By Brian Uringi
Sometimes, you may have the perfect business idea or plan but you do not have the startup capital. Before you think you have hit a dead end, think twice. Some of the biggest business people have seized opportunity without using their own money; all they had was an idea partnered with the right people. However, before you consider partnering with anyone, the first thing you should do is write out your plan in form of a proposal. Without a form of direct business funding, some of the companies that have become what is commonly referred to as fortune companies would not have accomplished their goals. Writing clear, thorough and targeted project proposals is therefore essential to the success of any brilliant idea’s success. Mastering the art of proposal writing requires a unified approach to move forward in business management. This brings us to a dilemma as; you might not be perfect in proposal writing which is perfectly fine, because, no one is a master of all trades. Whether you choose to hire a professional to do it for you or you are willing to master the art of business proposal writing, it is very important to note a couple of basics so that even when going through a proposal for whatever reason there are, there are some indicators you should look out for.
First, you should understand that writing is an art just like most techniques are, and the truth is that it is more challenging than speaking but also more convincing and concrete. Keep in mind that in most cases, we are writing proposals to people who have not asked for them, so, you have to be very convincing to even get someone to read through your proposal. You have to instantly catch their attention at all costs; therefore, your first impression has to leave a long lasting impression on them. On the flip side, you ought to leave room to the direct needs of the potential funder. Your proposal should serve as a detailed description of continuous activities aimed at earning a profit at the end of the day.
Unless you are looking to do a for- not- profit business, then the end goal should be to solve the intended problem. That said, your proposal must justify the product or service that you opt to delve in. The questions you should ask are: why are you doing this particular business, who is your competitor in the area you wish to set up the business, what activities is the business going to involve? For example, if I want to set up an agricultural business where the end goal is exporting the produce, my activities may involve buying the produce from farmers or a cooperative or I might decide to grow the produce myself. Obviously, this will involve buying seeds internationally or locally, how will I plough the fields and taking care of the produce while it is growing, what are my options for storage, transport to the end buyer, advertising or marketing strategies? Etc.
Your proposal should be tailored to be flexible without taking away from its core foundation. You should leave room for adjustments as long as they are within your beliefs and are legal. Be open minded to changes which may be necessary and do not take rejection as a drawback but a lesson to be learned. Never be afraid to ask questions regarding anything. Nobody likes to deal with a Mr. /s. or Miss know it all because, if you knew it all, you would not need the funds you seek. Your proposal is a direct reflection of not just yourself but your acumen. Believe in your proposal and it will be easy to sell it to potential funder; live and breathe it for lack of a better word. It is not possible to sell what you do not believe in.
To show your level of commitment, it is prudent to elaborately describe how you plan on going about your different activities. For example, what marketing or advertising techniques you are going to use to effectively promote the business. In this era, marketing on social media is vital, so, you should show how you will use the different social media platforms to market your product. Whether it is by word of mouth, make a detailed description.
The proposal must without a doubt consider different timelines; for example, for purchases, sales and most importantly, rarely is anyone going to let you take as long as you like to pay their hard earned money, so, you have to put in consideration a timeline for returns. Do not make unrealistic or assumptions at any cost because those same assumptions will return to haunt you in the worst way. Even more importantly, do not write a proposal with the intent of defrauding any potential partners because, not only is business dependent on one’s reputation, but, it could also earn a hefty unnecessary period in jail.
The key question that you have to address in the business proposal is whether the funding will be a one off or done in different stages and, if the funder be needed at a particular stage or throughout the different stages. No one wants to invest in a business with uncertainties so, make sure to rule them out. Be honest and very direct, both with yourself and whomsoever your potential funder(s) will be. It is mandatory that your proposal includes a budget with the human, material and financial resources that will be required for the business to be a success. Human resources are the number of people that the business will employ, long or short term at different levels for the business to progress in its entirety in terms of monitoring and evaluating the business. The cost of hiring the said people and the mode of hiring them if need be. Costs are always changing so, it is prudent to leave room for error and or miscellaneous expenditures.
Be sure to point out your role in the business to other funders you may have on board or seek to have on board in the future. Point out your partners if any and any other person that is or maybe involved in the business. Explain explicitly what you expect from the funder in question, whether it is cash, human capital or materials needed for the business; as long as it can be monetized, basically, be very exact and precise. Explain in detail what you are offering the potential funder in the business i.e. a percentage or full shares or whatever role you hope they will play in the business. Basically, the business proposal should be a detailed and directed manifestation of the project idea. What this means is, presenting the business proposal to the outside world or potential funder in a format that is immediately recognized to accepted standards. Technically, the proposal should be written with the aim of creating an understanding of the business and the activities related at each stage.
Once your proposal is laid out, do not forget to master it and have it at your finger tips because you can never tell when and where you might have to make the presentation. Opportunity might present itself at the oddest and most awkward scenario and only the shrewd will seize it. Keep in mind that people do not like delving into numbers because they are partly theoretical. The idea is to have someone believe that you have a genius money making project and why they should invest in it. Keep in mind that there is no definite format to use. Unless the funder gives a specific one, you will have to figure it out by yourself. Figuring it out will come naturally once you have researched on your good or service and taken care of the necessary details.
This article addresses a couple of guides intended to serve as a basis for ensuring you are on the right track to success. I cannot guarantee that it is a definite approach because at the end of the day, your target holds your approval. I believe in keeping a positive mentality in whatever I do because even in rejection, there is a lesson to be learned.
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