What is an executive summary? It can be defined as a summary of a business document that enables the writer to convey the essence of his/her business plan in the briefest of terms. The accompaniment of an executive summary is most important when a person is submitting a business plan in order to raise funds for his/her business. Writing a good executive summary is extremely necessary so that the reader of the same is convinced (at least to an extent) about your entire business plan and gives you the necessary support that you need for your establishment. It is important that your business plan, while being informative is also concise and to-the-point without needless ornamentation. This is more important in today's world where time is of so much value. In this article, we will provide you with a few tips to write an effective executive summary and also a template for an executive summary that will serve as a guideline.
Tips to Write an Executive Summary
Why would a person write an executive summary? The main reason for writing an executive summary is to recreate in brief, a document for the reader, that will reiterate the main points of a business plan that the executive summary may be accompanying. Learning to write an executive summary is not as complicated a process as it is made out to be. If you have a knowledge of the correct template, or if you have access to the hundreds of free templates available online, your job will become much easier. If you are a student and have a project to write wherein you have to write an executive summary, then the following tips may be of use to you.
- The most important pointer to keep in mind while writing an executive summary is that it should never exceed the length of four pages and should always be written after the business plan has been written.
- In order to write an effective executive summary, it is essential that you read it a couple of times and then decide on the points that have to be prominent in the summary.
- Ideally, the length of an executive summary should be one tenth the length of entire business plans. A good example will show you that you need to follow the length prescriptions for an executive summary.
- The name of the business, the place where it is located, mention of the services that the business provides or the products it sells and also the purpose of writing business plans are some of the important constituents of a good executive summary.
- Ensure that the order in which the main points of the executive summary are mentioned is the same as the order in which they are written in the business plan that you are submitting to the prospective financier. This is important if the reader reads a pointer in the summary and wants to read the complementary details in the business plan.
- Be confident about the capabilities that your organization possesses. Highlight the advantages of doing business with your company. Give proper examples of the pros of your company but at the same time do not overemphasize the technical details.
- The last and most important tip that will serve you well while writing the summary is to read the summary from a third person's point of view after finishing the report. It would be a better idea to get another person who is unrelated to the project to read the summary so that you know for sure that the summary is not a difficult read.
- Before you take a printout of the report and the summary and make copies of the same, read the report once again for any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and wrongly placed punctuation marks. Ensure that the formatting and style of the document is in tandem with the prevalent formats of executive summaries.
Template for an Executive Summary
Creating a template may be a good idea before you proceed with the final version of the summary that you need for your purpose. The basic template for business purposes is similar to the one given below, but there may be modifications depending on the document that it serves as a summary for.
Services / ProductsA description of the product you sell or the service you provide to your customers.
Target GroupThis point will explain the details of the group that will serve as your target audience and the reason for them being the most suitable consumers of your product or service.
Differentiating FactorFor a prospective financier to fund you, it is important that there is some edge that your company has over your competitor and this edge has to be highlighted in the executive summary accompanying your business plan.
ObjectiveThere has to be a mention of the aim that your company has set for itself in the short and long term. Specify the number of years that you intend to take to achieve this goal.
An executive summary cannot be complete without mentioning the names of the members of your management. It is important to highlight precious experience, if any, that your management has in the sector that your company comes under.
Sales projections for the present year and the sales of the past years need to be mentioned in the executive summary. It would also be a good idea to include the investment plan that you have in mind for your business and the investment division of the owners of the company and the shareholders
Reports, projects, and business plans are the documents that always benefit from including such a summary. Hope the above mentioned pointers are helpful in formatting your own executive summary.