An executive summary should be brief. This is only a part of other documents such as business plans, proposals, etc. It sums up the whole report, so anyone can get a quick overview by reading that alone.
In one sense, the executive summary is simple, but it takes work to write, considering its sensitivity. You use it to introduce your project by highlighting each part of your business document.
It is the first thing everyone who checks out your document looks at. That is why you place it at the top and try to make it as captivating as possible.
You use it to explain the purpose of your business or project to potential clients or investors. Try to find out what they require from your organization and focus on them.
If you need to learn how to do this, the article will explore how you can write the perfect executive summary.
What is an Executive Summary?
A business plan, investment proposal, or project proposal are all examples of larger documents that include a brief part called an executive summary. It primarily serves to quickly summarize key elements of a business plan for stakeholders and investors, such as the company description, market analysis, and financial data.
It has a brief introduction that addresses the issue or suggestion described in the documents attached, background information, a brief analysis, and a conclusion.
An executive summary is vital since it is intended to aid executives and investors in deciding whether to move forward with the plan.
Executive summaries and pitch decks frequently discuss a project or company strategy’s advantages and critical selling aspects.
What to Include in a Typical Executive Summary
The executive summary you write depends on the document you attach it to. It could be for a business case, research proposal, project reports, business plan, etc.
You can use the following guidelines to help you cover all the necessary things you should include in your executive summary:
Many courses and professionals agree that an executive summary should best be about five to 10 percent of the entire document. It should not be too short so that your potential clients and investors get enough information. It would help if you did not make it too long so that other parts of your document are redundant.
When writing an executive summary, you should use the appropriate language for those who will read it.
The language you use when addressing a group of lawyers should differ from the one you use for engineers. It will also be different when writing to finance professionals.
Carefully choose the words you use, the content, and the level of explanation according to your target audience. It would be best to be as formal as possible while being concise. Do not forget that they must scan it to know the necessary parts.
The goal is to get the attention of your audience from the start. Your opening paragraph should break the ice and get the reader interested in the rest of your document. This doesn’t mean you should use jokes.
Executive summaries are business documents and should avoid tones of familiarity. You can use questions or describe an example of the problem you want to solve for the potential client or investor.
Next, introduce your organization and highlight its capacity to solve the reader’s problem.
The introduction should be brief. You can mention the business name, location, and contact information. List some clients you have helped to show your reader that you can solve the problem.
Often, you write the executive summary after you are done with your business proposal. Many mistakenly write it first since it sits at the top of your business plan or proposal.
It should capture what is already in the entire document. Only include information unrelated to sections of your business plan or proposal.
After establishing the need and introducing your organization, you should propose your solution. Convince your target audience why your solution is best by highlighting its values. Ensure that what you offer is unambiguous.
How you conclude your executive summary is vital to its success. Although it is not a long piece of writing, you should end it by quickly hitting on the relevant information.
It would be best if you also used this to prepare the reader to explore the other parts of the document.
Common Elements Found in an Executive Summary for a Business Plan
Extract the vital points of your business plan when writing your executive summary. The document describes each part of your business as follows:
- Description of Organization
- Product or Service
- SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis
- Market Analysis
- Market Strategy
- Financial Strategy
- Request for Funds
How to Write an Executive Summary for a Project Proposal
The format of an executive summary for a project proposal differs slightly from that of a business plan. This type captures the vital parts of your project management as follows:
- Purpose of Project
- Organization Introduction
- Problem Statement
- Solution Established
- Justification of Chosen Solution (Proof)
- Resources for Project
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Market Analysis
- Marketing Strategies
- Project Timeline
- Team Description
Like other forms of writing, you should always start with a draft. At this point, you bring together the information you have gathered from your research. You ensure that they follow the required format in a seamless transition. The draft is supposed to be flawed.
It gives you a good starting point when aiming for an excellent document. Every artist knows it is easier to transform an existing work than to bring an original idea to life.
Next, you should review the executive summary to make it concise. This is the time to ensure that it addresses the problem.
Check for the following when reviewing your document:
- Proofread Grammar and Tone
Pay attention to the writing that you use. Don’t use complicated words, include clichés, or overly repeat words and phrases.
You are not trying to impress them with literature, but you also want them to maintain interest before you make your points.
When you finish checking the content and grammar, you should also review the tone and style.
Your target audience determines this, as emphasized earlier. The executive summary should be formal if your reader belongs to a conservative profession. Modern companies are more casual and might get the wrong impression about your organization if the summary needs to be more formal. Know who you are addressing and do it right.
Before you sign off the document as okay, proofread it. Ensure it doesn’t have spelling or grammatical mistakes, repeated or missing words, etc.
These errors in your document show your client that you are not careful and lack professionalism. If you can’t spend time on your proposal, you shouldn’t think anyone will believe you have time for their business.
- Pitching with a Proposal
A pitch expresses the written proposal in a presentation. Your executive summary gives you a good outline for your speech.
The intentions of your proposal should be channeled into how you speak to your audience.
List out the points from your executive summary in your slides, and then interestingly talk them through the rest of your document.
- Choosing the Best Options
Sometimes it is difficult ticking all the boxes when writing an executive summary. You may be focused on the business proposal itself, forgetting how important the executive summary is.
You can hire a professional to do this or use an application.
Software such as Prospero helps you to create excellent executive summaries and proposals.
Several templates and prompts help you make business and academic documents in the correct format. According to your settings, these applications can differentiate between business proposals and plans; and help you craft your writing.
The documents help give your document a natural flow and tone.
How to Use Prospero’s Free Templates to Create Proposals
On your dashboard, click “Create New Proposal” to open the application wizard to show you the options available for creating the perfect business proposal. This includes an excellent executive summary.
Within the options, you should select the business case that best suits why you want to write a proposal. It would be best if you wrote it for a service, product, solicit, and unsolicited. The way you write the document for each is different.
Working with Prospero to produce expertly prepared proposals or ideas is best. It includes several customizable features and a selection of themes for various businesses. You can also find some pre-written content, so you will only sometimes have to start from zero. See case studies here.
Through its built-in statistics, you can manage and monitor the effectiveness of your proposals, making your sales force more effective and productive.
Your chances of obtaining contracts and proposals that can advance the company will rise.