One Page Business Plans

One Page Business PlansAre you an aficionado of the one page business plan?  I’m not and here’s why.

The first question I have is – who is the plan written for?  If it’s written for those who developed it as a sort of aide memoire, then that is a worry.  It’s equivalent to the person I met who asked me what I thought of Mission Statements (read my blog post about Mission Statements.  So I asked him if his company had one and he said yes.  So I asked him what it was.  He couldn’t remember.

If it’s written to provide guidance to all who work in the organisation then the lack of rationale behind its content will render it ineffective.  I heard of an organisation that had the business plan printed in minute type on a card that staff were encouraged to have with them at all times.  Did that promote organisational alignment – the fundamental requirement for effective implementation?  I doubt it.

In addition to its inability to positively influence its target markets, it has many other shortcomings as well.

  • Given the lack of space, it’s odds on that it’s only a summary of “this is what we are going to do” – the markets, products, activities, competitive strategy and competitive advantage that make up the Hub of the Wagon Wheel Way Operating System.
  • It won’t detail the rationale behind those five components.  This is essential for effective implementation.  If you want your staff to embrace change, they need to know the reasons behind the changes proposed.
  • The implications of “this is what we are going to do” on every function in your organisation will not be tabled.
  • It won’t have an initial Action Plan.
  • It won’t address one of the key components of any business plan which is – how do we do better what we currently do?
  • It doesn’t address the factors required to implement the plan.
  • It suggests – particularly if you print it on a card – that the plan is fixed for the period it covers.  Business plans need constant up-dating.
  • It’s unlikely that it says anything about how the plan and its implementation is to be monitored, measured and adapted.

That’s my view – what’s yours?

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One Response to One Page Business Plans

  1. Sean Costello says:

    The one page business plan is over simplistic – if you are going to plan, you should do it properly – I read something about the problems associated with on http://www.plansysinc.com. As you pointed out, you need go deeper into how the process is implemented.

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