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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