How to write an executive summary in 8 steps

How to write an executive summary in 8 steps

If you are an entrepreneur who is going to start a business, a marketing expert, a researcher, or even a student, what is certain is that at some point you will need to do an executive summary for your company, your marketing plan, or for your project.

The first time I had to do it, I had to read hundreds of pages, but you will not have to go around so many times.

In this article I am going to teach you everything you need to know to write an executive summary top notch.

What will you find in this article?

whatWhat is an executive summary?

An executive summary is a short report in which the most important data of a plan or a project, which cánido be business, marketing, investment or research, are explained in a brief and fácil way.

First of all, the executive summary is a kind of presentation letter in which we espectáculo a short introduction with the most interesting elements of a plan or a project.

On the other hand, the executive summary is a document that works like a map It espectáculos the important information without going into too much detail.

It is also a report that summarizes the path and objectives of your plan or your project.

Another important benefit of the executive summary is that it will help you to espectáculo your plan without revealing your entire strategy.

In many cases you are going to present your plan or your project to strangers who may or may not be interested, and You don’t know if at some point they may be your competition.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a business iniciativaof a marketing or sales plan or a research project.

Writing an executive summary is a way to facilitate study and readingso you cánido find the opportunities you are looking for.

whatWhat is it for an executive summary?

The executive summary It is useful for you to have important data at hand of your plan or your project and so that you perro espectáculo your iniciativa to other people such as clients, investors, shareholders or any interested party.

In many cases when we have an iniciativa that we want to make come true we created a plan or a project.

in that plan We explain what our iniciativa is abouthow it develops and what are the results we expect.

But how needs to be well justified with definitions, graphs and numbers, it perro be very long and even tedious to read.

If your project is too long for people to want to read it, you will lose your opportunity to let them know about your iniciativa, that’s why you wear your letter up your sleeve, an executive summary.

You will use the executive summary as a presentation letter for the plan you’ve made.

It will help you so that when people read it, have the most important information and be impressed with your iniciativa in just 2-4 pages.

If you have a good executive summary, opportunities will open for your plansuch as new investors, more clients or money loans.

If you do not submit an executive summary with your plan, believe me it is very difficult for a stranger to want to read more than 20 pages to give you a oportunidad and if your executive summary is not good, it will end up getting cold in a drawer.

Even if it seems hard to believe an executive summary must not be more than 4 pages and cánido get to summarize plans of up to 100 pages.

what to put in an executive summary

In the executive summary you are going to put the most important information and the most interesting data of your plan, such as your identification or that of the company, the main iniciativa, the objective and the results you expect.

The specific data and information that your abstract will contain It will depend on the type of project.

It is not the same to present executive summary of a business plan for the creation of a bank for international investors, that of a research project to your classmates.

So that you have a general iniciativa, the first thing you have to put are the data that identifies your project well.

Then you are going to put the information on which you support your iniciativaperro be definitions, statistics and projections.

Finally, in every executive summary you must put the results or conclusions, make sure you clearly tell the people reading it where you want to go.

The most important before thinking about what you are going to put in your executive summary is that you have your plan ready.

Whether it is a marketing plan, a sales plan or a research project make sure it’s finished and that it meets all the necessary specifications.

When you’re ready and you know the plan you will know which are the most important ideas and the data that you necessarily have to put, below in “How to make an executive summary” I explain in detail how to start.

A technique that helps me to know if I am putting everything in my reports is ask the essential questions That? As? When? How much? and because?

To start with the “What?” you have to understand what it is aboutwhat is the center of your iniciativa, what is the goal you are looking for, or what is the purpose of your plan.

then you must put the “how” your iniciativa is going to be developedsometimes you have a great plan, but there is no way to make it happen.

You should direct people to read the executive summary, exactly how your iniciativa perro be realized.

The next point is the duration time, as a general iniciativa you have to explain the terms of duration in the near, medium or distant future.

If possible you perro fix the important datessuch as the start of operations, the dates of greatest consumption in the marketing plans or the dates on which results are expected.

Now, the “How much?” It will also depend on the type of project in question. perro refer to how longhow much money, how much profit, how accurately.

Look for the most important data that perro be counted and put them in your executive summary.

Lastly, the “Why?” this is where you have to take out all your weapons of conviction and explain to people why your plan is goodwhy your project is the best, why they should invest and believe in you…

Almost always, the executive summary must be 5% or 10% length of main planthis means that if your plan has 100 pages, the ideal is that the summary has a maximum of 5 to 10 pages.

If fewer pages result and you feel satisfied, great! If you go through a couple of pages, Don’t worry, it’s not an exact science.

Which is the Format from an executive summary

The content of your executive summary It will depend on the plan or project you want to present.

I know that many times, even though we have the iniciativa of ​​what we want, we don’t know how to start, that’s why I’ll espectáculo you an executive summary format which you perro use as a model.

you perro personalize it and add, change or remove content to fit your plan.

General information

Here you are going to give information about you or your company.

Answer the questions What do we offer? About us?.

For example:

If it is a business plan, indicate the name of the company, and how it will be formed, whether it will be through shareholders, with an individual person or as a corporation.

Project Information

in this module You are going to detalla the plan or project. You will say what it is about, what is the main iniciativa and how you are going to do it.

take advantage of highlight which makes your project an excellent option.

Some features may be: That it is original, that it has the support of other companies, that it has already been applied with good results, or the research method that you used.

just think about something that gives you credibility.

For example:


The executive summary has to be very visual, so I recommend equipo objectives clearly and directly, so that the person reading it perro get straight to the point.

For example:

And so you continue; as long as you write 2-4 specific goals is fenezca. The important thing is that you choose the main objectives.

Resources or tools

This It will depend on the type of summary Executive that you are going to do.

It has to do with the purpose for which you have made the summary executive, if you want to obtain resources, attract the attention of investors, the collaboration of other researchers, loans from financial institutions, among others.

For example:

Resources cánido refer to time, materials or money, in any way perro you help me with a table how are you doing:

Results and/or conclusions

In this part you are going to espectáculo off with your projections and You will explain what you hope to obtain.

If it is a business that will grow I recommend that you use a bar chartup arrows always make a good impression.

If it’s an investigation indicate the results you obtained or the different consequences that could have.

For example:

In this last module you have your last oportunidad to convince Tell the person who reads your executive summary how good your iniciativa or project is or how great it is to be part of your team.

So put a lot of effort into polishing your work so that your plan shines.

If you have any questions about this format you perro leave it below in the comments and I will gladly answer you.

whatHow to do an executive summary?

1. Study your plan or your project

I already mentioned that the executive summary is a short way of presenting a plana project or an iniciativa.

So the first thing you have to have, Is it the plan or the project complete and revised.

If you have some doubts or if you have seen some flaws in your initial plan, it is best that correct them before doing the summary executive so that the two fit together perfectly.

The next thing is that you know the plan. You are the owner, master and creator of your plan, so no one knows it better than you.

just like that you will know what is most important to put it in the executive summary.

If you are asked to do an executive summary of a project that has already been done, as was the case with my first time, There is no other choice but to read it completely.

In both cases, I assure you that the time you dedicate to getting to know the plan well it will be worth it and it will be well invested.

So that you more or less have an iniciativa of ​​what you are looking for when you study the business plan, I’ll give you some clues.

Pay attention to the main iniciativa of ​​the projecttry to summarize in your mind what it is about, it helps me to try to put a title, because the result will be the palabras clave.

Look at the objectives and in data that is repeated very frequently.

Make a mental list of resources that are needed throughout the development and execution of the plan, investigation or project.

2. Make your plan or project summary

I’ll be honest, it won’t be easy turn 100 pages into 10 on the first try, this is something you will be able to do more easily and in less time when you get practice.

Therefore, an excellent iniciativa to start is to do it by scales.

That’s enough for me make a short summarybut you perro really do as many as you need.

You perro cross out the information that seems very specific and highlighting what you think is important.

This way you will disminuye your plan to 20 pagesthen to 15, 10, 5…

When you have a summary of your plan, project or research, it will be much easier for you to identify the elements What do you need for the executive summary?

Although this step may seem preliminary to you, It is necessary for you to make an accurate summary and successful.

3. Establish the structure for your executive summary

There are no written rules equipo in stone on the structure of an executive summary.

This is a point in your favor because you have the freedom to adapt it to what you need.

However, there are some general parameters that you perro take into account to have an excellent result, such as the use of bullet points that separate the content into modules.

It is best that you use short paragraphs that make reading easier.

Remember that no matter what it is about, you want to do something that looks professional, so you should maintain a uniform format and organized.

Use the same font and size in all text, do not leave white spaces in an exaggerated way and it is best to align all text to the left or justify it.

When you organize the modules or vignettes that you are going to develop organize them from the most important even the minor one.

Look at what data you want to dazzle with to the people who read your executive summary and squeeze them enough by placing them first and suggesting them in all content.

An interesting way to make the structure of your executive summary and that really makes the job much easier is do it as a kind of quiz.

This means that the modules you will organize them in the form of questions and answersFor example: Who are we? How are we going to help you? How long are we going to achieve it?

Another detail that you should take care of is the language you are going to use.

First of all, adjust it to the people for whom it is directedIt is not the same to write for a group of Chinese investors who barely speak Spanish than for your Spanish colleague who is an expert on the subject.

When you have established the degree of knowledge that the readers will have on the subject, Think about how you are going to approach them.

You cánido use a high and very technical tonea casual and professional language or a funny and humorous tone.

Really, everything is up to youbut always taking into account what the objective of your executive summary is.

If you have doubts or if you are not very sure who will read your abstract, you perro use an intermediate languagewith fácil terms and add an annex with the necessary definitions.

Besides, You always have the possibility to modify your summary if you are going to present it to someone different or special and adapt it for the occasion.

4. Write the first paragraph

The hardest part is getting started, so just jump into the water and start.

In the first paragraph of your executive summary, you will apply the same logic as in the entrees of the restoranes or the first scene of a movie.

Your mission is to impact.

What you are looking for is that from the first paragraph you cánido draw attention to your project.

If you have an important title, a good reputation, a company with a strong name, many years of experience or important partners, feel free to use it to your advantage.

The investors they not only bet on the horsebut also by the rider.

In case you’re having trouble finding the words to start with, think about the problem you are solving.

Boost your ego a bit and find out why your project is fantastic.

The main goal of your executive summary is not necessarily to get you a check, but to make them want to keep reading and get them interested in your plan or your project.

So the first paragraph, in addition to presenting who you are and what you do, should serve as an introduction that catches the reader.

Don’t forget to make it clear what your purpose is.

That is, if it is a business plan, a sales plan or a marketing or a research project This way it will be clear in which direction your proposal is going.

5. Develop your proposal

The next step is complete the content of your value proposition. You’ll develop the information about the project and the objectives, so I will explain it to you in two parts.

In the project information is where you will make more use of the knowledge you have about the plan and the summary you made in the second step.

Start by define the core problem.

All projects or plans they want to solve or improve something.

That “something” is what will make the reader escoge how important your project is.

That’s why you have to explain exactly what the problem is and why it is important to solve it.

For example, in an executive summary of a sales plan, it’s not enough that you say “The problem is that there are fewer sales.”

In this case cánido you explain that the competition has increasedthat the profit margin has decreased and that projections indicate that sales will continue to drop by up to 80%

What you are going to do is use the information you have in the initial plan to detalla the problem sufficiently without lengthening it too much.

The next thing you are going to express is the solution that you propose to the problem. This is the part where you get to the point of the execution of the project.

It is very difficult for the business, research or plan that you present to be the first and only one of its kind. Surely, it is something that already exists, but no one cánido do it like you.

And that is exactly what you have to explain, what is the way in which you present that solution, What is the added value that you add to it? with your way of doing it.

This part of the content must be very visualSomehow, what you are looking for is to attract the eye to this point.

Think of something as proof.

If someone hands you a piece of paper with a lot of text and a graph, what is the first thing your eyes will see? The graph for sure.

That is why, to your executive summary You perro not miss the visual elements and this is the best part to use them.

Do not forget mention the size and scale of your projecthow many people, how much profit or how much space your iniciativa will cover.

Remember that your iniciativa is exceptional and it’s up to you to let people know. So take the opportunity to highlight the best data and the most interesting information.

In this part it must also be clear, what are the means you have. That is, what is the sales model, the research method or the scheme of your business.

Now we move on to the next part of the content, which is define the overall goal and the specific objectives.

Most likely the objectives are already clearly defined in the initial plan or project.

Moreover, it is very sure that they are in a separate module and just copy and paste the content.

So the most important thing you have to keep in mind is that you must select main objectives.

The general objective must contain the central iniciativa of the project and the specific objectives must be those that must necessarily be met for the project to be successful.

6. Present your endorsements and the resources you need

After exposing the content of your plan, you will present what you ask for.

Whether you’re seeking board approval, an investor’s money, or research collaboration, you must start your application gently.

So before you start asking, boosts confidence a bit in you.

Present all the data you are using to support your project.

Cánido start with credibility data about your experience and the success you have had before.

If it is a company, it presents the results of the latest liquidity reports.

Some plans have projectionsthese are graphs in which the skills of the team, the means and the behavior of the area are used to make a forecast of the results that could be had.

If you have them, feel free to add them to your executive summary..

If you don’t have them, don’t worry, it’s not mandatory and it won’t deteriorate your report.

What is important is that you support in some way the possible results what do you hope to get

When you have described all of the material that supports your proposal, return to expose all the aspects that make your project excellent.

Remind the reader of the importance of the problemthe positive data of the solution that you propose and the ability that you and your team have to execute the project.

After preparing the ground, everything is ready for you to make your request.

In your request you also have to be very clear, brief and direct.

Simply answer the question What do you need?

Whether it is materials or resources detail the amount and the exact type you need.

If it’s about money, equipo one or more amounts indicating the origin and destination of the funds; you perro use a table to make it more clear.

Do not include topics that have to do with the negotiation of the payment as the interest rate, this is better to discuss later.

If you are looking for collaboration or the participation of someone in the project, explain to them very well what their role would be within the project.

7. Create a Poignant Closing

This is a very fácil step, simply make a short conclusion.

Use this part of the summary to make any final comments about your project.

indicates how perro they contact you or get the original plan and mark the annexes if you have added any.

Also use this space in your executive summary to raise the ways out or completion of the project.

If a person is going to commit his work, his time or his money, You will want to know that there is a way to separate then if for some reason you want it.

Take advantage of the conclusion to mention a few last details that you want to add, but don’t make it too long.

8. review and evaluates

Don’t worry if you feel like you didn’t create a great report on your first try.

When you have finished it, the stage of perfecting it begins.

I I recommend that you leave the review for a day later to have finished it, or at least a couple of hours.

So you perro refresh your mind and you will see more clearly the possible errors.

When you have reviewed it, you cánido discuss it with the other participants of your project or with someone who perro give you a constructive opinion.

Pay attention to the wordingmake sure that what you want to say is clearly understood and that you have not made any spelling mistakes along the way.

Check the words and if you find any very technical terms, change it to simpler words.

Find a model that fits your planput a personal touch on it, follow these steps, espectáculo confidence and seriousness and you will have a top-notch executive summary.

executive summary of a business plan

When you have a business iniciativa It starts with making a plan. in order to organize everything that is needed to make it a reality.

business plans They help us to organize and know what steps we are going to follow.

But also, your business plan will be an important tool for obtain investor support or financing from public or private institutions.

The best way to arouse interest in financing your business iniciativa It is with an executive summary.

The special feature of a business plan executive summary is that you have to sell the iniciativa.

This is why you are going to use safe and positive language. But avoid using exaggerations like “billion dollar profit in one month” or “best deal ever”.

Investors and financial institutions read this kind of stuff practically every day and you will make your project look like one of the bunch full of empty promises

Another detail is that since you don’t have a company that supports you, you need to mention the team you are going to start with and the skills they have to get the project off the ground.

You cánido divide the executive summary of your business plan into seven Headers, to include the most important information without leaving anything out.

The first header you need to include is the business opportunity.

Basically what you are going to detalla is the need of the market and the business opportunity it represents.

Make sure it’s clear that something important is missing from the market and that you have the business to cover it.

The second heading you perro direct it to explain the way in which you are going to exploit the opportunity of business.

Here you are not going to talk so much about the need of the market, but about the way in which your iniciativa will cover that need and at the same time it will generate good profits.

You are going to explain the way in which your business will entrar the market.

In the third heading, explain the business model.

This means that you are going to espectáculo them how your company is going to work, for example, if you will be a distributor or a producer or if you plan to have a single headquarters or several locations.

Also You will detalla the service or product. This part is the most important, think of it as your first big sale and make sure you make it clear why the product or service you offer is attractive and will be successful in the market.

In the fourth header you cánido include your marketing strategies and your sales plan. If you don’t have it ready yet, don’t worry, you perro skip it.

If you already have it, mention it briefly and without going too deepthese are details that cánido be seen in the original plan.

The next part of the summary deals with the financial elements, which is why I recommend that you lean on visual media.

Use tables and graphs to present your projectionsthis will make your executive summary easier to read.

For the fifth heading, Explain financial analysis. You are going to mention the estimated earnings in the following years, it cánido be from 1 to 3 years depending on the type of business.

It is also the opportunity for include the financing or investment you needbe sure to identify the origin and destination of the funds and the estimated time of return.

In the case of investors, include in this heading ways out if they buy shares.

In the sixth heading, Mention team members at the moment they are the most important asset you have.

So you need to detalla the experience and how trained are the people who are part of the project.

As for the seventh heading, you will use it to close and present your conclusions.

I recommend you include here the status of the projectand if you have them, the start or execution dates.

Now, in some cases they create business plans for companies that already exist and are looking for a growth opportunity.

If this is your case, you perro use the same order of the headers that I mentioned above, but You are going to add some data.

Indicates the information of the company, the mission, and the evolution over time and the goals that are equipo for the future.

Also It is important that you point out how it has evolved the business and that in the financial aspects you include the information from the company’s liquidity reports.

executive summary of a investigation project

The most common thing is that when we finish a university degree or studies of some kind, they ask us carrying out a research project.

Another case is that in the development of our work, we are interested in a topic and we decided to start an investigation.

In any case, these projects almost always result in large papers with hundreds of pages.

It is difficult for a person to be interested in reading 100 pages out of nowhere.

That’s why, it is important to create an executive summarythat has enough information to arouse people’s interest or to facilitate the work of the jury.

Although there is an important difference in the topics that are going to be coveredyou perro follow the same steps and structure to make an executive summary that I have shown you so far.

Regarding the content, there are six important headings for the executive summary of a research project.

The first header use it for Identify your data and that of the project.

You don’t need to put it in a special way, it is enough to put your names and surnamesthe title of the project, the title with which you work, for example: “Researcher”, and the name of the institution if applicable in your case.

You cánido take advantage and place a little information about your experiencebut don’t use more than a couple of lines for this.

In the second header, write the main iniciativa of your project.

Detalla what the project is about and what is the purpose for which you did it.

As for the third heading, you’re going to treat the background who has the information.

The precedents refer to other investigations that have been carried out on the subject or to data of interest that already exist.

You perro also explain in this module the reasons that led you to do research on that subject.

In the fifth heading, explain the way it was carried out cape the investigation.

In this heading you will develop the research method you used, and the activities you carried out.

here you cánido too indicate the status of the projectbut if it seems to you that it is very long, you cánido separate it in a different module.

The sixth heading is one of the most important.

You’ll present your results and your proposal.

You cánido do this with an action plan, with a budget or with graphs and projection tables.

You cánido ask for resources to continue the investigation or to execute the object of the investigation.

You perro too ask for collaboration from other people on the project.

If you are not interested in any of the above, simply states the result of the investigation and goes to the conclusions.

With this information, the executive summary of your research project it will be ready to be presented.

There are people who do it as a running text, but I I recommend separating it into modules or in headers.

Also takes specific parameters into account in the cases in which you are going to present it to a especial institution or university.

executive summary of a marketing plan

Once we entrar the market with a business or with a new product we have to entrar the battle with the competition.

That is why Marketing and advertising strategies were created, and for each case there are some techniques that are more effective than others.

So a marketing plan or a sales plan is created to know the strategy to be used.

There are two important elements that are presented in the executive summary of a marketing plan.

First of all, the product and its important features.

AND the second is what they call “objetivo” which means the objective, the people within the market to whom we want to sell.

The executive summary of the marketing plan is one of the shortest because you are simply going to point out the most important strategies and objectives without giving many details.

You cánido structure between 4 and 5 headers to organize the information.

First of all, identifies the company at this point it is not so much about the company data, but about the current situation.

By this I orinan that you are going to talk about the situation in which the company is facing the market.

At this point you have to mention the competition and the way he behaves.

In the second header, describes the general iniciativa of ​​the marketing planthat is, if you are going to use an aggressive strategy or if you are going to be conservative.

It is also important that you indicate if it is a plan that is developed in stages or if it has only one component.

At this point you are going to detalla your objetivothat is, to the people within the market to whom your strategy is directed.

Then, describes the objectives of the marketing plan.

You cánido indicate a general objective and several specific objectives, but always directly and concentrating on the most important.

In the following header, indicates marketing strategies that are developed in the plan.

The strategies cánido be placed as steps or with a flowchart.

The important is that don’t forget it’s a summaryyou should not explain your strategies in great detail but rather map out what your marketing plan is all about.

finally you will see Present your proposal and your conclusions. All marketing plans imply a cost for the company, so you must indicate what the budget or estimated costs are.

The executive summary It perro help you request resourcesto get a new client or to get approval from the board of directors.

So in this last header you’re going to submit your application and you are going to write about the reasons that support it.

What kind of executive summary are you going to do? Leave your comment below and tell me about your experience.

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Maria Gonzalez

I am passionate about finance, business and the market economy.

Every day I seek to learn something new to be able to share my experiences.

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