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How To Write An Executive Summary For A Report

October 4, 2021
October 4, 2021

Research shows that over 55% of people spend less than 15 seconds actively going through a piece of content. When the time of a CEO, CMO or other executive is limited, a brilliant executive summary helps you zero down on your key points like a laser, putting focus wherever it's needed the most to convince the stakeholder that it's worth their time to pursue the whole thing. 

An executive summary can provide a birds' eye view of your business, the problem it aims to solve, the target market, management team, financial highlights & projections. Let's move ahead and understand more about an executive summary and how we can write one.

Decoding an Executive Summary

An executive summary is a tight document which is the key to getting buy in. Often people confuse executive summaries for pitch decks and even business plans. However, an executive summary is a brief that precedes the main content of your presentation. No matter the end goal of your report presentation, the executive summary must grab the reader's attention, summarize critical business information, and project both short and long-term goals.

Generally, an executive summary starts by describing the problem or need that the business is solving. Further, the document talks about the recommended solution, its value, how the product fits the market and financial considerations. During the conclusion, the document reiterates the importance of the solution and why the business matters. In short, if a project plan is a holistic blueprint of the business operation, an executive summary is a document summarizing key information from your project plan.

Must-Cover Areas In An Executive Summary:

  • Describe the business opportunity
  • Define the target market
  • Illustrate the business model
  • Outline Marketing & Sales strategies
  • Talk about the competition
  • Do a financial analysis
  • Outline the management and implementation plan

Now that you've got a business plan ready, let's understand how you can create an incredible & well-written executive summary out of it.

Keep the introduction engaging, but brief 

While writing a report introduction, often presenters end up cluttering the document with all sorts of trivial details. The introduction should not only be engaging but should be minimalistic as well. Perhaps start with a surprising industry fact or brief story about the business. The document can then migrate towards determining the intent, identifying the objectives, and what the reader can expect to find in the report.

Since potential clients are most likely to skim through the document, the introduction must encompass the strongest points from your whole presentation. The goal is to give a quick punch and make a confident sell to the stakeholder. You can also use the section to highlight the company's accolades, provide real evidence of your unique abilities and demonstrated business skills.

Project an identifiable goal

Clients are more focused on what it is you and your company can do for them. Undoubtedly, the problem and solution are the most important parts of your executive summary, clients are also keen on knowing the results of these solutions. Hence, the executive summary must offer up an identifiable goal to stakeholders demonstrating what great returns they can generate from your proposal.

You can cite client-specific research, sales forecasts, growth projections, and trajectories here. Simply telling the reader that your solution will generate sales is not enough! You must back your points with real market research and credentials, if possible. Therefore, utilize research papers and highlight the realistic market potential concerning your solution.

Use captivating templates to get it done quickly

You can also leverage a ready-to-use, professional-looking executive summary template to give a crisp and lucid view of your business. Rather than worrying about the document's design, entrepreneurs can benefit from executive summary presentation templates and start focusing more on creating compelling content. The template vividly outlines the business profile and covers sections such as the company's mission, strategies, operational processes, market share, opportunities, threats, and other metrics. 

With the help of marketing performance software, you can also use data-driven graphics such as graphs, charts and infographics to transform your company's numbers into engaging and comprehensive visuals. Hence, sailing upon brand-friendly design aesthetics and quality content, presenters can deliver an executive summary presentation quickly, while making the interaction a memorable experience for the audience.

The Bottom Line 

There is no denying that the executive summary is one of the most crucial segments of any report. A stakeholder will read it to contemplate whether the rest of the report is worth their time. The tips covered in the article can help you put together the most important pieces of a business update and present a condensed version to your audience.

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