In the simplest of terms, an executive summary is an overview of an official document. It serves as an insight into the document, but in briefer terms than the original document. An executive summary is used mostly while writing and submitting a business plan. An executive summary has to be written well enough to entice the reader to read the entire business plan that he has been presented with. In a world where time is becoming the scarcest commodity ever, it is important that the executive summary does the job of a business plan and convinces your reader to give your business a chance.How to Write an Executive SummaryThe main purpose of writing an executive summary is to create a concise and precise summary of a document for a reader of the same. It is also important to know what purpose you are writing the summary for. Do you wish to study and then write an executive summary for a research paper or is it the executive summary for the proposal of a business plan? If you wish to learn how to write an executive summary, then the following pointers may serve as effective guidelines.
- An executive summary should be written for any business document that is more than four pages long. Do not start writing the summary before you finish your business plan. Read your report and then finalize the pointers that will be highlighted in the executive summary.
- Any good example of an executive summary will definitely include the name of the business, the place where it is located, mention of the services that the business provides or the products it sells and also the purpose of writing the report that the summary is an overview of.
- One tenth of the length of the whole document is generally the prescribed length for most executive summaries. Resumes, especially ones that are detailed, should stick to this length of an executive summary, if you are including the same.
- Do not mention details that are already present in the business plan but at the same time, ensure that you do not over-generalize the entire summary.
- The main points that need to be covered in the summary should appear in the same order as they do in the report. Each point should be started with a declarative sentence that underlines the pros of your business organization. Do not commit the blunder of undermining your organization by doubting your capabilities. For example, if you want to say, XYZ industries will be the best organization for this project do not make it seem doubtful by writing XYZ industries might be the best organization for this project.
- Your main points should be supplemented with examples and proper briefs but do not over clutter by also including technical terms and several facts and figures.
- Once you have written the summary it is important that you read the same with an objective point of view. Make sure that you understand the main points that need to be conveyed by the report just by skimming through it, because that is probably what your target reader is going to do. Also it maybe a good idea to make someone who is completely unrelated to the report, read the summary to see if they understand it.
- Proof check the executive summary for any spelling mistakes, grammatical, or punctuation errors. Also check the formatting and style of the summary. The summary should be an easy read without much ornamentation of language and should be written in an easy style.
Template for an Executive SummaryWhile the format of an executive summary will differ depending on the document that it is supposed to serve as an overview for, the basic template for an executive summary will include the pointers that have already been discussed above. The following is an executive summary template for a business plan.
► Introduction: This paragraph will include an insight into the company, its name, location, its history, and its success till date.
► Product/Service: As is self-explanatory, this paragraph will expand on the product that the business sells or the services that it provides.
►Target Audience: This paragraph (supplemented by data) will give a logical explanation of who the target group is and why they have been chosen.
► Competitive Edge: Here is where you can explain how siding with your business can give the reader of your business plan an edge over the rest of the competition by citing specific facts that keeps you ahead of the pack.
► Aim: The goals and objectives of the business need to be specifically cited in the summary. It is important that you mention what the long term objective of the company is and that too in specific number of years.
► Management: This paragraph will mention the names of the managing body of the company. If the company is a corporation, then this would include the name of the President, Vice Presidents, and the key shareholders of the company.
► Finances: This paragraph will include the sales projections for the year and the sales of the past years (if applicable). Also what is the investment plan for the business and what is the investment of the owners and shareholders.Example of an Executive SummaryGiven below is an example of an executive summary for a spa that will serve as an effective template for writing your business plan.
Espa is a new upmarket day spa located in Orange County, California. Primarily a day spa, we offer treatment rooms that are enriched with the best spa linen and equipment available. We have specialists who are well versed and trained in different styles of massages including Hot Stone massage, Swedish massage, Hot Oil massages, and several other therapeutic techniques. We also offer full body packs, facial treatments, skin peeling treatments, anti-aging techniques, and treatments. We also specialize in hair treatments and services such as cutting, styling, and coloring. We offer an overall package with all the essential services for the relaxation of our client.
This business plan will highlight our progress till the day of the launch of the spa and follow up with what we know our projection will look like in the next five years. The purpose of the plan is to secure funding and finance necessary for a great launch for Espa.
Our target clientèle includes women in the age group of 20 – 60 who have the means and the inclination to try out the services we provide and who want to look and feel good about themselves. They know what they want and value good products and services for appropriate expenses.
Our edge lies in the fact that we offer a complete package for all types of treatments from head to toe and are in fact the only spa in the area to offer the same. Our location is another advantage as the spa is to be located in the vicinity of several upmarket residential neighborhoods. Also the owner of our spa is a well established name in the industry and has to her credit several successful spas in several cities in the country. A professional organization, we have trained individuals who work with us and have several years of experience in the industry.
Our long term aim is to expand the line of treatments we offer to match up with the changes in the industry and also to transform ourselves from just a day spa to a spa and vacation resort for the mind and the soul.
The management of Espa, includes co-owners, Jeanine Lythgoe and Katy Brand, both of whom have an experience of 15 and 20 years respectively in the industry. Both owners will have a hands-on role in the management of the company. In addition, we also have a board of advisors who all have expertise in the fields of spa and beauty resorts and management.
Based on the size of the market area and the target clientèle, we expect to garner sales of almost USD 45,000 by the first quarter with almost 15 services per day. We expect to double these figures by the end of the second quarter and by the end of the year we expect to be providing up to 52 services per day.Hopefully this example has helped you understand how to draft a summary for a business plan. Even if you need to write an executive summary for a research paper, the basic format remains the same. The content will obviously differ depending on what the content of the paper or plan in question is.