Introduction to Executive Summary Templates
An executive summary, or management summary, is a short document or section of a document, produced for business purposes, that summarizes a longer report or proposal or a group of related reports in such a way that readers can rapidly become acquainted with a large body of material without having to read it all. It usually contains a brief statement of the problem or proposal covered in the major document(s), background information, concise analysis and main conclusions. It is intended as an aid to decision-making by managers and has been described as the most important part of a business plan.
An executive summary differs from an abstract in that an abstract will usually be shorter and is typically intended as an overview or orientation rather than being a condensed version of the full document. Abstracts are extensively used in academic research where the concept of the executive summary is not in common usage. “An abstract is a brief summarizing statement… read by parties who are trying to decide whether or not to read the main document”, while “an executive summary, unlike an abstract, is a document in miniature that may be read in place of the longer document”.
An executive summary template is a written statement which provides a review of a long report. It is written for non-technical people who cannot interpret the details of the in-depth report. It is also created for those professionals who don’t have time to read the complete report. It contains enough information for the reader to make him understand exactly what is described in the long report. All basic information is included in the executive summary template in the same order with which they are placed in the long report. We have to try to cover all major ideas of the whole document in the executive summary briefly. The executive summary template generally used by business as a compact review of their working landmarks. Therefore, this smart summary will often outline the initial face of business for the facilitation of potential investors.
A well-written executive summary is something that makes your report or business documents easy to understand so feel free to download and use following executive summary template to write meaningful executive summaries. An executive summary is an important part of business writing that enables you to turn a big or lengthy business report or document into few lines so the reader can get an overall idea about the document or report at a glance. The executive summary can also be explained as a document containing fewer lines or a particular section of a document or report and used, to sum up, a lengthier in such a way that readers can rapidly become familiar with the document without going through the whole reading.
Various formats of Executive Summary Templates?
Companies seeking capital often ask how long the Executive Summary of their business plan should be. The answer depends upon the use of the summary, mainly determining if 1) it precedes the full business plan, or 2) it will be used as a stand-alone document.
When the Executive Summary precedes the business plan, its length should be short, typically only one to two pages and certainly no longer than three pages. This is because the Executive Summary is not meant to tell the whole story of the business opportunity. Rather, the summary must simply stimulate and motivate the investor to learn more about the company in the body of the plan.
The second type of Executive Summary is a stand-alone document. That is, it is given, by itself, to investors for their initial review. If interested, the investor will then request the full business plan. A stand-alone Executive Summary is often used to limit the flow of information. That is if an investor is not interested in the general opportunity that your summary presents, you don’t want to reveal to them intimate details of your plan.
Regardless of which type of Executive Summary you are developing, the summary must include the following critical elements:
- A concise explanation of the business
- A description of the market size and market need for the business
- A discussion of how the company is uniquely qualified to fulfill this need: In addition, a stand-alone Executive Summary should include summaries of each essential element of the business plan. This includes paragraphs addressing each of the following:
- Customer Analysis: What specific customer segments the company is targeting and their demographic profiles.
- Competition: Who the company’s direct competitors are and the company’s key competitive advantages.
- Marketing Plan: How the company will effectively penetrate its target market.
- Financial Plan: A summary of the financial projections of the company.
- Management Team: Biographies of the key management team and Board members.
- The Executive Summary is the most critical element of the business plan. If it does not grab the investor’s attention, the investor will neither read nor request the full business plan. As such, spend time developing the best possible summary, create two versions (e.g., stand-alone and full plan predecessor) as appropriate, and work to get it in the hands of the right investors.
How to Write an Executive Summary
Think of an executive summary as being a lot like a pitch, but with constraints. A good summary sells the rest of the plan, but it can’t be just a hard sell—it has to actually summarize the plan. Readers expect it to cover your business, product, market, and financial highlights, at the very least (see below for more detail on this).
Of course, you’ll highlight what will most spark the reader’s interest, to achieve this plan’s immediate business objective. But your readers expect the key points covered. It’s a summary, not just a pitch.
- Write it last. Even though the executive summary is at the beginning of a finished business plan, many experienced entrepreneurs (including me) choose to write the executive summary after they’ve written everything else.
- Ideally the executive summary is short—usually just a page or two, five at the outside—and highlights the points you’ve made elsewhere in your business plan, so if you save it for the end, it will be quick and easy.
- Keep it short. Few experts recommend a single page, just a page or two, no more than five, and sometimes even longer. Keep it as short as you can without missing any essentials.
- Keep it simple. Form follows function. Most executive summaries are short texts, often with bullets, broken into subheadings. Illustrations such as a picture of a product, or a bar chart showing financial highlights, are usually welcome.
- Organize in order of importance. There is no set order of appearance of the different key items included. Quite the contrary, in fact—use the order to show emphasis.
- Lead with what you want to get the most attention, and follow with items in the order of importance. I tend to like summaries that start with stating a problem because that can add drama and urgency.
When it’s finished, re purpose it as a summary memo. It’s the first chapter of a formal plan, but you can also use it as a stand-alone “summary memo.” Investors often ask startups to send a summary memo instead of a full business plan.
It might be a short document, often attached to an email, or simply a summary in an email. You can also use it again to fill in startup profiles on investment platforms or to apply for an incubator or a business plan competition.
Purpose of Executive Summary Templates
Executive summaries are generally prepared for higher authorities and executive employees of the company because they have not enough time to read complete business reports or documents. Executive summary if written well, tells the reader that what is included in the report or document and what is the basic purpose of writing. Executive summaries also provide a writer great way to make a lengthy business presentation or plan easily understandable for preparations prior to business meetings and seminars.
The executive summary is written to indicate main points and parts of the large report or document. For example, when you are making a business plan for your existing business or company, an executive summary of the business plan briefly tells investors and shareholders that where your company is, where you want to take it in near future and why the expresses business plan or idea is worthy of the business development. Contents of executive summaries can vary from each other as these are prepared for different purposes. Here we have added a free executive summary template which is loaded with all basic points and info that must be there in a summary report.
It is a crucial document is actually served as a first & right impression of your business. However, an executive summary format will help the business to convey their business plan, strategies & policies in an intuitive manner. There is no need of writing a huge article which will be impossible for others to fully readable. The executive summary template will assist the business to grab the interest of investor within few seconds. Undoubtedly, an executive summary will explain the essence & total energy of business plan in a clear and compelling way. This format is our best example of professional work and high quality. It does not matter whether you are using it for personal purpose or business purpose, it is perfect for every kind of use. The printable setting of this executive summary is by default settings and there is no need to waste time on this. We are providing one format at one time, therefore we shall discourage our users to use it same as it given.
For business people, the executive summary will serve as a condensed paragraph of a report or a problem in which the reader will surely comprehend the whole and long content of the topic while reading it. The shortening tool you can print by any writer can write the main thought of their Summary Report so the reader or audience will easily acquaint to what is the issue is all about.
Important Ingredients of a Good Executive Summary Templates
An executive summary is a brief introduction to a business plan. It should describe your business, the problem that it solves, your target market, and financial highlights.
- Who you are.Start with your business’s name, location, and contact information.
- What you offer and the problem your business solves.Include a brief description of the product or service you offer and why it’s necessary. Your business doesn’t need to serve a larger social problem, but it should address a need or opportunity in the market.
- Your target market. Sometimes the product itself defines the market, such as “Peoria’s best Thai food,” or “Mini Cooper dashboard accessory.” If not, then a brief description of the target market.
- Business plan purpose. Say whether you’re seeking investment or trying to secure a bank loan. An executive summary is only really necessary when you are sharing your business plan with outsiders.
- Size or scale. For example, with an existing company, that information might be as simple as adding recent annual sales or number of employees to the basic company information in the first bullet here. For a startup, it might be a brief description of aspirations, such as a sales goal for the next year or three years from now. I often recommend a simple highlights chart, a bar chart with sales and gross margin for the next three years.
- Critical details. Mention any defining details that would matter to the person that will ultimately read the summary–like that the founders are all MBA students at the local university, or that your business has been awarded a prestigious development grant. Remember, some readers will only look at the summary of your business plan.
The information you need to include varies somewhat depending on whether your business is a startup or an established business.
For a startup business typically one of the main goals of the business plan is to convince banks, angel investors, or venture capitalists to invest in your business by providing startup capital in the form of debt or equity financing. In order to do so, you will have to provide a solid case for your business idea which makes your executive summary all the more important.
A typical executive summary for a startup company includes the following sections:
- The business opportunity – describe the need or the opportunity.
- Taking advantage of the opportunity – explain how your business will serve the market.
- The target market – describe the customer base you will be targeting.
- Business model – describe your products or services and what will make them appealing to the target market.
- Marketing and sales strategy – briefly outline your plans for marketing your products/services.
- The competition – describe your competition and your strategy for getting market share. What is your competitive advantage, e.g. what will you offer to customers that your competitors cannot?
- Financial analysis – summarize the financial plan including projections for at least the next three years.
- Owners/Staff – describe the owners and the key staff members and the expertise they bring to the venture.
- Implementation plan – outline the schedule for taking your business from the planning stage to opening your doors.
For established businesses the executive summary typically includes information about achievements, growth plans, etc. A typical executive summary outline for an established business includes:
- Mission Statement– Articulates the purpose of your business. In a few sentences describe what your company does and your core values and business philosophy.
- Company Information – Give a brief history of your company – describe your products and/or services, when and where it was formed, who the owners and key employees are, statistics such as the number of employees, business locations, etc.
- Business Highlights– describe the evolution of the business – how it has grown, including year-over-year revenue increases, profitability, increases in market share, number of customers, etc.
- Financial Summary – if the purpose of updating the business plan is to seek additional financing for expansion, then give a brief financial summary.
- Future goals – describe your goals for the business. If you are seeking to finance explain how additional funding will be used to expand the business or otherwise increase profits.
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