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

How to write an executive summary, with examples

Julia Martins contributor headshot

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

What is an executive summary?

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

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

You’ll often find executive summaries of:

Business cases

Project proposals

Research documents

Environmental studies

Market surveys

Project plans

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

Start with the problem or need the document is solving.

Outline the recommended solution.

Explain the solution’s value.

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

What is an executive summary in project management?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Executive summary vs. project plan

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

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

Executive summary vs. project overview

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

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

Executive summary vs. project objectives

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

The benefits of an executive summary

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

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

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

How to write a great executive summary, with examples

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

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

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

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

Example executive summary:

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

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

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

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

Continuing our example executive summary:

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

Offer watches in new materials, including potentially silicone or wood

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

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

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

3. Explain the solution’s value

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

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

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

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

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

To round out our example executive summary:

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

Example of an executive summary

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

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

Common mistakes people make when writing executive summaries

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

Avoid using jargon

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

Remember: this isn’t a full report

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

Make sure the summary can stand alone

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

Always proofread

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

In summary: an executive summary is a must-have

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

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

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How To Write 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.

Dissertation Coaching

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.

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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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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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Leadership Assignment Executive Summary Template

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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
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Free Executive Summary Template [PDF + Masterful Examples]

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

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

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

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

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

What is an executive summary? 

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

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

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

The goals of an executive summary include:

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

What is an executive summary in a business plan?

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

What is an executive summary in project management?

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

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

Executive summary vs abstract

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

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

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

Executive summary vs introduction

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

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

What should an executive summary include? 

For a project .

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

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

Value proposition

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

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

For a business plan 

Introduction  .

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

Company description

Include the following details in the company description:

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

Products and services

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

Market analysis

A few questions to answer in this section include:

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

Competitive analysis

Questions to answer as part of your competitive analysis include:

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

Funding request and use

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

Financial projections 

Include financial data that supports your research such as:

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


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

Executive summary examples 

Executive summary presentation.

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

Executive Summary PPT Template

One-page executive summary template  

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

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

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

Executive Summary Template One-Pager

Startup executive summary template

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

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

Details to include in your startup executive summary:

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

Executive Summary for Business or Startup

Business plan executive summary template

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

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

Project executive summary template

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

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

Details to include in a project executive summary:

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

Marketing plan executive summary template

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

Details to include in a marketing plan executive summary:

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

Healthcare executive summary template

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

Details to include in healthcare executive summary:

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

Executive summary report template

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

Details to include in a report executive summary report:

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

Here's an example: 

Report Executive Summary Example

How to write an executive summary

1. write a problem-based introduction.

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

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

For example:

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

2. Tell your story

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

3. Make sure you’ve done the research 

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

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

4. Outline the solution

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

5. Show the value of the solution 

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

6. Formal or informal tone?

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

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

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

7. Make sure the summary can stand alone 

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

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

8. Be concise

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

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

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

9. Proofread for errors 

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

10. Write the executive summary last

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

Manage your executive summary templates with Guru

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

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

FAQ for executive summaries

Where does an executive summary go in a report.

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

How long should an executive summary be?

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

Who is the audience of an executive summary?

The audience of an executive summary can include:

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

What is included in an executive summary?

Elements to include in an executive summary are:

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

Download Free Executive Summary Templates

By Kate Eby | April 2, 2018 (updated December 22, 2023)

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

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

Simple Executive Summary Template

Simple Executive Summary Template

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

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

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

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Business Executive Summary Template

Business Executive Summary Template

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

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

Learn more about how to write an effective executive summary .

Executive Summary Slide Template

Executive Summary Slide Template

Download Executive Summary Slide Template Microsoft PowerPoint | Google Slides  

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

One-Page Executive Summary Template

One Page Executive Summary Template

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

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

Find more free Microsoft Word executive summary templates for any 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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How to Write an Executive Summary, with Examples | UPDATED 2024 Guide

How to Write an Executive Summary

About the author

Jill Romford

Jill Romford

Dec 14,2023 - Last update: Dec 14,2023

So you want to know about  how to write an executive summary you in the right place?

In the vast landscape of business, where every venture seeks its own unique foothold, the ability to articulate a compelling narrative can make all the difference. 

Imagine this: You've poured months, if not years, into developing a groundbreaking business plan, a project poised to change the game. But, in a world bustling with distractions, how do you ensure your brilliance isn't lost in the noise?

Enter the hero of your business tale—the executive summary . 

This concise document is your knight in shining armor, your envoy to the busy decision-makers who hold the keys to your success. In the chapters that follow, we embark on a journey to unravel the secrets of writing an executive summary that captivates, persuades, and propels your endeavors forward.  

Project management offers a valuable framework for planning, overseeing, and accomplishing your team's tasks efficiently. Having a quick overview of this information is often beneficial. 

However, there are instances when new project members or executive stakeholders seek a simplified perspective of your project. In such cases, presenting the project's key elements concisely becomes crucial, ensuring that the reader's attention is retained.

The most effective tool for achieving this is an executive summary company template. 

If you're unfamiliar with the process of crafting an executive summary, this article provides comprehensive guidance on planning, writing, and effectively sharing these summaries with your team.

What is an executive summary?

  An executive summary serves as a concise overview of a document, and its length and content depend on the specific document it summarizes. Typically ranging from one to two pages, the executive summary aims to provide high-level stakeholders and readers with essential information.

Consider this: If your executive summary were the only section read by your key stakeholders, would it sufficiently equip them with the knowledge needed for success? If the answer is yes, then your executive summary has effectively fulfilled its purpose.

Executive summaries are commonly found in various documents, including:

  • Business cases
  • Project proposals
  • Research papers
  • Environmental studies
  • Market surveys
  • Project plans

Typically comprising four key elements, an effective executive summary should:

  • Begin by addressing the problem or need that the document seeks to resolve.
  • Outline the proposed solution to the identified problem.
  • Articulate the value of the recommended solution.
  • Conclude by emphasizing the significance of the work presented in the document.

The objectives of an executive summary encompass:

  • Capturing the reader's attention.
  • Informing them about what to anticipate in the business plan, thereby motivating them to continue reading.
  • Offering a high-level overview of your company, encompassing both short-term and long-term goals.
  • Functioning as an elevator pitch.

Check out: Top 6 AI-Powered Project Management Tools To Use In 2023 ​

The benefits of an executive summary

You might be wondering: why should I compose an executive summary for my project? Isn't the project plan sufficient?

Well, as mentioned earlier, not everyone has the time or necessity to delve into the intricate details of your project to quickly understand its goals and significance. 

Tools like AgilityPortal for work management are instrumental in capturing crucial project information, providing clarity for you and your team regarding responsibilities and timelines. 

However, the executive summary serves a different purpose; it is tailored less for team members actively involved in the project and more for external stakeholders seeking rapid insights and answers regarding the project's significance.

An impactful executive summary offers stakeholders a high-level overview of the entire project and its key points, sparing them from the need to immerse themselves in all the minutiae. 

If they desire more in-depth information, they can then refer to the comprehensive project plan or navigate through tasks using your work management tool.  

What information to include in an executive summary

  The content of an executive summary will vary depending on factors such as the nature of the business, industry, project goals, and other considerations. 

However, most executive summaries share several key elements:

  • Business or Project Overview: This section includes details such as the name, geographical location, mission statement, and overall nature of the business or project.
  • Company Description: Provide a historical background of the company, introduce the team, and mention any additional staff or partners involved.
  • Market Analysis: Present information about the project, service, or product, detailing how it will function in the market, including features and benefits.
  • Financial Outlook and Funding Requests: Discuss any financial obligations, sources of funds, and the utilization of funds in the executive summary.
  • Unique Selling Point or Proposition: Include supporting evidence demonstrating how your project, product, or service addresses a market problem or pain.
  • Solutions to Problems: Outline how your offering aims to remedy market pain or problems, showcasing your proposed solutions.
  • Financial Breakdown: Specify the areas of funding required from investors.
  • Clear, Concise Conclusion: Conclude the executive summary with a brief recap of key points and an overview of the overall goal of the project, product, or service.

How to write a great executive summary, with examples

​ An effective executive summary comprises four essential components. 

To craft an outstanding executive summary, adhere to this template. 

After completing the writing process, review your executive summary to ensure it encompasses all the crucial information required by your stakeholders.  

Here are some  sample executive summary to produce a good document. 

1.  Engage the Reader with a Powerful Introduction

The initial sentences of your executive summary play a pivotal role in captivating the reader's interest and enticing them to delve deeper into your proposal. 

Initiate with a succinct yet compelling statement that underscores the fundamental problem or opportunity at the heart of your proposal.

Example Extension: ​  

In the dynamic landscape of today's competitive market, where businesses relentlessly pursue avenues to streamline operations and boost efficiency, our revolutionary technology platform emerges as a transformative solution. 

This cutting-edge innovation has the potential to redefine how companies navigate and optimize their workflow, presenting an unparalleled opportunity for progress and success in an ever-evolving business environment.

2.Precisely Outline the Problem or Opportunity ​

Prior to presenting your proposed solution, provide a lucid description of the specific problem or opportunity that your proposal aims to tackle. 

This step is essential for offering the reader a comprehensive understanding of the context and urgency surrounding your proposal. 

Example Extension:

Addressing the prevailing issue of manual data entry, our current processes are marred by inefficiency, time consumption, and an elevated risk of errors. 

This inefficacy not only poses a threat to productivity but also demands a strategic intervention. Enter our automated data capture system—a transformative solution designed to alleviate these challenges. 

By implementing this innovative system, we anticipate an impressive 80% reduction in errors, liberating valuable employee time to concentrate on more strategic and value-driven tasks.

3.Present Your Proposed Solution

​Concisely detail your envisioned solution, emphasizing its fundamental features and benefits. 

Articulate how your solution adeptly resolves the identified problem or capitalizes on the presented opportunity.

Introducing our cutting-edge cloud-based platform, meticulously crafted to seamlessly integrate with your existing systems. 

This enables the extraction, processing, and analysis of data in real-time, fostering a streamlined workflow that not only enhances accuracy but also unlocks valuable insights. 

Our solution is poised not just to resolve the previously outlined challenges but to empower your organization with the tools for informed decision-making, ushering in a new era of efficiency and effectiveness.

4. Quantify the Impact of Your Solution

 Support the effectiveness of your solution by offering tangible examples of its potential impact on the organization's business goals. 

Utilize numbers, statistics, and case studies to vividly illustrate the anticipated benefits and return on investment.

The transformative impact of our solution is quantifiable and compelling. 

Recent implementations have resulted in an impressive average of a 20% reduction in operational costs, coupled with a noteworthy 30% surge in customer satisfaction. 

Moreover, organizations embracing our solution have reported a substantial 15% increase in revenue, showcasing not just a resolution to existing challenges but a strategic investment with substantial returns on multiple fronts.

5.Summarize Key Takeaways

Recapitulate the pivotal aspects of your executive summary, reinforcing the value proposition and highlighting the potential impact of your proposal. 

Conclude with a compelling call to action, prompting the reader to progress to the next phase, whether it involves requesting a detailed proposal or scheduling a meeting.

In summary, our executive summary underscores the transformative potential of our proposed solution. 

From addressing pressing challenges to seizing lucrative opportunities, our meticulously designed plan stands as a strategic investment for success. 

As we extend this invitation to CEOs, senior management executives, investors, potential collaborators, and government officials, we envision collaborative discussions that will unlock new avenues for growth. 

Take the next step with us – request a detailed proposal or schedule a meeting, and let's embark on this journey together toward innovation and success.

Example of an executive summary

Here is an sample executive summary provided by Asana , offering a structured framework for summarizing key project details and objectives. 

Utilizing such templates can streamline the process of crafting an executive summary, ensuring that essential information is effectively communicated in a clear and organized manner.

Example of an executive summary : Asana

Here is another example provided by Forbes

Provided by Forbes

Mistakes to avoid when writing executive summaries

Developing expertise in executive summary writing takes time and practice, and that's perfectly fine. 

T o get you started, utilize the four-part template presented in this article as a roadmap. 

As you refine your executive summary writing abilities, here are some common traps to evade:

1.Writing too long or too short ​

Crafting an executive summary requires striking a balance between brevity and informativeness. Ideally, it should be succinct, constituting approximately 10% to 20% of the main document's length. 

Excessive verbosity risks inundating the reader with superfluous details, potentially diluting the core message. 

Conversely, an overly brief summary may fail to convey sufficient information, leaving the reader without a comprehensive understanding of the project or proposal's significance. 

Therefore, it is imperative to optimize the length of the executive summary, ensuring it delivers a concise yet comprehensive overview.

 2. Replicating or duplicating the content

A well-crafted executive summary is not meant to serve as an exact replica of the primary document. Its purpose lies in extracting and presenting the essential elements while steering clear of unnecessary repetition and superfluous details. 

The emphasis should be on delivering a succinct and lucid summary that encapsulates the project's core goals, objectives, and methodology without overwhelming the reader with redundant information.  

3.Lacking structure or logic

A proficiently structured executive summary adheres to a logical sequence, commencing with an engaging introduction, providing a comprehensive overview of the project's background and context, delineating the identified problem or opportunity, elucidating the proposed solution or approach, and culminating with a compelling call to action. 

Steer clear of disjointed narratives or abrupt shifts between unrelated subjects to ensure a seamless and coherent presentation.

4.Missing the hook or the call to action

The inception of an executive summary plays a crucial role in capturing the reader's attention and fostering their curiosity. Employ robust language and pertinent examples to underscore the project's importance and its potential ramifications. 

When articulating the call to action, articulate a clear directive outlining the desired next steps for the reader, be it in terms of investment, project support, or a comprehensive review of the complete proposal.

5. Not proofreading or editing

A refined and error-free executive summary serves as a testament to professionalism and a meticulous approach. It is imperative to meticulously proofread and edit your work, meticulously addressing grammatical errors, typos, and any inconsistencies. 

Ensure that the language used is not only clear and concise but also captivating to enhance the overall quality of the document.

To avoid these common mistakes, follow these guidelines

  • Know your audience: Tailor your executive summary to the specific needs and interests of your target audience. Consider their level of understanding and the information they are most likely to be interested in.
  • Start with a strong hook: Engage the reader with a captivating introduction that highlights the project's value proposition and potential impact.
  • Structure your summary logically: Follow a clear and concise flow, from background information to problem-solution-methodology-call to action.
  • Use strong action verbs: Choose verbs that convey the project's urgency and impact.
  • Quantify your results: Where possible, provide specific data and metrics to demonstrate the project's potential benefits.
  • Use clear and concise language: Avoid jargon and overly technical terms that may confuse non-experts.
  • Seek feedback: Ask colleagues or mentors to review your executive summary for clarity, effectiveness, and overall impact.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following these guidelines, you can craft an executive summary that effectively captures the reader's attention, conveys your message clearly, and persuades them to take action.  

Wrapping up:an executive summary is a important document

Executive summaries serve as an effective means to ensure that all team members are informed and aligned regarding the project's status. 

When dealing with numerous project stakeholders requiring swift comprehension of the project's objectives and significance, an executive summary proves to be an ideal tool for providing the necessary insights. 

For additional guidance on bridging high-level strategy and plans with day-to-day execution, explore our article on Standard Operating Procedures .

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

executive summary assignment template

Table of contents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is an Executive Report?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These include:

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

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

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

These are the main elements you should include:

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

Well-defined conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

3. Methods of analyzing the problem

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

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

4. Solutions to the problem

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

5. The ‘Why Now’ segment

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

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

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

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

High churn example

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

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Viewing benchmark data can be enlightening, but seeing where your company’s efforts rank against those benchmarks can be game-changing. 

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

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

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

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

Don’t worry.

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

Write it Last

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Marketing Performance KPIs . Tracking the number of MQLs, SQLs, New Contacts and similar will help you identify how your marketing efforts contribute to sales.
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Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics and HubSpot Marketing experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for monitoring your leads. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!


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

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

Step 1: Get the template 

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

Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.

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

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

Here are some examples.

Don’t use jargon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marketing Performance Dashboard

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marketing Performance Dashboard

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

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

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

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

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

Customer Support Performance Dashboard

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

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

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

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

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

Financial Overview Dashboard

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

You will be able to:

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

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

SaaS Management Dashboard

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

This Sales KPI Dashboard can help you do just that.

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

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

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

Sales KPI Dashboard

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

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

Here is an executive summary template for a business plan:

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

Executive summary template for marketing plan:

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

Executive summary template for a research report

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

Executive summary template for project executive

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

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

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

Databox is one of those tools.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Importance of a Good Executive Summary

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

When preparing to write, keep in mind that:

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

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

Structure and Writing Style

Writing an Executive Summary

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

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

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

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

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

Common Mistakes to Avoid

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

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

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How to Write an Executive Summary

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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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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  1. How to write an executive summary, with examples

    In general, there are four parts to any executive summary: Start with the problem or need the document is solving. Outline the recommended solution. Explain the solution's value. Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work. Free cross-functional project template.

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  3. Common Assignments: Executive Summaries

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

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

    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.

  5. PDF How to Write an Executive Summary

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

  6. 10 Free Executive Summary Templates in Word, Slides, & ClickUp

    2. ClickUp Whiteboard Executive Summary Template. ClickUp Whiteboard Executive Summary Template. ClickUp's Whiteboard Executive Summary Template is a perfect tool for project managers who want their executive summary to be an interactive experience that keeps the reader's attention throughout your pitch.

  7. How to write an executive summary: Templates and examples

    2. Propose a solution. 3. Summarize the impact. Executive summary checklist. Final thoughts. Imagine you are a CEO or chief product officer (CPO) with a day full of meetings, business agreements, and high-level initiatives to manage. At the same time, you have to review market research and usability testing reports your team has come up with.

  8. 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. ...

  9. Free Executive Summary Template [PDF + Masterful Examples]

    Use personal pronouns like "I", "you" and "we" over impersonal pronouns like "they" or "the company. 7. Make sure the summary can stand alone. If you follow the clearly defined structure we've listed above, your executive summary can stand on its own merit. Keep revising the document until you've achieved this goal.

  10. Free Executive Summary Templates

    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.

  11. How to Write an Executive Summary, with Examples

    Typically comprising four key elements, an effective executive summary should: Begin by addressing the problem or need that the document seeks to resolve. Outline the proposed solution to the identified problem. Articulate the value of the recommended solution. Conclude by emphasizing the significance of the work presented in the document.

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

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

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

    Executive Summary Template . 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.

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

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

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

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

  16. Executive Summary

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

  17. 22+ Best Executive Summary Templates & Samples

    Prepare a One Page Executive Summary After Downloading a Free Download Sample in Word, PDF, or Google Docs. Use a Doc Example for a Project Report, Business Plan, Management Assignment, Comprehensive Proposal, Research Paper, or Case Study. Format an Executive Summary Now.

  18. How to Write an Executive Summary in 10 Steps

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

  19. How to Write an Executive Summary (With Example)

    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 ...

  20. How to Write an Executive Summary for an Assignment

    Provide a logical order for the reader by stating the main points in the order they are covered in the assignment. Remember how important your assignment heading is. This will be read even before the executive summary. It needs to be clear, professional, and interesting. Have a rest before proofreading.

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

    The executive summary briefly describes the study's key points and suggests changes, actions and implementation strategies for the business. You can use the following steps to write an executive summary for a research paper: 1. Read the entire research paper.

  22. Business Plan Executive Summary Example & Template

    Bottom Line. Writing an executive summary doesn't need to be difficult if you've already done the work of writing the business plan itself. Take the elements from the plan and summarize each ...