Putting together a formal business plan can be so daunting that it can prevent would-be entrepreneurs from starting a business altogether.
Is this traditional plan necessary for small businesses? In some cases, such as trying to obtain a bank loan, a formal plan is required. But in others, a one-page plan is sufficient to start and successfully operate a business, according to Adam and Matthew Toren, co-authors of Small Business, Big Vision and owners of Business Plus Media Group, a media company in Phoenix, Ariz.
Here are the key elements of a one-page business plan:
According to the Torens, a one-page business plan starts with a vision statement. While your vision states your ultimate accomplishments, your mission states what you do on a daily basis to achieve that vision.
For example, if your vision is “to become the No. 1 producer of sprockets in the United States,” your mission might be “to deliver unparalleled service to each sprocket client, resulting in strong market-share growth and a robust return for our partners and investors,” Adam says.
Vision and mission statements can be one sentence, but they’re typically two to three sentences.
“A vision and mission should be tailored to the aim and personality of the company,” Adam says.
The next section includes your objectives, which are your company’s most meaningful goals—not all of your goals. Adam says three or four bullet points typically are sufficient in your objectives section.?
Examples of objectives include:
- Expand service offerings into the Northeast by…
- Obtain an Underwriters Laboratories product rating for our new sprocket by …
- Increase overall market share by 6 percent no later than …
“Like any goal, you need to be crystal clear on how you’ll know you’ve achieved it, and you have to have a deadline,” Adam says.
3. Strategies and game plan.
Next is the strategies portion of your plan, which includes how you plan to accomplish your objectives. Lastly, the game plan outlines how you’ll implement those strategies.
“Your strategies and game plan should comprise the bulk of the overall plan,” Adam says. “These are the most specific areas, so, by definition, it will take more words to describe them. This is also the most fluid section of your plan and will be updated more often.”
Related Resource: 5 Worst Business Plan Mistakes