By Felix Stapleton at January 18 2020 12:37:00
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.
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.
They lead to entrepreneurs skimming over the research component leading to a proposal that is disjointed and fails to make a cohesive business case. Having a sample business proposal as a guide detracts from the entrepreneur engaging fully in the business planning process in that they will have only a cursory understanding of the finer details of their proposal. It will not prepare the entrepreneur for detailed questioning around their business strategy and by association their financial projections. We have seen this all too often in presentations for equity finance. It is glaringly obvious when someone does not understand the proposal intimately and this devastates credibility and trust, virtually nullifying your chances of convincing an investor to part with their cash.
Don't send your proposal out before you proofread all the pages. Remember that spell check cannot catch words that are correctly spelled but misused. It's always a good idea to enlist someone who doesn't know your work to do a final proofing pass, because all writers miss errors in their own work. Finally, save your proposal and then deliver it to your potential client or funder. The best delivery method will depend on your relationship with the recipient. It's common to email a PDF file to a client, but you may want to make a personal effort and hand deliver a printed proposal to show you're willing to go that extra mile.