One Page Business Plan For Online Entrepreneurs
Just telling a small business that they need to create a business plan often strikes fear and loathing into even the sturdiest of entrepreneurs.
Whenever I tell a client they need one, they look like I just told them they were being audited, kicked them in the weiner, and dry humped their dog.
The reality is that there are different types of business plans. Yes, there are the voluminous ones with reams of research and data, but those are usually reserved for projects where a source of funding is required. And I believe in these cases, a solid justification is both understandable and necessary.
After all, if you are giving me $10 Million to launch a new business, you deserve to know exactly what I am going to be doing with it and exactly how I am going to be providing a return on your investment.
But for most entrepreneurs, a huge business plan is just not necessary. For the majority of entrepreneurs, a business plan is simply a target that keeps your focus and the top level strategies for reaching that destination. This is where a 1 page plan is enough.
It is designed to serve as a tool to keep you on track and to aid in decision making. That’s It. And in EVERY case I have seen it implemented in, it is a giant help. The 1 page plan provides the who, what, where, why, and how of your business at the 10,000 foot level.
Here’s what it should include.
- Business Description: This section is a top level view of what your company does.
- Company Mission: This is the most touchy-feely section of the plan. Your plan is to of course make money, but this is the section where you explain your values and why you are doing it.
- Product/Service: Pretty self explanatory. This is the products or services that you plan to offer
- Competitive Advantage: In this section you need to describe WHY someone would buy your product over someone else’s or why your business will succeed where others won’t. Key point, if you don’t have any competition now (brand new concept) you will. Otherwise it is probably not a niche you want to be in. Highlight your real advantages over anyone else. If you don’t have any, you had better find some.
- Markets: This can be expanded or changed, but try to be as specific as possible. This will help you jump into the shoes of your prospects more easily. The “Putting a face to your target market exercise” is very useful here.
- Revenue Channels: This section will most likely change as your experience with the business grows. That’s OK, but it is important to have a focal point to help you make better decisions.
- Distribution Channels: For information marketers, this section will be easy. For physical product retailers or eCommerce sites, this will become a very important section. If you fall into the latter group, you need to make sure to take time to work out the fulfillment phase in quite a bit of detail.
- Competition: It is important to spend a good bit of time analyzing your competition. You need to know what products they offer it, price points, how they market, profit margins, what they are good at, and what they stink at. A keen understanding of their core-competencies is crucial to exploiting your own. It is also important to constantly keep current on what you competition is doing.
- Financial Goals It is understandable that this step may have some discomfort, especially in the early stages. While it is not important to have an exact figure early on, it is extremely important to have SOME challenging figure. You can always readjust up if you are more successful than planned (and I hope you are). There are several schools of thought on how to best use sales goals to motivate you. My personal philosophy is to make these numbers very challenging, but obtainable under ideal circumstances.
How to use your One Page Business Plan
In the initial stages, you should be re-evaluating and repurposing this document at 6 month intervals. Any more often and you risk losing focus (the main reason you are doing it to start with) less frequent and you could be missing valuable opportunities.
Keep a copy on your wall or someplace handy and review it often. Whenever you are facing a tough decision, pull out this document to keep you on track. Below is an actual 1 page plan that I used with a client who was expanding their current Karate school to include at-home study program for women’s self defense.
Sample 1 Page Business Plan – InYourDefense
- Business Description: InYourDefense creates, designs, develops, information products, videos, and seminars in the market niche of women’s self defense.
- Company Mission: Our goal is to help our customers feel secure and in control at all times. We will do this through a system of education, training, and peer support.
- Product/Service: information products, videos, and seminars about Women’s Self Defense Competitive Advantage: President is 6th degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do with 15 years of experience teaching. Wife of president is also 2nd degree black belt and can serve as the “face” of the company as well as providing first hand insight into buyers needs and desires.
- Markets: Buyers are women aged 18-55 of all socio-economic backgrounds interested in personal safety. Target must be easily reachable via internet and ready/willing to buy. In addition, the constant churn of natural new interest in this space make customer acquisition an easier task
- Revenue Channels: Fundamental revenue comes from three streams: dvd instructional videos, personal coaching systems, and affiliate sales.
- Distribution Channels: Internet distribution of digital content, postal mail of dvd and training packages. Partner/affiliate distribution will be evaluated.
- Competition: Several competitors exist in the internet place including xxx, xxx, and xxx. However pricing strategies, poor marketing and execution, and relative weak experience in training makes this an open market. We will advance beyond the competition due to position as experts in this field , our knowledge of marketing best practices , and pre-exiting catalog of teaching content.
- Year 1: 20,000 (transition into full time)
- Year 2: 75,000 (now full time position)
- Year 3: 150,000 (start growth, few outsourcers)
- Year 4: 500,000 (Begin full time employees, migration from worker to leader)
That’s it. That’s all there is to it. As I said earlier, tape this up on your wall and refer to it whenever you are faced with a difficult business decision. Another benefit of this document is that it provides a tangible action plan for tasks and a basis for your marketing plan.
Whenever you are unsure on what you should tackle next in your new business, review this plan again. As you can see in the example above, there are numerous examples of areas that you need to explore fully before your business can become a success!
Hope this helps some of you. As always, feel free to post a comment with your thoughts or any questions you might have, and I’ll be happy to respond.