Streamlining Your Business Strategy with a One-Page Business Plan
A one-page business plan is a concise summary of your brand's business strategy, management team, goals, financial plan, revenue streams, and key actions.
It condenses your complete business overview and most important details into only one page— perfect for scanning and sharing with stakeholders and potential investors. In short, it's the most streamlined and accessible way to communicate the core aspects of your business idea.
And if you're hoping to grow your brand this year, a one-page plan is a great place to start!
Putting together a traditional business plan is a daunting task. The executive summary alone can be two or three pages in length! And the average traditional business plan often contains nine or more sections that dig deeply into every element of a business concept. By the time you've drafted this giant document, you're likely more confused and overwhelmed about your business objectives than you were when you started!
That's why many entrepreneurs prefer to put together a lean business plan— a short and concise one-page plan anyone can make in a day or less.
Unlike a traditional business plan that covers every single detail related to your business, your one-page plan empowers you to clarify your business mission and key activities. It helps you quickly communicate how you fit into the market, and where your competitive advantage lies. And it requires a fraction of the research and writing you'd put into drafting a full-length business plan.
Any entrepreneur can create their own one-page plan. But you may face some difficulties in the process.
Before you can sit down to write your plan, you have to conduct thorough market research. This detailed market analysis helps you understand how your service or product offerings fit into your competitive landscape.
Too many companies jump straight to drafting their business plans without first considering how their brand will be positioned. But as you develop an awareness of your main competitors, key differentiators, and market trends, you can start discovering your business' biggest opportunities.
Another challenge business owners face when drafting their lean business plan is not knowing where to start.
Without a one-page business planning template, it's hard to know what details to include, and which are not critical. That's why we always recommend using a one-page template to start your planning process— more on that below!
When you follow the one-page plan process we'll outline below, and use a business plan template, you can focus your efforts on describing the most critical aspect of your business— why it exists.
Your template can help you condense the essential elements of a full business plan onto a single page, trim needless words, and avoid getting bogged down in unnecessary details in the process.
How a single page plan is structured can vary slightly, depending on if you're running a service business or an ecommerce company. While the main elements are the same, the focus and delivery method of your company will be different.
Regardless of the kind of business you run, your one-page document should include a mix of these elements:
Business overview: Your one-page business plan should start with a short overview that describes your business structure, leadership team, and cost structure.
Vision statement: Vision statements define the long-term aspirations of your business. When you include your vision statement in your one-page business plan, you show stakeholders where you're headed.
Mission statement: Your mission statement describes the purpose and goals of your business in the short term.
Target market: Using the information you gathered in your market analysis, the target market section of your one-page business plan should describe the customer segments you're going after and the marketing plan you'll use to get new customers.
Unique value proposition (UVP): This is a short statement, one or two sentences, that describes the unique and compelling benefit your company offers to customers. It should also describe how you're positioned in the market.
Key strategies: A high-level description of the key strategies, including your marketing strategy and pricing strategy, that you'll use to reach and retain customers.
Key performance indicators (KPIs): The metrics you'll use to measure your progress and success.
As you can see from this list of sections, the power of the one-page business plan lies in its ability to clearly and quickly convey the problem your small business solves, your overall business model, the future of your business, and the marketing strategy you'll use to get your product or service out into the world.
If you're still not sure how the key elements of a one-page business plan work together, take a look at this example, from the Small Business Administration. It shows how single page business plans can include the most important information stakeholders, leaders and prospective investors need to know about your company.
Creating a one-page business plan can help you clarify your vision, focus your efforts, and communicate your strategy effectively. And by following these steps, you can draft a simple plan that helps you achieve your business goals.
- Define your vision and mission: Ask yourself what you want your business to achieve and why it exists. Your vision should be aspirational and inspirational, and your mission should be specific, timely, and actionable.
- Identify your target market: Here's where the research comes in! Be really clear about the market segment you're targeting, and what makes what you offer the perfect solution for this group. Define their demographics, psychographics, and behavior.
- Define your unique value proposition: What makes your business unique and compelling? Succintly explain why your product or service is better than the competition, and what sets you apart.
- Set your objectives: Define the clear, measurable, and time-bound objectives that you want your business to achieve. Again, the more specific, the better!
- Outline your strategies: Identify the key strategies you'll use to achieve the goals outlined above. This is where you'll mention your marketing materials, pricing strategy, and positioning.
- List your KPIs: Define the metrics you'll use to track your progress towards those big goals. Think: Revenue, profit, customer acquisition numbers, retention rate, or satisfaction ratings.
- Create your one-page plan: Now that you've written down all the key details of a successful one-page business plan, it's time to pull them all together in a clear, concise, and simple way! We recommend using a business plan template or planning tool to keep yourself focused.
- Review and refine: Finally, review your one-page plan regularly and refine it as needed. Meet with a Brand Coach if you find yourself stuck on any one section, or in need of a fresh perspective.
Our Brand DNA Builder helps entrepreneurs define the key aspects of their brand through a simple guided tool— full of helpful prompts and examples.
Our guided Brand DNA tool breaks your brand strategy into four phases: Envision, Expand, Elevate, and Expression.
- In the Envision stage, you'll be prompted to define your brand's core details— including your business name, vision, values, and more. This helps you get clear on what makes you unique!
- In the Expand stage, you'll put your business idea into words. We'll help you describe your Why, What, and How, with guided questions related to your target audience, key offer, competitors, and revenue streams.
- In the Elevate stage, you'll be inspired to explore all the ways you can share your brand with the world. You'll find brand references, discover the ways your brand is similar and different from others in your industry, and start collecting resources that inspire you.
- Finally, in the Expression stage, our Brand DNA tool will help you develop your market positioning, messaging, and competitive analysis. These crucial questions will reveal how your business can be successful as it scales.
By the time you've completed our guided brand-building process, you'll have all the details you need to create your own one-page business plan— with or without a business planning template!
Once you've completed the one-page business plan process, it's time to communicate your plan. Share your new business plan with your business partners, key stakeholders, investors, and business peers. Get feedback on areas that work, and what can be improved.
As you continue to develop your business plan based on the feedback you receive, it should serve as a roadmap for your business moving forward. Before you make key decisions or business adjustments, review your plan and let it prioritize your actions.
If it's not on your roadmap and doesn't get you closer to your biggest business goals, ask yourself, is it worth the effort?
And finally, remember that your business plan is a living document. As your business evolves, so should your business strategy. Review, update, and revise your business plan as the market shifts. That's how you build a strong, agile, and successful company.
Regardless of your business model, the age of your business, or the product or service you offer, a one-page business plan is an essential tool.
A well-crafted one-page business plan helps you clarify your vision, focus your efforts, and communicate your strategy effectively. And by defining your vision and mission, identifying your target market and differentiators, and creating clear objectives with trackable metrics, you can build a successful company positioned to grow and thrive.
If you haven't created a one-page business plan yet, don't be intimidated. Just follow the steps above, download a business plan template, work through ZeBrand's Brand DNA Builder, and start building one for yourself today!