I was reading an article today about common mistakes people make when writing business plans. It wasn’t bad, but it reinforced my assertion that there’s different kinds of business plans. The ones the article referred to were for getting funding, and they expected to be on the order of 30+ pages.

Fine, I suppose, but you’re never going to USE it.

Here’s where the one-page business plan comes in useful. The key is simplicity and focus, which includes:
• What your business does, and why it does it
• The tangible goals and objectives
• The key things you need to focus on to succeed
• The actions you’re going to take to ensure those areas of focus are achieved

This can fit on a single page. That’s quite important, because you’ll only be able to remember this plan and focus on it if it’s simple, straightforward, and addresses the critical decisions. This is also why it’s crucial that you, the owner of the business, write it in your own words.

If I were to add anything to this, it would be the key business metrics. Some people might prefer to have that in a different place, though, because it’s not strictly a PLAN.

But the 30 page plan? Use that to wow your investors. Just don’t expect people inside your organization to get much motivation out of it.