The One Page Business Plan by Jim Horan

by Paul Simister on June 23, 2011

The One Page Business Plan by Jim Horan is very different from other business planning books I’ve read.

One Page Business Plan by Jim Horan

The One Page Business Plan book cover

First I should say that I have read the UK edition which involved Paul Barrow in the translation. I don’t know how different this version is to the one available in the United States.

I should also tell you that The One Page Business Plan is a registered trademark of The One Page Business Plan Company.

Business Planning Made Concise

The One Page Business Plan solves a problem which puts many small business owners off the idea of business planning. The typical business plan is long on words and numbers, this does what it says on the tin.

The One Page Business Plan Review

While it’s short on words, it is deep on the most important thing – the thinking which goes into creating a successful business.

The One Page Business Plan is much more of a workbook where you do the exercises and get clarity on your business ideas than a book which gives you a lot of detail and theory.

This will suit anyone who just wants to get on with it.

While the author says that The One Page Business Plan is liked by banks and investors and I can understand they like the brevity and focus, it won’t be enough to raise finance.

If you need a business plan to raise cash, you’re still going to have to produce the 20 to 40 page detailed plan with lots of words and numbers.  I recommend you use business planning software.

I accept however that The One Page Business Plan is a very good starting point for producing a longer written plan. Once you’ve got your thinking clear, it is easy to add detail and supporting evidence. But fail to get clarity and your business plan will read like a big muddle.

The Core Of the One Page Business Plan

The idea behind The One Page Business Plan is very simple – there are just five sections:

  1. Vision – how you visualise your business in the future
    .
  2. Mission – why the business exists for the customer
    .
  3. Objectives – what must be achieved for the business to be successful
    .
  4. Strategies – how the business will achieve the above
    .
  5. Plans – the specific time based actions the company will take.

When you see it in those terms you can understand how you get get a business plan onto one page.

Being Brief in A One Page Business Plan Will Make You Think

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it will be quick and easy. It’s often much more difficult to be short and concise. To produce a good one page business plan, you will need to think hard. The exercises in the book help.

The upside is that your time is spent on the constructive action of thinking and not padding out your plan with stuff you already know and feel comfortable with.

Overall Thoughts On The One Page Business Plan

My own special interest – how you differentiate your business – is covered in the mission section. A differentiated business will be delivering a unique customer experience in some way.

Personally I’d like to see it take more of a constraints view – what is stopping your business from achieving its vision and mission? This is covered in the strategies section but if six things are necessary and you only do five, then your business is stuck.

If you want a business plan to move your business forward and you don’t want or need the full, wordy document, then I recommend The One Page Business Plan.

I think it’s particularly good for take the essential elements of your business strategy and communicating it to those who need to support the plan. This will be your employees, suppliers,  joint venture partners and anyone else who has a vested interest in your business succeeding.

If you need to raise finance for a business start-up and you don’t have a clue what to do or where to start, then The One Page Business Plan can certainly help but you need more.

Have You Read The One Page Business Plan?

If so, what did you think?

Did you do the exercises and did it help you to focus your thoughts?

Or did you find it short on detail?

Paul Simister is a business  coach who helps small business owners to profit from differentiating their businesses, by being distinctive in the eyes of their customers and standing out in a crowded marketplace…. in other words, by building a business to be proud of.

You too can move past your profit tipping point (free report) by answering the seven big questions of business success (mp3)

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