Not sure if you need a one-page business plan? Just imagine this scenario.
You and your family want to go to Greece next summer. When the day comes, you pack up your things, get into the family car/bus/airplane… and go there. Two weeks later you are well-rested, your phone is full of fun photos, and you can’t wait to get back to your home town and tell everybody about the great time you had.
Can you imagine doing this without any planning ahead of time? Do you even want to imagine how that vacation would look like?
Start with making a one-page plan
All businesses, big and small, start with an idea. But it’s only when that idea is put down on paper and formulated into a business plan that it gets a chance to become a reality.
We’ve put together a quick guide where we’ll walk you through writing a one-page business plan for your business.
In this article, you will learn:
- What a one-page business plan is
- Why it can be better than a traditional business plan
- What templates you can use to make a one-page business plan
- What information to include in each of the sections
- How to start developing your business idea and plan
So without further ado, let’s dive right into it!
What is a one-page business plan?
It’s a great tool for the earliest stages of your business because it helps you structure your thoughts and brainstorm your business ideas with partners, friends, and fellow entrepreneurs.
In a nutshell, your one-page business plan should explain:
- Who your customers are?
- What their problems are?
- How you can solve them?
- Who are your competitors?
- How can you set yourself apart?
- Who is on your team?
- How will you make money?
- What are the costs you anticipate?
Basically, it should cover all the same points as a full-length business plan, but in a condensed format.
The advantages over a 50-page business plan
It takes money to make money, or so the saying goes. That’s why many entrepreneurs find themselves in a position where they need to court investors or banks – or both.
But your potential financiers would like to know what’s going to happen with their money once they hand it over to you. More importantly, they want to know how you plan to turn their investment into more money.
That’s why you need a fully-fledged business plan.
Typically it is a rather long document that explains your value proposition, findings of your market research, describes your team, and your overall strategy for success. In other words, all the points we’ve covered in the previous section.
So, what’s the problem? An average business plan is 50 pages long and that’s often 49 pages too long for most people to read the first time they meet you.
That’s where the one-page business plan comes in – think of it as an elevator pitch.
It’s possible to boil everything down to a single page if you’re economical with words.
And if they like what they see, it will make them want to read the full-length version.
As we’ve just covered, a one-page business plan makes it more likely that investors or banks will give you the time of day. One page is a quicker read than a pamphlet — although you will need a comprehensive business plan eventually!
In the meantime, there are other advantages to a one-page business plan that will come in handy. So read on, if you’re still not convinced that you can work magic with a single page.
1. Condense your thoughts
It’s easy to get carried away when you write. A one-page business plan will force you to condense your thoughts and formulate them as clearly as possible.
2. See the big picture
You’ll cut out all the fluff when you’re limited to one page. That automatically makes you look at the big picture. And that will also help guide your decisions when you put your plan into action.
3. Build a team
Just like an elevator pitch, a solid one-page business plan will spark the interest of potential employees. Use it as a springboard to your recruitment efforts when you build your team.
Types of one-page business plans
You know why it’s a good idea to write a one-page business plan, and you could now open a blank Word document to get started. But why do that when there are ready-made templates?
Let’s have a look at the most popular one-page business plan templates below.
1. Business Model Canvas
Strategyzer is the team behind Business Model Canvas (BMC), which is a platform for new businesses. They have a lot of cool resources, including online courses, web apps, and free resources.
We’re interested in their one-page business plan template, which allows you to map existing business models, design new ones, and manage a portfolio of models.
2. Lean Canvas
Lean Canvas was created by Ash Maurya, and it represents an adaptation from the original Business Model Canvas, inspired by the book Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
What’s so special about this template is that it follows the problem-solution approach, and it’s more suitable for startups and entrepreneurs.
3. Idea Plan
Idea Plan is a one-page business plan template created by the IdeaBuddy team, and it is yet to gain popularity worldwide.
What makes this one-page business plan unique, and why we believe it’s more useful than the previous two one-page plan templates?
We’ve combined the best of both worlds!
The story starts from the inner, core blocks. There you first need to define the problem/solution and product/market fit, and then you are moving on to the remaining blocks. Another advantage of Idea Plan is that it is covering the external elements of your business model, like competitors and market conditions, which are not included in the BMC or Lean Canvas template.
Also, it has separate blocks for startup and running expenses, as well as one block dedicated to funding requirements, which is something that is missing on the other two canvasses.
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Sections Your Plan Should Have
Hopefully, you’ve picked a template that looks visually appealing and suits your specific needs. Now it’s time to fill it in with all the information we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post.
1. Market needs
You should describe the market needs right at the beginning of your business plan. Your entire business idea relies on solving a specific problem, so make sure you describe it clearly.
2. Business solution
Once you’ve described the problem, it’s time to explain how your business is going to solve it. Whether you want to design a product or provide a service, this is where you sell it to the world.
Chances are that you’re not the only one who wants to solve that particular problem. Make sure you analyze your direct and indirect competition so you know what you’re up against.
4. Target market
Who has the problem your business wants to solve? Where are they in the world, what do they do, and what are their greatest hopes and worst fears? Describe your ideal customer in detail.
5. Sales and marketing
It’s not enough to know who’s interested in what you sell. You also have to sell it to them. Make a plan for how you want to promote your product or service and convert people into customers.
6. Budget and sales goals
You need some money to get this baby off the ground. So what’s your startup budget and how do you plan to spend it? More importantly, how much do you plan to sell and over how long?
Your business will (hopefully!) evolve over time as you build a reputation. What does the future look like? Create a roadmap with milestones to mark significant progress along the way.
8. Team summary
No matter how awesome you are, you’re only one person. It’s good to have a team to help you out. Who are they and what do they bring to the table in terms of skills and experiences?
9. Key partners
Are you selling a product? Then who manufactures it, who distributes it, and who promotes it? You should list your key partners, without which your business can not exist.
10. Funding needs
Finally, we’re at the bottom line… literally. Make a list of people or resources you need but don’t have the capital to afford without the help of outside investment. Specify how much you need.
. . .
Ready to start writing your business plan?
Congratulations! Now you know why you should write it, where to find some great templates and what you should include in it.
But knowing is only half the battle.
Now it’s time to put your knowledge into action and actually write the damn thing! Fortunately, you don’t need to go back to Google for a solution to that problem — you’ve already found it.
IdeaBuddy is an excellent (and free!) platform you can use to go from zero to a fully-fledged business.
Create an account and start using our tools to get you going.
We can’t wait to see what you come up with!