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When to write the executive summary

If you had an endless list of things to do, and someone handed you an page document and said, "Read this! According to Bonjour, investors will read the executive summary to decide if they will even bother reading the rest of the business plan. It's rare for an investor or lender to read an entire business plan, at least in the initial stages of analysis and consideration for funding, so having a strong executive summary is key. When you're writing your business plan, your goal is to get your foot in the door and face time with the investor.

How to Write a Great Business Plan. Just as a movie might begin with a fight scene or a magazine article open with a funny anecdote, you'll need a strong hook for your executive summary. One way to think about it, says Hirai, is that your executive summary needs an executive summary. The first paragraph needs to compel the reader to read the rest of the summary. Perhaps you have a compelling aha!

The Best Way to Write an Executive Summary - wikiHow

If you've identified a problem in the marketplace that isn't being adequately serviced, you might start with that. Business Executive Summary Template. There is no set structure for an executive summary, but there are guidelines you must follow to ensure your business plan or investment proposal gets the attention it deserves. First, think about your core strengths.

Use bullet points to present your ideas, and make sure you always use concise language. Ask yourself what's unique and exciting about your company.

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After you've explained what your company does, it's time to sell why you believe you're uniquely qualified to succeed. Depending on your audience, you can also try a more rigid approach to the executive summary. After the first paragraph, Bonjour says one effective structure is to summarize each section in the same order in which the items are presented within the full business plan. To make the structure as relevant as possible for the reader, typically an investor or a lender, he suggests considering these categories:.

The Why Now category is one of the most important questions to answer, because it makes your executive summary timely. The last thing you want is to leave the reader feeling like there's plenty of time to act.

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Chances are, if there isn't any urgency to your executive summary, your business plan won't get read. After describing the elements above, the executive summary should also have a brief financial summary. For your financials, Bonjour suggests including the valuation of the deal, so that the reader knows right away what the risks are, and what the returns can be. Executive Summary as a Guiding Light. This depends on who your readers are. If you're presenting your plan to investors, make sure the language of the executive summary caters to their backgrounds.

For example, if you know your investor has a degree in chemical engineering, your language might be different from that in the executive summary presented to an investor who studied philosophy. In other words, "use language that will resonate with your target audience," says Hirai. Don't be afraid to change your executive summary when you present it to different investors. Consider creating different versions for each audience, he says, but make sure that it's always kept professional, crisp, and free of any embarrassing errors.

Another good tip he gives is to use personal pronouns e. Your reader will feel a stronger personal connection with you, your brand, and your idea if you can relate to the reader in the first person. Don't forget to be confident, either. If the writer does not clearly believe in this company, says Bonjour, why should the reader believe in it?

Put yourself in your reader's shoes, and ask yourself why you would want to invest in a company. Remember, every executive summary is--and should be--unique. Depending on the size of the business plan or investment proposal you're sending, the executive summary's length will vary. However, the general consensus is that an executive summary should be between one and four pages long.

A two-page summary can be printed on the front and back of a single page, which can feel like a professional brochure. And if you can't tell the essence of your story in a page or two, says Hirai, then you probably haven't thought things through well enough. It's time to show your stuff. Talk about why your company, your team, or your product is not only willing to take this challenge on, but you're qualified to do so. Maybe this is your niche market and you have lots of experience helping other companies with a similar issue.

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Talk about WHY you can make this a successful project and deliver results, but broken record keep it brief. Make the client feel like they have no other chance for happiness than to hire you because of X and Y that differentiate you from the competition and proves your solution is the one that will make their dreams come true. Talk about why you want to work with them — a little flattery goes a long way — and about how, as partners, you will be successful.

This rule applies to everything but especially when writing proposals. Of course in some situations you may need to reference certain details but remember that this is a persuasive document - sell the benefits, not the features. Save the tech stuff for the proposal. Think about what they want to know, not what you want to tell them.

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Like any piece of copy, you need to write for your audience so make sure you think about them; what turns them off and what turns them on. People like to hear their names and the same holds true for businesses. The regular rules for writing apply to executive summaries. Use simple, short sentences that are clear and can be understood by almost any reading level, especially if you might be writing for people whose first language is not English.

Be concise, and persuasive. Here's an example of an executive summary I wrote using a customizable proposal template from Proposify's gallery.

1. Refine and tighten your concept.

Of course every executive summary needs to be tailored to your specific project, your client's needs, and your brand voice. I hope this guide will help turn your ho-hum executive summaries into wicked pitches of excellence. Remember to be persuasive, not pedantic. And if anyone has a suggestion on a new name for executive summary, bring it on. Our free, professionally written and designed proposal templates can help you win the battle for better business.

​How to Write an Executive Summary for Your Proposal

Our gallery of free, professionally written and designed proposal templates can kick-start your sales process. The executive summary is arguably the most valuable component of any proposal, but most people are confused about its purpose.


The purpose of an executive summary First of all, the executive summary needs a rebrand. So you better make it good. My suggestion is chocolate AND peanut butter. Election issue I like to write the executive summary first because it helps to filter all the ideas our team had during the brainstorming process about the best way to pitch this client.

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  7. How to write an executive summary: Capture their attention You need an opener that's compelling. We get it Before a client hires you, they want to know that you get them. Again, the focus here is on the client and their challenge, not on you and your company. We can do it It's time to show your stuff. The Call to Action: