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executive summary assignment template

  • Project planning |
  • How to write an executive summary, with ...

How to write an executive summary, with examples

Julia Martins contributor headshot

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

What is an executive summary?

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

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

You’ll often find executive summaries of:

Business cases

Project proposals

Research documents

Environmental studies

Market surveys

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

Start with the problem or need the document is solving.

Outline the recommended solution.

Explain the solution’s value.

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

What is an executive summary in project management?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Executive summary vs. project plan

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

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

Executive summary vs. project overview

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

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

Executive summary vs. project objectives

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

The benefits of an executive summary

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

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

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

How to write a great executive summary, with examples

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

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

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

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

Example executive summary:

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

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

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

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

Continuing our example executive summary:

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

Offer watches in new materials, including potentially silicone or wood

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

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

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

3. Explain the solution’s value

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

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

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

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

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

To round out our example executive summary:

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

Example of an executive summary

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

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

Common mistakes people make when writing executive summaries

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

Avoid using jargon

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

Remember: this isn’t a full report

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

Make sure the summary can stand alone

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

Always proofread

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

In summary: an executive summary is a must-have

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

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

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Grad Coach

How To Write A High-Impact Executive Summary

By Derek Jansen | January 2018

exec summary is your first impression

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

So, what is an executive summary?

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

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

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

The 4 Important Attributes Of An Exec Summary

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

#1 – It should be able to stand alone.

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

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

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

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

#3 – It should be concise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

#4 – It should be written last.

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

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

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So, what goes into an executive summary?

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

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

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

Paragraph 1: Introduction

This paragraph should cover the following points:

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

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

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

Paragraph 2: Analysis and findings

In this paragraph, you should discuss the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

exec summary components

Paragraph 3: Recommendations

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

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

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

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

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

Paragraph 4: Implementation

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

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

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

A practical example:

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

executive summary assignment template

Paragraph 5: Reflection

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

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

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

Time to test it out.

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

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

  Wrapping up.

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

The key attributes of a high-impact executive summary:

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

The key contents of a high-impact executive summary:

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

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

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

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

You Might Also Like:

Quantitative results chapter in a dissertation

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

Regards Saane

Derek Jansen

It’s a pleasure!

kemba franklyn

This was really helpful with how to structure my assignment.

Peter Neba

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

Anna H. Smith

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

Derek Jansen

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


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


Great insight and tips . Thanks


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

Thank you for your help

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executive summary assignment template

  • Walden University
  • Faculty Portal

Common Assignments: Executive Summaries

Basics of executive summaries.

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

How to Write an Executive Summary

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

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

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

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

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

Executive Summary Versus Abstract

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

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

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


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

Here’s the bad news: it’s a critical document that can be challenging to write because an executive summary serves several important purposes. 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.

executive summary assignment template

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Executive Summary Template

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

How to Write an Executive Summary

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

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

Executive Summary Length

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

Appropriate Language

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

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

Pithy Introduction

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

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

Relevant Information

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

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

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

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

Related: 10 Essential Excel Report Templates

What to Include in an Executive Summary

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

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

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

Here are the most commonly used business plan sections:

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

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

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

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

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

Executive summary template for Word

Executive Summary Example

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Project Proposal

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

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

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

What to Do After Writing an Executive Summary

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

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

Proofread for Style & Grammar

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

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

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

Criticism of Executive Summaries

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

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

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

ProjectManager Turns an Executive Summary Into a Project

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

Work How You Want

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

A screenshot of the Kanban board project view

Live Tracking for Better Management

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

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

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

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

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How to write an executive summary: Templates and examples

executive summary assignment template

Imagine you are a CEO or chief product officer (CPO) with a day full of meetings, business agreements, and high-level initiatives to manage.

How To Write An Executive Summary: Templates And Examples

At the same time, you have to review market research and usability testing reports your team has come up with. Not to mention signing off on any big feature initiatives that require significant investments and thus executive approval.

Does that leave you enough time to go through a 100-page report detailing the minutiae of your team’s operations and every bit of data that went into each and every decision? Of course not! This is where an executive summary comes in handy.

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary (ES) is a high-level document or paragraph written as part of a report or a handout that summarizes the critical information of a specific project or feature.

The executive summary, also called the speed read or management summary, is written specifically to provide key stakeholders, such as C-suite executives, senior managers, and investors, with a very abstract and holistic understanding of what is going on.

The executive summary can be a great way for product managers to secure buy-in quickly from upper management and other stakeholders.

Executive summary vs. project overview

Before we delve deeper into executive summaries for product managers, we should note some important differences between an executive summary and a project overview.

Executive summary examples and templates

In product management, you’ll come across various situations that require you to prepare and present an executive summary. Each scenario calls for a different format.

Below are some examples of reports that require executive summaries when presenting to senior stakeholders:

Product updates

Investor pitch, annual or quarterly product review.

After one or more development cycles have been executed and release is imminent, the product manager may need to write an executive summary to communicate any fundamental changes in the product, such as new features, UI/UX enhancements, and fixed bugs.

An executive summary for product updates should be written in straightforward language with minimal jargon. For a clean, succinct format, use the following template:

  • Problem — (Describe the problem you solved) 
  • Change — (Describe the solution you came up with)
  • Problem — (Describe the problem you solved)

In some early-stage startups, product managers represent the voice of the market and customers. As such, they are often tasked with writing investor pitches.

executive summary assignment template

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executive summary assignment template

In this case, the product manager should prepare a handout with slides along with an executive summary page. The executive summary should include the following details on a single page:

  • Target user problems
  • Summary of your competitive edge
  • What is your solution?
  • Total addressable market (TAM)
  • Return on investment (ROI)

Product managers in large corporations often need to write an annual or quarterly product review report that details the critical performance of the product, including key objectives, improved or declined product metrics, notable achievements, and obstacles faced during a given time span.

For a periodic product review, you should prepare an executive summary of only one paragraph, stating the improved and declined metrics and linking them with the reasons behind success and failure.

How to write an executive summary

There’s no broad, established template for writing an executive summary because the requirements differ based on your function, role, project, goal, and situation. However, any executive summary should include the following components:

In product management alone, you will be using at least three different executive summaries in multiple situations. However, all of them should include some components. Those components are:

  • State the problem
  • Propose a solution
  • Summarize the impact

1. State the problem

The executive summary should always start by detailing a problem. This problem should be evidenced and supported by either qualitative or quantitative data.

In our recent product analytics report, we discovered that it takes the user at least seven hours to place an order after initiating a search session. This is damaging our monthly conversion rates.

2. Propose a solution

The executive summary should outline a clear solution. It should be focused on persuading the reader that you chose the right solution. As always, the best way to do that is to include hard data as evidence that your solution is viable.

Based on our latest design sprint and our user testing, we believe that building an integrated recommendation system into our search function will decrease the time to place an order from search by 20 percent. This is because we uncovered the highest drop-off rate happens when there are no results available.

3. Summarize the impact

The final section should include the achieved impact (if you are sharing it in a product update) or the expected impact (if it is a feature proposal like in the example above). In this section, you should also restate any significant takeaways from your executive summary.

Finally, based on our extensive research, we believe that building the recommendation with some search enhancements, such as search results filters and sorting, will not only help decrease the time to place an order from a search by 20 percent, but will also increase the basket size by 27 percent. For more information, go through our design sprint, user research synthesis, and product requirement documentation.

Executive summary checklist

Below is a checklist that you can use to evaluate your executive summary and make sure it’s compelling and practical before you present it to stakeholders. If you can answer “yes” to each question, your executive summary is in good shape:

  • Does it have a clear opening statement packed with data? E.g., In recent user interviews we ran, 60 percent of our interviewed users explicitly mentioned the need for new payment methods
  • Does it mention the problem that you want executives to consider?
  • Does it describe the solution you and your product team are proposing?
  • Is it contained to no more than two pages?
  • Does it use clear and simple language?
  • Was it reviewed by another product manager or product associate?

Final thoughts

An executive summary is an essential tool for product managers to communicate various aspects of product development effectively to senior executives at all stages of product development. A well-crafted executive summary can help you gain the buy-in you need from senior executives and product leaders.

By following the checklist above, you can ensure that they are providing you senior stakeholders with the best executive summary possible.

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How to write an executive summary in 10 steps


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

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

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

What is an executive summary?

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

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

Why do you need to write one?

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

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

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

What should be included in an executive summary?

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

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

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

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


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


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.


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.


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. 


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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Allaya Cooks-Campbell

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

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How to Write a Successful Executive Summary [Template + Example]

  • Written By Gregg Rosenzweig
  • Updated: July 3, 2023
What is an executive summary? Short. Concise. Powerful. Executive summaries are the first page (or pages) of a business plan or proposal. The best grab attention as they offer a compelling snapshot of what’s to come — but also possess the ability to stand alone. They don’t mince words, since stakes are high, as they cover the touch points necessary to win that next meeting, advocacy, support, and even the holy grail: an investment partner.

Let’s be honest: The executive summary is the most important part of a business plan. You might think it’s all those pages behind it with rich detail, impressive stats and long, flowing paragraphs describing your awesomeness… but it’s not.

The executive summary is the first thing your readers will see. The teaser. The cheat sheet. Your best shot. It’s your one chance to grab a potential investor’s interest — and keep it. If you win it, a capital investment could follow. Lose it, and said opportunity could go bye-bye. Not good for you, your company or the business plan to follow, which consequently, is now dead on arrival.

The executive summary is the first thing seen,  but it should be the last thing written  — because it’s a snapshot of the business plan to come. So, knowing that fact, let’s get into  the kind of persuasive copy that goes into this ever-so-important opening act. Yet, before we do that, please know there’s not one way  to do an executive summary — but there are best practices and guidelines to keep in mind as you write yours. Points to hit, things to be cognizant of, ways to win interest as the eyes move down the page.

To that end, I asked Dave Lavinsky , business plan expert and co-founder of  Growthink , a Los Angeles-based company that helps private companies raise capital — what  he  thinks. He was nice enough to walk us through various elements he deems essential.

The 3 questions an executive summary must answer: 1) What do you? 2) Why does it matter? 3) Why are you uniquely qualified to succeed?

In Lavinsky’s opinion, here are the questions an executive summary must answer in the first two paragraphs:

  • What do you do?  In a clear-and-concise one-liner, the reader needs to know what it is that you do   as a company.   Not a long story here — remember, these people are busy and may not have a lot of time.
  • Why does it matter?   What’s the market size?   Is the idea meeting an unmet opportunity in the market? Why does it work  now ?
  • Why are you uniquely qualified to succeed?  Essentially, why  you ? Is it your background, the team you’ve assembled, your partnerships, or simply how rare the opportunity is? Ask yourself: Has anybody done this before?

According to Lavinsky, the single most important goal of the executive summary is “to get investors to read more and then cut right to the chase to say, ‘Hey, let’s have a meeting.’ Because they’re not going to write you a check without meeting with you.”

If you’re going to achieve that, there are some other things you will need to keep in mind as you get into writing your executive summary —  otherwise known as the most important part of the business plan that could make or break your company!

How to write an executive summary: stylistically

How long should an executive summary be?

1. How long should an executive summary be?

The general consensus is that most executive summaries are anywhere between 1 to 3 pages long, however, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. The content is what’s most important so based on certain variables — including how long the plan is and what you  need  to say to present the most compelling case — you should let that dictate the length, not “a rule” per se.

Lavinsky says, “it does depend on the complexity of the business. I tend to like a one-page executive summary… that being said, I wrote a business plan years back and needed two pages because the technology was so sophisticated that it required a little more space.”

2. What tone of voice should be used?

  • Be straight, not silly: Whether you’re trying to get someone to invest in a Silicon Valley startup or secure a bank loan for a small business, you should always know what’s at stake and not mistake this all-important document for a casual thing. Lavinsky cautions against getting too fancy saying your goal should be “straight business writing without a ton of personality… just getting the key facts across.” In other words, let the idea create excitement by speaking for itself.
  • Know your audience :  Think about who you’re ultimately talking to. “Even if you’re a pizza shop, you’re still asking a bank for a $100,000 check… that’s real money to a small bank. And so they want to see the pizza shop owner being as professional as possible, not taking it lightly,” reveals Lavinsky. “This is the pizza shop owner’s livelihood; their life… and to the bank, it’s real money in the local community — so keep everything very professional and not casual at all.”
  • Show a degree of urgency:  Understand that your executive summary (and accompanying business plan) is essentially selling something:   you . You hope it will all resonate because you have something to offer the world…  now .  Something that changes the status quo, revolutionizes a market or gives the world something they need. So, write with purpose and a degree of urgency. You’re competing against who knows how many other proposals, so create the need for a response…  now .

What is the traditional executive summary format?

3.  What is the traditional executive summary format?

This is where getting down to brass tacks matters.

Because you’re dealing with extremely busy people — decision-makers at companies — you’re going to want to serve this information up in digestible, not daunting fashion. Usually, that means paragraphs and supportive bullet points. Big picture items, not excruciating detail; bullets instead of bulky blocks of text; and precise, deliberate language instead of prose-y purgatory.

That’s the format people reading a business plan expect to see. It’s what keeps people engaged, eating it up, and wanting to read more. One popular way to lay out your executive summary is to do it in a way that mirrors the order of things to come in the plan itself. Have a look at the executive summary template that Dave Lavinsky likes below and decide if it could work well for you.

[Author note:  This is just one example of an executive summary template. Depending on how complex your business is — there certainly could be other ways to do it, so feel free to tweak accordingly.]

Example of the executive summary template that Lavinsky likes.

Here’s an example of the executive summary template that Lavinsky likes:

This opening paragraph section (addressed previously) is the one that answers the essential question in a line or two about who you are as a company, what you do (as a product or service), and even where you’re located to give a sense of the geography.

Why It Matters 

Your second paragraph. It covers the market size, the lack of competition in your space (if that applies) and why your company is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a unique opportunity. This is the place to instill a dose of urgency, if it applies. Remember: There are windows of opportunity. Don’t let this one close on account of forgetting to make your proposal feel well-timed.

[*The following can appear as bullets or small paragraphs depending on what style suits your fancy, and your company.]

Industry Analysis

  • Here you can start to get into bullet points to give a top-line overview of the research done regarding the industry your product or service lives within, the market size, where things are headed, etc. Maybe a compelling statistic or two.

Customer Analysis

  • If you’re going to win customers, show a brief snapshot that supports what you know about your core customers. For example, “We’re serving single moms 32-47 living in Midwestern cities.” Here you can show who you’ll be selling to — without getting into too much demographic or psychographic detail. Leave that to the business plan to follow.

Competitive Snapshot

  • Who are your competitors? What will you be doing that is different from what they’ve been doing? How will you go about standing apart from them in your competitive space?

Marketing Plan

  • An overview that teases how you plan to market your product or service. What you put here is crucial as it speaks to your strategic mindset and business savvy — while offering an insightful peek into how well-thought-out your approach is.

Management Team

  • Who are the 1-3 key management people involved with this venture? Those you’ll be going into battle with  should  this business get funded or win a capital investment from this business plan or proposal. Do tell, but briefly.

Financial Plan

  • Give a top-line overview involving the monetary investment you’re seeking and what kind of capital infusion will be necessary to help this business succeed. Here is a good place to mention financial projections, company goals and expectations around profits for the next 1 to 5 years. Also, the ask. e.g., “We’re asking for x dollars as equity or a loan.”

Another section to consider is “Company Analysis.” According to Lavinsky, “I always talk about how the best indicator of future success is past success. So, if there are milestones that your company has already achieved, it’s important to show the investor or lender that you have a track record of hitting milestones and achieving goals (if you’re looking for capital). This lends credibility that if they lend you money, you will do the same and they’ll get a return.”

Tot Squad example of an executive summary.

Now, here’s an actual example of an executive summary — and why it works:

In 2011, Jennifer Sexton founded the company  Tot Squad  during her time at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In fact, it was based on a business idea that took first place in the Kellogg Cup MBA Business Plan Competition in 2010. As with most startups, the company has evolved a bit since its original conception, but as Sexton points out, Tot Squad is now “a marketplace that connects new parents to all of the services they need, both in person and online via video chat.”

As the company has grown and evolved, so has the information she puts into her executive summary. I’ve included an example below of one comprehensive executive summary Sexton wrote for Tot Squad back in 2018 — right before her company won a 60-second elevator pitch competition at Launch Scale in 2019. At the event, her company was deemed “most likely to achieve $50-100M in sales and be the next startup Unicorn or Pegasus” by entrepreneur/angel investor, Jason Calacanis.

[Please note: Many sections in Sexton’s executive summary are consistent with Dave Lavinsky’s advice, but the headers have different names.] 

Tot Squad Incorporation type:  C-Corp, Consumer Services Contact:  Jennifer Saxton [contact info] totsquad.com Tot Squad is a platform of services with expertise in the maintenance, safety education and installation of baby gear. Company Summary:  Tot Squad is a baby gear services company aiming to be the “Geek Squad” of the baby industry. Our mobile fleet provides cleaning, repairs, and installation of car seats and strollers, in partnership with retailers like Nordstrom, Babies R Us, and Whole Foods. We have corporate operations in SoCal and NYC, our first franchise recently opened in Washington, DC, and we have over 200 car seat safety affiliates in 40 states. We plan to pilot an in-store service center with a major big-box baby retailer this spring, and expect to sign a service contract with Uber this month. Management Team:  Founder & CEO Jen Saxton graduated from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, where Tot Squad won the prestigious Kellogg Cup MBA Business Plan Competition. CFO John Mattox and Head of Marketing, Ann Singhakowinta, are both graduates of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. COO Shanna Johnson is a graduate of Columbia University and has spent 10 years scaling people-intensive start-ups. David McKinnon, co-founder of franchise conglomerate Service Brands (Molly Maid, Mr. Handyman, other service co’s with $300M+ sales) is an investor/advisor, and leader of this round of fundraising. Customer Problem:  Busy parents struggle with the time, hassle and frustration that baby gear can present. Car seats and strollers are dirty, break easily, and are challenging to assemble/install. 90% of car seats are misused, and car accidents are the #1 cause of death for kids. Simultaneously, retailers are struggling to compete vs online retail, and bringing services in store draws foot traffic and boosts sales. Rideshare companies want to appeal to families and need experts in car seat safety and cleaning/quality assurance to provide kid-friendly services. Target Market:  Our end consumers are busy, affluent parents in desirable neighborhoods who spend hundreds, up to a thousand dollars, on a stroller and want to maintain their investment. 65% of Tot Squad customers are women, with 70% between 25-44 years of age. Customers shop in higher-end retail and boutiques. We target both time-stretched working mothers, as well as more budget-conscious parents who need occasional cleaning/repairs help. Customer Segments:  We are growing via franchise sales and B2B partnerships with large companies like Uber and Amazon. Expansion through B2B sales, from gear manufacturers to automotive partners, grows the brand’s equity and creates consistent revenue streams. As a first mover with no major threats, we’ve got great traction. Business Model : Our business brings foot traffic to stores, creating a captive audience that increases sales (Nordstrom Baby Dept sees 30-40% comps on days of events). In addition to scaling through franchising, we plan to offer a kiosk-style “in-store service center” within a big box retailer, a la Geek Squad, where we can sell 1-2 year “extended warranty” service packages on registries. Competitive Advantage:  Our strategic partnerships with national retailers and manufacturers provide brand credibility, lead generation (zero customer acquisition cost) and key retail locations (for new franchisees) from Day 1 and create competitive barriers to entry. Our team of certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians also sets us apart from competition. For franchisees, the proven business model, turnkey marketing/sales/operations, technology infrastructure and insurance accessibility are key. Product & Services : We do the dirty work that busy parents don’t have the time or energy to deal with. We clean car seats and strollers using eco-friendly products and steamers. We offer car seat installations by Child Passenger Safety Technicians and are an Authorized Service Center for major stroller brands. Most services can be performed in less than 60 minutes for $20-80. We do daily popups with major retailers for moms’ convenience. Competitors : There is a handful of small competitors, sprinkled around the country, mostly home-based businesses with only a local radius. Our largest competitor, Stroller Spa, is a low-volume, high price point player that works as a hobby business. BabyBubbles is a NYC-based company whose main growth driver is not their gear services, but their privately labeled cleaning products and diaper laundering services. Parents also use local police for safety checks. There are no national brands in any of the service lines on our platform. Financials (USD thousands) 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Systemwide Sales $225 $837 $5,687 $19,685 $50,563 EBITDA -$457 -$506 $668 $4,404 $9,780 Raising $1.0M-$1.5MM at $5.0M pre-money valuation, ~$1.1M committed. Round led by David McKinnon.

Download a PDF version of the Tot Squad executive summary.

Tot Squad summary

Here are four things I love about this executive summary for Tot Squad:

1. I love the opening line in Sexton’s  Company Summary : “Tot Squad is a baby gear services company aiming to be the ‘Geek Squad’ of the baby industry.” It gives a clear, quick descriptor of what Tot Squad is, their industry and who they aspire to be.

2.  In the  Management Team section, not only is Sexton sure to highlight the impressive college credentials and business school degrees of her management team, but also the highly relevant industry experience of the person leading this round of fundraising for her company, “David McKinnon, co-founder of franchise conglomerate Service Brands (Molly Maid, Mr. Handyman, other service co’s with $300M+ sales).” A morsel sure to catch the interest/attention of the reader and win credibility.

3. Having already legitimized her company’s position by stating their existing partnerships (Nordstrom, Babies R Us, and Whole Foods), Sexton does a great job of speaking to the  Customer Problem  they’re solving while addressing their  Customer Segment , citing Tot Squad as well-positioned to succeed, i.e., “As a first mover with no major threats, we’ve got great traction.”

4. In the  Financials  section at the bottom, Sexton lays out her company earnings to date and shows impressive growth projections into the near future. Most importantly, she also cites the financial ask so the reader knows what’s being proposed.

Now that we’ve covered all the things  to do  in your executive summary, here’s a quick list of things  not  to do. Things that will inevitably repel investors and potentially drive away the capital investment (or partner) your company oh-so-needs to survive.

Things not to do in high-level business summaries

Here are five things  NOT  to do in an executive summary:

  • Don’t open with lengthy banter :  The last thing you don’t want to do is open with a story that takes paragraphs to tell. Lavinsky says, “Get to the point. Particularly with venture capitalists that are getting so many plans and executive summaries. They need to know what you do really, really quickly.”
  • Don’t make claims you can’t back up:  If you’re going to call something “the best” or “revolutionary,” you better offer something to back it up. Not only do investors see through this stuff, but flimsy claims call your legit stuff into question.
  • Don’t get technical: Depending on what you’re ultimately selling or trying to stir up interest in, you may feel obligated to give a rich level of detail — analysis, charts, graphs — in the executive summary to support your claims. Don’t. You only have someone’s attention for a few short minutes, even seconds. Titillate with the summary, then substantiate.
  • Don’t copy/paste — it’s not an art project:  The last thing you should do is think of this section as a place to recycle things written in the business plan to come. The content in this section here should be original, for this space only, and use professional pronouns that speak to a broader team (“we” and “our”) while using present-tense language.
  • Don’t have completely unrealistic financial models:  According to Lavinsky, you don’t want to say things like, “We’re going to a billion dollars by year three. It’s never happened before… why are  you  the first one to ever make that happen?”

Now that we’ve gone through the do’s and the don’ts, think about the approach that will work best for your business. If you’re a business person, entrepreneur, even a freelance writer , it can only help to understand your end-game by having a sound business plan — highlighted by a powerful executive summary that demonstrates why you’ll swim where others sink.

Now, get to work.

After mastering how to write an executive summary, brush up on these related topics for marketing leadership:

  • How to Write an Executive Bio
  • How to Interview the Executive C-Suite Like a Boss
  • How to Write a Boilerplate: 5 Do’s, 5 Don’ts, 5 Great Examples
  • How to Prepare a Communication Plan for Crisis Management & Recovery [Ebook]

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How to Write an Executive Summary (+ Examples)

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

executive summary example

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

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

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

What is an Executive Summary?

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

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

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

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

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

Why Do We Use It?

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

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

How to Write an Executive Summary in 4 Simple Steps

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

1. Start with Your Business Overview

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

2. Highlight the Market Opportunity

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

3. Present Your Management Team

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

4. Include Financial Projections

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

2 Executive Summary Examples

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

Coffee Shop Executive Summary

executive summary assignment template

Hair Salon Executive Summary

executive summary assignment template

Privacy Overview

Download Free Executive Summary Templates

By Kate Eby | April 2, 2018 (updated April 18, 2024)

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

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

Simple Executive Summary Template

Simple Executive Summary Template

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

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

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

Simple, powerful project management with Smartsheet. See for yourself.

executive summary assignment template

Smartsheet is a cloud-based platform that allows teams and organizations to plan, manage, and report on projects, helping you move faster and achieve more. See Smartsheet in action.  

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Business Executive Summary Template

Business Executive Summary Template

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

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

Learn more about how to write an effective executive summary .

Executive Summary Slide Template

Executive Summary Slide Template

Download Executive Summary Slide Template Microsoft PowerPoint | Google Slides  

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

One-Page Executive Summary Template

One Page Executive Summary Template

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

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

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

Executive Summary Checklist Template

Executive Summary Checklist Template

Download Executive Summary Checklist Template – Microsoft Word  

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

Executive Summary Outline Template

Executive Summary Outline Template

Download Executive Summary Outline Template – Microsoft Word  

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

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

Startup Executive Summary Template

Startup Executive Summary Template

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

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

Executive Summary Proposal Template

Executive Summary Proposal Template

Download Proposal Executive Summary Template Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF

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

Research Report Executive Summary Template

Research Report Executive Summary Template

Download Research Report Executive Summary Template Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF

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

Project Executive Summary Template

executive summary assignment template

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

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

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

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

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

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

One-Page Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Download Business Plan Executive Summary Template – Microsoft Word

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

Marketing Plan Executive Summary Template

Marketing Plan Executive Summary Template

Download Marketing Plan Executive Summary Template – Microsoft Word  

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

Construction Project Executive Summary Template

executive summary assignment template

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

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

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

What Is an Executive Summary Template?

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

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

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

Streamline Your Executive Summary Process with Smartsheet for Project Management

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The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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

Caroline Forsey

Published: August 31, 2023

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

Executive summary with examples

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

Executive Summary

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

Some documents that may have an executive summary include:

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

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

executive summary assignment template

Free Executive Summary Template

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

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

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Executive Summary vs. Business Plan

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

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

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

Executive Summary vs. Mission Statement

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

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

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

Executive Summary vs. Company Description

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

Executive Summary vs. Objective

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

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

What is the purpose of an executive summary?

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

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

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

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

Follow Along With HubSpot's Executive Summary Template

Executive summary template from HubSpot

Click to Download

How to write an executive summary.

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

1. Tell your story.

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

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

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

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

2. Highlight important data.

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

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

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

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

3. Pay attention to your tone.

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

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

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

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

4. Avoid cliché language.

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Write it after completing your business plan.

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Resource: Business Plan Template

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

Download Your Free Template Here

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

What to Include in Your Executive Summary

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

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

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

How long should an executive summary be?

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

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

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

Executive Summary Template

executive summary template from hubspot

Download Your Free Executive Summary Template Here

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

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

Ready? Download your free executive summary template .

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

Executive Summary Examples

1. connected.

executive summary example: connected

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Powerful and Effective Executive Summary [Free Template]

By archtc on April 3, 2023 — 6 minutes to read

  • How to Write an Executive Summary: Questions and 5 Crucial Parts Part 1
  • Executive Summary: Download Free Templates Part 2
  • Additional Resources Part 3
  • How to Dramatically Reduce Time You Spend Creating Reports Part 4

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting to Craft an Executive Summary

When preparing an Executive Summary, be guided by the following:

  • Who will read it? It is important to remember that the reader of the Executive Summary should be able to find all the necessary information they need to know about the project. There shouldn’t be a need to read all the other reports. Even if the executive does read all the reports and other documents pertaining to the project, the Executive Summary should stand out on its own.
  • What is the main point? Try to come up with two to three sentences summarizing what the project is all about. It’s just like when someone asks you what the report is about and you try to answer the question in only a few sentences.
  • What is the purpose of the project? Briefly discuss the purpose of the project—whether it is to launch a new campaign, develop a new policy, conduct a survey or research, or test a product, etc.
  • If there are too many sections in other reports, which ones among those points are crucial to the understanding and appreciation of the project? Depending on their purpose, other types of project reports contain too many details, even if these are arranged into topics and subtopics. Some of these subjects or subtopics may not really be necessary if you only need to provide a summary of the project. Eliminate those which may not be needed immediately, and also any other information that will not affect the understanding and appreciation of the project if left out.
  • What is the recommended course of action, if any? This part may be one of the most important points of the project and must also be highlighted in the Executive Summary. Briefly, but concisely, discuss the recommendations for the project based on its results and key findings.
  • What are the benefits or consequences of this recommended courses of action? This is the other section that the readers will deem most valuable. This will enable decision makers to decide whether to accept the recommendations based on the project’s results and findings, or not. There is a limitation of how much can be discussed in an Executive Summary report. This means that it is important for the writer of the report to capture the essence of the entire project in a just few sentences without losing its value. In this section, the benefits that the organization will derive from the recommended courses of action, and its impacts, both positive and negative should be clear.

5 Crucial Parts of an Executive Summary

Project summary.

Provide a brief history of the project and cite a particular event which led to its conception . Do not forget to mention if the project is the first of its kind or a part of a series of projects.

Results and Conclusions

Recommendations, common pitfalls in writing an executive summary.

  • Though it still needs to be as comprehensive as possible, providing too many details defeats the purpose of an Executive Summary . Specific details belong to other types of project report.
  • Using terms in the Executive Summary which are different from those employed in other reports about the same project is confusing. As much as possible, observe uniformity by using the same terms and concepts used in other reports .
  • Mismatching contents will also generate confusion . The Executive Report should have the same information as other reports, and the major points of the rest of the reports should also be reflected in the Executive Summary.

Executive Project Report

An Executive Project Report should include what the team is doing at the time of the report, the most tangible result or output so far, the major risks associated with the project, and what the executive can do for the project (e.g. decisions to be made, approvals needed, interventions).

Here are some points to take note:

Concentrate on the most important details

A project manager may be proud about developments on the project he is handling and be over-enthusiastic when reporting them. This means that they give a blow-by-blow account of how each of the tasks was carried out. This might work in some other kinds of project report but not in an Executive Project report .

Be straight to the point

Do not forget about project milestones, executive summary: free download.

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Templates on ProsperForms:

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  • How to Write an Executive Status Report (Easy!) + Free Templates
  • A Very Handy Project Summary Report + Free Template Download

Leadership Assignment Executive Summary Template

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  • Ready-to-use, fully customizable Doc
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As a leader, summarizing your findings and insights in a clear and impactful way is essential. ClickUp's Leadership Assignment Executive Summary Template is here to help you do just that!

This template empowers you to:

  • Summarize the main points and findings of your leadership assignment concisely.
  • Showcase your knowledge and understanding of key leadership theories and concepts.
  • Demonstrate how you've applied these theories in a real-world context.
  • Highlight the implications of your findings for effective leadership.

With ClickUp's Executive Summary Template, you can create a professional and compelling summary that will impress your audience and showcase your leadership skills. Don't miss out on this opportunity to excel—try it out today!

Benefits of Leadership Assignment Executive Summary Template

When using the Leadership Assignment Executive Summary Template, you can expect the following benefits:

  • Streamlined communication of key findings and recommendations to stakeholders
  • Clear presentation of the main points and concepts explored in the assignment
  • Enhanced understanding of leadership theories and their practical application
  • Improved ability to identify and reflect on effective leadership practices
  • Time-saving, as the template provides a structured framework for organizing and presenting information

Main Elements of Leadership Assignment Executive Summary Template

ClickUp's Leadership Assignment Executive Summary template is the perfect tool to streamline your leadership assignments and keep everyone on the same page.

This Doc template includes:

  • Custom Statuses: Track the progress of leadership assignments with customizable statuses, ensuring that everyone knows where each assignment stands.
  • Custom Fields: Utilize custom fields to capture essential information such as assignment type, due date, assigned team member, and priority level, allowing for easy filtering and sorting.
  • Different Views: Access various views, including the Executive Summary Board View, Task List View, and Gantt Chart View, to gain different perspectives on your leadership assignments and effectively manage your team's workload.
  • Collaboration Tools: Take advantage of ClickUp's collaboration features, such as real-time commenting and task mentions, to foster open communication and seamless collaboration among team members.

How to Use Executive Summary for Leadership Assignment

When it comes to producing a compelling executive summary for your leadership assignment, you want to make sure you cover all the essential points. Follow these six steps to effectively utilize the Leadership Assignment Executive Summary Template in ClickUp:

1. Understand the purpose

Before you begin writing your executive summary, it's important to understand its purpose. The executive summary provides a concise overview of your leadership assignment, highlighting key findings, recommendations, and conclusions. It should be able to stand alone and provide a clear understanding of the assignment's main points.

Use the Docs feature in ClickUp to read through the assignment instructions and identify the main purpose of your leadership assignment.

2. Identify key sections

Review your leadership assignment and identify the key sections that need to be included in the executive summary. These may include the introduction, methodology, findings, recommendations, and conclusion. Make sure to capture the main points from each section in a concise and clear manner.

Use custom fields in ClickUp to track and organize the key sections of your leadership assignment.

3. Summarize the introduction

Start your executive summary by summarizing the introduction of your leadership assignment. Provide a brief overview of the topic, the purpose of the assignment, and any relevant background information. This will set the context for the rest of the summary.

Use the Tasks feature in ClickUp to create a task for summarizing the introduction of your leadership assignment.

4. Highlight key findings

Next, highlight the key findings from your leadership assignment. Summarize the main points and insights that you have gathered through your research and analysis. Be sure to focus on the most important findings that support your overall conclusions.

Use the Custom Fields feature in ClickUp to track and categorize the key findings from your leadership assignment.

5. Present recommendations

After highlighting the key findings, it's important to present your recommendations. These should be actionable and based on the insights and conclusions you have drawn from your analysis. Clearly state what actions or changes should be taken to address the issues or improve the situation.

Use the Automations feature in ClickUp to set up reminders for yourself or others to follow through on the recommendations stated in your executive summary.

6. Conclude with key takeaways

In the final section of your executive summary, conclude with the key takeaways from your leadership assignment. Summarize the main points and insights, emphasizing the significance and relevance of your findings and recommendations. Leave the reader with a clear understanding of the value and impact of your work.

Use the Dashboards feature in ClickUp to track the progress and impact of your leadership assignment, and to showcase the key takeaways to stakeholders.

By following these six steps and utilizing the Leadership Assignment Executive Summary Template in ClickUp, you can create a powerful and comprehensive executive summary for your leadership assignment.

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Get Started with ClickUp’s Leadership Assignment Executive Summary Template

Leadership students and professionals can use this Leadership Assignment Executive Summary Template to create a comprehensive and organized executive summary for their leadership assignments.

First, hit “Add Template” to sign up for ClickUp and add the template to your Workspace. Make sure you designate which Space or location in your Workspace you’d like this template applied.

Next, invite relevant members or guests to your Workspace to start collaborating.

Now you can take advantage of the full potential of this template to create a professional executive summary:

  • Begin by providing a brief introduction to the assignment and its objectives
  • Summarize the key leadership theories and concepts explored in the assignment
  • Discuss the application of these theories in a real-world context and provide examples
  • Analyze the implications of the findings for effective leadership
  • Use the Board view to organize and categorize different sections of the executive summary
  • Utilize the Gantt chart view to set deadlines for each section and track progress
  • Collaborate with your team members to gather input and feedback on the executive summary
  • Finally, review and revise the executive summary to ensure clarity and coherence.

Related Templates

  • Project Plan Executive Summary Template
  • Environmental Consultants Executive Summary Template
  • Film Critics Executive Summary Template
  • Tourism Industry Executive Summary Template
  • Production Managers Executive Summary Template

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How to Write an Executive Summary

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.

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

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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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How to make an executive summary template.

A laptop in the foreground is used to create an executive summary template.

Sharing important info with stakeholders is even easier with a smart summary template.

Your executive summary has to do a lot of heavy lifting. It has to get all your high-level stakeholders up to speed, plus give them the information they need to succeed in just a page or two. This is where an executive summary template comes in handy.

Templates give your summaries structure, and they can save you some time in the long run, too. So, the next time you’re writing one, take a couple of minutes to follow these steps and create your own executive summary template.

What is a template for an executive summary used for?

A template for an executive summary serves as a valuable tool for summarizing complex business reports, proposals, or plans into concise and impactful summaries. It provides a structured framework that ensures consistency and clarity in presenting key information to decision-makers and stakeholders.

By using a template, individuals and organizations can save time and effort by streamlining the process of creating executive summaries, enabling them to focus more on the content and strategic aspects. Templates also contribute to maintaining a professional and cohesive visual identity across different summaries, enhancing readability and facilitating easier comprehension. Having a standardized format promotes effective communication, allowing busy executives to grasp the main points quickly and make informed decisions.

Key components of an executive summary template.

An effective executive summary template consists of several key elements that are essential for summarizing complex business reports, proposals, or plans.

  • Introduction. The executive summary should begin with a brief introduction that captures the reader’s attention and provides context for the document.
  • Objective. Clearly state the purpose or objective of the document, outlining what it aims to achieve or the problem it seeks to address.
  • Summary of findings. Present the main findings, key points, or recommendations from the full report or proposal. Summarize the most important information concisely and highlight any significant insights or conclusions.
  • Scope. Briefly describe the scope of the project or research and outline the methodology used to gather and analyze data. This helps provide transparency and credibility to the summary.
  • Market analysis. Provide a concise overview of the market or industry context, highlighting trends, challenges, and opportunities that are relevant to the document.
  • Key metrics. Include any important metrics, statistics, or performance indicators that support the findings or conclusions of the document. This helps quantify the impact and provides a basis for decision-making.
  • Recommendations . Outline specific recommendations or proposed actions based on the findings. These should be actionable and tied directly to the objectives or purpose of the document.
  • Conclusion . Summarize the main points and restate the significance of the findings or recommendations. This reinforces the key takeaways for the reader.

By incorporating these elements into an executive summary template, professionals can ensure consistency, clarity, and impactful communication of vital information to decision-makers and stakeholders.

Create an outline format for an executive summary.

The first step to creating an effective executive summary outline is thinking about when you’ll use it. For example, the information you include on a business case summary is different from what you’d put on a market survey summary.

Start drafting an outline of what you usually include in your executive summaries. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • State a problem.

Begin by clearly articulating the problem or challenge that the report, proposal, or plan aims to address. Provide a concise and compelling statement that highlights the core issue at hand.

  • Recommend solutions.

Present well-thought-out solutions or recommendations that address the identified problem. These recommendations should be practical, actionable, and directly tied to the objectives of the document. Consider providing a brief overview of each recommended solution.

  • Outline potential risks.

Identify and outline any potential risks or challenges that may arise when implementing the recommended solutions. This demonstrates a proactive approach and shows that potential obstacles have been considered.

Play around with your template until it has a structure that meets your or your business’s specific needs. After creating an executive summary template, learn how to write an executive summary that’s effective.

Save an executive summary template as a PDF.

When you complete your draft, save it to your template. Additionally, you should save your executive summary template in a few different file formats, including PDF, because it’s easy to share and sign PDFs electronically .

Also, store your templates in a place you frequently visit, like your computer desktop or the cloud. This way, your templates will always be on hand and ready to go.

Discover how Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Acrobat online services can help you make easy-to-use templates that will keep your business moving.

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