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How to Write an Executive Summary in 6 Steps

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When you’re starting a business, one of the first things you need to do is write a business plan. Your business plan is like a roadmap for your business, so you can lay out your goals and a concrete plan for how you’ll reach them.

Not only is a business plan essential for any business owner, but it’s also a requirement if you decide to apply for small business funding or find investors. After all, before a bank or individual hands over any money, they’ll want to be sure your company is on solid ground (so they can get their money back).

A business plan consists of several pieces, from an executive summary and market analysis to a financial plan and projections. The executive summary will be the first part of your business plan.

If wondering how to write an executive summary has kept you from completing your business plan, we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll explain what an executive summary is and provide tips for writing your own so your business plan can start strong.

what is the executive summary of the business plan

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is a short, informative, and easy-to-read opening statement to your business plan. Even though it’s just one to two pages, the executive summary is incredibly important.

An executive summary tells the story of what your business does, why an investor might be interested in giving funds to your business, why their investment will be well-spent, and why you do what you do. An executive summary should be informative, but it should also capture a busy reader’s attention.

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Why write an executive summary?

Anyone you’re sending your executive summary and business plan to is likely busy—very busy. An entire business plan is long, involved, and deals with a lot of numbers.

Someone busy wants to get an understanding of your business, and they want to do it quickly, which is to say not by diving into a complicated, 80-page business plan. That’s where your executive summary comes in.

An executive summary provides just the opportunity to hook someone’s interest, tell them about your business, and offer a clear selling point as to why they should consider investing in your business.

Your executive summary is your chance to sell your business to potential investors and show them your business is worth not only their money but also their time.

What to include in an executive summary

By its nature, an executive summary is short. You must be able to clearly communicate the idea of your business, what sets you apart, and how you plan to grow into a successful enterprise.

The subsequent sections of your business plan will go into more detail, but your executive summary should include the most critical pieces of your business plan—enough to stand on its own, as it’s often the only thing a prospective investor will read. Here’s what your executive summary should include—consider it an executive summary template from which you can model your own.

1. The hook

The first sentence and paragraph of your executive summary determine whether or not the entire executive summary gets read. That’s why the hook or introduction is so important.

In general, a hook is considered anything that will get a reader’s attention. While an executive summary is a formal business document, you do want your hook to make you stand out from the crowd—without wasting time.

Your hook can be sharing something creative about your company, an interesting fact, or just a very well-crafted description of your business. It’s crucial to craft your hook with the personality of your reader in mind. Give them something that will make your company stand out and be memorable among a sea of other business plans.

Grab their attention in the first paragraph, and you’re much more likely to get your executive summary read, which could lead to an investment.

2. Company description summary

Now that you’ve hooked your reader, it’s time to get into some general information about your business. If an investor is going to give you money, after all, they first need to understand what your company does or what product you sell and who is managing the company.

Your company description should include information about your business, such as when it was formed and where you’re located; your products or services; the founders or executive team, including names and specific roles; and any additional details about the management team or style.

3. Market analysis

Your market analysis in the executive summary is a brief description of what the market for your business looks like. You want to show that you have done your research and proven that there is a need for your specific product or services. Some questions you should answer:

Who are your competitors?

Is there a demand for your products or services?

What advantages do you have that make your business unique in comparison to others?

To reiterate, stick to the highlights of your market analysis in your executive summary. You’ll provide a complete analysis in a separate section of your business plan, but you should be able to communicate enough in the executive summary that a potential investor can gauge whether your business has potential.

4. Products and services

Now that you’ve established a need in the market, it’s time to show just how your business will fill it. This section of your executive summary is all about highlighting the product or service that your company offers. Talk about your current sales, the growth you’ve seen so far, and any other highlights that are a selling point for your company.

This is also a good time to identify what sets your business apart and gives you a competitive advantage. After all, it’s unlikely that your business is the first of its kind. Highlight what you do better than the competition and why potential customers will choose your product or service over the other options on the market.

5. Financial information and projections

In this section of your executive summary, you want to give the reader an overview of your current business financials. Again, you’ll go more in-depth into this section later in your business plan, so just provide some highlights. Include your current sales and profits (if you have any), as well as what funding you’re hoping to acquire and how this will affect your financials in the next few years.

This is also where you can explain what funding, if any, you’ve received in the past. If you paid back your loan on time, this is an especially bright selling point for potential lenders.

6. Future plans

While asking for what funding you need is essential, you’ve also got to make clear what you’re going to use that funding for. If you’re asking for money, you want the person to know you have a plan to put those funds to good use.

Are you hoping to open another location, expand your product line, invest in your marketing efforts? This final section of your executive summary should detail where you want your business to go in the future, as well as drive home how funding can help you get there.

Tips for writing an executive summary

Even if you include each part of a good executive summary, you might not get noticed. What is written can be just as important as how it’s written. An executive summary has to strike a delicate balance between formal, personable, confident, and humble.

1. Be concise

An executive summary should include everything that’s in your business plan, just in a much shorter format. Writing a concise executive summary is no easy task and will require many revisions to get to the final draft. And while this is the first section of your executive summary, you’ll want to write it last, after you’ve put together all the other elements.

To choose your most important points and what should be included in the executive summary, go through your business plan, and pull out single-line bullet points. Go back through those bullet points and eliminate everything unnecessary to understanding your business.

Once you have your list of bullet points narrowed down, you can start writing your executive summary. Once it’s written, go back in and remove any unnecessary information. Remember, you should only be including the highlights—you have the rest of your business plan to go into more detail. The shorter and clearer your executive summary is, the more likely someone is to read it.

2. Use bullet points

One simple way to make your executive summary more readable is to use bullet points. If someone is reading quickly or skimming your executive summary, extra whitespace can make the content faster and easier to read.

Short paragraphs, short sentences, and bullet points all make an executive summary easier to skim—which is likely what the reader is doing. If important numbers and convincing stats jump out at the reader, they’re more likely to keep reading.

3. Speak to your audience

When writing your executive summary, be sure to think about who will be reading it; that’s who you’re speaking to. If you can personalize your executive summary to the personality and interests of the person who will read it, you’re more likely to capture their attention.

Personalizing might come in the form of a name in the salutation, sharing details in a specific way you know that person likes and the tone of your writing. An executive summary deals with business, so it will generally have a formal tone. But, different industries may be comfortable with some creativity of language or using shorthand to refer to certain ideas.

Know who you’re speaking to and use the right tone to speak to them. That might be formal and deferential, expert and clipped, informal and personable, or any other appropriate tone. This may also involve writing different versions of your executive summary for different audiences.

4. Play to your strengths

One of the best ways to catch the attention of your reader is to share why your business is unique. What makes your business unique is also what makes your business strong, which can capture a reader’s interest and show them why your business is worth investing in. Be sure to highlight these strengths from the start of your executive summary.

5. Get a test reader

Once you’ve written and edited your executive summary, you need a test reader. While someone in your industry or another business owner can be a great resource, you should also consider finding a test reader with limited knowledge of your business and industry. Your executive summary should be so clear that anyone can understand it, so having a variety of test readers can help identify any confusing language.

If you don’t have access to a test reader, consider using tools such as Hemingway App and Grammarly to ensure you’ve written something that’s easy to read and uses proper grammar.

How long should an executive summary be?

There’s no firm rule on how long an executive summary should be, as it depends on the length of your business plan and the depth of understanding needed by the reader to fully grasp your ask.

That being said, it should be as short and concise as you can get it. In general, an executive summary should be one to two pages in length.

You can fudge the length slightly by adjusting the margin and font size, but don’t forget readability is just as important as length. You want to leave plenty of white space and have a large enough font that the reader is comfortable while reading your executive summary. If your executive summary is hard to read, it’s less likely your reader will take the time to read your business plan.

What to avoid in an executive summary

While the rules for writing a stellar executive summary can be fuzzy, there are a few clear rules for what to avoid in your executive summary.

Your executive summary should avoid:

Focusing on investment. Instead, focus on getting the reader to be interested enough to continue and read your business plan or at least schedule a meeting with you.

Clichés, superlatives, and claims that aren’t backed up by fact. Your executive summary isn’t marketing material. It should be straightforward and clear.

Avoiding the executive summary no-nos is just as important as striking the right tone and getting in the necessary information for your reader.

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The bottom line

While an executive summary is short, it’s challenging to write. Your executive summary condenses your entire introduction, business description, business plan, market analysis, financial projections, and ask into one to two pages. Condensing information down to its most essential form takes time and many drafts. When you’re putting together your business plan’s executive summary, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to write it and to seek the help of friends or colleagues for editing it to perfection.

However, some tools make crafting a business plan, including your executive summary, a simpler process. A business plan template is a great place to start, and business plan software can especially help with the design of your business plan. After all, a well-written executive summary can make all the difference in obtaining funding for your business, so you’ll want all the help you can get.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

3-minute read

  • 19th November 2023

An executive summary is the part of a business plan that gives an outline of the main plan. So to write an executive summary, we first need to read the business plan carefully and understand its key points. These key points are what we will condense to form the executive summary. It’s important to ensure that the executive summary can stand alone because plenty of users will read only that and not the main business plan. We could say that the business plan is the original TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)!

But first, let’s take a quick look at what goes into a business plan so we can focus on the sections we need for our executive summary.

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that sets out a business’s strategy and the means of achieving it. The business plan usually contains the following sections:

How to Write an Executive Summary

The executive summary covers the same headings as the main business plan but not in so much detail. This is where our editing skills come to the fore!

The following six steps explain how to approach writing the executive summary.

Consider the Audience

Who will be using the summary? The business plan might be issued only to a very specific group of people, in which case, their needs are paramount and specialized. If the business plan is going out on wider release, we need to think about what a general reader will want to know.

Check That It Makes Sense on Its Own

Make sure the summary can be read as a stand-alone document for users who won’t read the whole plan.

Use Formatting Effectively

Make good use of formatting, headings, numbering, and bullets to increase clarity and readability.

Keep It Brief

One page (or around ten percent of the total word count for a large document) is great.

Avoid Jargon

Try to avoid jargon and use straightforward language. Readers of the executive summary might not have business backgrounds (for instance, if they are friend and family investors in a small start-up business).

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Proofread the Executive Summary

The executive summary will very likely be the first – and perhaps the only – part of the business plan some people will read, and it must be error-free to make a professional impression.

●  Consider the audience .

●  Ensure that the executive summary can stand alone.

●  Use formatting tools to good advantage.

●  Keep it brief.

●  Keep it simple.

●  Proofread it.

If you’d like an expert to proofread your business plan – or any of your writing – get in touch!

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How to Write an Executive Summary

Folder with a light bulb emerging from it. Represents summarizing your business as an executive summary from a larger document.

9 min. read

Updated December 13, 2023

An executive summary isn’t just the beginning of your business plan – it’s your opening act, your first chance to impress potential investors, banks, clients and other stakeholders.

An effective executive summary gives decision-makers critical information about your business instantly.

Creating an executive summary is more than just a writing exercise. It requires careful crafting and strategic thinking, as well as an ability to balance the needs to be both succinct and comprehensive.

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  • What is an executive summary?

The executive summary is a brief introduction and summary of your business plan. It introduces your business, the problem you solve, and what you’re asking from your readers. Anyone should be able to understand your business by simply reading this section of your plan.

While structurally it is the first chapter of your plan—you should write it last. Once you know the details of your business inside and out, you will be better prepared to write this section.

  • Why write an executive summary?

The business plan executive summary provides quick access to critical information from your more detailed business plan.

It is essential for informing anyone outside of your business. Many people—including investors and bankers—will only read your summary. Others will use it to decide if they should read the rest. For you, it is a snapshot of your business to reference when planning or revising your strategy.

Now if you’re writing a business plan solely for internal use you may not need an executive summary. However, some internal plans may necessitate writing an executive summary for assignment—such as for an annual operations plan or a strategic plan .

It takes some effort to do a good summary, so if you don’t have a business use in mind, don’t do it.

  • How long should it be?

Business plan executive summaries should be as short as possible. Your audience has limited time and attention and they want to quickly get the details of your business plan.

Try to keep your executive summary under two pages if possible, although it can be longer if absolutely necessary. If you have a one-page business plan, you can even use that as your executive summary.

What’s your biggest business challenge right now?

  • Executive summary outline

Two pages isn’t a ton of space to capture the full scope of your vision for the business. That means every sentence of your executive summary counts.

You will want to immediately capture the reader’s attention with a compelling introduction. Without getting too lengthy, present who you are as an organization, the problem you are seeking to solve, your skills, and why you are the best entity to solve the problem you’ve outlined.

It’s crucial to establish the need or problem your business is solving in a clear manner, in order to convince your audience that it must be addressed. Following that, recommend the solution and show its value. Be clear and firm in your recommendation, making sure to justify your cause and highlighting key reasons why your organization is the perfect fit for the solution you’re proposing. Finally, a strong conclusion is needed to reiterate the main points and wrap up the executive summary.

What to include in your executive summary

1. business overview.

A one-sentence description that explains what you do, why you do it, and how you do it.

Summarize the problem you’re solving in the market and reference any data that solidifies that there is a need.

3. Solution

Describe your product or service and how it addresses the problem you identified.

4. Target market

Who is your ideal customer? Describe who they are, how they’ll benefit, and why they’re an attainable customer base.

5. Competition

Who are your competitors? List out any primary competition as well as alternatives that your customers may consider. Include key details about their current offerings, promotions, and business strategy.

6. Your team

In your executive summary, outline your organizational structure and current team. List out brief explanations of who you and your team are, your qualifications, and what your function will be within the business. It may be valuable to also highlight any gaps in your team and how you intend to fill them. If you have potential partners or candidates in mind, briefly mention them and expand on their qualifications within your full business plan.

7. Financial summary

Highlight key aspects of your financial plan that address sales, expenses, and profitability. Try to keep these in chart or graph form to ensure the information is easy to consume and resonates visually.

8. Funding requirements

This section is only necessary if you’re seeking out funding or pitching to investors. Be sure to throw out your financing number and reasoning upfront, rather than hiding it later on in your plan. It helps investors understand your position, what you’re asking for, and how you’ll use it.

9. Milestones and traction

Add initial sales, pre-sales, newsletter sign-ups, or anything else that showcases customer interest. Outline what steps you’ve already taken to launch your business, the milestones you’ve hit, and your goals and milestones for the next month, six months, year, etc.

Executive summary vs introduction

A common mistake some people make when starting an executive summary outline is thinking it performs the same function as the introduction to their business plan. In fact, the two serve different purposes and contain different types of information, even though they are both essential.

As we’ve discussed, the executive summary is a high-level overview of the entire business plan. The introduction, by contrast, dives deeper into your business, providing information about the nature of your business, the history of your company, your mission statement, products or services, and the specific problem that your business solves.

The introduction is more detailed, and usually comes right after the executive summary.

On the other hand, the introduction gives investors or lenders – anyone reading your business plan – a sense of why they should continue reading. Think of it more as the space to tell stakeholders why you are speaking to them. An executive summary can also serve this purpose, but the introduction is meant to speak more directly to your target audience, while an executive summary could give a larger audience a general overview of your business.

Tips for writing an effective executive summary

Here are a few best practices to make writing your executive summary easier, and ultimately more effective. 

1. Think of an executive summary as your pitch

The executive summary is like an elevator pitch. You’re selling someone on reading your full plan while quickly summarizing the key points. Readers will expect it to cover certain areas of your business—such as the product, market, and financial highlights, at the very least.

While you need to include what’s necessary, you should also highlight areas that you believe will spark the reader’s interest. Remember, you’re telling the brief but convincing story of your business with this summary. Just be sure that you’re able to back it up with the right details with the rest of your business plan. 

2. Write it last

Even though the executive summary is at the beginning of a finished business plan, many experienced entrepreneurs choose to write it after everything else. In theory, this makes it easier to write since all of the information is already written out and just needs to be condensed into a shorter format. 

Now, if you’ve started with a one-page plan, this process is even easier. Just use your one-page plan as a starting point and add additional details to any sections that need it. You may even find that no changes are necessary.  

3. Keep it short

Ideally, the executive summary is short—usually just a page or two, five at the outside—and highlights the points you’ve made elsewhere in your business plan. Whatever length you land on, just focus on being brief and concise. Keep it as short as you can without missing the essentials. 

4. Keep it simple

Form follows function, so don’t overcomplicate or over-explain things. The best executive summaries are a mixture of short text, broken up with bullets and subheadings, and illustrations, such as a bar chart showing financial highlights. 

Run through a legibility test after writing your summary. Is it easy to skim through? Are the right pieces of information jumping out? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then work back through and try breaking up information or adjusting the formatting.

5. Create an executive summary outline based on importance and strengths

Organize your executive summary outline so that the most important information appears first. While there are specific components to include, there is no set order of appearance. So, use the order to show emphasis.

Lead with what you want to get the most attention, and add the rest by order of importance. For example, you may start with the problem because that can add drama and urgency that tees up the solution you provide.

Additional resources to write a great executive summary

Need more information and guidance to craft a convincing executive summary? Check out these in-depth resources and templates.

Key mistakes to avoid when writing an executive summary

Here are the critical mistakes you should avoid when writing your executive summary.

How to write your executive summary for specific audiences

The executive summary should tell your audience exactly what your business is, what it does, and why it’s worth their time. Here’s how you can take it a step further and fine-tune it for specific people.

How to develop a mission statement

Learn to put a heart behind the business and create an easy-to-understand narrative by writing a mission statement.

Executive Summary FAQ

What is in an executive summary?

The executive summary of a business plan is a brief introduction and summary of your business strategy, operations, and goals.

What is the purpose of an executive summary?

An executive summary is typically written to convince someone to read your more detailed plan. For investors, it may be the only thing they look at when deciding if they’d like to hear your pitch. Loan officers may review it to determine if your business seems financially sound. And partners, mentors, or anyone else may use it to determine if they want to be involved with your business.

How do you start an executive summary?

While there is no required order for an executive summary, it’s often recommended that you lead with the problem you’re solving or the purpose of your business. This will help frame your intent for the reader, and ideally make them more interested in learning more.

How do you write a good executive summary?

A good executive summary is brief, convincing, and easy to read. Focus on keeping things short and concise, only including necessary information. Be sure to lead and highlight anything that is especially interesting or important about your business. And after writing, spend some time reviewing and reformatting to make your summary as attractive to read as possible.

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Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.

what is the executive summary of the business plan

Table of Contents

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

How to write an executive summary, with examples

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

What is an executive summary?

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

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

You’ll often find executive summaries of:

Business cases

Project proposals

Research documents

Environmental studies

Market surveys

Project plans

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

Start with the problem or need the document is solving.

Outline the recommended solution.

Explain the solution’s value.

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

What is an executive summary in project management?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Executive summary vs. project plan

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

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

Executive summary vs. project overview

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

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

Executive summary vs. project objectives

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

The benefits of an executive summary

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

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

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

How to write a great executive summary, with examples

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

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

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

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

Example executive summary:

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

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

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

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

Continuing our example executive summary:

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

Offer watches in new materials, including potentially silicone or wood

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

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

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

3. Explain the solution’s value

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

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

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

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

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

To round out our example executive summary:

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

Example of an executive summary

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

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

Common mistakes people make when writing executive summaries

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

Avoid using jargon

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

Remember: this isn’t a full report

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

Make sure the summary can stand alone

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

Always proofread

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

In summary: an executive summary is a must-have

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

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

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

ProjectManager

Here’s the good news: an executive summary is short. It’s part of a larger document like a business plan, business case or project proposal and, as the name implies, summarizes the longer report.

Here’s the bad news: it’s a critical document that can be challenging to write because an executive summary serves several important purposes. On one hand, executive summaries are used to outline each section of your business plan, an investment proposal or project proposal. On the other hand, they’re used to introduce your business or project to investors and other stakeholders, so they must be persuasive to spark their interest.

Writing an Executive Summary

The pressure of writing an executive summary comes from the fact that everyone will pay attention to it, as it sits at the top of that heap of documents. It explains all that follows and can make or break your business plan or project plan . The executive summary must know the needs of the potential clients or investors and zero in on them like a laser. Fortunately, we’ll show you how to write and format your executive summary to do just that.

Getting everything organized for your executive summary can be challenging. ProjectManager can help you get your thoughts in order and collaborate with your team. Our powerful task management tools make it easy to get everything prioritized and done on time. Try it free today.

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What Is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary is a short section of a larger document like a business plan , investment proposal or project proposal. It’s mostly used to give investors and stakeholders a quick overview of important information about a business plan like the company description, market analysis and financial information.

It contains a short statement that addresses the problem or proposal detailed in the attached documents and features background information, a concise analysis and a conclusion. An executive summary is designed to help executives and investors decide whether to go forth with the proposal, making it critically important. Pitch decks are often used along with executive summaries to talk about the benefits and main selling points of a business plan or project.

Unlike an abstract, which is a short overview, an executive summary format is a condensed form of the documents contained in the proposal. Abstracts are more commonly used in academic and research-oriented writing and act as a teaser for the reader to see if they want to read on.

what is the executive summary of the business plan

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Executive Summary Template

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

How to Write an Executive Summary

Executive summaries vary depending on the document they’re attached to. You can write an executive summary for a business plan, project proposal, research document, or business case, among other documents and reports.

However, when writing an executive summary, there are guidelines to ensure you hit all the bases.

Executive Summary Length

According to the many books that have been written about executive summaries, as well as training courses, seminars and professional speakers, the agreed-upon length for an executive summary format should be about five to 10 percent of the length of the whole report.

Appropriate Language

The language used should be appropriate for the target audience. One of the most important things to know before you write professionally is to understand who you’re addressing. If you’re writing for a group of engineers, the language you’ll use will differ greatly from how you would write to a group of financiers.

That includes more than just the words, but the content and depth of explanation. Remember, it’s a summary, and people will be reading it to quickly and easily pull out the main points.

Pithy Introduction

You also want to capture a reader’s attention immediately in the opening paragraph. Just like a speech often opens with a joke to break the tension and put people at ease, a strong introductory paragraph can pull a reader in and make them want to read on. That doesn’t mean you start with a joke. Stick to your strengths, but remember, most readers only give you a few sentences to win them over before they move on.

Don’t forget to explain who you are as an organization and why you have the skills, personnel and experience to solve the problem raised in the proposal. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy biography, often just your name, address and contact information will do, though you’ll also want to highlight your strengths as they pertain to the business plan or project proposal .

Relevant Information

The executive summary shouldn’t stray from the material that follows it. It’s a summary, not a place to bring up new ideas. To do so would be confusing and would jeopardize your whole proposal.

Establish the need or the problem, and convince the target audience that it must be solved. Once that’s set up, it’s important to recommend the solution and show what the value is. Be clear and firm in your recommendation.

Justify your cause. Be sure to note the key reasons why your organization is the perfect fit for the solution you’re proposing. This is the point where you differentiate yourself from competitors, be that due to methodology, testimonials from satisfied clients or whatever else you offer that’s unique. But don’t make this too much about you. Be sure to keep the name of the potential client at the forefront.

Don’t neglect a strong conclusion, where you can wrap things up and once more highlight the main points.

Related: 10 Essential Excel Report Templates

What to Include in an Executive Summary

The content of your executive summary must reflect what’s in the larger document which it is part of. You’ll find many executive summary examples on the web, but to keep things simple, we’ll focus on business plans and project proposals.

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

As we’ve learned above, your executive summary must extract the main points of all the sections of your business plan. A business plan is a document that describes all the aspects of a business, such as its business model, products or services, objectives and marketing plan , among other things. They’re commonly used by startups to pitch their ideas to investors.

Here are the most commonly used business plan sections:

  • Company description: Provide a brief background of your company, such as when it was established, its mission, vision and core values.
  • Products & services: Describe the products or services your company will provide to its customers.
  • Organization and management: Explain the legal structure of your business and the members of the top management team.
  • SWOT analysis: A SWOT analysis explains the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your business. They describe the internal and external factors that impact your business competitiveness.
  • Industry & market analysis: This section should provide an overview of the industry and market in which your business will compete.
  • Operations: Explain the main aspects of your business operations and what sets it apart from competitors.
  • Marketing plan: Your marketing plan describes the various strategies that your business will use to reach its customers and sell products or services.
  • Financial planning: Here, you should provide an overview of the financial state of your business. Include income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements.
  • Funding request: If you’re creating your business plan to request funding, make sure to explain what type of funding you need, the timeframe for your funding request and an explanation of how the funds will be used.

We’ve created an executive summary example to help you better understand how this document works when using it, to sum up a business plan.

To put all of that information together, here’s the basic format of an executive summary. You can find this same information in our free executive summary template :

  • Introduction, be sure to know your audience
  • Table of contents in the form of a bulleted list
  • Explain the company’s role and identify strengths
  • Explain the need, or the problem, and its importance
  • Recommend a solution and explain its value
  • Justify said solution by explaining how it fits the organization
  • A strong conclusion that once more wraps up the importance of the project

You can use it as an executive summary example and add or remove some of its elements to adjust it to your needs. Our sample executive summary has the main elements that you’ll need project executive summary.

Executive summary template for Word

Executive Summary Example

For this executive summary example, we’ll imagine a company named ABC Clothing, a small business that manufactures eco-friendly clothing products and it’s preparing a business plan to secure funding from new investors.

Company Description We are ABC Clothing, an environmentally-friendly manufacturer of apparel. We’ve developed a unique method of production and sourcing of materials that allows us to create eco-friendly products at a low cost . We have intellectual property for our production processes and materials, which gives us an advantage in the market.

  • Mission: Our mission is to use recycled materials and sustainable methods of production to create clothing products that are great for our customers and our planet.
  • Vision: Becoming a leader in the apparel industry while generating a positive impact on the environment.

Products & Services We offer high-quality clothing products for men, women and all genders. (Here you should include pictures of your product portfolio to spark the interest of your readers)

Industry & Market Analysis Even though the fashion industry’s year-over-year growth has been affected by pandemics in recent years, the global apparel market is expected to continue growing at a steady pace. In addition, the market share of sustainable apparel has grown year-over-year at a higher pace than the overall fashion industry.

Marketing Plan Our marketing plan relies on the use of digital marketing strategies and online sales, which gives us a competitive advantage over traditional retailers that focus their marketing efforts on brick-and-mortar stores.

Operations Our production plant is able to recycle different types of plastic and cotton waste to turn it into materials that we use to manufacture our products . We’ve partnered with a transportation company that sorts and distributes our products inside the United States efficiently and cost-effectively.

Financial Planning Our business is profitable, as documented in our balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement. The company doesn’t have any significant debt that might compromise its continuity. These and other financial factors make it a healthy investment.

Funding Request We’re requesting funding for the expansion of our production capacity, which will allow us to increase our production output in order to meet our increasing customer demand, enter new markets, reduce our costs and improve our competitiveness.

If you’d like to see more executive summary examples for your business plan, you can visit the U.S. small business administration website. They have business plans with executive summary examples you can download and use.

Executive summaries are also a great way to outline the elements of a project plan for a project proposal. Let’s learn what those elements are.

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Project Proposal

An executive summary for your project proposal will capture the most important information from your project management plan. Here’s the structure of our executive summary template:

  • Introduction: What’s the purpose of your project?
  • Company description: Show why you’re the right team to take on the project.
  • Need/problem: What is the problem that it’s solving?
  • Unique solution: What is your value proposition and what are the main selling points of your project?
  • Proof: Evidence, research and feasibility studies that support how your company can solve the issue.
  • Resources: Outline the resources needed for the project
  • Return on investment/funding request: Explain the profitability of your project and what’s in for the investors.
  • Competition/market analysis: What’s your target market? Who are your competitors? How does your company differentiate from them?
  • Marketing plan: Create a marketing plan that describes your company’s marketing strategies, sales and partnership plans.
  • Budget/financial planning: What’s the budget that you need for your project plan?
  • Timeline: What’s the estimated timeline to complete the project?
  • Team: Who are the project team members and why are they qualified?
  • Conclusions:  What are the project takeaways?

Now that we’ve learned that executive summaries can vary depending on the type of document you’re working on, you’re ready for the next step.

What to Do After Writing an Executive Summary

As with anything you write, you should always start with a draft. The first draft should hit all the marks addressed above but don’t bog yourself down in making the prose perfect. Think of the first draft as an exploratory mission. You’re gathering all the pertinent information.

Next, you want to thoroughly review the document to ensure that nothing important has been left out or missed. Make sure the focus is sharp and clear, and that it speaks directly to your potential client’s needs.

Proofread for Style & Grammar

But don’t neglect the writing. Be sure that you’re not repeating words, falling into cliché or other hallmarks of bad writing. You don’t want to bore the reader to the point that they miss the reason why you’re the organization that can help them succeed.

You’ve checked the content and the prose, but don’t forget the style. You want to write in a way that’s natural and not overly formal, but one that speaks in the manner of your target audience . If they’re a conservative firm, well then, maybe formality is called for. But more and more modern companies have a casual corporate culture, and formal writing could mistakenly cause them to think of you as old and outdated.

The last run should be proofing the copy. That means double-checking to ensure that spelling is correct, and there are no typos or grammatical mistakes. Whoever wrote the executive summary isn’t the best person to edit it, however. They can easily gloss over errors because of their familiarity with the work. Find someone who excels at copy-editing. If you deliver sloppy content, it shows a lack of professionalism that’ll surely color how a reader thinks of your company.

Criticism of Executive Summaries

While we’re advocating for the proper use of an executive summary, it’d be neglectful to avoid mentioning some critiques. The most common is that an executive summary by design is too simple to capture the complexity of a large and complicated project.

It’s true that many executives might only read the summary, and in so doing, miss the nuance of the proposal. That’s a risk. But if the executive summary follows the guidelines stated above, it should give a full picture of the proposal and create interest for the reader to delve deeper into the documents to get the details.

Remember, executive summaries can be written poorly or well. They can fail to focus on results or the solution to the proposal’s problem or do so in a vague, general way that has no impact on the reader. You can do a hundred things wrong, but if you follow the rules, then the onus falls on the reader.

ProjectManager Turns an Executive Summary Into a Project

Your executive summary got the project approved. Now the real work begins. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps you organize tasks, projects and teams. We have everything you need to manage each phase of your project, so you can complete your work on time and under budget.

Work How You Want

Because project managers and teams work differently, our software is flexible. We have multiple project views, such as the kanban board, which visualizes workflow. Managers like the transparency it provides in the production cycle, while teams get to focus only on those tasks they have the capacity to complete. Are you more comfortable with tasks lists or Gantt charts? We have those, too.

A screenshot of the Kanban board project view

Live Tracking for Better Management

To ensure your project meets time and cost expectations, we have features that monitor and track progress so you can control any deviations that might occur. Our software is cloud-based, so the data you see on our dashboard is always up to date, helping you make better decisions. Make that executive summary a reality with ProjectManager.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

You’ve now researched and written a persuasive executive summary to lead your proposal. You’ve put in the work and the potential client sees that and contracts you for the project. However, if you don’t have a reliable set of project management tools like Gantt charts , kanban boards and project calendars at hand to plan, monitor and report on the work, then all that preparation will be for nothing.

ProjectManager is online project management software that gives you real-time data and a collaborative platform to work efficiently and productively. But don’t take our word for it, take a free 30-day trial.

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5 Steps for Writing an Executive Summary

Table of contents.

what is the executive summary of the business plan

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

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

What is an executive summary?

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

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

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

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

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

How do you write an executive summary?

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

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

What should you include in an executive summary?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What should you avoid in an executive summary?

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

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

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

Executive summary templates and resources

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

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

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

Summing it all up

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

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

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

Caroline Forsey

Published: August 31, 2023

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

Executive summary with examples

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

Executive Summary

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

Some documents that may have an executive summary include:

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

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

what is the executive summary of the business plan

Free Executive Summary Template

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

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

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Executive Summary vs. Business Plan

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

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

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

Executive Summary vs. Mission Statement

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

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

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

Executive Summary vs. Company Description

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

Executive Summary vs. Objective

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

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

What is the purpose of an executive summary?

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

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

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

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

Follow Along With HubSpot's Executive Summary Template

Executive summary template from HubSpot

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How to write an executive summary.

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

1. Tell your story.

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

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

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

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

2. Highlight important data.

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

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

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

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

3. Pay attention to your tone.

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

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

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

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

4. Avoid cliché language.

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Write it after completing your business plan.

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Resource: Business Plan Template

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

Download Your Free Template Here

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

What to Include in Your Executive Summary

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

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

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

How long should an executive summary be?

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

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

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

Executive Summary Template

executive summary template from hubspot

Download Your Free Executive Summary Template Here

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

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

Ready? Download your free executive summary template .

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

Executive Summary Examples

1. connected.

executive summary example: connected

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Everything you need to write a killer executive summary for your business plan

What is Executive Summary—and Why Should You Care?

Executive Summary is the first and most important section of a business plan, providing a snapshot of the overall plan with the aim to compel the reader to continue reading the full document by highlighting its most important components and strengths .

Keep reading for insider tips from a professional business writer on how exactly to write a captivating executive summary that will maximize the impact and success of your business plan.

You’ll discover:

  • Why: Critical importance of an executive summary
  • What: The key elements you need to include
  • How: The best structure—length, layout and components

Importance: Why is Executive Summary Important in a Business Plan?

Executive summary is the most important part of a business plan because it is the first and only opportunity to grab readers’ interest as they review this section prior to deciding whether or not to read the rest of the document.

No matter how excellent your business idea, it is the executive summary alone that persuades a reader to spend more time with the plan to find out more about your venture.

Some financiers receive hundreds of business plans every month. Understandably, they do not read them all . Instead, they can tell in a couple of paragraphs if it is something they may be interested in.

The Executive Summary is so important, in fact, that some investors and lenders prefer to receive just the summary and financials before requesting the full business plan. So if you can hook your readers here, they will ask for more.

Similarly, senior decision-makers on many company or bank boards and committees will often read nothing else than an executive summary when approving a decision to back a business.

In other words, your Executive Summary is the  first impression  many readers will get of your business. Make sure it is a great one. Only a  clear ,  concise , and  compelling  summary of your business right up front twill persuade readers to wade through the rest of the plan.

Contents: What Should an Executive Summary for a Business Plan Include?

Executive summary brings the separate parts of a business plan together to sum up what the business is, where it is going, why it will be successful – and why it is worthy of backing . Highlight the most important and impressive facts about the company , management , offering , market , strategy and financials .

When completed, your executive summary will answer these questions for your readers:

  • What is your business all about ?
  • What are the most compelling qualities?
  • Is the business likely to succeed and why?

Executive summary is an introduction to your business, which provides a brief snapshot of your plan as a whole. To that end, concisely highlight the most important concepts and impressive features from each section of your completed plan, addressing the following areas:

Essentially, you should make it crystal clear to the that a compelling market opportunity exists for your product/service and demonstrate that your business is well-positioned to exploit it .

Remember to be brief and concise . Organize the information in a way that gives the best impression of your business to your target reader. Combine related topics if that improves the flow of the document.

If the readers of your executive summary conclude that the above elements exist in your business, they are likely to commit to reading the rest of your business plan.

So, let’s examine each of the key elements in more detail to make the reader excited about the potential of your business plan and interested to read further:

Mission Statement

Answer this question for your readers:

  • What is your business on a mission to create and why?

Aim: Convince the reader that your basic business concept makes sense.

Give a concise overview of your business idea, purpose and goals. Summarize why you have created this company and what your business is all about in one or two sentences, but no more than a paragraph.

Products and Services

Answer these questions for your readers:

  • What product(s) and/or service(s) does your business provide?
  • What problems are you solving for your target customers and how?
  • What makes your product/service different and compelling for the customers to buy?

Aim: Demonstrate to the reader that your product/service solves a real problem in the market and that the problem is worth solving.

Briefly describe the products and services your company provides and what problems you solve for your target customers, making the case for why your product will be successful:

Description:

List the products or services your company sells or plans to sell.

Problem & Solution:

Explain the need for the products or services:

  • Problem: Summarize the problem your product/service solves and why it is worth solving. In other words, what is it that your customers need and cannot find elsewhere.
  • Solution: Summarize how you will solve the problem that your customers face.

Value Proposition:

Outline why your product or service will be valuable to your customers and the advantages that will make it compelling enough for them to purchase.

Market Opportunity

  • Who are your (ideal) target customers?
  • Is there a real market demand for your product/service?
  • What is the size of the market opportunity?

Aim: Convince the reader that large and compelling market demand opportunity exists for your product/service.

List the target market you intend to reach and explain why you chose it:

Target Market:

Provide a brief description of your ideal customers and how do they break down into recognizable types or segments.

Market Analysis:

Indicate that you have done thorough market analysis by providing a summary of your market research results, including:

  • How many potential customers are there for your solution (target market)
  • What proportion of the market your company can reasonably capture (market share)
  • Forecast estimating what the future holds for the industry and market demand

Competitive Advantage

  • Who are your competitors?
  • How is the market currently divided?
  • What advantages does your company have over the competition?

Aim: Convince the reader that your business has a significant competitive edge to succeed in your target market.

This section is where you describe the gap in your target market, how your solution can fill it, and the competitive advantages that will enable you to exploit this market gap.

Hence, include information about your competition and what differentiates your business:

Competitors and Market Distribution:

Who are you up against? What other options do your customers have to address their needs? Indicate the nature of your competition and how the market is currently divided.

Competitive Advantage:

What comparative advantage does your product/service have?

Show your conclusions on your company’s competitive position and why your company will be able to compete successfully. Remember to list any important distinctions, such as patents, major contracts, or letters-of-intent.

Unique Selling Proposition:

What unique selling proposition will help your business succeed?

What makes your solution better for your customers compared to the competition?

Is competition going to get tougher?

Summarize your conclusions on whether competition is going to intensify going forward.

Company Description

Company information:.

  • Is the management team capable?
  • What are the basic details of your business?
  • What is the company’s current stage of development?
  • What are some of the milestones you’ve met?

Aim: Convince the reader that your business has the right structure and capable management team in place to succeed.

Your goal is to demonstrate that you are well-positioned to exploit the market opportunity by highlighting the positive factors in your company’s management, structure and history.

Company Details:

Include a short statement that covers the basic company details, such as the company name, when your business was formed, the names of the founders and their roles, number of employees, business location(s), and legal status.

Stage of Development:

State whether your company is a startup or continuing business, when it was founded, how far along the product or service is in its creation, and if you’ve already made sales or started shipping.

Track Record:

  • If you are an established business, provide a brief history of the company’s trading activity to date, including financial and market growth highlights.
  • If you are just starting a business, you won’t have as much information as an established company. Instead, focus on your experience and background as well as the decisions that led you to start this particular enterprise.

Management:

Briefly describe the bios of the key members of your management team , particularly those of company founders/owners , as well as the key professional advisors .

What do they bring to the table that will position your company well to take advantage of the market opportunity and make the business a success?

Highlight management’s vision and passion , along with the relevant skills , experience , qualifications , subject-matter expertise , business acumen , industry connections and other capabilities as they relate to the venture.

Operations:

Showcase the key operational features that will give the business a competitive edge.

This could include anything from an advantageous location, through innovative manufacturing technology and processes, to preferential supplier and distribution agreements – and anything in between.

Outline the strategy to achieve the company’s goals and continuously strengthen its competitive position.

Next, indicate the keys to success that you intend to use in order to implement that strategy, such as:

  • Marketing and Sales: Briefly describe the methods you will utilize to reach your target customers to market your offering and secure sales.
  • Operations and Resources: Summarize the most important resources and operational features your company will deploy to implement its strategy.

Address your plans for where you would like to take your business in the future.

Spell out the objectives you have for the company, what you plan to do:

  • Where do you expect the business to be in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years ?
  • What are some of the key milestones you plan to meet?
  • What are your long-term goals ?
  • What is your potential exit strategy ?

Make an educated projection for the expected performance of your business, including:

  • Sales volume and value
  • Cash flow position
  • Profitability
  • Number of employees
  • Number of locations
  • Market share
  • New products

Financial Forecast

Summarize the expected financial outlook and performance for your business, answering the following questions for your readers:

  • How much do you expect to make in the first year of your business?
  • What kind of growth do you expect to see in the following years?
  • If you do not expect your business to be profitable , do you have a strategic reason for running at a loss?
  • What are the key metrics that you need to watch?
  • Will your backers (if any) be able to get their money back and when ?
  • Are your financial projections realistic ?

In general, it is customary to indicate financial information for years one through three or five , depending on the requirements of the business plan reader. Typically, this includes Year 1 and Year 3 / 5 results; and Year 10 / long-term goals.

However, your readers can find the detail of the projected financials further on in the plan. In this section, only provide the highlights of your forecast and encourage the reader to keep reading to learn more about your company.

Funding Requirements

How will you fund your business to get it started and grow it to the next level?

  • Is it already self-sufficient?
  • Do you plan to invest your own money?
  • Do you seek outside financing?

If the business does not require any outside financing, you can note that here or just remove this section from your plan altogether.

When you are using the business plan for financing purposes, explain how much money is needed, from whom, and how you will utilize it to grow your business, hinting at an exit opportunity:

  • Existing Source of Funds: Include information about your current lenders and investors, if any.
  • Funding Requirements: Indicate how much money you are seeking, from what sources, and perhaps even under what conditions.
  • Use of Funds: Specify how the raised funds will be used.
  • Exit Strategy: Hint at how the backers will get their money out, with the expected timing and returns.

Tips: How Do You Write an Executive Summary?

Writing an executive summary is arguably the most fun – and important – part of writing a business plan.

You have already completed all the research, thinking and writing about market demand, competition, strategy, operations and financials.

All that is left to do now is to summarize the key conclusions into a coherent narrative , answering the million-dollar question:

Why is your plan worthy of backing?

Here are 7 tried and tested tips to prepare a compelling summary of your business that will convince the readers to read through the rest of your plan:

Target Audience (Tip #1)

Ask yourself: “Who will be reading my business plan?”

Since the summary is what the reader reads first, and may be the only section read at all, you can significantly improve your chances of a positive reception if you know the answer to that question before you prepare your executive summary.

Remember, your reader is only going to spend a few minutes , or even seconds , on your executive summary. This is especially true if you are targeting busy investors or lenders for whom it is not unusual to review more than 1,000 each year.

Naturally, the readers are going to focus on the issues that interest and concern them most . If you understand their priorities, you will be better able to craft the summary to “push the right buttons”. For example:

  • Bankers are likely to look for aspects of your business that minimize risk to make sure the loan is secure and they will get their money back.
  • Investors are focused on aspects that maximize the potential of your company scaling significantly and rapidly, because they will receive a share of that success.
  • Management may be interested in accessing new markets for the company.

Do your homework to discover the interests and concerns of your most likely business plan recipients, and then write and organize the summary in a way that most appeals to your target audience:

  • Place the issues most important to the reader near the top of your summary.
  • Order the sections in any way that gives the best impression of your business to your target reader.
  • In the text itself, give more emphasis to those aspects that concern your reader most.

If you are not able to identify the specific person who will read your plan, just focus on the general type of a person that is most likely to receive it and their concerns. 

However, it is not a good idea to tailor the executive summary for just one specific person or organization, especially if your plan is likely to end up in the hands multiple and/or unknown recipients.

To be on the safe side, target your summary to address general institutional concerns rather than individual preferences.

Insider Tips: Writing a Winning Executive Summary

Convey your enthusiasm (tip #2).

The Executive Summary enables the readers to quickly understand the highlights of your business and decide whether to commit more of their time to reading the full plan.

To that end, you need to motivate and entice the readers by your own optimism about how well-positioned your business is to exploit a compelling market opportunity, conveyed in a dynamic , positive and confident tone.

Write Executive Summary Last (Tip #3)

Your executive summary will be the last chapter of the business plan that you prepare.

Even though the executive summary always appears first in the completed document, it is usually crafted last after you have had a chance to carefully consider all key aspects of your business throughout the rest of the plan.

The executive summary is the place where you bring all your planning together and sum up the separate parts of your business proposal to provide an overall outline and highlight the strengths of your entire plan.

Therefore, you will find it much easier and faster to come back and produce this section once you have completed the rest of your business plan.

That way, you will have thought through all the elements of your business, work out the details, and be prepared to summarize them. This approach will not only increase the consistency and accuracy of the plan, but also help make it more compelling .

So, if you have not yet finalized the other sections of your plan, proceed to the next section, and return to the executive summary when you have completed the rest of your plan.

Once finished, the executive summary will become “ Chapter 1 ” of your business plan document.

Summarize Highlights (Tip #4)

A good summary contains highlights from all of the subsequent sections of the business plan.

To achieve that, select the key points from each section of your completed plan by summarizing conclusions you have reached in each area. Remember to focus only on the most important and impressive features of your business.

What sets your business apart from the competition? Early on in your summary, showcase your distinguishing qualities and make sure you describe your winning concept in a way that any reader can easily grasp .

Use logical writing to tell a story, freely changing the order of sections and combining related topics if that helps to improve the flow and make a good impression.

Make Each Word Count (Tip #5)

The executive summary provides a brief snapshot of your business, casting a spotlight on the most important facts and concepts from your entire business plan.

As a result, this section should be clear , concise and to the point. Make each word should count.

Avoid Jargon (Tip #6)

In case the summary read by people unfamiliar with your industry, avoid any technical jargon or provide sufficient explanatory notes .

Edit, Edit, … And Edit Some More (Tip #7)

By the time you reach the executive summary, you may be tired from all the planning and writing. However, remember that this really is the most important section of the business plan.

The best investment you can make is to spend sufficient time to perfect the summary, including ruthless editing . There are professional editors who can help you make it flawless.

Design: How Do You Design an Executive Summary?

Looks matter. Your business plan will be well researched, analysed and written, but it must also be well presented. While your plan will ultimately be judged on the quality of your business concept and strategy, you also want to make sure it gives the best first impression possible.

And nowhere is presentation more important than in the executive summary, because for all readers it will be the first page(s) they read – and some will read nothing else.

The key advice here is: Break it Up . Large, dense blocks of text intimidate readers.

Dividing the Summary text with paragraph headings, bullet points and white space makes the information on a page more inviting and appealing:

  • Paragraphs: Break up the Summary into paragraphs that roughly mirror the sections of your business plan
  • Brief: Keep each topic as brief as possible
  • Subheads: Insert informative topic headings at the beginning of each paragraph to help readers’ quick comprehension
  • Bullets: Use bullet points to highlight the most compelling information
  • Numbers: Use numbers instead of words where appropriate
  • Visuals: Include a (small) chart or graph if it helps to clarify an important point
  • Spacing: Use white space to break up the text to make the page look less intimidating. Single space text, but leave an extra line of space between paragraphs.

Because you are limited to so few pages, it may seem counterintuitive to give up space for visual considerations, but these effective techniques make your Summary much more accessible to the business plan readers.

The way you prepare and present the executive summary is an indicator of your professionalism. A polished Summary sheds a favourable light on your business. A sloppy one works against you.

Length: How long is an executive summary?

The executive summary in a business plan should be no more than 2-3 pages in length, with 1 page being perfectly acceptable and often preferable. The advantage to the busy business plan reader is that they are able to skim through this short summary in a few seconds and read it in full in less than 5 minutes .

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What is an executive summary in a business plan?

Including an executive summary in your business plan can grab attention and help communicate key information quickly.

A business plan written up in a notebook

What is a business plan?

A business plan is the blueprint for how your business will run. It describes your product or service, identifies your customer and the problem they face, and explains how you’ll succeed in fixing that for them.

Your business plan also helps other people understand what you do and how you do it. Groups like banks and investors will want to see your business plan before deciding to put money into your business, for example. Your accountant should also be able to easily understand what your business idea is and how you’ll make money from it.

It’s a living document that can help you clarify your ideas and maintain a clear direction as you grow. It shouldn’t be just a one-off document – you can return to it at any time and add to it or change it as your business changes.

Looking for help to build your business plan? Download our free business plan templates to get started.

The executive summary is the elevator pitch for the rest of your business plan. Use it to highlight what you do, why you do it and how you’ll succeed.

It’s often the first section that a person will read in your business plan, so this is your opportunity to "sell" your idea and its potential for success.

It should explain enough that a reader could understand the key information about your business without having to read the whole document – this is especially helpful for readers who are pushed for time. However, a compelling executive summary will also grab someone’s attention enough to make them want to keep reading.

While it’s a helpful section for rushed readers, you may feel an executive summary isn’t absolutely necessary just yet. Think about your audience and the complexity of your business plan when weighing up the benefit of having an executive summary.

How does an executive summary differ from a mission statement or business objective?

A mission statement outlines the overall purpose and vision of your business, and a business objective is a specific goal or target you’ll aim for to help you achieve that vision.

The executive summary could include both your mission statement and business objectives. However, it should ultimately be a high-level overview of your whole business plan.

What to include in an executive summary

Treat your executive summary as the one and only section someone may read in your business plan. What must they know in order to understand your business?

Pull the key high-level information from other parts of your business plan, including:

  • what your business does and why you do it
  • your mission statement, if you have one
  • your target customers, the problem they face and how you solve it for them
  • the product or service you’re selling
  • any key information from competitor or market research that helps tell your story
  • a schedule to launch, or steps to implement your business plan

If you’re approaching lenders or investors for financing, include key financial information and your plans for growth in your executive summary too.

How to write an executive summary

It’s a good idea to fill in the other sections of your business plan first, before deciding what goes in an executive summary. This way, you have complete information for you to draw from.

Aim to summarize the key sections of your business plan in a few sentences using plain language that’s easy to understand. Include any important data or information that backs up your ideas, and leave out personal opinions.

Beware of copying and pasting information from other parts of your plan; the executive summary should be as specific and concise as possible. An executive summary that’s too general, or padded with unnecessary detail might lose the reader’s interest.

Think about who will read your business plan, and what they’ll be interested in. For example, if you want to connect with lenders or investors, promote the size of the opportunity for your business, and how much money you’ll need to make it a success.

There’s no strict rule about length, but it should remain clear and engaging the whole way through. Keeping to one page is a good general guide to maintain your reader’s attention without overwhelming them.

Ultimately, an executive summary should benefit your business plan by laying out critical information clearly and simply upfront. An engaging, informative summary will help key people understand your plan and your needs, so they can offer guidance and support your success.

You can find tips on business planning and more in How to start a business

Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided.

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How to write an executive summary in 10 steps

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

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

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

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What is an executive summary?

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

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

Why do you need to write one?

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

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

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

What should be included in an executive summary?

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

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

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

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

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

How do you write an executive summary?

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

Step 1: Get to know the document

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

Step 2: Know your audience

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

Step 3: Outline the structure

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

Step 4: Start strong

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

Step 5: Summarize objectives and methodology

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

Step 6: Highlight key findings

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

Step 7: Present key recommendations

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

Step 8: Keep it snappy

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

Step 9: Review and polish

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

Step 10: Dress to impress

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

Tips for writing an effective executive summary

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

Executive summary template for business plans

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

[Your Company Name]

[Business Plan Title]

Business overview

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

Market analysis

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

Product or service offering

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

Business model

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

Marketing and sales strategy

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

Management team

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

Financial projections

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

Funding requirements

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

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

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

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

Executive summary examples

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

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

Example 1: executive summary for a communications business plan

Introduction:

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

Market opportunity:

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

Product offering:

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

Unique value proposition:

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

Target market:

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

Business model:

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

Marketing and sales strategy:

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

Team and expertise:

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

Financial projections:

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

Funding requirements:

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

Conclusion:

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

Example 2: executive summary for a project proposal

[Project Name]

[Project Proposal Date]

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

Project overview:

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

Objectives:

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

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

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

Implementation timeline:

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

Resource requirements:

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

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

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

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

Is an executive summary the same as a project plan?

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

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

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

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

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

Executive summaries vs. abstracts

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

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

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

When do you use an executive summary?

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

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

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

5 ways project managers can use executive summaries

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

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

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

When should you not use an executive summary?

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

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

Final thoughts on writing a compelling executive summary

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

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

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Mistakes To Avoid When Writing an Executive Summary

Learn how to create a strong executive summary for your business plan

  • Writing Your Executive Summary First

Making the Executive Summary Too Long

Not engaging the reader, how to write a good executive summary, frequently asked questions (faqs).

paulaphoto / Getty Images

Writing an executive summary is a key step in creating a business plan. An executive summary is a brief synopsis of your business's main points—but more than that, it's an opportunity to draw in the reader.

If you plan to apply for small business loans or seek funding from investors, it's important to have an executive summary that makes a solid first impression. Crafting a well-written summary begins with knowing which mistakes to avoid.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan executive summary offers an overview of the plan itself and what the business is all about.
  • An effective executive summary conveys the most important aspects of the plan in short form while pushing the reader to want to learn more.
  • Rambling and including unrealistic goals or projections are some of the most common mistakes business owners make when writing an executive summary.
  • It may be worth investing in a professionally written business plan if you're struggling to create a memorable executive summary or flesh out the other parts of the plan.

Writing Your Executive Summary Before Other Parts of the Business Plan

An executive summary is meant to sum up the main takeaways of the business plan. Focusing on writing an executive summary before you've outlined the rest of your business plan can be a mistake if you're not able to summarize the business accurately.

A traditional business plan looks something like this:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Organization and management
  • Service and product line
  • Marketing and sales
  • Funding request
  • Financial projections

Although the executive summary is the first thing the reader sees, it should be the last thing you write after you've covered all the other sections in detail. This can help ensure you're including the most important elements in the executive summary.

A business plan for a startup may look very different and emphasize things such as key partnerships, customer relationships, revenue streams, and the company's overall value proposition.

An executive summary should encapsulate all the major points of your business plan in a few paragraphs. A good rule of thumb when writing an executive summary for a business plan is to make it no more than three to five pages. Anything longer than that and your reader may get confused or bored.

Allocating one paragraph for each section included in your business plan can help you keep the length under control. Remember, the executive summary is sort of like the highlight reel that you're using to pique the reader's interest. You want to hit the high points first and dig into the meatier details later.

If three to five pages doesn’t work, aim to have your executive summary length be equivalent to 5% to 10% of the total business plan length.

A good executive summary should capture your reader's attention and encourage them to continue reading the rest of your business plan. Writing an executive summary that's dry or lacks a sense of personality can be off-putting to readers.

While your business plan executive summary should include some key facts about your business, it doesn't simply have to be a lot of figures or bland details. Instead, think of it as telling your business's story in a nutshell. Be selective with your wording and leave out anything unnecessary to the key points you're trying to make.

Consider what kind of return on investment (ROI) you might be able to get by outsourcing the executive summary or business plan to a professional writer versus writing it yourself.

Writing an executive summary for a business plan shouldn't be stressful if you know what mistakes to avoid and what to include. Here are some simple tips for writing an effective executive summary:

  • Write it last : It's worth repeating that the executive summary should be the last thing you write after you've completed the rest of the business plan. Writing the summary last ensures that you have all the information you need to write it comprehensively.
  • Tell your story : Your executive summary is a chance to hook readers, and sharing some of your business story can be a great way to do just that. Just remember to keep the summary on point and avoid unnecessary tangents.
  • Show your passion : It's OK to show your passion for or belief in your business in the executive summary. In fact, that can be a good thing if it conveys to investors or lenders that you're committed to making the business a success.
  • Tailor it to your reader : The way you approach a small business lender may be very different from how you approach an investor if you need funding to launch or grow your company. So your executive summary should be written in a way designed to appeal to each type of reader while offering the most pertinent information they want to see. Also, consider the industry you're in. If you run a retail store, for example, your executive summary and business plan may look different from one for a construction business.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread : Spelling errors, grammatical errors, and typos can tank even the most well-written executive summary. Before finalizing your business plan, it's wise to review it thoroughly to look for any mistakes that need to be corrected. You can also ask someone else to copy edit it for you.

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is the introductory section of a business plan that showcases key information about the business. An executive summary offers an overview of your business at a glance and should be designed to entice the reader to learn more.

How long should an executive summary be?

Generally speaking, an executive summary should be no more than five pages or 5% to 10% of the total length of the business plan. An executive summary that's too long may cause readers to lose interest, while one that's too short may not be compelling enough to convince them to keep reading.

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Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

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Arizona State University. “ Executive Summary .”

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. " The Executive Summary. "

what is the executive summary of the business plan

How to Write an Executive Summary (With Example)

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Keeping up with long documents like business plans or project proposals can be a tricky task. I wrote my first business plan when I started my company (so I know the firsthand challenges). I've learned a lot since then — and, most importantly, the need to put a lot of thought into it and make ideas work.

A business plan or project proposal may not seem like the most important or complicated document, but it can guide the entire company and can even be shared with investors to win prospects. But there's another document that's equally important — and that is an executive summary.

It's a short, informative version of the long document — business plan or proposal — that includes all the critical information anyone needs in one go. Here's how to write an executive summary (with examples) so you never have to read the entire report just to get a few details.

What is an Executive Summary?

Before I get into how to write an executive summary, let's first understand what it is. An executive summary is a short, informative overview of a long document that clearly defines the main idea of the business plan, report paper, or project proposal.

Executive summary for a business plan or project proposal

Think of it as boiling the entire document (concept, vision, outcome, and everything in between) down to a few pages. Its length typically depends on the particular document you're summarizing — and can be somewhere between 1-2 pages.

Of course, executive summaries are unique documents, so there's no one-size-fits-all. Depending on what you're summarizing — a business plan, project proposal, annual report, or research document — your summary will look a little different.

How to Write a Great Executive Summary?

Writing a long document and summarizing only the important information from one are two different things. Unlike your original document, which outlines everything in detail, the executive summary condenses the main idea into a few pages.

Here's how to write an executive summary with a clear roadmap.

Step 1: Tell Your Company's Mission & Vision

Start the executive summary by telling your company's story or the mission statement of the business plan — and try to communicate the vision you have for it. It should reflect your goals, values, and other important details that were discussed in the business plan — setting the tone for the rest of the summary. Ask yourself if the first few lines will make your business sound profitable, credible, and feasible.

Step 2: Highlight the Project's Objectives

Next, focus on the project objectives or discuss the problem you will be solving. Your aim here is to provide readers with a comprehensive view of the key findings and insights from the long document. You might even include a basic explanation about the target market and address the pain points for more clarity.

Alt Text: Takes notes about the project’s objectives

Step 3: Explain the Solution

Describe the project in detail and lean heavily on the solutions — in an authoritative language. Identifying the target audience and writing the project objectives isn't enough, you'll need to provide solutions or any results that they can expect. You can even include project risks, relevant financial information, and potential benefits covered in the business document.

Step 4: Wrap with a Conclusion

You've successfully covered the project objectives (problems) and provided the solutions — great! But as we've often heard, 'It ain't over till it's over,' and the summary ain't over yet. At the end, conclude by highlighting the key findings, presenting the key recommendations, and writing the next actionable steps (future plans) — guiding readers on what to do next.

Example of an Executive Summary

The simple executive summary for the business plan template outlines the key business objectives, problems, and solutions — in only 1-2 pages. Compiling all this information into one document will help the readers (business partners, team, and even investors) understand the main idea and navigate the plan.

Here's an executive summary example for a business plan I put together to give you a quick idea of what it might look like once it is complete.

Example: Executive Summary Format for Business Plans

[Your Company Name]: XYZ [Business Plan Title] [Date] [Mission] The mission of XYZ is to deliver products that are sustainable, eco-friendly, and ethical. [Vision] The vision is to play a major role in shaping a sustainable world. [The Product] At XYZ, we create products and services that meet the customer requirements — and are made from eco-friendly, recyclable, and renewable materials. [Position Yourself as an Expert] With over three major players that are dominating the market, we stand out by manufacturing more environment-friendly products. [The Future Plans] By 2030, we will launch a recycling program in five big cities. Looking ahead to 2050, our goal is to supply recyclable and renewable products to all top-tier brands.

Tips for Writing an Effective Executive Summary

Before you start putting the executive summary together, ask yourself whether you understand the business plan. Once you've read it properly, here are a few more tips for writing an effective business plan executive summary .

Write for Your Audience

The tone, language, pronoun use, and personalization of the executive summary will depend on your audience. If the people reading the summary have a technical background, a mix of professional and technical words would make sense.

Write the executive summary by keeping the audience in mind

You'll need to extract all the important information from the business plan and write it in 1-2 pages — and it's only possible if you understand the main idea before writing and write straight to the point. Remember your audience is reading the summary because they want short and crisp information — so don't overcomplicate it.

Use Engaging Language

Your executive summary should reflect the truth and key highlights of the business plan in an engaging tone. Keep the executive summary professional and concise — that's true to the target audience and your company. Many people often miss writing facts and figures — and that's where they make a mistake. I'd recommend you focus on presenting facts, figures, and evidence in a straightforward and engaging way.

Ask Others to Review the Summary

Great ideas can come from any level — even if they're not directly related to the business plan. Once your business plan executive summary is ready, ask someone from your team to review it. You might also ask your senior or mentor to read the summary and give you fair feedback — and, most importantly, meet the reason behind writing it.

Ask team members to review the executive summary

Use the AI Summarizer App

There's very little chance that the first time you try to write a summary, the output is exactly what you're looking for. You need to read, write, test, refine, write, test, and so on until you get an outcome you're happy with.

Automation with AI keeps systems running smoothly — and generating an executive summary is no exception. If you don't want to struggle manually, you can even check out the popular AI summarizers — and see if it meets your needs.

One such tool is the Notta Web App which comes with some amazing features like recording , transcribing , and summarizing media (audio and video) files. If the business plan is in recorded (audio or video) format, you can transcribe the speech to text using the Notta Web App.

Notta Web App to transcribe and summarize media files

When you have the transcript ready, just use the Notta AI Summary Generator to summarize the key highlights, different chapters, and action items — with the help of advanced AI. You can check my ultimate AI summarizers guide , where I've reviewed the 10 best apps for generating executive summaries.

Try Notta - the best online transcription & summarization tool. Transcribe and summarize your conversations and meetings quickly with high accuracy.

Start for Free

How Long Should an Executive Summary Be?

Typically, an executive summary should be 1-2 pages long — but that's not the exact length that you should follow. That's because there's no hard and fast rule to 'how long should an executive summary be.'

But there's a trick: the executive summary length will directly depend on the document you are summarizing. In the end, the length should engage the readers and keep them hooked till the end. Try not to include any fluff and focus only on the important details.

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Project Proposal? 

Every client needs a slightly tweaked proposal copy with all the necessary details and crucial terms included. While the complete project proposal is important to catch the potential client's eye, you'll also need a short and informative executive summary.

Here's how to write an executive summary of the project plan:

You must start by describing the problem briefly and clearly — using active words. While writing the problem, make sure to include why it needs a solution.

The next step is to give your client the proper solution — right away. Here, you'll need to include specific numbers and even outcomes to define possible profits that the client can expect.

It's not enough to write a problem and then give the solution — the real power lies in how well you explain it. Don't go into full detail, but give an overview of the steps that helped you reach the solution.

It might feel good to overlook the risks while presenting the project plan — but the best way to win the proposal is to include potential challenges and offer some ways to avoid them.

Remember, investors are not mind-readers, and neither are your customers. An executive summary of the business plan or project proposal is the sum of the ideas, vision, passion, and other important things you shared in the long document.

Key Takeaways

Many business owners often overlook the importance of an executive summary — but, in reality, it's one such document that can guide the team and help customers learn about the company. 

If you are struggling with how to write an executive summary , start by downloading a free template and then fill in the information according to your business plan. 

If that feels time-consuming, I'd recommend you check the AI note-taking tool like Notta . It can record, transcribe, and then summarize the media file into short, meaningful text.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is an executive summary?

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

Business Plan Executive Summary Example and Template.

The purpose of an executive summary

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

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

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

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

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

How to write an executive summary for a business plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to include in the executive summary of your business plan

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

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

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

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

1. Business opportunity

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

2. Target market

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

3. Business model

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

4. Marketing/Sales strategy

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

‍ 5. Competition

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

6. Financial analysis

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

7. Owners/Staff

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

8. Implementation plan

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

Effective executive summary examples

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

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

Mission statement

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

Company information

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

Financial summary

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

Future goals

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

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

Executive summary/business plan example: Vegan Protein Blitz

Company: Vegan Protein Blitz: Animal-free protein powder ‍

Our Mission

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

The Company and Management

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

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

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

Our Product

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

Our Competitive Advantages

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

Financial Considerations

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

Startup Financing Requirements

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

More executive summary templates

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

  • US Small Business Association
  • Template.net

Final tips for writing an executive summary

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

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

Brush up on your writing skills

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

Get to the point

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

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

Get feedback

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

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what is the executive summary of the business plan

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what is the executive summary of the business plan

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How to Write a Business Plan Executive Summary

  • Written By Dave Lavinsky

inspire investors to read more

What is the Executive Summary?

A business plan executive summary is a short overview of your business plan for investors who are interested in learning more about your startup or existing business. It should be concise, engaging, and informative.

What is the Purpose of the Business Plan Executive Summary?

The purpose of an executive summary is to give potential investors insight into your goals and intentions as well as an understanding of the specifics surrounding your business. It includes all the information the reader needs to know in order to make an investment decision.

The executive summary is the first thing that your audience will read to get an idea about what your business is all about. You can make it easy for them by providing a concise explanation of what your business does, why it’s needed, how you plan on making money from it, and what customers you’re targeting. This means that the document needs to cover all these important points while being brief enough to not scare away readers who might want more information about your business venture.

How Long Should a Business Plan Executive Summary Be?

The executive summary for a business plan should generally be between one and three pages long; more than that may appear excessive to the reader, while less may not provide enough information to convince an investor to provide funding for your company.

Steps to Writing an Executive Summary

  • Write the Executive Summary Last . Once you’ve completed writing your entire business plan, you’ll have learned the key points which set your business apart and which should convince readers to join you.
  • Make a List of the Most Important Points . Write a sentence or bullet point for each argument you want to include in the executive summary. Include all the things you want to cover in your summary, including market research and analysis, management team, financial information, product development plans, and projected growth plans. You can also use headers to keep your thoughts organized.
  • Describe Your Company’s Unique Background . Potential investors will want to know what makes you qualified to execute on your ideas, so here’s where you elaborate on all of your experience and insight into the business world. Include any other projects that your team members have been successful with in the past along with information regarding why you’re qualified to achieve the business’ goals.
  • Identify Your Product or Service . You need to provide a description that gives potential investors a clear image of what you’re offering whether it’s something tangible, like a product, or something intangible, like software or a service.
  • Explain the Benefits of Your Product or Service . This is a key part of your executive summary. Here you need to identify why your product or service is better than other options and how it appeals to your target audience.
  • Address Issues or Concerns Head On . Your potential investors are going to want to know if there are any risks involved with working with their company so they can decide if they want to take them on. Here you need to talk about the problems that may arise from implementing your plan and how they can be addressed if or when they happen.
  • Describe Your Management Team . Document the qualifications of your team and how your team has the experience and expertise to make your company a success.

Tips for a Great Executive Summary

Make it short but informative. If you can summarize the key points in just one page, do it. If you need up to 3 pages to detail the key information, that’s ok too.

Investors invest in people more than ideas. The most successful business plan summaries highlight the founders’ passion and enthusiasm for their project as well as their background and achievements. Investors want to know about the team members involved in the venture – who are they? Why do they matter? Who is managing whom? How experienced are the entrepreneurs?

Explain exactly what your product or service does. This includes how it will benefit customers and why there’s a need for it. You should also show how your business is different and why you’re better than the competition.

Make sure you proofread everything. It all comes down to attention to detail, so make sure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors before you distribute the document. Not only will this make it look professional, but it’ll also show potential investors that you respect their time and don’t plan on wasting it by making careless mistakes during your business endeavors.

Business Plan Executive Summary Example

The executive summary is a brief overview of your business that serves as the first thing an investor will read when they consider investing in your business. It should be concise and informative without sounding like a marketing brochure. It includes all the information needed for them to make their decision about whether or not they want to invest in your business venture.

Below is an example of an executive summary:

Hosmer Sunglasses Executive Summary

Company & concept.

Hosmer Sunglasses (hereinafter referred to as “Hosmer” or “the Company”), is a California-based sunglass manufacturer offering the most cutting-edge sunglass frames in the world today. Along with a chic appearance, DNS frames have a unique characteristic that satisfies sport enthusiast consumers – silicon hinges. These hinges are exceptionally flexible and can be bent from a 90-degree angle to a 180-degree angle without breaking. This characteristic results in an intricate blend of comfort and durability heretofore unseen in the sunglass industry.

The Hosmer brand is poised for success in the U.S., and throughout North America, because it is a proven, unique product with meaningful consumer benefits. Consider the following:

  • The Hosmer brand is currently distributed in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and England, where over the past two years, over 1 million pairs have been sold per year.
  • The brand’s success in fashion-conscious France and western Europe should translate well to fashion-conscious Americans.
  • Hosmer’s hinge differentiates the brand from every other sunglass company. It is a unique product difference that provides consumers with both fashion and performance, two key consumer needs.
  • Hosmer recently launched U.S. operations and has already sold Hosmer sunglasses through nearly 15 retailers in four western states, and has established endorsements with over 20 sports celebrities.

Hosmer has a solid foundation from which to grow, great products with unique features, a superb management team, and an ideal climate to break into the $2.9 billion U.S. sunglass industry.

Industry Analysis

According to the Sunglass Association of America, retail sales of plano (non-prescription) sunglasses, clip-on sunglasses, and children’s sunglasses (hereinafter collectively referred to as “sunwear”) totaled $2.9 billion last year. Premium-priced sunglasses are driving the plano sunwear market. Plano sunglasses priced at $100 or more accounted for more than 49% of all sunwear sales among independent retail locations last year.

The Sunglass Association of America has projected that the dollar volume for retail sales of plano sunwear will grow 1.7% next year. Plano sunglass vendors are also bullish about sales in this year and beyond as a result of the growth of technology, particularly the growth of laser surgery and e-commerce.

Customers and Competition

Buyers of premium sports sunglasses are typically males aged 15-35 who participate in non-traditional outdoor sports referred to as “extreme sports” — i.e., skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, mountain bike riding, and motorcycling. They also include participants of certain traditional sports, including skiing, volleyball, and golf.

Customer ratings show that a key need of extreme sports participants with regards to sunglasses is durability. While many participants are satisfied with the looks of sunglasses by manufacturers such as Oakley, they vigorously complain that such glasses tend to break easily. Since sunglasses are most prone to break at the hinge, and since Hosmer sunglasses have silicon hinges, they are unlikely to break. And, although several companies market premium sports sunglasses to this customer base, none manufactures sunglasses with silicon hinges or with the superior quality of DNS frames.

Within the premium sunglass market, it is projected that Hosmer’s primary competitors will be Smith, Dragon, Arnette (owned by Luxottica Group), Spy, Black Flys, Oakley, and Bolle.

Marketing Plan

Hosmer’s initial target market is males aged 15-35 who participate in the extreme and traditional sports noted above. This group consists primarily of “early adopters” who are most likely to be attracted to the unique Hosmer brand. Penetrating this segment will build a “buzz” around the brand, which will cause other customer groups to purchase the product soon thereafter.

Hosmer will initially offer the 8 DNS frames that have hinges. These frames will be available in a variety of colors and lens types, resulting in a selection of approximately 50 different SKUs. Hosmer controls the lenses it installs in the DNS frames. Currently, the Company uses Paletz Sulter lenses and is considering a switch to Sola lenses for some or all its frames. Both Paletz Sulter and Sola are top-notch brands, either of which would protect Hosmer wearers from the well-documented perils of excessive exposure to sunlight. By virtue of the superior design and quality of both its frames and lenses, Hosmer’s sunglasses command a premium price of $90 to $130.

Distribution will be developed through a network of representatives. At the outset, Hosmer will utilize the following outlets for distribution of the Hosmer brand: (1) independent sporting goods specialty stores; (2) sporting goods retail chains; (3) sunglass specialty stores; (4) specialty/trendy stores; and (5) optical retailers.

Hosmer has developed a comprehensive promotions strategy. It will market to retailers through advertisements in trade journals and trade show exhibitions, in addition to direct sales from representatives. Consumers will be targeted via grassroots marketing campaigns including attending and sponsoring various surfing events, biking events, and skateboard tournaments and exhibitions. The company will also advertise in the print and cable media that is most popular among the target audience. Hosmer will also continue to recruit celebrity endorsers and create strategic alliances. Dozens of professional and amateur athletes already wear the Hosmer brand. Finally, Hosmer is developing a comprehensive website that educates consumers about the Company and its products.

Management Team

The Company has not only assembled a top-notch management team but one with extremely strong marketing backgrounds. The team includes:

  • Jane Smith , President, whose experience includes…
  • Bob Smith , Vice President of Sales & Marketing, whose experience includes…
  • Jen Smith , Sales Manager, whose experience includes…
  • Mike Smith , Manager of Endorsements, whose experience includes…

Financial Plan

The average pair of Hosmer sunglasses wholesales for $55.39 and costs Hosmer approximately $15 landed (after shipping, etc.). The result is substantial gross margins of 72.9%. The Company expects sales and profitability over the next five years to be as follows:

Year 1 losses result from the substantial infrastructure (e.g., staffing, general and administrative expenses, etc.) and marketing expenditures needed to promote the Hosmer brand. The long-term increase of sales due to these efforts yield a nearly break-even Year 2, and increasing sales and net income thereafter.

Hosmer currently seeks $5 million, primarily for infrastructure, marketing, inventory, and working capital needs. The Company’s exit strategy is the most likely strategic acquisition or sales of distribution rights in the U.S. and/or other regions.

How PlanBuildr Can Help

If you need help writing an executive summary, our business plan writers are here to help. We’ve worked with 1,000+ entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives to help them craft a successful business plan including an executive summary to grab an investor’s attention from the very beginning.

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executive summary

What is an Executive Summary (with Example): The 5 Mistakes You Should Avoid 

Debashis Konger

  • March 14, 2022

An executive summary is a concise overview of what something is about.

As a business professional, you know that an excellent executive summary can make a big difference in how well a document gets read and understood by others.

Whether you’re writing a proposal or report or just trying to get someone interested in your idea, having a clear and concise summary makes a huge difference.

Table of Contents

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary (ES) or executive outline is a condensed version of a longer document.

The ES should contain the main points of the report. In addition, it should include information such as the purpose of the study, the methodology used, the findings, the conclusions, and recommendations.

An executive summary is usually written for senior executives unfamiliar with the topic at hand.

This type of writing is often found in reports, presentations, proposals, and other documents where the writer has limited time to convey important information.

An executive summary should always begin with the title; then immediately follow with a concise sentence stating the purpose of the study.

Next, present a brief overview of the project and its goals. After that, summarize the significant findings of the research. Finally, provide a conclusion that summarizes the key takeaways from the study.

what-is-an-executive-summary

  • Every time you sit down to write an executive summary, you have to reinvent the wheel and make it 100% tailored to that one customer, that one investor, or that one board member. ( storydoc.com )

How to Write an Executive Summary and Why to Write it?

Executive summary writing is similar to writing a business plan.

The main difference between the two is that a business plan focuses on financial projections, whereas an executive summary focuses on what you’re going to do about something.

When you write an executive summary, you’re writing about a specific project that you’ve decided to take on.

For example, you could write an executive summary for a research paper, a proposal, or a thesis.

But most people use them when they prepare their annual reports and/or quarterly reports for stockholders.

Writing an executive summary takes some practice, but if you work hard enough, you’ll eventually get better at this skill.

Whether you’re preparing a report for school or work, a cover letter, or a proposal, an executive summary can help communicate your ideas to others more effectively.

1. Start With the Title – Include the Project Purpose

The first step in creating an executive summary is to decide on the overall purpose of the document.

This could be anything from summarizing a lengthy report to giving feedback to a client. If you’re working on a particular project, you may want to explain why you chose this specific project and how it fits into your more extensive portfolio.

2. State Your Objectives – Define What You Want to Achieve

Now that you know what you want to achieve through your project think about the objectives of writing your executive summary.

How will this particular piece benefit your audience? Are there any questions you need to be answered by the end of the project? What key findings does this project produce?

You might also consider using these questions as a checklist to ensure your executive summary meets all your project’s requirements.

For example, “Why did I choose this project?” and “What was my goal with this project?” can help you assess whether your project fulfills the stated purposes of the project outline.

3. Summarize the Results

An executive summary should always start with a title and a short summary of the results. This should include the following elements:

• A brief description of the project

• Any technical terms used in the research

• Key findings, such as recommendations

• Conclusions based on the data collected

A good executive summary should answer the following questions:

• Who are the intended audiences?

• What information will they need to understand the project?

• How will this project add value to their lives?

You may find it helpful to set up a template before you start writing. You could even create several templates, so you don’t have to spend too much time coming up with new ones every time you start a project.

4. Conclusion

After you’ve summarized the results of your project, you’ll want to conclude the document.

The conclusion section helps readers see the big picture. It brings together everything you learned throughout the rest of your report.

So make sure you carefully plan this part of your writing process.

5. References & Resources

Finally, you should reference sources used in your project and list any resources (such as websites) that helped you complete it.

Make sure that you provide links to valuable resources whenever possible. Also, keep in mind that many academic institutions require referencing for projects completed outside of class.

Why should you write an executive summary?

what is an executive summary

First, you should write an executive summary if you have a goal or objective.

This means that you’re writing an executive summary because you want to accomplish something.

For example, maybe you want to apply to graduate school. Or perhaps you want to get a job after graduation.

Whatever your goal is, you must first decide it before you can write an executive summary.

Second, writing an executive summary makes you more marketable to potential employers and clients.

An executive summary gives the reader a quick overview of what you’ve done and who you are as a professional. This allows them to quickly learn about you and how you can benefit them.

Third, writing executive summaries teaches you the basics of effective communication. Your ability to communicate effectively will continue to grow as you work with different types of documents over the years.

What to Include in an Executive Summary:

An executive summary is a short document that summarizes what is included in a more extended report. It’s meant to be read quickly instead of wading through pages of text and charts.

An executive summary should address three main points:

• What is the purpose of the report?

• Who is the audience?

• Why does the reader care about the information?

When writing an executive summary, focus first on answering these questions.

1 . What Is The Purpose Of The Report?

A report summarizing an investment opportunity may explain the company’s business strategy or provide details about the specific project.

An executive summary may summarize the key findings that evaluated a product or service. A report about a scientific experiment may describe the results of the research.

2. Who Is The Audience?

The audience for an executive summary usually consists of people who have read the full report.

The summary must accurately reflect the original document’s content and answer the questions posed in the title of the report.

3. Why Does The Reader Care About The Information?

The report’s author wants readers to understand the importance of the information presented in the report.

To do this effectively, the executive summary should highlight the most critical aspects of the report.

This means focusing on the critical points of the report rather than repeating everything found in the original document.

For example, if the report explains why a particular financial instrument is attractive, the executive summary should state why investors should consider buying the security.

If the report provides background information about the company, the executive summary should give context so that readers understand why the information is essential.

4. Include Key Points In Your Executive Summary

Include some of the following elements in your executive summary:

• Title page

• Introduction

• Background

• Conclusion

Title Page:

This part of the executive summary includes the name of the report, its title, author(s), publisher, publication date, and location.

The title page may also contain contact information and acknowledgments.

The abstract briefly describes the content of the report. It typically begins with a one-sentence summary of the report’s main points.

Introduction:

The introduction briefly states the report’s purpose and provides information about the subject matter.

Usually, it begins with a thesis statement that defines the key concepts and terms used in the report.

Background:

The background section describes the history of the subject being reported upon.

It also gives an overview of the organization or type of business involved in producing the report.

Conclusion:

The conclusion presents a summary of the report’s major points. It should clearly show how the report answers the question that prompted its creation.

What to Avoid:

what is the executive summary of the business plan

Many people still don’t realize what an executive summary really is. An executive summary is a short statement about your business proposal.

It’s a summary of everything in your report that helps the reader understand what you’re trying to do.

In fact, an executive summary is often one of the first things a client sees in your proposal.

So, what should you avoid in an executive summary?

Here are the top 5 mistakes you shouldn’t make:

1. Don’t Make Your Executive Summary Too Long

Most clients won’t read every word of the entire document. They’ll skim it, take notes, and then decide whether to hire you based on what they see.

Keep your executive summary under 1 page. The average person skims over a page and decides within 30 seconds if they want to continue reading.

If you write a more extended executive summary, you may cause the client to skip past you and go straight to the following proposal.

2. Don’t Include Unnecessary Details

Executive summaries aren’t meant to provide a full explanation of your project. Instead, you should include information that’s relevant to the reader.

For example, if you’re writing an executive summary for a marketing plan, don’t give details on your company’s history. That’s not relevant.

Instead, focus on what would interest your target audience most: your product, service, or idea.

3. Don’t Include Marketing Information

Don’t use your executive summary to promote yourself or your company. Focus instead on explaining your idea so that your potential customer understands why this is important to them.

Once you’ve done that, you can talk about yourself or your company later in the proposal.

4. Avoid Using Excessive Grammar Or Punctuation Marks

As mentioned earlier, your job isn’t to sell yourself or your company. Your goal is to convince your client that you’re the best person for the job.

You need to create a clear message that makes your case to accomplish this.

Avoid using words like “I,” “me,” “myself,” and “my” whenever possible. The same goes for the phrases “it was my idea” and “we did it.”

Use simple language that emphasizes the benefits of your proposal. You want to show that you’re capable of delivering results professionally.

5. Don’t Use Wordy Language

While you can add personality to your proposals, don’t use too many adjectives. Just stick to factual information.

Also, avoid using passive voice. For example, say: “We had a great experience working with X company.” Don’t say: “X company worked well with us.” Active voice is better than passive voice.

By avoiding these five common mistakes in your executive summary, you’ll increase your chances of getting hired.

Executive Summary Example 1: A Study of Obesity Among Adults With Low Income and Education Levels

Introduction

Obesity is a significant public health concern affecting both children and adults worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 2 billion adults are overweight and 400 million are obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has increased from 30% of U.S. adults in 1980 to almost 40% today. While the prevalence of obesity among children has decreased since the late 1990s, the rate of increase among adults has been much higher. In fact, according to the CDC, the number of obese adults rose from 17.5% in 1999 to 29.6% in 2010.

To determine whether obesity rates differ among adults with different socioeconomic backgrounds, researchers used data collected during the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the CDC from 2005 through 2007. These surveys consist of interviews and physical examinations administered to more than 20,000 participants aged 18 years and older. Participants completed questionnaires about their lifestyle habits, including diet, exercise, and alcohol intake. Researchers also measured height and weight to calculate body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight. BMI was calculated using the formula: Weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared.

From the NHANES survey, researchers identified 3,926 individuals who had low income and/or low educational status. Of these individuals, 1,879 (46%) were classified as obese. Compared to those with high incomes and/or college degrees, obese individuals with low incomes and/or low educational levels were significantly less likely. However, they did not have significantly different dietary patterns compared to other groups. They also reported exercising less frequently than others and consuming fewer fruits and vegetables. However, no significant differences were found regarding alcohol consumption.

While it is clear that obesity affects all social classes, lower socioeconomic status does not necessarily lead to poorer eating habits or lack of exercise. Further studies need to be done to identify the link between obesity and low socioeconomic status.

1. How long should an executive summary be?

An Executive Summary is a short document that summarizes the report’s main points. It’s usually around 500-1000 words.

2. What is an executive summary in a business plan?

An Executive Summary (ES) is your business plan’s first section. It’s designed to grab the reader’s attention and provide them with a quick overview of what you are doing, why you are doing it, who you are doing it for, and how you intend to achieve success.

3. What is the difference between an executive summary and a summary?

An executive summary is shorter than a summary. A summary is usually one page. It provides a brief description of the contents of the report. It contains information about the report’s purpose, its audience, and its structure. The executive summary is similar to a synopsis.

The Bottom Line: 

An executive summary is the first paragraph of your Business Plan. This is where you introduce yourself and tell readers what you’re going to do. You can use this space to describe the problem you want to solve, the market opportunity you see, your target customer, your business objective, and your business model.

The executive summary should be written in the third person, passive voice, and present tense and should be concise.

Debashis Konger

Debashis Konger

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Sample Clothing Store Business Plan

Growthink.com Clothing Store Business Plan Template

Writing a business plan is a crucial step in starting a clothing store. Not only does it provide structure and guidance for the future, but it also helps to create funding opportunities and attract potential investors. For aspiring clothing store business owners, having access to a sample clothing store business plan can be especially helpful in providing direction and gaining insight into how to draft their own clothing store business plan.

Download our Ultimate Clothing Store Business Plan Template

Having a thorough business plan in place is critical for any successful clothing store venture. It will serve as the foundation for your operations, setting out the goals and objectives that will help guide your decisions and actions. A well-written business plan can give you clarity on realistic financial projections and help you secure financing from lenders or investors. A clothing store business plan example can be a great resource to draw upon when creating your own plan, making sure that all the key components are included in your document.

The clothing store business plan sample below will give you an idea of what one should look like. It is not as comprehensive and successful in raising capital for your clothing store as Growthink’s Ultimate Clothing Store Business Plan Template , but it can help you write a clothing store business plan of your own.

Example – StyleSaga Boutique

Table of contents, executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan.

StyleSaga Boutique, situated in the vibrant heart of Columbus, OH, is a fashion-forward retail initiative designed to meet the diverse sartorial needs of our local community. Our boutique prides itself on offering a wide range of unique and fashionable clothing options that cater to individuals looking for pieces that reflect their personal style. We are committed to sustainability, ensuring that a significant portion of our inventory is eco-friendly and ethically sourced. Our goal is to provide a one-stop-shop for fashion enthusiasts, environmentally conscious shoppers, and young professionals seeking trendy yet professional attire.

Our boutique’s success can be attributed to several key factors and accomplishments. First and foremost, our dedication to offering a curated selection of unique, fashionable, and sustainable clothing has set us apart in the local market. We’ve built strong relationships with suppliers and vendors, ensuring we provide high-quality merchandise at competitive prices. Our adeptness at forecasting and adapting to fashion trends has allowed us to consistently meet our customers’ needs and preferences. Additionally, our commitment to exceptional customer service and community engagement has fostered a loyal customer base and established StyleSaga Boutique as a prominent and respected presence in Columbus, OH.

The fashion retail industry is experiencing a significant shift towards sustainability and ethical production practices, driven by increasing consumer awareness and demand for transparency. The rise of digital marketing and e-commerce platforms has also transformed how boutiques engage with their customers, making online visibility and social media engagement crucial for success. Despite these challenges, the industry presents ample opportunities for growth, especially for businesses like StyleSaga Boutique that prioritize unique, sustainable fashion and harness the power of both online and offline marketing strategies to build a strong brand identity.

Our primary target market includes local residents in search of distinctive clothing that reflects their individual style. We cater to fashion enthusiasts who value uniqueness and quality, as well as environmentally conscious shoppers looking for sustainable and ethically produced apparel. Additionally, we aim to attract young professionals seeking versatile, trendy attire suitable for both office and social settings. By offering a diverse range of styles and sizes, along with eco-friendly options, StyleSaga Boutique addresses the varied preferences and values of our customer segments, ensuring a broad appeal.

Top competitors include local boutiques with similar target markets and large retail chains offering fast fashion at lower price points. Despite this competition, StyleSaga Boutique’s competitive advantages lie in our focus on sustainability, unique product offerings, and exceptional customer service. Our commitment to ethical fashion and ability to quickly adapt to changing trends allow us to meet customer demands in ways that many competitors cannot, setting us apart in the Columbus market.

Our marketing plan revolves around highlighting our unique selling propositions, such as our sustainable and ethically sourced products, through various channels. We leverage social media platforms, email newsletters, and in-store promotions to engage with our target audience and drive traffic to our boutique. Our product range is carefully curated to ensure diversity in style, size, and price, catering to a broad customer base without compromising on quality. Competitive pricing strategies are employed to offer value while maintaining profitability. Promotions and discounts are strategically used to attract new customers and reward loyalty among existing ones.

At StyleSaga Boutique, our daily operations are focused on inventory management, exceptional customer service, maintaining an inviting store presentation, and executing targeted marketing campaigns. We monitor sales data to understand customer preferences, manage financial transactions to ensure boutique health, and invest in employee training for superior service. Strong supplier relations and compliance with legal requirements are also key. Our milestones include expanding our product line, enhancing our online presence, and further engaging with the Columbus community to strengthen our brand and customer base.

The management team at StyleSaga Boutique brings together a group of passionate individuals with extensive experience in retail, fashion, and business management. Our team’s expertise in trend forecasting, customer service, and financial management positions us to successfully navigate the competitive landscape of fashion retail. We are united in our commitment to sustainability and innovation, driving StyleSaga Boutique towards a future of continued growth and success in the fashion industry.

Welcome to StyleSaga Boutique, a fresh and vibrant clothing store now gracing Columbus, OH. As a local establishment, we’ve recognized a significant gap in the market for high-quality, local clothing stores – a gap we are here to fill. Our commitment is to provide an unparalleled shopping experience, offering a diverse range of products that cater to the unique styles and needs of our community.

Our product lineup is both comprehensive and exclusive, featuring everything from casual T-shirts and jeans to more formal dresses and skirts. We also offer a selection of outerwear, including jackets and coats, designed to keep you stylish and comfortable regardless of the weather. Additionally, our activewear range ensures that you look your best, even during the most intense workouts. Each piece in our collection is carefully selected to ensure the highest quality and the latest trends, ensuring that our customers always find something that resonates with their personal style.

Located in the heart of Columbus, OH, StyleSaga Boutique is perfectly positioned to serve the local community. Our presence in Columbus allows us to understand and cater to the unique tastes and preferences of our customers, providing a personalized and immersive shopping experience.

Our confidence in the success of StyleSaga Boutique stems from several key factors. Firstly, our founder brings invaluable experience from previously running a successful clothing store, providing a solid foundation for our operations. Moreover, our commitment to quality and variety sets us apart from the competition. We take pride in offering better clothing options and a wider variety of styles than any other store in the area, ensuring that our customers always find something they love.

Since our inception on January 3, 2024, StyleSaga Boutique has made significant strides as a business. We are officially registered as a S Corporation, a testament to our commitment to professionalism and growth. Our accomplishments to date include designing our unique logo, developing our distinctive company name, and securing a prime location for our store. These milestones mark just the beginning of our journey, and we are excited about the future of StyleSaga Boutique in Columbus, OH.

The Clothing Store industry in the United States is a significant and thriving market. According to recent data, the market size was estimated to be around $292 billion in 2020. This demonstrates the immense opportunity and potential for growth within the industry. Furthermore, it is projected that the industry will experience a steady growth rate of 3.6% annually over the next five years. This optimistic outlook indicates that the Clothing Store industry is poised for further expansion.

Several trends have emerged in the Clothing Store industry that bode well for StyleSaga Boutique. One notable trend is the increasing demand for eco-friendly and sustainable fashion. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of their clothing choices and are actively seeking out brands that prioritize sustainability. StyleSaga Boutique can capitalize on this trend by offering a range of ethically sourced and environmentally friendly clothing options, setting itself apart from competitors and appealing to a growing market segment.

Another trend that favors StyleSaga Boutique is the rising popularity of online shopping. In recent years, there has been a significant shift towards e-commerce in the retail sector, and the Clothing Store industry is no exception. With its online platform, StyleSaga Boutique can tap into the growing number of consumers who prefer the convenience and ease of online shopping. By providing a seamless online shopping experience and leveraging digital marketing strategies, the boutique can reach a wider customer base and drive sales.

Below is a description of our target customers and their core needs.

Target Customers

StyleSaga Boutique will target a diverse clientele, with a primary focus on local residents who are seeking unique and fashionable clothing options. This group is expected to have a keen interest in fashion trends and will appreciate the boutique’s curated selection of apparel. Their purchasing decisions are often influenced by quality and exclusivity, making them ideal customers for StyleSaga Boutique.

The boutique will also cater to young professionals in Columbus, OH, who are aiming to enhance their wardrobes with stylish yet professional attire. This segment values convenience and quality, and will seek out StyleSaga Boutique for its unique offerings that cannot be found in larger retail stores. They are likely to become repeat customers, relying on the boutique for seasonal updates to their wardrobes.

Furthermore, StyleSaga Boutique will tailor its offerings to attract fashion-forward students from local colleges and universities. This demographic is always on the lookout for the latest trends at affordable prices. The boutique will leverage this by offering a mix of high-quality yet budget-friendly pieces, ensuring it becomes a go-to destination for students aiming to maintain a stylish appearance without breaking the bank.

Customer Needs

StyleSaga Boutique emerges as a beacon of high-quality clothing for those residents in Columbus who prioritize excellence in their wardrobe. They can expect a curated selection of apparel that not only meets but exceeds their expectations in terms of fabric quality, craftsmanship, and durability. This commitment to quality ensures that customers have access to pieces that not only look stunning but are also built to last, providing them with value for their investment.

In addition to quality, StyleSaga Boutique understands the importance of offering unique and trendy options for its customers. Shoppers can find themselves enveloped in the latest fashions that cater to a variety of tastes, from the classic and timeless to the avant-garde. This wide array of choices guarantees that customers can express their individual styles while remaining on the cutting edge of fashion trends.

Moreover, StyleSaga Boutique addresses the need for personalized and attentive customer service. Customers can expect a shopping experience that is tailored to their needs, with staff members who are knowledgeable and eager to assist in the selection process. This level of service not only makes the shopping experience enjoyable but also ensures that customers feel valued and understood, fostering a sense of community and loyalty to the boutique.

StyleSaga Boutique’s competitors include the following companies:

Tigertree is a well-regarded competitor known for its unique blend of clothing and lifestyle products. It offers a carefully curated selection of apparel, accessories, gifts, and home decor items. The price points at Tigertree cater to a mid-range budget, making it accessible to a broad segment of customers. Tigertree’s revenues stem from both its brick-and-mortar location in Columbus, OH, and its online store, which extends its reach beyond local customers. The store’s key strengths include its distinctive product selection and strong brand identity. However, its reliance on non-essential, discretionary items could be seen as a weakness in economically challenging times.

Second Chance Consignment Boutique specializes in high-quality, gently used clothing and accessories for women. This store appeals to budget-conscious consumers looking for designer brands at a fraction of the cost. Price points vary widely depending on the brand and condition of items, but are generally significantly lower than retail prices for new goods. Located in Columbus, OH, Second Chance Consignment Boutique serves a local customer base. The store’s key strength is its ability to offer luxury brands at affordable prices, attracting both bargain hunters and environmentally conscious shoppers. A potential weakness is the inconsistency of inventory, which can vary greatly in size, style, and brand availability.

College Traditions focuses on apparel and merchandise for fans of Ohio State University. It offers a wide range of products from clothing and accessories to home decor and gifts, all branded with OSU logos and colors. The store’s price points are designed to be accessible to a broad audience, including students, alumni, and sports fans. Situated near the OSU campus in Columbus, OH, College Traditions benefits from a loyal customer base of students, alumni, and local sports enthusiasts. Its key strength is its niche focus on OSU-branded merchandise, which capitalizes on the strong community spirit and sports culture in Columbus. A potential weakness is its limited appeal to non-OSU fans, which could restrict its market reach.

Competitive Advantages

At StyleSaga Boutique, we pride ourselves on offering superior quality clothing that clearly stands out from what our competition can provide. Our commitment to excellence is evident in every piece of garment we produce, ensuring that each item not only meets but exceeds the expectations of our discerning customers. This dedication to quality is a cornerstone of our competitive advantage, allowing us to attract a loyal customer base that values craftsmanship and durability in their clothing. We understand that in the fashion industry, the quality of the materials and the finesse in the manufacturing process can make a significant difference in the end product. Therefore, we meticulously select premium fabrics and employ skilled artisans who share our passion for creating exceptional clothing.

Furthermore, we offer an unparalleled variety of clothing options to cater to the diverse tastes and preferences of our customers in Columbus, OH. We believe that variety is key in keeping our offerings fresh and exciting, ensuring that every visit to our boutique presents a new opportunity for discovery. Our extensive range includes the latest trends, timeless classics, and unique pieces that can’t be found anywhere else. This variety not only sets us apart from our competitors but also positions us as a one-stop-shop for all fashion needs. Our ability to provide a wide array of choices means that every customer can find something that perfectly matches their personal style and occasion, making us a go-to destination for fashion enthusiasts seeking quality and diversity in their wardrobe.

Our marketing plan, included below, details our products/services, pricing and promotions plan.

Products and Services

Embarking on a new journey in the fashion industry, StyleSaga Boutique emerges as a beacon of style, offering a diverse range of clothing options that cater to the fashion-forward individuals of today. With a commitment to quality and the latest trends, StyleSaga Boutique ensures that every customer finds something that not only resonates with their personal style but also adds a touch of uniqueness to their wardrobe.

At the heart of StyleSaga Boutique’s collection are the T-Shirts, a staple in everyone’s wardrobe. These aren’t just any T-shirts; they are a blend of comfort, style, and statement. Customers can expect to find a variety of designs, from minimalist to graphic tees, ensuring there’s something for every taste. The average selling price for these T-shirts is set at a competitive $25, making fashion accessible without compromising on quality.

Understanding the importance of versatility in clothing, StyleSaga Boutique offers an extensive selection of Jeans and Bottoms. From high-waisted jeans to comfortable leggings, the range is meticulously curated to cater to different occasions and preferences. The boutique takes pride in providing pieces that are both stylish and durable, with prices averaging around $50. This ensures that customers are investing in items that are not only trendy but also offer value for money.

For those looking to elevate their wardrobe with feminine flair, the Dresses and Skirts section is a treasure trove of options. Whether it’s a casual day dress or an elegant skirt for a night out, StyleSaga Boutique has something to match every mood and event. With an emphasis on quality fabrics and flattering fits, the average selling price for these items is thoughtfully set at $60, allowing customers to indulge in premium fashion at reasonable prices.

Recognizing the need for versatile outerwear, StyleSaga Boutique presents a collection of Jackets and Coats that are both functional and fashionable. From cozy winter coats to lightweight jackets perfect for transitional weather, the boutique ensures customers are prepared for any season. With prices averaging at $100, these outerwear pieces are an investment in style and comfort, designed to last through the seasons.

Last but not least, the Activewear section caters to the modern lifestyle, combining fashion with functionality. Understanding the dynamic needs of today’s consumers, StyleSaga Boutique offers activewear that is perfect for the gym, outdoor activities, or simply for those who prefer a sporty aesthetic. With an average price of $40, customers can expect high-quality, durable pieces that don’t compromise on style.

In summary, StyleSaga Boutique stands as a one-stop fashion destination in Columbus, OH, offering a wide range of clothing items that cater to various tastes and occasions. With competitive pricing and a focus on quality, the boutique is poised to become a favorite among those who appreciate fashion that’s both accessible and distinctive.

Promotions Plan

StyleSaga Boutique leverages a multi-faceted promotional strategy to attract and retain customers in the competitive Columbus, OH, marketplace. At the core of these efforts, online marketing plays a pivotal role. Through a combination of social media engagement, targeted ads, and a robust email marketing campaign, StyleSaga Boutique ensures a constant and engaging online presence. Social media platforms, particularly Instagram and Facebook, serve as primary channels for showcasing the latest collections, sharing fashion tips, and engaging directly with the fashion-forward community. Tailored ads, based on customer interests and browsing history, help in reaching potential customers efficiently.

Beyond online marketing, StyleSaga Boutique also embraces the power of local collaborations. By partnering with local influencers and fashion bloggers for sponsored posts and event collaborations, the boutique amplifies its reach and credibility among the local fashion community. These partnerships not only increase visibility but also endorse the boutique’s unique offerings in a more personal and relatable manner.

In-store events are another key promotional method. StyleSaga Boutique hosts exclusive shopping nights, fashion shows, and styling workshops, transforming the store into a community hub for fashion enthusiasts. These events not only create buzz but also provide a tangible experience of the brand’s identity and values, fostering a loyal customer base.

Loyalty programs and exclusive member discounts further incentivize repeat business. Customers expect rewards for their loyalty, and StyleSaga Boutique meets these expectations with a well-structured rewards program. This program offers points for purchases, referrals, and social media engagement, which can be redeemed against future purchases, thus encouraging continuous engagement with the brand.

Lastly, public relations efforts, including press releases and features in local lifestyle magazines, play a crucial role in building the boutique’s reputation. By highlighting the unique aspects of StyleSaga Boutique, such as its commitment to sustainable fashion or its support for local designers, these efforts elevate the boutique’s profile and attract a wider audience.

Overall, StyleSaga Boutique employs a dynamic mix of online and offline promotional tactics to establish a strong brand presence in Columbus, OH. Through targeted online marketing, local collaborations, engaging in-store events, rewarding loyalty programs, and strategic public relations, the boutique ensures it remains a preferred destination for fashion lovers in the area.

Our Operations Plan details:

  • The key day-to-day processes that our business performs to serve our customers
  • The key business milestones that our company expects to accomplish as we grow

Key Operational Processes

To ensure the success of StyleSaga Boutique, there are several key day-to-day operational processes that we will perform.

  • Inventory Management: We continuously monitor and update our inventory to ensure that popular items are always in stock, while also introducing new and trendy items regularly to keep our offerings fresh and appealing.
  • Customer Service: Our staff provides exceptional customer service, assisting shoppers in finding what they need, offering fashion advice when requested, and handling returns or exchanges promptly and courteously.
  • Store Presentation: We maintain a clean, organized, and inviting store environment. This includes regular cleaning, creating attractive displays, and ensuring that merchandise is well-organized and easy to browse.
  • Marketing and Promotions: We execute targeted marketing campaigns and promotions to attract new customers and retain existing ones. This involves managing social media accounts, sending out newsletters, and running in-store promotions.
  • Sales Monitoring: We closely monitor sales data to understand customer preferences and trends. This information helps us make informed decisions about inventory, marketing strategies, and potential adjustments to our product offerings.
  • Financial Management: We diligently track all financial transactions, including sales, expenses, and profits, to ensure the financial health of the boutique. This includes managing budgets, forecasting future financial performance, and making adjustments as necessary.
  • Employee Training and Management: We invest in regular training for our employees to ensure they are knowledgeable about our products and skilled in customer service. Additionally, we manage staff scheduling to ensure adequate coverage during peak times and events.
  • Supplier and Vendor Relations: We maintain strong relationships with our suppliers and vendors to ensure we receive high-quality merchandise on time and at the best possible prices. This also involves negotiating contracts and managing any issues that arise.
  • Compliance and Legal Requirements: We stay informed about and comply with all local, state, and federal regulations affecting our business, including those related to employment, sales tax collection, and consumer rights.
  • Community Engagement: We actively seek ways to engage with and contribute to our local community, such as participating in local events, sponsoring local sports teams, or collaborating with other local businesses. This helps build a strong, positive brand presence in Columbus, OH.

StyleSaga Boutique expects to complete the following milestones in the coming months in order to ensure its success:

  • Securing a Prime Location : Finding and securing a retail space in a high-traffic area of Columbus, OH, that aligns with StyleSaga Boutique’s target market. This is critical for attracting foot traffic and establishing the store’s presence.
  • Obtaining Necessary Permits and Licenses : Completing all legal and regulatory requirements to operate a clothing store in Columbus, OH. This includes business registration, sales tax permits, and any other local requirements.
  • Building Out the Store : Designing and outfitting the retail space to create an inviting and brand-aligned shopping environment. This involves interior design, purchasing fixtures and displays, and setting up a point-of-sale system.
  • Sourcing Inventory : Establishing relationships with clothing suppliers and designers, and purchasing initial inventory. This includes selecting a range of products that align with the brand’s identity and target customer preferences.
  • Hiring and Training Staff : Recruiting, hiring, and training employees who are passionate about fashion and provide excellent customer service. This will include sales associates, a store manager, and possibly a marketing or social media coordinator.
  • Launch Our Clothing Store : Officially opening StyleSaga Boutique with a launch event or promotion to generate buzz and attract initial customers. This milestone marks the transition from setup to operation.
  • Implementing a Marketing Strategy : Developing and executing a marketing plan that includes social media, local advertising, and community engagement to build brand awareness and drive traffic to the store.
  • Establishing an Online Presence : Creating a professional website and e-commerce platform to extend the store’s reach beyond local customers. This includes online marketing efforts to drive traffic to the website.
  • Monitoring and Adjusting Inventory Based on Sales Data : Using sales data to adjust product offerings, stocking more of what sells well, and phasing out what does not. This will help in managing inventory costs and improving profitability.
  • Get to $15,000/Month in Revenue : Achieving this level of monthly sales is crucial for covering operating expenses and reaching profitability. It involves continuously refining marketing efforts, inventory selection, and in-store experience based on customer feedback and sales data.

StyleSaga Boutique management team, which includes the following members, has the experience and expertise to successfully execute on our business plan:

Mia Anderson, CEO

Mia Anderson brings a rich background in the retail clothing industry, with an impressive track record of entrepreneurial success. Her experience includes running a successful clothing store, where she honed her skills in business management, customer relations, and inventory strategy. Mia’s leadership abilities and deep understanding of the fashion retail market make her an invaluable asset to StyleSaga Boutique. Her vision for the boutique encompasses not only leveraging her past success but also implementing innovative strategies to adapt to the ever-changing fashion industry, ensuring StyleSaga Boutique’s growth and sustainability.

StyleSaga Boutique is seeking additional funding to reach our growth goals. This investment will be directed towards expanding our inventory with a focus on sustainable and ethically sourced products, enhancing our marketing efforts to increase brand awareness and customer engagement, and improving our online presence through website development and e-commerce platforms. Our financial strategy is designed to ensure long-term profitability and sustainability, positioning us for success in the competitive fashion retail market.

Financial Statements

Balance sheet.

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Income Statement

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Cash Flow Statement

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Clothing Store Business Plan Example PDF

Download our Clothing Store Business Plan PDF here. This is a free clothing store business plan example to help you get started on your own clothing store plan.  

How to Finish Your Clothing Store Business Plan in 1 Day!

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  1. Business Plan Executive Summary Example & Template

    How To Write an Executive Summary Example of an Executive Summary Frequently Asked Questions A business plan is a document that you create that outlines your company's objectives and...

  2. How to Write an Executive Summary in 6 Steps

    An executive summary tells the story of what your business does, why an investor might be interested in giving funds to your business, why their investment will be well-spent, and why you...

  3. Executive Summary of the Business Plan

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

  4. Executive Summary

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

  5. How To Write an Executive Summary With Example

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

  6. How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

    An executive summary is the part of a business plan that gives an outline of the main plan. So to write an executive summary, we first need to read the business plan carefully and understand its key points. These key points are what we will condense to form the executive summary.

  7. How to Write a Killer Executive Summary

    The executive summary is a brief introduction and summary of your business plan. It introduces your business, the problem you solve, and what you're asking from your readers. Anyone should be able to understand your business by simply reading this section of your plan.

  8. How to write an executive summary, with examples

    The main difference between an executive summary in project management and a more traditional executive summary in a business plan is that the former should be created at the beginning of your project—whereas the latter should be created after you've written your business plan.

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

    An executive summary is a short section of a larger document like a business plan, investment proposal or project proposal. It's mostly used to give investors and stakeholders a quick overview of important information about a business plan like the company description, market analysis and financial information.

  10. How to Write an Executive Summary

    "The executive summary of a business plan is designed to capture the reader's attention and briefly explain your business, the problem you are solving, the target audience, and key...

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

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

  12. Business Plan Executive Summary: The Exhaustive Guide

    Executive summary is an introduction to your business, which provides a brief snapshot of your plan as a whole. To that end, concisely highlight the most important concepts and impressive features from each section of your completed plan, addressing the following areas:

  13. Write an Executive Summary

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

  14. What is an executive summary in a business plan?

    The executive summary is the elevator pitch for the rest of your business plan. Use it to highlight what you do, why you do it and how you'll succeed. It's often the first section that a person will read in your business plan, so this is your opportunity to "sell" your idea and its potential for success.

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

    An executive summary of a business plan gives readers an overview of your business plan and highlights its key points. The executive summary should start with a brief overview of your business concept.

  16. How to write an executive summary in 10 steps

    Example 1: executive summary for a communications business plan [Your Company Name] [Business Plan Title] [Date] ... Here are some common instances when an executive summary is used: Business proposals: When submitting a business proposal to potential investors, partners, or stakeholders, an executive summary is often included. It provides a ...

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

    Keep your executive summary short. You may have crafted a lengthy and detailed business plan, but the executive summary really shouldn't exceed two pages. Spend plenty of time working on those two pages to make sure they are clear, informative, and engaging. 4. Prioritize sections based on importance and strengths.

  18. Mistakes To Avoid When Writing an Executive Summary

    An effective executive summary conveys the most important aspects of the plan in short form while pushing the reader to want to learn more. Rambling and including unrealistic goals or projections are some of the most common mistakes business owners make when writing an executive summary. It may be worth investing in a professionally written ...

  19. How to Write an Executive Summary (With Example)

    An executive summary is a short, informative overview of a long document that clearly defines the main idea of the business plan, report paper, or project proposal. Think of it as boiling the entire document (concept, vision, outcome, and everything in between) down to a few pages.

  20. How to Write an Executive Summary

    That means the executive summary is an essential gateway for your business plan to get read. Think about it this way: If you had an endless list of things to do, and someone handed you an 80-page ...

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

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

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

    A business plan executive summary is a short overview of your business plan for investors who are interested in learning more about your startup or existing business. It should be concise, engaging, and informative. What is the Purpose of the Business Plan Executive Summary?

  23. What is an Executive Summary (with Example): The 5 ...

    An executive summary is the first paragraph of your Business Plan. This is where you introduce yourself and tell readers what you're going to do. You can use this space to describe the problem you want to solve, the market opportunity you see, your target customer, your business objective, and your business model.

  24. Sample Clothing Line Business Plan

    Executive Summary. ThreadsTrend Fashions, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is a burgeoning enterprise in the fashion industry, dedicated to providing environmentally friendly and sustainable clothing options.

  25. Sample Clothing Store Business Plan

    The clothing store business plan sample below will give you an idea of what one should look like. It is not as comprehensive and successful in raising capital for your clothing store as Growthink's Ultimate Clothing Store Business Plan Template, but it can help you write a clothing store business plan of your own. Example - Clothing Store ...

  26. Juice Bar Business Plan PDF Example

    The Executive Summary introduces your juice bar's business plan, providing a succinct overview of your establishment and its offerings. It should highlight your market positioning, the variety of fresh juices, smoothies, and health-focused snacks you offer, its prime location, size, and a snapshot of daily operations.

  27. Home Care Business Plan PDF Example

    Executive Summary. The Executive Summary introduces your home care business plan, offering a concise overview of your agency and its services. It should detail your market positioning, the range of home care services you offer, including personal care, nursing care, and companion services, its service area, and an outline of day-to-day operations.

  28. IV Therapy Clinic Business Plan PDF Example

    The Executive Summary serves as the gateway to your IV Therapy Clinic's business plan, offering a succinct overview of your clinic and its specialized wellness services. This section should highlight your clinic's strategic market positioning, emphasizing the range of IV therapy treatments and wellness services provided, its convenient ...