By Jennifer Clark at January 25 2020 17:36:37
There are too many people on the Internet these days offering quick fix solutions or shortcuts to preparing business proposals to attract funding. On balance these solutions are not adequate to get you funding. Here's why: They encourage entrepreneurs to use other people's business proposals as a template that dilutes the originality and can lead to the inclusion of data that is irrelevant.
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.
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 Competitor Analysis is obsolete and doesn't track minor competitors or industry trends that could present opportunities.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.
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.