How to Write an Effective Executive Summary (free powerpoint slide)

An executive summary (also called a business proposal executive summary or executive overview) is a concise documentation of your business plan or business challenge. It should be able to stand alone, conveying the most important aspects of your business proposal in an easily digestible format.

How to Write an Effective Executive Summary (free powerpoint slide)
Executive Summary Example Slide

An executive summary (also called a business proposal or executive overview) is a concise documentation of your business plan or business challenge. It should be able to stand alone, conveying the most important aspects of your business proposal in an easily digestible format.

Today, more than ever, executives are flooded with information. At any given moment, a busy executive can have on their desk an endless stream of memos, emails, reports, and documents requesting their attention. To stand out from the crowd and get noticed by the busy executive, you need to craft the executive summary of your document so that it is concise and compelling.

An effective executive summary will both inform and motivate the reader to dive deeper into the rest of your document.

Read on for more details about what an executive summary is and how to write one effectively.

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary is a concise overview of your business plan. This is the first section of your business proposal that executives, investors or team members will read. The executive summary is usually the first section of a business plan, but it can also appear at the end of a report, following an introduction and other related material.

It is a short synopsis that highlights the main points of the report and is meant to inform readers about the report’s findings and conclusions.

Why write an Executive Summary?

The benefits of an executive summary are two-fold:

Firstly, it allows readers to quickly assess whether the rest of the business plan is relevant to them – they can quickly assess the key points, decide what they want to read, and move on. This is useful if you have several executives or investors who have requested your business plan.

Secondly, it allows you to craft a narrative that is tailored to your audience and speaks to their interests. So, even if your readers decide they want to read the entire business plan or proposal, they will understand it better because they have been given an overview of it beforehand.

Step by step guide to writing an effective Executive Summary

The first thing to do is to ask yourself: Who is reading this? What are their interests? What do they want to know about my business? This will help you decide on the content and the tone of your Executive Summary.

Next, decide on the format. Most businesses write their Executive Summary in a slide or PowerPoint format. Executives or investors are accustomed to the format.

Decide on a headline that summarises your business. This can be a number, percentage or statistic that highlights your key point of difference. Choose the main points you want to cover in the summary and structure your Executive Summary accordingly.

The purpose of an executive summary is to convey the main ideas of your writing in a clear and concise manner. It should be written so that a reader who has only time to skim it can understand the key points of your writing. Make sure to proofread your Executive Summary and align it with the rest of your analysis or argumentation before submitting it to an executive, board or investors.

Some people use an executive summary as their first draft and then revise it for clarity based on feedback from readers.

What is the format of an executive summary?

Executive summary (sometimes called “summary”) is a one- to two-page overview of the main points in a written document. The purpose of the executive summary is to give readers a quick glance at the key points and topics covered by the document.

The executive summary should be written first, followed by the rest of the body text that elaborates on those points. In addition to summarizing a document, an executive summary can also serve as a teaser for potential readers, who may be interested in reading more about the subject matter. When writing an executive summary, it is important to keep in mind that readers want maximum clarity and brevity.

Avoid excessive detail and unnecessary jargon — stick to high-level concepts and core ideas that are critical to understanding the content of your document.

We recommend to prepare the executive summary in powerpoint or google slides format. Executives or investors are accustomed to the format.

What Information is included in an Executive Summary?

The executive summary is the first thing an executive or investor will read while looking at your business plan or business proposal. An effective executive summary should include a compelling problem/challenge and recommendation.

So, what to include in your executive summary that will make it successful.

Problem (or Challenge)

The problem section of an executive summary should be concise but persuasive. This section should explain the problem to the reader without making them feel as if they are being sold something. Keep it in a neutral tone.

Recommendation

The recommendation section should provide the solution to the problem at hand, telling them why they need to invest in this idea. It must show how this solution is feasible.

A good executive summary has then several key features to support the argumentation:

  • Market analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Customer segments (or Sales strategy)
  • Marketing strategy
  • Business structure (or Organisation)
  • Key financials

Of course, no one size fits all solution is possible. Feel free to adapt our template for your own purposes. Our template is fully editable.

StrategyPunk.com - Executive Summary Slide Example

How long is an executive summary?

Try to create an executive summary that is between 5-10% of the length of the finished document (for a report or presenation that is 20 slides or less, create a one-page executive summary).

Conclusion

The executive summary is often the first thing an executive or investor reads when they receive your business plan or business proposal. With this in mind, it is important to make it as engaging and compelling as possible.

It is also important to consider when you write your summary: who is reading it, and what do they want to know? By keeping these things in mind, you can write an effective executive summary that will catch the attention of an executive or potential investors.

Executive Summary Template

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