A business proposal, also called business plan, is a written summary of an entrepreneur’s proposed business venture, its operational and financial details, its marketing opportunities and strategy, and the skills and experience of the management team.
A business plan describes the direction the company is taking, what its goals are, where it wants to be, and how it’s going to get there. The plan is written proof that an entrepreneur bas performed the necessary research, has studied the business opportunity adequately, and is prepared to capitalize on it with a sound business model.
One of key objectives of the business plan is show to the potential investors that the new business has a sound business model and a venture will be able to repay loans and produce an attractive rate of return.
Business Plan Format
Every business plan is unique and must be tailored to the specific needs of their business. However, it is important to know that the business owners need to tell their stories in a unique way and reflect their enthusiasm for the new venture. For those who is writing the business plan first time, they may use some business plan software such as Business Plan Pro, Plan Maker or Plan Write to help them in the process.
Whatever style and format you may choose for your business proposal, you need to include the key elements in your business plan: The executive summary; Company Background; Business and Industry Profile; Business Product or service; Business strategies and models, the financial situation and the investment proposal.
Business Plan Executive Summary: The executive summary is a synopsis of the entire plan, capturing its essence in a condensed form. The key objective of the executive summary is to help readers understand the entire business concept and what differentiates the company from the competition. Your business executive summary needs to be concise and get to the key points.
Business Introduction: The owner of an existing small business should prepare a brief history of the operation, highlighting the significant financial and operational events in the company’s life. This section should describe when and why the company was formed, how it has evolved over time, and what the owner envisions for the future.
Business and Industry Profile: This section should provide the reader with an overview of the industry or market segment in which the new venture will operate. You may give introduction on the market size, growth trends, and the relative economic and competitive strength of the major firms in the industry.
Business Strategy: This section is for the business owner to show the details of the business strategies and how they can compete with the existing and potential competitors. The business owner need to explains how he or she plans to gain a competitive edge in the market and what sets his or her business apart from the competition.
Firm Product or Service: An entrepreneur should describe the company’s overall product line, giving an overview of bow customers use its goods or services. You may list the unique features of business products or service and show that how your product or service will win the market compared with the products of your competitors.
Marketing and Competition Analysis: In this section, you need to identify and describe a company’s target customers and their characteristics and habits. Defining the target audience and its potential is one of the most important parts of building a business plan. Narrowing its target market enables a small company to focus its limited resources on serving the needs of a specific group of customers rather than attempting to satisfy the desires of the mass market. Marketing strategy is often associated with your competitor analysis. You need to give a detail analysis of your key competitors in the market including the market share, strategies etc.
Management Team: The most important factor in the success of a business venture is its management, and financial officers and investors weight heavily the ability and experience of a company’s managers in financing decisions. In this section, you should list the experience, past achievements and skills of the key member in the management team.
Financial Forecasting and Financing: In this section, you need prepare projected (pro forma) financial statements for the operation for the next year using past operating data, published statistics, and research to derive forecasts of the income statement, balance sheet, cash forecast (always!), and a schedule of planned capital expenditures. In the financing part, the business owner need to show the potential investors how you will spend the money raised and what is the potential reward etc.
Business Proposal Outline
The following is a standard business proposal outline, you may customize the business proposal example based on the needs and characteristics of your business.
- The Cover Page
- The Executive Summary
- Business Introduction
- Business Products or Service
- Market and Competition Analysis
- Business Model and Strategy
- Financial Statement and Forecasting
- Financing and Funding Requirements.