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Why Your Executive Summary Should be 1 Page

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It’s been a golden rule for decades that the Executive Summary of your business plan should never be more than two pages.  Recently, 1 page has become much more common.  In reality, this is where it should be.  Business plans are long, drawn-out documents that can be painful to read.  They should contain all kinds of market and industry data. But the 1 page summary provides information to the reader on the basics of the concept and market opportunity.  And initially, that’s all they want.

If you are trying to raise capital, and many startups and growing companies are, it’s important to give the investor exactly what they want.  Investors, in many cases, have a number of projects they are being pitched on a regular basis.  They don’t want a long pitch initially.  They want something short, concise, and to-the-point so they can understand what you are doing and they can decide if they are interested.

The key here is to gain the initial interest.  Then, your full business plan, longer pitch, and other supporting materials become much more relevant.

So stop with the 5 page Executive Summary.  It doesn’t work if you’re trying to raise capital.  Save the detail for the rest of the plan.  Your potential investor (and eventually, your bank account) will thank you.

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