As a long-time practitioner and One Page Business Plan® Consultant I have worked with a number of businesses to develop and implement their One Page Business Plan®.  When I talk about the Plan® to prospective owners, several have offered that developing a plan is easy, so they don’t have a need to develop a formal One Page Plan®, as it is all in their head!  I’d like to offer a few expert observations in developing a Plan®.

What’s Under The Hood?

Have you ever looked at a new car (or used) and asked to look at what’s under the hood? I have, but in fact, once the salesperson opened the hood and I looked – I can offer that I had no clue what all those mechanical parts meant, but I did take assurance that the engine would start, the car would do what is expected, and I would benefit from the purchase. Talk about blind faith!

Well, let’s discuss what is under the hood with a One Page Business Plan®.  First, do you know what a Balanced Scorecard is – that is, setting up objectives and strategies based on a business’ financial, people, processes, and customer focus?  Well – an important element of the Plan® is developing business objectives and strategies based on the Balanced Scorecard.  When Robert Kaplan and David Norton developed the Balanced Scorecard in 1992, few thought it would have such a beneficial impact upon the management and development of companies.  I hope you will take the time to read their article in the Harvard Business Review, referenced here.

The Balanced Scorecard

Trust me, developing objectives and strategies using the Balanced Scorecard methodology does contribute to thoughtful discussions about what are the most are important aspects of the business.  That’s precisely why Jim Horan, in the development of the One Page Business Plan® incorporated scorecards into the development of business objectives and strategies.  For instance, is it important to track –

  • The monthly growth of your pre-tax profits,
  • An increase in your monthly customer satisfaction scores, or
  • An increase in your monthly production yields?

How about strategies, is it important to develop a business strategy, over time to –

  • Develop the key components to repeat purchases,
  • Streamline vendor processes, or
  • Expand or improve certain best practices?

To quote from the article referenced above by Kaplan and Norton – the Balanced Scorecard Links Performance Measures –

  • How do customers see us? (customer perspective),
  • What must we excel at? (internal perspective),
  • Can we continue to improve and create value? (innovation and learning perspective), and
  • How do we look to shareholders? (financial perspective)

Follow-Up to Objections

Let me emphasize – I don’t sell plans. I help owners answer WHY they want to grow their business and offer the tools to successfully do so. I can’t remember how many times owners have said the Plan is all in their head.  I don’t disagree. Question – do employees, customers, and vendors understand what is in their head – all the time? And what if you, as an owner, forget to mention a specific element of your business plan?

As a business consultant, professional recruiter, and executive coach I have spent a good amount of time with owners who proudly point to their written business plan on the shelf in their office.  When asked the last time they looked at it, they will dutifully take it off the shelf, dust it off, and offer that it has been a few years.

Real Plans Get Implemented And Updated

Every plan I have worked on, both as an employee and consultant, is constantly put to use, revised, updated, and yes, implemented.  My first professional job was as a Planner – guess you could say it is in my professional blood!  I believe change is the one constant we have in life and in business – and we need to adapt – constantly – to that change.  One Page Business Plans are online, The One Page Planning and Performance System.  Trust me, there are lots of knockoffs. If you are interested in the authentic Plan®, look at this information first, and, if further interested, drop me a line.