Why you need a Plan on a Page

Jan 15, 2016

The Plan on a Page is where the whole planning exercise comes together (10 days of planning for 90 days of execution). The purpose is to turn ideas, intentions, and desires into actions that can produce the outcomes you are aiming for. Its not a detailed plan; The whole thing should fit onto a single piece of A3 paper and provide sufficient clarity to get you moving.

The plan on a page collects together all the key thoughts from the planning phase. I usually look at this planning phase as the first 10 days of the period, so the plan needs to show you what you will execute in the remaining 90 days.

Why a Plan on a Page?

There are two types of business plan:

  • The informal plan, meant for you the business owner, that helps you take action.
  • The formal detailed plan, meant for prospective investors in the business. This will usually be a big document containing business strategies, detailed analysis, cashflow forecasts and so on.

Let’s be clear, the 100-day plan is an informal plan. The last thing you want is a big business plan that will sit on a shelf gathering dust. I know I’ve produced many documents for clients that have ended up as just that. Sometimes ninety or a hundred pages long. They get used once. They get used for a specific purpose, and then they sit on a shelf.

A big plan takes a huge amount of effort. Your time is too valuable. What you have got to do is get out of planning and into execution, so plan a page is ideal for that. It gives you just enough to do what’s necessary. Enough to get your business moving over the next ninety days.

What’s The purpose of the Plan on a Page?

​It’s quite simple. It’s to tell you what needs to happen. or if you’ve got a team around you or a business partner, it provides a common understanding of what, collectively, you need to do and the role of each person in that. If you’re working with a close team or with a business partner, you shouldn’t fill the plan on a page by yourself. You should build it as a joint planning exercise, so that everybody is in agreement. It’s joint thoughts. It’s joint agreement, and you’ve all bought into it.

​You end up with an easy to reference plan on a page, that is a live document, and your mind can visualize that plan. When I say a plan on a page, I’m thinking of a sheet of A3 paper, not a sheet of A4 (US letter). It’s a big piece of paper, and it shows everything that needs to happen. It’s the who, the what, the why, or the when of what it is you’re going to do, and the measures that you’re going to apply to them to tell you what’s happening. Let’s take this in turn.


What is this one big thing that you’re going to do in this time period? Why does it fit? Why is it the most important thing, and how does it connect your strategy? That needs to be written clearly on a plan on a page. If nothing else this clarifies your thinking, and makes sure your laser focus for the 90 days of execution is on the right thing.


​You will be familiar with the concept of SMART goals. A SMART goal will always be time bound, and will always require you to set yourself deadlines. The fact that this is a plan on a page for 90 days of execution means that the deadline is there already.

I like to break the 90 days of execution down further, and set some milestones. A milestone simply starts breaking down that one big task into smaller units that are more manageable.. We shouldn’t be planning at this stage in a huge amount of detail. Each milestone should have a few actions. In my opinion, over planning leads to procrastination. You can sit forever and ever, planning what you’re going to do, and never get around to executing it. Plus, as you’re sitting at this stage of a plan, you don’t know how some of these individual tasks are going to go. You don’t really know whether you allocate an hour, three hours, or whatever to doing them. I think you need the first few key actions for each milestone. They get the ball rolling. They give you momentum, and you plan further in more detail as you go along.


​The plan needs to show who is going to be doing the various actions identified. Things you need to delegate or outsource.

We’ve already talked about your own personal time and the value of your time. If you’re going to be successful, you’re going to need to delegate quite a lot of what’s going on. This might be things that you’re doing as part of the day to day in your business so you can focus on driving the business forward. If that’s the case identify the changes you need to make to the day to day as part of the plan.

You are also going to need specialists to help to take your 100-day project forward. You must maximize your own value, and this means you aren’t the best person to do everything. The plan must identify where you need to bring in specialists to help. You might also want to bring some resources in just to give you some horsepower, to help you get things done faster.


Your plan on a page should identify two types of measurement

1 Result indicators

Firstly, we want some results, so a traditional smart goal would give you a measure that would tell you when you’ve got that, tell you that you’ve completed things. For example, if you’re losing weight or want to lose weight, you might have a target of shedding twenty pounds. You will know that you’ve completed that goal when you have shed twenty pounds.

2 Performance Indicators

Getting on the scales every week and measuring that weight loss measures the results that have arisen from taking action. Performance indicators measure the actions themselves. If you’re trying to lose weight, you might measure the number of calories you’re eating. You might measure the amount of exercise you’re doing. You might measure the number of times you go to the gym. You might measure the number of paces you take during a day on a pedometer. All of those things are key performance indicators.

In the same way, your business projects need performance indicators. What are the key things you need to do on a daily or weekly basis to achieve the results, can you measure these? If the one thing you are doing in this 100 day period is a sales campaign you might want to measure the number of leads followed up on a daily basis, or something similar.

The Plan on a Page is a powerful document

Taken together all these elements give you a powerful one page live summary of what you need to do once you move out of your first 10 days of planning and review into 90 days of execution. The plan on a page helps you realise what you need to do day by day, week by week to get to the end result.

You might need more than one go at the plan. My own plan for the first quarter of 2016 showed me that I was being too ambitious, trying to do too much and not sufficiently focussed. Very quickly as I put the plan together I could see I was setting myself up to fail. So, I went straight back to the drawing board, eliminating half of the plan.

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