The One-Page Business Plan
By Aimee Bridgeman
One of the most common questions asked when people talk about starting a business is “do you have a business plan?” We come across too many businesses that not only fail to put together a simply business plan, but have put little thought into the future of their business altogether. Their excuses range from, “I don’t need to write it down it’s all up here in my head”, or “I just take it as it comes”, or “I don’t even know where to start”. None of these are legitimate excuses, except for possibly the last. Why? Because often when we ask these people to clarify where they are going and what they want from their business they cannot simply and succinctly tell us.
We compare the concept of not having a plan to just getting in your car and going out for a drive without a specific destination in mind. Deciding on your destination after you have already set out and driven around for a while means that you have not only wasted a lot of time and petrol, but you have also probably racked up quite a few kilometres on your vehicle.
If you had decided on your destination from the outset, you would have mapped out the quickest, easiest and most direct route to get there, saving petrol, kilometres and time. So if you do not have a destination in mind for your business, you are undoubtedly going to take a lot longer to get to where you want to go, if you manage to get there at all. If you don’t have a plan for your business and haven’t set any expectations, how can you accurately measure how well it’s performing?
Often these days, there is too much emphasis on having a business plan to validate the ‘officialness’ of your business. A plan needs to be a tool that points you in the right direction and that you refer to on a regular basis. There is no point in having a plan, simply for the sake of having a plan. Here at 10x we do endorse getting a comprehensive business plan created for your business that includes weighty financials and ‘what if scenarios’ so you’re thoroughly prepared for whatever life in your business throws at you.
Simplify the process with a one-page plan
Planning your business doesn’t have to be a difficult process and does not need to include a 55 page plan that simply sits on a shelf, forgotten and gathering dust. Instead, your business plan needs to be visible and should be fluid. You need to be able to alter it and update it as you go along. Therefore, our suggestion to get started, is to create a simple one page plan that points you in the right direction. Sometimes the simple act of stopping, thinking and writing down what you want and need to achieve can set the wheels in motion.
Remember, whilst there is huge merit in getting a comprehensive business plan documented for you, what is most important is to set your goals, plan and begin your journey towards realising them. Keep your business plan within plain sight, keep it visible in your office and distribute it amongst your team to get them all on the same path. The important thing is not the number of pages that are in the plan, the important thing is that you have identified where you want to go, the steps to get there and most importantly how you plan to put them into action!
Key areas to include in your one page business plan are:
- VISION: This outlines the big picture for your business. For example, do you want to be the market leader in…or the premium supplier of…?
- MISSION: Why your company exists – ensure to relate this back to your vision.
- CORE VALUES: Bullet point your top 5 core values.
SWOT ANALYSIS:Strengths: These are positives internal to your organisation, i.e. what are you good at?Weaknesses: These are negatives internal to your organisation, i.e. what are you not so good at, what areas could use improvement?Opportunities: What external changes could have a positive impact on your business?Threats: What external changes could have a negative impact on your business?
- OBJECTIVES: List your key goals for the business.
- PERSONAL OBJECTIVES: List key personal goals.
- STRATEGIES: List simply how you intend to achieve your objectives. For example, if you want to achieve $1million in turnover (objective) you would need to increase your conversion rate and generate more leads.
- ACTION PLANS: Explain specifically the steps that you will take to fulfil your strategies. For example revamp your website, join XYZ networking groups and undergo sales training.
- FINANCIAL TARGETS: List your targets for your financials, for example, net profit, revenue, gross margin and debtor days.