One Page Small Business Plan Guide
It is said that nobody gets to be a millionaire working for another. The statement literary implies that one cannot get richer than one’s employer the argument being that what an employee gets as salary is only a fraction of the profit the employer keeps. Therefore if you are a student or unemployed it may pay for you to start thinking of self more than wage employment. If you are already employed then start thinking of your life after retirement since your employer will not hire you forever.
There is a Chinese proverb that, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. One interpretation of this proverb is that, “even the most difficult ventures have a starting point”.
Some economists think that the Indian economy has the potential to become the world's 3rd-largest economy by the next decade, and one of the largest economies by mid-century. This world’s largest democracy has promoted the creation of small-scale industries in large numbers perhaps building on Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings that “the poor of the world cannot be helped by mass production, [but] only production by the masses". The message of the teaching is that countries must invest in businesses in which masses can productively participate and these are small and medium scale businesses.
E.F. Schumacher advanced Gandhi’s philosophy in his book: Small Is Beautiful. The following poetic advice is attributed to E. F. Schumacher:
If you want to go places, start from where you are
If you are poor, start with something cheap
If you are uneducated start with something simple
If you live in a poor environment and poverty makes markets small, start with something small
If you are unemployed start with using your own labour because any productive use of it is better than letting it lie idle
It has been empirically proved all over the world that small scale industries are adept in distributing national income in more efficient and equitable manner among the populace than their medium or larger counterparts. Why should you not join the many owners of small enterprises?
Starting a small business can either be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things that you ever did, or it can turn into a huge nightmare if you let it. You greatly increase your chances of success by having a simple one page business plan created as your starting point. There is an old saying that has proven itself over and over again and it is especially true in the business world. The saying goes like this “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Having a simple business plan is like having a road-map to help you get from where you are today to where you want to be some time in the future.
Why is a business plan so important?
A plan is a look into the future. A business is an activity undertaken for profit. One reason a business plan is so important, is because it allows you to be clear on exactly what your business is going to do and how it is going to go about accomplishing that objective.
A business plan does not have to be complicated. In fact, the more basic it is the better. You can more easily make changes and adjustments if and as needed to a simple business plan. Nine out of ten times things will change so quickly and so dramatically as soon as you start your business that you may need to re-create the entire business plan to re-adjust to the new situation that you face. Over time as the business grows, you can continue modifying, revising and enhancing the business plan. Starting with a simple one page business plan will be more than enough to help you get started on the right foot.
Here is a template for your one page business plan
- Businesses Vision
A vision is a dream. It defines the desired future state - the mental picture - of what an you want your business to achieve over time. What do you dream your business to be? Do you want to be the business of choice for a global clientele? Do you want to grow into the largest business in your sector? State your vision in a sentence or two
- Business Mission
A mission statement defines the present state or purpose of your business and says why the business exists or should exist. It answers three basic questions: what the business does or will do; for who the business does it or will do it and how the business does it or will do it. For example the mission statement for Nissan: "Nissan provides unique and innovative automotive products and services that deliver superior, measurable values to all stakeholders in alliance with Renault." Another anonymous mission reads, "Our mission is to make our company the preferred shopping destination for our guests by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and an exceptional guest experience by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less.® brand promise”
- Business description
Describe the business. What will the business involve? What is the product/service on offer? What are its dimensions, characteristics etc?
- Business goal/objective
Goals and objectives describe what a company expects to accomplish throughout the year. A goal is a general statement of achievement while an objective is a specific step or action you take to reach your goal. Your goal could be profitability e.g. To run a profitable business operation. An objective would be to increase sales by 10% annually.
List your three top competitors their strengths and weaknesses , how they carry out their business
- Business Strategies
A strategy is a way of competing. How will you compete? Which markets will you compete in and what kind of marketing activities will you undertake? What will you do to perform better than the competition? What resources (skills, assets, finance, relationships, technical competence, facilities) will you employ to outcompete the competition? What external, environmental factors might affect the businesses' ability to compete and how will you handle them?
- Financial projections
How much will you require to start and run the business (list of things you will require and their costs)? How will you raise these funds? How much revenue do you expect to generate (how many sales per week, month)?
How exactly are you going to operate (time, days)? Whom are you going to sell to and how (direct selling, through distributors, on credit, cash only)? How will you package the product/service
What contribution will the business make to the local economy (e.g. employment creation, buying local inputs etc)