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Writing a Business Plan

business plan executive summary template word

While it may be tempting to put off, creating a business plan is an essential part of starting your own business. Plans and proposals should be put in a clear format making it easy for potential investors to understand. Because every company has a different goal and product or service to offer, there are business plan templates readily available to help you get on the right track. Many of these templates can be adapted for any company. In general, a business plan writing guide will recommend that the following sections be incorporated into your plan.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is the first section that business plans open with, but is often the last section to actually be written as it’s the most difficult to write. The executive summary is a summary of the overall plan that highlights the key points and gives the reader an idea of what lies ahead in the document. It should include areas such as the business opportunity, target market, marketing and sales strategy, competition, the summary of the financial plan, staff members and a summary of how the plan will be implemented. This section needs to be extremely clear, concise and engaging as you don’t want the reader to push your hard work aside.

Company Description

The company description follows the executive summary and should cover all the details about the company itself. For example, if you are writing a business plan for an internet café, you would want to include the name of the company, where the café would be located, who the main team members involved are and why, how large the company is, who the target market for the internet cafe is, what type of business structure the café is, such as LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, what the internet café business mission and vision statements are, and what the business’s short-term objectives are.

Services and Products

This is the exciting part of the plan where you get to explain what new and improved services or products you are offering. On top of describing the product or service itself, include in the plan what is currently in the market in this area, what problems there are in this area and how your product is the solution. For example, in a business plan for a food truck, perhaps there are numerous other food trucks in the area, but they are all fast –food style and unhealthy so, you want to introduce fast food that serves only organic and fresh ingredients every day. This is where you can also list your price points and future products or services you anticipate.

Market Analysis

The market analysis section will take time to write and research as a lot of effort and research need to go into it. Here is where you have the opportunity to describe what trends are showing up, what the growth rate in this sector looks like, what the current size of this industry is and who your target audience is. A cleaning business plan, for example, may include how this sector has been growing by 10% every year due to an increase in large businesses being built in the city.

Organization and Management

Marketing and sales are the part of the business plan where you explain how you will attract and retain clients. How are you reaching your target customers and what incentives do you offer that will keep them coming back? For a dry cleaner business plan, perhaps if they refer customers, they will get 10% off their next visit. In addition, you may want to explain what needs to be done in order for the business to be profitable. This is a great way of showing that you are conscious about what clear steps need to be taken to make a business successful.

Financial Projections & Appendix

The financial business plan section can be a tricky one to write as it is based on projections. Usually what is included is the short-term projection, which is a year broken down by month and should include start-up permits, equipment, and licenses that are required. This is followed by a three-year projection broken down by year and many often write a five-year projection, but this does not need to be included in the business plan.

The appendix is the last section and contains all the supporting documents and/or required material. This often includes resumes of those involved in the company, letters of reference, product pictures and credit histories. Keep in mind that your business plan is always in development and should be adjusted regularly as your business grows and changes.


business plan executive summary template word

Your Guide to Writing a Business Plan

business plan executive summary template word

If you’re starting a new business, then you need an effective plan. Not only does this enable you to plan your company, but it also gives potential clients an insight into how your business works. A business plan is also vital if you want to attract investors or secure a loan from the bank. Drafting a business plan is a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be. This guide will ensure you create a definite plan to impress investors and clients. 

When creating your business plan, there are some essential elements you must include. The Executive Summary provides a description of your business, and what you hope to achieve. People usually write at least one page, but leave their Executive Summary until last.

You’ll also need to detail what your business offers and define your target audience. This makes it easier for people to see whether your company has a chance of succeeding. The opportunity section is also an excellent way for you to see what competitors offer and how you can create a USP to stand out from the competition. 

Appealing to Investors

Every business that wants growth and prosperity must ensure they promote themselves to potential investors. Business plans aren’t just about what the business is, but who is part of it too. Detail your current team members and explain what they bring to the company. Investors want to know they’re making a wise investment.

Your current finances and financial forecast are also essential aspects of your business plan. Look at your products, how much you’re selling them for and what kind of profit margin you expect to gain. It’s also vital you detail your outgoings and look at how various economic situations could affect your finances. 

Writing a Winning Executive Summary

There are problems in every market, and a successful business solves that problem. If you can show how you’ll be able to offer solutions in your business plan, you’ll appeal to investors. Choose your target audience based on research and ensure you show your research. There are many ways to conduct market research including defining SOMs, SAMs and TAMs. 

TAM stands for Total Available Market and comprises everyone you want your product to reach. Your Segmented Addressable Market (SAM) is a specific portion of the market you’ll target. This is important because it shows you’re able to direct your product at the right people and not just everyone. Your SOM (Share of the Market) is what you feel you’ll gain with your product.  

How to Determine Pricing

Pricing your product is one of the most challenging things you’ll have to do. There are many things to consider, such as how much it’s worth and making sure you don’t charge unrealistically. Many new businesses believe undercharging is the best way to go, but doing this can undermine your company’s authority and cause fewer people to be interested in investing.

Market-based pricing involves looking at your competitors and evaluating their prices. Which company has the most customers? How does their pricing match others? These are all vital aspects you should consider. Remember, customers expect quality and a fair price, so make sure you combine the two. 

Future Goals

Investors and banks want to know that you’ve considered what the future will hold for your company. When you write your business plan, be sure to take into account how you see the company growing, what you’ll do to ensure it thrives and that you understand the potential risks. Banks and investors want to know that you can build a business and are aware of the obstacles you’ll have to overcome.

Starting your own business doesn’t have to be difficult. If you ensure you produce a robust business plan, it can be an exciting process. Your business is part of your future, so start by outlining your goals and look forward to seeing results. 


business plan executive summary template word

business plan executive summary template word

Executive summary

It's easy to add impact to your report or business plan with this accessible executive summary template. Manage all your team's work from start to end with this executive summary template. Use this executive summary sample to provide clear insight into your business objectives, target audiences, competition, risks, opportunities, and more.

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How to Write an Executive Summary

What is an Executive Summary? An executive summary is a concise summary of a longer report or proposal that highlights the important points, problems, solutions, findings and conclusions. It is generally written for an outside audience or executive in a way that allows the reader to grasp the essentials without having to read all of the materials.

The reason it is called an "executive" summary is that the executive doesn't have the time to read the entire report (which may be tens to hundreds of pages), but does need to understand the results well enough to ask and answer intelligent questions and make decisions about the report or proposal.

An executive summary is used in business plans, investment proposals, grant proposals, project proposals, and also for internal reports. Some types of grants and project proposals have specific formats. Lower on this page, we have listed some resources that can help with writing specific types of proposals.

Our template was designed mainly as a general executive summary example for a business plan or investment proposal.

Executive Summary

Preview of an Executive Summary Template for Word

License : Private Use (not for distribution or resale)

Authors : Jon Wittwer and Jim Wittwer


This Executive Summary Template is formatted for Word and Google Docs. It breaks down the important information you should include in your summary into sections, each with important questions or tips to help guide you as you write. This template is easy to customize, so don't hesitate to change titles and move things around as needed.

The exact content of the summary will depend on your audience and the information you are trying to summarize. However, there are some general guidelines to follow when writing the summary.

An executive summary is much more than a summary of your plan or proposal. It is an opportunity to engage your readers and sell them on the idea without requiring they read the full plan or proposal. This is especially important if you're seeking funding.

When writing an executive summary, keep these suggestions and tips in mind:

How long should an executive summary be?

Try to keep the length of the executive summary to one or two pages. It's best to keep the executive summary as brief and concise as possible, focusing on the most important highlights and information from the full plan or report.

What is the format of an executive summary?

The format of an executive summary depends greatly on the type of report or proposal. For examples and information about different types of executive summaries, see the references mentioned in the Executive Summary Examples section lower on this page.

Where do you put an executive summary?

An executive summary goes at the beginning or just after the title page if it the entire report is a single document. It can also be included as a separate document or attached with the cover page if the full set of materials consist of many different files or reports.

What to include in an executive summary

The type, purpose and audience of an executive summary can vary greatly. Below are suggested sections and content to include in an executive summary for a business plan or investment proposal.

TIP To make writing your executive summary easier, we've included the following sections and questions within the Executive Summary Template. Feel free to rename and rearrange elements as needed.

Overview - The Quick Pitch

This is a brief section that describes what your business or project is all about. How can you describe your business or project in one compelling sentence?

The Problem

Here is where you describe the problem that you are solving.

The Solution

Here you describe how your business solves the problem for your target audience.

Here you can show the most important market analysis and data that captures the potential your solution can have in the marketplace. We recommend pulling the most compelling highlights directly from your plan or proposal. You can also talk about the strengths and advantages of your staff and any partnerships you may have.

Keys to Success

Discuss the main steps necessary for your business to be successful.

Financial Highlights

If part of the purpose of your business plan is to seek funding, you may want to dedicate a full section to discuss the funding you currently have and what funding you'll need.

Executive Summary Examples, Tips and References

The following websites provide examples and information about writing executive summaries for specific purposes. They were also useful references as we prepared the write up for this page.

Executive Summary for Request for Proposals (RFP)

The executive summary for an RFP is the first impression your readers will have of your proposal. It should be concise and highlight the most compelling aspects of your proposal.

Crafting a Powerful Executive Summary at - Focuses on executive summaries written for RFPs, and gives great advice for how to take your executive summary to the next level.

Executive Summary for Business Plans

An executive summary is the first part of a business plan. Its purpose is to summarize your plan and serve as a quick pitch to sell the idea to your investors.

How to Write an Executive Summary at - A great article and video that explains what should go in an executive summary for a business plan, with additional tips when seeking investment and funding.

Executive Summary for Grant Proposals

The first part of a grant proposal is the executive summary, also referred to as a grant "abstract." Its purpose is to summarize your proposal and intrigue the grant reviewer. The end goal being to stand out from other grant proposals to receive funding.

Example Executive Summary for a Grant Proposal at - Great tips and advice along with a sample grant proposal executive summary.

Executive Summary for Project Proposals

It's vitally important that you make the executive summary the highlight of your project proposal. The initial readers of your proposal may not even read the full proposal before deciding whether or not to pass it along for further consideration.

How to Write an Executive Summary for Your Proposal at - An excellent guide for writing along with a sample project proposal executive summary.

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Download Free Executive Summary Templates

Smartsheet Contributor Kate Eby

April 2, 2018 (updated November 8, 2022)

This article includes a comprehensive collection of free executive summary templates, all of which are easy to download, share, edit, and print. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a simple executive summary template , a business executive summary template , a executive summary slide template , an project executive summary template , and a research report executive summary template , among others. Plus, check out our list of helpful tips for completing these executive summary templates .

Simple Executive Summary Template

Simple Executive Summary Template

Download Simple Executive Summary Template Microsoft Word | Microsoft PowerPoint | Google Docs  

Make a positive impact with this dynamic, simple executive summary template — before you submit your report or business proposal. In the Overview section, give a brief rundown of what your proposal will entail. In the Problem Summary section, define your target market and the problem(s) they face; in The Solution section, explain to your readers how your project or product will solve your target audience’s problem. 

For helpful examples of executive summaries, see this collection of executive summary examples . 

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Business Executive Summary Template

Business Executive Summary Template

Download Business Executive Summary Template Microsoft Word | Microsoft PowerPoint | Adobe PDF  

Fill out this business executive summary template to ensure that your business report is influential, and that your project or product proposal receives approval. Write a high-level overview of what your project or product will entail (an elevator pitch ). Briefly describe the problem that your project or product will solve and your target market, and include brief analytical data to support your claims and your proposed next steps. 

Learn more about how to write an effective executive summary .

Executive Summary Slide Template

Executive Summary Slide Template

Download Executive Summary Slide Template Microsoft PowerPoint | Google Slides  

 Use this free template to outline your next big presentation or keep it updated as a live meeting record that documents your evolving internal business plans or funding needs. The customizable PowerPoint slides feature an executive summary template and an outline that you can turn into the separate sections of your presentation. The customizable slides are formatted to outline the important elements of a formal business plan summary.

One-Page Executive Summary Template

One Page Executive Summary Template

Download One-Page Executive Summary Template Microsoft Excel  |  Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF

This template is designed to fit your executive  project status update on one page. Take advantage of the short sections and bullet points to keep it concise and hook the reader with the most attention-grabbing information. Organize and emphasize the most important information by customizing the subheadings based on your document’s purpose.

Find more free Microsoft Word executive summary templates for any any project here .

Executive Summary Checklist Template

Executive Summary Checklist Template

Download Executive Summary Checklist Template – Microsoft Word  

In your project report or proposal, the executive summary is the first thing that your audience reads, so it’s important to make a positive impression in the limited space that you have. Use this executive summary checklist template to make sure that your executive summary is as clear and dynamic as possible and to increase the likelihood that your project receives approval. By doing so, you can ensure that all sponsors, team members, and other stakeholders know, at a glance, the project’s goals and the results they can expect from implementation.

Executive Summary Outline Template

Executive Summary Outline Template

Download Executive Summary Outline Template – Microsoft Word  

This template is the perfect tool for organizations that want to present all project proposal details in an easy-to-read outline format. Provide a brief project overview (your elevator pitch), a broad-strokes summary of your project’s goals and purpose, and the metrics you’ll use in assessing project success after launch. The template helps ensure that you consider all aspects of your proposed project, including competitive analyses, risks, key milestones, project costs, and resource estimates.  

For tips and resources, see this comprehensive list of free executive project status templates .

Startup Executive Summary Template

Startup Executive Summary Template

Download Startup Executive Summary Template Microsoft Excel  | Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF  | Smartsheet

Startups seeking funding online on platforms like AngelList and Gust use investor profiles to spark interest and earn social proof for their venture. This template acts as a one-page pitch that serves as your company profile on these platforms. You can repurpose this template and save it as a customized PDF summary memo to land your next meeting with investors.

Executive Summary Proposal Template

Executive Summary Proposal Template

Download Proposal Executive Summary Template Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF

Project proposals outline the required resources and project objectives, and summarize key information from the main body of content. This template highlights the specific purpose for your proposal and the compelling points the proposal introduces. Use the executive summary to kickstart your project planning.

Research Report Executive Summary Template

Research Report Executive Summary Template

Download Research Report Executive Summary Template Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF

Use this template as a synopsis of the research results for reports. This executive summary is formatted to accommodate in-depth reports that need space to use charts and tables to illustrate research data. The template is designed to summarize technical information in a concise manner, and features clear subheadings that communicate key findings to readers of various expertise and interest.

Project Executive Summary Template

business plan executive summary template word

Download Project Executive Summary Template Microsoft Excel  | Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF

Keep all of the project stakeholders in the loop with this project management summary template. You’ll find space to highlight project milestones, monitor new requests, and provide brief status overviews. 

For more specialized use cases, check out our roundup of free executive project status templates .

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Download Business Plan Executive Summary Template Microsoft Word | Microsoft PowerPoint | Google Slides

This executive summary template is designed to get your business plan noticed and reviewed. This document helps you present key information to an external audience and ensure you include more attention to detail than a standard business plan document. Use bullet points and clear, formal language to guide the reader to the most important information about your company.

One-Page Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Business Plan Executive Summary Template

Download Business Plan Executive Summary Template – Microsoft Word

Perfect for small businesses and large organizations alike, this business plan executive summary template provides the perfect framework for companies to outline their mission, vision, company structure, and relevant history, all on a single page in Microsoft Word. Use the template’s Products and Services section to describe your offerings, the unique value of your proposal, and your competitive advantage. Under the Market Analysis section, state the market opportunity that your proposal addresses, the target market, and why your proposed solution is superior to that of your competitors.

Marketing Plan Executive Summary Template

Marketing Plan Executive Summary Template

Download Marketing Plan Executive Summary Template – Microsoft Word  

Marketing professionals, advertisers, and brand managers can all use this template to communicate a marketing plan to stakeholders and make it clear what the target audience is, what the strategy and objectives are, and how the product will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Use this template as an outline to ensure that you account for all aspects of your proposed marketing plan, including the target audience’s spending habits, relationship to your product, and how your marketing campaign will result in increased foot traffic and sales.

Construction Project Executive Summary Template

business plan executive summary template word

Download Construction Project Executive Summary Template Microsoft Excel  | Microsoft Word  | Adobe PDF

This template summarizes the construction project plan and highlights the important schedule milestones, budget data, bid estimates, and timeline details. Use this executive summary to report on the essential detail from the construction plan and keep all of the various stakeholders informed on the critical project information.

Learn more about construction project management by reading “ Construction Project Management 101 .”

What Is an Executive Summary Template?

An executive summary template is a brief document that precedes a longer report or proposal as an abbreviated, high-level version of it. A template prompts you to explain the target audience’s problem, and how your proposed solution will solve it. 

While executive summary templates can vary, they typically include the following sections, each of which should be no more than five sentences: 

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9+ Free Executive Summary Templates

Also known as a Management Summary, an Executive Summary is a concise business document which may contain the company policies, business goals or any other information related to the business or the enterprise which can be rapidly read to acquire the gist of another similar document with much detailed information. Employees of various enterprises and businesses often need to put together business plans or investment proposals in an executive summary and the following templates have been created keeping this usability in mind.


Entrepreneur Executive Summary Template

entrepreneur executive summary template

Venture Choice Executive Summary Template

venture choice executive summary template

Business Plan Executive Summary Template


Company Executive Summary Template

company executive summary template

University Executive Summary Template

university executive summary template

Industry Executive Summary Template


Market Executive Summary Template


Management Executive Summary Template


Financial Projection Executive Summary Template

financial projection executive summary template

> How to use Executive Summary Templates?

> what are the benefits of executive summary templates, more in free templates.

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Free Executive Summary Template [PDF + Masterful Examples]

Use these templates to craft a powerful executive summary for your business or project.

According to Time Magazine, 55% of people only read a piece of content for 15 seconds. Attention spans across the board are at an all-time low —  including those of potential investors and project stakeholders. If you want to capture and hold interest, then you need to craft an engaging executive summary that can effectively hold someone’s focus.

Before you dive into the details of your business plan or project proposal,  your first step should be an executive summary that captures the attention of those in a position to give buy-in.

Think of the executive summary as the back cover of your book. It convinces readers to purchase a copy because the storyline is worth their time. An investor or C-level executive with limited time probably won’t feel motivated to read a full business or product plan without a compelling executive summary.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to write a captivating executive summary, what to include in the document, and jumpstart yours with customizable templates.

What is an executive summary? 

An executive summary is a brief synopsis of a larger document such as a business plan. It provides a quick overview of your business plan with details like a description of your company, financial information, and market analysis.

The executive summary is made for lenders, investors, and busy executives who don’t have time to read the full proposal.

Done right, it zeroes in on what your prospective investor or project sponsor wants to hear and clearly communicates the value of your business. Many investors will only read the executive summary during the first contact with your business, so all the information they need should be included. 

The goals of an executive summary include:

What is an executive summary in project management?

An executive summary in project management is a summary of the most critical information of your project proposal. It’s everything that management needs to know when they land on your project before they review your project plan.

An executive summary in project management shouldn’t be confused with a project overview. While they have similar elements, an executive summary can stand alone as a document, while a project overview needs to be attached to your project.

Executive summary vs abstract

An abstract summarizes a document like a journal article while an executive summary sums up a longer document.

An abstract is mostly used in academia as a requirement when submitting conference papers, book proposals, or applying for a research grant. The abstract is not an excerpt but an original document that is self-sufficient.

An executive summary is aimed at a business audience. It contains information to help executives make funding decisions. Where the language in an abstract is technical, the language of an executive summary is non-technical. An executive summary is written as a condensed version of a project plan to secure buy-in while an abstract is written for orientation.

Executive summary vs introduction

The introduction is the first part of your project plan or business plan. It explains what the project is about and the goals you want to achieve. On the other hand, the executive summary is a standalone document condensed into a few paragraphs. It is thorough and high-level. Decision-makers can choose to read only the executive summary and still get the gist of the entire project proposal.

Think of the introduction as the first few pages of a long book with many chapters and an executive summary like a short book with only one chapter. You can understand both context and storyline when you read a short book. 

What should be included in an executive summary? 

For a project .

What is the problem you’re going to solve? What product plan, customer feedback, or insight led to this project? Why should it happen now ? These are questions to lead with in the opening paragraph of your executive summary.

What steps or methods are you taking to solve the problems you’ve listed in the opening paragraph? What are the goals and objectives you’ll achieve at the end of the project? Detail the answers in this section.

Value proposition

This is an important section where you briefly explain the value of the outcome. What is the ROI of the solution you’ve proposed? How will it improve service delivery and customer experience?

In a few sentences reiterate why it’s important to solve the problem now and the next steps or actions you want the reader to take.

For a business plan 

Introduction  .

For a business plan, the introduction is an opening statement that explains the purpose of the document. Your goal is to grab and hold the reader’s attention by clearly communicating the value of the business and the desired outcome. 

Company description

Include the following details in the company description:

Products and services

Briefly explain the problem you’re going to solve. If you’ve conducted research that shows a need for the proposal, include your findings here. Also, explain how you’ll accomplish the project goals and what you’ll need for success.

Market analysis

A few questions to answer in this section include:

Competitive analysis

Questions to answer as part of your competitive analysis include:

Funding request and use

Use this section to sweeten the pot for investors. How much will you need to fund your business? What is the profitability of your business? How will investors benefit?

Financial projections 

Include financial data that supports your research such as:


The conclusion is a recap of the problem and the solution. Ask about the decision you want the reader to take. The outcomes should be obvious but leave room for intrigue so they feel compelled to read the rest of the business proposal.

Executive summary examples 

Executive summary presentation.

Often, executive summaries are presented to stakeholders in addition to the document. Get the templates below to snag these PowerPoint executive summary presentation templates.

Executive Summary PPT Template

One-page executive summary template  

A one-page executive summary is a short document with a big impact. You’ll present it as a mini version of a project plan during a meeting with decision-makers or as a business plan when pitching investors.

A few details to include in a one-page executive summary:

Executive Summary Template One-Pager

Startup executive summary

Your startup executive summary could be the difference between getting a pitch meeting or not. Venture capitalists and investors and overwhelmed with pitches from startups looking for a partnership. 

An executive summary is the fastest way for them to learn about your company and evaluate its potential. It’s usually a one-page document that is concise, yet detailed and engaging. Before writing your startup executive summary, determine the goal and ensure it matches what potential investors want to see.

Details to include in your startup executive summary:

Executive Summary for Business or Startup

Business plan executive summary template

The business plan executive summary shouldn’t exceed two pages. Make sure you’ve tailored it to your audience to show why the opportunity is special. Your executive summary should contain the following details:

Project executive summary template

The goal of a project executive summary is to show what life will look like after you’ve executed the project. Your executive summary should tell a story that helps the reader visualize the solution and inspire them to choose you.

The executive summary should be written as the final step of your project proposal template. This way, you save time revising the content.

Details to include in a project executive summary:

Marketing plan executive summary template

An executive summary for a marketing plan offers an overview of how you’ll reach your intended audience and drive conversions.

Details to include in a marketing plan executive summary template:

Healthcare executive summary template

A healthcare executive summary template is used in formal communications for hospitals, government health agencies, and nonprofits. The template accommodates longer-research proposal plans targeted at a wider audience of the general public, external investors, and management.

Details to include in healthcare summary template:

Report executive summary template

An executive summary for a research or analyst report offers an overview of key points from the research.

Details to include in a report executive summary template:

Here's an example: 

Report Executive Summary Example

How to write an executive summary

1. write a problem-based introduction.

Use the opening paragraph to explain why your project matters. Outline the problem with supporting research or customer feedback to strengthen your claim. The reader should understand why it’s important to solve the problem now and the relevance to your customer base. 

A powerful way to grab attention is to open with a customer quote or thought-provoking statistic that forces the reader to sit up and listen.

For example:

“I wish this camera had a longer battery life span so I could record an entire football game on 4K without switching to full HD when the battery is low .” - Customer review
In a recent survey, 70% of our customers expressed a desire for a camera with a longer battery life that could last up to six hours while recording in 4k. 80% said they wouldn’t mind paying more for the convenience of not having to log extra battery packs when going out. To serve our existing clientele and improve our market share, we need to create a camcorder that performs at optimal levels while using fewer resources on battery life.

2. Tell your story

Use storytelling to explain the mission statement of your organization. Explain how you’ll use your skill and experience to solve the problem you’ve highlighted in the introduction. Storytelling sets the tone and gets the reader excited about reading the project plan.

3. Make sure you’ve done the research 

While an executive summary is short, it’s loaded with research. Research shows that you know your competitors, understand your target audience, and have a plan for capturing a significant market share.

Think of your executive summary like an elevator pitch. If an investor only read your executive summary without making it to the project proposal or business plan, what would you want them to know?

4. Outline the solution

After telling the reader the pain points and explaining your business credentials, use a bullet list to outline the solution. Your goal is to convince the reader that your solution is the best fit. Save deliverables and milestones for the project proposal. Instead, describe what will happen during the project so the user can picture the outcome working for them.

5. Show the value of the solution 

This is where you get into more details about the impact of the solution. Explain how the results provide relief and improve ROI for the company. include potential risks that may arise and relevant financial information such as income projections.

6. Formal or informal tone?

While an executive summary usually has a formal tone, your decisions should be based on your audience. 

Presenting to your C-level executives in your company? What language do they respond to? Don’t be afraid to break the mold if it gets the desired results. However, avoid clichés as they rub readers the wrong way.

If you’re presenting to investors, use language that resonates with your audience. Use personal pronouns like “I”, “you” and “we” over impersonal pronouns like “they” or “the company.

7. Make sure the summary can stand alone 

If you follow the clearly defined structure we’ve listed above, your executive summary can stand on its own merit. Keep revising the document until you’ve achieved this goal. The introduction, problem, solution, and conclusion should be detailed, yet concise. 

After writing, take a second look and read from the viewpoint of the decision-maker. Is there any section where more context is needed to clear confusion and help the reader understand the summary? Consider linking to a relevant section in the project proposal or explaining briefly in the summary.

8. Be concise

Every word in your executive summary must have an impact. The executive summary is not the place to brainstorm new ideas as it could jeopardize the project plan. 

Avoid using jargon words. Readers without prior knowledge of your company or niche should understand key findings by reading the executive summary alone.

 When you find yourself going deep into details, pull back and ask yourself if this belongs in the project proposal or executive summary. The goal is to keep the executive summary engaging and actionable.

9. Proofread for errors 

Before sending it off to executives or potential investors, read through the document three times in order to catch errors. It also helps to send it to a colleague to review with a fresh pair of eyes in case you missed a typo here and there.

10. Write the executive summary last

It takes longer to write an executive summary when you haven’t yet written the project proposal or business plan. Instead, wait to create a summary until you’ve written the full document, then pull details. This ensures that your executive summary captures the information you’ve detailed in the project plan.

Manage your executive summary templates with Guru

An executive summary is a quick and easy way to bring stakeholders up to speed on your project proposal. In a few paragraphs, you can communicate the problem, why it matters now and the key information they need to make a decision.

Rather than creating a new executive summary from scratch, these templates will add impact to your report and speed up the process. Use Guru’s knowledge management software to store your templates, collaborate remotely, and work efficiently on projects.

FAQ for executive summary template

Where does an executive summary go in a report.

Place the executive summary before the table of contents and after the title page. Include a page break before and after the executive summary.

How long should an executive summary be?

Most executive summaries are 5-10% of the length of the project proposal. Ideally, aim for one page for a 20-page project proposal.

Who is the audience of an executive summary?

The audience of an executive summary can include:

What is included in an executive summary?

Elements to include in an executive summary are:

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10 Executive Summary Templates in ClickUp, Word, and PPT

ClickUp Contributor

January 27, 2023

Max 12min read

Executive summaries are a key part of any business plan and there’s a lot riding on their success!

Despite being a small piece of a larger proposal, executive summaries serve a big purpose in project management and will be read by every stakeholder, higher-up, or investor you hope to impress. So they must be handled with care.

Your executive summary should be short and sweet, but it also needs to pack a punch. Different than an abstract, the executive summary provides a condensed variation of what your project proposal explains in length. Think of it as the highlight reel or SparkNotes version of your more-detailed documents.

The thing is, executive summaries are all about strategy. They may be brief, but they’re intentional! And there’s a secret to nailing the perfect summary for your proposal every time—templates. 🙂

Executive summary templates are the only surefire way to guarantee you’re hitting the most impactful points, every time. Plus, they help you save time writing them and make the overall process significantly less stressful and more formulaic.

Follow along to learn more about executive summary templates and the must-have features to look for before you download. Even access 10 of the best free executive summary templates for any type of proposal! Whether you use ClickUp, Word, PowerPoint, or the like, we’ve got a template to make your summaries significantly easier. 🙌🏼

What is an Executive Summary Template?

Top features to look for in executive summary templates, 1. clickup executive summary doc template, 2. clickup whiteboard executive summary template, 3. clickup executive memo template, 4. clickup program summary template, 5. clickup payroll summary report template, 6. clickup executive board report template, 7. clickup executive project status report template, 8. microsoft word executive summary template, 9. powerpoint executive summary template, 10. executive summary google slides template, in summary, choose a template by clickup.

First things first— what is an executive summary?

An executive summary boils down the key points from a larger report or proposal into a brief and easily digestible document. This summary will give the reader a solid grasp on what’s to come and will cover the main takeaways from the larger body including the project plan , the problem it aims to solve, the project scope , cost breakdowns, OKRs , and more.

The length of your summary will vary depending on the complexity of your project, but a good rule of thumb is to think of it as a “section” rather than a full-length document of its own.

When it comes to executive summaries in project management, here are the five major points to cover in your executive summary:

That sounds like a lot to remember, right?

So take some of the pressure off of your summary process by investing your time more productively—in a customizable executive summary template that guarantees results! Think of your executive summary template as training wheels on a bike or bumpers at the bowling alley—except everyone uses them, even the most seasoned project managers in the game!

Like other project management templates , these pre-built documents will guide you in the right direction, no matter your budget or project type! The best templates will be easy to use, share, and complement your project management software. That way, your project proposal, summary, workflow, and progress can all exist on the same platform. This not only helps you save time but is crucial for streamlining processes and keeping your management team on the same page.

But what else should you look for in your executive summary template?

We’ve covered the five big sections of every successful executive summary, but what features should you look for in the actual template?

Highly visual : When people think of summaries, it’s easy to think of a blank page. Instead, you should think of your summary as a presentation aid. The more visual, engaging, and interesting your summary looks, the easier it will be for stakeholders to grasp it. Next time you go to open a new document, try looking at digital whiteboard software to take your summary further.

Collaboration tools : Live editing, comments, @mentions, and screen sharing are huge assets for your template. The summary will only get stronger with more eyes on the draft, and collaboration features will help the team work together and present alongside each other without overlap!

Sharing and permissions : Make sure your executive summary is accessible! Not everyone will use the same project management software as your team, but custom sharing and permission options will give you the power to choose who can edit, view, and distribute your work.

Integrations : More integrations will give you the ability to add more context to your summary and make it more valuable in the long run. Embedding, especially! Adding in important data, media, charts, and links will make your summary mean so much more than a simple document.

10 Free Executive Summary Templates You Have to Try

Executive summaries are deceptively short tasks!

While they may be brief in length, a lot of work, strategy, and thought goes into ensuring their success. And since the summary will be viewed by everyone involved and sometimes be the first thing they see, it’s crucial that it’s done correctly every time.

So before you spend another second sweating in front of your multi-page proposal, turn to one of these 10 free executive summary examples to kickstart your strategic messaging.

ClickUp Executive Summary Doc Template

Here’s the ClickUp Executive Summary Doc Template to help you write a compelling teaser for your project proposal. You’ll know exactly what to add with the help of a guiding question at the top of each section. Once you’re finished, delete the questions for a cleaner document! 🤩

You can explain the value proposition of your proposal to your audience (like potential investors) with this template’s interactive features. Provide details about your business plan or project proposal, including the company’s mission statement, goals, project objectives, products, and target market.

The document breaks down key topics into sections, so you won’t have to spend extra time formatting! Template highlights include: 

Pro tip : Customize your executive summary template with your branding and basic information. Then, save and apply it to future executive summaries so you’ll always have access to pre-filled documents at a moment’s notice!

ClickUp Whiteboard Executive Summary Template

ClickUp’s Whiteboard Executive Summary Template is a perfect tool for project managers who want their executive summary to be an interactive experience that keeps the reader’s attention throughout your pitch. 

With a digital whiteboard, you can communicate your ideas visually and make a lasting impression on your audience. You’ll also need a set of productivity tools to organize your thoughts, create charts, annotate images, and assign actionable tasks. 🎯

Enter: ClickUp Whiteboards !

Using ClickUp’s Whiteboard as an executive summary tool, your content can double as a working canvas and an engaging presentation from start to finish. 

ClickUp Whiteboards offer embedding, rich text editing, resource linking, and more to make designing executive summaries easier. In its basic form, Whiteboards are made of these powerful elements:

Not sure what steps to take first on your Whiteboard? We got you covered with a Getting Started guide in the template!

ClickUp Executive Memo Template

Like executive summaries, executive memos are short-form documents containing the latest project information for key stakeholders. The purpose of an executive memo is to communicate important information to the intended audience, such as the status of a project, policies, or cross-functional procedures and processes in the company.

Depending on how often your audience expects an executive memo to arrive in their inbox, you should start building a central wiki where all of your memos will be stored for record-keeping purposes.

The reality is that schedules, deliverables, stakeholders, and collaborators for any given project are likely to change at some point. In some cases, we get so bogged down in work that we neglect to update documentation for days or weeks. 🗓

ClickUp Docs seamlessly integrate into your tasks and projects. You are only a few clicks away from retrieving any documentation to reference or update within the platform.

Try it for free today! Connect the ClickUp Executive Memo Template to workflows by creating nested subpages for each memo in the template and linking the subpages to the memos. Your stakeholders will appreciate the digital trail!

ClickUp Program Summary Template

The length of time it takes to complete a program may vary from months to even years. Unlike projects, they’re about the benefits, transformation, and change of the organization. For this proposal type, we can’t use a basic executive summary template! 

ClickUp’s Program Summary Template offers you a one-stop shop for creating a high-level overview of the programs you run in the organization. ⚡️

Your program summary document should include the following sections to make it as effective as possible: 

Check out our detailed program management guide for tips, examples, and features for a successful program!

ClickUp Payroll Summary Report Template

An employee payroll summary report is usually prepared for HR or Finance personnel responsible for processing payrolls. In this report, payroll expenses are summarized for the period of time specified, for example, a month or quarter in the past. 

During a payroll review, management will ensure compliance with labor laws and consider the payroll expenses against the budget. There are several uses for the payroll report, including identifying any discrepancies or errors that might occur in the payroll process and tracking the progress of payroll-related projects or initiatives. 📊

You can collaborate with your cross-functional partners with ClickUp’s Payroll Summary Report Template and save the extra time of sending back-and-forth emails! Simply highlight any text to add a comment, or @mention members to call out action items.

Throughout the template, you’ll find organized tables similar to those on a spreadsheet within a ClickUp Doc. Once you have finished editing the template, you will be able to update the Doc’s settings to protect the content and share it with your team.

ClickUp Executive Board Report Template

An executive board report is a document that gives an overview of an organization’s progress, performance, strategies, and health. Typically, it contains information about the company’s finances, operations, and goals. The company’s staff and operations are also included if any major changes have been or are about to occur. 🔮

In this ClickUp Executive Board Report Template , you’ll find guiding prompts along with powerful visuals that will help you create a professional report:

Download project charter templates to establish your project’s scope!

ClickUp Executive Project Status Report Template

Here’s the ClickUp Executive Project Status Report Template if your executives like to visualize project performance!

By using visualization, complex data and information can be made easier to comprehend and accessible. This is relevant for senior management who may not be actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the project.🛠

The template includes different task views (List, Kanban board, Timeline, and Table) to compare project performance against goals or benchmarks. The results? Better-informed decisions and hours saved from building short-lived reports!

Pro tip : Add a Gantt view to your template and view multiple projects in one place!

Microsoft Word Executive Summary Template

The simple outline in this Word document will help you write an executive summary. It includes sections on business objectives, target audiences, competition, risks, and opportunities, which will guide you in the process of creating your document. 

Visuals like charts, diagrams, and graphics engage your audience better than any other type of content, so don’t forget to include them in your document. 🎨

We know building visuals in Word is a time-consuming task, so here are a few guides to help you get the most out of your visual content! 

PowerPoint Executive Summary Template

A list of presentation templates wouldn’t be complete without the PowerPoint Executive Summary Template! It’s a three-list design used for presenting business objectives on a one-page slide. 

Executive summaries simplify your project proposal content, but you still want to give as much information to your audience, so they get the big picture. 

This template would be perfect to use for investors or stakeholders requesting key information in a single snapshot. 📸

Pro tip : A visual alternative would be #2 on this list—the ClickUp Whiteboard Executive Summary Template. As a presenter with a Whiteboard, you have the freedom to transform your presentation from static to interactive with shapes and images!

Business Executive Summary Template in Google Slides

Google Slides is a powerful presentation tool offering a wide range of features and capabilities. Collaborate in real-time with others, embed multimedia, and add animations and transitions! It integrates with other Google products, such as Google Drive, making it easy to access and share presentations. 🔗

The Executive Summary Google Slides Template covers a basic outline to develop an executive summary. Use the sections included or make a list of the important points you want to cover during a meeting . This list could be as simple as the company description, products or services, market analysis, competitive advantage, and financial information.

Your executive summary should complement your larger business proposal or report—similar to the way your executive summary template should complement your project management software!

Creating your executive summary with a template designed to boost your productivity will take your effort, team, and project further in the long run. Plus, it will save you important time in the planning process.

Using ClickUp Docs , its Kanban-like Board view , and Whiteboards are just a few of the many ways you can bring your executive summary to life—and templates make the experience even smoother! But the best part? You can take your next steps directly from the summary itself, making your entire document more valuable throughout the entire project process.

ClickUp is the only productivity platform powerful enough to bring all of your work together across apps into one centralized hub. With over 15 highly visual ways to build your workflow, a rich set of features , over 1,000 integrations , and hundreds of customizable templates for every use case, ClickUp creates solutions for teams of any size and every pricing plan .

Access ClickUp Docs, Whiteboards, Board view, unlimited tasks, and so much more when you sign up for ClickUp today.

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Executive Summary Template

Use this free Executive Summary Template for Word to manage your projects better.

When you’re proposing a project or pitching a new business plan or investment proposal, you need several documents to back up your presentation. An executive summary is a short overview that gives the elevator pitch that sums up the major points of larger documents. Executive summaries are critical for getting projects approved and off the ground. Download the ProjectManager executive summary template for Word to have a dynamic executive summary.

What Is an Executive Summary Template?

An executive summary template is simply a document that outlines the key points of a successful executive summary. This free executive summary for Word has the basic elements of a project executive summary. It can be customized to include other areas depending on the specific needs of your project.

ProjectManager's free executive summary template for Word

When to Use This Executive Summary Template

You only have one chance to impress your sponsor or stakeholder. Chances are they’re not going to dig into the many supporting documents you have until you’ve sold them on the vision of the project.

It’s like a big show and your executive summary is the grand opening that grabs the audience’s attention and pulls them in. Once you’ve done that, they’re going to be more open to the prospect of green-lighting the project.

Who Should Use This Executive Summary Template?

This template can be used by anyone working on a project proposal , business plan, marketing plan, investment proposal or any other similar document that involves stakeholders or investors. This free executive summary template can help you better organize the key selling points of your project, business or investment so you can convince stakeholders of its value.

Why Use an Executive Summary Template?

With an executive summary template, you have a roadmap to make sure you’re engaging and offering the right amount of detail necessary to convince the sponsor or stakeholder that the project you’re proposing is worth their time and financial investment. An executive summary template is a way to hold your hand through the process of collecting those broad strokes you need to paint a winning picture.

Once you’ve used our project executive summary template, you’ll want to take it to the next level. ProjectManager has tools to add graphs and charts that are filtered to show only the needed information. If you’re interested in elevating your project management skills, read more and we’ll give you a special free trial to see how much more ProjectManager can do for you and your project.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

How to Use This Free Executive Summary Template for Word

As stated above, the executive summary is a quick overview of the project, which is described in greater detail with the attached project plan . The ProjectManager executive summary template is a catchall for those general descriptions that will engage the target audience.

Our executive summary template Word document has a strong cover page to cover the main points.

What Other Free Project Management Templates Can Help You Write an Executive Summary?

ProjectManager is more than just the best project management tool available, it’s also a complete library of free project management templates , blogs, guides and eBooks to answer all your project management questions. Here are only some of them.

Business Case Template

Our free business case template helps project managers and business professionals explain to stakeholders and investors why their project or proposal is a sound investment.

Project Proposal Template

This project proposal template is a document that outlines a project plan and the benefits that it could bring to an organization. It’s a longer document that includes more information than an executive summary in case your stakeholders need more details.

Small Business Plan Template

This free small business plan template outlines the key points that any entrepreneur should include when first creating a business. It can be customized to add more details, depending on your business’s needs.

Related Content

Below are a few links to some of the content related to executive summaries. Take a look and then stay on the site to watch our hundreds of training videos and read from our extensive blog library.

We’ve mentioned how much more you can do with ProjectManager, but that was solely related to making your executive summary more dynamic. Once you’ve secured the job, that’s when ProjectManager really comes into service. Our online project management software has the tools you need for every aspect of the project, from planning, executing, monitoring and reporting. ProjectManager turns project plans into project success. See for yourself by taking this free 30-day trial.

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Executive Summary Template for PDF & Word

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

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Executive Summary Template

Best practices dictate that an Executive Summary should be included at the beginning of any lengthy business document. The Executive Summary provides an overview of the document, highlighting all of its most important parts.

It serves two main functions:

● Providing the reader with context and an overall understanding of the subject before they begin reading the detailed components of your document.

● Giving busy executive-level readers, who might not have time to read the entire document, a synopsis that explains all of the main points succinctly.

An Executive Summary should not exceed one or two pages. The paragraphs should mirror the structure of your document, providing a concise explanation of the important points in each section.

Since Executive Summaries can be found in almost any type of business document, they can vary broadly in content. Below, we provide a framework for a Business Plan Executive Summary that you can use as a guide, but keep in mind that you will need to adapt it to the contents of your specific document.

HubSpot Tip: When writing your document, save the Executive Summary for last. That way you will be able to write a cohesive section that covers all of the most important content in the entire document.


Every section in a business document should begin with an introduction. The introduction sets the stage and tells the reader what they are about to read. It adds context and helps the document flow, making your points easier to understand.

In an Executive Summary, the introduction should only be a paragraph or two in length. End this section with a clear, memorable sentence explaining your project, its purpose, and the benefits it offers to potential customers and investors.

HubSpot Tip: Though the content of your document might be complex, keep your writing simple and structured. Providing a clear introduction makes your document easier to navigate and comprehend.

Company and Opportunity

Provide a brief description of your organization. Include the company’s name, the general products or services that you provide, and who and where your customers are.

Now describe the opportunity you are proposing and how it is valuable to investors and customers. This is basically a written version of the “elevator pitch” that you might use to attract investors at a networking event. It should only take a few sentences.

HubSpot Tip: There is a lot to say about your product/service, but you will need to be succinct here. Stick to the most important points only and wait to expound on them in the appropriate sections in your document.

Industry and Market Analysis

Mention the key trends in your industry and your business’ advantage over the competition. Describe your target customers briefly and explain why you think they will choose your products/services over those of your competitors.

HubSpot Tip: Focus on how you plan to fulfill an unmet need and why customers will choose your business over others.

Management and Operations

List anything important to note about your management staff. For example, you could mention the qualifications and motivations of your company’s founder or CEO. Full biographical sketches of your management team will be provided later in the document, so keep it brief.

Think about the day-to-day of your business operations and provide a very high-level summary of what operations are like. If you use any particular methods, best practices, or management styles that would stand out to a reader, mention them here.

HubSpot Tip: Do not go into detail. Instead, provide the reader with a general overview of how your company is run and how you do what you do.

Implementation and Marketing

Present the timeline for rolling out your business or new product/service. Indicate the key milestones and when they are scheduled to occur.

Once you have rolled out your business, you will need to tell people about it! Briefly explain how you will publicize your product/service. How will you reach your customers? Which major communication channels will you use?

HubSpot Tip: Indicating the major milestones helps the reader understand the work leading up to the launch of your service/product and adds context to your investment request.

Financial Plan

Your document likely contains a lot of financial information, so it can be difficult to choose what to include in the Executive Summary.

Think about what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want to attract investors? Then share information on how much funding you have raised and how much more you need. Are you sharing information on how well your business is doing? Then highlight the numbers that show your growth. You will provide additional context later in your document.

HubSpot Tip: Some key metrics to consider including are: the overall budget, the price per product/service, and your financial projections.

Summarize the entire project in a couple of sentences. This could take the form of reiterating your “elevator pitch” in different words.

The Executive Summary should leave the reader with a good general understanding of your project, while imparting a desire to learn more by reading the rest of your document. Keep the conclusion brief and make it persuasive.

HubSpot Tip: The conclusion should be no more than a paragraph.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do i need an executive summary.

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Related Tags

Related business templates.

Simple business plan template, one page business plan template, startup business plan template, market analysis.


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Table of Contents

What is an Executive Summary Template?

Document Info

Executive Summary Template

Executive summary template form.

An executive summary is a statement located at the beginning of a business plan that highlights the main points and key takeaways of your proposed business model.

What is an Executive Summary? 

Components of an executive summary, how to write an executive summary , executive summaries for research papers and reports, executive summaries for bank loans, in conclusion.

Free Executive Summary Template

Related Documents

An executive summary includes a description of your business, the “problem” your company solves, your financial and resource needs moving forward, and what, specifically, you are requesting from readers of your plan.

Why is it called an executive summary? 

The name refers to the section's purpose, which is to provide a birds-eye view of the contents of the entire document. The summary works to both introduce the key points of the entire plan and to entice readers to keep reading. It also functions as a quick and easy resource section for readers in a hurry.

business plan executive summary template word

Create a free Executive Summary Template in minutes with our professional document builder.

A well-crafted executive summary should include the following elements:


Who you are and what you are offering.

What product/service you offer and what the adjoining benefits.

Include your business’ name, where your business is located, and where it was established.

Make sure it's compelling. Remember, this is the first thing the reader encounters, so grab their attention.

What is the problem your company solves?

What is the value of your products/services to the customer?

What is the market and growth opportunity?

Why now? Here you need to address why investors should invest now and why the timing is appropriate.

Target Market

Who is your customer? Be sure to include data about the total size of the market and the opportunity within it.


What is your unique selling proposition?

What separates you from your competition? What is your competitive advantage?

How innovative and unique is your business idea?

How does your business “solve” the problem you identify?

What products/services do you offer?

What is your business model?

Be sure to detail how you will take your product to market and generate revenue (for the business and for the investors)?

Make sure your business model is sustainable and set up for long-term growth. It should do/explain the following:

Provide value to select customers through addressing a problem with a value proposition or unique selling position.


Target customers

Revenue streams

Price point (and proof it's competitive based on market research)

Proof of net profit gains (be sure to show expenses)

Opportunities for lead generation through marketing (and consistent lead acquisition over months)

Evidence of customer satisfaction and retention

Key metrics and performance indicators

Proof of Solution: Why is your team the right fit for this endeavor? What financial proof or projections do you have to prove it?

Financial Projections: you should summarize your financial plan for the next three to five years, including specific values and metrics like:

What are the financing requirements and profitability?

What are the risk analysis and mitigation measures?

Include evidence of your management team’s competencies

Include the professional background of you and your team

Remember: investors invest in the team behind the startup, not just the startup’s idea.


What has your company already accomplished? For example, revenue increase, awards, recognition, lead generation, increased market share, etc.

What do you need from readers (capital, advising, etc.)?

If it’s investment:

How much money do you need and how are you going to spend it? Investors want to know immediately if your startup’s financial plan falls within in their normal funding range. How you allocate funds makes a huge difference depending on risk.

Exit strategy: You do not have to provide all of the details, but briefly summarize how and when investors will receive their return.

Be sure to consider all elements of your company that should appeal to investors.

If it’s a bank loan:

Detail personal net worth .

Bankers need to see the net worth of business owners

Be transparent regarding your financial history and bankable assets

Provide evidence of economic stability and financial longevity

By FormSwift Editorial Team

Updated june 28, 2021.

Here is our guide to crafting an executive summary of your business plan. This guide walks you through how to craft a strong one. We also cover the differences between a business and research plan and detail the components of a research summary. With this information, we think you’ll have all the information you need to write the proper executive summary of your business plan.

Why do you need an executive summary?  

Regardless of whether or not you are looking for investors, a good executive summary is an essential component of any business plan. It takes the strongest information from the various sections of your business plan, and compiles them in a compelling summary. For those seeking investment, potential investors will read this summary to decide whether or not to read the rest of your plan, which will ultimately decide whether or not they choose to invest in your business. Poorly written summaries can discourage potential investors from even reading the remainder of your plan. Your executive summary, in other words, is a written form of your business’ “elevator pitch.”

Even if you are not seeking investors, a strong executive summary can serve as a distillation of your company’s goals and principles that you and your team can return to as needed. The summary can help your company develop and provide a ‘jumping off point’ for future business plans. It can also serve as a course for business summaries, websites, marketing campaigns, etc.

Guidelines for writing an executive summary

While there are many ways to craft a summary, strong summaries typically have the following characteristics:

An executive summary should be concise. This means no more than two pages (ideally a single page). A common formula for an executive summary is 5%-10% of the length of the entire plan.

Style and language guidelines:

Avoid jargon and overly technical language

Use an active voice and active verbs

Avoid generalizations or assumptions about your reader. For example, avoid phrases like “It is well known that…”

Use the present tense whenever possible

Numbers: Round numbers off wherever possible to make them easier to understand. You should also use charts or graphs to simplify the data to make it easier to comprehend.

Don’t spend too much time on the history of the company. You will cover this later in the plan, so keep your company’s history short.

Write the summary after completing the rest of the business plan. Doing so will make the section easier to write and ensure you include all relevant information.

Capture the reader's attention: this is your chance to grab your reader’s attention. Make sure you demonstrate a clear path to success and support your claims with facts. The summary should appeal personally to the audience and should be adjusted based on the interests of the audience.

If you are writing a summary for a research paper or report, you’ll need to use a modified executive summary formula. A research summary should include:

A section that discusses the background and history of the research, including:

What was the impetus for the research?

Did you partner with universities, agencies, organizations to gather research?

Is this project novel?

Who were the primary team members?

Is this research part of a greater (national) research program?

Market research process

How did you conduct the research (briefly)?

How long did the research take place?

Was this process compatible with other research?

What findings do you want to highlight?

Data collection

How did you collect the research data?

Where was it collected (include all methods--online, offline, etc.)

Provide examples

Briefly mention collection techniques (surveys, testing, etc.)

Key findings

Be sure to frame this in a manner that generates interest in how you arrived at these findings.

Cost/Benefit Analysis

Demonstrate the benefits of the research and outline the associated costs of completion (and possible savings of the outcome)?

Benefits to the customer, before and after comparison, costs, investment, productivity and how you will quantify the results.

Communication: How and where will the research results be distributed or published?

Solution: What issue does this research solve?


You will need an effective executive summary if you are applying for a bank loan. You will need to tailor your summary differently than you would anyone else, as banks generally have different requirements than a private investor. Contrary to popular belief, bankers never take risks with the bank's money, as a private investor may risk theirs. According to bank law (with one exception), bankers may not lend money to businesses that do not have enough assets to cover their loan and then some. Bankers view many executive summaries, and to grab and keep their attention, your executive summary must include all of the major points, plus the points listed below:

Your personal net worth

Whether you have a small business or a large company, bankers like to see the personal net worth of business owners. This not only gives them an idea if you can pay back their loan but also shows your financial management.

Transparent financial history and bankable assets

While investors may be interested in potential growth, bankers like to see your financial history to gain insight on how you’ll manage the funds they loan you.

Evidence of potential stability and longevity

Bankers like to see stability, as it ensures they’ll be paid back.

Although they are typically not very long, executive summaries are probably the most important component of your business plan. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with all of the information and guidance you need to write a strong plan that will entice investors to read the rest of your plan and ultimately fund your business.

Download a PDF or Word Template

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Business Proposal

Business plan, credit application, sample executive summary template.

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