How do I write a business proposal? Where can I get some information?
By Jean from Deltona, FL
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Go to GOOGLE and type, "business proposal" and you'll find lots of sites that will help you. Also, check out the government sites: business.gov and the government's site to help small businesses entitled "Small Business Administration" at www.sba.gov.
Here is a sample business plan from a small bsn program that I used. Just fill in the info and set it up. This is a very comprehensive one especially if you want to get investors involved. you can read others online and use this one as a guide.
This is a sample outline for a business plan to be used by a start-up operation to request funding.
J In most cases, it is equally appropriate for existing businesses and those not pursuing funding.
There is no single right way to layout a business plan - feel free to add, subtract, and rearrange ~D~Ni, as is appropriate to your business and writing style. (If you do delete sections, make sure that the
. 0 information involved either does not apply to your business or is addressed sufficiently inother
~ sections of the plan.)
I. Executive Summary
Finish this section after you have finished the others. (You may wish to BEGIN this section
first, however, to help organize the major issues in your mind).
Use this section to summarize the major points to be addressed in the rest or the plan. You
can follow the outline for the rest of the plan for the format of your executive summary. If you
II. Capital Plan
A. Sources of Funds
How much money will you need? From what sources? Under what terms?
B. Uses of Funds
How will you use the money? Begin with a table that outlines the major use of funds
categories (such as building purchase, build-out, equipment, franchise fees, working
capital reserves, etc.) and amounts required, then follow it up with a paragraph or two
describing each use of funds category in greater detail. If possible, explain how the
expenditure will help you become more profitable. (For example, if you are buying
inventory, explain how much revenue that inventory can support If purchasing real
estate, calculate the estimated rent expense saved over the life to the loan.)
C.Repayment of Funds
Illustrate your ability to repay the loan from operating cash flow by presenting a chart that
III. Background Information
A. Ownership & Corporate Format
What kind of business (such as sale proprietor, LLC, S-Corporatlon) is it/will it be? When
was it/will it be established? In what state is it/will It be chartered? Who are the owners
and what percentage do/will they own?
B. History of the Business
For existing businesses: talk about the major milestones of development including
opening, break-even, changes to products/services, important personnel additions,
C. Industry Overview
What is the and overall trends of the
Resources: Trade Associations, FCPL BRC, Internet
Explain your quantitative (such as profit and sales targets) as well as qualitative (such as
market position) goals for your company. If possible, briefly explain your overall strategies
for reaching those goals.
E. Implementation Timeline
What are the major tasks and milestones to be reached as you move forward. For each,
provide an estimate of how long it will take to accomplish.
F. Future Opportunities
Use this section to describe future opportunities you hope to pursue, but don't yet know
enough about the hows, whens, and ifs to include them in your financial projections.
IV. Products and Services
Briefly provide a basic overview of the products and services your company will provide.
B. Description of Products/Services by Category
For each major product/service category, describe: the nature of the products/services in
the category, pricing and pricing policies, direct costs involved.
Do the math: If you will provide a limited number of standard products/services,
provide a chart projecting annual totals for projected unit sales within each category,
average prices for each category, and projected sales based on projected units and
V. Management, Staffing, Strategic Partners, and Professional Support
If feasible, provide a table that summarizes your projected staff and payroll for each of
the first three years of operations.
A. Management Team
Provide profile for each owner who will participate in operations as well as each major
manager. Discuss major job responsibilities as well as specific skills and experiences of
each manager that qualifies them to handle the job at hand. Touch on career highlights
here and include complete resumes in the attachments. Discuss compensation.
If your staff will be modest, provide descriptions of each job title here. If you have
particular people already selected for these positions, discuss their qualifications. If not,
discuss the qualifications required for successful candidates. Discuss how staffing needs
will change as the company grows. Discuss compensation.
C. Strategic Partners
Strategic partners are others who have a major effect on the way you do business, but
are not part of your organization. These can include vendors, general contractors (if you
are a subcontractor), subcontractors, landlords, collaborative marketing partners, and
D. Professional Support
Briefly list professionals you will use and describe how you will use them. These can
inciude bookkeepers, services, consultants, insurance
brokers, designers, and others. A sentence or two for each is sufficient
A. Hours and Days of Operation
How will your hours and days of operation be configured to meet the needs of your
B. Location & Facilities
Location - where will the business be located? Is location important to the success of
your operation? How will this location contribute to that success? What businesses and
potential customers are nearby? For retail businesses, provide traffic counts if you can.
Facilities - describe the actual location, including total square footage, allocation of
space, parking (if appropriate). Discuss office & computer equipment, as well as other
equipment and vehicles required. If renting, describe the lease. Describe how your
facilities needs will change as the business grows.
C. Licensing, Permitting & Other Regulatory Issues
Describe the regulatory requirements for doing business, including any certifications,
licenses, permits, registrations. Also discuss any zoning or building regulations. For home
based businesses, discuss any homeowners' association restrictions. Discuss your
current status in regard to those requirements.
Resources: BLIS, Planning & Zoning, Comptroller's Office, Clerk of Circuit Court
D. Other Operational Issues
Address any other operational issues that have not been covered in other sections.
Retitle this section and add others as appropriate.
A. Marketing Targets
Provide as much detail as possible about your most likely customers. Who are they?
What is important to them? Where are they? Do they have things in common that makes
it possible to efficiently reach them with marketing messages?
Also, don't forget about and current customers as a productive source of business.
Referral sources should also be a marketing target.
Resources: FCPL Business Resource Center (Best Customers, Reference USA), Trade Associations,
Discuss how your products and services will get into the hands of their users. Will you
sell direct? With you sell through retailers? Wholesalers? Many companies use a
combination of these approaches. Talk about the relative merits and challenges of each
distribution model you will use. If you will use wholesalers and/or retailers and have
identified specific candidates, discuss them and your expected relationship with them.
C. Competitive Environment and Positioning
Discuss your direct competitors and your comparative strengths and weaknesses.
Remember, very few businesses truly have ;(no competition" - even if no one in the
marketplace exactly what you do, customers often have the of simply not
buying from anyone, buying alternative types product or service, or buying over the
Internet How will you po~>lticmyourself against these options as well as your direct
D. Marketing Tactics
What tools will you use to your
major m8lrkE~tingtactic (such as
as well as subsections
and services? Create a section for each
internet promotions, direct trade shows,
TV dVlO1rtisinq,radio advertising,
etc.), as applicable. Describe how and when you will use these tools and how your tactics
will interact for cohesive, organized marketing campaigns.
VIII. Financial Summary
Present a chart summarizing your annual projections for total sales in each of the next
three years. If appropriate, make it a "stacked" chart providing a visual presentation of
each sales category's contribution to total annual sales.
Present a chart summarizing your annual projections for total sales, gross profits, and net
profits in each of the next three years.
Based on three-year projected totals and the equation [income::: expenses + profits],
provide a pie chart that presents the percentage of total income equaled by each major
expense category (such as costs of sales, rent, payroll, minor expenses combined into a
single "all other expenses" category), and profits.
Based on three-year projected annual averages and the equation [profits::: variable cost
% x sales - fixed costs], provide a chart illustrating projected profit at various potential
sales levels. If your cost structure will change dramatically from year to year, you may
need to provide a separate break-even analysis for each year.
- Projected Income Statement (Cash Basis) - 3 years, monthly
Minimum requirements: 1 year monthly, plus 2 years quarterly. It's easier just to do all
three years on a monthly basis, Include a cash flow calculation section after profit
- Projected Balance Sheet, 3 years
- Others, could include: Product Information, Letters of Interest/Sales Contracts, Reprints,
Marketing Materials, Others
Notes on Formatting
It's important to make your plan as readable and navigatible for the reader. This can help your
readers digest the contents and keep their bearings within the document:
1. Include page numbers at the bottom of each page (except page 1)
2. Line spacing - choose the 1.5 line space option
3. Start a new page with each section that is indicated by a roman numeral (II. Capital Plan, III.
4. Don't over-indent. Your subheads will help divide the sections. You don't need to indeed entire
subsections to set them apart.
5. Fully justified type (right margin and left margin) makes your contents look most organized.
You can indent the first line of each paragraph if you choose to, but simply skipping a space
between paragraphs with no first-line indent is now more common.
6. With word processing software, it's no longer necessary (or expected) to add 2 spaced after
each period. Period-space-space is a hard habit to break, so you may want to wait until the
plan is completed and run a universal find/change, finding ". "and replacing it with ". ".
Ditto to what Vaylmer says here. I wrote my first business proposal two decades ago with suggestions/guidance from the SBA before the internet was accessible so definitely Google 'business proposal' for an extra heads up over my experience and visit your local SBA for one on one, face to face help too for good measure. Good luck to you with whatever your business venture is! The proposal I ended up putting together greatly aided in getting my business open all that time ago! Although I sold the business three years ago I can happily say that it is still in existence. :-)
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