Business proposals: writing an executive summary Writing translation jobs
Home More Articles Join as a Member! Post Your Job - Free! All Translation Agencies

Business proposals: writing an executive summary

Become a member of at just $12 per month (paid per year)

When writing a business proposal, the executive summary is arguably the most important component. You should write it as if the success of the entire proposal rests upon it.


* If your proposal is one of many (or if time is short), a poor executive summary may mean that it's tossed into the reject pile with the remainder unread.

* If many people are going to read your proposal, some may read the whole thing, but others may make their decision after reading the executive summary alone.

* Some personality types like to make quick decisions and see this (wisely or not) as being decisive. These types of people may deliberately choose to concentrate on the summary and only flick through the rest.

* People who lack the technical or financial knowledge to understand the body of your proposal may make a decision based on the executive summary.

* Readers might not be prepared to say "yes" to your proposal after reading just the executive summary, but they might be prepared to say "no" on this alone.

So given how important your executive summary is, it's important to set out some guidelines for writing it.


(Note: The "carrot and stick" metaphor refers to creating a situation where you are motivating someone with both a reward and a punishment.)

Your executive summary should briefly point out the severity of the problem facing the client, the dire consequences of not fixing it, the key features of your solution and the key benefits to the client.

By briefly covering these four things in the executive summary, we're setting up a highly effective carrot-and-stick scenario.
That is, we:

1. Show them the problem.

2. Tell (or remind) them how terrible it is.

3. Dangle a solution in front of them.

If you do it right, your executive summary can generate great enthusiasm for reading the rest of your proposal.

This is all material that you'll cover again in greater depth in the main body of the proposal, but you should write your executive summary as if the success of the whole proposal depends upon it. It may.


Your executive summary should be understandable by anyone. This is not the place to start sprouting financial and technical gibberish.

Keep in mind that people with widely varying backgrounds may read the executive summary (even if they don't read the rest of the proposal). Write it so they can all understand it. If they want more details, they'll look for them in the body of your report.


Every long proposal (i.e. anything with a title page and a table of contents) needs an executive summary. It's a critical component of your proposal.


It's called a summary for a reason. Don't try to trick people into reading more than they intended by being long winded. A reasonable rule of thumb is as follows:

Proposal Executive Summary
Up to 50 pages 1 to 2 pages
51 to 100 pages 2 or 3 pages
Over 100 pages 3 pages


You'll find many more helpful tips like these in Tim North's much applauded range of e-books. More information is available on his web site, and all books come with a money-back guarantee.

Submit your article!

Read more articles - free!

Read sense of life articles!

E-mail this article to your colleague!

Need more translation jobs? Click here!

Translation agencies are welcome to register here - Free!

Freelance translators are welcome to register here - Free!

Free Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter to receive news from us:

Recommend This Article
Read More Articles
Search Article Index
Read Sense of Life Articles
Submit Your Article
Obtain Translation Jobs
Visit Language Job Board
Post Your Translation Job!
Register Translation Agency
Submit Your Resume
Find Freelance Translators
Buy Database of Translators
Buy Database of Agencies
Obtain Blacklisted Agencies
Advertise Here
Use Free Translators
Use Free Dictionaries
Use Free Glossaries
Use Free Software
Vote in Polls for Translators
Read Testimonials
Read More Testimonials
Read Even More Testimonials
Read Yet More Testimonials
And More Testimonials!
Admire God's Creations

christianity portal
translation jobs


Copyright © 2003-2024 by
Legal Disclaimer
Site Map