Featured: How to Write a 1 Page Business Plan

Discussion in 'Articles & Tutorials' started by cjarrodsnow, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. cjarrodsnow

    cjarrodsnow
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    For many entrepreneurs, writing a business plan is a time consuming task that will interfere with productivity and focus; we can’t make things happen and build our business if we’re doing research and spending hours writing a 40 page business plan! Fortunately, a one page business plan is becoming widely accepted as a result of the old adage, “time is money.” Venture capital firms receive hundreds of business plans and proposals, so they want snappy. Grab their attention, explain your business and be done. The problem is; how do you cram a 40 page business plan into 1 well thought out snap shot that encompasses everything your business is about? While it’s not easy, at least it takes less time than writing 40 pages. Keep in mind, the purpose of a one page business plan is to solicit initial interest from investors; a full business plan will eventually be needed as a guide for you as a business owner, as well as future investment propositions.

    To begin with, a one page business plan is virtually an executive summary or an outline of what your elevator pitch would be. If you aren’t familiar with an elevator pitch, imagine getting on an elevator with a Venture Capital representative. You have 10 floors, or roughly 3 minutes, to wow the VC rep and make them want to hear more. With a one page plan, be short, concise, and articulate and make sure every single word is productive. You will want to write it, take a few days off and then make edits, then have people you know read it and critique. Additionally, set aside your pride and be willing to accept constructive criticism.

    What goes into a 1 page business plan?

    The first thing you want to address is the problem your customers face and how you intend to resolve this issue. Remember that you are selling your business idea, so be a salesman (or woman). When you state the problem don’t be afraid to make it a little dramatic; capture the reader’s attention and focus on their empathy, or at least convey your passion for the need you are going to fulfill. In short, emotions can be a powerful tool; use it to your advantage… but don’t abuse it, no one likes to be sold and overdoing it can get your plan tossed in the recycle bin.

    The next segment should explain your business model; how will your product/service add value to the needs of your consumers and how will you generate revenues to create profits. In this section you will also want to briefly discuss how you will market your product/service and identify your target market. Your target market is the specific customer you intend to generate sales from. Your specific customer is generally based on demographic information (a geographic location, income level, age group, education level, etc.). Finally, this section will state your competitive advantage; what will make your business succeed. You may want to say something like, “Our Company sees the online market for snow-cone makers as underserved and we intend to offer overnight delivery to snow-cone stands. There are currently no companies online that offer this service and there are ten million global companies that need this product.”

    In looking at the above quote, all four components are addressed in 2 sentences. Our value adding activity is offering overnight delivery of snow-cone makers. Our target market is snow-cone stands. Our competitive advantage is, again, overnight delivery; there are currently no companies offering this service with 10 million companies in need. While this is fictitious and completely arbitrary, it illustrates brief, articulate and to the point. In this section, try to convey passion and enthusiasm for the business you are entering. The power of passion is contagious!

    This next paragraph should discuss the management team; the primary decision makers of the company to be. Discuss who they are, years of experience, success in their field of profession and what they will do for the company. This section illustrates to the reader that you have experienced leadership that will guide the company to success. One thing to note here is if you, or a leader within the business, have 20 year of experience as a car mechanic and your business is going to sell fine arts, find a way to translate that experience into how it will be an asset that will foster growth for your fledgling company.

    The final section of your one page business plan will address key financial data for the company. This will require some pro forma financials so you have an idea of anticipated expenses and income, as well as when you expect to break even. Mention the cost of required major assets, as this will give investors something tangible, in the event recourse is necessary. If there are businesses that already exist within your industry, try to find out their real world numbers and reference them. A key to this area is to be as realistic as possible and as concrete as possible. Try not to let your optimism or excitement interfere with your financial projections. This section should end with what you are seeking financially. Let them know how much money you are investing, or how much backing you already have, and then ask for x dollars in addition to purchase x, y and z. Just like a bank, they want to know you have money invested as well- also called “skin in the game.” This indirectly tells them you believe in what you are doing so much that you are willing to risk everything you have, for this business.

    As a final note, if you cut and paste this article (minus this last note and the introduction of this article) into Word, you will notice it fits on 1 page. If a one page business plan can be explained in 1 page, have confidence that you can write an effective one page business plan! For more information on writing a business plan, or for explanations of various business concepts visit: www.Sample-BusinessPlan.com
     
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  2. Fergal

    Fergal
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    Very good article, thanks for sharing it with us cjarrodsnow. There are some great tips in it for anyone who wants to write a business plan. One suggestion I would make is that the one page business plan could benefit from including a paragraph on sales and marketing that outlines how you will promote your product or service and make sales to your customers.
     
  3. Barney

    Barney
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    That is a good article and well presented. We were told in college that it is harder to write a short book that a long one, because you have to decide on what to leave out. Would you only put in the basic points and when you have the interest of your customers you could go into more detail. We should also remember that a lot of business never turn out as they were first planned. A business plan will always need to be conntinuously altered to suit the changing environment and never set in stone.
     
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  4. ificallyoumine

    ificallyoumine
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    Thank you for this great article as I have plans on upcoming 2013 to open a new online business.
     
  5. scottmaria14

    scottmaria14
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    As a business plan covers a lot of matters, it is quite hard to structure it on a single page. I appreciate your effort as you have made the effort. When I contacted OGS Capital for my own, they also structured a precise one with the assistance that we need only the effective ideas and that should be more precise to implement. Thanks to OGS Capital…
     
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  6. DavidJhonson

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    This thread is very informative. A business plan is generally a note for few years’ strategy, but your attempt to place it on a single page is truly appreciable. I truly praise your expertise as every aspects of a planning has been embedded into the post. Being an owner of a small business firm I also required a precise and short planning and I found TS Business Plan. Their support and expertise has truly helped me to reach at the success point. Thanks for the conversation.
     
  7. bburkeconsulting

    bburkeconsulting
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    Very confused as to what you think you may do with a "1 page business plan" ---
    That's not even a white paper.
    A 1 page business plan sounds to me like putting a mission statement, a vision statement, and maybe one paragraph about financials on a page.
    To really get serious investors to consider ventures, I can't get less than about 4-5 sections. Not sure how this could be done on 1 page.
    Color me very skeptical.
     

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