Is A One Page Business Plan a Business Plan? Poll Results And SCORE Comment

numerals and finance

Is a one page business plan (OPBP) a business plan? Ok, the results are in, and it’s close:  51% of my blog readers believe the answer is NO, and 49% said YES.  But SCORE Chicago counselors still vote NO.

“The OPBP makes a nice beginning (mission) and a nice ending ( measurable goals and action plans) to the planning process.” So says counselor Bob Paul, who has already weighed in on this topic earlier.

“It just leaves out the 80% in the middle that is the analysis (thinking part).  I suspect that many potential business owners will end up with unrealistic or faulty goals if they don’t first think through the entire planning process. This includes their thoughtful research/analysis on many topics, including such items as:

  • External environment (economic, political, environmental)
  • Competitive environment
  • Features and benefits and how their products/services bring a distinctive value-added proposition, compared to the competition
  • Distribution channels they will use
  • Internal strengths and weakness of themselves, their staff, their company facilities
  • Operational factors such as inventory management, risk management, access to suppliers, training, supervisory competencies
  • Loan requirements and cash flow analysis”

In Paul’s mind, a good planning process does the following:

1.       Sets the mission, objectives and values of the company
2.       Assesses all the factors that contribute to (or threaten) the organizations success
3.       Identifies the critical issues
4.       Creates measurable goals and action plans to address those critical issues.

The OPBP sets the mission and creates the goals. Yet it is not clear to Paul how such a “plan” guides the prospective business owner through the planning research and analysis.  Without the evaluation, he believes, the goals are suspect.

What do you think? Leave a comment with your opinion.

— Peg Corwin

Related Business Plan Posts

From Strategy to Execution – You Need an “Actionable” Strategic Plan to Get It Done

What’s A One Page Business Plan Good For?

How Long Should Your Business Plan Be?

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.


6 Responses to “Is A One Page Business Plan a Business Plan? Poll Results And SCORE Comment”

  1. Ethan Says:

    Great BP article. If you like this, you might want to check out:


  2. Rags Srinivasan Says:

    One cannot stress more on the “Competition” section in the business plan. I remember my marketing professor who said he has the reputation as Business Plan doctor talking about why plans get reejcted. When founders call him (usually after being laughed out of their meeting with VCs), he would ask them, “Let us see you show big market, huge growth and in your competition section you have 3 words – There is none”.

    No wonder the VCs do not believe you, it shows either you did not do your homework or clueless. If the opportunity is big there will be other competitors. If there are no competitors probably there are no customers too. Even if your product is truly ground breaking you have to make up competitors in your pitch, for example substitutions, like Intuit which considers pen and paper as its competition.

  3. Melodie Lane Says:

    The comments from the recent blog “What’s A One Page Business Plan Good For?” are applicable to this post as well:

    As an update, since your last blog post about The One Page Business Plan’s mention in the “O” Magazine

    ( and,

    CNN Money Magazine has recommended it as well:

  4. Peg Corwin Says:

    Thanks, Rags, for emphasizing the importance of competitive analysis. I think we SCORE counselors will second that.

    Melodie, I appreciate your giving us links that support the usefulness of your one-page plan concept. Good for readers to see both sides of this.


  5. Paul Snare Says:

    “A one page business plan makes as much sense as a one instrument orchestra. Thinking about the details is necessary. Why do people object to thinking….after all, it’s FREE!

  6. Glenn Mehnert Says:

    First, a disclaimer. I am certified in and sell the One Page Business Plan Process and Tools. Second, with an MBA from a top ten B-School for entrepreneurs, I understand the concerns brought up by SCORE counselors.

    So here’s the thrust of my comment – different tools for different purposes, different leaders, different sized businesses, different markets, different objectives at different times in their respective lifecycles.

    The One Page Business Plan requires leaders and professionals to be clear in defining thier focus and how they will bend the curve on the handful of balanced metrics required to achieve a 12-36 month vision. This is rarely accomplished in traditional business plans. Traditional business planning focuses on KNOWING all the different (sometimes esoteric) variables that could impact the business and describing how threats and opportunities will be addressed over that period. It is valuable thinking if an organization has resources to collect and act on all of the information, but most often that’s not the case – even in large, well funded enterprises.

    Yes, it is wise to put together a full traditional SWOT analysis and include marketing, operations, management, financing, and R&D if you are abundantly resourced. It is necessary if you are pursuing VC or bank funding.

    If you are not (and you already have experience and insight), decide what 5 to 9 key measures need to change to move your Division, Department, Work Unit, Project, or Business forward and get to work. The speed of business makes longer-term planning valuable only if you make it to the future where the resources to execute are available.

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