A business plan is the foundation of your business. Some entrepreneurs start a business without any plan at all! However, without a business plan — even a simple, one-page business plan — a busy entrepreneur will miss opportunities and be unable to face challenges when they arise.
Some people think that a business plan is useful only when seeking capital: a bank or investor would certainly be interested in reviewing a business plan in order to determine the viability of an investment. However, a business plan can also help an entrepreneur stay on track, as the plan can serve as a source document for product or service delivery, sales and marketing channels, and operational strategies.
“A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business,” notes the Small Business Association (SBA). “You’ll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run and grow your new business. It’s a way to think through the key elements of your business.” Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be daunting. An easy way to start is with just one page.
What Is a One-Page Business Plan?
The one-page business plan is a simplified version of a traditional business plan that considers all operational dimensions of a business. A traditional business plan might incorporate the following:
- Executive summary.
- Description of products and services.
- Background of founders and principals.
- Market and competitive analysis.
- Product development plans.
- Sales and marketing strategies.
- Operational, IT and human capital plans.
All of these cannot possibly fit into a single page. However, while a one-page plan may be significantly shorter, it still follows the structure of a standard business plan.
The good news is that the minimalism of a one-page business plan forces an entrepreneur to really think about the most important aspects of the business, such as anticipated revenues and costs. Additionally, a business owner can utilize the single-page plan and then elaborate on it to create a longer-form business plan at a later date.
8 Steps to Write Your One-Page Plan
Here are 8 steps to developing your one-page business plan. And yes, it is possible to make all of these fit on a single page.
1. Situation analysis or problem being solved
A description of the problem or need your customers have, along with a few pieces of market research that support your claim.
2. Your solution
Brief descriptions of your products or services that solve the problem.
3. Business model
How the business intends to make money and turn a profit, including both the prices you expect customers to pay and the fixed costs to develop and deliver those products.
4. Target market
Short profiles of your ideal customer and audience.
5. Competition and competitive advantage
A brief description of competitors, and any distinguishing characteristics of your products and services from the competition.
6. Management team
The management structure of the business, including titles, roles and responsibilities.
Key financial metrics, including profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet and any sales forecasts. Additional financial information should always be available upon request.
8. Funding Sought (Optional)
If you are using the plan to seek funding, include your needs here.
Writing your business plan on one page will be an extremely useful tool that provides you with a better definition of your business. Though only one page, the plan might even be the only business plan that you need to keep the business on track and even attract partners and funding.
Jake Wengroff writes about technology and financial services. A former technology reporter for CBS Radio, Jake covers such topics as security, mobility, e-commerce, and IoT.
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