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Are you at the point where you are thinking about why you should include an executive summary in your pitch deck?

Executive summaries have long been a critical part of starting a business and being successful at startup fundraising. How do they play a role in today’s modern fundraising efforts? Should you even have an executive summary slide in your pitch deck? If so, what should you include on it? What other alternative ways are there to deliver this information?

What Is An Executive Summary?

As the name suggests, an executive summary sums up your business in a much shorter brief than other long form documents.

It encapsulates your ideas and business in a very fast and easy to digest format. It is everything in a nutshell, without any of the fluff.

An executive summary is critical for presenting to those who are busy and pressed on time. Even more important for those who are used to this more traditional way of pitching and funding businesses. 

Often, this one document or slide will make or break everything. It will either get you deleted and banished, or it will make up investors minds to fund you, and just leave the details of how to structure that to be worked out. 

They have traditionally been the document commercial lenders and banks have looked for. As well as more traditional investors. It is what they are used to, get and like. So, even if you are using a very modern pitch deck, don’t overlook the importance and value of including an executive summary in this process. 

Just don’t confuse short or brief with being easy. Most startup founders find it far harder to create something short than to brain dump volumes of information and fluff into lengthy decks and business plans with many pages. It can be harder to be effective and concise. 

Which is perhaps why most founders fail at fundraising. It’s also why you would want to carefully understand how to include an executive summary in a pitch deck?

How To Send Your Executive Summary When Pitching Investors

Many modern pitch decks don’t include an executive summary slide. Many recommendations and slide templates don’t leave room for one. Especially not if you are doing a slick, short and stylish 10 or even 12 slide pitch deck. This is an important point when it comes down to why you should include an executive summary in your pitch deck.

It can already be a great struggle to condense everything to a short deck that including an executive summary slide may make that even far harder. Or you may feel that you really can’t present it well and attractively with everything boiled down to one slide.

With this in mind, and to still deliver on a traditional text style executive summary you may want to separate this information from your actual slide deck. You can include a traditional summary as a 1 to 3 page Microsoft Word document as an attachment in the email you send your deck in. 

Those who want to read it can. Or you can provide a link to it in a Google Drive folder that includes other accompanying documents, like your one page business plan, investor updates, and supporting data. Work out the best way to do this when figuring out how to include an executive summary in a pitch deck?

Creating An Executive Summary Slide For Your Pitch Deck

When you are raising Series A and later rounds and have much more information to share, and investor expectations of data are higher, then your pitch deck may be a little longer. It may be 16 to 20 pages to cram it all in. This can still be pretty lengthy and time consuming to get through for busy investors. 

When they are reviewing 100 or 200 decks before funding a single venture, they are super tight on time and are quick to dismiss any pitches that are slow and too drawn out, boring or uncatchy. 

You may avoid getting unfairly swiped to the trash pile by leading with an executive summary slide that shows all of the key data and highlights. If you nail this, they will dig in with the intent of wanting to learn more about you and wanting to fund you. So, how do you do it?

When tackling why you should include an executive summary in your pitch deck, keep in mind that you can accomplish this on one slide using eight icons and up to three bullets per icon. These will represent the most important slides and factors to investors and get their attention by showing you check the boxes they are looking for in an investment. It tells them the rest is worth reading. 

Keep in mind that in fundraising storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

Use these sections on your summary slide.

Context

  • The problem you are solving
  • The solution you are providing
  • The product you are creating or selling

Mission & Goals

  • What’s the big vision and mission
  • Where are you at
  • What is the goal

Market Size 

  • What is the space you are tackling
  • How big is the market
  • How much is it growing

Competitive Analysis

  • Who are your main competitors
  • What is your competitive advantage
  • How much better are you

Marketing Plan

  • What is the go to market plan
  • What are your customer acquisition costs
  • How is it working so far

Financial Plan

  • What are your unit economics
  • What are your sales forecasts
  • What are your profit forecasts

Timeline

  • When did you start
  • What have you achieved so far
  • What’s the next milestone

The Ask

  • How much are you raising
  • What terms are you offering
  • What will you use it for

Summary

To round off how to include an executive summary in a pitch deck, this section plays a very important role in funding a business. Nailing this can make all the difference in whether the rest of your deck is even seen or not. You may use a traditional style summary in conjunction with a modern pitch deck, or work it into your pitch deck to capture attention and interest.

You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.

Hopefully this post provided you with some perspective as you are looking into why you should include an executive summary in your pitch deck.

In addition on the video below I cover in detail how to create a pitch deck which you may find helpful.

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