Start with the original document. Since the executive summary is a summary of another document, you'll need to be pretty familiar with the original document in order to condense it down to a manageable and informative version. Whether that original document is a report, business plan, proposal, manual or different document, review it, looking for its main ideas.
- Example: "Women World Wide is a not for profit organization that seeks to connect women all around the world with effective solutions to domestic violence, as well as offering a network of support for those suffering from domestic violence. While operating from its headquarters in Alberta, Canada, it has received referrals from women in 170 countries across the globe."
- Maybe you have Michael Jordan as a customer and he has endorsed your product on Twitter for free. Maybe you just signed a partnership agreement with Google. Maybe you were just awarded a patent, or maybe you just made your first big sale.
- Sometimes just a simple quote or testimonial is enough. The key is to grab the attention of your audience, make the business appear as reputable as possible, and draw the reader in to the rest of the document.
- Example: "Los Angeles is crippled with traffic. Apart from the Metro DC area, Los Angeles has the worst traffic in the nation. It's not just annoying. The smog and pollution caused from gridlock is reducing worker productivity, increasing rates of asthma, and slowly creating a serious health problem. There are more cars in L.A. than there are people old enough to drive them."
- Example: "Innotech has created a groundbreaking traffic control system that shaves minutes off of commute time by installing patented "smart grids" into stoplight lanes that read the amount of cars in any given lane and direct traffic accordingly. No longer will drivers of America have to stand at a red stoplight for minutes while the green light blinks for no cars in the other direction."
Talk about market potential. Elaborate on the big problem by providing stats for your industry. Be careful not to pretend that you have a larger market than you do! The fact that the medical device industry is $100 billion annually means nothing because your new medical device will only serve a small segment of the industry. Break it down to a realistic market potential.
- Example: "Intellilight has the added benefit of being able to detect when no one is home. When a light is left on in an empty room, it automatically shuts off and turns back on again when it detects motion in the room. This saves the customer money on their electrical bill and wastes less energy."
Talk about your business model, if necessary. Some executive summaries will not need a business model. (Nonprofits, not for profits, and NGOs probably won't have a business plan.) But if yours does, your business model needs to be clear and easy to follow. Essentially, you are answering the question, "How will you get people to take dollars out of their wallet and give them to you?" Keep the model simple, especially in the executive summary. A quick summary is all that is needed.
Discuss your management team, if necessary. Depending on what industry you are in, this can be one of the most important parts of your executive summary. Your investors or bankers are putting trust in the team, not the idea. Ideas are easy to come by, but executing on those ideas can only be accomplished with a strong team. Quickly show why your team has the experience and knowledge to execute your business plan.
- If your plan is for a group of investors, don't spend too much time on this section because they know that you have no idea how much money you might make. Investors typically won't make a go/no-go decision based on your financial projections. They will essentially make their own financial projections.
Ease in to your request. Now it's time to request either an investment or loan, depending on the purpose of the executive summary. You should restate why your company provides value. Remind the reader of the big pain that you are solving and your market potential. Finally reemphasize your team and its ability to get the job done. Ask for the dollar amount needed to reach the next major milestone for your business. Don't disclose how much equity you are willing to give up or what interest rate you are willing to pay. This should be done later through face-to-face negotiation.
- Have a pair of fresh eyes reread your executive summary, paying special attention to:
- Clarity. Are the words clear, the ideas clearer, and the summary devoid of jargon?
- Errors. Grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors may abound. Having someone fact-check the figures and statistics might be a good ideal as well.
- Forcefulness. Do the ideas translate into a stirring pitch? Where does the pitch fall flat, if at all?
- Coherence. What parts don't fit together? What parts do?
Executive Summary and Research Essay Outline AssignmentThis assignment has four parts. A new page must be started for each part. All parts mustbe submitted electronically as a single document.I.
Cover pageThe cover page should include the student’s name, assignment title, and coursename. An appropriate design can be added to the cover page.II.
Executive SummaryAn executive summary is an important part of the presentation of a report orproject. Compared to the actual report, the EC is analytical, examining thedecisions for developing the report. The EC should contain the followinginformation:
The definition, objective, and scope of the project
A brief summary of the project; the key points or issues (can use bullet points if appropriate)
A description of the methodology used to determine the decision, solution orrecommendation
A brief justification for the decision, solution or recommendation
The actual decision, solution or recommendation made
The executive summary should be
brief, no more than two single spaced pages
able to stand on its own (complete enough to communicate the important features of theproject by itself
placed at the beginning of the report