Tag Archives: one page business plan

The Real Use of the One-Page Business Plan

The question is: 

There’s been quite a bit written recently about the value of a 1-page business plan. What are your thoughts on this type of plan vs. a thorough document?

And my answer:

The only problem is confusing the two as if one replaces the other. The 1-pager is a summary of the plan. You can’t have real information on it — milestones, sales growth, headcount, etc. — without a plan that develops that information.

I love a one-page summary of a business plan, which is extremely useful as long as it isn’t instead of a plan. Investors will use the summary not to invest in companies, but to rule out those they don’t want to know more about. Investors don’t invest in companies without having a business plan, except for those rare exceptions where they know the people thoroughly.

The plan is a necessary but not sufficient condition. And while generalizations on what investors think are dangerous, because they are diverse people, my above thoughts are a summary and aggregation of what I know from my role as the head (fund manager) of our local angel investment group.

That’s from an interview in Startup Nation appearing today, titled (me, blushing) Success Tips from Business Planning Giant, Tim Berry

Business Planning Isn’t About Pages

Somebody asked me about a one-page business plan. That’s a fashionable idea, and can certainly be a useful exercise. I’ve written in this space how a one-minute elevator speech, for example, can be a useful exercise. And obviously a pitch deck and a pitch presentation can be useful too.

Summary is good. Everybody should be able to summarize their career in a single page, and everybody should be able to summarize their business plan in a single page too.

But that one-page summary isn’t a plan, it’s a summary. You might use it to communicate a plan on high level. It may be useful, but it doesn’t replace planning.

And for the record, that 10-page business plan, or the 20-page or 50-page business plan, those aren’t plans either: they’re output. They are a snapshot of what the plan was at one time. By the time you’ve printed them out, if there’s good planning going on, they are already out of date.

So what’s planning? it’s a process that starts with a plan and continues with regular review and revision. It’s a combination of strategy, review process, assumptions, dates, deadlines, responsibilities, metrics, accountability, and management. It helps you steer your company.

It’s not one page, or 10, 20, or 50. It’s what’s going to happen, when, why, who, and how much.