You’re not alone if you’ve been putting off writing your business plan. Traditional business plans can appear to be a daunting task, and many entrepreneurs avoid them for this reason.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Starting with just one page is a simple way to get started.
The one-page business plan is a condensed version of traditional operational plans that concentrates on your company’s most important aspects. It follows the structure of a standard business plan template and serves as a beefed-up pitch document, despite being a shorter business plan.
Between a single-page business plan, a Lean Business Plan, and a good executive summary, there isn’t much of a difference.
The only real difference is that a single-page plan must fit entirely on one page in a font that most people can read (11 or 12 pt type). A traditional executive summary can be two or three pages long, with full sentences rather than bullets, whereas a Lean Plan can be slightly longer but still use summaries and bullet points.
Starting with a one-page plan, on the other hand, provides you with a minimal document from which to build a longer-form business plan, making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections.
There are numerous reasons why having a business plan is critical to your company’s success; for example, simply going through the process has been shown to help businesses grow faster. The one-page model has the same advantages as the two-page model, but there are a few more to consider.
Investors don’t have a lot of time to read, so a single page can convey the essence of your company quickly and succinctly.
Even if you’re not pitching to investors, having a one-page plan makes it easier to share. You can easily send it as an email attachment, include it in a PowerPoint presentation, or have it printed as a quick read for interested parties.
Trimming it down to the bare minimum is actually a good exercise in itself, as it forces you to eliminate unnecessary words and communicate your business idea clearly and concisely.
We’ve developed a formula at B plans to help you quickly gather all of the critical information you’ll need to define your company’s strategy.
This is sometimes referred to as a “business model canvas,” but it’s the same thing. Here are the eight sections that must be included in your one-page business plan.
Because this is a short business plan model, you won’t be able to include long paragraphs of information. To ensure that you stay on one page, limit each section to 1-2 sentences or 3-4 bullet points. It’s always easier to add more later than it is to cut out long sections.
A description of the problem or need that your customers have, as well as any supporting data.
Your product or service, as well as how it addresses the issue
How you’ll make money, including production and sales costs, as well as the price you’ll charge customers
What type of customer are you dealing with, and how many of them are there? Starting with a broad audience and narrowing down using the TAM, SAM, SOM model is the best way to define your ideal customer. This also provides investors with a clear picture of your thought process and knowledge of the larger consumer market.
What sets you apart from the competition, and how will this help you achieve greater success, customer loyalty, and other goals?
Your company’s management structure, including current field roles, ideal candidates, and management gaps.
Profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet, and sales forecast are all important financial metrics. This section may be the most difficult to condense, so stick to standard business ratios to make your point. If requested, you can always provide more detailed financial information.
Keep the funding you require in the forefront of your presentation to make it clear to investors what you require.
If you’re stuck for ideas or don’t know where to begin, I have a couple of suggestions for you.
To begin, you can follow a detailed, step-by-step set of instructions for creating a one-page business plan. It will take you less than an hour to complete.
Second, you can use our simple business plan template as a starting point by downloading it for free.
Don’t worry about the design of your plan; the content is far more important. Consider the message you’re attempting to convey. Too many companies focus on the presentation and graphical display of their plans when the most important aspect of it all is what they are saying and how they are saying it.
Don’t get me wrong: you don’t want to make a bad first impression. However, concentrate on the content because it is more important than anything else, and the visuals can be reviewed and revised later.
Because the executive summary is usually your first point of contact with investors, it will make a good first impression. This document will be used by investors to assess your communication skills as well as your ability to think critically about your business. You should devote more time to this section of your plan than to any other.
Writing your business plan on one page will be a very useful tool for quickly and easily refining your business strategy. It could even be all you need in terms of a business plan.
However, if you need to expand your one-page business plan into a more comprehensive plan that includes more information about your company and target market, you can use our step-by-step guide to writing a detailed business plan
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