By Forrest Smiley at January 27 2020 19:15:55
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.
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.
How Will The Audience Know That I have Used A Sample? This is a common question we get asked and while we cannot speak for the entire investment community we can refer to our own experience as investors and former bankers. Here is a list of the top ten reasons why it is obvious that a sample has been used: Executive Summary is dull and formulaic without communicating why we should invest. Market information doesn't align with the specific demographics relating to the proposal or is obsolete. Entrepreneur's knowledge of the market dynamics is sketchy under questioning and it is clear that what they have written in the proposal is the sum total of their knowledge on the subject.
What is The Solution? This might all seem a little bleak but there is an easy solution to this dilemma and it demands a little more of your time and effort in return for a deeper understanding of your business. You have to learn to write a business proposal rather than using a sample business proposal to take a short cut. Don't do the latter as it will make the experience of approaching investors and financiers unnecessarily painful and will dilute your experience of creating your vision from scratch and your strategic understanding of your own business. Plus, you will be found out!