How (and Why) to Create a One-Page Strategic Plan
It’s coming up on the end of the first quarter of 2017. If you have not yet created a One Page Plan, then NOW is the time to do so. This has the potential to dramatically improve your focus and results for the rest of the year.
What is a One Page Plan (OPP)? The OPP is a single page that distills all of your business objectives and planned strategies into one easy-to-digest and constantly evaluated sheet. It’s fairly common for business owners to sit down and write out pages of yearly goals, strategies, and “to do” items into a neat report…and it’s just as common for that report sit on a shelf or in the cloud somewhere, never to be looked at until the end of the next year. Having a One Page Plan makes it easy for you to always gauge how close you are to where you want to be in business.
A One Page Plan is not a substitute for a well-written, complete business plan that fully documents the business opportunity, markets, products, business model, the management team as well as the financials.
But if one must write a complete business plan, it is a much easier to do if you have completed a well-crafted One Page Plan first.
Interested in creating your own OPP? Good! The below steps and tips will help you through the process.
Step 0: Prep Work
Before getting into the “meat” of creating your plan, it’s important to do a little prep work first. Make sure you have a good foundation for the plan before you start building!
- Know your measurements. Define what success means for YOU and then measure it. This could mean revenue, number of clients, growth percentage, or any other metric – but it must be meaningful for you.
- Do a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats) analysis on both yourself and your business. This will immediately clarify some areas that you want to work on before you even start your plan. If you need help with these, be sure to reach out to a coach!
- Use a template. As a bonus, I’ve created a free PDF with the One Page Plan instructions, examples, and space for you to create your own. Download it NOW and use it to follow along with the rest of this post.
Step 1: State Your Vision
Vision statements describe the business you are building. They answer a few key questions in just one or two sentences:
- Where are you going?
- What do you want to achieve for your clients and/or yourself?
- What are you building?
A few examples of a vision statement are:
- A world-wide coaching business that helps millions achieve financial freedom.
- The best financial planning consultancy in our state for middle-class families.
- A multi-billion dollar charity organization that brings clean drinking water to dozens of countries around the world.
- A boutique training business that helps 10 businesses per year.
Step 2: State Your Mission
While a Vision statement declares WHAT you are building, your Mission statement declares WHY you are building it. It answers questions like:
- Why does this business exist?
- Who are our customers?
- What wants, needs, desires, pain, or problems do our product or services solve?
- What is our unique selling proposition?
- What are we committed to providing to our customers?
Sample mission statements include:
- Federal Express – The World on Time
- UPS – Moving at the Speed of Business
- eBay – The World’s Online Marketplace
- Lenscrafters – Helping people see better one hour at a time.
- Sylvan Learning Systems – Success is Learned
The “how to” in business is the easy part, but the “why to” is what’s really important. Despite all of the particulars, your primary function in business is to find the people who need your help, and the best missions statements are short and directed right at them.
Step 3: Set Your Objectives
Objectives define what we will measure. Well-written objectives can be graphed because they contain a numerical value. Remember that anything you want to see increase MUST be tracked, so it is time to decide what your key metrics are.
Example objectives could include:
- Increase topline revenue 100%
- Gain 2,000 new customers by September
- Sign 5 new platinum clients by December
Here’s the catch: there should be no more than nine objectives. This will be difficult for many business owners, because we want to do and grow everything. But if you want to be truly effective, you MUST narrow your focus. Nine is the magic number.
There should also be no more than one sentence than to clearly define each objective. It may help to write out as many sentences as you need to describe each objective, and then work to distill that explanation to one sentence.
Step 4: Develop Strategies
Next, strategies declare HOW you will build your company and obtain your objectives.
For each of your nine objectives, you will have one main strategy.
Some objective-strategy matchup examples could be:
|Increase Customers by 100%||Increase marketing efforts by 50%|
|Convert 25% more sales calls||Improve call script or lead generating process|
|Grow mailing list to 15,000||Develop and test new giveaway assets for signup|
Step 5: Create a Plan
Finally, it’s time to develop a concrete plan. Up to this point, you’ve laid out what you want to do and why, but now it time to map out the EXACT to-do items to accomplish these items. Plans declare what work is to be done?
Specifically, plans describe the work or projects that need to be completed in the next twelve months, and will help guide your day-to-day activities. It helps to match up action items to each strategy, and again we want NO MORE than nine action items per strategy.
Using our examples from above, here’s some sample action items:
|Increase marketing efforts by 50%||Develop and implement Facebook ad campaigns, Attend online marketing training events, Develop and test new local ad campaigns, etc.|
|Improve call script or lead generating process||Work with coach to improve call script for conversions, Improve LinkedIn profile for Lead Generation, Increase social media reach-out to influencers, etc.|
|Develop and test new giveaway assets for signup||Hire email marketing professional, Change email marketing platform, Develop new giveaway pack by February, etc.|
Lastly: narrow ALL of your actionable items down to the top nine (yes, again) that need to get down right now. DO NOT pick the easiest items – pick the most important! Hint: you may want to choose the top ONE for each strategy.
From this plan, you will be able to move on to creating yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily habits that get you closer to your definition of success. You can read more about creating your success schedule here.
And this is very important: Once the plan is written out, it does not change until the half-way point of the year. At that point, you can make minor adjustments if necessary. You MUST give this time to truly see if it works!
I’ve created dozens of these plans with clients and for my own business, and I’ve learned a few things along the way. Here are some of my top tips for completing your own:
- The best way to increase your follow-through is to work with someone (coach, colleague, friend, etc.) Make yourself accountable!
- Break the feast-or-famine cycle. Do NOT rest on your laurels when things are good. Work your plan and always keep leads in the funnel.
- Sometimes you realize you need more training and education while creating the plan. Make sure to add that as one of the action items!
If you’d like some tips and help creating your One Page Plan, plus full advice on business systems for success, click here to join our FREE webinar in March.