In our last blog, we looked at how a one-page business plan can help start-up freelance trainers focus their energies. But what if you’ve been training for years and run an established business? Do you still need a business plan at this stage in your career?
In my experience, a one-page business plan is a fantastic tool for established training businesses as well as start-ups:
- It creates an accessible roadmap to move your business forwards
- It highlights your long- and short-term goals
- It encourages you to be concise and focused about your plans
- It highlights top level information about your business that you can post on your office wall and review easily at any time
- It’s easy to update
- It provides a helpful tool for generating interest from potential partners, suppliers or investors
- It acts as the company vision
So, what should your one-page business plan include?
The one-page business plan overview
There are 13 main areas that you may want to think about – aim for a heading and a few bullet points or sentences for each section. This is the same as for start-up freelancers but with a slightly different emphasis, built on your experience and tangible data from your previous activities:
Your elevator pitch
Although you will probably want this at the top of your one-page business plan, it’s likely to be the last thing you write.
Your elevator pitch should be a concise but compelling sentence that tells the reader about the problem, your audience, your solution and what sets you apart from your competitors.
Your clients’ problem(s)/desire(s)
How does your training business solve a problem for your clients or satisfy a desire?
Do you provide training that’s essential to staff being able to carry out their jobs or does your training add value to a company in a different way, perhaps by broadening or deepening knowledge in a specific area or building skills that set your clients apart from their competitors?
How do you solve your clients’ problems or desires? What makes your solution valuable to your target audience?
Here you can draw on experience from past training to highlight proven ways that you’ve made a difference to clients.
Who are you most important clients or client groups? What are their defining qualities? How do you recognise them? Is there a different client group that you would like to work with more in the future? If so, how do you plan to reach out to them?
Where do your most important clients spend time, on and offline? How did you find them or how did they find you? How do they want you to communicate with them? Do they prefer a specific form of communication or social media channel?
This is a good time to review your marketing and advertising activities over the past 12 months. Which activities have given you the best return on your investment (ROI)? Is this where you plan to reinvest over the next 12 months or are there other avenues you would like to explore?
What makes you different from your competitors? What is different or unique about the solution you offer?
What do you sell and how much do you charge? Do you plan to change your offering at all over the next 12 months? Which are your most popular services/packages, if applicable?
Think about the costs to run your business. How much do you spend on things like a virtual assistant, accountant, CRM software, website hosting, marketing, advertising, and so on? Are there areas where you can cut your costs? Are there things you plan to invest in more over the next 12 months, such as business coaching?
Think about what resources, systems and activities already support your business. Is there anything else that would make your business run more smoothly?
Can you identify any advantages you have over your competitors? For example, is there someone in your network who could provide referrals? Do you have specific experience within your industry that other trainers may not share? Do you have qualifications that set you apart?
Identify the data/metrics at your disposal. This might include Google Analytics data about your website traffic; data about your Google AdWords campaigns; sales revenue; number of bookings; hours worked; and/or social media insights on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Does your business reflect your personal brand? Do your customers, services and business model still feel like a good fit? If not, what could you change over the next 12 months?
Your one-page business plan is a great place to list your goals. What do you want to achieve over the next month, quarter, year or five years? By writing your goals down, it’s easier to keep an eye on working towards them.
Remember to review, revise and repeat your one-page business plan at least once a year so that it becomes a tool that you actively use to stay focused and to keep your business moving forwards.
Looking for other ways to grow and re-ignite your passion for your training business? Download your free copy of 20 ways to re-energise your training business today.