Creating a one-page business plan isn’t easy, especially when you’re trying to cram 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, which is why I recommend working backwards to craft your business plan. Here are six steps to creating a one-page business plan that I think actually works with investors:
Step 1: Create a space for the request.
Remember, if people don’t like or care about buying your product or service, you shouldn’t pursue it. After all, if you don’t have people who will buy from you, what’s the point? That’s why when I write a business plan, I start by explaining the market demand. I present stories and requests from people facing the problem and then show them how they can solve the problem with my solution. The last question I ask them is, “How much value would you place on a service or product like this?”
Start your pitch with your market demand, not market size. It doesn’t matter how big the market is if no one wants your product or service. For example, if you can start by explaining how your product is impacting a certain demographic and becoming extremely popular – and you have the metrics to back it up – it makes your product or business easy to sell to investors.
Step 2: Establish several ways to generate income.
The next step in crafting a one-page business plan is to ensure that there are multiple ways to generate income in your business. If not, investors might think your business isn’t innovative enough. They might withhold their funding because they want to invest in an organization that will have multiple ways to make money.
This is your chance to introduce your partners and management team and how they will bring revenue to the business. I usually add a chart or graph that shows exact five-year projections for anyone interested in investing. This way, they won’t have to ask themselves the question of “innovation” because they see that there are several ways for the company to generate income. The idea here is to talk about growth as much as possible.
Step 3: Evoke the emotion.
Another part of your one-page business plan is the story, and a big part of the story is your mission of wanting to start the business. This is where feelings have to come into play; the investor must feel that the money is really going to help you take the business to the next level, otherwise he probably won’t invest.
Start by selling your mission, why you’re building this movement, and what your legacy will be. In my case, my legacy was helping women recover from autoimmune diseases after living a life of chronic illness. I wanted to help them heal naturally through telemedicine and global connection. My story has been the basis of my business model. The way I started the business was to review some of my biggest challenges in life and show investors how I was able to overcome them.
Step 4: Build a strong leadership team.
The composition of your management team should also be highlighted in your plan. I have found that many investors are looking for people who have graduated from Ivy League schools. But for me, it wasn’t, so I felt like I had to put in twice as much effort to be successful in fundraising. When trying to get people on your team, whether they graduated 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 will benefit your business. They want to see who your A players are.
Step 5: Present the opportunity strategically.
It doesn’t matter who you talk to, whether you’re trying to recruit A players or looking for investments, how you present the opportunity makes all the difference. In my case, that was the hardest part. At first, there was nothing tangible involved, so I had to work to sell investors and potential recruits on the opportunity. When I come back and ask people why they thought the opportunity was good, they quote my character. They said they believed in me and that I had what it took to scale a business. They could see my courage, my tenacity and my know-how to create a business from scratch, all based on how I presented the opportunity.
Do the same when presenting the opportunity to invest in your business. Show the personal investments you have made in your business and explain how much time you have dedicated to the project. Also, show how you managed to build a team. This is the other part of the equation.
Step 6: Be honest about what investors should expect.
When creating a business plan, you need to go down to the penny and make sure the investment will be worth it to investors. They want to see that it will come to fruition and make them money in the end. Be honest and transparent about the cost of goods sold. Let them know in advance and down to the penny what your income looks like so they know you did a thorough job of figuring it all out.
Now create the one-page plan and send it to your next investor. Be sure to let them know everything they will receive from you so that expectations are the same on both sides.