Why Your 1-Page Strategic Plan is Lame

For years, I’ve talked about having a 1-Page Strategic Plan which contains your one-line competitive strategy and outlines the key playbook you are testing to drive exponential growth for your business.

I even gave away my own template to another 20 folks last month at my quarterly Riding the Ramp webinar. Psstt…next one is Dec. 4. Sign up no because spaces are limited. The link is on my Founder’s Resources page. Now, I will stop plugging myself.

But there’s a problem. Most 1-pagers out there suck.


They’re not based on real data, on any empirical understanding of your actual competitive position.

There’s the data part. Sure. And then there’s the ability to interpret it well.

Look, there is no ONE pre-ordained strategy you need to discover and execute. There are usually multiple that will work. This is where the primal risk exists for founders. Picking one strategy and sticking to it as the world surrounds you with doubt, skepticism, rage, and, yes, uncritical applause (the worst) until it doesn’t work.

The alternative is kind of tactical flailing, which exposes you to near-term signals from all directions.

Data-driven brands with a focused strategy are better able to ignore the smoke and mirrors, shiny objects, trade show distractions, etc.

Skate Ramp brands, the ones that grow exponentially off a small base, pick and re-pick their strategy as they grow adapting their playbook to changing competitive circumstances.

But, if you don’t use real external data as a foundation for your strategic plan, you’re just winging it all over again. It’s not even clear if a plan without market data is even helping you much. Even worse, without data from your fans, you will project your own motives onto your consumers more easily. This leads to mistaken buyer pitches, poor messaging on the pack, poor communications work, and the list goes on.

This has been an excerpt from my upcoming episode of Startup Confidential.

If you’d like to learn more advanced tricks on strategic planning, please take my Founder’s Quiz, and you’ll not only receive an initial diagnosis of your team’s situation, you’ll also become part of my VIP founder community. This means you’ll receive monthly white-papers as well as special e-mails twice a month designed to keep you and hour team focused on Riding the Ramp.

Dr. James Richardson

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