one page business plan

one page business plan

Writing a One-Page Business Plan

1. Introduction

The one-page plan allows you to prepare a concise overview of what you are promoting, the place you intend to go, and the way you plan to get there. It can be shared with potential patrons, companions, suppliers, or employees. Writing a one-page plan is not an easy exercise. It will force you to take an extended, hard look at your company and help you identify inconsistencies, product/service gaps, unfocused strategy, and lack of vision. It is not possible to do this in a 7-15 slide PowerPoint, although I continue to inquire how that’s possible, in the event you’d like to spend 20+ hours working together. Primarily, it will drive you to think before acting and should save time in the long run. One page means not overwhelming with details, long explanations, and ideas. If it can’t fit on one page, then it shouldn’t fit into the plan. You could include appendix information with general support of topics. Keep visuals to a relative minimum but definitely use a SWOT for the company and an organization chart. After writing the plan, it needs to be reviewed by all company stakeholders. Those involved can have additions or modifications, and it should affect changes in company strategy and vision. This plan will evolve with time as your company grows and changes. It is a “living” document and should be considered an essential internal company tool.

2. Defining Your Business

Why does this business exist? Everyone has a motivation for being in business for themselves. Whether it is to make more money, to have more freedom, or to work towards a specific goal. Define what your motivation is in starting this business.

What do you want to achieve in the next year, and in the next 5 years? Determine what the tipping point will be. The tipping point is the point at which the business will run smoothly with little to no assistance from you. Your business could be at its tipping point when it hits 100 clients at 25 hours a week, exceeding $1500/month.

What is the purpose of your business? If the business is to have a small number of clients each paying a high rate for a service, then state that. Don’t say that you are looking to expand to a large company unless that is your specific goal.

This section defines your business and its present condition. Answer the following questions. Keep it simple; your business plan should be easy to understand and implement.

3. Developing a Marketing Strategy

If you are unsure of what are the best opportunities that are open to you it may be useful to undertake a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of your organization or even that of your competitor. This can help you match your resources to the competitive environment. Find out what your strengths enable you to do in the market that others cannot. And make sure that your objective and subsequent action is congruent with what you are capable of doing. It is all well and good identifying an attractive market but if you need to invest time and money in putting right a weakness in some other aspect it may not be worth it.

The first thing to do is define your objective. Think in terms of where you want your business to be in the future and the criteria that will tell you have achieved it. Note though that objectives can be vague or specific, qualitative or quantitative, and there are some objectives that are not compatible with each other. Be realistic, you are not likely to capture 50% of the market in one year. An objective should also be measurable, you need to know if you have met it. And be precise, a 10% increase in sales is not the same as a 10% increase in the sales of a particular product to a particular market.

A marketing strategy is the underpinning of a business plan. It offers broad principles that will guide the development of a marketing plan. This section should not be a rehash of the history of your company or a statement of your company’s general mission. It should be a careful analysis of an aspect of the field of your choice and the marketing mix that will enable you to best proceed in that field.

4. Creating Financial Projections

Keep it simple! Initially, avoid getting too caught up in using a complex system. Make sure any method used can be easily understood by anyone who will read the plan. This may seem unimportant, but if lenders and investors cannot grasp the method used to make financial estimates, they are significantly less likely to take your proposal seriously, crippling your chance to get funding.

– Intuitive estimates – in this scheme, you are using intuition to guess sales, profits, etc. – Comparable estimates – using this method, you compare sales of similar businesses to yours and using them as a basis for your projections. – Building-block estimates – this method is the most meticulous. You must first create a list of products and/or services you plan to offer. From here, you develop a pricing strategy and project sales volumes for those items. This method is most effective when you have a well-developed business strategy.

Financial projections provide a picture of your company’s future financial performance. You will be required to outline a yearly projection for sales, profits, and cash flow. Depending on the sophistication of your business, you will need the following items:

5. Implementing and Evaluating Your Plan

When evaluating your plan, it is important to compare your projects or data against what was predicted in the plan. So it is important to have measurable data. If there was no variance, then a control limit assessment will need to be done as the plan may be too conservative. If you have met your expectations and the target has been reached, you will need to identify this and make sure it is sustained. If things didn’t go as planned, and the target was not reached, you will need to take corrective action and in some cases, a change in the entire plan may be considered. This doesn’t mean your plan has been a failure, and in many cases, what you have done already will be positive for your long-term vision. Always keep in mind your mission and vision, making changes which are aligned to them.

Divide your plan into a yearly or monthly schedule. This will make it easier to manage and carry out your plan. Be sure to assign tasks to people who can carry them out. Though you may be able to do everything, it might be more efficient for you to assign tasks to others. This can also help free up time for you to handle other strategic areas. A key point of implementation is trying to monitor and direct organizational resources toward areas that need improvement or further development. You should look back at your mission and vision to direct the resources to the areas that support your mission and vision. Always keep the customer in mind too.

To be effective, the plan you have written will need to be implemented. Implementing your business plan is where all your hard work in researching, planning, and brainstorming will pay off. During implementation, you will be able to put your visions, mission, and goals into practice. It is where you take your plan from paper and start doing something concrete and tangible. You will also be able to evaluate your business plan or strategy with these effects. With proper evaluation, the end result can be a success. Failure to implement and evaluate can be very costly, and in some extreme cases, it may even lead to business failure for small businesses or in an extreme case for a large business.

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