By James Harris at February 14 2020 10:16:11
Every entrepreneur has been there. You need to write a business plan to get your idea off the ground and have no idea how to approach it. The first thing most people do is Google, "Sample business proposal." Why? Well, it's quite simple really. They want to get a head start on the process by looking at what someone else has written. It is an understandable position to take if you are under pressure and need a boost. What people don't realise is that there are inherent dangers in using a sample business proposal.
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 Competitor Analysis is obsolete and doesn't track minor competitors or industry trends that could present opportunities.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.
After you have all the writing done, it's time to focus on making your proposal look good with some color and graphics. You can use colored page borders, use custom bullet points or distinctive fonts, and include your company logo. Don't go overboard or get too fancy, though, or your message may get lost among the visual distractions.
So How Should I Use A Sample Business Proposal? We genuinely believe that using a sample business proposal is not a good idea unless you are only looking for a structural outline. Even in this case you would need to scan a fairly broad cross section of examples to get a representative sample to form an independent opinion. There is nothing more frustrating than a pitch which doesn't flow and where the entrepreneur is clearly "winging it". We have rejected more pitches for this reason than any other.