How To Write An Executive Summary: Key To Success

Students want to know how to write an executive summary for a report, project, research paper, case study, business plan, and assignment.

 

Are you on the way to starting your new business venture? Or are you just working on a new project for a specific client?

 

Whether it is just your literature assignment, a research paper, a business plan, or a project, writing an executive summary is compulsory.

 

This article is for you if you need clarification on writing and correctly formatting an executive summary for different kinds of write-ups.

 

Before you learn how to write an executive summary, you need to know what it is and why it is essential to write it before you start writing about any project you are working on.

 

 

1. What Is An Executive Summary?

 

As the name suggests, an executive summary summarizes a more extensive project into a short overview. This paragraph includes all the essential parameters or information, giving a quick outline to the people reading your project.

 

While you try to include the critical points, remember to have only a few explanatory things like charts, analyses, reviews, etc. This information will go inside the body of your report. An executive summary allows you to let people know what you do and why any person should read your business plan or project, or even research paper.

 

That overview should entail a few pieces of information like finances, a description of your company, the problem it vows to solve, and an analysis of the market. This will help the investors or stakeholders to decide whether they want to go forward with your business proposal or not.

 

 

2. Executive Summary vs Abstract

 

It is common to need clarification on an abstract and an executive summary. An abstract is usually used for academic writing or research paper. It acts as a teaser for what the actual research paper is all about.

 

On the contrary, the executive summary is like a compact version of your content, which may be a business plan or project.

 

 

3. Executive Summary vs Project Plan

 

A project plan states the principal factors that your project will achieve to reach the goals and objectives of your project. It will include the following things:

 

  • Budget

  • Roles of different people

  • Stakeholders

  • Goals

  • Success metrics

  • Schedules and timelines

  • A communication plan

  • Milestones

 

On the other hand, an executive summary has a summary of the essential steps of your project plan. So when writing an executive summary, think about the most critical information you want the reader to know before they start working on your idea.

 

 

4. What Is The Importance Of Writing An Executive Summary?

 

The main section of your project or business plan is very long, and an individual will need a lot of time to read it thoroughly. It is undeniable that everyone, including the managers, investors, and CEOs, only has a little time to spare to find out from the document what the goal of your project/business is or why you have such plans.

 

The executive summary will give the stakeholders all the necessary information on a project without them going through the entire document. It will be like a gateway to your more than 80-page document detailing your business plan/project.

 

 Reading the executive summary will be sufficient. If they still wish to read a specific section or even go through your entire project, they can open your document and go through it while keeping the essential points in mind.

 

So, before you write an executive summary, remember that it is different from an abstract, you cannot replace it with an introduction and a preface, and it is also not equal to highlights. 

 

You may call the executive summary the first impression you will leave on the higher authorities, who will decide whether to approve your project or finalize your business plan. It would be best if you always worked on making your executive summary strong so that the investors will also get attracted to reading the rest of your document.

 

 

5. How To Write An Executive Summary?

 

How you write an executive summary depends on the kind of document you are writing for. Executive summaries can be for a project proposal, research study, business plan, etc. However, there are specific points that you need to keep in mind before writing any executive summary. 

 

In this section, you will learn how to write an executive summary irrespective of which kind of document you are writing it for.

 

 

The Length of Your Executive Summary

 

The general rule for determining the length of any executive summary is that the number of pages should be at most 10% of the total number of pages of the entire document. Thus, the limit of writing an executive summary for a 100-page document would be ten pages. 

 

This length is not too long for the executives, busy managers, and CEOs to go through but long enough to entail all the necessary details about your project.

 

 

The Tone And Language of an Executive Summary

 

The tone and language with which you will write your executive summary will depend on the kind of target audience you are writing for. You need to have complete information on the kind of audience you are writing for before determining your tone's professionality. So make sure to do thorough research. 

 

In simple words, use the tone and language that will resonate with your audience.

 

But regardless of the kind of audience you are writing for, remember to keep your writing crisp, use professional language, and be free of any little errors whatsoever. Instead of writing "the company" or "the project", you should use personal pronouns like we and "our company", "our project", or "our theme". 

 

This creates a personal bond between the reader, you, and your company/project idea. Before writing, try to put yourself in the reader's shoes and think about why you want to invest in this project idea. You will get your answer.

 

 

Read The Entire Document And Take Out Only The Significant Points

 

It is a pretty obvious point while writing an executive summary, but you must go through the entire project/business plan/research paper before writing your executive summary. 

 

You need to identify and isolate essential points like the problem your project, business, or research paper is trying to solve, why solving the problem is necessary, and what solution your project can provide.

 

After collecting all the necessary information, start writing your executive summary by amalgamating all those points.

 

 

End With A Conclusion That Will Highlight The Importance of Work

 

After you have written your entire executive summary, you should always end it with a compelling conclusion. That conclusion should be able to guide the readers towards understanding the impact your project/business/research paper will have on the community. 

 

Your conclusion should be able to lure the readers into accepting your project proposal and going through the rest of the document.

 

You must have heard that the introduction of any document is the most crucial part because it determines whether the readers will read the rest of the document. While it is true, focusing on the conclusion is equally essential.

 

 

6. How To Write an Executive Summary For a Business Plan?

 

As already discussed, you need to go through the entire business plan to extract the vital points and put them together in the executive summary. 

 

A business plan is a document explaining the various facets and characteristics like the business model, goals, services, products, sales and marketing plan, key objectives of the project, etc. A business plan is used to pitch the business idea to the investors.

 

Given below is how you should format the executive summary for your business plan:

 

  • Introduction: In the first paragraph, you need to mention the purpose of your business plan. Why do you want to pursue this business?

 

  • Description of your company: Describe your business and why you are the perfect team to do this business.

 

  • The need and problem: Mention the problem your business will vouch for solving.

 

  • The solution to the problem: You need to mention a unique and out-of-the-box solution to the problem you want to solve. Remember, the problem your company will solve already exists in the market, and other companies are already working on it, so create a unique solution.

 

  • Evidence: You must provide legitimate proof of how your company will solve the problem.

 

  • Resources: Write about the resources you will need for your business.

 

  • Funding request: The investors will primarily look at this section of your executive summary, where you will explain the profitability of your business and what profit will be in store for the investors.

 

  • Market analysis: You do not need to go deep while mentioning the market analysis in the executive summary. Just say what your market is and what kind of audience you are targeting.

 

  • Marketing plan: You need to consider your sales and marketing strategy and mention it in your executive summary.

 

  • Team: What is your dream team, and who is working with you?

 

 

7. How To Write an Executive Summary For Research Paper?

 

A research paper executive summary will entail the aims and objectives of the study as well as the key findings of the study. Here is how you should format the executive summary for a research paper:

 

  • Introduction: Just like any other executive summary, you need to start your executive summary for a research paper with an introduction, mentioning the problems and purpose of the study.

 

  • Purpose: Explain the purpose behind writing the research paper.

 

  • The methodology used: Write about the data collection method you used to collect data.

 

  • Analysis: You need to mention the key findings of your research paper.

 

  • Recommendations: It is necessary to provide a list of actions from the result of your research paper.

 

  • Implementation: After you write the recommendations, provide the relevant implementations of your research paper.

 

  • Conclusion: Summarize everything you have written in a single paragraph at the end and leave a little room for the readers so that they can get intrigued to read the rest of your paper.

 

 

8. Things To Keep In Mind While Writing An Executive Summary

 

Writing an executive summary may feel overwhelming, but it is easy if you follow specific tips. 

 

Given below are the best tips for writing an executive summary to make your project stand out:

 

 

Use Simple Words

 

Everyone from the stakeholders to your team should be able to read and comprehend your executive summary. After you finish writing the executive summary, re-read it, so there is no jargon. Even if there are, try to explain it or neglect it altogether.

 

 

Be Mindful of The Length of Your Executive Summary

 

An executive summary is just a summary. So if you are elongating the executive summary, stop and analyze if there is a need to include those pieces of information in the executive summary section.

 

 

Always Proofread

 

Your executive summary should not have any typos whatsoever. You should proofread it yourself, but you can send your executive summary to a friend so there is a fresh perspective.

 

 

9. Conclusion

 

An executive summary is a great way to influence your stakeholder's minds and ensure everyone is in the same boat about your project.

 

If many people need a quick insight into your project, an executive summary will provide all the information they need but in a shorter version.

 

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