How to Create the Effective Executive Summary

Aaron Vick - How to Create the Effective Executive Summary

Creating an effective executive summary is an important part of any business. Read this article for tips on creating an effective executive summary.

As an entrepreneur, you’re always looking for ways to get your point across faster, better, and with more enthusiasm.

In the fast-paced world of startups, where 90% of all newly launched projects fail, you know that you don’t have a minute to lose. That’s why it’s so important to write the effective executive summary you need to close more deals, prove your authority and expertise, and generate more interest in your company.

But how do you actually pull it off?

Read on to find out.

Wait, What’s An Executive Summary Again?

Of course, before I get started on sharing some of my top tips for writing the effective executive summary you need to blow away the competition, I first need to make sure you’re clear on what exactly an executive summary is.

In a nutshell, it’s a quick explanation and, well, summary of the information and findings contained in the business document you’re presenting or sharing. It’s not a time to introduce yourself, your business plan, or talk about anything other than the nitty-gritty of your business document.

Your executive summary should be on the first page of the report or document, and you should think of it as the equivalent of your elevator pitch. VC’s, other investors, and anyone else you share the document with won’t always have time to read the whole thing.

If someone read your executive summary without reading the whole business document, would they still have a firm understanding of the overall point, goal, and data it contains?

Read on to make sure you write it so that they would.

How To Write The Effective Executive Summary You Need

With startup funding strategies changing at lightning speed, your business documents and plans need to reel potential investors in or get people interested as quickly as possible.

You should think of your executive summary as the ultimate “hook.”

In other words, it needs to make people actually want to read more.

Know What Actually Matters

When you’re writing your executive summary, you need to be sure you’ve included the most essential things about the report or business plan in it.

These usually include:

  • A one-sentence company “mission statement”
  • The problem the document identifies
  • The data points examined/found in the document
  • The method used to collect that data
  • Solutions to the problem the document will outline
  • Any partnerships your company has
  • Your current client volume
  • A description of the target market for the document/your brand

This is a great starting point for writing your executive summary. Now, let’s move onto talking about the language and the length.

Length And Language

It can be tough for me to provide a hard-and-fast rule regarding the appropriate length for the effective executive summary you’re planning to write.

However, the length should make sense when compared to the length of the overall document. For example, if you’re writing an executive summary of a forty-five-page business plan, it makes sense for your executive summary to be anywhere from two to three pages long.

However, if you’re sharing a five-page report on last season’s earnings?

A two-page executive summary is way too much — instead, try to keep things to half a page.

Now, let’s briefly discuss the importance of using persuasive language when writing your executive summary. There are lots of different ways — both subtle and outright — that you can persuade someone of something.

You may choose to include a few real-world examples in your executive summary. You may want to use hard data in charts and graphs to offer concrete proof of the claims you’re making. Or, you may want to show off your experience and education as a way to appear trustworthy and authoritative to the person reading the executive summary.

In order to be persuasive, you need to keep things short and sweet. No one is going to buy into a claim that feels like an over justification, and no one wants to feel like they’re being talked down to, either.

To that end…

Look For Things To Cut

So, you’ve written what you think is an effective executive summary that will pique the interest of readers from all kinds of industries.

You’re ready to send it out into the world, right?


Proofreading your entire business document is, of course, essential. However, proofreading and ruthlessly looking for things to cut out of your executive summary is even more important.

Are you using extra adjectives that don’t enhance the summary in any way? Cut ’em.

What about detailed data points and extraneous information about the project’s background. Get rid of all that exposition, too.

Are you repeating the same idea in different wording a few times throughout the executive summary? That’s a great way to make readers lose interest in the document and confidence in your business — fast.

If you’re not sure what should stay and what should go, then enlist a trusted friend/coworker — or even a few of them — to help you.

Need More Help Writing Your Business Documents?

Thanks to this post, you now know exactly what it takes to write the effective executive summary that will win you more investors, and establish you as a major player on the startup scene.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that an executive summary is just one of the many aspects of a business document that you absolutely have to nail if you want to make it in the startup world.

You’ll also need to know how to write outreach emails, financial plans, employee training documents, persuasive pitches, marketing plans, and even speeches that make you the most unforgettable person in the room.

It’s a lot to remember — let me help to make it easier for you.

Let’s connect now so that together, we can start creating a dynamic and epic plan for your startup.