executive Summary Example

Work Plan Executive Summary Example

Size: 416 KB

 28. Basic Executive Summary Example

Basic Executive Summary Example

Size: 249 KB

29. Report Executive Summary Example

Report Executive Summary Example

Size: 329 KB

30. Program Plan Executive Summary Example

Program Plan Executive Summary Example

31. Committee Meeting Minutes Executive Summary Example

Committee Meeting Minutes Executive Summary Example

Size: 50 KB

32. Final Report Executive Summary Example

Final Report Executive Summary Example

Size: 176 KB

33. World Expo Plan Executive Summary Example

World Expo Plan Executive Summary Example

Size: 454 KB

34. Executive Summary Report Guide Example

Executive Summary Report Guide Example

35. Surgeon General Report Executive Summary Example

Surgeon General Report Executive Summary Example

Size: 204 KB

36. Privacy Index Executive Summary Example

Privacy Index Executive Summary Example

37. Proposal Executive Summary Example

Proposal Executive Summary Example

Size: 68 KB

38. High Needs Patient Care Executive Summary Example

High Needs Patient Care Executive Summary Example

Size: 498 KB

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary is a section found in most consolidated documents. It is a brief yet comprehensive synopsis of the major points in the document as a whole. It provides the readers a background about what the purpose of the  proposal or report  without going further in. It basically highlights the key points made in the document and is intended to stand on its own without needing supporting pages.

Importance of an Executive Summary

According to the article posted by Accion, the importance of an executive summary includes highlighting the strengths and accomplishments, making the company motivated to thrive further. So, as you develop a business plan , it should provide the executive summary at all costs. With this, writing a comprehensive and relevant executive summary report will save the rest of the plan. This will lead you a long way.

How To Write an Executive Summary

Some companies may employ a standard about writing a business plan or reports. Therefore, you must first consult the organization you are writing so that you can tailor it to their requirements. Professional  report writing  has various considerations. Nevertheless, we give you the most common and effective ways of writing an executive summary. Read on. 

1. Keep It Short

For every startup or small business , you have to remember that your executive summary is supposed to be short, but complete. It is meant to stand on its own. Although there is no set standard when it comes to the length of a  professional report , as a rule of thumb, it is substantial to make it not longer than 10 percent of the entire document, or simply put; it should be one to two pages only.

2. Use Easily Understandable Language

The language and tone you should use when preparing your executive summary should be professional. Emphasizing the language, it should be easily understandable for your readers. Avoid using technical language as your readers may not understand them since they don’t belong to the same industry as you. You should also avoid using business buzzwords and jargon in this type of  annual report .

3. Use Bullet Points and Subheadings

Create an outline using bullet points and subheadings in your executive summary. This will help your readers easily and efficiently scan the contents on your executive summary. It will make it easier for them to find what they are looking for. Aside from that, it makes your executive summary look clean and professional. Remember that a clean format will be one of the deciding factors for your management and business plan.

4. Avoid the Use of First-Person Pronouns

The main goal of your business plan as a whole is to write for your audience and convince them of your  smart goals.  Even if you’ve done your research for a  project report , but the content is all over the place, you will still likely miss the point. Too much usage of the first-person pronoun “I” makes the executive summary less personal. Also, it can undermine your persuasiveness; it can discourage your readers since it can make you look like you are more centered and focused on your own personal goal instead of focusing on helping the consumers and the business goals.

5.  Organize in Order of Importance

There is no set rule when it comes to the appearance of your content. Visual representations are not mandatory. But it is essential to organize your content to emphasize your points. Use the first part of your executive  summary  to highlight what you want to get the most attention. Then, use the next paragraphs to emphasize other points according to their importance. This can also make your report more cohesive and easy to read. 

6. Proofread and Edit

You should never let your readers read an unedited document. Proofreading your  proposal executive summary  and the whole document as a whole will make you spot what things can be left out, spot misspellings, grammatical errors, etc. Generally, it’s a strategy that you must comply with. So, editing it to perfection will help leave an impression to your readers that you have taken your time to produce a well-written document.

What are the elements of an executive summary?

An executive summary is divided into different sections. It includes the key points, the purpose of the monthly report , significant points, evaluation of results, and conclusions.

How long must an executive summary be?

An executive summary’s length depends on how long the business plan is. So, check your investment proposal for reference.

How is an excellent executive summary defined?

A good executive summary is defined as short yet informative. It must be professional and error-free. But more than that, it must be an overview of the whole document you are trying to create.

Preparing a document for business purposes is crucial. Aside from it being comprehensive, it must be relevant and direct. So, when you start to create your executive summary, you can always look and read the steps above. Whether for strategic plan or marketing projects , it must be straight to the mind of the management.

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  • Professional

10 Examples of Public speaking

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Online Executive Summary Generator

Number of sentences in results:

Summary Ratio is 87 %

  • ✍️ Definition
  • ☕ How to Create One

🖇️ References

✍️ executive summary generator defined.

As you can infer from the title alone, an executive summary generator is an online tool that creates, well, executive summaries. Though it shortens texts, cutting out redundant information, you shouldn't consider the instrument appropriate for any task. Let's see the central definition to see when this tool is useful.

What Is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary is an overview of a business proposal, investment program, marketing strategy , or other financial project. It outlines the main points addressed in the source.

It is a brief yet comprehensive summary of your paper . Apart from central arguments, this overview should include background information for those who may not have time to read the entire original document. Besides, an executive summary should address potential solutions to the problem highlighted in the text.

📍 Unlike an abstract (a brief overview), an executive summary is a shortened model of the document . The former typically prefaces academic and research-oriented papers to entice the audience to continue reading.

When Does One Need an Executive Summary?

A business person, analyst, or mere student might need an executive summary when presenting a new business plan or another project to a group of investors and stakeholders .

  • An executive summary is an important section of the plan, primarily if it’s being used to seek investment.
  • Its objective is to offer a basic overview of the company or project.
  • It also emphasizes areas of particular interest to potential investors.

As we’ve mentioned, an executive summary should not be an introduction to the proposition as a whole. Instead, it offers a condensed summary of its most relevant ideas and facts. The ultimate purpose of an executive summary is to entice readers to read the rest of the business plan .

☕ Creating an Executive Summary: Tool vs. Person

Any person working in business or studying it should be prepared to deal with executive summaries. Knowing how to write one is a necessary skill. However, with our online generator, you don't have to worry about learning it yourself.

Yet, how does it work? Let's see how an executive summary tool completes such an assignment compared to a person.

How Does an Executive Summary Writer Work Online?

Our online executive summary generator relies on the extractive method of text modification. Here is what it does:

1. Creates an intermediate representation of the input text to discover valuable material. TF metrics are typically computed for each sentence in the provided matrix.

2. Grades the items based on the depiction . As a result, it provides a number to each sentence indicating its likelihood of being picked in the summary.

3. Generates a summary using the top most crucial sentences of the source. Latent semantic analysis (LSA) has been utilized in research to identify semantically significant phrases.

To create an extractive summary, our tool applies artificial intelligence technologies to improve these features:

Upon using our online executive summary generator, it’s a good idea to review the result. Check if there's anything you've overlooked when writing the original text. You may also need to edit the summary you get . Proofread it; incorporate bullet points or headings to make it easy to skim and digest.

How Can You Write an Executive Summary Yourself?

When it comes to the manual writing of an executive summary, there are some rules a person should follow to develop a successful one.

Keep It Short

Some people make the mistake of including too much information in their executive summaries. It results in a document that is long and challenging to read. Thankfully, there are a few simple tips that can help you avoid this pitfall:

📌 First , avoid redundancies. There is no need to use excessive words and wordy expressions.

📌 Second , focus on the critical points. Covering too many details will only serve to clutter your summary.

📌 Lastly , edit ruthlessly. Once you have identified the essential information, cut out any superfluous details.

Following these simple tips ensures that your executive summary is short, sweet, and to the point.

Include an Introduction

An introduction is often included as part of an executive summary, as it can help to provide context and background information. When writing one, be sure to follow these steps:

With an introduction, your readers will have all the data they need to effectively understand the purpose and content of both the executive summary and the original text.

List the Main Points

  • Use a level heading for each significant subject you will discuss. These should occur in the same order as they appear in the original report.
  • For each important point, write a concise paragraph .
  • Discuss the benefits of the proposed course of action when offering suggestions.

Prioritize Information

While there is no standard format for a shortened business plan, there are guidelines to help make the process smoother. Here is what you should mention in an executive summary:

  • Business description . Explain what the company does and what products and services it provides. Who is the intended audience? What issue is addressed by the company's offerings?
  • Product or service description . A few paragraphs should go into greater depth about the company's goods and/or services. How do they meet a need? What is their competitive edge? Why does the demand for them increase?
  • History . Following a brief introduction to the firm, it's time for a quick history lesson. Say when the firm was founded and where it is located. Who founded it? What are their backgrounds and duties? Where does the company stand now?
  • Achievements . This part is intended to showcase highlights. Talk about the company's revenue growth rate, customer growth rate, and other vital milestones that point to the company's expanding success.
  • Future plans . In what direction does the company head? What are the development plans? What can the company look like in three to five years? Elaborate on all these issues in the final paragraph or two.
  • Financial overview . This component is essential if the strategy is used to secure funding . Firstly, it should include top-line estimates. Secondly, here you explain how much money is required and how it will be spent.

Avoid Copy-Pasting

Don't copy anything from the original text. Since you've decided to compose an executive summary yourself, write what you want to say in your own words . If you don't see how to reword some parts from the source, you can use our rephraser tool to change them a bit.

Work on Your Style

To write a successful executive summary, you should ensure it’s well-articulated. Its style should be professional for the sake of your message reaching your audience.

Here are some stylistic features you should keep in mind when writing your executive summary:

Unlike academic writing, usually designed to be objective and dispassionate, professional writing is supposed to be persuasive and engaging . So, don’t be afraid to support your ideas with expressive, convincing, yet appropriate language.

Proofreading and editing are the last steps in writing any essay, research paper, case study, etc. It’s no exception for executive summaries. Errors can make your piece look unprofessional and detract from the overall quality .

  • By proofreading your text, you will catch grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes.
  • Editing will enhance the clarity and logic of your writing.

📍 Ultimately, proofreading and editing are essential for ensuring that your executive summary is of the highest possible quality .

The executive summary generator is a valuable free online tool for anyone who wants to create high-quality business plan overviews quickly and easily. We encourage you to try it and see how it can benefit your projects. Also, share it with your friends who may need its help.

Updated: Apr 9th, 2024

  • Writing an Executive Summary: UAGC Writing Center, the University of Arizona
  • Text Summarization Techniques – A Brief Survey: Mehdi Allahyari et al., Cornell University
  • Executive Summaries: University Writing Center (UWC), Texas A&M University
  • How to Write an Executive Summary: Skye Schooley, Business News Daily

IMAGES

  1. 21+ Free 43+ Free Executive Summary Templates

    executive summary example for assignment

  2. 30 Sample Of Executive Summaries

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  3. 24 Best Executive Summary Templates & Examples

    executive summary example for assignment

  4. 35 Free Executive Summary Templates (Word

    executive summary example for assignment

  5. 21+ Free 43+ Free Executive Summary Templates

    executive summary example for assignment

  6. 30+ Perfect Executive Summary Examples & Templates ᐅ TemplateLab

    executive summary example for assignment

VIDEO

  1. Leadership Traits

  2. Editing a Proposal Template

  3. Sending Trackable Documents with Better Proposals

  4. Setting Up Your Company Branding

  5. How To Write An Executive Summary For A Project

  6. Executive Summary Assignment

COMMENTS

  1. Academic Guides: Common Assignments: Executive Summaries

    Executive summaries are common in the Walden MBA program, but they are also found as part of some government and business documents. As a student, you should complete an executive summary when specifically requested to do so. An executive summary is a comprehensive review of a larger document. For example, a 35-page report may begin with a ...

  2. How To Write A High-Impact Executive Summary

    Typically, your executive summary should be a one-pager (one and a half pages at worst). To summarise a 3000 - 5000-word document into one page is no easy task, so you'll need to: Present only the most important information (key insights, recommendations, etc). Write concisely - i.e. with brevity and completeness.

  3. How to write an executive summary, with examples

    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. Free cross-functional project template.

  4. PDF How to Write an Executive Summary

    How to Write an Executive Summary . An executive summary is a concise document, demonstrating the problem, findings and recommendation of a longer policy report. Writing an executive summary will help your audience quickly understand the policy problem and proposed solution of your report. It is intended for a busy reader; and is a

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

    Here are several general steps to consider when writing an executive summary: 1. Research effective executive summaries. Before you write your own executive summary, it may be helpful to review summaries written by others. This is especially true for those writing an executive summary for the first time.

  6. How to Write an Executive Summary for an Assignment

    Executive Summary Example. In order to gain a deeper understanding, see below for an example of an executive summary for assignment. Overall, to write an executive summary for a report or assignment is not easy. It requires the ability to mindfully focus on the key information only and write it in an extremely minimalist way.

  7. PDF How to write an executive summary

    1000 words - a stand-alone document. Usually, 1-2 pages in. PAEs. Writing: concise sentences, active voice, jargon-free (define terms). Key components: Problem statement (1-2 paragraphs, not all factors) Problem statements answers "what's wrong" and will possibly quantify the scope of the problem with 1-2 data points.

  8. Executive Summary

    An executive summary is a thorough overview of a research report or other type of document that synthesizes key points for its readers, saving them time and preparing them to understand the study's overall content. It is a separate, stand-alone document of sufficient detail and clarity to ensure that the reader can completely understand the ...

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

    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.

  10. How to write an executive summary in 10 steps

    Step 3: Outline the structure. Create an outline for your executive summary with sections like introduction, objective, methodology, findings, recommendations, and conclusion. This way, you'll have a logical flow that's easy to follow.

  11. Writing an Executive Summary

    An executive summary should summarize the key points of the report. It should restate the purpose of the report, highlight the major points of the report, and describe any results, conclusions, or recommendations from the report. It should include enough information so the reader can understand what is discussed in the full report, without ...

  12. Example Executive Summaries With Templates

    Executive summaries allow decision-makers to quickly grasp the key points of important documents and make decisions. We've collected a variety of executive summary examples and templates that you can use as models for your executive summaries. Included in this article, you'll find a business plan executive summary example, a project ...

  13. How to Write an Executive Summary in 10 Steps

    Step 2: Write for Your Audience. When writing your executive summary, you want to keep your intended audience in mind always and write it for them. First off, you need to consider your reader's current level of knowledge. Then use languages and terms appropriate for your target audience.

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

    Here are five steps you can take to write an effective executive summary: 1. Provide an overview of your project. The first section of an effective executive summary is an introduction that provides readers with an overview of your proposed project. Here, you should include details of your organization, including the name, address, type of ...

  15. The Report Abstract and Executive Summary

    An executive summary is a one-page statement of the problem, the purpose of the communication, and a summary of the results, conclusions, and recommendations. The same considerations of readers and situation should guide your executive summaries. This resource is an updated version of Muriel Harris's handbook Report Formats: a Self ...

  16. How to Write an Executive Summary (+ Examples)

    Here's a streamlined approach to crafting an impactful executive summary: 1. Start with Your Business Overview. Company Name: Begin with the name of your business. Location: Provide the location of your business operations. Business model: Briefly describe how you make money, the producfs and/or services your business offers.

  17. How To Write an Executive Summary for a Research Paper (With ...

    Below is a template for an executive summary that you can use to draft your own: Introduction: [Describe the business, its purpose and the problems addressed by the research paper.] Purpose: [Describe the purpose of the research paper.] Methodology: [List the data collection methods used in the research study.]

  18. How To Write an Executive Summary (with examples)

    1. Example of Ecommerce Executive Summary. Gyuto sells what is arguably the coolest line of artisanal, sustainably-sourced kitchen knives in the world. They're handmade in Japan, capable of slicing tomatoes as thin as paper, and surprisingly affordable, considering the attention to detail.

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

    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.

  20. How to Write an Executive Summary for a Report: Step By Step ...

    Executive summary elements may also vary depending on the type of document (business plan, project, report, etc.), but there are several components that are considered universal. These are the main elements you should include: Purpose. Problem. Methods of analyzing the problem. Solutions to the problem.

  21. Executive Summary

    An executive summary is a section found in most consolidated documents. It is a brief yet comprehensive synopsis of the major points in the document as a whole. It provides the readers a background about what the purpose of the proposal or report without going further in. It basically highlights the key points made in the document and is ...

  22. Executive Summary Generator: Online Tool Explained [+Examples]

    The executive summary generator is a valuable free online tool for anyone who wants to create high-quality business plan overviews quickly and easily. We encourage you to try it and see how it can benefit your projects. Also, share it with your friends who may need its help. Updated: Apr 9th, 2024.