Preparing a Business Proposal

By: Jennifer Stewart

If you dream of starting your own business, there may be just one, small
thing standing in your way - lack of funds! One way around this, is to
enlist the support of a "sleeping partner" - no, not that sort of sleeping
partner! But someone who will provide the financial backing for you to set
up your business (and allow you to keep control).

There are many places that provide this start up help, such as banks and
joint venture companies, but you can approach anyone you think might be
willing to back you, if you have a business proposal prepared.

Here's a brief outline of what you need to include in your proposal.

Executive Summary
? Provide an outline of your vision for the business
? Briefly describe what already exists in this field
? The niche - as you see it and the benefits your business will bring
? Type of business proposed - benefits you will bring to the
market niche
? Overall financial goals - anticipated sales and profits
? Funds required to start up business

Business Profile
You must provide details of the following:
? Business name
? Principals
? Description of business - what it aims to do and its target
? Vision - ultimate goals
? Mission - value, service you'll offer
? The competitive advantage you have - eg flexibility, able to draw
on wide base of talents, connections in the industry etc

SWOT analysis
This is where you analyse your proposed business, yourself and the
competition - list examples under each of the following:
? Strengths
? Weaknesses
? Opportunities
? Threats
Be honest with these - but only put in threats and weaknesses that you know
you can meet and overcome successfully.

Detail what your short and long-term objectives are for the business:
? at the end of the first 12 months of operation
? after 12 months

Product and Market Analysis
This requires some exacting research, so you can provide plenty of detail.
? Product / Service - description of what you're offering
? Features
? Benefits
? Price structure
? Industry description and outlook
? Market demand - percentage of market you think you can
capture; competition share you think you can take etc

Operating Plan
Outline your resource requirements - what you need in order to
operate and what this will cost.
List the items and specify prices.
Provide the name of suppliers.
Use tables, graphs etc to support your claims.

Management Plan
Give specific details of manning levels:
? numbers of staff required
? any training needed
? experience of managers and their skills

Marketing Plan
Divide this into:
? Internal - how you'll win repeat customers and referrals
? External - how you'll get new customers
? Impact - how you'll target specific groups
Detail how you'll go about targeting and selling to each group e.g.
? Service levels
? Vouchers
? Hand-outs
? Music
? Decor
? Entertainment
? Special add-ons
? Etc
Publicity and direct approaches you'll make (specify targets e.g.

schools etc)
Promotion (e.g. freebies, discounts, buy one get one free, every 6th
something free, charity performances, openings etc).
The actual product / service you're selling - explain exactly what it is or
what it involves.

Financial Plan
Give details of:
? Projected sales
? Projected costs
? Projected profits
Give specific details e.g. break down into gross profits, overheads, net
profits etc.

Action Plan
Again, you must give details, consider using a table to show:
? Activities to be carried out
? When these will be done
? Who will do each

Give a chronological sequence of action to show how you plan to start and
develop the business.

Provide plenty of graphs (use different styles), tables, facts and

Get information from Bureau of Statistics on demography,
socio-economic groups, age etc.

Have an appendix and include any extra details (e.g. if you're
planning to start a business which has a sound recording studio, include
newspaper cuttings about bands bemoaning the fact that they can't get their
CDs cut etc).

If all this sounds a little daunting, keep reminding yourself of the
rewards for all this hard work - you'll be able to start your business much
sooner than if you had to work for a boss and save the necessary capitalScience Articles, or
if you had to wait until you win the lottery!

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