In the world today, businesses are springing up, seeing as everyone is seeking independence as well as job security.
Consequently, entrepreneurship has become the way forward, and everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon with little or no knowledge about business.
However, if you have a little knowledge of business, you will appreciate the vital role a business plan plays in the success of a business.
Although it is one thing for you to know its importance, it is yet another thing to create a feasible business plan.
In light of this, I have come up with a step by step process of writing a one-page business plan for you; but, before I proceed, let’s look at the importance of writing a business plan.
WHAT IS A BUSINESS PLAN?
A business plan is a roadmap or guide for your business, where you outline your goals and expectations as well as how to go about executing your projects and achieving your goals.
Erroneously, some people assume that a business plan has to be a complicated piece of document.
However, it is a simple document, and its complexity is based on the business in mind. Also, your business plan doesn’t have to be as long as 20-30 pages, a one-pager that includes all your goals and plans is enough to guide you.
Every business plan (especially a formal one) should have a summary, company overview, info about your products and services, marketing plan, milestones, your management team info, and financial plan. These make up the different sections of a business plan.
Admittedly, not every business requires a business model; however, if your company may consume money, time, and other resources, then you need a plan. Here are some reasons why you need a business plan.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN?
Having a business plan is beneficial, but writing it down guarantees a better result and has several advantages.
One thing you should note, however, is that your business plans are prone to change at any moment. A business plan is more than just a to-do checklist; it is dynamic as your goals and objectives may change as you progress.
When you start a business, a business plan could help you acquire extra capital when expanding in the long run.
Also, if you decide to sell, it makes transfer easier and seamless. Other reasons for writing down a business plan include:
- To check the feasibility of your business plan: Everything makes so much sense and looks good in your head until you have to bring it to life. Writing a business plan helps you to check how workable your plans are and how much you can achieve within a given time. In essence, your business plan acts as a safety net, should things not work out. When you write a business plan, and you find out that your ideas are not feasible, you would have saved a lot of money and time. Many times, business owners erroneously stop planning when they get to marketing analysis and competitive analysis. And as a result, they do not research properly to know their industry, prospective customers, and their competitors. However, when you write your plans, you get to see these factors and the best way to go about it.
- To get funding: Starting a business is usually capital intensive; thus, one would naturally expect financing from banks, investors, and other financial institutions. Also, already-existing companies would have plans for expansion, and this will attract extra costs that would typically be outsourced. Consequently, financial institutions and willing investors will ask to look through your business plans to see the company’s blueprint, operations, and delivery capacity. If you have an updated business plan, you have a better chance of securing funds for your company.
- To make your business planning effective and manageable: Business plans are dynamic and are subject to change. Thus, writing your ideas down will allow you to manage and review your plans effectively. Additionally, business plans act as a tool that will enable you to reassess your goals and make changes where necessary. These subsequent reviews will allow you to check what you are doing right or wrong and make changes where necessary.
- To gain investors: Investors are a massive part of businesses. Having an investor or the lack of investors can make or mar your business, respectively. Many business experts would advise you to get people to invest in your business, whether you are capable or not. Sourcing for investors will, therefore, require you to pitch your business effectively to banks and angel investors to encourage them to invest. Admittedly, a presentation may be gripping; however, it is easy and very possible to forget what was said during the pitch. Thus, you will need to give these prospective investors a copy of your business plan to pick apart and decide if it is worth their money.
- To establish benchmarks: Business plans act as a perfect benchmark tool that allows you to notice pitfalls, successes, and what you need to improve on. Consequently, you can check your plans and see the area your business exceeded your expectations. Also, it makes it understandable for you to understand what fell through and didn’t work. Admittedly, everyone wants their business to be active and to pull through successfully; however, it won’t be achievable if you do not confront the truths about your business. These truths can be garnered when you have a business plan that x-rays your business and allows you to be honest about the state of your business.
- To foster alignment: Every successful business has a team of workers who contribute in different capacities to the growth of the company. Writing a business plan allows you to show the blueprints and the different parts of the venture. Consequently, if a particular sector is lagging, you can see it and hold the person in charge responsible. Your business plans allow every team member to know their duties and how to execute them. When they are aware of their responsibilities, they will see the business and how to work together to achieve success. Also, writing your plans down will help you avoid problems with miscommunication and sending the wrong message across.
HOW TO WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN ON ONE PAGE
More often than not, business plans could be complicated and lengthy; as a result of this, many people are discouraged about writing one.
However, writing a one-page business plan could be useful as it makes you think about your business critically to get the best practice that will guarantee success.
A one-pager may sound simple; however, it has its benefits that a standard business plan does not have. Some of these benefits include:
- A one-page business plan acts as a pitch document for business.
- It makes you condense your business plans to explain yourself accurately.
- One-page business plans allow prospective partners and investors to understand your business idea quickly.
- It passes a concise message and grabs the attention of your audience while spurring them to action.
- A one-page business plan allows you to present your ideas to the right people on a single sheet of paper, a copy and paste email or one PowerPoint slide.
There is little or no difference between a one-page plan and a standard plan as it has similar structures.
However, the real difference is that some aspects have been omitted or shortened.
Here are some elements of a standard business plan that you should add to your one-page project.
- Market Analysis
- Competitive Analysis
- Products and Services
- Marketing and Sales
The summary of your business plan in a standard plan consists of a detailed description of your business and its concept, as well as your current situation and other aspects.
However, when you are writing a one-page business plan, you must be precise and detailed. The summary generally consists of:
- Business concept
- The Current situation
- The key success factors
- Your Financial situation/needs
Admittedly, if you should give a succinct description of every aspect, it would go beyond one page. Thus, when writing a one-pager, then you have to write one or two sentences about ONE of the elements stated above.
Your choice is, however, dependent on the particular area that suits your situation. For instance, if you are creating a pitch for investors, you will want to throw more light on your achievements or what you feel is most impressive.
If you have a team of capable resource persons on ground, but you need money to start, then you should use your capability and collective expertise as a reason for investment. Show the investors what your critical success factors are and how effective you feel it is.
Additionally, if you are reviewing a previous business plan, then you should focus on things you want to do differently to generate revenue and create value for your audience.
Although if you are structuring a private plan, then you should focus on the current situation that needs attention and change.
A standard business plan will move from the summary to a “Vision” aspect, but one-pager moves from summary to market analysis.
When writing a standard business plan, a macro market analysis is necessary; however, a one-pager just requires your particular market niche.
Here are some things that you should touch in this segment:
- Primary target market
- Customers in the target market
- Customer needs in your target market
Always have in mind that the more specific your target market is, the easier it will be to break ground. Additionally, you need to outline the needs of your customers in your target market so that you can serve them better.
Also, you should state how you plan to set your products and services apart from other similar competitors. You should, however, bear in mind that the price is hardly a differentiator as most people don’t mind the prices of things provided, they are getting value for their money.
In your one-page business plan, it is vital to acknowledge your competitors as it will help you to plan accordingly. You should write two or three sentences about these aspects:
- Competitive products/services.
- Threats and risks
If you conduct a competitive analysis accurately, you will be able to know how to serve your audience adequately. You have to know the most competitive product and service and analyze their operations.
Also, you need to know where your products and services will thrive best as well as where you will face the most threat.
Answer these questions truthfully and lay it plain on your one-page business plan. Additionally, keep these answers short and concise.
A business plan is not complete until you have a set of strategies. Admittedly, it is a bit difficult to state your strategy on one page clearly; however, you should have a few sentences on the following:
- Key competitive capabilities
- Key competitive weaknesses
In this case, it may be difficult to compress your business strategy into a few sentences, it is, however, possible and beneficial as you have a precise step-by-step procedure. You should analyze what will make your business stand out from your competitors.
Breaking down your strategy into a few sentences will give you a clearer picture of what you ought to be doing and if your plans make sense. Additionally, you have to focus on what matters to your audience.
Consequently, you have to be succinct, and if it isn’t clear enough, you have to do it again until your team of workers easily understands it.
Products and Services
This is the crux of the whole business plan and yet another sensitive part of your one-pager. Since you do not have the luxury of writing chapters in your business plan, you should have about a sentence or two on:
- The positioning of products and services
- Competitive evaluation of products and services.
In this aspect, you want to avoid an overly detailed description and opt for differentiation (a combination of the positioning and competitive evaluation of the products and services).
Hence, you need to state what you are bringing to your audience that your competitors are not providing.
Marketing and Sales
This section should have plans on how you want to market your products and services and sell them to your audience. To this end, you should write on the following:
- Marketing strategy
- Sales tactics
When considering which of these two to write about, you should go for the one you feel is stronger. If you have a winning marketing strategy, then state it in one or two sentences. Also, if your sales tactics are one you are confident about, then, by all means, write it down.
However, when writing your one-pager, you need to be disciplined so you would only write what is necessary. Also, remember to choose only one marketing or sales strategy that will be most effective.
Even if your strategy has a multifaceted approach, you should endeavor to highlight the vital points that will produce the best results.
Whether its publicity, door-to-door marketing, or online marketing, you need to choose one. Describe what you will do and how it will generate revenue.
This is also a vast aspect of a standard business plan. It is usually made up of:
- Key personnel
- Structure of the Organizational
- The plan for Human resources
- Product service delivery
- Customer service and support
A one-page business plan will incorporate ONE or TWO of the aspects outlined above. An in-depth study will show that some of these business operations may be obvious; thus, the key to writing this is to choose what will give you an advantage over your competitors.
This operation aspect could be your competent employees, outstanding customer service, or your trendy facility.
Pick just one or two of your strengths and play on it. Just ensure that it is capable of making you stand out amongst your competitors.
Additionally, you could be talking to a prospective investor about a need that is slowing your operations down. At this point, you could include that need in your one-pager; especially, if it is a piece of essential equipment.
This is yet another vital part of a business plan. However, as crucial as it is, you should focus on the following:
- Profit and loss projection
- Starting balance sheet
- Cash flow projection.
- Balance sheet projection
Admittedly, the financial aspect of every business could take more than one page if it is detailed. This could even be more if you are talking with a prospective investor.
However, in the case of a one-pager, you should keep it short and concise. The secret is to know the details just in case you are asked to back your statements up.
You should highlight your profit and loss, which will include your gross sales, profit margin, expenses, and profit. The majority of what you include in this sector will be based on the situation of your business.
Although your one-pager may be detailed, it is still advisable to bring other documents to back it up.
Documents such as cash flow information, balance sheet, and a report showing your selling, general and administrative expenses should be prepared just in case inquiries are made.
A one-page business plan is easy to pull off, but it is as effective as the standard business plan.
Nobody wants to be burdened with a 10-chapter business plan that could be boring and may end up being complicated.
You can spur your employees on with a one-page business plan review, as it is easy to understand, and it outlines the strategy and expectations.
When you write a one-page business plan, you can easily edit it to add or remove any part that doesn’t work.
Additionally, with a one-page business plan, you can attract angel investors and get grants from financial institutions.
How to Write a One-Page Business Plan