Why should you write a one-page business plan? What information should it cover?
Business plans can be long and super-detailed, but they don’t have to be. In fact, a one-page business plan can sometimes be better and more persuasive than a comprehensive document.
This one-page business plan template will help you outline the key facets of your business idea.
One-Page Business Plan Template
Some entrepreneurs believe in building a long business plan that outlines every facet of their organization. However, these can get confusing and complicated, leading many investors to skim through the material without really grasping it. Instead of making more work for yourself for little benefit, make a one-page business plan that investors will actually read.
But before you dive into drafting your plan, make sure you have a solid foundation for what it’s going to cover. Follow these three steps to flesh out the key aspects of your business idea before you put pen to paper:
1) Find Your Target Audience
As you create your product, determine who you’re trying to sell to. To do this, break your ideal customers down into demographics. There are two kinds of demographics:
- Traditional demographics, which include age, sex/gender, income, race/ethnicity, and location
- New demographics, which include shared beliefs, skills, interests, passions, and values
While traditional demographics can be useful for specific organizations, new demographics are usually more effective as they pinpoint the wants and needs of your target audience.
2) Create a Positive Customer Experience
Your primary goal as a business owner should be to develop a product that solves a problem or helps people. To do this, attribute the value of your product to its benefits, or the ways that it can help your customer, not to its features, or the details of the experience.
Use the following three strategies to provide an experience for your customer that goes above-and-beyond:
- Fulfill unspoken or unrealized needs. Often, customers don’t know what they actually want. They may have an idea, but it’s your job as the expert to lead them to a product or service that’s going to give them the best experience.
- Make the customer look good. People often look for products or services that will make them look impressive or skilled. When defining the value of your product, show your customers how your business can elevate them at home or in the workplace.
- Don’t get bogged down with unnecessary details when marketing your product. Customers are typically looking for a simple, clear solution to their problem. If you bombard them with too much information, they may get overwhelmed or confused, disengaging with your product in the process. Keep your promises concise and straightforward.
3) Develop Your Marketing Offer
Once you have your product in mind, develop an offer based on the value of your product. A successful offer consists of three elements:
- Alignment with your target audience. You won’t get very far if your product doesn’t appeal to your target audience. For example, if you run an online Excel course, you’ll likely have more success targeting young accounting professionals than young artistic professionals.
- An enticing promise. The value of your product should be on display. For example, if you’re selling a coupon book, marketing the amount that people can save will draw people towards your product.
- The right timing. If you release a brilliant product at the wrong time, it will likely fail. For example, if you create expensive, luxurious clothing, launching in the middle of a recession will significantly limit your client base.
When creating your offer, keep these strategies in mind:
- Avoid hard-selling your product or service. This will turn a lot of potential customers away. While offers require gentle persuasion, if you have the proper audience, an enticing promise, and the right timing, you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time convincing your customers that they need your product.
- Create a sense of urgency. Nudge your customer to purchase your product by offering time-sensitive or limited-quantity offers. These could be 2-for-1 deals or discounts.
- Offer a satisfaction guarantee. Customers often worry about investing their money into a product or service that they haven’t used before. Offering a satisfaction guarantee alleviates these fears and creates a mutual bond of trust between you and your clients.
- Overdeliver your product. After making a purchase, many consumers feel a moment of anxiety where they question their purchase. To alleviate this fear, go above-and-beyond to make your customers feel like they made the right choice. A few ways you can overdeliver your product include writing a handmade thank you note, adding in additional materials free of charge, or giving discount codes for future purchases.
One-Page Business Plan Template
Once you’ve decided on your target audience and fleshed out your marketing offer, you are ready to draft your one-page business plan. You can use the following template as a guide:
- What do you plan on selling?
- Who do you think will buy it?
- What problem does your business solve?
- What do you plan on charging?
- How do you plan to process payment?
- Are there other ways that this product will bring in income other than direct sales?
- How will people find your business?
- How can you incentivize referrals?
- Measure of Success
- This business will be successful when it has ___ number of clients or makes $__.
- List 3-5 concerns or questions about your business and offer solutions to those concerns. For example, if you’re building an online kitchenware store, your concern may be, “How do we ensure fulfillment of purchases?” Your solution may be, “We plan on subcontracting a local warehouse to store our excess inventory and oversee the delivery process.”
- We want to launch our business on ________.
In addition to your one-page business plan, you should form a mission statement, or an explanation of the central values upon which your company is built. This statement should be no more than 140 characters and should explain in simple terms how your business can help people.
For example, if you run a day-care center, your mission statement may be, “I help working parents feel comfortable with using a day-care center by giving their children personalized, quality care during the workday.”
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