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December 22, 2023

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What is an Executive Summary?: A Guide to How to Write an Effective Executive Summary

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An executive summary is a cruical step for any businesses to take. However, writing executive summaries can be challenging. This post will guide you in this proccess, with the Decktopus!

What's Inside?

An executive summary is a concise and tabloid document that is derived from a longer and comprehensive document. Intended for busy readers, the goal of an ideal executive summary is to deliver the main points, create a shared understanding, and convince the reader to read the full report.

executive summary

However, creating an executive summary can be challenging. As its name suggests, an executive summary should be short but should include enough information as well. Thus, most businesses, entrepreneurs, and employees use executive summary templates.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through what an executive summary is, how to write an executive summary, provide examples of executive summary and executive summary template. With Decktopus, you can easily compose an executive summary within a few seconds!

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary or management summary is the overview of a longer and more complicated report. Executive summaries include key points of the report, such as the purpose, major points, results, conclusion, practical implications, discussions, and recommendations mentioned in the report.

An executive summary can be created for many types of reports. 

You can create an executive summary of:

  • Business Plan
  • Investment Proposal
  • Project Proposal/ Plan
  • Research Review
  • Annual/ Monthly Report

The definition of an executive summary is based on the easiness and function of it. With an executive summary, higher-ups, department leaders, C-level executives, lenders, or supervisors can quickly review the concepts, make decisions, and create action plans.


What is the difference between executive summary vs. business plan?

All business plans include an executive summary at the beginning of the report. An executive summary is the most important part of the business plan. While reading the executive summary, the reader will decide whether the report is worth reading.

Thus, an executive summary should be intriguing and attention-grabbing.

A business plan is a roadmap for your business. This report consists of the company’s objectives, milestones, progress, and future plans. The report also includes how to meet these objectives and related strategies.

The revisions on the existing strategies and how to implement new strategies about management and marketing should also be included.

Components of a business plan can be listed as: 

  • Mission and Purpose
  • Company Description and Management
  • Products or Services Provided
  • Industry Analysis 
  • Target Market
  • Marketing Plan
  • Implementation Timeline
  • Financial Summary and Funding

These components are explained in detail in a business plan. 

All business plans include an executive summary. However, not all executive summaries belong to a business plan. 

As it can be understood, a business plan is a comprehensive report on many dimensions of the business. In contrast, an executive summary is the short version of the business plan, including the same headlines. An executive summary is added at the beginning of the business plan as an extensive outline or table of contents. 

What is the difference between executive summary vs. abstract?

Abstracts are similar to executive summaries. However, abstracts are more common in science and research. Typically, abstracts are prepared to inform rather than persuade.

An executive summary is an introduction but also a stand-alone document that can be presented separately. It is an informative opening statement for your business plan. But it can also be separated from the business plan to apply for funding or present to the investors.

Purpose of An Executive Summary

You may ask yourself why even write an executive summary. After all, you have already combined a longer report. However, an executive summary has many functions: 

Time saver: An executive summary is shorter and quicker to read than the whole report.

Outline: An executive summary will outline all the important parts of the document.

Clarity: Executive summaries highlight the key points. Thus allowing the reader to have a preliminary understanding of the subject before reading the whole report. 

Convince: An executive summary should be able to convince readers to read the report it is based on. After looking at your summary, an investor or stakeholder should be interested enough in your plan to read the whole report.

An executive summary is essential for communication inside a company, business, or organization. It is also useful for stakeholders and investors to take a look at the proposal on a larger scale before diving into it in more detail. 


Thus, an executive summary, also known as a speed read, will make you stand out from others. Everyone can create a long business plan. However, creating an executive summary will show your skills and knowledge.

An executive summary can be thought of as an elevator pitch. If you can give enough information in a short paper, then the audience will understand that you are truly grasping this subject.

How to Write an Executive Summary?

As mentioned, an executive summary should highlight the document's main topics. So, there are different types of executive summaries. However, an executive summary should include everything in the business plan or project proposal.

Generally, an exemplary summary includes: 

  • Introduction
  • Company Description
  • Need/ Problem
  • Product/ Services
  • Competition/ Market Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Resources
  • Financial Planning/ Funding and Budget
  • Timeline
  • Conclusion
  • Each main point should be explained in a short paragraph. An executive summary is usually one to two pages. It shouldn’t be longer than 1000 words. Of course, these are flexible! Depending on your content, you may create a longer or shorter summary. However, be careful that the order of the topics in the full report and the order of the topics in the executive summary are the same!

    1) Introduction: 

    A brief introduction for the purpose of the summary should be given. This short paragraph should include background information on the project or the plan being summarized.

    2) Company Description:

    The description of the company should include the name of the company, its location, and its mission. Also, you should add the management team, advisors, and the team working on the mentioned project. It is also a good idea to include a brief history of the company, to familiarize readers with previous works of the company.

    3) Need/ Problem:

    In this section, talk about the gap in the market. This part should identify what kind of need or problem your product will address. What policy problem are your services needed for, and why is this problem important enough to spend resources on. Describe the urgency and need for the solution of this problem in the market.

    4) Product/ Services:

    Explain what your product or service is. You should explain how this product will correspond or solve the existing problem in the market. You should give justification for your product as the unique solution for the problem and support this with research or feasibility studies. 

    5) Competition/ Market Analysis:

    In this part, you should identify the main competitors in the market. By analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, you can implement new strategies as well. You should describe the market size and growth opportunities present in this industry. 


    6) Marketing Plan:

    In this section, you should outline ley marketing strategies. Marketing strategies should be based on the target audience, marketing platforms, and channels. In addition, you can include pricing strategy in this part as well. Lastly, you can highlight how to measure the effectiveness of the marketing strategies. This can be changes in the number of users or products sold after implementing a marketing strategy. 

    7) Resources:

    You should be able to identify what resources you have now and what you need in the future. These include human capital (team members, advisors), physical resources (equipment, facilities), and technical resources (software, tools). Depending on your project, you may highlight some more than others. 

    8) Financial Planning/ Funding and Budget:

    In this part, you should answer the necessary budget for your project or business. Create a financial plan on how much financial support you need and how you plan to use these resources. In addition, mention your current budget, funding, and support if you have any on this business or project plan. Don’t forget to mention how readers will benefit from supporting this business plan.

    9) Timeline:

    In this part, give a time window for the completion of your project or business. You can give information on how long the service/ product creation will take when to apply specific marketing strategies, and how much time is needed to reach specific milestones. You can easily create a visually pleasing timeline with the timeline templates by Decktopus! 

    10) Conclusion:

    In this last section, you should end strongly with a few sentences. You should encourage readers to take a look at the longer business plan and invest in your project. It may be favorable to imply the value and potential favors of this project/ business. Call to action!

    Tips for Writing an Executive Summary

    Tips Application
    Review executive summary examples Before starting to form an executive summary, examine other summaries
    Outline Before starting, create an outline based on your own project. Our outline can be a starting point as well!
    Attend the tone of writing/language The writing tone should be active, professional, and simple.
    Use visuals If you can, visualize the information for more clarity. For example, use a timeline infographic for better understanding.
    Reread and revise After completing your summary, reread it! Look for typos and grammar mistakes. Keep the sentences short and concise.

    Here are other useful tips that are worth considering before finalizing your executive summary:

    How can Decktopus Help? 

    Decktopus is an AI-powered multi-functional tool that helps users create complicated forms of slides, graphs, charts, infographics, and many more. Though Decktopus is essentially a presentation tool, there are over 100+ templates that can be used for many different goals. 

    Decktopus AI

    This tool can be used by anyone: business owners, digital creators, educators, students, company workers, bloggers, and many more! There is no need for any experience in content creation! With the AI assistant provided by Decktopus, you can generate all types of content you need!

    Decktopus Executive Summary Maker

    Decktopus AI creates slides based on the information you have provided on your topic, the aim of the presentation, the audience, the duration of the presentation, and template choice.

    Decktopus has specific templates for creating executive summaries and project proposals. There are over 60+ templates that can be used for this specific purpose. With the help of AI, after answering the five questions, Decktopus AI will automatically create your much-needed executive summary!

    Decktopus AI

    Try Decktopus AI now!

    You can create a ready-to-present executive summary with just one click!

    decktopus ai

    You can choose from a wide range of templates based on your needs. Each template offers different opportunities. While some of them are more minimalistic, others are more aesthetically pleasing. Whatever template you choose, Decktopus will create a slide with graphs, logos, images, and relevant information! 


    You can make changes to the created slides as well! Decktopus offers a variety of functions, allowing easiness of changes afterward. You can change the colors on your template, create new graphs or charts, or reorganize existing slides.

    Decktopus AI

    Create a deck now!

    Here is a list of the wide range of features available in the Decktopus: 

    1) 100+ templates

    2) Chart Maker

    3) AI Image Generator

    4) PDF to Deck Import

    5) AI Assistant

    6) AI created Q&A Session Notes

    7) Rehearsal Mode

    8) Presentation Notes

    Try Decktopus for FREE! You can experience Decktopus and witness its abilities!

    Frequently Asked Questions


    1) How to use an executive summary template?

    In Decktopus, you can choose the executive summary template and leave the rest to the Decktopus AI. The AI will automatically create an executive summary for you! You can also find other formats and edit them as you please!

    2) Where can I find executive summary samples/ examples?

    There are many executive summary templates available online. However, all templates need adjustments to fit your best needs. Decktopus offers ready executive summary templates that are specifically created for your business. You can also visit Microsoft.

    3) How to create an executive summary slide?

    For creating any type of slide, Decktopus is the first choice! For your executive summary slides as well, Decktopus is ready to help. You can also refer to this website.

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