It is common for entrepreneurs to create a one pager for their business and idea, in order to gain a face-to-face meeting with potential investors, usually venture capital businesses. This is particularly so in the startup or the early stages of a high growth (often technology) business.

A lot has been written about how to write an excellent one pager and I do not intend to go into those details in this post. However, there are a couple of references that I do rate. Those are one pagers from an investor perspective and what should be in one and also avoiding some common one pager pitfalls. Instead, I am going to focus in this post, on how having access to the one pager greatly accelerates the initial phases of the IT Due Diligence process.

Business summary, customer problem, product and/or service and target customers

From an IT Due Diligence perspective, getting early access to the one pager, greatly assists with gaining a rapid overall understanding of the business, the customer problem and the proposed or current solution. In this respect, the business summary, customer problem, product and/or service and the likely target customers sections of the one pager are of particular importance. The business summary sets the scene and helps with a high level introduction to the organisation. The customer problem, product/service and the likely/target customer section can be reviewed together as they are closely linked. Taken all together this information allows me to form a very early view of the sort of technology choices might work in this proposal. if there is a product already in place and it is serving customers then the view is about how well/easily will the product and technology scale to cope with the proposed demand.

Management team

The next area to look at is the team. The management team, key players and advisors as well as numbers of employees are the key information in this respect. At this stage, I am looking to understand what sort of technical capability might reside within the team and how that confirms or changes the view of potential technology choices formed in the previous section.

Business model and financials

I now look at the business model together with the financials, with an eye to affordability of the technology. Clearly this depends on whether there is an existing implementation where the technology has already been chosen or it is at "build stage where the technology decisions still need to be made.

Sales and marketing strategy

Finally, the sales and marketing strategy can be helpful in assessing the technology, as the go to market strategy needs to match the (potential) product and how it might scale/be scaled.
 
At the end of reviewing the one pager, I generally have a good view as to where to start with my questions, when I first meet the technology team, as well as no longer needing a high level introduction to the business - all of which saves precious time for everyone.
  
I hope that the above may prove useful. Please feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section below.
 
All the best.
 
Pete

 

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