The Power of Precision: Turning Your Business Plan Into an Effective One-Page Summary
You put everything you have into your business and have spent many a late night pouring over each word in your plan to make it perfect. The idea of chopping that carefully-edited masterpiece down into one page might seem like a formidable challenge–and it can be!–but if you’re actively looking for funding, it’s worth taking on.
A one-page summary is an important part of your fundraising arsenal because it shows increasingly time-poor investors that you can neatly tell the story of why they should care about your business and that you understand what’s most compelling and salient in your research. As a bonus, it’s also a good exercise in distilling your business plan to its bare bones and allowing your truest brand message to emerge.
We all know it can be harder to write something short and succinct than getting in the flow of an unlimited word count. To make the most impact, you might like to think about what investors: absolutely need to know, could have misconceptions about, and might be OK not knowing yet.
Start with your defined offering. Try and avoid superlatives like ‘biggest’ or ‘best’ and keep adjectives to a minimum. Then read through it one more time to eliminate buzzwords and jargon.
The Problem You’re Solving
Write a couple of sentences about a problem and solution that anyone could understand so that an opportunity surfaces. You could even invert this section with The Pitch to lead with the opportunity instead.
Try and be as specific as possible as you can. Markets like ‘parents’ or ‘teenagers’ are too broad. Show you understand the size of your market in this section too.
Your Competitive Advantage
The challenge here is to both acknowledge your competitors, and explain what your competitive advantage is in around 500 characters.
Write a two-to-three sentence rundown of how you’ll reach your customers, and whether it’s through PR, digital marketing or advertising or a combination.
Short Summary of the Management Team
You only need to include names, titles, and one or two significant roles they’ve held under this heading. For example, CEO Sarah Steele, Head of Video at Vimeo, Head of Search at Google; CFO Mandy Mahoney, CFO at Tidal, VP of Accounts at Etsy.
There’s some discussion online about how to present your financials (or whether to include them at all), but the consensus is that if you’re early in the process, you should describe how you will make money but not worry about any detailed projections. If you’ve already been trading, you can give investors a very basic overview of your expected revenues and costs.
Instead of making a three or five-year financial projection, outline the key milestones you hope to achieve with the funding instead. Investors know that financial projections are based on a lot of assumptions and can look similar from company to company, so a clear vision for your company’s future might be more effective.
It goes without saying that the trick to fitting all of this content on one page isn’t about making the text Times New Roman 8pt and narrowing the margins. A slick design sets the tone for your business and gives visual learners a break. You can also use design elements to catch investors’ attention. It doesn’t mean spending thousands with a designer; online software can help.
For a printed version
Try using Canva design software. It doesn’t have a template for this specific purpose at the moment, but it does have many CV and report templates that can be easily adapted for this format.
For a web-based version
Xtensio has a template for a short business summary that can be adapted to suit your needs if you’ve been introduced to potential investors by email.
Some extra help
Your one-pager isn’t a replacement for your plan, deck or even executive summary, it’s a way to help you get your foot in the door and get to the next stage.
If you’re stuck, you can chat to us and other supportive women entrepreneurs about how to put together your one-page summary in our Facebook Group, or read through our list of resources for women in business.
For some IRL feedback on your pitch, join us at our peer-to-peer pitch night WeWork Grand Central in NY on 12th March.
Your one-pager isn’t a replacement for your plan, deck or even executive summary, it’s a way to help you get your foot in the door.