I apologize for the length of this letter/speech/memo/blog post. If I had more time it would have been shorter.
That keen insight into effective writing has been attributed to many great communicators, from Virgil to Voltaire. Respect for the reader's time requires the writer to carefully pare all but the most essential aspects of the message. Editing has the added benefit of helping the writer clarify and sharpen his or her own thinking. If you cannot express the essentials briefly and accurately your confusion and uncertainty will distract and annoy the reader. To write fewer words, think more.
Your business plan is the document that most deserves intense thought and editing to make it concise, persuasive, and motivating. Everyone in your business needs to know what to do, as well as why, when, and how. If you can record and transmit all that in a single page you have a well-considered plan.
I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew);
their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.
The one page business plan is an instance of a very useful management policy, one embraced by Churchill, Eisenhower, and Reagan: the one page memo. I have inflicted plenty of long and detailed documents on my colleagues, including lengthy business plans (here is a doosey, from my dot-bomb in 1999, for findAspace.com). That's fine, as long as your tome is fronted by a brief cover letter or Executive Summary that answers Kipling's six questions.
What is the opportunity? Define the market need and support with evidence. Describe the product (your Unique Selling Proposition) and your primary customers.
What could go wrong? A SWOT Analysis of the enterprise's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats can help your team formulate this paragraph. What keeps you up at night?
Why does this matter? Express the team's core values, vision, and mission statement. Explain how the success of this business is integral to...
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