How to Write a One-Page Business Plan

Single piece of paper with a lightbulb. Represents writing down your full business idea on a single page.

Noah Parsons

5 min. read

Updated January 30, 2024

Download Now: Free 1-Page Business Plan Template

What’s the most challenging part of writing a business plan? Getting started. That’s why you should create a one-page plan as a starting point.

The one-page business plan is simple to create, easy to update, and built for adaptation. It includes all of the essential components of a traditional plan but is far briefer and more focused.

Think of it like you’re tweeting about your business. You have a limited number of characters to work with and are intentionally making it easy to digest. If you need additional support, try downloading our free one-page plan template.

What is a one-page business plan?

The one-page business plan is a simplified version of traditional operational plans that focuses on the core aspects of your business. While it may be a shorter business plan, it still follows the structure of a standard business plan and serves as a beefed-up pitch document.

There’s really not a lot of difference between a single-page business plan and a good executive summary. In fact, as you create a more detailed plan you may even be able to use it as your executive summary.

What to include in your one-page plan

Here are the eight necessary sections to include when developing your one-page business plan.

Try and keep each section limited to 1-2 sentences or 3-4 bullet points to ensure that you stay within one page. It’s always easier to add more later rather than cutting back from lengthy sections.

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The problem

A description of the problem or need your customers have and any relevant data that supports your claim.

The solution

Your product or service and how it solves the problem.

Business model

How you will make money—including the costs of production and selling, and the price that customers will pay.

What’s your biggest business challenge right now?

Target market

Who is your customer and how many of them are there? Define your ideal customer by starting with a broad audience and narrowing it down. This provides investors with a clear picture of your thought process and understanding of the greater consumer market.

Competitive advantage

What makes you different from the competition? Explain how this will lead to greater success, customer loyalty, etc.

Management team

The management structure of your business, including currently filled roles, ideal candidates, and any management gaps.

Financial summary

Key financial metrics include your profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet, and sales forecast. This section may be the most difficult part to condense, so try and focus on visualization and standard business ratios to get the point across. You can always share broader financial information if requested.

Funding required

Have what funding total you need front and center to clearly display what you are asking from investors.

Why you should start with a one-page plan

There are plenty of good reasons to write a business plan. There are even more reasons why your first step should be writing a one-page plan.

1. It’s faster

Instead of slogging away for hours, days, or even weeks tackling a formal business plan—the one-page format helps you get your ideas down much faster. It removes the complex formatting,

2. A great format for feedback

Need quick feedback from business partners, colleagues, potential customers, or your spouse? Provide them with a one-page plan instead of a lengthy in-depth version for better results.

The one-page plan is more likely to be read and reviewed. And since all of your business information is available at a glance, you’ll receive far more valuable and timely feedback.

3. Easy to update

Entrepreneurs never get things right the first time. You’ll constantly be learning and receiving feedback—requiring you to iterate and revise your business concept. Instead of updating a large document every time, you can do it in minutes with a one-page plan.

4. Direct and to-the-point

Learning to communicate your ideas clearly and directly is critical. You need to be sure that anyone can really understand the essence of your business. Delivering your entire business concept on a single page is a great way to practice this, as it forces you to be succinct.

5. Works as an idea validation tool

Initially, your business is just a set of assumptions that you need to validate. Do your potential customers have the problem you assume they have? Do they like your solution and are they willing to pay for it? What marketing and sales tactics will work?

As you validate these assumptions, you leave them in your plan. But, assumptions that end up being wrong will quickly fall off the page.

6. Becomes an outline for your detailed plan

By “detailed” we don’t mean “long.” If you do need to create a detailed business plan document for investors or business partners, you can use your one-page plan as your core outline. You will just expand and provide more details for each section.

7. No one really reads long business plans

A common problem with traditional business plans is that they are simply too long and overly complex. Even when investors ask for a detailed document, chances are that they won’t actually read every word. They may read certain sections, but often just want to see if you’ve thought through the details of your business, how it will operate, and how it will grow.

8. Useful for any business stage

A one-page plan is useful for business owners that are mulling over ideas, just starting, actively managing, or looking to grow a business. It can help validate a business idea, work as an internal strategy document, or as a flexible management tool that can be adapted over time.

Resources to help write your one-page plan

Check out our guide for quickly writing a one-page plan and download our free one-page plan template to kickstart the writing process.

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Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site Epinions.com. From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.