Is One Page Enough For A Business Plan? Hell No!


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Many a business plan pundit is out there preaching the gospel of the One Page Business Plan. Many a business owner or entrepreneur is suckered into agreeing with this concept because it justifies their basic laziness to sit down and write a proper business plan. To understand why one page is not enough, let us look into the reasons for a business plan in the first place.

You write a business plan in order to understand what you are getting into or what you are already into with your business. Hopefully before going into business, but most definitely if you are already running one, you should know who your favorite customers are, what pain they suffer from and why they want to buy your product or service. You need to understand their geographic variables and if they buy through referral or on impulse. Information of this sort is critical to choosing the right location for your business and even may determine the legal structure you choose.

safety and evacuation plan
Creative Commons License photo credit: hodgers

Proponents of the One Page Business Plan tout your need for a vision, mission, objectives, strategies and action plans. If you can put all of that on one page, plus all of the information you need about your competition, and your marketplace, the typeface will have to be microscopic. They also admit that perhaps if you need to raise capital then you need a more detailed plan. The problem is that the reason for the plan in the first place is so you can feel comfortable that you really understand what you are doing. Then when you do take it to a banker or a reputable landlord, both of whom will want one, you can defend your assumptions.

A well written plan with the proper financial analysis tools also gives you an opportunity to “run” your business out two or three years to see how it performs under different assumptions about price, quantity sold, cost of materials and labor, payroll and expenses all of which you can vary to see how the business performs with these changing parameters. You also need to understand in detail your start up costs. All of this before you spend the first dime on the business itself. After this analysis you might come to the conclusion that the business as per your current assumptions is not feasible.

Also in today’s business environment, every business needs a credible web and social media strategy. This is not a one liner: ” I intend to build a web site and use Twitter and Facebook and all the rest” You need again to understand your customers so that you can write the content of your site to be optimized for the search engines so that prospects will literally “stumble upon” you.

Now if you are still convinced that all of this can be put on one page, then my advice to you is to save a portion of that page for your exit strategy because you will be needing one soon.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Smith
YCHANGE International
Jim Smith mentors entrepreneurial start-ups and counsels small to mid sized companies that are looking to expand or are under performing or under capitalized.


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