How to Write an Executive Summary

Folder with a light bulb emerging from it. Represents summarizing your business as an executive summary from a larger document.

9 min. read

Updated December 13, 2023

An executive summary isn’t just the beginning of your business plan – it’s your opening act, your first chance to impress potential investors, banks, clients and other stakeholders.

An effective executive summary gives decision-makers critical information about your business instantly.

Creating an executive summary is more than just a writing exercise. It requires careful crafting and strategic thinking, as well as an ability to balance the needs to be both succinct and comprehensive.

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  • What is an executive summary?

The executive summary is a brief introduction and summary of your business plan. It introduces your business, the problem you solve, and what you’re asking from your readers. Anyone should be able to understand your business by simply reading this section of your plan.

While structurally it is the first chapter of your plan—you should write it last. Once you know the details of your business inside and out, you will be better prepared to write this section.

  • Why write an executive summary?

The business plan executive summary provides quick access to critical information from your more detailed business plan.

It is essential for informing anyone outside of your business. Many people—including investors and bankers—will only read your summary. Others will use it to decide if they should read the rest. For you, it is a snapshot of your business to reference when planning or revising your strategy.

Now if you’re writing a business plan solely for internal use you may not need an executive summary. However, some internal plans may necessitate writing an executive summary for assignment—such as for an annual operations plan or a strategic plan .

It takes some effort to do a good summary, so if you don’t have a business use in mind, don’t do it.

  • How long should it be?

Business plan executive summaries should be as short as possible. Your audience has limited time and attention and they want to quickly get the details of your business plan.

Try to keep your executive summary under two pages if possible, although it can be longer if absolutely necessary. If you have a one-page business plan, you can even use that as your executive summary.

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  • Executive summary outline

Two pages isn’t a ton of space to capture the full scope of your vision for the business. That means every sentence of your executive summary counts.

You will want to immediately capture the reader’s attention with a compelling introduction. Without getting too lengthy, present who you are as an organization, the problem you are seeking to solve, your skills, and why you are the best entity to solve the problem you’ve outlined.

It’s crucial to establish the need or problem your business is solving in a clear manner, in order to convince your audience that it must be addressed. Following that, recommend the solution and show its value. Be clear and firm in your recommendation, making sure to justify your cause and highlighting key reasons why your organization is the perfect fit for the solution you’re proposing. Finally, a strong conclusion is needed to reiterate the main points and wrap up the executive summary.

What to include in your executive summary

1. business overview.

A one-sentence description that explains what you do, why you do it, and how you do it.

Summarize the problem you’re solving in the market and reference any data that solidifies that there is a need.

3. Solution

Describe your product or service and how it addresses the problem you identified.

4. Target market

Who is your ideal customer? Describe who they are, how they’ll benefit, and why they’re an attainable customer base.

5. Competition

Who are your competitors? List out any primary competition as well as alternatives that your customers may consider. Include key details about their current offerings, promotions, and business strategy.

6. Your team

In your executive summary, outline your organizational structure and current team. List out brief explanations of who you and your team are, your qualifications, and what your function will be within the business. It may be valuable to also highlight any gaps in your team and how you intend to fill them. If you have potential partners or candidates in mind, briefly mention them and expand on their qualifications within your full business plan.

7. Financial summary

Highlight key aspects of your financial plan that address sales, expenses, and profitability. Try to keep these in chart or graph form to ensure the information is easy to consume and resonates visually.

8. Funding requirements

This section is only necessary if you’re seeking out funding or pitching to investors. Be sure to throw out your financing number and reasoning upfront, rather than hiding it later on in your plan. It helps investors understand your position, what you’re asking for, and how you’ll use it.

9. Milestones and traction

Add initial sales, pre-sales, newsletter sign-ups, or anything else that showcases customer interest. Outline what steps you’ve already taken to launch your business, the milestones you’ve hit, and your goals and milestones for the next month, six months, year, etc.

Executive summary vs introduction

A common mistake some people make when starting an executive summary outline is thinking it performs the same function as the introduction to their business plan. In fact, the two serve different purposes and contain different types of information, even though they are both essential.

As we’ve discussed, the executive summary is a high-level overview of the entire business plan. The introduction, by contrast, dives deeper into your business, providing information about the nature of your business, the history of your company, your mission statement, products or services, and the specific problem that your business solves.

The introduction is more detailed, and usually comes right after the executive summary.

On the other hand, the introduction gives investors or lenders – anyone reading your business plan – a sense of why they should continue reading. Think of it more as the space to tell stakeholders why you are speaking to them. An executive summary can also serve this purpose, but the introduction is meant to speak more directly to your target audience, while an executive summary could give a larger audience a general overview of your business.

Tips for writing an effective executive summary

Here are a few best practices to make writing your executive summary easier, and ultimately more effective. 

1. Think of an executive summary as your pitch

The executive summary is like an elevator pitch. You’re selling someone on reading your full plan while quickly summarizing the key points. Readers will expect it to cover certain areas of your business—such as the product, market, and financial highlights, at the very least.

While you need to include what’s necessary, you should also highlight areas that you believe will spark the reader’s interest. Remember, you’re telling the brief but convincing story of your business with this summary. Just be sure that you’re able to back it up with the right details with the rest of your business plan. 

2. Write it last

Even though the executive summary is at the beginning of a finished business plan, many experienced entrepreneurs choose to write it after everything else. In theory, this makes it easier to write since all of the information is already written out and just needs to be condensed into a shorter format. 

Now, if you’ve started with a one-page plan, this process is even easier. Just use your one-page plan as a starting point and add additional details to any sections that need it. You may even find that no changes are necessary.  

3. Keep it short

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. Whatever length you land on, just focus on being brief and concise. Keep it as short as you can without missing the essentials. 

4. Keep it simple

Form follows function, so don’t overcomplicate or over-explain things. The best executive summaries are a mixture of short text, broken up with bullets and subheadings, and illustrations, such as a bar chart showing financial highlights. 

Run through a legibility test after writing your summary. Is it easy to skim through? Are the right pieces of information jumping out? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then work back through and try breaking up information or adjusting the formatting.

5. Create an executive summary outline based on importance and strengths

Organize your executive summary outline so that the most important information appears first. While there are specific components to include, there is no set order of appearance. So, use the order to show emphasis.

Lead with what you want to get the most attention, and add the rest by order of importance. For example, you may start with the problem because that can add drama and urgency that tees up the solution you provide.

Additional resources to write a great executive summary

Need more information and guidance to craft a convincing executive summary? Check out these in-depth resources and templates.

Key mistakes to avoid when writing an executive summary

Here are the critical mistakes you should avoid when writing your executive summary.

How to write your executive summary for specific audiences

The executive summary should tell your audience exactly what your business is, what it does, and why it’s worth their time. Here’s how you can take it a step further and fine-tune it for specific people.

How to develop a mission statement

Learn to put a heart behind the business and create an easy-to-understand narrative by writing a mission statement.

Executive Summary FAQ

What is in an executive summary?

The executive summary of a business plan is a brief introduction and summary of your business strategy, operations, and goals.

What is the purpose of an executive summary?

An executive summary is typically written to convince someone to read your more detailed plan. For investors, it may be the only thing they look at when deciding if they’d like to hear your pitch. Loan officers may review it to determine if your business seems financially sound. And partners, mentors, or anyone else may use it to determine if they want to be involved with your business.

How do you start an executive summary?

While there is no required order for an executive summary, it’s often recommended that you lead with the problem you’re solving or the purpose of your business. This will help frame your intent for the reader, and ideally make them more interested in learning more.

How do you write a good executive summary?

A good executive summary is brief, convincing, and easy to read. Focus on keeping things short and concise, only including necessary information. Be sure to lead and highlight anything that is especially interesting or important about your business. And after writing, spend some time reviewing and reformatting to make your summary as attractive to read as possible.

Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.

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Table of Contents

  • What to include
  • Writing tips
  • Additional resources

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How to Write a Powerful Executive Summary [+4 Top Examples]

Caroline Forsey

Published: August 31, 2023

Whether you're an entrepreneur looking for investors for your small business or the CEO of a large corporation, an executive summary can help you succeed and is a critical component for long-term growth.

Executive summary with examples

A short, attention-grabbing executive summary is an essential part of your business plan . Done correctly, it will ensure your company becomes or remains a key player in your industry. In this post, you’ll learn what an executive summary is and how to write one that engages investors, customers, and general audiences.

Executive Summary

An executive summary is a brief overview of a long document, such as a business plan, proposal, or report. It's a section that grabs readers’ attention and summarizes critical information from the document, such as the problem or opportunity being addressed, objectives, key findings, goals, and recommendations.

Some documents that may have an executive summary include:

  • Business plans
  • Research documents
  • Project proposals
  • Annual reports

Ultimately, the executive summary is meant to inform readers of the most important information in the document, so they don't have to read it all and can get caught up quickly.

business plan executive summary same

Free Executive Summary Template

Use this executive summary template to provide a summary of your report, business plan, or memo.

  • Company & Opportunity
  • Industry & Market Analysis
  • Management & Operations
  • Financial Plan

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Executive Summary vs. Business Plan

All business plans have an executive summary, but not all executive summaries belong to business plans.

A business plan includes a company overview, your company's short-term and long-term goals, information on your product or service, sales targets, expense budgets, your marketing plan, and a list including each member of your management team. In this case, the executive summary is the first section of the business plan that convinces readers that it’s worth their time to read the whole thing.

Business plans are very detailed and comprehensive, and can be as short as a dozen pages or as long as 100 pages. However, a CEO or investor might not have the interest or time to read your full business plan without first getting the general gist of your company or goals through an executive summary.

Executive Summary vs. Mission Statement

Mission statements and executive summaries are typically both found in business plans, but they serve different purposes.

A mission statement defines your organization’s purpose, values, and vision. It’s your company’s north star and communicates your core identity and reason for existence. On the other hand, an executive summary provides a high-level overview of the document.

Ultimately, your mission statement provides direction for developing your business plan, while your executive summary describes your business plan to executives and shareholders.

Executive Summary vs. Company Description

Like mission statements and executive summaries, company descriptions can also be found in business plans as well as the “About us” page of your website . It provides an overview of your business, including essential details like company history, what your company does, unique selling points, goals, management team, and overall value proposition.

Executive Summary vs. Objective

An objective is a specific goal or target that your company takes aims to achieve its overall goal. It is a concrete, measurable outcome that guides your business’s actions and decisions. Objectives are usually set at the strategic level and are typically aligned with the company’s mission, vision, and overall strategic plan.

Company objectives are often included in executive summaries, but are not the sole focus of them.

What is the purpose of an executive summary?

Writing an executive summary may not seem that necessary. After all, you can find the same information just by reading the rest of the document.

However, the executive summary serves many purposes for your document and those who read it. Here are some of the benefits of having one:

  • It saves your readers time. CEOs and investors often have limited time to review lengthy documents. An executive summary allows them to quickly grasp the main points, key findings, and recommendations without needing to read the entire document.
  • It provides clarity and conciseness. By providing a condensed overview, executive summaries help to distill complex information and present it in a manner that’s easy to understand.
  • It helps with document navigation. For longer documents or reports, an executive summary provides a roadmap for readers. It helps them navigate through the document by signaling the main sections or topics covered, improving overall document usability and accessibility.

To write an impressive executive summary that effectively embodies all the important elements of your business plan, we've cultivated a list of necessary components for an executive summary, as well as an example to get you started.

Follow Along With HubSpot's Executive Summary Template

Executive summary template from HubSpot

Click to Download

How to write an executive summary.

A good executive summary tells your company’s story, contains in-depth research, conveys information with an appropriate tone, is void of clichés, and follows your business plan’s structure. These elements will ensure your executive summary is effective, informative, and impactful.

1. Tell your story.

When investors or CEO's read your executive summary, they should understand what your business is about. This is one of the first elements of your business plan, so it should set the tone.

In your executive summary, be sure to tell your story and include an overview about what your company does and why you do what you do. You can also briefly highlight important details about your company’s management.

For instance, you could talk about your founder or CEO’s qualifications and motivations. You can also provide a high-level summary of your company’s business operations and any management methods or best practices that you abide by.

You’ll also want to explain the problem or opportunity that is being addressed, and how it is valuable to investors and customers. Think of this like an elevator pitch . If someone stopped reading and you only had the executive summary to explain your company, what information would you include?

2. Highlight important data.

An executive summary, while short, should include plenty of research.

Highlight the most important findings and insights from the document, including any critical data or statistics discovered in your competitor analysis . While your business plan will flesh out the details, it's important to include your key findings in your executive summary.

You should also provide a basic rundown of your target market, how you plan on addressing their needs and pain points, and how you will reach them.

Additionally, you should include key financial information. The main points you should cover are the overall budget, the price per product/service, and your financial projections.

3. Pay attention to your tone.

Although the tone of your executive summary should be professional and concise, it should also be true to your company and target audience. Aim to convey a sense of authority and credibility while remaining accessible and engaging.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Focus on presenting information objectively with facts and evidence.
  • Don’t voice your personal opinions or use subjective statements.
  • Strive for clarity and simplicity in your language and ensure that your message is easily understood.
  • Avoid unnecessarily complexity or convolution.
  • Don’t use hyperbole or excessive claims.
  • Use strong verbs, active voice, and concise language to make your points effectively.
  • Aim to resonate with the reader’s interests and concerns.

By striking the right balance between professionalism, clarity, and engagement, you can effectively deliver your message and compel the reader to take action or make informed decisions based on the summary.

4. Avoid cliché language.

With any style of writing, it's best to avoid clichés. Clichés can convey the wrong message or be misunderstood, which is something you want to avoid when someone reads your executive summary.

Additionally, clichés tend to overpromise and under-deliver. For example, including something like “The Best Restaurant in Town” isn‘t true because you’re untested as a business. Your executive summary should reflect the truth and who you are as a company.

To avoid clichés while writing, it’s essential to be aware of their presence. Familiarize yourself with common clichés and be mindful of them as you write. Some examples include:

  • “Thinking outside the box”
  • “Innovative solutions”
  • “Cutting-edge technology”

Instead of relying on these overused phrases, be descriptive and embrace the uniqueness of your brand when writing your executive summary. For instance, there’s no need to vaguely refer to your product as a “game-changer,” when you could explain how it benefits your target audience instead. Show, don’t tell.

By staying true to your voice and delivering an honest message, you can keep your writing fresh and your audience engaged.

5. Write it after completing your business plan.

An executive summary is a summary of your business plan. However, it‘s hard to write a summary when you haven’t written your business plan yet. That's why your executive summary should be the final thing you write.

By saving this step for last, you’re able to gain a thorough understanding of the entire plan, including your business’s goals, strategies, market analysis, and financial projections. This enables you to accurately depict the most important aspects in your summary.

If you write you executive summary first, you’re more likely to miscommunicate the essence of your business plan to executives and shareholders. Sure, you may have an outline prepare, but not having all the information can lead to inconsistencies or inaccuracies in your summary. You also risk including irrelevant details or omitting important details that come up during the planning process.

Ultimately, writing your executive summary last ensures that precisely represents the content and findings your plan.

If you don’t have a business plan yet, don’t worry; we have a comprehensive business plan template to help you create one quickly and effectively.

Featured Resource: Business Plan Template

how to write executive summary: use business plan template from hubspot

Download Your Free Template Here

Now that you know how to write an executive summary, let's dive into the details of what to include.

What to Include in Your Executive Summary

Your business plan should convey your company‘s mission, your product, a plan for how you’ll stand out from competitors, your financial projections, your company's short and long-term goals, your buyer persona, and your market fit.

Ultimately, an executive summary should provide a preview for investors or CEO's, so they know what to expect from the rest of your report. Your executive summary should include:

  • The name, location, and mission of your company
  • A description of your company, including management, advisors, and brief history
  • Your product or service, where your product fits in the market, and how your product differs from competitors in the industry
  • Financial considerations, start-up funding requirements, or the purpose behind your business plan — mention what you hope the reader will help your company accomplish

How long should an executive summary be?

While there is no hard and fast rule for the exact length, executive summaries typically range from one to three pages. However, it's important to note that the length should be determined by the document it accompanies and the content itself rather than a predetermined page count.

At the end of the day, your executive summary should engage the reader and highlight the most important points of your document while avoiding unnecessary details.

Feeling at a loss? Download a free template below that will take you through the executive summary creation process.

Executive Summary Template

executive summary template from hubspot

Download Your Free Executive Summary Template Here

In this free executive summary template, you’ll be able to outline several pieces of information, including:

  • Introduction: Explain what your executive summary contains.
  • Company & Opportunity: Explain who you are and your biggest opportunities for growth.
  • Industry & Market Analysis: Explain the state of your industry and your target market.
  • Management & Operations: Explain who your key leaders are and their roles.
  • Implementation & Marketing: Explain how you plan to deploy your product to the marketplace.
  • Financial Plan: Explain your company’s finances. Change the verbiage depending on whether you’re writing to investors or a general audience.
  • Conclusion: Summarize what you’ve covered.

Ready? Download your free executive summary template .

To understand more tactically how an executive summary should look, let’s review a few examples.

Executive Summary Examples

1. connected.

executive summary example: connected

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5 Steps for Writing an Executive Summary

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Table of Contents

Anyone starting a new business must create a business plan that clearly outlines the organization’s details and goals. The executive summary is a crucial element of that business plan.

We’ll explore five steps to writing your business plan’s executive summary, including what to include and avoid. We’ll also point you toward executive summary templates to help you get started. 

What is an executive summary?

New entrepreneurs or business owners typically use a business plan to present their great business idea to potential stakeholders like angel investors . The purpose of the business plan is to attract financing from investors or convince banking executives to get a bank loan for their business . An executive summary is a business plan overview that succinctly highlights its most essential elements. 

It’s not just a general outline; the executive summary might be the only part of your business plan that busy executives and potential investors read. 

“The executive summary of a business plan is designed to capture the reader’s attention and briefly explain your business, the problem you are solving, the target audience, and key financial information,” Ross Kimbarovsky, CEO and founder of Crowdspring, told Business News Daily. “If the executive summary lacks specific information or does not capture the attention of the reader, the rest of the plan might not be read.”

While your executive summary should be engaging and comprehensive, it must also be quick and easy to read. These documents average one to four pages – ideally, under two pages – and should comprise less than 10% of your entire business plan.

How do you write an executive summary?

Your executive summary will be unique to your organization and business plan. However, most entrepreneurs and business owners take the following five steps when creating their executive summary.

  • Write your business plan first. The executive summary will briefly cover the most essential topics your business plan covers. For this reason, you should write the entire business plan first, and then create your executive summary. The executive summary should only cover facts and details included in the business plan.
  • Write an engaging introduction. What constitutes “engaging” depends on your audience. For example, if you’re in the tech industry, your introduction may include a surprising tech trend or brief story. The introduction must be relevant to your business and capture your audience’s attention. It is also crucial to identify your business plan’s objective and what the reader can expect to find in the document.
  • Write the executive summary. Go through your business plan and identify critical points to include in your executive summary. Touch on each business plan key point concisely but comprehensively. You may mention your marketing plan , target audience, company description, management team, and more. Readers should be able to understand your business plan without reading the rest of the document. Ideally, the summary will be engaging enough to convince them to finish the document, but they should be able to understand your basic plan from your summary. (We’ll detail what to include in the executive summary in the next section.)
  • Edit and organize your document. Organize your executive summary to flow with your business plan’s contents, placing the most critical components at the beginning. A bulleted list is helpful for drawing attention to your main points. Double-check the document for accuracy and clarity. Remove buzzwords, repetitive information, qualifying words, jargon, passive language and unsupported claims. Verify that your executive summary can act as a standalone document if needed.
  • Seek outside assistance. Since most entrepreneurs aren’t writing experts, have a professional writer or editor look over your document to ensure it flows smoothly and covers the points you’re trying to convey.

What should you include in an executive summary?

Your executive summary is based on your business plan and should include details relevant to your reader. For example, if your business plan’s goal is pitching a business idea to potential investors , you should emphasize your financial requirements and how you will use the funding. 

The type of language you use depends on whether your audience consists of generalists or industry experts.

While executive summary specifics will vary by company, Marius Thauland, business strategist at OMD EMEA, says all executive summaries should include a few critical elements:

  • Target audience
  • Products and services
  • Marketing and sales strategies
  • Competitive analysis
  • Funding and budget allocation for the processes and operations
  • Number of employees to be hired and involved
  • How you’ll implement the business plan 

When synthesizing each section, highlight the details most relevant to your reader. Include any facts and statistics they must know. In your introduction, present pertinent company information and clearly state the business plan’s objective. To pinpoint key messages for your executive summary, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What do you want the reader to take away from the document? 
  • What do you want to happen after they read it? 

“Put yourself in the business plan reader’s shoes, and think about what you would like to know in the report,” Thauland advised. “Get their attention by making it simple and brief yet still professional. It should also attract them to read the entire document to understand even the minute details.”

What should you avoid in an executive summary?

When writing your executive summary, be aware of the following common mistakes: 

  • Making your executive summary too long. An executive summary longer than two pages will deter some readers. You’re likely dealing with busy executives, and an overlong stretch of text can overwhelm them.
  • Copying and pasting from other executive summary sections. Reusing phrases from other sections and stringing them together without context can seem confusing and sloppy. It’s also off-putting to read the same exact phrase twice within the same document. Instead, summarize your business plan’s central points in new, descriptive language.
  • Too many lists and subheadings in your executive summary. After one – and only one – introductory set of bullets, recap your business plan’s main points in paragraph form without subheadings. Concision and clarity are more important for an executive summary than formatting tricks.
  • Passive or unclear language in your executive summary. You’re taking the reins of your business, and your executive summary should show that. Use active voice in your writing so everyone knows you’re running the show. Be as clear as possible in your language, leaving no questions about what your business will do and how it will get there.
  • Avoid general descriptions in your executive summary. Kimbarovsky said it’s best to avoid generalities in your executive summary. For example, there’s no need to include a line about “your team’s passion for hard work.” This information is a given and will take attention away from your executive summary’s critical details.
  • Don’t use comparisons in your executive summary. Kimbarovsky also advises staying away from comparisons to other businesses in your executive summary. “Don’t say you will be the next Facebook, Uber or Amazon,” said Kimbarovsky. “Amateurs make this comparison to try and show how valuable their company could be. Instead, focus on providing the actual facts that you believe prove you have a strong company. It’s better if the investor gives you this accolade because they see the opportunity.”

Executive summary templates and resources

If you’re writing an executive summary for the first time, online templates can help you outline your document. However, your business is unique, and your executive summary should reflect that. An online template probably won’t cover every detail you’ll need in your executive summary. Experts recommend using templates as general guidelines and tailoring them to fit your business plan and executive summary.

To get you started, here are some popular executive summary template resources:

  • FormSwift. The FormSwift website lets you create and edit documents and gives you access to over 500 templates. It details what an effective executive summary includes and provides a form builder to help you create your executive summary. Fill out a step-by-step questionnaire and export your finished document via PDF or Word.
  • Smartsheet. The Smartsheet cloud-based platform makes planning, managing and reporting on projects easier for teams and organizations. It offers several free downloadable executive summary templates for business plans, startups, proposals, research reports and construction projects.
  • Template.net. The Template.net website provides several free business templates, including nine free executive summary templates that vary by project (e.g., business plan, startup, housing program development, proposal or marketing plan). Print out the templates and fill in your relevant details.
  • TemplateLab. The TemplateLab website is a one-stop shop for new business owners seeking various downloadable templates for analytics, finance, HR, marketing, operations, project management, and time management. You’ll find over 30 free executive summary templates and examples.
  • Vertex42. The Vertex42 website offers Excel templates for executive summaries on budgets, invoices, project management and timesheets, as well as Word templates for legal forms, resumes and letters. This site also provides extensive information on executive summaries and a free executive summary template you can download into Word or Google Docs.

Summing it all up

Your executive summary should preview your business plan in, at most, two pages. Wait until your business plan is complete to write your executive summary, and seek outside help as necessary. A thorough, engaging business plan and executive summary are well worth the time and money you put into them. 

Max Freedman contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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How to Write an Executive Summary in 6 Steps

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When you’re starting a business, one of the first things you need to do is write a business plan. Your business plan is like a roadmap for your business, so you can lay out your goals and a concrete plan for how you’ll reach them.

Not only is a business plan essential for any business owner, but it’s also a requirement if you decide to apply for small business funding or find investors. After all, before a bank or individual hands over any money, they’ll want to be sure your company is on solid ground (so they can get their money back).

A business plan consists of several pieces, from an executive summary and market analysis to a financial plan and projections. The executive summary will be the first part of your business plan.

If wondering how to write an executive summary has kept you from completing your business plan, we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll explain what an executive summary is and provide tips for writing your own so your business plan can start strong.

business plan executive summary same

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is a short, informative, and easy-to-read opening statement to your business plan. Even though it’s just one to two pages, the executive summary is incredibly important.

An executive summary tells the story of what your business does, why an investor might be interested in giving funds to your business, why their investment will be well-spent, and why you do what you do. An executive summary should be informative, but it should also capture a busy reader’s attention.

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Why write an executive summary?

Anyone you’re sending your executive summary and business plan to is likely busy—very busy. An entire business plan is long, involved, and deals with a lot of numbers.

Someone busy wants to get an understanding of your business, and they want to do it quickly, which is to say not by diving into a complicated, 80-page business plan. That’s where your executive summary comes in.

An executive summary provides just the opportunity to hook someone’s interest, tell them about your business, and offer a clear selling point as to why they should consider investing in your business.

Your executive summary is your chance to sell your business to potential investors and show them your business is worth not only their money but also their time.

What to include in an executive summary

By its nature, an executive summary is short. You must be able to clearly communicate the idea of your business, what sets you apart, and how you plan to grow into a successful enterprise.

The subsequent sections of your business plan will go into more detail, but your executive summary should include the most critical pieces of your business plan—enough to stand on its own, as it’s often the only thing a prospective investor will read. Here’s what your executive summary should include—consider it an executive summary template from which you can model your own.

1. The hook

The first sentence and paragraph of your executive summary determine whether or not the entire executive summary gets read. That’s why the hook or introduction is so important.

In general, a hook is considered anything that will get a reader’s attention. While an executive summary is a formal business document, you do want your hook to make you stand out from the crowd—without wasting time.

Your hook can be sharing something creative about your company, an interesting fact, or just a very well-crafted description of your business. It’s crucial to craft your hook with the personality of your reader in mind. Give them something that will make your company stand out and be memorable among a sea of other business plans.

Grab their attention in the first paragraph, and you’re much more likely to get your executive summary read, which could lead to an investment.

2. Company description summary

Now that you’ve hooked your reader, it’s time to get into some general information about your business. If an investor is going to give you money, after all, they first need to understand what your company does or what product you sell and who is managing the company.

Your company description should include information about your business, such as when it was formed and where you’re located; your products or services; the founders or executive team, including names and specific roles; and any additional details about the management team or style.

3. Market analysis

Your market analysis in the executive summary is a brief description of what the market for your business looks like. You want to show that you have done your research and proven that there is a need for your specific product or services. Some questions you should answer:

Who are your competitors?

Is there a demand for your products or services?

What advantages do you have that make your business unique in comparison to others?

To reiterate, stick to the highlights of your market analysis in your executive summary. You’ll provide a complete analysis in a separate section of your business plan, but you should be able to communicate enough in the executive summary that a potential investor can gauge whether your business has potential.

4. Products and services

Now that you’ve established a need in the market, it’s time to show just how your business will fill it. This section of your executive summary is all about highlighting the product or service that your company offers. Talk about your current sales, the growth you’ve seen so far, and any other highlights that are a selling point for your company.

This is also a good time to identify what sets your business apart and gives you a competitive advantage. After all, it’s unlikely that your business is the first of its kind. Highlight what you do better than the competition and why potential customers will choose your product or service over the other options on the market.

5. Financial information and projections

In this section of your executive summary, you want to give the reader an overview of your current business financials. Again, you’ll go more in-depth into this section later in your business plan, so just provide some highlights. Include your current sales and profits (if you have any), as well as what funding you’re hoping to acquire and how this will affect your financials in the next few years.

This is also where you can explain what funding, if any, you’ve received in the past. If you paid back your loan on time, this is an especially bright selling point for potential lenders.

6. Future plans

While asking for what funding you need is essential, you’ve also got to make clear what you’re going to use that funding for. If you’re asking for money, you want the person to know you have a plan to put those funds to good use.

Are you hoping to open another location, expand your product line, invest in your marketing efforts? This final section of your executive summary should detail where you want your business to go in the future, as well as drive home how funding can help you get there.

Tips for writing an executive summary

Even if you include each part of a good executive summary, you might not get noticed. What is written can be just as important as how it’s written. An executive summary has to strike a delicate balance between formal, personable, confident, and humble.

1. Be concise

An executive summary should include everything that’s in your business plan, just in a much shorter format. Writing a concise executive summary is no easy task and will require many revisions to get to the final draft. And while this is the first section of your executive summary, you’ll want to write it last, after you’ve put together all the other elements.

To choose your most important points and what should be included in the executive summary, go through your business plan, and pull out single-line bullet points. Go back through those bullet points and eliminate everything unnecessary to understanding your business.

Once you have your list of bullet points narrowed down, you can start writing your executive summary. Once it’s written, go back in and remove any unnecessary information. Remember, you should only be including the highlights—you have the rest of your business plan to go into more detail. The shorter and clearer your executive summary is, the more likely someone is to read it.

2. Use bullet points

One simple way to make your executive summary more readable is to use bullet points. If someone is reading quickly or skimming your executive summary, extra whitespace can make the content faster and easier to read.

Short paragraphs, short sentences, and bullet points all make an executive summary easier to skim—which is likely what the reader is doing. If important numbers and convincing stats jump out at the reader, they’re more likely to keep reading.

3. Speak to your audience

When writing your executive summary, be sure to think about who will be reading it; that’s who you’re speaking to. If you can personalize your executive summary to the personality and interests of the person who will read it, you’re more likely to capture their attention.

Personalizing might come in the form of a name in the salutation, sharing details in a specific way you know that person likes and the tone of your writing. An executive summary deals with business, so it will generally have a formal tone. But, different industries may be comfortable with some creativity of language or using shorthand to refer to certain ideas.

Know who you’re speaking to and use the right tone to speak to them. That might be formal and deferential, expert and clipped, informal and personable, or any other appropriate tone. This may also involve writing different versions of your executive summary for different audiences.

4. Play to your strengths

One of the best ways to catch the attention of your reader is to share why your business is unique. What makes your business unique is also what makes your business strong, which can capture a reader’s interest and show them why your business is worth investing in. Be sure to highlight these strengths from the start of your executive summary.

5. Get a test reader

Once you’ve written and edited your executive summary, you need a test reader. While someone in your industry or another business owner can be a great resource, you should also consider finding a test reader with limited knowledge of your business and industry. Your executive summary should be so clear that anyone can understand it, so having a variety of test readers can help identify any confusing language.

If you don’t have access to a test reader, consider using tools such as Hemingway App and Grammarly to ensure you’ve written something that’s easy to read and uses proper grammar.

How long should an executive summary be?

There’s no firm rule on how long an executive summary should be, as it depends on the length of your business plan and the depth of understanding needed by the reader to fully grasp your ask.

That being said, it should be as short and concise as you can get it. In general, an executive summary should be one to two pages in length.

You can fudge the length slightly by adjusting the margin and font size, but don’t forget readability is just as important as length. You want to leave plenty of white space and have a large enough font that the reader is comfortable while reading your executive summary. If your executive summary is hard to read, it’s less likely your reader will take the time to read your business plan.

What to avoid in an executive summary

While the rules for writing a stellar executive summary can be fuzzy, there are a few clear rules for what to avoid in your executive summary.

Your executive summary should avoid:

Focusing on investment. Instead, focus on getting the reader to be interested enough to continue and read your business plan or at least schedule a meeting with you.

Clichés, superlatives, and claims that aren’t backed up by fact. Your executive summary isn’t marketing material. It should be straightforward and clear.

Avoiding the executive summary no-nos is just as important as striking the right tone and getting in the necessary information for your reader.

The bottom line

While an executive summary is short, it’s challenging to write. Your executive summary condenses your entire introduction, business description, business plan, market analysis, financial projections, and ask into one to two pages. Condensing information down to its most essential form takes time and many drafts. When you’re putting together your business plan’s executive summary, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to write it and to seek the help of friends or colleagues for editing it to perfection.

However, some tools make crafting a business plan, including your executive summary, a simpler process. A business plan template is a great place to start, and business plan software can especially help with the design of your business plan. After all, a well-written executive summary can make all the difference in obtaining funding for your business, so you’ll want all the help you can get.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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How to write an executive summary in 10 steps

people-discussing-a-proposal-executive-summary-example

Whether presenting a business plan, sharing project updates with stakeholders, or submitting a project proposal, an executive summary helps you grab attention and convey key insights.

Think of it as a condensed version of a document, report, or proposal that highlights the most important information clearly and concisely. It's like a "cheat sheet" that gives you a snapshot of the main points without reading the entire thing.

Throughout the article, we'll explore some examples of executive summaries to give you a better understanding of how they can be applied. Plus, we'll provide you with ready-to-use templates and best practices for writing compelling executive summaries.

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is a concise overview of a longer document or report. It is typically written for busy executives or decision-makers who may not have the time to read the entire document but still need to grasp its key points and recommendations. 

An effective executive summary should capture the essence of the document, highlighting the most important information in a brief and easily understandable way. It should provide a snapshot of the document's purpose, methodology, major findings, and key recommendations. The summary should be written in a way that allows the reader to quickly grasp the main ideas and make informed decisions based on the information presented.

Why do you need to write one?

For a business owner , an executive summary is one of the most important documents you will have. Like a business plan , they help you lay out the potential value of your business and your potential for success. 

Unlike a business proposal, however, an executive summary is designed to be read in a brief amount of time. That makes them ideal for a variety of uses, like project proposals and research summaries. Sending your strategic plan to a prospective investor or stakeholder likely won’t get you far. But a brief report that clearly states your key findings and what’s in it for them might help you — and your proposal — stand out. It isn't all the details. It's what gets you the meeting to share more.

An executive summary is also a business document that can travel without you. It may be presented to other leaders and potential investors. If it’s written well, it will take on a life of its own. You may find that you get support and resources from places you never imagined.

What should be included in an executive summary?

Your executive summary should include brief descriptions of who your product, service, or proposal is for and your competitive advantage. Be sure to introduce your report concisely yet clearly . Note the most important points and its overall purpose––what do you hope to achieve with this report? 

Also, include any necessary background information and statistics about the industry, high-level information about your business model, necessary financial information, or other insights you discuss in the report. Depending on your proposal, you may want to consider summarizing a market analysis of your target market.

Typically, an executive summary follows a structured format, including sections such as:

  • Introduction: Provides a brief background and context for the document.
  • Objective or purpose: Clearly states the goal of the document and what it aims to achieve.
  • Methodology: Briefly describes the approach, data sources, and methods used to conduct the research or analysis.
  • Findings: Summarizes the main findings, conclusions, or results derived from the document.
  • Recommendations: Outlines the key recommendations or proposed actions based on the findings.
  • Conclusion: Provides a concise wrap-up of the main points and emphasizes the significance of the document.

presenting-to-board-meeting-executive-summary-example

How do you write an executive summary?

When tackling an executive summary, it's all about following a structured approach to ensure you effectively communicate those crucial points, findings, and recommendations. Let’s walk through some steps and best practices to make it a breeze:

Step 1: Get to know the document

Take the time to dive into the full document or report that your executive summary will be based on. Read it thoroughly and identify the main objectives, key findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Step 2: Know your audience

Think about who you're writing the executive summary for. Consider their knowledge level, interests, and priorities. This helps you tailor the summary to their needs and make it relevant and impactful.

Step 3: Outline the structure

Create an outline for your executive summary with sections like introduction, objective, methodology, findings, recommendations, and conclusion. This way, you'll have a logical flow that's easy to follow.

Step 4: Start strong

Kick off your executive summary with a captivating opening statement. Make it concise, engaging, and impactful to hook the reader and make them want to keep reading.

Step 5: Summarize objectives and methodology

Give a brief overview of the document's objectives and the methodology used to achieve them. This sets the context and helps the reader understand the approach taken.

Step 6: Highlight key findings

Summarize the main findings, conclusions, or results. Focus on the juiciest and most relevant points that support the document's purpose. Keep it clear and concise to get the message across effectively.

Step 7: Present key recommendations

Outline the important recommendations or proposed actions based on the findings. Clearly state what needs to be done, why it matters, and how it aligns with the document's objectives. Make those recommendations actionable and realistic.

Step 8: Keep it snappy

Remember, an executive summary should be short and sweet. Skip unnecessary details, jargon, or technical language . Use straightforward language that hits the mark.

Step 9: Review and polish

Once you've written the executive summary, give it a careful review for clarity, coherence, and accuracy. Make sure it captures the essence of the full document and represents its content faithfully. Take the extra step to edit out any fluff or repetition.

Step 10: Dress to impress

Consider formatting and presentation. Use headings, bullet points, and formatting styles to make it visually appealing and easy to skim. If it makes sense, include some graphs, charts, or visuals to highlight key points.

Tips for writing an effective executive summary

  • Adapt your language and tone to suit your audience.
  • Keep things concise and crystal clear—say no to jargon.
  • Focus on the most important info that packs a punch.
  • Give enough context without overwhelming your reader.
  • Use strong and persuasive language to make your recommendations shine.
  • Make sure your executive summary makes sense even if the full document isn't read.
  • Proofread like a pro to catch any pesky grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors.

Executive summary template for business plans

Here's a general template for creating an executive summary specifically for business plans:

[Your Company Name]

[Business Plan Title]

Business overview

Provide a brief introduction to your company, including its name, location, industry, and mission statement . Describe your unique value proposition and what sets your business apart from competitors.

Market analysis

Summarize the key findings of your market research. Provide an overview of the target market, its size, growth potential, and relevant trends. Highlight your understanding of customer needs, preferences, and behaviors.

Product or service offering

Outline your core products or services, including their key features and benefits. Emphasize how your offerings address customer pain points and provide value. Highlight any unique selling points or competitive advantages.

Business model

Explain your business model and revenue generation strategy. Describe how you will generate revenue, the pricing structure, and any distribution channels or partnerships that contribute to your business's success.

Marketing and sales strategy

Summarize your marketing and sales approach. Highlight the key tactics and channels you will use to reach and attract customers. Discuss your promotional strategies, pricing strategies, and customer acquisition plans.

Management team

Introduce the key members of your management team and their relevant experience. Highlight their expertise and how it positions the team to execute the business plan successfully. Include any notable advisors or board members.

Financial projections

Summarize your financial projections, including revenue forecasts, expected expenses, and projected profitability. Highlight any key financial metrics or milestones. Briefly mention your funding needs, if applicable.

Funding requirements

If seeking funding, outline your funding requirements, including the amount needed, its purpose, and the potential sources of funding you are considering. Summarize the expected return on investment for potential investors.

Reiterate the vision and potential of your business. Summarize the key points of your business plan, emphasizing its viability, market potential, and the expertise of your team. Convey confidence in the success of your venture.

Note: Keep the executive summary concise and focused, typically within one to two pages. Use clear and compelling language, emphasizing the unique aspects of your business. Tailor the template to suit your specific business plan, adjusting sections and details accordingly.

Remember, the executive summary serves as an introduction to your business plan and should pique the reader's interest, conveying the value and potential of your business in a concise and persuasive manner.

Executive summary examples

Every executive summary will be unique to the organization's goals, vision, and brand identity. We put together two general examples of executive summaries to spark your creativity and offer some inspiration. 

These are not intended to be used as-is but more to offer ideas for how you may want to put your own executive summary together. Be sure to personalize your own summary with specific statistics and relevant data points to make the most impact.

Example 1: executive summary for a communications business plan

Introduction:

We're thrilled to present our innovative [insert product] that aims to revolutionize the way people connect and engage. Our vision is to empower individuals and businesses with seamless communication solutions that break barriers and foster meaningful connections.

Market opportunity:

The communications industry is evolving rapidly, and we've identified a significant opportunity in the market. With the proliferation of remote work, the need for reliable and efficient communication tools has skyrocketed. Our extensive market research indicates a demand for solutions that prioritize user experience, security, and flexibility.

Product offering:

At [Company Name], we've developed a suite of cutting-edge communication tools designed to meet the diverse needs of our customers. Our flagship product is a unified communication platform that integrates voice, video, messaging, and collaboration features into a seamless user experience. We also offer customizable solutions for businesses of all sizes, catering to their unique communication requirements.

Unique value proposition:

What sets us apart from the competition? Our user-centric approach and commitment to innovation. We prioritize user experience by creating intuitive interfaces and seamless interactions. Our solutions are scalable, adaptable, and designed to keep up with evolving technological trends. By combining ease of use with advanced features, we deliver unparalleled value to our customers.

Target market:

Our primary focus is on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that require efficient and cost-effective communication tools. We also cater to individuals, remote teams, and larger enterprises seeking reliable and secure communication solutions. Our target market encompasses industries such as technology, finance, healthcare, and professional services.

Business model:

To generate revenue, we employ a subscription-based business model. Customers can choose from different plans tailored to their specific needs, paying a monthly or annual fee. We also offer additional services such as customization, integration, and customer support, creating additional revenue streams and fostering long-term customer relationships.

Marketing and sales strategy:

Our marketing strategy centers around building brand awareness through targeted digital campaigns, content marketing, and strategic partnerships. We'll leverage social media, industry influencers, and online communities to reach our target audience. Additionally, our sales team will engage in proactive outreach, nurturing leads and providing personalized consultations to convert prospects into loyal customers.

Team and expertise:

Our team is composed of experienced professionals with a deep understanding of the communications industry. Led by our visionary founder and supported by a skilled and diverse team, we have the expertise to drive innovation, develop robust products, and deliver exceptional customer service. We're passionate about our mission and dedicated to making a lasting impact in the market.

Financial projections:

Based on extensive market research and financial analysis, we anticipate strong growth and profitability. Our financial projections indicate steady revenue streams, with increasing customer adoption and market share. We're committed to managing costs effectively, optimizing our resources, and continuously reinvesting in research and development.

Funding requirements:

To fuel our ambitious growth plans and accelerate product development, we're seeking [funding amount] in funding. These funds will be allocated towards expanding our team, scaling our infrastructure, marketing efforts, and ongoing product innovation. We believe this investment will position us for success and solidify our market presence.

Conclusion:

In summary, [Company Name] is poised to disrupt the communications industry with our innovative solutions and customer-centric approach. We're ready to make a positive impact by empowering individuals and businesses to communicate effectively and effortlessly. Join us on this exciting journey as we redefine the future of communication. Together, we'll shape a connected world like never before.

Example 2: executive summary for a project proposal

[Project Name]

[Project Proposal Date]

Hello! We're thrilled to present our project proposal for [Project Name]. This executive summary will provide you with a high-level overview of the project, its objectives, and the value it brings.

Project overview:

Our project aims to [describe the project's purpose and scope]. It's a response to [identify the problem or opportunity] and has the potential to bring significant benefits to [stakeholders or target audience]. Through meticulous planning and execution, we're confident in our ability to achieve the desired outcomes.

Objectives:

The primary goal of our project is to [state the overarching objective]. In addition, we have specific objectives such as [list specific objectives]. By accomplishing these goals, we'll create a positive impact and drive meaningful change.

Our proposed approach for this project is based on a thorough analysis of the situation and best practices. We'll adopt a structured methodology that includes [describe the key project phases or activities]. This approach ensures efficient utilization of resources and maximizes project outcomes.

The benefits of this project are truly exciting. Through its implementation, we anticipate [describe the anticipated benefits or outcomes]. These benefits include [list specific benefits], which will have a lasting and positive effect on [stakeholders or target audience].

Implementation timeline:

We've devised a comprehensive timeline to guide the project from initiation to completion. The project is divided into distinct phases, with well-defined milestones and deliverables. Our timeline ensures that tasks are executed in a timely manner, allowing us to stay on track and deliver results.

Resource requirements:

To successfully execute this project, we've identified the key resources needed. This includes [list the resources required, such as human resources, technology, equipment, and funding]. We're confident in our ability to secure the necessary resources and allocate them effectively to ensure project success.

A project of this nature requires a well-planned budget. Based on our analysis, we've estimated the required funding to be [state the budget amount]. This budget encompasses all project-related costs and aligns with the anticipated benefits and outcomes.

Our project proposal is an exciting opportunity to address [the problem or opportunity] and create tangible value for [stakeholders or target audience]. With a clear vision, defined objectives, and a robust implementation plan, we're ready to embark on this journey. Join us as we bring this project to life and make a lasting impact. 

person-holding-one-sheet-executive-summary-example

Is an executive summary the same as a project plan?

While both are important components of project management and documentation , they serve different purposes and contain distinct information.

An executive summary, as discussed earlier, is a concise overview of a longer document or report. It provides a snapshot of the key points, findings, and recommendations. It focuses on high-level information and aims to provide an overview of the document's purpose, methodology, findings, and recommendations.

On the other hand, a project plan is a detailed document that outlines the specific activities, tasks, timelines, resources, and milestones associated with a project. It serves as a roadmap for project execution, providing a comprehensive understanding of how the project will be carried out.

A project plan typically includes objectives, scope, deliverables, schedule, budget, resource allocation, risk management, and communication strategies. It is intended for project team members, stakeholders, and those directly involved in the execution.

In summary, an executive summary offers a condensed overview of a document's key points, while a project plan provides a comprehensive and detailed roadmap for executing a project.

Executive summaries vs. abstracts

An executive summary is not the same as an abstract. Executive summaries focus on the main points of a proposal. They highlight when and why a reader should invest in the company or project.

An abstract, on the other hand, concentrates on what the business does and its marketing plan. It typically doesn’t include detailed information about finances.

While it is usually compelling, it’s less of an elevator pitch and more of a summary. The goal of an abstract is to inform, not to persuade. On the other hand, the goal of an executive summary is to give readers who are pressed for time just enough information that they’ll want to look further into your proposition.

When do you use an executive summary?

An executive summary is used in various situations where there is a need to present a condensed overview of a longer document or report. Here are some common instances when an executive summary is used:

  • Business proposals: When submitting a business proposal to potential investors, partners, or stakeholders, an executive summary is often included. It provides a concise overview of the proposal, highlighting the key aspects such as the business idea, market analysis, competitive advantage, financial projections, and recommended actions.
  • Reports and research studies: Lengthy reports or research studies often include an executive summary at the beginning. This allows decision-makers, executives, or other stakeholders to quickly understand the purpose, methodology, findings, and recommendations of the report without going through the entire document.
  • Project updates: During the course of a project, project managers may prepare executive summaries to provide updates to stakeholders or higher-level management. These summaries give a brief overview of the project's progress, achievements, challenges, and upcoming milestones.
  • Strategic plans: When developing strategic plans for an organization, an executive summary is often included to provide an overview of the plan's goals, objectives, strategies, and key initiatives. It allows executives and stakeholders to grasp the essence of the strategic plan and its implications without reading the entire document.
  • Funding requests: When seeking funding for a project or venture, an executive summary is commonly used as part of the funding proposal. It provides a succinct summary of the project, highlighting its significance, potential impact, financial requirements, and expected outcomes.

In general, an executive summary is used whenever there is a need to communicate the main points, findings, and recommendations of a document concisely and efficiently to individuals who may not have the time or inclination to read the entire content. It serves as a valuable tool for understanding and facilitates quick decision-making.

5 ways project managers can use executive summaries

Project managers can use executive summaries in various ways to effectively communicate project updates, status reports, or proposals to stakeholders and higher-level management. Here are some ways project managers can use executive summaries:

  • Project status updates: Project managers can provide regular executive summaries to stakeholders and management to communicate the current status of the project. The summary should include key achievements, milestones reached, challenges encountered, and any adjustments to the project plan. It allows stakeholders to quickly grasp the project's progress and make informed decisions or provide guidance as needed.
  • Project proposals: When pitching a project idea or seeking approval for a new project, project managers can prepare an executive summary to present the essential aspects of the project. The summary should outline the project's objectives, scope, anticipated benefits, resource requirements, estimated timeline, and potential risks. It helps decision-makers understand the project's value and make an informed choice about its initiation.
  • Project closure reports: At the end of a project, project managers can prepare an executive summary as part of the project closure report. The summary should highlight the project's overall success, key deliverables achieved, lessons learned, and recommendations for future projects. It provides a concise overview of the project's outcomes and acts as a valuable reference for future initiatives.
  • Steering committee meetings: When project managers present updates or seek guidance from a steering committee or governance board, an executive summary can be an effective tool. The summary should cover the important aspects of the project, such as progress, issues, risks, and upcoming milestones. It ensures that decision-makers are well-informed about the project's status and can provide relevant guidance or support.
  • Change requests: When submitting a change request for a project, project managers can include an executive summary to summarize the proposed change, its impact on the project, potential risks, and benefits. It helps stakeholders and decision-makers quickly assess the change request and make informed decisions about its implementation.

Using executive summaries, project managers can efficiently communicate project-related information to stakeholders, executives, and decision-makers. The summaries provide a concise overview of the project's status, proposals, or closure reports, allowing stakeholders to quickly understand the key points and take appropriate action.

When should you not use an executive summary?

While executive summaries are widely used in many situations, there are some cases where they may not be necessary or suitable. Here are a few scenarios where an executive summary may not be appropriate, along with alternative approaches:

  • Highly technical documents: If the document contains highly technical or specialized information that requires a detailed understanding, an executive summary alone may not be sufficient. In such cases, it is better to provide the complete document and supplement it with explanatory materials, presentations , or meetings where experts can explain and discuss the technical details.
  • Personal or creative writing: Executive summaries are typically used for informational or analytical documents. If the content is more personal in nature, such as a memoir, novel, or creative piece, an executive summary may not be relevant. Instead, focus on providing an engaging introduction or book blurb that entices readers and conveys the essence of the work.
  • Short documents: If the document itself is already concise and can be easily read in its entirety, an executive summary may be redundant. In these cases, it is more effective to present the complete document without an additional summary.
  • Interactive presentations: In situations where you can present information interactively, such as in meetings, workshops, or conferences, it may be more effective to engage the audience directly rather than relying solely on an executive summary. Use visual aids, demonstrations, discussions, and Q&A sessions to convey the necessary information and capture the audience's attention.

Final thoughts on writing a compelling executive summary

An executive summary isn’t the kitchen sink — it’s the bells and whistles. Geared toward busy decision-makers, these one-pagers communicate your case for action and proposed solutions. When it’s written well, your audience will walk away with an understanding of what needs to be done, why it needs to happen, and why they should help it move forward. 

But writing it well doesn’t just mean spell-checking. It means tailoring your communication to an influential, yet busy and distracted audience. To be effective, you’ll need to write your proposal with empathy and an understanding of what matters to them .

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Allaya Cooks-Campbell

With over 15 years of content experience, Allaya Cooks Campbell has written for outlets such as ScaryMommy, HRzone, and HuffPost. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and is a certified yoga instructor as well as a certified Integrative Wellness & Life Coach. Allaya is passionate about whole-person wellness, yoga, and mental health.

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How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

3-minute read

  • 19th November 2023

An executive summary is the part of a business plan that gives an outline of the main plan. So to write an executive summary, we first need to read the business plan carefully and understand its key points. These key points are what we will condense to form the executive summary. It’s important to ensure that the executive summary can stand alone because plenty of users will read only that and not the main business plan. We could say that the business plan is the original TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)!

But first, let’s take a quick look at what goes into a business plan so we can focus on the sections we need for our executive summary.

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that sets out a business’s strategy and the means of achieving it. The business plan usually contains the following sections:

How to Write an Executive Summary

The executive summary covers the same headings as the main business plan but not in so much detail. This is where our editing skills come to the fore!

The following six steps explain how to approach writing the executive summary.

Consider the Audience

Who will be using the summary? The business plan might be issued only to a very specific group of people, in which case, their needs are paramount and specialized. If the business plan is going out on wider release, we need to think about what a general reader will want to know.

Check That It Makes Sense on Its Own

Make sure the summary can be read as a stand-alone document for users who won’t read the whole plan.

Use Formatting Effectively

Make good use of formatting, headings, numbering, and bullets to increase clarity and readability.

Keep It Brief

One page (or around ten percent of the total word count for a large document) is great.

Avoid Jargon

Try to avoid jargon and use straightforward language. Readers of the executive summary might not have business backgrounds (for instance, if they are friend and family investors in a small start-up business).

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Proofread the Executive Summary

The executive summary will very likely be the first – and perhaps the only – part of the business plan some people will read, and it must be error-free to make a professional impression.

●  Consider the audience .

●  Ensure that the executive summary can stand alone.

●  Use formatting tools to good advantage.

●  Keep it brief.

●  Keep it simple.

●  Proofread it.

If you’d like an expert to proofread your business plan – or any of your writing – get in touch!

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Business Plan Executive Summary with Example

Written by Dave Lavinsky

pen pencil and checklist

Executive Summary of a Business Plan

The Executive Summary is the most important part of your business plan. This is because it’s the first section in your plan, and if it doesn’t excite readers, they won’t continue reviewing it. Importantly, there is a way to ensure your executive summary is compelling and includes the key information readers expect. In this article, you’ll learn how to craft the perfect executive summary for your business plan.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

Table of Contents:

What is an executive summary, why do i need an executive summary, how long should an executive summary be for a business plan, how to write an executive summary for a business plan + template, sample executive summary, other helpful resources for writing your business plan.

An executive summary of a business plan gives readers an overview of your business plan and highlights its key points.

The executive summary should start with a brief overview of your business concept. Then it should briefly summarize each section of your business plan: your industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan and funding needs.

If presented for funding, the executive summary provides the lender or investor a quick snapshot which helps them determine their interest level and if they should continue reading the rest of the business plan.

An effective executive summary is a quick version of your complete business plan. You need to keep it simple and succinct in order to grab the reader’s attention and convince them it’s in their best interest to keep reading.

As mentioned above, your business plan is a detailed document that requires time to read. Capturing the reader’s attention with a concise format that provides an interesting overview of your plan saves them time and indicates which parts of the business plan may be most important to read in detail. This increases the odds that your business plan will be read and your business idea understood. This is why you need a well-written executive summary.

When structuring your executive summary, the first thing to keep in mind is that it should be short and comprehensive. The length of your executive summary should never exceed 3 pages; the ideal length is one or two pages.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

To write a compelling executive summary, follow the steps below and use our executive summary template as a guide:

State the Problem and/or Business Opportunity

Briefly describe your business idea, provide key information about your company history, conduct market research about your industry, identify the target market or ideal customer, explain your competitive advantage, establish relevant milestones for your business to achieve, develop a financial plan, describe the qualifications of your management team.

To help you get started, you can download our executive summary example business plan pdf here.

Whether you’re a large or small business, your executive summary is the first thing someone reads that forms an opinion of your business. Whether they decide to read your detailed business plan or push it aside depends on how good your executive summary is. We hope your executive summary guide helps you craft an effective and impactful executive summary. That way, readers will be more likely to read your full plan, request an in-person meeting, and give you funding to pursue your business plans.

Looking to get started on your business plan’s executive summary? Take a look at the business plan executive summary example below!

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Shoutmouth.com Executive Summary

Business Overview Launched late last year, Shoutmouth.com is the most comprehensive music news website on the Internet.

Music is one of the most searched and accessed interests on the Internet. Top music artists like Taylor Swift receive over 5 million searches each month. In addition, over 500 music artists each receive over 25,000 searches a month.

However, music fans are largely unsatisfied when it comes to the news and information they seek on the artists they love. This is because most music websites (e.g., RollingStone.com, MTV.com, Billboard.com, etc.) cover only the top eight to ten music stories each day – the stories with mass appeal. This type of generic coverage does not satisfy the needs of serious music fans. Music fans generally listen to many different artists and genres of music. By publishing over 100 music stories each day, Shoutmouth enables these fans to read news on all their favorite artists.

In addition to publishing comprehensive music news on over 1200 music artists, Shoutmouth is a social network that allows fans to meet and communicate with other fans about music, and allows them to:

  • Create personal profiles
  • Interact with other members
  • Provide comments on news stories and music videos
  • Submit news stories and videos
  • Recommend new music artists to add to the community
  • Receive customized news and email alerts on their favorite artists

Success Factors

Shoutmouth is uniquely qualified to succeed due to the following reasons:

  • Entrepreneurial track record : Shoutmouth’s CEO and team have helped launch numerous successful ventures.
  • Monetization track record : Over the past two years, Shoutmouth’s founders have run one of the most successful online affiliate marketing programs, having sold products to over 500,000 music customers online.
  • Key milestones completed : Shoutmouth’s founders have invested $500,000 to-date to staff the company (we currently have an 11-person full-time team), build the core technology, and launch the site. We have succeeded in gaining initial customer traction with 50,000 unique visitors in March, 100,000 unique visitors in April, and 200,000 unique visitors in May.

Unique Investment Metrics

The Shoutmouth investment opportunity is very exciting due to the metrics of the business.

To begin, over the past five years, over twenty social networks have been acquired. The value in these networks is their relationships with large numbers of customers, which allow acquirers to effectively sell to this target audience.

The sales price of these social networks has ranged from $25 to $137 per member. Shoutmouth has the ability to enroll members at less than $1 each, thus providing an extraordinary return on marketing expenditures. In fact, during a recent test, we were able to sign-up 2,000 members to artist-specific Shoutmouth newsletters at a cost of only 43 cents per member.

While we are building Shoutmouth to last, potential acquirers include many types of companies that seek relationships with music fans such as music media/publishing (e.g., MTV, Rolling Stone), ticketing (e.g., Ticketmaster, LiveNation) and digital music sales firms (e.g., iTunes).

Financial Strategy, Needs and Exit Strategy

While Shoutmouth’s technological, marketing and operational infrastructure has been developed, we currently require $3 million to execute on our marketing and technology plan over the next 24 months until we hit profitability.

Shoutmouth will primarily generate revenues from selling advertising space. As technologies evolve that allow us to seamlessly integrate music sampling and purchasing on our site, sales of downloadable music are also expected to become a significant revenue source. To a lesser extent, we may sell other music-related items such as ringtones, concert tickets, and apparel.

Topline projections over the next three years are as follows:

Business Plan Template

Grasshopper.com

  • Grasshopper

Writing Your Executive Summary

  • Lesson Materials Writing Your Executive Summary Worksheet
  • Completion time About 40 minutes

As you learned in course one, sometimes you only have a few seconds to make a first impression with investors. The same rule applies to your business plan – that's where you executive summary comes into play.

The executive summary is your chance to lay out all the highlights of your business plan. Often, if an executive summary isn't catching enough, investors won't bother to read the rest of the business plan. So in this session, we'll teach you how to write an executive summary that keeps your audience engaged.

Components of an Executive Summary

Think of an executive summary as a "trailer" for your business plan. Like a movie trailer, the tone of your summary should match your audience. For instance, you wouldn't feature spooky music for a child's movie.

As such, if your business idea is fun, unique, and geared toward a younger customer base, the tone of your executive summary can carry a more casual – but still professional – tone than if your business idea was geared toward law professionals. A good tip to keep in mind is that your executive summary should match the tone of the company culture you want to create and market you want to capture.

When it comes to the length of an executive summary, remember, it's a summary. It can be as short as one page and shouldn't be longer than 5-10 percent of the main document. The most important thing is that it should be short enough that professionals don't get lost reading it but long enough that it's complete and includes all the key components.

The essential components that must be cooked into an executive summary include:

Mission Statement

  • Problem, Solution, & Opportunity

We'll cover each component in more depth below.

When it comes to the first line of your executive summary, make it count. The hook needs to pull readers into the rest of your executive summary and ultimately your business plan. A good way to do this is to use engaging language and tone, in addition to being clear about what your idea is.

Within the same introductory paragraph, you'll clearly state your business mission. Here's where you talk about your company's name, location, services, and target market. This paragraph is where you clearly state your business' concept and objectives. Be sure to focus on the main points you want readers to take away. If done right, the points should highlight your unique selling proposition that will ultimately make your business a success.

Problem, Solution, and Opportunity

The one thing on investors' minds as they skim the beginning paragraphs of your executive summary will be, "Is there a market for this?" And in the beginning paragraphs of your executive summary, it's up to you to clearly answer YES.

To do this, you'll start off by summarizing the problem your business will solve. State who your customer is and what their needs are.

Once you have clearly (and briefly) identified the problem, then it's up to you to prove that your business idea is going to solve it; your business idea has an opportunity to provide value.

Outline how your business will have a competitive edge, how there is a market for your service or product, and how this could be a missed opportunity if not executed. Whether you’re improving on an existing idea or providing something totally new, you need to prove that your business will have a standing in the market.

Teamwork is the only way your dream will work. And investors will be interested to know who’s going to make up your management team. Be sure to answer the following questions in this section of the executive summary:

  • Who do you plan to hire right away?
  • Who will come in long-term?
  • What expertise and skills will they need?
  • What will each team member's role be in the company?

We’ll go into more detail on putting together your management team later in this course.

The most important thing to keep in mind for this section is to keep it both realistic and compelling. It's great to be positive but it's imperative to be accurate.

Financial data to include:

  • Product and service pricing
  • Start-up cost
  • Ongoing expenses
  • Potential revenue for 3-5 years

By the end of reading the financial data, you want it to be clear how much money is expected to come in and out of your business. This will give investors an idea of whether your business is a good candidate for an investment and how much it may need.

Often "the ask" at the end of the executive summary is for buy-in; getting investors to back your new business idea. So when you've hit this point in the document, be clear and specific. Also, phrase it in a way that reminds investors of the business opportunity. For instance, in funding your new business with X amount, your business can be successful.

Executive Summary Do's and Don'ts

You just digested a lot. To summarize the goal of an executive summary, keep the following do's and don'ts in mind:

  • Don't write a lengthy executive summary
  • Don't write the executive summary first
  • Don't write a financial summary that is unrealistic
  • Don't include information that doesn't exist in the business plan
  • Do use a tone and language that matches both your company culture and audience
  • Do make your executive summary compelling
  • Do write the executive summary in the order of the business plan

Now it's your turn! Download the attached worksheet and start outlining your executive summary.

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What is an executive summary in a business plan?

Including an executive summary in your business plan can grab attention and help communicate key information quickly.

A business plan written up in a notebook

September 2023 | Published by Xero

What is a business plan?

A business plan is the blueprint for how your business will run. It describes your product or service, identifies your customer and the problem they face, and explains how you’ll succeed in fixing that for them.

Your business plan also helps other people understand what you do and how you do it. Groups like banks and investors will want to see your business plan before deciding to put money into your business, for example. Your accountant should also be able to easily understand what your business idea is and how you’ll make money from it.

It’s a living document that can help you clarify your ideas and maintain a clear direction as you grow. It shouldn’t be just a one-off document – you can return to it at any time and add to it or change it as your business changes.

Looking for help to build your business plan? Download our free business plan templates to get started.

The executive summary is the elevator pitch for the rest of your business plan. Use it to highlight what you do, why you do it and how you’ll succeed.

It’s often the first section that a person will read in your business plan, so this is your opportunity to "sell" your idea and its potential for success.

It should explain enough that a reader could understand the key information about your business without having to read the whole document – this is especially helpful for readers who are pushed for time. However, a compelling executive summary will also grab someone’s attention enough to make them want to keep reading.

While it’s a helpful section for rushed readers, you may feel an executive summary isn’t absolutely necessary just yet. Think about your audience and the complexity of your business plan when weighing up the benefit of having an executive summary.

How does an executive summary differ from a mission statement or business objective?

A mission statement outlines the overall purpose and vision of your business, and a business objective is a specific goal or target you’ll aim for to help you achieve that vision.

The executive summary could include both your mission statement and business objectives. However, it should ultimately be a high-level overview of your whole business plan.

What to include in an executive summary

Treat your executive summary as the one and only section someone may read in your business plan. What must they know in order to understand your business?

Pull the key high-level information from other parts of your business plan, including:

  • what your business does and why you do it
  • your mission statement, if you have one
  • your target customers, the problem they face and how you solve it for them
  • the product or service you’re selling
  • any key information from competitor or market research that helps tell your story
  • a schedule to launch, or steps to implement your business plan

If you’re approaching lenders or investors for financing, include key financial information and your plans for growth in your executive summary too.

How to write an executive summary

It’s a good idea to fill in the other sections of your business plan first, before deciding what goes in an executive summary. This way, you have complete information for you to draw from.

Aim to summarize the key sections of your business plan in a few sentences using plain language that’s easy to understand. Include any important data or information that backs up your ideas, and leave out personal opinions.

Beware of copying and pasting information from other parts of your plan; the executive summary should be as specific and concise as possible. An executive summary that’s too general, or padded with unnecessary detail might lose the reader’s interest.

Think about who will read your business plan, and what they’ll be interested in. For example, if you want to connect with lenders or investors, promote the size of the opportunity for your business, and how much money you’ll need to make it a success.

There’s no strict rule about length, but it should remain clear and engaging the whole way through. Keeping to one page is a good general guide to maintain your reader’s attention without overwhelming them.

Ultimately, an executive summary should benefit your business plan by laying out critical information clearly and simply upfront. An engaging, informative summary will help key people understand your plan and your needs, so they can offer guidance and support your success.

You can find tips on business planning and more in How to start a business

Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided.

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First Steps: Writing the Executive Summary of Your Business Plan This quick guide offers tips that will help you create the executive summary for your business plan.

By Entrepreneur Staff Jan 4, 2015

In their book Write Your Business Plan , the staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. offer an in-depth understanding of what's essential to any business plan, what's appropriate for your venture, and what it takes to ensure success. In this edited excerpt, the authors outline what to include in your business plan's executive summary and why.

The first part of your business plan that anybody will see is the executive summary. It's a brief look at the key elements of the whole plan—and it's critical.

The executive summary should be only a page or two. In it, you may include your mission and vision statements, a brief sketch of your plans and goals, a quick look at your company and its organization, an outline of your strategy, and highlights of your financial status and needs. Your executive summary is the CliffsNotes of your business plan.

The summary is the most important part of your whole plan, so you want it to be as strong as possible because it's the first thing people read in your plan, and we all know the power of a strong first impression. This is where you want to wow people and make them think.

The executive summary has to perform a host of jobs. First and foremost, it should grab the reader's attention. It has to briefly hit the high points of your plan. It should point readers with questions requiring detailed responses to the full-length sections of your plan where they can get answers. It should ease the task of anybody whose job it is to read it, and it should make that task enjoyable by presenting an interesting and compelling account of your company.

Here's a suggested format for an executive summary:

1. What's the business idea, what problem does it solve and how does it fit into the marketplace?

You'll need to explain why your idea has merit and how it can solve a common problem by making things easier, faster, or cheaper for the prospective customer(s). No matter how brilliantly crafted, written and presented your business plan is, it will be difficult to win your investors, and later customers, with a bad idea. Therefore, you want to wow them first with your idea! If they're not interested, no matter what your financials are, they won't help.

2. How much will it cost, and how much financing are you seeking?

Provide a short explanation of how you'll use any financing you seek. Tell investors why you need the money. Nobody wants to lend you money if they don't know exactly why you need it. It's not necessary to get into much detail here—just make it clear that you need it for x, y and z. You should also let the reader know how the investment will help the company grow and/or increase its profits. Why else would you be seeking funding? The best use of somebody else's money is to buy or build something that will make more money, both for you and for that person.

3. What will the return be to the investor? Over what length of time?

In your executive summary, consider the following:

  • Friends and family want to get their money back someday but are not very interested in timing and returns.
  • Bankers look for free cash flow to pay back the principal and interest of their loan. They also look closely at management experience and marketing. They may ask for collateral. By law they have to be conservative, that is, risk averse, so they are not great candidates for risky financing.
  • Angel investors look for moderate rates of return, usually above the prime rate, plus some capital appreciation. They sometimes want to be involved at a hands-on level.
  • Venture capitalists seek annual compound rates of return in the area of 35 to 50 percent per annum. They seldom want to go longer than three to five years to cash out. They always want to know what the exit strategy is.

Don't forget yourself: It's a rare company that doesn't have any investment from the entrepreneur or entrepreneurs who started it.

4. How will the ownership be divided?

When a business starts generating profits and plowing them back into the firm, value can build rapidly. Even if you aren't in an industry likely to purchase buildings or patent valuable technology, the business derives value from the fact that it can generate profits into the future.

Spell out who owns what. If you have many equity investors coupled with a pile of creditors, this can get pretty complicated. For the summary section of your plan, a basic description such as "Ownership of the company will be divided so that each of the four original partners owns 25 percent" will suffice. If you have to negotiate details of exactly what any equity investors will get, there's time to do that later. For now, you just want to give people an idea of how the ownership will be divided.

Additional questions you may want to consider answering in your executive summary include:

  • What is the management team?
  • What are the product and competitive strategies?
  • What is your marketing plan?
  • What is your exit strategy?

Give It a Happy Ending

The summary is the place to put your best foot forward, to talk up the upside and downplay the downside. As always, accentuating the positive doesn't mean exaggeration or lying. If there's a really important, unusual risk factor in your plan—such as that one certain big customer has to make a huge order for the whole plan to work—then you'll want to mention that in your summary. But run-of-the-mill risks like unexpected competition or customer reluctance can be ignored here. Paint a convincing portrait of an opportunity so compelling that only a dullard wouldn't recognize it and desire to take part in it.

The key to the executive summary is to pick out the best aspects of every part of your plan. So extract the essence of each key part, and offer your readers a highlight reel of your business.

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How to Write a Successful Executive Summary [Template + Example]

  • Written By Gregg Rosenzweig
  • Updated: July 3, 2023
What is an executive summary? Short. Concise. Powerful. Executive summaries are the first page (or pages) of a business plan or proposal. The best grab attention as they offer a compelling snapshot of what’s to come — but also possess the ability to stand alone. They don’t mince words, since stakes are high, as they cover the touch points necessary to win that next meeting, advocacy, support, and even the holy grail: an investment partner.

Let’s be honest: The executive summary is the most important part of a business plan. You might think it’s all those pages behind it with rich detail, impressive stats and long, flowing paragraphs describing your awesomeness… but it’s not.

The executive summary is the first thing your readers will see. The teaser. The cheat sheet. Your best shot. It’s your one chance to grab a potential investor’s interest — and keep it. If you win it, a capital investment could follow. Lose it, and said opportunity could go bye-bye. Not good for you, your company or the business plan to follow, which consequently, is now dead on arrival.

The executive summary is the first thing seen,  but it should be the last thing written  — because it’s a snapshot of the business plan to come. So, knowing that fact, let’s get into  the kind of persuasive copy that goes into this ever-so-important opening act. Yet, before we do that, please know there’s not one way  to do an executive summary — but there are best practices and guidelines to keep in mind as you write yours. Points to hit, things to be cognizant of, ways to win interest as the eyes move down the page.

To that end, I asked Dave Lavinsky , business plan expert and co-founder of  Growthink , a Los Angeles-based company that helps private companies raise capital — what  he  thinks. He was nice enough to walk us through various elements he deems essential.

The 3 questions an executive summary must answer: 1) What do you? 2) Why does it matter? 3) Why are you uniquely qualified to succeed?

In Lavinsky’s opinion, here are the questions an executive summary must answer in the first two paragraphs:

  • What do you do?  In a clear-and-concise one-liner, the reader needs to know what it is that you do   as a company.   Not a long story here — remember, these people are busy and may not have a lot of time.
  • Why does it matter?   What’s the market size?   Is the idea meeting an unmet opportunity in the market? Why does it work  now ?
  • Why are you uniquely qualified to succeed?  Essentially, why  you ? Is it your background, the team you’ve assembled, your partnerships, or simply how rare the opportunity is? Ask yourself: Has anybody done this before?

According to Lavinsky, the single most important goal of the executive summary is “to get investors to read more and then cut right to the chase to say, ‘Hey, let’s have a meeting.’ Because they’re not going to write you a check without meeting with you.”

If you’re going to achieve that, there are some other things you will need to keep in mind as you get into writing your executive summary —  otherwise known as the most important part of the business plan that could make or break your company!

How to write an executive summary: stylistically

How long should an executive summary be?

1. How long should an executive summary be?

The general consensus is that most executive summaries are anywhere between 1 to 3 pages long, however, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. The content is what’s most important so based on certain variables — including how long the plan is and what you  need  to say to present the most compelling case — you should let that dictate the length, not “a rule” per se.

Lavinsky says, “it does depend on the complexity of the business. I tend to like a one-page executive summary… that being said, I wrote a business plan years back and needed two pages because the technology was so sophisticated that it required a little more space.”

2. What tone of voice should be used?

  • Be straight, not silly: Whether you’re trying to get someone to invest in a Silicon Valley startup or secure a bank loan for a small business, you should always know what’s at stake and not mistake this all-important document for a casual thing. Lavinsky cautions against getting too fancy saying your goal should be “straight business writing without a ton of personality… just getting the key facts across.” In other words, let the idea create excitement by speaking for itself.
  • Know your audience :  Think about who you’re ultimately talking to. “Even if you’re a pizza shop, you’re still asking a bank for a $100,000 check… that’s real money to a small bank. And so they want to see the pizza shop owner being as professional as possible, not taking it lightly,” reveals Lavinsky. “This is the pizza shop owner’s livelihood; their life… and to the bank, it’s real money in the local community — so keep everything very professional and not casual at all.”
  • Show a degree of urgency:  Understand that your executive summary (and accompanying business plan) is essentially selling something:   you . You hope it will all resonate because you have something to offer the world…  now .  Something that changes the status quo, revolutionizes a market or gives the world something they need. So, write with purpose and a degree of urgency. You’re competing against who knows how many other proposals, so create the need for a response…  now .

What is the traditional executive summary format?

3.  What is the traditional executive summary format?

This is where getting down to brass tacks matters.

Because you’re dealing with extremely busy people — decision-makers at companies — you’re going to want to serve this information up in digestible, not daunting fashion. Usually, that means paragraphs and supportive bullet points. Big picture items, not excruciating detail; bullets instead of bulky blocks of text; and precise, deliberate language instead of prose-y purgatory.

That’s the format people reading a business plan expect to see. It’s what keeps people engaged, eating it up, and wanting to read more. One popular way to lay out your executive summary is to do it in a way that mirrors the order of things to come in the plan itself. Have a look at the executive summary template that Dave Lavinsky likes below and decide if it could work well for you.

[Author note:  This is just one example of an executive summary template. Depending on how complex your business is — there certainly could be other ways to do it, so feel free to tweak accordingly.]

Example of the executive summary template that Lavinsky likes.

Here’s an example of the executive summary template that Lavinsky likes:

This opening paragraph section (addressed previously) is the one that answers the essential question in a line or two about who you are as a company, what you do (as a product or service), and even where you’re located to give a sense of the geography.

Why It Matters 

Your second paragraph. It covers the market size, the lack of competition in your space (if that applies) and why your company is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a unique opportunity. This is the place to instill a dose of urgency, if it applies. Remember: There are windows of opportunity. Don’t let this one close on account of forgetting to make your proposal feel well-timed.

[*The following can appear as bullets or small paragraphs depending on what style suits your fancy, and your company.]

Industry Analysis

  • Here you can start to get into bullet points to give a top-line overview of the research done regarding the industry your product or service lives within, the market size, where things are headed, etc. Maybe a compelling statistic or two.

Customer Analysis

  • If you’re going to win customers, show a brief snapshot that supports what you know about your core customers. For example, “We’re serving single moms 32-47 living in Midwestern cities.” Here you can show who you’ll be selling to — without getting into too much demographic or psychographic detail. Leave that to the business plan to follow.

Competitive Snapshot

  • Who are your competitors? What will you be doing that is different from what they’ve been doing? How will you go about standing apart from them in your competitive space?

Marketing Plan

  • An overview that teases how you plan to market your product or service. What you put here is crucial as it speaks to your strategic mindset and business savvy — while offering an insightful peek into how well-thought-out your approach is.

Management Team

  • Who are the 1-3 key management people involved with this venture? Those you’ll be going into battle with  should  this business get funded or win a capital investment from this business plan or proposal. Do tell, but briefly.

Financial Plan

  • Give a top-line overview involving the monetary investment you’re seeking and what kind of capital infusion will be necessary to help this business succeed. Here is a good place to mention financial projections, company goals and expectations around profits for the next 1 to 5 years. Also, the ask. e.g., “We’re asking for x dollars as equity or a loan.”

Another section to consider is “Company Analysis.” According to Lavinsky, “I always talk about how the best indicator of future success is past success. So, if there are milestones that your company has already achieved, it’s important to show the investor or lender that you have a track record of hitting milestones and achieving goals (if you’re looking for capital). This lends credibility that if they lend you money, you will do the same and they’ll get a return.”

Tot Squad example of an executive summary.

Now, here’s an actual example of an executive summary — and why it works:

In 2011, Jennifer Sexton founded the company  Tot Squad  during her time at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In fact, it was based on a business idea that took first place in the Kellogg Cup MBA Business Plan Competition in 2010. As with most startups, the company has evolved a bit since its original conception, but as Sexton points out, Tot Squad is now “a marketplace that connects new parents to all of the services they need, both in person and online via video chat.”

As the company has grown and evolved, so has the information she puts into her executive summary. I’ve included an example below of one comprehensive executive summary Sexton wrote for Tot Squad back in 2018 — right before her company won a 60-second elevator pitch competition at Launch Scale in 2019. At the event, her company was deemed “most likely to achieve $50-100M in sales and be the next startup Unicorn or Pegasus” by entrepreneur/angel investor, Jason Calacanis.

[Please note: Many sections in Sexton’s executive summary are consistent with Dave Lavinsky’s advice, but the headers have different names.] 

Tot Squad Incorporation type:  C-Corp, Consumer Services Contact:  Jennifer Saxton [contact info] totsquad.com Tot Squad is a platform of services with expertise in the maintenance, safety education and installation of baby gear. Company Summary:  Tot Squad is a baby gear services company aiming to be the “Geek Squad” of the baby industry. Our mobile fleet provides cleaning, repairs, and installation of car seats and strollers, in partnership with retailers like Nordstrom, Babies R Us, and Whole Foods. We have corporate operations in SoCal and NYC, our first franchise recently opened in Washington, DC, and we have over 200 car seat safety affiliates in 40 states. We plan to pilot an in-store service center with a major big-box baby retailer this spring, and expect to sign a service contract with Uber this month. Management Team:  Founder & CEO Jen Saxton graduated from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, where Tot Squad won the prestigious Kellogg Cup MBA Business Plan Competition. CFO John Mattox and Head of Marketing, Ann Singhakowinta, are both graduates of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. COO Shanna Johnson is a graduate of Columbia University and has spent 10 years scaling people-intensive start-ups. David McKinnon, co-founder of franchise conglomerate Service Brands (Molly Maid, Mr. Handyman, other service co’s with $300M+ sales) is an investor/advisor, and leader of this round of fundraising. Customer Problem:  Busy parents struggle with the time, hassle and frustration that baby gear can present. Car seats and strollers are dirty, break easily, and are challenging to assemble/install. 90% of car seats are misused, and car accidents are the #1 cause of death for kids. Simultaneously, retailers are struggling to compete vs online retail, and bringing services in store draws foot traffic and boosts sales. Rideshare companies want to appeal to families and need experts in car seat safety and cleaning/quality assurance to provide kid-friendly services. Target Market:  Our end consumers are busy, affluent parents in desirable neighborhoods who spend hundreds, up to a thousand dollars, on a stroller and want to maintain their investment. 65% of Tot Squad customers are women, with 70% between 25-44 years of age. Customers shop in higher-end retail and boutiques. We target both time-stretched working mothers, as well as more budget-conscious parents who need occasional cleaning/repairs help. Customer Segments:  We are growing via franchise sales and B2B partnerships with large companies like Uber and Amazon. Expansion through B2B sales, from gear manufacturers to automotive partners, grows the brand’s equity and creates consistent revenue streams. As a first mover with no major threats, we’ve got great traction. Business Model : Our business brings foot traffic to stores, creating a captive audience that increases sales (Nordstrom Baby Dept sees 30-40% comps on days of events). In addition to scaling through franchising, we plan to offer a kiosk-style “in-store service center” within a big box retailer, a la Geek Squad, where we can sell 1-2 year “extended warranty” service packages on registries. Competitive Advantage:  Our strategic partnerships with national retailers and manufacturers provide brand credibility, lead generation (zero customer acquisition cost) and key retail locations (for new franchisees) from Day 1 and create competitive barriers to entry. Our team of certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians also sets us apart from competition. For franchisees, the proven business model, turnkey marketing/sales/operations, technology infrastructure and insurance accessibility are key. Product & Services : We do the dirty work that busy parents don’t have the time or energy to deal with. We clean car seats and strollers using eco-friendly products and steamers. We offer car seat installations by Child Passenger Safety Technicians and are an Authorized Service Center for major stroller brands. Most services can be performed in less than 60 minutes for $20-80. We do daily popups with major retailers for moms’ convenience. Competitors : There is a handful of small competitors, sprinkled around the country, mostly home-based businesses with only a local radius. Our largest competitor, Stroller Spa, is a low-volume, high price point player that works as a hobby business. BabyBubbles is a NYC-based company whose main growth driver is not their gear services, but their privately labeled cleaning products and diaper laundering services. Parents also use local police for safety checks. There are no national brands in any of the service lines on our platform. Financials (USD thousands) 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Systemwide Sales $225 $837 $5,687 $19,685 $50,563 EBITDA -$457 -$506 $668 $4,404 $9,780 Raising $1.0M-$1.5MM at $5.0M pre-money valuation, ~$1.1M committed. Round led by David McKinnon.

Download a PDF version of the Tot Squad executive summary.

Tot Squad summary

Here are four things I love about this executive summary for Tot Squad:

1. I love the opening line in Sexton’s  Company Summary : “Tot Squad is a baby gear services company aiming to be the ‘Geek Squad’ of the baby industry.” It gives a clear, quick descriptor of what Tot Squad is, their industry and who they aspire to be.

2.  In the  Management Team section, not only is Sexton sure to highlight the impressive college credentials and business school degrees of her management team, but also the highly relevant industry experience of the person leading this round of fundraising for her company, “David McKinnon, co-founder of franchise conglomerate Service Brands (Molly Maid, Mr. Handyman, other service co’s with $300M+ sales).” A morsel sure to catch the interest/attention of the reader and win credibility.

3. Having already legitimized her company’s position by stating their existing partnerships (Nordstrom, Babies R Us, and Whole Foods), Sexton does a great job of speaking to the  Customer Problem  they’re solving while addressing their  Customer Segment , citing Tot Squad as well-positioned to succeed, i.e., “As a first mover with no major threats, we’ve got great traction.”

4. In the  Financials  section at the bottom, Sexton lays out her company earnings to date and shows impressive growth projections into the near future. Most importantly, she also cites the financial ask so the reader knows what’s being proposed.

Now that we’ve covered all the things  to do  in your executive summary, here’s a quick list of things  not  to do. Things that will inevitably repel investors and potentially drive away the capital investment (or partner) your company oh-so-needs to survive.

Things not to do in high-level business summaries

Here are five things  NOT  to do in an executive summary:

  • Don’t open with lengthy banter :  The last thing you don’t want to do is open with a story that takes paragraphs to tell. Lavinsky says, “Get to the point. Particularly with venture capitalists that are getting so many plans and executive summaries. They need to know what you do really, really quickly.”
  • Don’t make claims you can’t back up:  If you’re going to call something “the best” or “revolutionary,” you better offer something to back it up. Not only do investors see through this stuff, but flimsy claims call your legit stuff into question.
  • Don’t get technical: Depending on what you’re ultimately selling or trying to stir up interest in, you may feel obligated to give a rich level of detail — analysis, charts, graphs — in the executive summary to support your claims. Don’t. You only have someone’s attention for a few short minutes, even seconds. Titillate with the summary, then substantiate.
  • Don’t copy/paste — it’s not an art project:  The last thing you should do is think of this section as a place to recycle things written in the business plan to come. The content in this section here should be original, for this space only, and use professional pronouns that speak to a broader team (“we” and “our”) while using present-tense language.
  • Don’t have completely unrealistic financial models:  According to Lavinsky, you don’t want to say things like, “We’re going to a billion dollars by year three. It’s never happened before… why are  you  the first one to ever make that happen?”

Now that we’ve gone through the do’s and the don’ts, think about the approach that will work best for your business. If you’re a business person, entrepreneur, even a freelance writer , it can only help to understand your end-game by having a sound business plan — highlighted by a powerful executive summary that demonstrates why you’ll swim where others sink.

Now, get to work.

After mastering how to write an executive summary, brush up on these related topics for marketing leadership:

  • How to Write an Executive Bio
  • How to Interview the Executive C-Suite Like a Boss
  • How to Write a Boilerplate: 5 Do’s, 5 Don’ts, 5 Great Examples
  • How to Prepare a Communication Plan for Crisis Management & Recovery [Ebook]

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  • How to write an executive summary, with ...

How to write an executive summary, with examples

Julia Martins contributor headshot

The best way to do that is with an executive summary. If you’ve never written an executive summary, this article has all you need to know to plan, write, and share them with your team.

What is an executive summary?

An executive summary is an overview of a document. The length and scope of your executive summary will differ depending on the document it’s summarizing, but in general an executive summary can be anywhere from one to two pages long. In the document, you’ll want to share all of the information your readers and important stakeholders need to know.

Imagine it this way: if your high-level stakeholders were to only read your executive summary, would they have all of the information they need to succeed? If so, your summary has done its job.

You’ll often find executive summaries of:

Business cases

Project proposals

Research documents

Environmental studies

Market surveys

In general, there are four parts to any executive summary:

Start with the problem or need the document is solving.

Outline the recommended solution.

Explain the solution’s value.

Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work.

What is an executive summary in project management?

In project management, an executive summary is a way to bring clarity to cross-functional collaborators, team leadership, and project stakeholders . Think of it like a project’s “ elevator pitch ” for team members who don’t have the time or the need to dive into all of the project’s details.

The main difference between an executive summary in project management and a more traditional executive summary in a business plan is that the former should be created at the beginning of your project—whereas the latter should be created after you’ve written your business plan. For example, to write an executive summary of an environmental study, you would compile a report on the results and findings once your study was over. But for an executive summary in project management, you want to cover what the project is aiming to achieve and why those goals matter.

The same four parts apply to an executive summary in project management:

Start with the problem or need the project is solving.  Why is this project happening? What insight, customer feedback, product plan, or other need caused it to come to life?

Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives.  How is the project going to solve the problem you established in the first part? What are the project goals and objectives?

Explain the solution’s value.  Once you’ve finished your project, what will happen? How will this improve and solve the problem you established in the first part?

Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work.  This is another opportunity to reiterate why the problem is important, and why the project matters. It can also be helpful to reference your audience and how your solution will solve their problem. Finally, include any relevant next steps.

If you’ve never written an executive summary before, you might be curious about where it fits into other project management elements. Here’s how executive summaries stack up:

Executive summary vs. project plan

A  project plan  is a blueprint of the key elements your project will accomplish in order to hit your project goals and objectives. Project plans will include your goals, success metrics, stakeholders and roles, budget, milestones and deliverables, timeline and schedule, and communication plan .

An executive summary is a summary of the most important information in your project plan. Think of the absolutely crucial things your management team needs to know when they land in your project, before they even have a chance to look at the project plan—that’s your executive summary.

Executive summary vs. project overview

Project overviews and executive summaries often have similar elements—they both contain a summary of important project information. However, your project overview should be directly attached to your project. There should be a direct line of sight between your project and your project overview.

While you can include your executive summary in your project depending on what type of  project management tool  you use, it may also be a stand-alone document.

Executive summary vs. project objectives

Your executive summary should contain and expand upon your  project objectives  in the second part ( Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives ). In addition to including your project objectives, your executive summary should also include why achieving your project objectives will add value, as well as provide details about how you’re going to get there.

The benefits of an executive summary

You may be asking: why should I write an executive summary for my project? Isn’t the project plan enough?

Well, like we mentioned earlier, not everyone has the time or need to dive into your project and see, from a glance, what the goals are and why they matter.  Work management tools  like Asana help you capture a lot of crucial information about a project, so you and your team have clarity on who’s doing what by when. Your executive summary is designed less for team members who are actively working on the project and more for stakeholders outside of the project who want quick insight and answers about why your project matters.

An effective executive summary gives stakeholders a big-picture view of the entire project and its important points—without requiring them to dive into all the details. Then, if they want more information, they can access the project plan or navigate through tasks in your work management tool.

How to write a great executive summary, with examples

Every executive summary has four parts. In order to write a great executive summary, follow this template. Then once you’ve written your executive summary, read it again to make sure it includes all of the key information your stakeholders need to know.

1. Start with the problem or need the project is solving

At the beginning of your executive summary, start by explaining why this document (and the project it represents) matter. Take some time to outline what the problem is, including any research or customer feedback you’ve gotten . Clarify how this problem is important and relevant to your customers, and why solving it matters.

For example, let’s imagine you work for a watch manufacturing company. Your project is to devise a simpler, cheaper watch that still appeals to luxury buyers while also targeting a new bracket of customers.

Example executive summary:

In recent customer feedback sessions, 52% of customers have expressed a need for a simpler and cheaper version of our product. In surveys of customers who have chosen competitor watches, price is mentioned 87% of the time. To best serve our existing customers, and to branch into new markets, we need to develop a series of watches that we can sell at an appropriate price point for this market.

2. Outline the recommended solution, or the project’s objectives

Now that you’ve outlined the problem, explain what your solution is. Unlike an abstract or outline, you should be  prescriptive  in your solution—that is to say, you should work to convince your readers that your solution is the right one. This is less of a brainstorming section and more of a place to support your recommended solution.

Because you’re creating your executive summary at the beginning of your project, it’s ok if you don’t have all of your deliverables and milestones mapped out. But this is your chance to describe, in broad strokes, what will happen during the project. If you need help formulating a high-level overview of your project’s main deliverables and timeline, consider creating a  project roadmap  before diving into your executive summary.

Continuing our example executive summary:

Our new watch series will begin at 20% cheaper than our current cheapest option, with the potential for 40%+ cheaper options depending on material and movement. In order to offer these prices, we will do the following:

Offer watches in new materials, including potentially silicone or wood

Use high-quality quartz movement instead of in-house automatic movement

Introduce customizable band options, with a focus on choice and flexibility over traditional luxury

Note that every watch will still be rigorously quality controlled in order to maintain the same world-class speed and precision of our current offerings.

3. Explain the solution’s value

At this point, you begin to get into more details about how your solution will impact and improve upon the problem you outlined in the beginning. What, if any, results do you expect? This is the section to include any relevant financial information, project risks, or potential benefits. You should also relate this project back to your company goals or  OKRs . How does this work map to your company objectives?

With new offerings that are between 20% and 40% cheaper than our current cheapest option, we expect to be able to break into the casual watch market, while still supporting our luxury brand. That will help us hit FY22’s Objective 3: Expanding the brand. These new offerings have the potential to bring in upwards of three million dollars in profits annually, which will help us hit FY22’s Objective 1: 7 million dollars in annual profit.

Early customer feedback sessions indicate that cheaper options will not impact the value or prestige of the luxury brand, though this is a risk that should be factored in during design. In order to mitigate that risk, the product marketing team will begin working on their go-to-market strategy six months before the launch.

4. Wrap up with a conclusion about the importance of the work

Now that you’ve shared all of this important information with executive stakeholders, this final section is your chance to guide their understanding of the impact and importance of this work on the organization. What, if anything, should they take away from your executive summary?

To round out our example executive summary:

Cheaper and varied offerings not only allow us to break into a new market—it will also expand our brand in a positive way. With the attention from these new offerings, plus the anticipated demand for cheaper watches, we expect to increase market share by 2% annually. For more information, read our  go-to-market strategy  and  customer feedback documentation .

Example of an executive summary

When you put it all together, this is what your executive summary might look like:

[Product UI] Example executive summary in Asana (Project Overview)

Common mistakes people make when writing executive summaries

You’re not going to become an executive summary-writing pro overnight, and that’s ok. As you get started, use the four-part template provided in this article as a guide. Then, as you continue to hone your executive summary writing skills, here are a few common pitfalls to avoid:

Avoid using jargon

Your executive summary is a document that anyone, from project contributors to executive stakeholders, should be able to read and understand. Remember that you’re much closer to the daily work and individual tasks than your stakeholders will be, so read your executive summary once over to make sure there’s no unnecessary jargon. Where you can, explain the jargon, or skip it all together.

Remember: this isn’t a full report

Your executive summary is just that—a summary. If you find yourself getting into the details of specific tasks, due dates, and attachments, try taking a step back and asking yourself if that information really belongs in your executive summary. Some details are important—you want your summary to be actionable and engaging. But keep in mind that the wealth of information in your project will be captured in your  work management tool , not your executive summary.

Make sure the summary can stand alone

You know this project inside and out, but your stakeholders won’t. Once you’ve written your executive summary, take a second look to make sure the summary can stand on its own. Is there any context your stakeholders need in order to understand the summary? If so, weave it into your executive summary, or consider linking out to it as additional information.

Always proofread

Your executive summary is a living document, and if you miss a typo you can always go back in and fix it. But it never hurts to proofread or send to a colleague for a fresh set of eyes.

In summary: an executive summary is a must-have

Executive summaries are a great way to get everyone up to date and on the same page about your project. If you have a lot of project stakeholders who need quick insight into what the project is solving and why it matters, an executive summary is the perfect way to give them the information they need.

For more tips about how to connect high-level strategy and plans to daily execution, read our article about strategic planning .

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How to Write a Business Plan Executive Summary [Sample Template]

Executive Summary

A good executive summary is the holy grail of good business plan writing. Even though it comes after you have written and thought through every other facet of your business, it is arguably the most important part of the puzzle. As its name implies, the executive summary is a brief overview of your business plan. Call it an introduction to your business and you would be very right.

The executive summary gives time-crunched executives or VCs  that high-level overview that will either persuade them to read your plan further or toss it in a trashcan without a second thought. Even though the executive summary is the first thing that the readers of your business plan will go through, you should write it last because it summarizes everything from that start to the end of your business plan.

Also, it is usually the first and probably the most important thing that busy investors consider before deciding if your business plan is worth spending a minute on. Secondly, since it’s a summary, you will only be highlighting the main facets of what you have uncovered over the course of writing your business plan. Below is a list of what your executive summary should include:

Components of a Business Plan Executive Summary

  • Business concept (what you do or what you intend to do)
  • Business goals and vision (what you want to achieve)
  • Product/service description and differentiation (what you offer and what makes it different)
  • Target market (who you want to sell to)
  • Marketing plan (how you plan to reach your customers)
  • Current financial state (what you currently make in revenue—for existing business looking at expansion, or how much you already have on ground—for startups)
  • Projected financial state (what you foresee making in revenue)
  • The request (how much funds you are asking for)
  • The team (who runs your business)

Your business plan executive summary must provide brief information on the following areas of your business;

  • The target market : it has to describe the type of customers you will be targeting.
  • Business model : it should describe your products or services and what will make them appealing to the target market.
  • Marketing and sales strategy : it should touch briefly your plans for marketing your products or services.
  • The competition : since competition is a major part of business, so it has to describe how you plan on dealing with the completion and gaining market share. It should equally state your competitive advantage.
  • Financial analysis : it should summarize your financial plan
  • Owners/Staff : it should describe the owners and the key staff members and the expertise they bring to the venture.
  • Implementation plan : it should briefly outline the schedule for taking your business from the planning stage to opening your doors.
  • An overview of funding requirements : you need to state the amount of funding you need, and what the money would be used for.
  • Growth highlights : it should give any instances of growth and, if possible, illustrate that growth with graphs or charts.
  • Future Plans : This doesn’t have to be too detailed, but it should give anyone reading your summary an idea of where your business is heading and how you intend to get there.

Writing a business plan executive summary is not that difficult, you only need to include the summary of the details that were listed above. You executive summary should be arranged this way;

Writing a Business Plan Executive Summary – Sample Template

You can start by describing your company, your mission and vision statements. Include your Business Name and address. If you are lost for words on how to describe your company, think about how you want your employees, customers and the business community to view your company.

This intro paragraph should be attention-getting from the start. It is wise to bring in impressive attributes of your company, but be specific here. Potential investors will want to see real evidence of demonstrated skills and unique abilities. Use this section to highlight company or employee accolades, albeit briefly. Describe the organizational structure and name key employees.

The names and titles of key employees are sufficient; however, include a brief description of executive team members’ responsibilities and duties. Include a list of satellite offices, contact information for each location and how many employees would work in each location.

2. Your business offering

Write a description of what your business aims to offer to its target market. Here, you should give a description of the product or service the business expects to offer. Highlight the products or services in a way that sounds appealing and sets you apart from the competition. The aim of the executive summary is to intrigue the reader enough to read what the rest of the business plan holds.

3. Your finances

This section is where you now talk about the financial aspects of your business. Disclose all business partners, investors and banks you have business relationships with. Explain the role of each entity or individual, the amounts invested or financed, and fiduciary terms and responsibilities.

If you are proposing your business plan to additional lending institutions or investors, this information can strengthen your plan by illustrating confidence others have in your ability to operate a successful business. This section should also include sales and profit projections for the business. You are free to use charts or graphs to reflect this information if it would provide more insight than texts.

Construct the final section of your executive summary by drafting comments about your organization’s accomplishments, accolades or remarkable growth. In this section, briefly describe your plan for achieving your company’s future goals.

Having discussed how an executive plan is written, let’s go further by looking at tips on how to ensure that your executive summary is perfectly written.

8 Tips for Writing a Perfect Business Plan Executive Summary

A. you must ensure that your first paragraph is strong enough.

To attract the reader’s attention and compel them to read the rest of the summary. For example, you can start by stating a market problem that your business promises to fix.

b. Remember, it’s all a summary

So, keep it short. The business plan itself will provide the details. So, don’t waste the reader’s time or irritate them by adding unnecessary details in your executive summary.

c. Use strong and positive language

Don’t weaken or dilute your statements with inappropriate words. For example, instead of writing “Our business might just become the market winner in the next five years”, write “Our business is poised to become the market winner in the next five years.”

d. Although there is no standard page length for executive summaries

It is better to keep it within two pages. Always resist the temptation to stuff your business plan’s executive summary with details that are already covered in the rest of the plan. Remember, the summary is meant to present facts about your business and entice the reader to read the rest of the plan.

e. Fine-tune your executive summary after writing it

Read it aloud to yourself. Does it sound great to you? Does it sound clear and brief, but detailed ? If you are satisfied with it, let someone else who knows nothing about your business read it and give suggestions on how you can improve it.

f. Customize the executive summary for your target audience

If your motive is to entice investors, for instance, your summary should hammer on the benefits that investors stand to gain from the opportunity you are presenting to them. Also, use formal or informal language depending on what’s more appropriate for your target audience.

g. Read the executive summary aloud once again

Putting yourself in place of the reader this time. Does the summary trigger your interest in the business or put you off instantly? Does the summary sound too good to be true, due to the choice of words? After reading it thoroughly, make necessary adjustments.

h. Clear your vocabularies of any self-glorifying superlatives

Clichés, and overused expressions that you may not be able to back up. Avoid words like “ best ”, “ ground-breaking ”, “ cutting-edge ”, “ world class ”, etc. Investors and other readers see those words almost every day and they tend to overlook their real meanings.

In conclusion

When writing your executive summary, even though it comes first, but aim to write it last after you have written the rest of your plan. This is the only way to know what exactly you should include when writing it. You have already done the research, so use that when pulling together the salient points of the executive summary.

Also, ensure that you check, double-check and triple-check your executive summary for any errors. Grammatical and spelling errors should be eradicated. But more importantly, your financial projections should contain absolutely no errors. Just one slight financial error will make you an amateur to any savvy investor.

Again, don’t be afraid to let your passion or excitement for your business come through in your executive summary. Investors typically believe that it takes a certain kind of entrepreneur to make a successful business, so capitalize on your commitment to get the backing you need.

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Executive Summary of the Business Plan

How to Write an Executive Summary That Gets Your Business Plan Read

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

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An executive summary of a business plan is an overview. Its purpose is to summarize the key points of a document for its readers, saving them time and preparing them for the upcoming content.

Think of the executive summary as an advance organizer for the reader. Above all else, it must be clear and concise. But it also has to entice the reader to read the rest of the business plan .

This is why the executive summary is often called the most important part of the business plan. If it doesn’t capture the reader's attention, the plan will be set aside unread—a disaster if you've written your business plan as part of an attempt to get money to start your new business . (Getting startup money is not the only reason to write a business plan; there are other just-as-important reasons .)

Because it is an overview of the entire plan, it is common to write the executive summary last (and writing it last can make it much easier).

What Information Goes in an Executive Summary?

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 will 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 and what will make them appealing to the target market.
  • Marketing and sales strategy . Briefly outline your plans for marketing your products and 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 —d escribe your products 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 businesshow 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 financing explain how additional funding will be used to expand the business or otherwise increase profits.

How Do I Write an Executive Summary of a Business Plan?

Start by following the list above and writing one to two sentences about each topic (depending on whether your business is a startup or an established business). No more! 

The Easy Way of Writing One

Having trouble getting started? The easiest way of writing the executive summary is to review your business plan and take a summary sentence or two from each of the business plan sections you’ve already written.

If you compare the list above to the sections outlined in the  Business Plan Outline , you’ll see that this could work very well.

Then finish your business plan’s executive summary with a clinching closing sentence or two that answers the reader’s question, “Why is this a winning business?”

For example, an executive summary for a pet-sitting business might conclude: “The loving on-site professional care that Pet Grandma will provide is sure to appeal to both cat and dog owners throughout the West Vancouver area.”

(You may find it useful to read the entire Pet Grandma  executive summary example  before you write your own.)

Tips for Writing the Business Plan’s Executive Summary

  • Focus on providing a summary.  The business plan itself will provide the details and whether bank managers or investors, the readers of your plan don’t want to have their time wasted.
  • Keep your language strong and positive.  Don’t weaken your executive summary with weak language. Instead of writing, “Dogstar Industries might be in an excellent position to win government contracts,” write “Dogstar Industries will be in an excellent position.”
  • Keep it short–no more than two pages long . Resist the temptation to pad your business plan’s executive summary with details (or pleas). The job of the executive summary is to present the facts and entice your reader to read the rest of the business plan, not tell him everything.
  • Polish your executive summary.  Read it aloud. Does it flow or does it sound choppy? Is it clear and succinct? Once it sounds good to you, have someone else who knows nothing about your business read it and make suggestions for improvement.
  • Tailor it to your audience.  If the purpose of your business plan is to  entice investors , for instance, your executive summary should focus on the opportunity your business provides investors and why the opportunity is special. If the purpose of your business plan is to get a small business loan , focus on highlighting what traditional lenders want to see, such as management's experience in the industry and the fact that you have both collateral and strategies in place to minimize the lender's risk.
  • Put yourself in your readers’ place. And read your executive summary again. Does it generate interest or excitement in the reader? If not, why? Also try giving it to a friend or relative to read, who is not engaged in the business. If you've done a good job on the executive summary, an impartial third party should be able to understand it.

Remember, the executive summary will be the first thing your readers read. If it's poorly written, it will also be the last thing they read, as they set the rest of your business plan aside unread.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. " Business Plan Guidelines ," Page 2.

Corporate Finance Institute. " Executive Summary ."

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. " How to Prepare Your Business Plan ," Page 167.

Iowa State University. " Types and Sources of Financing for Start-up Businesses ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

Clute Institute. " Using Business Plans for Teaching Entrepreneurship ," Page 733.

How to Write an Executive Summary

The executive summary serves as a concise overview of a more extensive report, business plan or proposal. It covers the main essence of the document, offering key insights, objectives, and recommendations. Crafting a compelling executive summary requires clarity and precision as the writer needs to distil complex information to highlight the most pertinent points of the report. 

The executive summary provides decision-makers with the key takeaways from the document. It can help provide a first impression of the purpose and objectives of a project or research report and help the target audience save time when digesting the report. 

Why is an executive summary important?

The executive summary lets readers understand what they will learn from the document. It offers a concise way to share your main points without losing the reader's attention. Sometimes, decision-makers use the executive summary to decide whether to invest further attention in a project or outcome.

A summary can also provide all of the vital information your stakeholders need without them having to read the entire report. This is critical because in today's fast-paced business environment, leaders often need more time. The brief nature of the executive summary helps to inform decision-making and create engagement with the whole document.

What are the benefits of including an executive summary in a business proposal?

In summary, the benefits for readers include reduced time, clarity, actionable insights and recommendations.

How should an executive summary be structured?

An executive summary will vary in length depending on the problem, but an effective report typically comprises several key components, including:

  • The Introduction: Good executive summaries start by introducing your project. Include a brief, engaging overview of the document's purpose and scope to capture the reader's attention.
  • Problem or opportunity: Clearly state the issues or opportunities being addressed.
  • Main points: Summarise the main findings, solutions, or recommendations presented in the document and highlight the key point in the sequence.  
  • Key Metrics: Highlight the most significant data, learnings or outcomes to justify the findings. 
  • Conclusion: Offer a concise summary of the key points and actionable insights.  

What are the key components of an executive summary?  

Identify the need or problem to solve.

Identify the need or problem the report or project aims to solve. Outline the scope of the issues the report or project addresses, how important they are to the organisation, and their current impact.

Outline solutions and recommendations

Give an overview of the possible solutions to the issue and the key recommendations from the report for the project. Give a description of the solution and an overview of what would be involved in the implementation and how feasible it is. You can provide more detailed information in the actual report itself and refer to the location of the detail. 

Summarise the benefits and impacts of the recommendations

Give an overview of the solution's potential value and benefits, such as improved ROI, speed, or increased sustainability .

Give a short summary of the recommendations, implications and resources needed. Direct the reader to parts of the report that expand on the summary. 

Best practices for writing a compelling executive summary

  • Complete your overall business plan or project plan first:   It’s essential to complete the plan before the summary to establish your main points and recommendations.
  • Target Audience:  ensure you have an understanding of the target audience for the summary and their requirements. 
  • Ensure you accurately describe the problem, the solution and the benefits:  All executives must define the original problem to help readers quickly understand the issue, the solution you are proposing and the benefits of that solution.
  • Check your executive summary length:  As a general rule, it should be about 10% of the length of the entire document.
  • Be concise:  The summary is intended to save time for busy executives, so make sure each point is as short and transparent as possible.
  • Include supporting research:  Support the claims you make in your summary with data or research. You can cite these sources of research as footnotes in the summary to refer to later in the document. 
  • Create the story:  Rather than just a list of data and facts, you need to create the whole story clearly and concisely with a compelling introduction and background to your company or business and the problem you are solving.
  • Maintain Consistency: Ensure tone, style, and formatting consistency throughout the summary.
  • Proof and edit: Remember to proofread and edit before sharing with stakeholders.

What common mistakes should be avoided?

  • Making it too long or too short:  it’s common to make these too long or too short. Ensure you accurately describe the problem you aim to resolve, the solution, and the benefits.
  • Forgetting key information:  Ensure that you have referenced supporting data and include the feasibility of the solution and benefits.
  • Lack of clarity:  Make sure your summary is clear and concise, and don’t use flowery language or jargon.

If you need to send your report to the board of directors or stakeholders, you can use Docusign to ensure they have received it. You can also create a template to send a report. Find out more about creating an executive summary template .

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Important: The executive summary and business description should be the last components written for a business plan. If you still need to complete research for your plan and write various sections of your plan, do so before processing. 

Executive Summary

A short summary (one to two pages) of the overall plan. The purpose of the executive summary is to get the reader interested. The summary is a space to introduce the most important aspects of the business plan. It is best to be brief; save the in-depth details for the business description. 

Business Description 

The business description is a lead-in to the full plan. The business description may need to be rewritten as the business plan is refined. 

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Summary of 2024 Honda Business Briefing on Direction of Electrification Initiatives and Investment Strategy

  • Approach to electrification targets: Honda has not changed its belief that EVs are the most effective solution in the area of small mobility products such as motorcycles and automobiles, and Honda's electrification target to make EVs and FCEVs represent 100% of its global vehicle sales by 2040 remains unchanged. Honda must look ahead to the period of EV popularization and build a strong EV brand and a strong EV business foundation from a medium- to long-term perspective. 
  • Structural reform of procurement and production operations: Through the establishment of a vertically-integrated EV value chain with a central focus on batteries, as of 2030, Honda will reduce the cost of the battery to be procured in North America by more than 20% compared to the cost of current batteries . Honda will establish a competitive business structure with an aim to reduce overall production cost by approximately 35% . Honda already has a positive outlook to secure enough batteries for the planned production of approximately 2 million EVs per year.
  • EV lineup strategy: For the Honda 0 Series, a global EV series which will be the flagship series of Honda EVs, a total of seven models will be launched globally by 2030 including various models ranging from small to large size. As a part of electrification with the use of Honda Mobile Power Pack e: (MPP), Honda will introduce a micro-mobility product which will be equipped with 4 MPPs in Japan before the end of FY2026, enhancing the applications of MPPs.
  • Financial strategy: Honda is planning to invest approximately 10 trillion yen in resources over the 10-year period through 2030, when the period of full-fledged popularization of EVs is expected to start. Honda will pursue both bold investments for future growth and shareholder returns.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. Director, President and Representative Executive Officer (Global CEO) Toshihiro Mibe today held a press briefing on Honda initiatives centering on automobile electrification.

Following is a summary of his formal remarks:

1. Honda approach to electrification and initiatives toward achieving its targets: The environment surrounding automobile electrification is undergoing dramatic changes, and in some regions, the sense of a slowdown in EV market growth is gaining attention. There are various approaches toward Honda's 2050 goal of carbon neutrality. For example, to achieve "zero environmental impact" in powering large mobility products such as aircraft and large watercraft, the use of SAF *1   and e-fuel is being viewed as a high potential solution, from the perspective of range.

On the other hand, Honda has not changed its belief that EVs are the most effective solution in the area of small mobility products such as motorcycles and automobiles. Looking at the trend from a longer-term perspective, Honda is confident that the EV shift will continue to proceed steadily. Without getting too caught up in the current changes in the situation, Honda must look ahead to the period of EV popularization, which will begin in the second half of the 2020s and build a strong EV brand and a strong EV business from a medium- to long-term perspective.

As of 2030, Honda plans to make EVs and FCEVs represent 40% of its global auto sales, and to produce more than 2 million units of EVs. Working toward this future, Honda will steadily pursue the following three initiatives, while making investment decisions at the right timing:

  • Introduction of attractive EVs only Honda can offer
  • Establishment of a comprehensive EV value chain with a central focus on batteries 
  • Advancement of EV production technologies and facilities

Through these initiatives, Honda is aiming to achieve a return on sales (ROS) of 5% for its EV business as of 2030 to further increase its profit margin to make its BEV business self-sustaining.

1-1. Introduction of attractive EVs only Honda can offer The Honda 0 Series, which will play a key role in the Honda EV strategy, will be a completely new EV series Honda will create from "zero" with a new EV development approach of "Thin, Light, and Wise." In January of this year, at CES, two concept models were unveiled, namely Saloon and Space-Hub. As for Saloon, which will become a flagship model of the series, Honda is planning for the market launch of a model very similar to this concept model, in 2026.

  • With the adoption of a new dedicated platform for mid- to large-size EVs and a further advanced power unit, a package featuring unprecedented styling with a low vehicle height and a short overhang will be realized. 
  • With the adoption of a newly-developed compact e-Axle and the world's top-class ultra-thin battery pack, the motor room and floor will be made thin. Moreover, both the low vehicle height styling and a spacious and comfortable interior space will be achieved through the application of technologies Honda has amassed through our long history of car making. This includes optimization of the parts layout, reduction of the number of parts, as well as adoption of Honda's original collision control technology, and the adoption of body frames that combine excellent design and performance.
  • Furthermore, the cabin will be designed to realize more comfort and more fun of driving, featuring an intuitive user interface and exhilarating visibility.
  • In addition to lighter body frames, the new EV series models will adopt an all-new power unit, which was made lighter and thinner by applying Honda's original technologies amassed through the development of F1 machines and HEV models. This will enable Honda to reduce the overall vehicle weight by approximately 100kg (220 pounds) compared to initial Honda EVs.
  • Heavy components such as the battery and power unit will be placed low and in the center of the vehicle body to realize a low center of gravity, resulting in stable vehicle behavior and a nimble and sporty driving performance.
  • As a technology to realize vehicle control at the will of the driver, a further advancement was achieved for the motion management system developed based on posture control technology that Honda has amassed through the development of its original robotics technologies.  
  • By combining the highly efficient power unit and excellent aerodynamic technology Honda has amassed through motorsports activities, the new EV series models will achieve both a sporty driving experience unique to Honda and the world's top class electricity efficiency performance. With that, Honda will strive to realize sufficient range of more than 300 miles (480 km) *2 for each of the Honda 0 Series models.
  • Honda will independently develop the underlying E&E architecture, the vehicle OS which is the upper layer of the overall architecture, as well as various applications that will be on the vehicle OS. Honda will apply original customization to the SoC (system-on-chip) semiconductors which will be installed in Honda 0 Series models. For example, such customized SoC will feature AI, which is essential for the advancement of automation and intelligence, yet helps lower power consumption.
  • The EV models we will introduce in the second half of the 2020s will continuously advance in a way that they will possess intelligence to be more attentive to the preferences and needs of each individual customer.
  • The Honda 0 Series models which will be introduced in the second half of the 2020s will adopt a centralized architecture, which will consolidate multiple ECUs which are serving individual functions to control the vehicle's systems, to a core ECU and serve as a single "brain" for the entire vehicle. This will align each and every function and make it possible to speedily offer new and inspiring experiences never before possible. With that, Honda EV models will continuously advance in a way that they will possess intelligence to be more attentive to the preferences and needs of each individual customer.
  • As for AD/ADAS (automated driving and advanced driver assistance systems), Honda is aiming to offer a seamless mobility experience, not only inside the vehicle but the entire process from the moment the customer enters the vehicle until they exit the vehicle. To this end, the AD/ADAS will be advanced to be more in tune with human sensibilities by adopting further advanced sensing technologies and intelligence technologies including AI. As for driver-assistive technologies, the Level 3 automated driving technology, which Honda put into practical use ahead of other companies around the world, will be utilized to make automated driving functions available in a broader speed range on expressways, as well as on regular roads. Moreover, by providing customers with consistent support for their entire mobility experience, including pickup arrangement and parking of the vehicle at places away from home, Honda will realize "the joy and freedom of mobility" with less stress to our customers.

1-2. Establishment of a comprehensive EV value chain with a central focus on batteries To secure high competitiveness from a long-term perspective, Honda will strive to build value chains in stages with a central focus on batteries, which are core components of EVs and determine the competitiveness of EVs.

business plan executive summary same

  • The early days of EVs:the first half of the 2020s Honda will stably procure necessary volume of batteries while holding down the cost by strengthening external partnerships for the liquid lithium-ion batteries in each respective region.  
  • The transitional period for EVs: in the mid-2020s Honda will begin battery production with its JV partners. In the U.S., in 2025, the joint venture EV battery plant with LG Energy Solution will begin production with a capacity of 40GWh of batteries per year. By building a solid value chain with its partner, which will have the largest scale in North America, Honda will realize a competitive battery cost. Moreover, the lightweight and compact battery packs, which will be produced with Honda's high-density packaging technologies, will be installed in the Honda 0 Series models and contribute to enhance the product value of those models. In addition to EV production, Honda will expand the scope of its business into the battery life cycle business, which includes the areas of charging service, energy service and reuse/recycle. Honda will build a stable business foundation by expanding the areas of battery business Honda will do in-house.
  • The popularization period for EVs: in the second half of the 2020s Honda will further expand its scope of battery business and strive to build a vertically-integrated and comprehensive EV value chain with a central focus on batteries, that includes all aspects of EV production, from procurement of raw materials mainly for batteries, through production of finished EVs, as well as battery reuse and recycling. In Canada, Honda will begin in-house production of the EV battery being co-developed with GS Yuasa. As for key battery materials, in Canada, Honda will proceed to internalize production by producing cathode materials with POSCO Future M, and separators with Asahi Kasei, at our respective new joint venture plants to be constructed. Moreover, Honda is aiming to build a comprehensive value chain with an eye toward secondary use and the recycling of EV batteries. With that, in addition to optimizing battery prices and achieving a stable supply, Honda will ensure the competitiveness of its entire value chain, including the upstream and downstream areas of EV battery business. With these initiatives, in 2030, Honda will reduce the cost of the battery to be procured in North America by more than 20% compared to the cost of current batteries. As for batteries necessary for the production of approximately 2 million units of EVs planned for 2030, we already have a positive outlook to secure enough batteries.

1-3.   Advancement of EV production technologies and facilities The period of transition from ICE to EV leading up to the mid-2020s will be a phase in which Honda will respond flexibly to changes in demand and the business environment while also ensuring profitability. During this phase, our existing production facilities will be fully utilized to produce both ICE and EV models on the same line. In addition, Honda will advance its production operations by steadily incorporating advanced technologies necessary to realize the "Thin, Light and Wise" concept. This will lead to the establishment of a highly efficient production structure at dedicated EV plants in the future.

As for the production line of the thin battery pack, which will be the key to EV production, the new battery case production line to be installed at our Anna Plant in Ohio will be equipped with mega casting machines, which are 6,000-ton class high-pressure die-casting machines. This will greatly reduce the total number of parts consisting of the battery case and secondary parts from over 60 to 5 parts. Also, combined with the technology of friction stir welding (FSW), investment will be reduced and production efficiency will be increased at the same time.

Honda became the first company in Japan *3 to install a 6,000-ton class mega casting machine to its production technology R&D facility located in Tochigi, Japan, currently being verified for mass production.

Including application to the production of large cast aluminum body frame parts in the future, the die-casting technology will be continuously advanced.

As for the battery pack assembly line, Honda's original "Flex Cell Production System," will be adopted. This system combines 1) the modular parts configuration according to the product function of the vehicle and 2) the "cell production system" that brings together in a single area the equipment, jigs, and production associates required for each production process. The adoption of the Flex Cell Production System ahead of the start of full-capacity EV production will enable flexible responses to changes in production models and fluctuations in production volume. In addition, by utilizing the Digital Twin , which reproduces real-life production line conditions in cyberspace in real time, the production efficiency in various aspects including the supply of parts to factories, production volume and speed will be optimized. In this way, Honda will supply products in a timely manner in accordance with market needs. In the future, Honda plans to further expand the scope of applications of these technologies beyond the battery pack production line, and apply them to all lines at Honda EV production facilities.

Ultimately, the culmination of these initiatives will be demonstrated at the dedicated EV plant which will become operational in 2028 in Canada. By achieving the world's top-level production efficiency, including a significant increase in capacity utilization rates and a reduction of fixed costs, Honda aims to reduce overall production cost by approximately 35% compared to conventional mixed-flow production lines.

2. Advancement of overall operation with real-time data linkage In addition to the initiatives in the areas of product, procurement and productions, Honda will further advance all of our automobile business operations, everything from planning to after-sales services, by linking them with software. By utilizing data obtained from Honda's original software-defined mobility products, it becomes possible to offer products and experience-based value more closely tailored to each individual customer in all situations, and with greater speed. For example, data on the latest market trends and customer preferences obtained "at the spot" of sales will be fed back to our product development and production teams on a real time basis, enabling the fastest possible delivery of products optimized to fulfill the needs of our customers and market. In addition, real-time vehicle data obtained through the connected function will be linked to Honda service operations, enabling Honda to formulate and propose an optimal service menu for customers on a real-time basis through the dedicated Honda app.

Going beyond these examples, by constantly linking the entire value chain with the latest data, Honda will build a system that enables quick and flexible responses to rapid changes in the EV market.

3. EV lineup strategy Preparing for the start of the EV popularization period in 2030, Honda will strategically launch EV models globally, mainly with Honda 0 Series models. Moreover, as for hybrid-electric models, for which demand is strong in the current market, Honda will further advance performance and enhance the lineup globally.

The following is the outline of new model introduction plans,

<EVs>

  • Honda 0 Series -  global EV series The Honda 0 Series models will be first introduced in North America in 2026, then rolled out globally. Including various models ranging from small to large size, a total of seven models will be launched globally by 2030.
  • EV lineup in China Honda will introduce a total of 10 Honda-brand EV models by 2027 and make EVs represent 100% of our automobile sales in China by 2035. Honda unveiled the "Ye Series," a new EV series which will follow the e:N Series currently available, continuing to enhance its EV lineup in China.  
  • Small-size EV lineup        Starting with the N-VAN e:, a commercial-use mini-EV that will go on sale in Japan this fall, Honda will make sequential introductions of small-size EVs in regions where there is a need for them. This also will include introduction of personal-use mini-EV models in 2025 as well as small EVs that emphasize the "joy of driving," in 2026.

< Electrification with the use of Honda Mobile Power Pack>

  • In 2024: Introduction of electric motorcycle models which will be powered by two MPPs
  • In FY2026 (fiscal year ending March 31, 2026): Introduction of a micro-mobility product which will be equipped with 4 MPPs in Japan

<Advancement of HEV models>

  • Honda's original two-motor hybrid-electric system, namely e:HEV system, as well as the HEV platforms will be renewed. After the renewal, the e:HEV system will be lighter and more efficient, and the platforms will also be more efficient and shared by more models, achieving both further improved fuel economy and a high-quality, exhilarating driving experience.
  • Honda will repurpose its EV development technologies to hybrid-electric models and adopt an electric all-wheel drive (e-AWD) system that leverages the motor installed in EV models. Compared to the conventional mechanical all-wheel drive system, the e-AWD system will increase maximum driving force output and enable more responsive and precise control on drive force distribution. Moreover, by applying cooperative control along with the Motion Management System, the e-AWD system will realize excellent driving performance while stabilizing vehicle behaviors, leading to the realization of both peace of mind and the fun of driving for the customers.

Honda will offer its further advanced hybrid models to a large number of customers around the world. At the same time, the structure of our ICE business, which includes hybrid-electric models, will be further strengthened to ensure steady earnings. Then, the funds generated by ICE business will be invested into EV and other new businesses.

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4. Financial strategy – Securing resources to invest/Capital allocation For Honda to realize its electrification strategy, it will be essential to make investments strategically at the right timing. Therefore, Honda is planning to invest approximately 10 trillion yen in resources over the 10-year period through 2030, when the period of full-fledged popularization of EVs is expected to start.

The breakdowns of the 10-trillion-yen investment are as follows:

  • Approximately 2 trillion yen for R&D expenditure toward the realization of software-defined mobility
  • Approximately 2 trillion yen for the investments and capital contributions related to the establishment of comprehensive EV value chains in key markets such as the U.S., Canada and Japan
  • The area of production that includes the construction of dedicated next-generation EV production plants
  • Electrification of motorcycles
  • Development of new EV models
  • Investment in fabrication of dies

While carefully assessing the level of EV popularization in the market, Honda will flexibly make investment decisions at the appropriate timing. 

The cash Honda generates will be allocated for 1) the investment of resources to ensure our future growth and 2) the return to shareholders. Plans for company-wide capital allocation are outlined below.

  • From 2021 to 2025 (a phase to strengthen ICE product business and invest resources to EV business) Honda will generate 12 trillion yen in operating cash flow by strengthening its motorcycle and ICE/HEV businesses . Such cash will be allocated among EV business, ICE/HEV business and investment in new areas, while at the same for stable and continuous dividend payments.  As Honda has been proceeding with the plan to buyback 780-billion-yen worth of our own shares over the four-year period from FY2022 through FY2025 to achieve the PBR (price-to-book ratio) of above 1 as early as possible, capital efficiency will be improved, including optimization of the amount of equity capital accumulated from the past.
  • From 2026 to 2030 (a phase of full-fledged business conversion from ICE to EV) Honda will strive to earn the same level of cash as the 2021-2025 period by raising operating cash flow through increasing unit sales of motorcycles mostly in newly emerging countries and further improving the business structure of ICE/HEV business. On top of that, Honda will improve profitability of its EV business with an aim toward 5% ROS and increase EV unit sales to add more operating cash flow. Both combined, Honda will strive to generate more cash than that of the 2021-2025 period. As for resource allocation, Honda will further accelerate its investment of resources in the areas of electrification and software to ensure the growth of our EV business. At the same time, Honda will continue making stable and continuous dividend payments and expeditious share buybacks for shareholder returns. As for dividends, Honda is planning to pay more than 1.3 trillion yen for the FY2022-2026 period and more than 1.6 trillion yen for the FY2027 -2031 period. These dividend payment amounts indicate our intention to make stable and continuous dividend payments without reducing the dividend per share, even if short-term profits fluctuate as a result of on-going up-front investments which will be necessary during the transformation period. Honda will maximize cash generation from the earnings base built up to date as well as from the new growth areas. In doing so, both bold investments for future growth and solid shareholder returns will be pursued.

*1 SAF: sustainable aviation fuels *2 A range measured based on the standards set by the EPA (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) *3 Honda internal research

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COMMENTS

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