Start Your Business Guide: Executive Summary Template

by / ⠀Startup Advice / October 1, 2010

Creating your executive summary means taking your idea and putting it into a nicely formatted, easy to read one page document that explains exactly what your business does and why it will succeed.  Think of this as your mini business plan.  It can come as a precursor to your full business plan, but in many cases the 50 page business plan is becoming outdated and investors simply want to see one page that screams success.  We’ve wasted tons of time creating dozens of business plans over the years, now we keep it simple in true Under30CEO style.  The one-pager is the future of business plans.

We’ve broken it for you to take the pain out of writing an enormous plan and wasting a ton of time when it’ll probably need to be changed soon anyway.  By now you’ve written your elevator pitch so use that as a basis to create this one page executive summary.

Mission: What is it that your business strives to do? This is the vision for your company. This should solve a problem.

Business Description:  Here you will describe your business and the products/services it provides.

Target Market: Explain the size of your target market, the demographics you are targeting and why they are the perfect market for your product/service.  Explain any trends in your market and how quickly it is growing.  Why does an investor want to invest in this sweet spot?

Competitive Advantage: Here you need to talk about why your company will succeed in this market, why people will buy your products/services over your competition.  Why will your business have the edge? What are the barriers to entry to entry? In other words, is it difficult for competition to pop up?

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Distribution and Operations: Specify how you will deliver your product or service to you customers.  Literally, how will you do this and who will be involved?  How will you scale this business and grow without the core management team being on site?  Is their shipping and where do you get your raw materials?   These are the core elements in your operations plans.  Where are you physically located and why?  Who sells and where is the point of sale?

Management: All executive summaries need to explain who is involved, what their roles will be and why these people will make a successful management team.  Include any relevant experience the team has any complimentary skills to make a complete, cohesive unit.

Financials: How much startup capital do you need, what will it be used for and where will you get it from?  What is your projected revenue for year 1?  When will you break even, meaning, when will your revenues meet your expenses and when will you make your money back?   Finally, explain how you will exit your business.  Are you going to sell it? Take the company public? Investors will get equity in your business and they’ll want to know when they can see return on their investment!

The real trick to your executive summary is providing as much information in as few words as possible.  You will give this to investors, new employees, mentors or your board of directors.  It’s a way to organize and evaluate your thoughts and you’ll want to re-read it dozens of times to make sure you are on track.  Most importantly your executive summary should scream: this is why I will succeed!

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About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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