Creating a one-page business plan isn’t easy, especially when you try to squeeze all of your financials into one document. That said, it’s not impossible.
In my experience, most investors just want to feel good and see a return on their money. They want to make a profit at the end of the day, and this is why I recommend working backward to craft your business plan. Here are six steps for creating a one-page business plan that I’ve found actually works with investors:
Step 1: Create space for demand.
Remember that if people don’t value or care to buy your product or service, then you shouldn’t pursue it. After all, if you don’t have people who will buy from you, what’s the point? This is why when I write a business plan, I start by explaining the demand in the market. I showcase stories and inquiries from people facing the problem, and then I show them how they can solve the problem through my solution. The last question I ask them is, “What value would you put on a service or a product like this?”
Start your pitch with the demand in your market, not how big the market is. It doesn’t matter how big the market is if no one wants your product or service. For example, if you can start out by explaining how your product impacts a certain demographic and is becoming extremely popular — and you have the metrics to back it up — this makes your product or company an easy sell to investors.
Step 2: Establish multiple ways of making revenue.
The next step in crafting a one-page business plan is to ensure there is more than one way of making revenue in your business. If there isn’t, investors might think your company isn’t innovative enough. They might hold back on funding because they want to invest in an organization that is going to have several ways of making money.
This is your chance to showcase your partners and your management team and how they will be bringing in revenue for the business. I usually add in a chart or a graph that shows exact five-year projections for anyone who is interested in investing. This way, they won’t have to ask the “innovation” question because they see that there are multiple ways for the business to make revenue. The idea here is to speak about growth as much as you can.
Step 3: Evoke emotion.
Another part of your one-page business plan is the story, and a huge part of the story is your mission for wanting to start the business. This is where feelings have to come in; the investor has to feel that the money is going to really help you scale the business to the next level, or they likely will not invest.
Start out by selling your mission, why you are building this movement and what your legacy will be. In my case, my legacy was to help women heal from autoimmune conditions after living a life of chronic illness. I wanted to help them heal naturally through telemedicine and all-around connection. My story was the basis for my business model. The way that I came up with the business was by looking through some of my biggest challenges in life and showing investors how I was able to reverse them.
Step 4: Assemble a solid management team.
Who comprises your management team also needs to be highlighted in your plan. I’ve found that many investors look for people who graduate from Ivy League schools. But for me, this wasn’t the case, so I felt I had to put twice as much effort into successfully raising any kind of funds. When you’re trying to bring people on your team, whether they have degrees from an Ivy League school or elsewhere, first show them the potential success they could achieve by joining your team. Then show investors how your management team is going to benefit your company. They want to see who your A-players are.
Step 5: Present the opportunity strategically.
No matter who you speak to, whether you are trying to recruit A-players or seeking investment, how you present the opportunity makes all the difference. In my case, this was the hardest part. At first, there was nothing tangible involved, so I had to work to sell investors and potential hires on the opportunity. When I go back and ask people why they thought the opportunity was a good one, they cite my character. They said they believed in me and that I had what it took to scale a company. They could see my grit, tenacity and know-how to build a company from scratch, all based on how I presented the opportunity.
Do the same when you present the opportunity to invest in your company. Show the personal investments you’ve made in your business, and explain how much time you’ve spent on the project. Additionally, demonstrate how you were able to build a team. This is the other part of the equation.
Step 6: Be honest about what investors should expect.
When you create a business plan, you have to get down to the penny and make sure the investment is going to be worth it for investors. They want to see that it is going to pan out and going to make them money at the end of the day. Be honest and transparent about the cost of goods sold. Let them know ahead of time and down to the exact penny what your revenue looks like so they know that you have done a thorough job of calculating everything.
Now create the one-page plan and send it to your next investor. Make sure you let them know everything they will receive from you so expectations are the same on both sides.