Glossary Item

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.



Executive Summary

Table of Contents


What is an executive summary?

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 their first contact with your business, so all the information they need should be included.

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Why do you need an executive summary?

The executive summary is crucial for capturing the attention of busy stakeholders who may not have the time to read through the entire document. It serves as the hook that draws in lenders, investors, and senior executives by distilling the most compelling elements of your business plan into a clear, concise format.

A well-crafted summary ensures that these key decision-makers understand your business’s potential and are intrigued enough to consider further engagement.

Often, an executive summary may be required for;

  • Investors
  • Business cases
  • Project proposals
  • Research documents
  • Market surveys
  • Project plans

How do you write an executive summary?

To write an effective executive summary, start by outlining the main points of your full document, then refine these into a clear and engaging narrative.

The 4 parts to an executive summary;

  1. The problem or need the document is solving.
  2. The recommended solution.
  3. The solution’s value.
  4. The conclusion about the importance of the work

Focus on what matters most to your prospective audience: your business model, market opportunity, competitive advantages, and financial outlook.

Tips for a great executive summary

  • ✅ Get to the point – this isn’t a report.
  • ✅ Use straightforward language and avoid jargon to ensure readability and impact.
  • ✅ Tailor your summary to reflect the interests and needs of your audience, emphasizing the aspects most likely to appeal to them.

Who is an executive summary for?

The executive summary is tailored for stakeholders such as investors, lenders, and busy executives—individuals who often make decisions based on the strength and clarity of this section.

As many of these readers will only peruse the executive summary during their initial contact with your business, it’s imperative that this section be both comprehensive and compelling.

The executive summary acts as a stand-alone document that must convincingly outline the opportunity and value of your proposal, setting the stage for further review or direct action.

In closing

Executive summaries are a great way to get everyone aligned on a specific project or initiative.
It is especially important where those parties may not have time or necessity to read the whole document.

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