How to write an executive summary – a skill for all business people

Writing an executive summary can be difficult if you don’t know how to do it. A good executive summary can help a business grow bigger than they ever dreamed; a bad one can stifle its development. Therefore, once you understand the mechanics of writing an executive summary, you’ll be ahead of any potential business rival. Knowing how to do this could set your career and the future of your company on an entirely new track. It really is vital that you know how to write an executive summary.

Whilst you may feel apprehensive about this, don’t be. This article will explain to you the nuts and bolts of a good executive summary and how to write it without even thinking about it. Once you have grasped the essential parts of how to make one, you won’t be able to stop yourself from producing the most effective executive summaries you’ve seen. This article will tell you

 

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  • When writing an executive summary, you must be very specific about what you want to include. They are often used as a means of investors screening which companies they want to sit down and talk with and those that they would rather not. If you want to make sure that your business is chosen and not rejected, you must include these things in your executive summary.
  • What is the name of your business and where it is located. Some investors will deal with international companies and invest in them regardless of where they are based. Others, however only deal with businesses in their own country or continent so it is vital to include your name and where you are.
  • What your company does. This will be important as investors may only like to tackle companies that operate in certain sectors, such as the automobile industry or renewable energy. If you don’t make clear what your business does then they will either be put off from lack of information or think you don’t understand how investment works.
  • Your target market and where to find it. It is imperative when setting out your executive summary that you explain what your target market is and where you can find it. If you are in the import export business that mainly deals with China or India, then this could be the detail that makes prospective investors certain that they want to read on and find out more about your business. It may also lead to them investing in it. These sorts of details are vital for ensuring the success of your executive summary.

Writing a good executive summary isn’t as hard as you may think. It should be considered as your sales pitch for your business plan; in other words, the way that you will get investors to part with their hard-earned money and invest in your business. Therefore, it is vital that you try to keep it concise – explain who you are and what your business is but don’t try to detail everything that is in the business plan in the executive summary. A good executive summary gives enough detail for the investors to be interested and if they want to know more, look at your business plan.

It is not only vital that you keep the summary concise and detailed but also, try to keep it simple. You don’t need to try to make your business sound bigger than it is or try and to make your field of expertise sound as if it is more complicated than any regular human being could understand. Investors want to know what your company is about in the most concise, easy to understand way. A bad executive summary spends far much too time on things that are irrelevant and that isn’t how you should write an executive summary.

Another aspect that bad executive summaries miss is organisation. Organisation of your executive summary is important because if it is disorganised or looks as if not enough thought has been put into it, then investors aren’t likely to look at your whole business plan and decide whether to invest in your company or not. You should make sure that you organise it in a logical, straightforward way. You need to make sure that prospective investors are straight away attracted to the most important selling point before leading them onto to less important points. This way it ensures that investors understand not only the best potential selling points of your business but also that you are logical and organised and someone that it would be good to work with.

Making your executive summary stand out is just as important as making sure that it is written well and is easy to understand. Therefore, it is advisable that you follow these steps to makes sure that your executive summary is far and away the best for your field of expertise.

Keep to what you know. Don’t try to suggest or imply that your business will suddenly turn into a multinational overnight; focus on the information you have to hand, the facts about your company and build on from that. You must make sure that your executive summary is based in the factual and builds on that – otherwise your summary will simple come across as nothing but air and imagination.

Make sure that your summary and business plan work well together. Your executive summary is an integral part of your business plan, when presenting it for investors, so it is vital that both feel interlinked. This doesn’t mean that your executive summary should be filled with all the same information that your business plan should or vice versa. It means that they have to work as a conducive unit – the executive summary is like the blurb for a book; it gives the reader just enough information for them to understand the basic concepts of the product but not so much that they feel they know everything already. You must make sure that investors want to know more and want to read on. This will make it stand out from the vast sea of other executive summaries.

Try to use images if you can. An executive summary shouldn’t simply be bland words without any other visually appealing elements. This isn’t to say you should include cartoon clowns or something else that is irrelevant to it, simply for aesthetic reasons. The inclusion of one graph can help really bring it to life. Remember, you don’t need to cram too much into it – this isn’t your business plan but merely the means of investors getting to look at it. Your executive summary is key to selling your business and if you can try to make it as different as possible, whether through pictures, interconnectivity or factual analysis, then do it!

Language is vital to any executive summary. It is the main tool for ensuring that your executive summary is the most engaging and dynamic than any prospective investor could have. Therefore, it is vital to remember that

  • Persuasive language is the best. You’re trying to sell your business through it so make sure you try to bring out all your selling abilities. This doesn’t mean you need exaggerate about your business; simply that you need to demonstrate why investors should be as passionate about it as you are.
  • Don’t try to include tired clichés or worn out metaphors, they simply make it look as if you haven’t thought about it enough. You’re trying to sell something, not write a poem.
  • Make sure that your language is clear and concise. It must be as easy to understand for prospective investors as possible so that they have a good grasp of your company and will be interested in investing in it. If your language is confusing and seems to lack a point, then it likely does.
  • Don’t forget to edit, edit and edit again. For your executive summary to be as sleek and accessible as possible you must edit it until you get fed up of editing it. For every sentence you must ask why it is there, what purpose does it serve. Once you can reassure yourself that everything is there for a reason you are likely to be onto a winner. Editing is just as important as picking the right words to put in the first place – if you don’t make the most of the short time you have to convince a prospective investor that your business if for them then you are unlikely to succeed.

Making sure that your executive summary sells your business is tricky if you don’t know how. However, once you have gone through the tricks that are laid out in this article you should be set to convince any prospective investor to read your executive summary and then venture on to examining your business plan. To makes sure that it sells your business, you must endeavour to use the most persuasive language you can, you must make sure that it stands out from other summaries and is engaging and innovative.

You must make sure you know the difference between a good executive summary and a bad one. You must know what to include – such as your target market, where your business is based and what sort of reward investors will receive – and what not to include. You can’t throw everything into it because, but you must never forget about detail. Without detail it will look as if you don’t know the company that you’re trying to sell. Your executive summary must work in tandem with your business plan to ensure that you get the most out of both and make investors as passionate and engaged about your business as you are.

Writing an executive summary can be difficult. However, having followed the steps set out in this article I’m sure that you’ll know exactly how to write an executive summary. However, you may feel that you don’t have the time to write one to the standard that you feel your business requires. This shouldn’t be a problem as we offer a wide variety of writing services for your use, including executive summaries. We also provide services for essay writing, personal statements, letter writing and much more. So why not talk to us and find out how we can help you?

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