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You've been thinking about a new business idea or gradually building your company and you've reached the point where you think, "I really need to get this out of my head and into a plan!". On paper. Not a napkin. Perfect.
Why write a business plan?
Writing a business plan is a very important discipline in business, no matter how big or small the company. Here's why.
1. It forces you to clarify your thinking. You can think things make sense in your head but when you put them on paper, it can highlight disconnects and gaps. That makes writing a business plan an important tool for your business success.
2. It helps you communicate clearly to staff and service providers what's happening in the business, where it's going and their role in achieving the goals. This helps things run more smoothly and effectively. Staff feel more confident and you feel more in control. That means you get more from your investment and resources. It's a win-win.
3. It provides a tool for measurement and evaluation. This means you can ensure you are staying on track to achieve your goals, take corrective action when needed, and at the end of the planning cycle, assess if the plan worked and what you want to tweak in the next cycle to achieve your next set of goals.
4. If you plan to sell the business, a business plan assists the buyer to understand the company and see the potential upside in the purchase through a return on their investment.
The trouble with full length business plans, especially for a larger business, is that they can take months to write and often end up 50 - 100 pages long. This is well worth it if you plan to invest significant capital in the company or its expansion or you want to sell.
However, for many smaller companies, it is overkill and as a result, they don't do it.
That's why I came up with this One Page Business Plan template that covers the most important bases and helps you turn your brand purpose into profit.
What to include in your One Page Business Plan
Here we want to answer the question, "What will the world look like because your company existed?"
Consider including things like where you’re based, who you work with, what you offer, your clientele and income, how it feels to be doing your work and why you love it.
Ours is "Brand Savvy is a successful 7-figure location independent global consulting firm working with some of the world's most exciting visionaries, innovators and disruptors to change organisations, markets and communities for the better".
Here we want to answer the question, "What will you do to make this vision a reality? What problem does your business solve and why?
Ours is "Brand Savvy champions change makers and gives them the business and marketing brainpower and support to take on the big guys and win".
Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Here you want to list what's going well and not so well in the business. This includes things like the company culture and leadership, team and skill levels, location, equipment, finances, suppliers, products, pricing, brand, customer base, sales and marketing (activities, following, engagement, performance).
Here you want to set some SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). These goals should help you step towards your vision, in line with your mission.
For example, "By January 2020 we will launch a new 12-month small-medium business program and attract 10 clients x $5,000 bringing in $50,000 additional revenue."
You may like to set some goals that help to address weaknesses too.
"I will hire a Business Coach and undertake monthly mentoring to support my growth".
Your Ideal Customer
Here you want to think about who you'd love to work with and who is a good match for the level of services or products you offer. Consider their gender, age, marital/parenting status, income bracket, interests, challenges and drivers. You may already have worked with a 'perfect client' and so you can use them as inspiration.
For example, ours is "Grounded, good-hearted, self-aware and passionate leaders of innovative, up and coming companies aged 35-55 who have a big idea, a budget to support it and the fire in their belly to see it succeed".
Your Products & Prices
This is pretty self explanatory. Here you want to list out the products and services - both existing and in the pipeline (with their launch date) - and their prices.
Consider having a range of products that allows people to 'test you out' and then also trade up to higher priced items that allow you to deliver your true value. Or that meet different needs your various kinds of customers have.
Remember, with good branding and marketing, it is often easier to sell one higher priced item than lots of lower priced items!
Your Sales Forecast
Here you want to set some sales targets by the week, month or year and calculate your forecasted income for the period of the plan. Remember to be realistic!
This should then give you a basis from which to estimate your costs, profit and how much you can invest in resources to help you grow the business and achieve your goals.
Your Marketing Plan
Now you want to think about what marketing activities you'll need to undertake to reach your ideal customer and generate that level of sales.
So think about where your ideal client is located, where they hang out, what their interests are, how they might like to learn about your company and an offer like yours, how to build a relationship with them and what they'd need to know to have the confidence to make a purchase.
It's also great to think about how you'd retain them as a happy client and reward them for their loyalty.
Your Action Plan
Finally, you want to set some specific tasks. To reach each of the goals above, who will do what by when?
Make sure you check that the workload is realistic for the team members and that the business will have the money to pay for the activities when you plan to do it.
Some extra tips!
Include your team in this process - if you have a team, either virtual or on staff, or mentors or advisors, it is a great idea to workshop the business plan together. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. And your team will also feel some ownership of a shared vision and direction for the company.
Print your plan out and keep it somewhere obvious (like on your pinboard) where you are regularly reminded of it.
Set reminders (eg the end of each month) to review your progress as a team, course correct and determine next steps towards your goals.
Consider a reward for you and your team to motivate you to achieve these results.
Celebrate your wins! It's important to acknowledge your successes big and small along the way and show appreciation to the people that help you get there.
Make business planning a part of your business calendar. Many companies do this before the beginning of the new financial year so that they can set their budgets and manage their finances and resources throughout the financial year in conjunction with their accountant.
So I hope that helps you get into action with your One Page Business Plan. It's fun!
Don't forget to grab our lovingly made One Page Business Plan Template before you go 👇
And if you need help nutting out your plan or taking your thinking to the next level, you can always get in touch and we'll help you create a business plan with a bang.
Amanda Blennerhassett is a multi national award-winning Brand, Marketing and Business Growth Strategist.
She works with innovators, thought leaders and disruptors to help them cut through their competition, build brands with wow factor and grow their businesses.