How to Create a One-Page Business Plan: A Comprehensive Guide

A clear business plan is a crucial tool for any entrepreneur to gain clarity on their company’s core values and goals. By outlining your plans and objectives, you can create a route to achieve them. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the steps to create a clear and concise business plan that will set you up for success.

Our step-by-step guide will show you how to create a one-page business plan using the One Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) tool within the Scaling Up methodology. By consolidating your company’s core values, target customers, strengths, revenue model, and goals onto one page, you’ll have a clear overview of your business that can guide your team towards success. The OPSP consists of two sides: a Strategy-side and an Execution-side.

Table of contents

1. What is a business plan?

A business plan is an essential tool for any entrepreneur who wants to clarify the core of their company, set goals, and create a roadmap for success. The One Page Strategic Plan (OPSP), a tool within the Scaling Up methodology, can help reduce your business plan to one A4 page.

The OPSP’s first page is dedicated to describing the core of your company. This includes your values, contribution to society, target customers, strengths, revenue model, and the big goal you want to achieve. By consolidating these key elements on one page, you have a clear and concise overview of your business, making it easier to set goals and determine the direction of your company.

Having a clear goal for the next eight years is essential as it allows you to break down your objectives into more manageable, short-term goals for the coming year and quarter. With the OPSP, your entire team can align their efforts towards the same goal, ensuring that everyone is working towards the same objective.

2. Creating a Business Plan in 8 Targeted Steps

A business plan is a strategic document that outlines a company’s objectives and how they plan to achieve them. It is a critical document for any entrepreneur who wants to start or grow their business. A business plan typically consists of several parts or steps, which are interdependent and must be well thought out to create a coherent whole. The Scaling Up’s One Page Strategic Plan consists of 8 steps:

Step 1: Define Your Core Values

The first step in creating a business plan is to define the core values of your company. Core values are the fundamental principles that underpin your company’s culture and guide its decisions. They are the DNA of your organisation and should be discovered so that your team can use them as a source of strength for the company culture and decision-making. Some examples of core values that you can consider include accountability, growth, and integrity.

Step 2: Define Your Purpose

The second step is to identify a crystal-clear purpose for your company. This purpose is what motivates you to get out of bed every morning and gives you the energy to tackle the challenges of running a business. It is also important for your employees to feel connected to this purpose, as it can be an enormous boost for all stakeholders, from customers to partners involved.

Step 3: Identify Your Core Competencies

The third step is to identify your company’s core competencies. These are the things that your company is incredibly good at and can potentially become the best in the world. Knowing your core competencies is essential because they are the things that set you apart from your competitors and are difficult to copy. If someone were to work in your company for a week, what would still be extremely difficult to imitate?

Step 4: Define Your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)

The fourth step is to identify the end-goal of your organisation. This is the dot on the horizon where you would love to grow your company. It should be a BHAG, a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, that is 8-10 years from now. This goal should be inspiring and exciting but not so specific that it becomes a fill-in-the-blank exercise.

Step 5: Define Your Economic Engine

The fifth step is to identify the economic engine of your company. This is the essence of your company’s revenue model and the unit that has the greatest impact on your economic engine. For example, if you are a law firm, you might use profit per hour or profit per employee. Other examples could include profit per project, profit per customer, profit per market segment, or profit per branch.

Step 6: Define Your Ideal Playing Field

The sixth step is to define your ideal playing field or sandbox. This consists of the specific market that you want and can dominate in three years. It includes your target audience, geography, and products or services that help your core customers. For example, if you are targeting companies with more than 10 employees in the construction and installation industry in the Netherlands, and you have developed a CRM solution with extremely useful functionalities for companies within this industry, you have ticked off all three points!

Step 7: Identify Your Core Customers

The seventh step is to identify your company’s absolute core customers. These are the customers that best suit your company and deserve the most attention. Knowing your core customers is essential because they are the ones who are most likely to become super enthusiastic about your product or company.

Step 8: Define Your Brand Promises

The OPSP includes brand promises as a critical element. A brand promise defines what a brand stands for and what it promises to deliver to its customers. However, many brand promises can come across as hollow and meaningless, such as “we deliver the best quality.” To be effective, a brand promise must be specific and directly address the core needs of the target audience. It should also include a penalty clause that holds the provider accountable if the promise cannot be fulfilled, such as offering free groceries for long queue times at the supermarket. A powerful brand promise can make all the difference in capturing the attention and loyalty of customers.

In conclusion, creating a business plan is not an easy task, but it is a necessary one if you want to succeed in business. The steps outlined above are critical to creating a coherent and comprehensive, yet concise business plan that will help guide your company’s growth and success. It is essential to take the time to carefully think through each step and ensure that they all work together to create a One Page Strategic Plan that is both realistic and inspiring.

3. The One Page Strategic Plan: Execution

Once the front side of the One Page Strategic Plan has been completed and the strategy has been formulated clearly and concisely, you can start working on the execution side. What do you need to do to implement your strategy in practice?

Pillars of success

Essentially, the execution side is an exercise in breaking things down. Starting from the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), you formulate pillars of success. These are the five big things in which you need to excel. This could be, for example, “International expansion”, “Best in class customer service”, or “Attracting and retaining talent”. You don’t need to have these pillars of success in your company yet. You do need to develop them, and you absolutely must have them in five to ten years.

Yearly priorities

From the pillars of success, you then distil the priorities for the next three years. This could be, for example, “Opening offices in Germany and Belgium”, “Resolving every question or complaint within 24 hours”, and “Fully operational recruitment department”. You then repeat this exercise in formulating your priorities for the coming year. For example: “First 10 projects in Germany and Belgium”, “Implementing Salesforce and Service Cloud”, and “Hiring recruitment director and 5 recruiters”.

Quarterly priorities

The last step is to break down yearly priorities into quarterly priorities. In the Scale Up methodology, these are called “Rocks”. These are sharply formulated ‘big blocks’ that operationalize the achievement of your objectives. The rocks for a quarter in our example could be, for example, “Business Developers hired for Germany and Belgium”, “Salesforce Integrator contracted and project kicked off”, and “Recruitment Director hired”.

4. How do to create a On Page Strategic Plan?

What is crucial when developing and executing your One Page Strategic Plan is the conscious attention you give to working ON your business instead of IN your business. Naturally, when your time is consumed by client work, you end up working IN your business. Working and building your business is often postponed until tomorrow and as a result, never happens.

You create the OPSP with your management team. We have noticed that making choices during this process is often difficult. Do yourself a favour and bring in a facilitator. A huge pitfall is to think “I can do this on my own.” In our experience, assistance from a facilitator when creating your One Page Strategic Plan is indispensable. We strongly believe in doing things ourselves, but this is one of the few fundamental elements that simply do not work without a facilitator. In every management team, there is always at least one person who can fit 14 things into one objective. What should have been a one-page plan becomes a jumble of goals and priorities. This can only be resolved if there is a facilitator present to ask the right questions and force you to make choices.


Once the OPSP is in place, communicate it. It is better to over-communicate than under-communicate. Make parts visible within your company (for example, post the BHAG and Purpose prominently on the wall, hold a company-wide meeting every quarter to present the rocks, award a prize each month for the best core value behaviour, etc.). Then make the OPSP part of your company’s onboarding process so that new employees know what to expect from the culture, ambitions, and plans of your company.

5. How do you implement the One Page Strategic Plan?

The successful implementation of the One Page Strategic Plan involves several steps:

  1. Communicate the plan: Start by communicating the One Page Strategic Plan to your team, partners, and stakeholders. Ensure that everyone understands the plan, the goals, and their role in achieving them. This will help align everyone’s efforts and ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives.
  2. Develop KPIs: Develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that align with your objectives. These KPIs should be specific, measurable, and regularly tracked to monitor progress towards your goals.
  3. Assign responsibilities: Assign responsibilities to individuals or teams responsible for achieving specific objectives. This helps ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them and who is responsible for specific results.
  4. Conduct regular evaluations: Conduct regular assessments to evaluate the progress of your objectives. These assessments should be structured and data-driven, and involve all stakeholders. Use this feedback to adjust your plan as needed.
  5. Develop an execution plan: Develop an execution plan that outlines the specific actions needed to achieve your objectives. This plan should be detailed and specific, and linked to your KPIs.
  6. Use the right tools: Use the appropriate tools to support your execution plan. These tools can include project management software, financial modeling tools, or communication tools.
  7. Create a culture of accountability: Create a culture of accountability where everyone in your organisation takes responsibility for their work and is committed to achieving your objectives. This culture should be encouraged by leaders who are accountable and by creating incentives and rewards for achieving objectives.

The implementation of the Scaling Up One Page Strategic Plan is a long-term process that requires discipline, commitment, and a focus on execution. It may take time to achieve your goals, but with a disciplined approach, you can create sustainable growth for your organisation.

6. Six key Benefits of the One Page Strategic Plan

There are six key benefits of using a Scaling Up One Page Strategic Plan:

  1. Clarity and focus: The One Page Strategic Plan provides a clear and concise overview of your business strategy. It helps you focus on what’s most important and avoid distractions that get in the way of progress.
  2. Alignment of goals and objectives: The One Page Strategic Plan aligns your business goals and objectives with your core values, purpose, and competencies. This alignment ensures that everyone in the organisation is working toward the same goals and objectives.
  3. Improved decision-making: The One Page Strategic Plan provides a framework for making strategic decisions. It helps evaluate opportunities and risks based on your company’s goals.
  4. Communication and collaboration: The One Page Strategic Plan is a powerful communication tool that helps share your business strategy with your team, partners, and stakeholders. It promotes collaboration and ensures that everyone is working toward the same goals.
  5. Accountability: The One Page Strategic Plan sets clear expectations for everyone in the organisation. It helps monitor progress, track results, and hold people accountable for their performance.
  6. Sustainable growth: The One Page Strategic Plan helps you focus on the areas of your business that have the most growth potential. It ensures that resources are allocated to the right areas and that you don’t waste time and money on initiatives that won’t lead to sustainable growth.

In summary, the Scaling Up One Page Strategic Plan is a powerful tool that provides clarity, alignment, and focus to your business strategy. It helps you make better decisions, communicate effectively, and achieve sustainable growth.

Download our free template to start creating your own OPSP today. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a one-page business plan that provides direction and focus for your company.



7. Need help in creating your OPSP?

Do you need assistance in writing a business plan? The One Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) is an incredibly powerful tool that condenses a business plan into a single A4 page. However, implementing it without investing sufficient time in establishing targets, flow, and funnels is comparable to adopting a new CRM system without proper setup, which may result in delivering only a fraction of its full potential.

On the other hand, if you take the time to craft a sharp and precise OPSP, it can significantly boost your organisation and ensure that everyone is on the same page, aligned with the bigger strategic picture. Our Scaling Up experts are well-equipped to assist you in preparing and implementing your business plan, ensuring that you reap the full benefits of the OPSP.