How to make an awesome and eye-catching One-Pager
by Diego Belmar, Portfolio Manager at The Ganesha Lab.
In my years of career, I have collaborated with some bioentrepreneurs to raise capital to finance their project.
Thus, I realized a “One Pager” is an extremely useful tool, as it allows the investor to get a clear picture of the company, seducing him to learn more and a chance to set up a meeting where you can explain in detail where the company is headed.
We could say that a One-Pager is the brief of the executive summary, wherein in a single page you show how outstanding and sexy your company is.
And this is absolutely essential in the process of seeking funding because this information will provide investors with the first impression.
Although it is only one page, I warn you that the One-Pager must contain several elements that will reflect a comprehensive overview of your company, so being concise, direct, and strategic in its construction is extremely crucial.
What is the One-Pager for?
Remember how I said it has to show how sexy your company is? Well, I stand by that! There is a clear objective when sending a one-pager, and that is to attract attention, to be attractive so that an investor cannot resist getting to know you and learning about your company in more detail.
If the elevator pitch is an oral presentation of a couple of minutes, the one-pager is a written presentation of a single page. In other words, it is the middle ground between a business card and a formal executive summary.
Imagine you start your fundraising process, receive a couple of emails from venture capital firms, and want to introduce yourself. Imagine you have an opportunity to get their attention and have them reply if they want to meet to learn more about your company.
Do you spend a long text trying to write down all your ideas? No, I recommend you structure a good introductory email and send the one-pager. All the information is in one place, straight to the point.
Obviously, this document can be useful in many other contexts. In short, wherever you need to leave summarized and precise information a One-Pager is welcome. I would only advise you to analyze to whom you are going to deliver it and see if it is not necessary to make a specific version with some small changes in approach or structure.
What are the elements required in a One-Pager?
To make things easier, I want to outline which elements are a MUST in the perfect One-Pager. The ones marked with an * are the ones that cannot be missing, while the ones that are not marked are the desirable ones but not essential.
Here we go.
→ Logo + Tagline*: Your identity seal, which must be representative, recognizable, and memorable. Think that if it remains in the reader’s memory it will be easier for him to recognize you later. The tagline is a small phrase of 4 or 5 words that defines your vision.
→ Profile: A short summary or bullet point that provides relevant information about the company. The key ones are sector, type of product, date of foundation, investment to date, members of the team, monthly burn rate, etc.
→ Mega-phrase*: It should be the perfect title drop, with a short but powerful sentence that summarizes who you are, what you do, and why you are important to others. It will be the main idea that will stay in the reader’s head, so it must transmit dominance, security, and confidence.
→ “Tweet” pitch: The idea is that in about 140 characters you can expand on what you conveyed in the mega-phrase, advancing what you have achieved and what you are looking for.
→ Metrics*: The metrics will be, par excellence, the turnover you have so far. If it doesn’t exist (which is very likely in a biotech company), then focus on numbers that reflect the company’s potential. Remember that we are talking to investors, so numbers are critical.
→ Round: What are you looking for? How much do you need? What are you offering in return? These are some of the answers that should be included, so that the investor gets an idea of what to expect from the work you are doing.
→ Team*: More than in technologies or products, investors are looking for capable teams, so it is essential to convey who they are and that there is no one better to take the company forward. Define positions or responsibilities and state the key capabilities of each one.
→ Contact*: You must be clear on where and how you want to be contacted. It’s important to make it personal, so always prefer to leave the CEO’s contact information rather than generic information.
→ Problem*: Here you need to show that you are addressing a problem that people consider valuable to be solved. There is a pain! It is important to approach it as a context for what you are doing and where you want to go. And don’t forget: Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.
→ Solution*: Describe exactly your problem solution fits and concentrate on why it’s the best possible solution. Be very clear in saying what it is: A product, a service, a SaaS, diagnostics, analysis, among many others.
→ Product/Service: Define in more detail the product or service that solves the customer’s problem and for which you will ultimately capture value. If you show graphics or images of what you are going to offer, you will bring the project closer to the ground.
→ Market*: The market is the one that rules, so your vision of whom you are targeting must be very clear. It is important to highlight the size of the opportunity, what part you want to reach, how it will grow, etc.
→ Competition: If there is no competition, it is because you did not really analyze the market well. It will always be appreciated to show that you have analyzed in detail your environment and be frank in showing that there are other players, but that you have advantages and differentiators that will make you better to achieve your objectives. If you tell some relevant data about the competitors, such as turnover, size, and agreements reached, among others, you will be able to give a better context of where you want to be, and what is happening in that niche.
→ Business model*: A business model is not written in stone, but it is relevant for the investor to know that you have already analyzed how you are going to make your product or service work, how you are going to get your product or service to the market and capture value, creating the virtuous circle that will make the company grow in the future. It is key, because at the end of the day we are not just developing an interesting technology, but the main objective is to develop an interesting business.
→ Strategy: Something we often forget: To have a plan. How to get from point A to point B is relevant in order to have a path to follow and how you are going to protect it through Intellectual Property. Just like the business model, the Strategy will evolve, but laying the groundwork will be clarifying for you and for investors.
→ Timeline/Roadmap: It is important to show graphically and clearly the most important milestones you have achieved so far and/or which are the most important milestones you expect to achieve in the future. It shows that you have learned along the way and that you are clear about where you are going.
→ Bonus track: Anything else you think might be relevant? Go ahead! But think twice before including it. Always focus on providing data that reinforces the ideas mentioned above or that really aim to make your company sexy for the investor.
Design and format matter
It is also important to consider two additional aspects: the design and the format.
As for design, I am not a professional, but I can tell you that you must put love to your One-Pager. Dedicate time to it and pay attention to the details so that it looks as good as possible. Remember that it is going to be a first impression and it has to be sexy in every possible way.
There are several templates around that can help you, but always give it a personal touch and make it coherent with what you want to be as a company.
In terms of formatting, here are some tips:
→ One side only. It is not called “One-Pager” just because, so don’t even think that it can be more.
→ Letter size sheet. In Chile and Latam this is the most common sheet size and it has a practical explanation: if it is too big it will most likely break inside a folder or a tower of documents; and if it is too small it can easily get misplaced.
→ Print it out so it looks the way you want it to. Try to make it look good both digitally and printed. Because of the way investors work, it is highly probable that what you send digitally will be taken into physical form to read it at their leisure or share it with someone in the office.
→ Always vertically. Creativity is welcome, but it is better to make things easier. All documentation goes vertically, so if for some reason a horizontal one appears in between, it will be a discomfort for the reader.
→ Use 2-column layout. Columns make reading easier and help to order the information, making the text less intimidating.