You probably already know what a business plan is if you are considering starting a small business and you know you need one. A business plan in its simplest form describes your business, what products/services you will be offering, who your target audience is and how you intend to put your plan in place. Once upon a time it was believed that a good business plan had to be anywhere from 75 to 100 pages long – today there is a new way of thinking:  a One Page Business Plan® can be very successful.

The value in having a one page plan for you is it is less time consuming and fewer revisions needed as you hone your final version. It is also a valuable way for you to think critically about how and what your business is really about. Rather than being caught up in a long detailed plan, refining it down to a one page plan brings it into sharp focus. Writing a One Page Business Plan® is a lot less daunting than writing a traditional business plan so you are less likely to procrastinate.  

Before you start writing your One Page Business Plan® you will want to have a clear idea what problem you are going to solve for your customer. Define exactly who your target audience is and how are you going to reach them to let them know about your solution. How will you be marketing your business – will you need help with the  marketing? What makes your business different or better than your competitors? Be sure you do thorough research on your competitors so you know exactly how your business will fit into the market (as you have heard me say before, “What is your niche?”).

Will you need to hire a team or is your business something you will be doing by yourself? Determine the cost of your product/service and what your projected income will be. Taking the time to do the research so that you are thoroughly knowledgeable about the marketplace, your competition, realistic expectations for how much income you will generate, and exactly what problem you are going to solve will help you be prepared when you write your One Page Business Plan®,  Also you will be ready to explain your business concept to potential employees, investors and customers.

Reasons a Small Business Needs a One Page Business Plan®

  • If you are going to pitch your business plan to banks and investors.
  • Researching your target audience will help you understand who your competition is and where you will fit in the market.
  • Writing your Plan helps you identify the actions you will need to take to achieve the vision for your business.

The One Page Business Plan® Versus The Traditional Business Plan

  • Writing a One Page Business Plan® gives you no room to expound on how wonderful your business idea is – you are forced to pare it down and stick to the basics.
  • The One Page Business Plan® offers potential investors a quick understanding of your business idea.
  • It is easier to get a One Page Business Plan® in front of someone – you can send it as a Powerpoint or in an email.
  • A One Page Business Plan® grabs the reader’s attention quickly and they are more likely to take action than if they have to digest 100 pages.
  • It is your elevator pitch on steroids.

How to Structure a One Page Business Plan®

You will follow the same basic structure of a traditional Business Plan – of course you will need to omit some items and shorten others in the One Page Business Plan®. Your One Page Business Plan® is going to change as your company grows, so for all of the five key elements begin by focusing on the most immediate needs of your business.

The five key elements of Your Small Business One Page Business Plan®:

  1. Your Vision – where do you see yourself in the market – keep it short – one to five sentences.
  2. Your Mission – describes how you are going to bring your vision to life. This is a One Page Business Plan® so keep it brief being as descriptive as possible.
  3. Objectives – here you are going to support what your Vision and Mission are. In this section you can use a bullet point list of your goals for your business. Remember to have a time frame for your goals.
  4. Strategies – this is your opportunity to describe how you are going to accomplish your objectives – this can also be a simple list using bullet points because this is a One Page Business Plan® you do not need to go into a lot of detail.
  5. Action Plan – in this section you are going to write the steps you are going to take in order to achieve your goals or objectives. Focus on the most important steps to get your business started.

Writing a One Page Business Plan® is going to take planning and you may end up re-writing it a few times to make sure you have all of the pertinent information.  Just remember to keep everything as brief as possible while still being clear and descriptive. You want the reader to be able to understand what your business is going to do, and what steps you are going to put into place to bring your vision to reality.

After reading your One Page Business Plan® they should have a really clear picture of your vision, mission, objectives, strategies and action plan.  Imagine the satisfaction of looking at your One Page Business Plan® knowing all the hard work you put in to make it happen. Keep your One Page Business Plan® in a place that you can refer to it often as you start your small business. As you face the challenges of starting and growing your small business it will remind you of why you are doing this.

Very best wishes for your every success,