By Felix Stapleton at February 03 2020 22:17:00
There are many very good examples of sample business proposals on the Internet, but there are also some scarily bad examples being held up as first class efforts. Having spent the last 20 years as a professional banker and investor I can say this with some degree of confidence. The bottom line is that even if you do manage to stumble upon a great example it won't be relevant to your unique business or the market dynamics that pertain to your business idea. The parties who will assess your proposal and decide whether to invest are generally well trained and experienced. They read hundreds of these documents every month and can spot a copy and paste job a mile a way.
Information around target customers is not based in empirical fact, more observational opinion. Competitor Analysis is obsolete and doesn't track minor competitors or industry trends that could present opportunities. The business strategy doesn't intuitively line up with the financial projections of the business. Financial anomalies are frequent. The level of analysis in the financial section is low. Elevator analysis (only observational comments) is a glaring sign that no detailed analysis has been undertaken. The language style in the business proposal is inconsistent and in different tenses. The structure of the business proposal in terms of the content lay out does not flow intuitively. Think trying to fit a square peg into a circle! The proposal doesn't make a definite conclusion or sound argument to invest (or lend). The lack of analysis leads to inadequate risk mitigation leaving many questions unasnwered.
The truth is that it is not rocket science. Even a working knowledge of the key focal points will improve your finished product greatly. Writing a business proposal is a logical process which can't be done is 8 hours or completed in 1 day, at least not if you hope to truly understand it and communicate it effectively to external parties. In actual fact writing a business proposal is a very rewarding experience and if you are serious about starting a business and attracting funding into that business there will be associated pressure to perform well. Going through the business planning process will train you to be a more pro active and strategic business person and will ultimately improve your chances of making your vision a reality by analysing your business properly and consistently.
The only time we would recommend using a sample business proposal is if you are approaching a bank for finance and they provide an example of what they would like to see. However, banks don't provide samples, they provide templates, which is basically them trying to educate entrepreneurs before they apply for finance. In this case this is the bank endorsing a structure for the proposal so it is OK. It still leaves all the blanks to fill in though so it isn't really a full solution to your problem.