Whether you are trying to sell investors on a new idea for your company, providing a synopsis of a business plan, or encapsulating the entire report of a customer study down to the key findings, crafting an executive summary is a requisite skill for success. In this article, we’ll explore how you can save your reader time by creating an effective executive summary.
WHAT’S AN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY?
An executive summary provides an efficient preview of the full report for your target audience. For example, if a company is developing a business plan around a new strategic emphasis, based on research findings from their customers, the business plan would open with this summary, which should be as short as possible yet provide clear overview of the content of the report to the audience.
DO I ALWAYS NEED AN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY?
In short, yes, any larger business plan, pitch or business proposal should incorporate an executive summary. List it in your table of contents so it is clear to the audience where they can find this concise overview.
WHAT DO I INCLUDE IN AN EFFECTIVE SUMMARY?
Focus on providing an overview that is consistent with the content in the entire document. Tailor your introduction to your audience, avoid confusing language that they might not understand, and make your opening paragraph interesting. You should articulate the problem and solution, using straightforward language, including your recommendations, as well as supporting market research. Then, be sure to end by summarizing well and restating the highlights. Make sure your summary respects the time of the reader and is written using language that they understand. In short, this should be a condensed version of your bigger document, whether the content is a business plan, marketing assessment or research report.
Your high-level overview is a key part of any complete business plan or formal business document. Writing an effective executive summary by taking plenty of time, keeping your audience in mind and using professional language can yield big dividends. Good luck!
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