More often than not, getting started is the hardest part for an entrepreneur. Instead of aiming to do a lengthy, detailed and formal business plan, it may be easier to start small with a simple, quick, and effective one-page business plan. A business plan is a road map that shows how you intend to bring your business from ideation to reality. Here are 7 key points you can include to kick-start your business plan.
Proposed value added
One crucial section in the business plan is your Unique Selling Point (USP) and how your product and service will add value to consumers. While tempting to use flowery adjectives, try to be concise and straight to the point. This section should be easily understood with minimal repetition and no unnecessary jargon or technicalities.
Pain point solved
This should be treated as an extension of the proposed value add. Explain how your brand can solve problems in a way that can be understood by the layman. It can build on an existing social issue such as the need to improve security, lack of clean water, traffic congestion and more, or it can serve to make the daily lives of people more convenient and carefree.
Elaborate on the target audience that you intend to serve. Recognise and evaluate the other alternatives that they have by looking at competitors. This is where your points of differentiation need to be emphasised. You can also make the content more convincing by referencing any market research that you’ve conducted.
Breakeven point, profit margins, capital, and overhead costs are just some of the many figures required to enable you to better determine success. Any gaps in funding needs should also be stated for transparency.
Consumer outreach channels
This is where marketing, advertising and branding come into play. Think about digital means of social communication as a supplement to offline methods. Retrace the steps of a potential client to identify consumer touchpoints. After knowing where they want to communicate with the brand, set up the relevant outreach channels accordingly.
Timeline of key milestones
Having the bigger picture laid out shows foresight and planning on your part. Wherever necessary, explain why a milestone is important, and highlight the necessary resources required for it to happen. Breaking down the company’s future into bite-sized and digestible bits makes the execution easier to implement.
People want to know who the core team members are, and how the organisation is currently structured. This gives them insight into the core competencies of the team. Additionally, you can plug in any support from renowned advisors, mentors or organisations.
As you are creating your business plan with the above 7 key points, it is important to consider the following useful tips as well.
The style of writing will directly affect the number of words on your one-page business plan. To be concise, leave out less important details by leaving them to an appendix or a separate document. An interested investor will take the effort to refer to the appendix to learn more.
When doing the layout, use bullet points as much as possible. You can fit a lot of content in an organised and clear manner on one single page if you play around with the layout as well.
Customize it to the reader
As with all types of document, always write with the audience in mind. Prospective investors who are reading your business plan may not be skilled in understanding scientific terminologies. They may also be more interested in the short term prospects of the product or service that you are proposing or can be primarily keen to find out about the breakeven timeline. Tweak your business plan accordingly to address your prospective investors’ queries.
Do a SWOT analysis
It can be helpful to draft a quick SWOT analysis when creating your business plan. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. These four factors cover the majority of bases to keep your business plan objective and well thought out.
Think of a strategic marketing plan
Depending on the type of product or service that you are pitching, marketing may or may not take up a large portion of your business plan. If there is a need to do up a detailed marketing plan, consider having various objectives while stating the budget required beside each. Examples include, but are not limited to the launch of new products, brand awareness generation, product improvement, the extension of contracts with key clients, expansion of target market or territories, product bundling, price revision, exploration of external brand partnerships,
One page may just be enough
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible for businesses to be kickstarted with a one-page business plan. This is especially so if the field of business is new, and any delay can result in the loss of the first mover advantage. It may also be due to the lack of research materials available freely.
A lean start-up methodology may not be conventional, but it can sometimes be the best solution in the short term.
A one-page business plan can form the backbone of a quick executive summary for your future formal and detailed business plan, and also act as a quick reference point during the creation of pitch decks. Good luck with your endeavour!
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