As you head into the new year, you should make sure you are armed with all the tools you need to be successful. One of those tools should be your 2-Page Business Plan (or 2-Page Strategic Plan). This is not to be confused with the multiple-paged document created for banks for business loans. Many new entrepreneurs may also create one at the beginning of their business thinking that is just one of the steps they need to take. While there are some benefits to these long detailed documents, they usually end up on a shelf gathering dust.
Your 2-Page Business Plan, on the other hand, is reviewed weekly and updated annually. And a key point about this plan is that it is ONLY TWO PAGES. Our lives are complicated enough as is, so this tool doesn’t need to add to the complexity. It is meant to make your business life easier!
In this article, I will give you all the details of what goes into a 2-Page Business Plan and also offer you a template you can use to make your own! For our business, we look at our 2-Page Business Plan every Monday to make sure we are on track for the week, month, quarter and year. It is an essential tool in our business.
The purpose of the 2-Page Business Plan
Many small business owners not only run their businesses, but they are also the craftsmen of their trade (meaning they also do the billable work). With this scenario, the owner may constantly feel like they are putting out fires, answering urgent phone calls and emails, hitting the pavement to keep the sales funnel full, etc. All of these items feel like they are of equal high importance, when in actuality they are not. Trying to immediately tackle all these tasks by yourself can cause early burnout or a realization that 20 years has gone by and you aren’t living a lifestyle you imaged by starting your own business.
In Chuck Blakeman’s book Making Money is Killing your Business, he states that these types of plans “…bring the Important things to the front of the line, to give them the priority they should have – in a sense, to create urgency where none is visible”. This document shows you what the important items are that you should keep your focus on, rather than getting sidetracked by all the urgent day to day tasks that can take up so much of your time.
Page One of the Business Plan
The first page covers broad strategies for your business. It includes your Vision, Mission and Strategies that you have for generating income (both directly and indirectly), and a couple of strategies on how you lead your business (employees, customers, etc). As you complete your strategies for your business, check that they will either generate money (directly or indirectly) or assist in leading your business.
By writing out your intended strategies, it makes it really easy to fill out page two with goals.
Page Two of the Business Plan
This page is where you want to outline the tactics you will be using in the next 12, 3, and 1 months to fulfill the strategies you listed on page one. Do not confuse these tactics with items that more appropriately fall onto a to do list. If the item will generate income this month, but doesn’t grow your business in a way to make money later on, then it does not belong on the plan. These items also need to be measurable. They have a date associated with them by which they must be completed.
Example: Our Page One has an indirect strategy: “Building authority in our field with our website”. Our 1 Month Goal has “Determine next quarter’s article topics”, but we don’t have each article listed by line item. The “write this month’s article” is a to-do list item rather than something that goes on the Business Plan.
12 Month Goals
These are goals you have for the next 12 months for your business. They are based off of the strategies you used on page one. Any goal you list should have a correlating strategy assigned to it. Each of these goals should have a date associated with them for when they should be completed or reached. You will be pulling from these objectives to complete your 3 and 1 month goals.
3 Month Goals
Next, look at your 12 month goals and see what items you need to do in the next 3 months to attain those goals. Look at each objective to see what (if any) work you need to do in this quarter to reach them. You will also assign not only a date, but a person responsible for completing this goal. This allows for accountability throughout the whole process.
1 Month Goals
These are the goals you need to do this month to reach your 3 month goals. This 1 month section makes your big 12 month goals feel more attainable. The whole purpose of this Business Plan is to make your life easier and your business successful. Be sure every item listed in the 1 month goals correlates to items in the 3 month goals. Assign a person responsible for working on each goal as well as a due date. This allows for accountability, which in turn garners more success.
You have now moved from the planning phase to the action phase. Nothing will happen without you actually doing something. This is where you start creating a weekly to-do list. Look at your 1 Month section and determine what items you need to do that week to meet those goals. If you know an item will take 4 weeks, make sure it is listed in the first week; you don’t want to get to the end of the month and run out of time.
You should review your 1 Month Goals weekly, your 3 Month Goals monthly, your 12 Month Goals quarterly, and your Page One Strategies every 6-9 months. This Business Plan should be malleable; it should conform to your business’s needs as they evolve.
Example: I sit down with my 2-Page Business Plan every Monday morning first thing when I arrive at the office. I look at each item, its due date, and where we are in completing it. I block off my calendar setting aside time during the week to work on those goals that are mine. Then, we have our Monday morning staff meeting to go over the 2-Page Business Plan. We discuss items with upcoming due dates, who they are assigned to, and clarify any questions that may arise. This way everyone is empowered and in line with their goals for the week.
On the last Monday of each month, we add the task of creating the next 1 Month Goals, so they are ready to go at the next meeting. Likewise, if it is the last Monday of a quarter, we then create the next 3 Month Goals and 1 Month Goals for the upcoming weeks.
FREE for You!
We have created an Excel template for you to use in creating YOUR 2-Page Business Plan. Read the “Instructions” tab first, then start filling in for your business’s goals. Fill out the short form on this page to get your Free Download today!
- If you find you are constantly “rolling over” a Page Two objective from month to month and it never gets accomplished, remove it from your plan. It is only dragging you down to see you have not accomplished it.
- Only spend about 10 minutes each week reviewing the 1 Month Goals. It takes about 20-30 minutes per month to update the 1 Month Goals section. Update your 3 Month Goals quarterly, and it should take about an hour. If you are spending more time than that, you may be making this harder for yourself than it needs to be.
- Do not spend time trying to make it perfect. You could get frozen if you do this. You can improve upon it and add to it as you go along and become more comfortable with it.
- Remember, having a two-page plan laid out in writing is a life SIMPLIFIER. It is strategized, pre-planned, keeps you and your team aware of and on track with your business goals, and gives you guidelines to follow to ensure many successful and profitable years to come.