Often, I hear from entrepreneurs who want to write a business plan and can’t figure out what they need from what they don’t. It can quickly become a complicated mess – especially if you aren’t sure how far you want to take your business idea or have no clue how to make it happen.
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Business plans are crucial, but not as complex as you’d think. All your needs can be addressed on one page and it will serve as your go-to document as your small business grows.
Reasons to write a business plan:
- You’ll get the clarity you need to start setting goals immediately
- It will fuel you to be more productive and you’ll be working directly from the plan
- You get a complete view of your business, strengths, weaknesses and ambitions
- You will be able to refer to your concrete plan when making any decisions for your business
Today, I’m going to walk you through a one-page business plan – it’s simple, but unbelievably effective. Before we get started, I want you to know, this is a business plan for your eyes (and your team’s eyes) only. If you plan on trying to get a bank loan, this is not going to cut it.
Let’s get to it! First, we’re going to develop your core business layout. We’re giving your business a personality and preparing it to become a brand. Here are the components you’ll need to figure out:
Is this an extension of your personal brand or a standalone business?
By this, I mean are you a Walmart or an Apple? We know who’s behind Apple – Steve Jobs was the face of the brand and by extension, he became known as an expert in technology. Walmart on the other hand, is a standalone business that built its reputation on low prices and high-quality products. Figuring out in the beginning how much personal involvement you want in the business is crucial to achieving your end goal.
Pro’s of a standalone business:
- It will eventually be easier to sell
- New team members/employees feel a part of a bigger movement, and not just your underlings
- It’s easier to see your business more objectively
- You get to preserve your privacy and there’s less scrutiny into your personal life
Pros of a personal brand-based business:
- Smooth transition when you’d like to do other things
- Your community/customers/clients are more likely to follow you throughout the years
- A personal connection with your audience
- Far more opportunities to travel, speak to people and take on a wide array of side gigs
Where is your hub?
Your hub is the one place where all the action takes place. Will you be opening a physical store, will you have a personal website, is the magic in your email list, is there an online store? Where do you primarily want new customers to go to receive what you have to offer?
There are some businesses that operate primarily online but still have a brick and mortar to cater to local business. However, because their hub is online, that is where they focus most of their efforts.
Describe your business in three ways
- Describe the mood of your business. Use three strong words like playful, meticulous, minimal, vintage, daring, brazen, vivid, casual, and revolutionary. Choose words that give your business a persona.
- Explain what you are passionate about and committed to doing in one sentence. In my interview with Naomi Dunford, she said her original mission was to help 1,000 people quit their day jobs. What’s your mission?
- Figure out your unique selling proposition. What can you do better than anyone else? It can be anything from unusually fast turnaround times, weekly content roundups, the way you package your items, that your products are organic or made in the USA, your referral program, and more. There are literally millions of ways to make your business stand out from the competition. So long as you can guarantee to deliver your USP consistently, you can use it to differentiate and brand your business.
Your community is made up of the people who matter most – those who will buy what you’re selling, spread the word to their friends and be your biggest advocates (after your mom). I use the term community, and not customers because customers only purchase your products. A community gives your business a true identity and they help it to take on a life of its own.
Who is your ideal customer?
When I first started out as an entrepreneur, I didn’t understand this concept and it took me a long time to start seeing revenue. Then again, back then there weren’t social media networks and online communities to figure it out for me. Use social media to understand your ideal customer. You can do it with any platform, but let’s do a walkthrough with Instagram, where I get the most client leads (with only have 600 followers and didn’t use it for business until one month ago!)
- Find a few people that successfully do exactly what you want to do
- Look at the pictures they’re tagged in of people reading their book, using their product, attending their webinars, going to their store, etc.
- Study the kind of people that are buying their products, what most excites them and what kinds of other things they post in their feed
- Click the down arrow on the business/entrepreneur to see other businesses and entrepreneurs with the same type of audience
- Look at the hashtags they use to attract customers
- Use Instagrams suggestion feature to see other related hashtags
- Head over to Pinterest and search for some of these terms
- The pins that seem in line with your business, look at the boards they’re pinned to and see what other boards the pinners use.
Through this process, you can start to form a general profile of who your business idea will best serve. You’ll be able to figure out their gender, the things they enjoy, who they shop from, and what they love. These Instagram steps don’t have to be in order, as long as you do them all.
With this information, it’s time to build your one person.
Give that person a name, a life, a hobby, and a personality. Every sector of your marketing plan should apply to that one, specific person. You know who does a fantastic job at this? Wendy freakin’ Williams. At the start of her show, she addresses her audience as her co-host. Even though many demographics tune in to watch Wendy – old people, young people, college students, nurses, teachers, the unemployed, and mothers, but she speaks for and to her co-host while using her audience to keep this in perspective. It’s brilliant!
Who will you work with?
Developing strategic partnerships can put your business in a position to receive exposure to far more people than you can manage by yourself. Being the lone ranger is only fun for a short while.
Eventually, you’ll want to strike up new projects and campaigns that involve collaboration. It sounds terrifying, but it’s actually a really fun way to extend your creative limits. Working with other people can teach you a lot about yourself and give you a hard push in the right direction. Make a list of potential partners, collaborators, local comrades, manufacturers, and suppliers you’d like to work with.
How will your customers interact with your business?
This is the one section in your business plan that will be ever changing as your business experiences growth. How customers interact with your business is considered to be the customer experience.
Make a chart of all the ways a new customer will find you, what systems you have in place to pique their interest, intrigue them, what your CTA is and how you will maintain that relationship.
The final section is all about money. Money is the hardest part of any business plan, especially if you haven’t launched yet. However, considering all the steps above has hopefully helped you to paint a detailed picture of your business idea and future plans.
How much do you have vs. costs of running the business?
If the cost of running your business is more than you have, don’t sweat it! Put your money in the most crucial parts of your business and have a plan in place to use your profits for the rest. This way, you won’t rack up idle money – money that gets spent on insignificant things because you didn’t decide what to do with it ahead of time.
If you don’t make plans for your money, then your money will make plans for you and you’ll be broke before you’ve even had time to name your business.
How will you get paid?
Oooh! My favorite part is finally here. Here is where you will list your potential revenue streams in your business plan. How much do you project you will make? Make a simple list of both passive and active income that you can rely on.
BUSINESS PLAN BREAKDOWN
In one page, your business plan has 3 parts:
The core of your business is the heart – where the passion lies. This is how you will define your business and present it to your audience. Everything you do is an extension of your core mission and your core mission is an extension of you.
The community section of your business plan is all about your audience. You are acknowledging and making an effort to understand the people who spread your ideas. If your core is the heart, then your community is the backbone. Without their support, you won’t ever move forward. This part of your business plan will help you to develop loyalty, satisfaction, and long-term relationships by better understanding who they are and creating with them in mind.
Your revenue streams can come in many forms, including – subscriptions, products, affiliates services, platforms, apps, advertising, bundles, and packaging. Finding the right revenue model involves testing different price points and experimenting with the ways in which you entice potential buyers, but your business plan will simply list all the possible methods of making money.
Remember your business plan is not a marketing plan, a sales plan, or a customer acquisition plan. It’s a blueprint. It’s what you pull out when you need to go back to the drawing board. Your business plan will be there to guide you, encourage you, and remind you of why you started your business in the first place.
It will keep you from getting lost, disappearing into rabbit holes, and making decisions that don’t make sense for your brand.
What About You?
Do you currently have a business plan? Is it too long? Let’s talk about it!