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One Page Business Plan (2021)
Most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t need a 50 or 100 page business plan. A shorter plan will do. In fact, there are numerous one page business plan templates and frameworks that can get you started.
This guide and the free resources below can help you write your one page business plan (or a traditional business plan if you prefer a longer business plan) and launch a sustainable, profitable new business. Read on or click the drop-down below to read a specific section.
What is a one page business plan?
A one page business plan is a simple business planning tool that outlines on eone page, operational business goals, strategies to achieve those goals, and financial projections.
Introduction to one page business plans
A one page business plan is also called a lean business plan. There are many different models for one page business plans, as you can see below.
Do you need a one page business plan?
Most businesses don’t need to write a business plan, and most business owner don’t have the time to write a traditional business plan. But, a simple one page business plan will help nearly all business owners. One-page business plans are great for self-funded companies to gain clarity on the problem their company solves and their competitive advantage.
With this comprehensive and frustration-free step-by-step guide and our actionable insights for how to write a one page business plan, you’ll have everything you need to know to write a great one page business plan that will help you start, fund, and launch a successful, profitable business.
We’ve covered each of the required steps in great detail, with insights, tips, free actionable resources and templates, and step-by-step guides.
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How can a business plan help you build a sustainable business?
A business plan a vital part of any new venture. Your business plan doesn’t need to be 100 pages long. Keep it short and concise and focus on the key details.
Studies show that entrepreneurs who take the time to write a business plan are 2.5 times more likely to follow through and get their business off the ground. The work that goes into creating a good business plan also helps new entrepreneurs build skills that will be invaluable later.
One page business plan
What is a one page business plan?
A one page business plan is like an elevator pitch for your business. As a business planning tool, a one page business plan aims to succinctly articulate the problem your business solves, your competitive advantage, and the high level details of starting and growing your business.
A one page business plan differs from a lean business plan
There are not many differences between a one page business plan or a single-page business plan, a lean business plan, or a good executive summary in a traditional business plan. They are all good business planning tools. The only practical difference is that the one page business plan must fit on a single page, using a font that most people can read comfortably (typically, 11 pt type or larger).
Think of your one page business plan as your elevator pitch - the opportunity to present your business idea quickly and succinctly. And, if the investor or lender likes what they read on your one page business plan and thinks your business strategy and value proposition are strong, they can ask you for more information, including for information showing how you will make money, or a copy of a traditional business plan.
A lean business plan is typically 3 pages and still includes an executive summary and quick bullet points.
An executive summary in a traditional business plan can be anywhere from one page to three pages in length and usually will include complete sentences and not bullet points, or a combination of complete sentences and bulllets.
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The benefits of a one page business plan
As we emphasized above, a business plan is an important business planning tool. But the length of the business plan is less important. Just going through the process of writing a business plan will help you evaluate your strategies, assess tactics, and to think deeply about every section of your business.
A one page business plan is a crisp, clear, quick read that presents your business to investors who typically don’t have a lot of time to read a traditional business plan. The one page business plan must communicate your ideas and research quickly, succinctly, and confidently.
A one page business plan also makes it easier to distribute your business plan via email or in printed form. Traditional business plans can be over 100 pages long and they’re not easy to share via email or printed form. And, importantly, a single-page business plan can be easily added to a slide deck for a presentation.
Finally, a one page business plan forces you to focus on the most important and core aspects of your business. Because you must present your plan on a single page, your goal is to trim your business plan down to the absolute minimum and eliminate the clutter that’s often introduced in a traditional business plan. For example, you can mention your product or service but there’s not enough space in a one page business plan to provide a lengthy company description or many details about the products or services you offer. You have space only to provide a business overview - and not much else.
Think of your one page business plan as your pitch document and your opportunity to explain your business to anyone in 60 seconds.
The disadvantages of a one page business plan
If you’re planning to hire employees or will be looking for debt financing or equity financing, a one-page plan will not be sufficient. Financial institutions, including banks, and other types of lenders will require you to provide more in-depth information than what you would typically include in a one page business plan. They ultimately want to see a thorough company description, and they also want to know your business strategy and that your business will make money and be profitable so that you can pay back your debt.
For example, you don’t have space in a one page plan to include your industry background and management experience, a deep description of your target market including market research, product offerings, target customers, demonstration that there is demand in the market for your product or service, a marketing and sales plan showing how you will meet that demand and create a profitable business, or your business model and revenue model.
You also won’t have enough space in a one page business plan to thoroughly assess the competition and show how you will compete against established companies. Nor will you be able to include in your one page plan detailed financial projects, including income statements, cash flow projections, a breakeven analysis, or any other financial documents.
Finally, there’s not enough space in a one page business plan to include detailed operating information about leases, equipment, staffing, facilities, etc.
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What to include in your one page business plan
People often refer to the one page business plan as a 'business model canvas' or a 'lean canvas' or an 'idea plan', which are specific ways to define your plan using a single page. Those are all examples of a one page plan and you can easily find a business plan template or business planning template for each of those variations of a one page business plan. In many ways, a more traditional one page business plan is similar. There are many different one page business plan templates and approaches, but they are all similar. Ultimately, there are 8 simple questions business owners should answer in a one page business plan:
- Problem. What problem are you going to solve? What solution do you offer?
- Competitors. What are the primary and secondary ways to solve this problem?
- Value proposition. How are you different from your competitors? This becomes the core of your brand.
- Target market. Be as specific as possible in your market analysis, including demographic and behavioral information.
- Expenses. What start-up costs are needed? What will your recurring expenses be?
- Sources of revenue. How many sources of revenue will you have? What are they?
- Marketing activities. How will people learn about your business?
- Potential partners. How can you add value to someone else’s target market?
- Timeline and new product roadmap. What new products and services will you create?
How to write a simple one page business plan
If you’re not sure where to start, download the free one page business plan template you see below and use it as a starting point to create your business plan.
At this point, don’t stress about design or the look of your one page business plan. Focus on the content of the plan and what you must communicate to investors and lenders. Many entrepreneurs and business owners spend a lot of time focusing on presentation and visual design of their one page business plan but underwhelm with the content, especially details focusing on your business strategy.
In many ways, the single page business plan acts as the executive summary. It must be crisp, concise, and well written so that investors or lenders understand it and start asking follow-up questions about your business.
And if you find that the one page business plan simply doesn’t meet your goals or it’s impossible to summarize your business plan on a single page, read below about a detail business plan, also called a traditional business plan. And, you can also download a free copy of the traditional business plan template plus templates for many exhibits, including financial documents, that are needed in a traditional business plan. All of the templates are free and will give you a quick head start.
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What are the most popular one page business plans?
There are a number of business planning tools if you want to write a one page business plan. Here are some of the most popular one page plans - and the business plan templates that are available with each of these one page business plans.
Business Model Canvas
The Business Model Canvas is a lean startup one page business plan template for developing a new business idea or documenting an existing business.
The BMC was initially proposed by Alexander Osterwalder and is one of the most popular one page business plan templates.
The Business Model Canvas has nine building blocks all laid out on a single page. The building blocks include: key partners (including business partners), key activities, value propositions, customer relationships, customer segments, key resources, channels, cost structure, and revenue streams.
Ash Maurya modified the original Business Model Canvas and created the Lean Canvas one page business plan template. Lean Canvas, as a business planning tool, was specifically designed for entrepreneurs, and focuses on problems, solutions, key metrics, and competitive advantages. Some of these elements are not present in the Business Model Canvas.
Lean Canvas has some advantages over the Business Model Canvas, including a stronger focus on the problem-solution fit, measurement of success, reflects a lean startup mindset of build-measure-learn, includes your unfair advantage that helps you differentiate against competitors, and is easy to follow and understand.
But, it also has some disadvantages compared to the Business Model Canvas. Among other disadvantages, the Lean Canvas business plan template doesn’t show you partners or the value exchange between different actors that impact your business, it lacks team and cultural elements, and it’s not designed for special circumstances, like sustainable business models.
The team at IdeaBuddy was inspired by both the Business Model Canvas and Lean Canvas and created the Idea Plan one page business plan template, which combines elements of both. For example, it includes (from Lean Canvas) partners and other actors that can impact your business, but also focuses on the other elements that make the Business Model Canvas popular.
The Idea Plan is easy to use and logically organized - even people who are not experts in business planning should be able to start quickly.
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