An executive summary is an overview. Its purpose is to summarize the key points of a document for its readers, saving them time and preparing them for the upcoming content.
Think of the executive summary as an advance organizer for the reader. Above all else, it must be clear and concise.
An executive summary is a critical part of a business plan where it serves the same purpose as in any other document. However, in this case, it also has to entice the reader to read the rest of the business plan.
This is why the executive summary is often called the most important part of the business plan. If it doesn’t capture the reader's attention, the business plan will be set aside unread.
Because it is an overview of the entire plan, it is common to write the executive summary last.
For instructions and tips on how to write one, see Writing the Executive Summary of the Business Plan, part of my Writing a Business Plan series. You may also want to read this Business Plan Executive Summary Example.
Common Misspellings: Exective summary, execitive summary, executive sumary.
Examples: See the Pet Grandma Executive Summary Example for an example of a business plan executive summary for a pet sitting business.