Download Free Executive Summary Templates

By Kate Eby | April 2, 2018 (updated April 20, 2023)

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This article includes a comprehensive collection of free executive summary templates, all of which are easy to download, share, edit, and print. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a simple executive summary template , a business executive summary template , a executive summary slide template , an project executive summary template , and a research report executive summary template , among others. Plus, check out our list of helpful tips for completing these executive summary templates .

Simple Executive Summary Template

Simple Executive Summary Template

Download Simple Executive Summary Template Microsoft Word | Microsoft PowerPoint | Google Docs  

Make a positive impact with this dynamic, simple executive summary template — before you submit your report or business proposal. In the Overview section, give a brief rundown of what your proposal will entail. In the Problem Summary section, define your target market and the problem(s) they face; in The Solution section, explain to your readers how your project or product will solve your target audience’s problem. 

For helpful examples of executive summaries, see this collection of executive summary examples . 

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Business Executive Summary Template

Business Executive Summary Template

Download Business Executive Summary Template Microsoft Word | Microsoft PowerPoint | Adobe PDF  

Fill out this business executive summary template to ensure that your business report is influential, and that your project or product proposal receives approval. Write a high-level overview of what your project or product will entail (an elevator pitch ). Briefly describe the problem that your project or product will solve and your target market, and include brief analytical data to support your claims and your proposed next steps. 

Learn more about how to write an effective executive summary .

Executive Summary Slide Template

Executive Summary Slide Template

Download Executive Summary Slide Template Microsoft PowerPoint | Google Slides  

 Use this free template to outline your next big presentation or keep it updated as a live meeting record that documents your evolving internal business plans or funding needs. The customizable PowerPoint slides feature an executive summary template and an outline that you can turn into the separate sections of your presentation. The customizable slides are formatted to outline the important elements of a formal business plan summary.

One-Page Executive Summary Template

One Page Executive Summary Template

Download One-Page Executive Summary Template Microsoft Excel  |  Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF

This template is designed to fit your executive  project status update on one page. Take advantage of the short sections and bullet points to keep it concise and hook the reader with the most attention-grabbing information. Organize and emphasize the most important information by customizing the subheadings based on your document’s purpose.

Find more free Microsoft Word executive summary templates for any any project here .

Executive Summary Checklist Template

Executive Summary Checklist Template

Download Executive Summary Checklist Template – Microsoft Word  

In your project report or proposal, the executive summary is the first thing that your audience reads, so it’s important to make a positive impression in the limited space that you have. Use this executive summary checklist template to make sure that your executive summary is as clear and dynamic as possible and to increase the likelihood that your project receives approval. By doing so, you can ensure that all sponsors, team members, and other stakeholders know, at a glance, the project’s goals and the results they can expect from implementation.

Executive Summary Outline Template

Executive Summary Outline Template

Download Executive Summary Outline Template – Microsoft Word  

This template is the perfect tool for organizations that want to present all project proposal details in an easy-to-read outline format. Provide a brief project overview (your elevator pitch), a broad-strokes summary of your project’s goals and purpose, and the metrics you’ll use in assessing project success after launch. The template helps ensure that you consider all aspects of your proposed project, including competitive analyses, risks, key milestones, project costs, and resource estimates.  

For tips and resources, see this comprehensive list of free executive project status templates .

Startup Executive Summary Template

Startup Executive Summary Template

Download Startup Executive Summary Template Microsoft Excel  | Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF  | Smartsheet

Startups seeking funding online on platforms like AngelList and Gust use investor profiles to spark interest and earn social proof for their venture. This template acts as a one-page pitch that serves as your company profile on these platforms. You can repurpose this template and save it as a customized PDF summary memo to land your next meeting with investors.

Executive Summary Proposal Template

Executive Summary Proposal Template

Download Proposal Executive Summary Template Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF

Project proposals outline the required resources and project objectives, and summarize key information from the main body of content. This template highlights the specific purpose for your proposal and the compelling points the proposal introduces. Use the executive summary to kickstart your project planning.

Research Report Executive Summary Template

Research Report Executive Summary Template

Download Research Report Executive Summary Template Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF

Use this template as a synopsis of the research results for reports. This executive summary is formatted to accommodate in-depth reports that need space to use charts and tables to illustrate research data. The template is designed to summarize technical information in a concise manner, and features clear subheadings that communicate key findings to readers of various expertise and interest.

Project Executive Summary Template

business proposal executive summary sample pdf

Download Project Executive Summary Template Microsoft Excel  | Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF

Keep all of the project stakeholders in the loop with this project management summary template. You’ll find space to highlight project milestones, monitor new requests, and provide brief status overviews. 

For more specialized use cases, check out our roundup of free executive project status templates .

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Download Business Plan Executive Summary Template Microsoft Word | Microsoft PowerPoint | Google Slides

This executive summary template is designed to get your business plan noticed and reviewed. This document helps you present key information to an external audience and ensure you include more attention to detail than a standard business plan document. Use bullet points and clear, formal language to guide the reader to the most important information about your company.

One-Page Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Download Business Plan Executive Summary Template – Microsoft Word

Perfect for small businesses and large organizations alike, this business plan executive summary template provides the perfect framework for companies to outline their mission, vision, company structure, and relevant history, all on a single page in Microsoft Word. Use the template’s Products and Services section to describe your offerings, the unique value of your proposal, and your competitive advantage. Under the Market Analysis section, state the market opportunity that your proposal addresses, the target market, and why your proposed solution is superior to that of your competitors.

Marketing Plan Executive Summary Template

Marketing Plan Executive Summary Template

Download Marketing Plan Executive Summary Template – Microsoft Word  

Marketing professionals, advertisers, and brand managers can all use this template to communicate a marketing plan to stakeholders and make it clear what the target audience is, what the strategy and objectives are, and how the product will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Use this template as an outline to ensure that you account for all aspects of your proposed marketing plan, including the target audience’s spending habits, relationship to your product, and how your marketing campaign will result in increased foot traffic and sales.

Construction Project Executive Summary Template

business proposal executive summary sample pdf

Download Construction Project Executive Summary Template Microsoft Excel  | Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF

This template summarizes the construction project plan and highlights the important schedule milestones, budget data, bid estimates, and timeline details. Use this executive summary to report on the essential detail from the construction plan and keep all of the various stakeholders informed on the critical project information.

Learn more about construction project management by reading “ Construction Project Management 101 .”

What Is an Executive Summary Template?

An executive summary template is a brief document that precedes a longer report or proposal as an abbreviated, high-level version of it. A template prompts you to explain the target audience’s problem, and how your proposed solution will solve it. 

While executive summary templates can vary, they typically include the following sections, each of which should be no more than five sentences: 

  • Overview: Briefly describe what your report or business proposal will entail, and why it’s necessary. You should be able to describe your proposed project or product in a few sentences to management, key stakeholders, and potential investors.  
  • The Problem: Describe your target audience. What problem are they facing? What issue needs a solution that your proposal will address? This is a great opportunity to identify your target audience and the challenges they face, so that it’s clear how your proposed solution is positioned to fulfill that business opportunity. 
  • Why should a client or end-user choose what you have to offer over competitors’ offerings? 
  • How does your target audience benefit from your solution, in particular?  
  • What is your proposed strategy? 
  • What resources are required? 
  • What is the proposed business-proposal timeline? 
  • What evidence do you have to support your proposal?
  • Proposed Steps: Describe what is required to implement your solution. What, in particular, would your company or client have to enact to produce the desired solution?

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  • Business Templates
  •   Executive Summary Template

Executive Summary Template for PDF & Word

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

Template Highlights

  • Seven sections: Introduction, Company & Opportunity, Industry & Market Analysis, Management & Operations, Implementation & Marketing, Financial Plan, and Conclusion
  • Clear instructions for each section
  • Add or remove sections as needed (you do you)
  • Customize with your logo and branding
  • Download it as a PDF or Word file
  • Print it, email it, send it down the Nile

Template Preview

Preview the text content for this template.

Executive Summary Template

Best practices dictate that an Executive Summary should be included at the beginning of any lengthy business document. The Executive Summary provides an overview of the document, highlighting all of its most important parts.

It serves two main functions:

● Providing the reader with context and an overall understanding of the subject before they begin reading the detailed components of your document.

● Giving busy executive-level readers, who might not have time to read the entire document, a synopsis that explains all of the main points succinctly.

An Executive Summary should not exceed one or two pages. The paragraphs should mirror the structure of your document, providing a concise explanation of the important points in each section.

Since Executive Summaries can be found in almost any type of business document, they can vary broadly in content. Below, we provide a framework for a Business Plan Executive Summary that you can use as a guide, but keep in mind that you will need to adapt it to the contents of your specific document.

HubSpot Tip: When writing your document, save the Executive Summary for last. That way you will be able to write a cohesive section that covers all of the most important content in the entire document.


Every section in a business document should begin with an introduction. The introduction sets the stage and tells the reader what they are about to read. It adds context and helps the document flow, making your points easier to understand.

In an Executive Summary, the introduction should only be a paragraph or two in length. End this section with a clear, memorable sentence explaining your project, its purpose, and the benefits it offers to potential customers and investors.

HubSpot Tip: Though the content of your document might be complex, keep your writing simple and structured. Providing a clear introduction makes your document easier to navigate and comprehend.

Company and Opportunity

Provide a brief description of your organization. Include the company’s name, the general products or services that you provide, and who and where your customers are.

Now describe the opportunity you are proposing and how it is valuable to investors and customers. This is basically a written version of the “elevator pitch” that you might use to attract investors at a networking event. It should only take a few sentences.

HubSpot Tip: There is a lot to say about your product/service, but you will need to be succinct here. Stick to the most important points only and wait to expound on them in the appropriate sections in your document.

Industry and Market Analysis

Mention the key trends in your industry and your business’ advantage over the competition. Describe your target customers briefly and explain why you think they will choose your products/services over those of your competitors.

HubSpot Tip: Focus on how you plan to fulfill an unmet need and why customers will choose your business over others.

Management and Operations

List anything important to note about your management staff. For example, you could mention the qualifications and motivations of your company’s founder or CEO. Full biographical sketches of your management team will be provided later in the document, so keep it brief.

Think about the day-to-day of your business operations and provide a very high-level summary of what operations are like. If you use any particular methods, best practices, or management styles that would stand out to a reader, mention them here.

HubSpot Tip: Do not go into detail. Instead, provide the reader with a general overview of how your company is run and how you do what you do.

Implementation and Marketing

Present the timeline for rolling out your business or new product/service. Indicate the key milestones and when they are scheduled to occur.

Once you have rolled out your business, you will need to tell people about it! Briefly explain how you will publicize your product/service. How will you reach your customers? Which major communication channels will you use?

HubSpot Tip: Indicating the major milestones helps the reader understand the work leading up to the launch of your service/product and adds context to your investment request.

Financial Plan

Your document likely contains a lot of financial information, so it can be difficult to choose what to include in the Executive Summary.

Think about what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want to attract investors? Then share information on how much funding you have raised and how much more you need. Are you sharing information on how well your business is doing? Then highlight the numbers that show your growth. You will provide additional context later in your document.

HubSpot Tip: Some key metrics to consider including are: the overall budget, the price per product/service, and your financial projections.

Summarize the entire project in a couple of sentences. This could take the form of reiterating your “elevator pitch” in different words.

The Executive Summary should leave the reader with a good general understanding of your project, while imparting a desire to learn more by reading the rest of your document. Keep the conclusion brief and make it persuasive.

HubSpot Tip: The conclusion should be no more than a paragraph.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do i need an executive summary.

  • It gives readers a quick overview of your report so they can get a highlight of the main points and see which sections they want to dig into

Is this template free?

  • Yep, completely free! Once you’ve entered your contact information, you can instantly download this template (along with all the other templates in this collection!). That’s it. Once you’ve entered your contact information, you can instantly download this template (along with all the other templates in this collection!). That’s it.

Can I edit this template?

  • You sure can. The entire template is editable -- from the title and text to the colors and font.

Related Tags

  • Business Plans

Related business templates.

Simple business plan template, one page business plan template, startup business plan template, market analysis.

Free Executive Summary Template [PDF + Masterful Examples]

Use these templates to craft an effective executive summary for your business or project.

According to Time Magazine, 55% of people only read a piece of content for 15 seconds. Attention spans across the board are at an all-time low —  including those of potential investors and project stakeholders. If you want to capture and hold interest, then you need to craft an engaging executive summary that can effectively hold someone’s focus.

Before you dive into the details of your business plan or project proposal,  your first step should be an executive summary that captures the attention of those in a position to give buy-in.

Think of the executive summary as the back cover of your book. It convinces readers to purchase a copy because the storyline is worth their time. An investor or C-level executive with limited time probably won’t feel motivated to read a full business or product plan without a compelling executive summary.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to write a captivating executive summary, what to include in the document, and jumpstart yours with customizable templates.

What is an executive summary? 

An executive summary is a brief synopsis of a larger document such as a report or business plan. It provides a quick overview of your business plan with details like a description of your company, financial information, and market analysis.

The executive summary is made for lenders, investors, and busy executives who don’t have time to read the full proposal.

Done right, it zeroes in on what your prospective investor or project sponsor wants to hear and clearly communicates the value of your business or plan. Many investors or stakeholders will only read the executive summary during the first contact with your business, so all the information they need should be included. 

The goals of an executive summary include:

  • Grab the reader’s attention
  • Tell them what to expect in the business plan so they are motivated to keep reading
  • Provide a high-level overview of your company, your short-term and long-term goals
  • Acts as an elevator pitch

What is an executive summary in a business plan?

An executive summary in a business plan is a concise overview that provides a snapshot of the key elements of the plan as it pertains to the business overall. It outlines the business concept, objectives, market analysis, financial projections, and other essential information. The executive summary serves as a summary and introduction to the entire business plan, allowing lenders, investors, and decision-makers to quickly grasp the main points and make informed decisions.

What is an executive summary in project management?

An executive summary in project management is a summary of the most critical information of your project proposal. It’s everything that management needs to know when they land on your project before they review your project plan .

An executive summary in project management shouldn’t be confused with a project overview. While they have similar elements, an executive summary can stand alone as a document, while a project overview needs to be attached to your project.

Executive summary vs abstract

An abstract summarizes a document like a journal article while an executive summary sums up a longer document.

An abstract is mostly used in academia as a requirement when submitting conference papers, book proposals, or applying for a research grant. The abstract is not an excerpt but an original document that is self-sufficient.

An executive summary is aimed at a business audience. It contains information to help executives make funding decisions. Where the language in an abstract is technical, the language of an executive summary is non-technical. An executive summary is written as a condensed version of a project plan to secure buy-in while an abstract is written for orientation.

Executive summary vs introduction

The introduction is the first part of your project plan or business plan. It explains what the project is about and the goals you want to achieve. On the other hand, the executive summary is a standalone document condensed into a few paragraphs. It is thorough and high-level. Decision-makers can choose to read only the executive summary and still get the gist of the entire project proposal.

Think of the introduction as the first few pages of a long book with many chapters and an executive summary like a short book with only one chapter. You can understand both context and storyline when you read a short book. 

What should an executive summary include? 

For a project .

What is the problem you’re going to solve? What product plan, customer feedback, or insight led to this project? Why should it happen now ? These are questions to lead with in the opening paragraph of your executive summary.

What steps or methods are you taking to solve the problems you’ve listed in the opening paragraph? What are the goals and objectives you’ll achieve at the end of the project? Detail the answers in this section.

Value proposition

This is an important section where you briefly explain the value of the outcome. What is the ROI of the solution you’ve proposed? How will it improve service delivery and customer experience?

In a few sentences reiterate why it’s important to solve the problem now and the next steps or actions you want the reader to take.

For a business plan 

Introduction  .

For a business plan, the introduction is an opening statement that explains the purpose of the document. Your goal is to grab and hold the reader’s attention by clearly communicating the value of the business and the desired outcome. 

Company description

Include the following details in the company description:

  • Business name and location
  • Contact information
  • Description of the purpose
  • Leadership, founders, and current investors at your company
  • The team responsible for the project

Products and services

Briefly explain the problem you’re going to solve. If you’ve conducted research that shows a need for the proposal, include your findings here. Also, explain how you’ll accomplish the project goals and what you’ll need for success.

Market analysis

A few questions to answer in this section include:

  • Is there a market opportunity for the problem? 
  • How do you plan to grow your customer base and expand your market share? 
  • What is the five-year growth plan for this product/service? 
  • What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned about your target audience that the reader should know?

Competitive analysis

Questions to answer as part of your competitive analysis include:

  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are the present and future opportunities?
  • What is the unique value proposition of the product or service?
  • Do you have experience with competitors?
  • What are the risks particular to this niche or line of product?
  • What roadblocks do you expect to address?

Funding request and use

Use this section to sweeten the pot for investors. How much will you need to fund your business? What is the profitability of your business? How will investors benefit?

Financial projections 

Include financial data that supports your research such as:

  • The budget baseline for your business plan
  • Your projected revenue for the first three years
  • Your plan to manage finances
  • Your current and future business finances


The conclusion is a recap of the problem and the solution. Ask about the decision you want the reader to take. The outcomes should be obvious but leave room for intrigue so they feel compelled to read the rest of the business proposal.

Executive summary examples 

Executive summary presentation.

Often, executive summaries are presented to stakeholders in addition to the document. Get the templates below to snag these PowerPoint executive summary presentation templates.

Executive Summary PPT Template

One-page executive summary template  

A one-page executive summary is a short document with a big impact. You’ll present it as a mini version of a project plan during a meeting with decision-makers or as a business plan when pitching investors.

A few details to include in a one-page executive summary:

  • Business name
  • Financial information
  • Use of funding
  • Management team
  • Business model
  • Unique value proposition
  • Competitive advantage
  • Go-to-market strategy

Executive Summary Template One-Pager

Startup executive summary template

Your startup executive summary could be the difference between getting a pitch meeting or not. Venture capitalists and investors and overwhelmed with pitches from startups looking for a partnership. 

An executive summary is the fastest way for them to learn about your company and evaluate its potential. It’s usually a one-page document that is concise, yet detailed and engaging. Before writing your startup executive summary, determine the goal and ensure it matches what potential investors want to see.

Details to include in your startup executive summary:

  • A description of your product or service
  • The value proposition
  • Market analysis showing the merit of the project
  • Your current business model and future plans
  • An explanation of your market and customer base
  • Financial projections and funding request
  • Other special information that could sway a decision in your favor

Executive Summary for Business or Startup

Business plan executive summary template

The business plan executive summary shouldn’t exceed two pages. Make sure you’ve tailored it to your audience to show why the opportunity is special. An executive summary for a business plan should include:

  • Mission statement
  • Company information with details about your services or product
  • Business highlights describing how you’ve grown over the years. Include details of revenue increase, number of customers, profitability, revenue increase, and market share
  • Future goals
  • Financial summary
  • A closing sentence that reassures the value of the plan

Project executive summary template

The goal of a project executive summary is to show what life will look like after you’ve executed the project. Your executive summary should tell a story that helps the reader visualize the solution and inspire them to choose you.

The executive summary should be written as the final step of your project proposal template. This way, you save time revising the content.

Details to include in a project executive summary:

  • Summary of the challenge the client wants to solve
  • Description of how you’ll solve the pain point
  • Overview explaining how you’ve solved similar problems in the past
  • Unique value that competitors don’t offer

Marketing plan executive summary template

An executive summary for a marketing plan offers an overview of how you’ll reach your intended audience and drive conversions.

Details to include in a marketing plan executive summary:

  • Introduction
  • Brief description of your company and key leaders
  • Project goals and objectives
  • Your product or services and the major features and benefits
  • Description of market factors and trends affecting them
  • Who is your audience and how will you reach them?
  • Financial projections

Healthcare executive summary template

A healthcare executive summary template is used in formal communications for hospitals, government health agencies, and nonprofits. The template accommodates longer-research proposal plans targeted at a wider audience of the general public, external investors, and management.

Details to include in healthcare executive summary:

  • Project topic
  • Overview of the organization
  • Two to three key problems that have a profound impact on quality care, operations, or regulatory compliance
  • A proposed solution to each identified problem
  • Obstacles and opportunities
  • Policy changes and program proposal
  • Vision and recommendation

Executive summary report template

An executive summary for a research or analyst report offers an overview of key points from the research.

Details to include in a report executive summary report:

  • Brief description of your company
  • Analysis findings
  • Why these findings matter

Here's an example: 

Report Executive Summary Example

How to write an executive summary

1. write a problem-based introduction.

Use the opening paragraph to explain why your project matters. Outline the problem with supporting research or customer feedback to strengthen your claim. The reader should understand why it’s important to solve the problem now and the relevance to your customer base. 

A powerful way to grab attention is to open with a customer quote or thought-provoking statistic that forces the reader to sit up and listen.

For example:

“I wish this camera had a longer battery life span so I could record an entire football game on 4K without switching to full HD when the battery is low .” - Customer review
In a recent survey, 70% of our customers expressed a desire for a camera with a longer battery life that could last up to six hours while recording in 4k. 80% said they wouldn’t mind paying more for the convenience of not having to log extra battery packs when going out. To serve our existing clientele and improve our market share, we need to create a camcorder that performs at optimal levels while using fewer resources on battery life.

2. Tell your story

Use storytelling to explain the mission statement of your organization. Explain how you’ll use your skill and experience to solve the problem you’ve highlighted in the introduction. Storytelling sets the tone and gets the reader excited about reading the project plan.

3. Make sure you’ve done the research 

While an executive summary is short, it’s loaded with research. Research shows that you know your competitors, understand your target audience, and have a plan for capturing a significant market share.

Think of your executive summary like an elevator pitch. If an investor only read your executive summary without making it to the project proposal or business plan, what would you want them to know?

4. Outline the solution

After telling the reader the pain points and explaining your business credentials, use a bullet list to outline the solution. Your goal is to convince the reader that your solution is the best fit. Save deliverables and milestones for the project proposal. Instead, describe what will happen during the project so the user can picture the outcome working for them.

5. Show the value of the solution 

This is where you get into more details about the impact of the solution. Explain how the results provide relief and improve ROI for the company. include potential risks that may arise and relevant financial information such as income projections.

6. Formal or informal tone?

While an executive summary usually has a formal tone, your decisions should be based on your audience. 

Presenting to your C-level executives in your company? What language do they respond to? Don’t be afraid to break the mold if it gets the desired results. However, avoid clichés as they rub readers the wrong way.

If you’re presenting to investors, use language that resonates with your audience. Use personal pronouns like “I”, “you” and “we” over impersonal pronouns like “they” or “the company.

7. Make sure the summary can stand alone 

If you follow the clearly defined structure we’ve listed above, your executive summary can stand on its own merit. Keep revising the document until you’ve achieved this goal. The introduction, problem, solution, and conclusion should be detailed, yet concise. 

After writing, take a second look and read from the viewpoint of the decision-maker. Is there any section where more context is needed to clear confusion and help the reader understand the summary? Consider linking to a relevant section in the project proposal or explaining briefly in the summary.

8. Be concise

Every word in your executive summary must have an impact. The executive summary is not the place to brainstorm new ideas as it could jeopardize the project plan. 

Avoid using jargon words. Readers without prior knowledge of your company or niche should understand key findings by reading the executive summary alone.

 When you find yourself going deep into details, pull back and ask yourself if this belongs in the project proposal or executive summary. The goal is to keep the executive summary engaging and actionable.

9. Proofread for errors 

Before sending it off to executives or potential investors, read through the document three times in order to catch errors. It also helps to send it to a colleague to review with a fresh pair of eyes in case you missed a typo here and there.

10. Write the executive summary last

It takes longer to write an executive summary when you haven’t yet written the project proposal or business plan. Instead, wait to create a summary until you’ve written the full document, then pull details. This ensures that your executive summary captures the information you’ve detailed in the project plan.

Manage your executive summary templates with Guru

An executive summary is a quick and easy way to bring stakeholders up to speed on your project proposal. In a few paragraphs, you can communicate the problem, why it matters now and the key information they need to make a decision.

Rather than creating a new executive summary from scratch, these templates will add impact to your report and speed up the process. Use Guru’s knowledge management software to store your templates, collaborate remotely, and work efficiently on projects.

FAQ for executive summaries

Where does an executive summary go in a report.

Place the executive summary before the table of contents and after the title page. Include a page break before and after the executive summary.

How long should an executive summary be?

Most executive summaries are 5-10% of the length of the project proposal. Ideally, aim for one page for a 20-page project proposal.

Who is the audience of an executive summary?

The audience of an executive summary can include:

  • Project stakeholders
  • Management personnel who make decisions on funding
  • Venture capitalists
  • C-level executives

What is included in an executive summary?

Elements to include in an executive summary are:

  • A summary of the key points of the project proposal report
  • Major points of the report you want the reader to remember
  • The goal of the report
  • Results and recommendations from the report
  • Other details that enable the executive summary to function as a standalone document

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How To Write an Executive Summary With Example

Make Writing Your Executive Summary Easier With This Example

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

business proposal executive summary sample pdf

How To Write an Executive Summary

What to include in an executive summary, executive summary example.

The Balance / Jo Zhou

An executive summary is a brief overview at the beginning of your business plan. It should provide a short, concise summary of your business that captures the reader's attention and gives them an interest in learning more about it. See an example of a business plan's executive summary so you can begin writing one of your own.

Key Takeaways

  • An executive summary is a concise overview of the business plan.
  • Place the executive summary near the beginning of the business plan.
  • Before you write the executive summary, you'll have to write the rest of the business plan first.
  • The executive summary should contain all relevant information about the business, including name, mission, services offered, market, and financial projections.

The executive summary goes near the beginning of the business plan but is written last. To include a summary of the different parts of your business plan, you'll need to write them first.

When you write the executive summary, keep it under two pages. The executive summary should contain brief summaries of other sections of the plan. 

The idea is to give a brief overview of your business first before going into detail about each of the different parts.

The executive summary should contain all of the important information about your business, such as:

  • Business name
  • Business location
  • Your mission as a company
  • A history of the company
  • Management and advisors
  • Services or products offered
  • The market for your offerings
  • Your business's competitive advantages
  • Your financial projections
  • Startup financing required, if any

Format the executive summary clearly and attractively, with headings for each section. Your word processing software may have a template you can use that will make your business plan look good.

It's always easier to write something if you can read an example first, so here's an executive summary example that you can use as a model for your own business plan's executive summary.

This executive summary is for a fictional company called Pet Grandma Inc.

Pet Grandma Inc. offers superior on-site pet sitting and exercising services for dogs and cats, providing the personal loving pet care that the owners themselves would provide if they were home. Our team will ensure that pet owners can take business trips or vacations knowing that their pets are in good hands.

Company and Management

Pet Grandma Inc. is headquartered in the City of West Vancouver and  incorporated  in the Province of British Columbia. The company is owned by partners Pat Simpson and Terry Estelle. Pat has extensive experience in animal care while Terry has worked in  sales and marketing  for 15 years.

The management of Pet Grandma Inc. consists of co-owners Pat Simpson and Terry Estelle. Both partners will be taking hands-on management roles in the company. In addition, we have assembled a  board of advisors  to provide management expertise. The advisors are:

  •  Juliette LeCroix, partner at LeCroix Accounting LLP
  •  Carey Boniface, veterinarian and partner at Little Tree Animal Care Clinic
  •  John Toms, president of Toms Communications Ltd.

Our clients are dog owners and cat owners who choose to leave their pets at home when they travel, or who want their pets to have company when their owners are at work. Pet Grandma Inc. offers a variety of pet care services, all in the pet’s home environment, including:

  • Dog walking
  • Daily visits
  • 24-hour care for days or weeks
  • Administration of medications by qualified staff
  • Emergency treatment in case of illness (arranged through veterinarians)
  • Plant watering
  • Mail collection
  • Garbage/recycling

Across Canada, the pet care business has seen an explosion of growth over the last three years. West Vancouver is an affluent area with a high pet density. Our  market research  has shown that nine out of 10 pet owners polled in West Vancouver would prefer to have their pets cared for in their own homes when they travel rather than be kenneled and six out of 10 would consider having a pet sitter provide company for their dog when they were at work.

Competitive Advantages

While there are currently eight businesses offering pet sitting in West Vancouver, only three of these offer on-site pet care and none offers “pet visit” services for working pet owners.

Pet Grandma ’s marketing strategy is to emphasize the quality of pet care we provide (“a Grandma for your pet!”) and the availability of our services. Dog owners who work, for instance, will come home to find happy, friendly companions who have already been exercised and walked, instead of demanding, whiny animals.

All pet services will be provided by animal care-certified staff.

All employees are insured and bonded.

Financial Projections

Based on the size of our market and our defined market area, our  sales projections  for the first year are $340,000. We project a growth rate of 10% per year for the first three years.

The salary for each of the co-owners will be $40,000. At startup, we will have six trained staff to provide pet services and expect to  hire  four more this year once  financing  is secured. To begin with, co-owner Pat Simpson will be scheduling appointments and coordinating services, but we plan to hire a full-time receptionist this year as well.

Already we have service commitments from more than 40 clients and plan to aggressively build our client base through newspaper, website, social media, and direct mail advertising. The loving, on-site professional care that Pet Grandma Inc. will provide is sure to appeal to cat and dog owners throughout the West Vancouver area.

Startup Financing Requirements

We are seeking an operating line of $150,000 to finance our first-year growth. Together, the co-owners have invested $62,000 to meet working capital requirements.

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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.

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May 18, 2021

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11+ Proposal Executive Summary Examples – PDF, Word

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How to Write an Executive Summary for a Proposal

1. capture readers attention through an opener, 2. express understanding of their need/s, 3. give your solution to their need, 4. present evidence that you can do it, 5. include a call-to-action, law reform proposal executive summary example.

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Dos and Don’ts in Writing an Executive Summary for a Proposal

  • Don’t make it too long. The “summary” in its name refers to brevity and clarity.
  • Do focus on your client.  Your client is your priority, make it known by talking more about them instead of talking about you.
  • Don’t use jargon. This can only lead to confusion and sounding like you don’t know what you are talking about.
  • Do mention your client’s company name.  Referencing your client’s full company in different parts of the executive summary can make them feel like you are only focused on them.
  • Don’t use overly technical words/terms.  There is no guarantee that the reader will be able to understand such words/terms; save technical stuff for the proposal where definitions can be explained.
  • Do use plain but professional language.  Like in any writing tasks, use simple, short sentences that are easily understood by anyone of any reading level.
  • Don’t talk about company history.  The history of the company is not relevant in the executive summary. If it is appropriate and relevant, you can put it under the “About Us” section of the proposal.
  • Do proofread and edit.  Make sure you don’t submit a paper that has a lot of grammatical and spelling errors. Allow other team members to read through the document to ensure there are no mistakes before submitting it.

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

Caroline Forsey

Published: August 14, 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 vs. Business Plan

All business plans have an executive summary, but not all executive summaries belong to business plans.

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

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

Executive Summary vs. Mission Statement

Mission statements and executive summaries are typically both found in business plans, but they serve different purposes.

A mission statement defines your organization’s purpose, values, and vision. It’s your company’s north star and communicates your core identity and reason for existence. On the other hand, an executive summary provides a high-level overview of the document.

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

Executive Summary vs. Company Description

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

Executive Summary vs. Objective

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

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

What is the purpose of an executive summary?

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

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

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

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

Follow Along With HubSpot's Executive Summary Template

Executive summary template from HubSpot

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How to write an executive summary.

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

1. Tell your story.

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

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

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

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

2. Highlight important data.

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

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

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

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

3. Pay attention to your tone.

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

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

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

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

4. Avoid cliché language.

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Write it after completing your business plan.

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Resource: Business Plan Template

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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

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How to write an executive summary, with examples

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

What is an executive summary?

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

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

You’ll often find executive summaries of:

Business cases

Project proposals

Research documents

Environmental studies

Market surveys

Project plans

In general, there are four parts to any executive summary:

Start with the problem or need the document is solving.

Outline the recommended solution.

Explain the solution’s value.

Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work.

What is an executive summary in project management?

In project management, an executive summary is a way to bring clarity to cross-functional collaborators, team leadership, and project stakeholders . Think of it like a project’s “ elevator pitch ” for team members who don’t have the time or the need to dive into all of the project’s details.

The main difference between an executive summary in project management and a more traditional executive summary in a business plan is that the former should be created at the beginning of your project—whereas the latter should be created after you’ve written your business plan. For example, to write an executive summary of an environmental study, you would compile a report on the results and findings once your study was over. But for an executive summary in project management, you want to cover what the project is aiming to achieve and why those goals matter.

The same four parts apply to an executive summary in project management:

Start with the problem or need the project is solving.  Why is this project happening? What insight, customer feedback, product plan, or other need caused it to come to life?

Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives.  How is the project going to solve the problem you established in the first part? What are the project goals and objectives?

Explain the solution’s value.  Once you’ve finished your project, what will happen? How will this improve and solve the problem you established in the first part?

Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work.  This is another opportunity to reiterate why the problem is important, and why the project matters. It can also be helpful to reference your audience and how your solution will solve their problem. Finally, include any relevant next steps.

If you’ve never written an executive summary before, you might be curious about where it fits into other project management elements. Here’s how executive summaries stack up:

Executive summary vs. project plan

A  project plan  is a blueprint of the key elements your project will accomplish in order to hit your project goals and objectives. Project plans will include your goals, success metrics, stakeholders and roles, budget, milestones and deliverables, timeline and schedule, and communication plan .

An executive summary is a summary of the most important information in your project plan. Think of the absolutely crucial things your management team needs to know when they land in your project, before they even have a chance to look at the project plan—that’s your executive summary.

Executive summary vs. project overview

Project overviews and executive summaries often have similar elements—they both contain a summary of important project information. However, your project overview should be directly attached to your project. There should be a direct line of sight between your project and your project overview.

While you can include your executive summary in your project depending on what type of  project management tool  you use, it may also be a stand-alone document.

Executive summary vs. project objectives

Your executive summary should contain and expand upon your  project objectives  in the second part ( Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives ). In addition to including your project objectives, your executive summary should also include why achieving your project objectives will add value, as well as provide details about how you’re going to get there.

The benefits of an executive summary

You may be asking: why should I write an executive summary for my project? Isn’t the project plan enough?

Well, like we mentioned earlier, not everyone has the time or need to dive into your project and see, from a glance, what the goals are and why they matter.  Work management tools  like Asana help you capture a lot of crucial information about a project, so you and your team have clarity on who’s doing what by when. Your executive summary is designed less for team members who are actively working on the project and more for stakeholders outside of the project who want quick insight and answers about why your project matters.

An effective executive summary gives stakeholders a big-picture view of the entire project and its important points—without requiring them to dive into all the details. Then, if they want more information, they can access the project plan or navigate through tasks in your work management tool.

How to write a great executive summary, with examples

Every executive summary has four parts. In order to write a great executive summary, follow this template. Then once you’ve written your executive summary, read it again to make sure it includes all of the key information your stakeholders need to know.

1. Start with the problem or need the project is solving

At the beginning of your executive summary, start by explaining why this document (and the project it represents) matter. Take some time to outline what the problem is, including any research or customer feedback you’ve gotten . Clarify how this problem is important and relevant to your customers, and why solving it matters.

For example, let’s imagine you work for a watch manufacturing company. Your project is to devise a simpler, cheaper watch that still appeals to luxury buyers while also targeting a new bracket of customers.

Example executive summary:

In recent customer feedback sessions, 52% of customers have expressed a need for a simpler and cheaper version of our product. In surveys of customers who have chosen competitor watches, price is mentioned 87% of the time. To best serve our existing customers, and to branch into new markets, we need to develop a series of watches that we can sell at an appropriate price point for this market.

2. Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives

Now that you’ve outlined the problem, explain what your solution is. Unlike an abstract or outline, you should be  prescriptive  in your solution—that is to say, you should work to convince your readers that your solution is the right one. This is less of a brainstorming section and more of a place to support your recommended solution.

Because you’re creating your executive summary at the beginning of your project, it’s ok if you don’t have all of your deliverables and milestones mapped out. But this is your chance to describe, in broad strokes, what will happen during the project. If you need help formulating a high-level overview of your project’s main deliverables and timeline, consider creating a  project roadmap  before diving into your executive summary.

Continuing our example executive summary:

Our new watch series will begin at 20% cheaper than our current cheapest option, with the potential for 40%+ cheaper options depending on material and movement. In order to offer these prices, we will do the following:

Offer watches in new materials, including potentially silicone or wood

Use high-quality quartz movement instead of in-house automatic movement

Introduce customizable band options, with a focus on choice and flexibility over traditional luxury

Note that every watch will still be rigorously quality controlled in order to maintain the same world-class speed and precision of our current offerings.

3. Explain the solution’s value

At this point, you begin to get into more details about how your solution will impact and improve upon the problem you outlined in the beginning. What, if any, results do you expect? This is the section to include any relevant financial information, project risks, or potential benefits. You should also relate this project back to your company goals or  OKRs . How does this work map to your company objectives?

With new offerings that are between 20% and 40% cheaper than our current cheapest option, we expect to be able to break into the casual watch market, while still supporting our luxury brand. That will help us hit FY22’s Objective 3: Expanding the brand. These new offerings have the potential to bring in upwards of three million dollars in profits annually, which will help us hit FY22’s Objective 1: 7 million dollars in annual profit.

Early customer feedback sessions indicate that cheaper options will not impact the value or prestige of the luxury brand, though this is a risk that should be factored in during design. In order to mitigate that risk, the product marketing team will begin working on their go-to-market strategy six months before the launch.

4. Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work

Now that you’ve shared all of this important information with executive stakeholders, this final section is your chance to guide their understanding of the impact and importance of this work on the organization. What, if anything, should they take away from your executive summary?

To round out our example executive summary:

Cheaper and varied offerings not only allow us to break into a new market—it will also expand our brand in a positive way. With the attention from these new offerings, plus the anticipated demand for cheaper watches, we expect to increase market share by 2% annually. For more information, read our  go-to-market strategy  and  customer feedback documentation .

Example of an executive summary

When you put it all together, this is what your executive summary might look like:

[Product UI] Example executive summary in Asana (Project Overview)

Common mistakes people make when writing executive summaries

You’re not going to become an executive summary-writing pro overnight, and that’s ok. As you get started, use the four-part template provided in this article as a guide. Then, as you continue to hone your executive summary writing skills, here are a few common pitfalls to avoid:

Avoid using jargon

Your executive summary is a document that anyone, from project contributors to executive stakeholders, should be able to read and understand. Remember that you’re much closer to the daily work and individual tasks than your stakeholders will be, so read your executive summary once over to make sure there’s no unnecessary jargon. Where you can, explain the jargon, or skip it all together.

Remember: this isn’t a full report

Your executive summary is just that—a summary. If you find yourself getting into the details of specific tasks, due dates, and attachments, try taking a step back and asking yourself if that information really belongs in your executive summary. Some details are important—you want your summary to be actionable and engaging. But keep in mind that the wealth of information in your project will be captured in your  work management tool , not your executive summary.

Make sure the summary can stand alone

You know this project inside and out, but your stakeholders won’t. Once you’ve written your executive summary, take a second look to make sure the summary can stand on its own. Is there any context your stakeholders need in order to understand the summary? If so, weave it into your executive summary, or consider linking out to it as additional information.

Always proofread

Your executive summary is a living document, and if you miss a typo you can always go back in and fix it. But it never hurts to proofread or send to a colleague for a fresh set of eyes.

In summary: an executive summary is a must-have

Executive summaries are a great way to get everyone up to date and on the same page about your project. If you have a lot of project stakeholders who need quick insight into what the project is solving and why it matters, an executive summary is the perfect way to give them the information they need.

For more tips about how to connect high-level strategy and plans to daily execution, read our article about strategic planning .

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9+ Executive Summary Examples in Word | PDF | Google Docs | Pages

An executive summary summarizes long reports or proposals in a gripping manner. It attracts the reader’s attention in the very first look. It also gives the reader an idea of the document without having to go through the entire content. Sample executive summaries are often considered as an important part of any business plan . There are many executive summary examples that are presented in this article for your immediate use and reference.

executive summary examples

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FREE 10+ Business Executive Summary Samples in PDF | MS Word


Developing a business plan is essential for every start-up and established company. A business plan may serve as a roadmap that will aid the company in how to strive and achieve its goals. In this document, you are to describe the company’s objectives, outline the business goals , and ways to achieve them. You may also want to tackle the financial, marketing, and operational standpoint of the business. A well-written business plan will attract more investors and open up new business opportunities. So, one essential component that makes up a good business plan is its executive summary. Why so? Let us discuss this further below. And if you need to start writing this, we’ve got a list of business executive summary samples that you can download for free on this page.

Business Executive Summary

10+ business executive summary samples, 1. business case executive summary, 2. sample business executive summary, 3. executive summary business leaders, 4. executive summary evaluations of business development, 5. base business executive summary, 6. startup business executive summary, 7. business narrative & executive summary, 8. business plan executive summary, 9. business track new venture executive summary, 10. business writing executive summary, 11. business profile & executive summary, what is a business executive summary, how to create a business executive summary, 1. hightlight each section, 2. business opportunity or problem statement, 3. target market and competition, 4. company history, 5. product/services, 6. financial plan, 7. management team, how long should an executive summary be, what is a start-up business, how may pages is a business plan.

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executive summary evaluations of business development

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base business executive summary

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business narrative executive summary

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An executive summary can be found in some reports where there is a need to provide an overview of the document. This will give the reader a heads up on what the report or the paper is all about, and what they are expected to learn. A well-written executive summary may help in providing the right decisions for the reader as well.

A business executive summary or simply an executive summary can also be found in a business plan. As mentioned this will provide ample information needed by the reader on what the business plan is all about. Usually found on the first page, it is essential that you are able to create a fascinating executive summary that may make your readers want to read more. Think of it as an elevator pitch, something brief that should be able to captivate the reader’s interest in a second.

Although a business executive summary is found on the first page, it is recommended that you write it last. Right after you have completed the essential parts of the business plan. The reason for doing so is that once you have more or less completed the business plan and you already have an idea of what each component is all about and all you need to do now is to summarize everything there is to know thus creating a business executive summary. As this is just an overview, you must be mindful of the length and its details. Take note that every executive summary can be different from another since the information you need to include varies somewhat depending on whether your business is a startup or an established business. To start creating this, here are several steps that can be of help.

Since the business plan composes of several categories such as marketing, finance, management, products/services provided, operations and etc. it is important to highlight each given component. Remember an overview is sufficient enough since the reader can read more about each category by going through the entire business plan.

The reason why you have started a business is that you are confident that your company can address an issue or problem in the market. So it is essential to describe that business opportunity as investors want to understand if the world truly needs your company’s products and/or services.

Another important factor you need to address is who you intend to serve, so to give the readers an idea describe your target market and the reason why you choose to serve them. Also, every business has its competitors, so readers of the business plan would want to know who they are and what are your strategies that can help your company work its way around the competition.

Readers would want to know how your company started, although you can divulge more information in your company profile, providing a brief summary will pique their interest. This will help the reader understand how your business has evolved and grown over the years and what you’ve been able to accomplish.

Your products and services make your company, and how you intend to sell this to the public is essential for the success of your business. A brief description of these would give the readers the plan who it would appeal to the customers and its benefits.

Managing finances is essential to keep the business running, and the way you present this is important most especially if you are seeking out investors. A brief financial summary covering key points of how and where you plan to allocate the funds should be included and explained. Provide future financial projections so investors can determine whether they might get an adequate return from investing in the company.

Provide a brief description of the owner(s) and the key team members, you can also highlight their expertise and how they are able to make a difference running the business.

An executive summary will depend on the purpose of the paper it represents. The number of pages of an executive summary would be determined by the length of the original business plan, report, or document. At most, it should be roughly around 3 pages max considering this a summary of the original paper or report.

A start-up business is in its initial stages of a business, meaning it is a newly formed business that is established to create unique and irreplaceable products or services.

A business plan should more or less comprise 15 to 20 pages, could be longer depending again on the type of business you are engaged in.

A business executive summary introduces your company to the readers of your business plan. This will become one of their deciding factors if they want to continue learning more about your business, so it should be well-written and appealing. To make it easier for you to write one, download our free templates now!

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    22+ Best Executive Summary Templates & Samples - PDF, DOC An executive summary must be your best friend because they are very important in a business proposal format or research study for example. A movie with an executive summary also has a synopsis, small business proposal, and research papers.

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    The Balance / Jo Zhou An executive summary is a brief overview at the beginning of your business plan. It should provide a short, concise summary of your business that captures the reader's attention and gives them an interest in learning more about it. See an example of a business plan's executive summary so you can begin writing one of your own.

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

    Jennifer Faulkner Director of Brand + Communications May 20, 2021 Proposals (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?

  12. Proposal Executive Summary

    Details File Format PDF Size: 373 KB Download As mentioned, an executive summary is basically what your audience reads first; therefore, it must contain compelling and enticing information about what you are proposing. In addition to that, it must be able to encourage them to read through your entire document.

  13. PDF 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.

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

    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.

  15. 35+ SAMPLE Executive Summary Proposal in PDF

    35+ SAMPLE Executive Summary Proposal in PDF | MS Word | Google Docs | Apple Pages Rating : According to a 2018 survey report, 87% of high-performing managers believe that mature delivery capabilities can minimize risks, control costs, and increase value.

  16. How to write an executive summary, with examples

    How to write an executive summary, with examples Julia Martins • October 1st, 2022 • 8 min read Jump to section One of the best things about project management is that it provides a way to plan, manage, and execute all of your team's work. Oftentimes, it's helpful to have this information available at-a-glance.

  17. PDF Example of a business plan

    1.2 Mission Our main goal is to be one of the most successful traditional food outlets in Kenya, starting with one retail outlet located inside the Central Business Development of Nairobi City as a "market tester." Fish Favourite will strive to be a premier local traditional food brand in the local marketplace.

  18. 9+ Executive Summary Examples in Word

    It should be precise, succinct and to the point. However, one should keep in mind that an executive summary should also be able to generate enough enthusiasm in the reader to go through the details of the business plan. Executive Summary is a Potential Winner! Executive Summary precedes your business plans, resume, documents of great importance ...

  19. Middletown Small Business Development Center

    business plan. • The executive summary is not a preface. • The executive summary is not a random collection of highlights. • Rather, the executive summary is the business plan in miniature . The executive summary should stand alone, almost as a kind of business plan within the business plan. It should be logical, clear, interesting - and ...

  20. Free printable executive summary templates

    Skip to start of list. 112 templates. Create a blank Executive Summary. White Brown Simple Executive Summary Document A4. Document by Habilitats Art. Blue Bold Modern Executive Summary Document. Document by Selesa. White Minimalist Executive Summary A4 Document. Document by Lemannas.

  21. FREE 10+ Business Executive Summary Samples in PDF

    FREE 10+ Business Executive Summary Samples in PDF | MS Word. Developing a business plan is essential for every start-up and established company. A business plan may serve as a roadmap that will aid the company in how to strive and achieve its goals. In this document, you are to describe the company's objectives, outline the business goals ...

  22. Sample Business Plan Executive Summary

    The executive summary is a concise, optimistic overview of the business that appears at the outset of the business plan. An executive summary is typically between one and two pages long, contains two-sentence outlines of each business plan section, and focuses on the most vital business information. Ideally, potential investors will be able to ...

  23. 18+ SAMPLE Best Executive Summary in PDF

    The best executive summary is the choicest executive summaries that you can use for your document. An executive summary is an overview of your whole plan or research. It is the summary of your document. Generally, this summary is about a page or two pages long. It depends on the scope of the plan or paper that you have been writing.