Executive Summary Example for an Effective Business Plan

Updated December 13, 2022
woman making a business presentation
    woman making a business presentation
    Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images
    Used under Getty Images license

An executive summary lets readers know what your business plan is all about. Before they read through your reports, data, and projections, prospective investors or partners can learn more about the company and its place in the market. A well-written executive summary can transform a business plan into reality.

Elements of an Executive Summary

Effective executive summaries for business plans convince potential investors that the company is viable. Business writing is different from academic writing, so be sure that you know the difference. The executive summary should be no longer than one or two pages.

It should include:

  • The company’s mission statement and/or vision statement
  • Information about the company’s owners
  • An outline of your business model
  • The target market
  • The competition and what sets you apart
  • Your sales strategies and campaigns
  • The company’s current financial status, goals, projections (over at least three years), and needs
  • An implementation plan for bringing the business into the real world
  • Your reader’s next action

The order of your executive summary should match the order of the rest of your business plan. If you are planning on manufacturing products, include a Products and Services section in the summary as well. Provide as much information as possible in a concise, organized document.


Example of a Startup Executive Summary

The best startup executive summary example is friendly yet formal. It invites the reader to become involved in a very exciting opportunity. Here is an example of an executive summary for a neighborhood tutoring center.


The mission of Gradvisors is to empower the next generation of students with the next generation of teachers.


Gradvisors began as a campus tutoring service at Henley High School. It was founded by Sarah McKellan and Rogelio Cruz after they completed their teaching credentials at the University of Washington. Gradvisors moved off campus and into their first location at 1874 Andersen Road on September 16 of this year. Here, Gradvisors has been able to serve the greater Santa Fe community.

The Problem

Although the country’s average high school graduation rate has risen to 84% in the last few years, Sante Fe schools continue to fall. According to USA Today, Santa Fe’s graduation rate is 68.6%, with only 41.7% of adults holding a high school degree. Additionally, the crime rate in Santa Fe has increased by 15.47% in the last year. Currently, there are only two places for middle and high schools to work on their homework after school: the YMCA and the Boys and Girls’ Clubs, neither of which employ full-time tutors.

The Solution

Gradvisors provides a place for low-performing students to work on their homework after school. The tutors at Gradvisors are students who have graduated from local schools and are currently in their college or post-graduate studies. By placing recent graduates in tutoring positions, Gradvisors aspires to begin a cycle of mentorship that improves Santa Fe’s graduation rates overall.

Our Target Market

Gradvisors hopes to serve middle and high schoolers who are underperforming in school, particularly those who have had encounters with law enforcement. Ideally, these students will bring their friends to the center as well. The ultimate goal is to tutor these students through graduation and bring them back as mentor tutors.

Keys to Success

Gradvisors is new to the Santa Fe community, but we have several advantages that are sure to lead to success.

  • Central location to three public high schools and two middle schools
  • Social media marketing campaign
  • Partnership with local school administration for student recommendations
  • Investments from Santa Fe businesses and colleges
  • Tutors earn work experience and professional hours rather than financial compensation, lowering overhead costs
  • Limited competition in the area

Steps Forward

Thanks to several grants and investments, Gradvisors has been able to serve 56 students in the last school year. We hope to reach more students and expand our tutor base in the coming year. In three years’ time, we plan to meet our costs with additional funding from investments and minimal subscription costs from students.

Opportunities for Investment

Currently, Gradvisors is looking for investment partners from Santa Fe business owners who care about the future of our city. We expect both a financial and educational return on investment within the calendar year. Investing in the future of a child is, ultimately, the greatest investment of all.

Want to write an executive summary with the same outline? Click below to use a printable template that will format the summary of your business plan. You can also take a look at even more examples of real-world executive summaries.

full executive summary example

Executive summary

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Tips for Writing an Executive Summary

Need some pointers for writing your own executive summary? You’re more ready than you think. Use your business expertise and passion as your guide, with the following tips in mind:

  • Use positive, upbeat language. The tone should be professional but optimistic.
  • Don’t include too many details. The executive summary introduces the rest of your business plan, which should be very detailed. Keep the summary itself concise.
  • Keep background information minimal. It may be vital for you, but readers are more interested in where you’re going.
  • Modify the summary based on your audience. An executive summary for a potential business partner will be different than one written to obtain a loan.
  • Break up the text. Make the page readable for your audience with clear headings and shorter paragraphs.
  • Eliminate buzzwords and jargon. Keep the writing clean and clear, using active voice and editing out unnecessary words.
  • Avoid repetition. Don’t restate anything verbatim from your executive summary in your business plan.
  • Let someone else proofread the document. You may think that you’re the only person who can describe your project perfectly, but another set of eyes can determine what should stay and what can go.
  • Write the summary after you write the rest of the business plan. That way, you know the information matches up and you’re not missing anything important.

An executive summary gets readers to turn the page. However, only a full business plan will get them to invest, partner, or give you a loan. Be sure that the rest of your plan is as thorough as your summary promises.


More Business Resources

Now that your business is ready to show the world, it’s time to get writing! If you’d like more tips on the rest of your plan, check out these strategies for writing a great proposal. You can also view dynamic examples of purpose statements to craft the perfect executive summary.