But sometimes, new project members or executive stakeholders want a simplified view of your project. The best way to do that is with an executive summary. An executive summary is an overview of a document. Imagine it this way: if your high-level stakeholders were to only read your executive summary, would they have all of the information they need to succeed?
Whether you've put together a business plan or an investment proposal, you're going to need an executive summary to preface your report. The summary should include the major details of your report, but it's important not to bore the reader with minutiae. Save the analysis, charts, numbers, and glowing reviews for the report itself. This is the time to grab your reader's attention and let the person know what it is you do and why he or she should read the rest of your business plan or proposal. The executive summary is also an important way for you, as the entrepreneur, to determine which aspects of your company have the clearest selling points, and which aspects may require a bit more explanation. Akira Hirai, founder and CEO of Phoenix-based Cayenne Consulting, a firm that helps entrepreneurs develop business plans and financial forecasts, says the process of distilling the essence of your business down to a page forces you to think hard, decide what's important, and discard things that aren't essential to the story line.
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It's always easier to write something if you can read an example first, so here's an executive summary example that you can use as a model for your own business plan's executive summary. For instructions and tips on how to write an executive summary for your own business plan, see Writing the Executive Summary of the Business Plan , part of the Writing a Business Plan series. The executive summary goes near the beginning of the plan but is written last.