Perfecting an appropriate business proposal takes energy, effort and know-hows if you want to gain a greater chance of success. Done right, it can grow your business and land a new client, but one wrong move can make it all go downhill!
Follow our 10 Do's and Don'ts of creating a killer business proposal.
Define What Market Gap Your Business Addresses
New businesses are often created in the presence of opportunity. Entrepreneurs identify which market aspects aren't filled and come up with a viable solution for it. Your business proposal should answer the question, "what is the gap that you can fill?". It has to address the micro-economic environment along the way. Make sure to carefully consider the influences that drive demand in your particular market or niche.
Get Your Proposal in The Right Format
This cannot be stressed enough. All investors, however big or small will expect a properly-formatted, presentable proposal with professional fonts, colors and spacing. It shouldn't take too long do give your finished proposal a once-over to check for spelling mistakes, grammar errors and other things that could make it look like it was done by an amateur.
Most people would rather use a proposal template with modern, convenient features that give them the edge over the competition. This is both faster and more effective in many cases than starting from scratch. And if you can incorporate features like embedding videos and interactive pricing and having it viewable on multiple devices, you’ll only improve your chances of winning the client. (here’s a good tool for creating proposals like that)
Be Realistic and Sensible
A precise forecast or figure within a 3-year plan will show weakness as one who doesn't prepare for unexpected events down the road. Instead of a specific number, make it an estimate and when asked, state that it's impossible to be more accurate given that length of time and variables that can occur. At the same time, your product and proposal should be realistic as well and provide a range with a minimum and maximum. Introduce a few graphs, key charts and growth rates to make it easier for the reader to digest the information.
Tackle Potential Risks Head-On
Risks are a natural part of business, so don't be afraid to include them in your proposal. Give the client the impression that you understand the risks, including competition, positioning, market demand and resource deployment. Then, show them how you intend to overcome that with mitigation, insurance and other actionable plans.
Elaborate Why Your Business Is Special
After you've painted a picture of what you, your brand or product can do, it's time to show the client how you fit right in their business.
A good plan should include the following elements:
Background. Answer what your business is and what it does or makes.
Progress. Show where your business stands and any achievements you have made.
USP, or Unique Selling Point. How is your proposal different from the others? Show off what unique factor you can bring to the table.
Management. Who runs the company and what they know of the current sector, industry or niche.
Take Too Much Time
Too often we commit the mistake of not putting pen to paper whenever a great idea hits us. The moment the flash of inspiration hits, sit down and start working on a proposal right away. The longer you wait, the less likely you'll remember the specifics. Procrastination is your enemy.
Research on the client or your audience in order to write clearly. Avoid technical jargon if you can or else risk losing them midway through the business plan. It's better to assume that they aren't familiar with most technical terms than the average layperson. Come up with a more advanced version of your proposal only when catering to an audience such as a seed funder, investor or financial backer. Your plan could better inform with more imagery, data and graphs to back economic evidence and financial calculations.
Stand Out From Your Competitors
Do your research on the competition and try and see if there's something you can take and make as your own. Put yourself in your client's shoes and try to see what their closest competitors will do once your plan is in motion. Have a backup plan to show your client that you're two steps ahead of everyone else.
Writing up an excellent business plan really isn't too difficult as long as you know what you're aiming for. Impress your clients enough and you just might land that coveted contract.