Thoughts on startups by investors that
fund them & entrepreneurs that run them

The Summary is Dead. Long Live the Short Video

First, I admit it: sometimes I exaggerate for effect. And I just did, with my title here. In truth, you still need those summaries.

By the time you’re here on you’ve probably figured out that the relationship between business plans and short summaries is something like between movie and movie trailer. Investors don’t read the whole plan if they didn’t like the summary.

The Summary is Dead. Long Live the Short VideoI deal with about 50 to 100 business plans annually, for angel investment and several grad-level business plan contests. I go through the summaries of every one, and the details of maybe two dozen or so.

And for me at least, those short video summaries are golden. Give me two minutes in video and describe the key points:

  • the problem
  • the solution
  • what’s unique and different about your business, and
  • how you’ll make us both money

… and I’m interested. Even five minutes I’ll put up with, but that’s approaching a tipping point, and it’s not a tip in the direction you want (yawn). Happily, the platform makes posting video as easy as it’s going to get. And for that matter, use YouTube or one of its competitors, keep it close in and private, and give your target audience a break.

Make it sizzle. Don’t tell me about you, tell me about your buyer. Tell me a very convincing storyPrimer on Process, People & Powerpoint Deck by Mark Suster. A slide deck, and a complete business plan — I want them to be there, yes. In fact, I might not even watch the video if they aren’t. But my favorite introduction is your video.


All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Gust.

Written by Tim Berry

user Tim Berry

Tim is the founder of Palo Alto Software and, the co-founder of Borland International, and the official business planning coach at He has been called the "Obi-wan Kenobe of business planning" and "The Father of Business Planning." He is a serial author of books and software on business planning.

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2 thoughts on “The Summary is Dead. Long Live the Short Video”

  1. Tony P says:

    There’s a little typo in your post…

    “I deal with about 50 hundred business plans annually…”

  2. Tim Berry says:

    Thanks Tony. Corrections are always welcome. Tim