Maybe Oprah likes one page business plans, but SCORE Chicago is less enthusiastic. (Oprah’s magazine features one page business plans in an article “Your Great Idea, An Idea Whose Time has come.” “I’m skeptical of one page business plans, say SCORE Counselor Bob Paul, who teaches the monthly Business Plan Workshop in Chicago
The one pager makes a nice summary, says Paul, and includes important components – especially the mission, the measurable goals and action plans.
But it misses the analytical part of planning – especially the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) of the business.
- Who are my target customers? Is the market growing or shrinking? What are the environmental and competitive threats and opportunities? Do customers want what I will be selling?
- How prepared am I to start this business? What are my strengths and weaknesses? How do I take advantage of my strengths or correct my weaknesses?
- What issues emerge from my SWOTs assessment that are critical to my success? Does the SWOTs assessment change my direction or emphasis?
If the one-page approach somehow answers these questions first, Paul agrees, then it is fine. If it does not, you can end up with a wonderful sounding one-page plan for a business that builds a factory in the middle of New York City to manufacture manual typewriters.
Have you tried a one page business plan? Has it gotten you where you want to go? Please leave a comment. Update: Great discussion going on in the comments to this post. Don’t miss them.
SCORE Chicago is a nonprofit organization and resource partner of the Small Business Administration. Volunteer experts offer free email counseling on business plans, loans, marketing etc., for startups and small businesses. Click here to submit your email counseling request.