If you want someone’s money for your dream, here's how to create a proposal that will show that you're looking out for their interests, as you’d like them to do for you.
Step 1: Capture their attention Use no more than three double-spaced pages for the Executive Summary. Detail the company profile, product, management team, market trends, key projections, and financing you need.
Step 2: Identify the mission Identify the mission and give your company’s history, the proposed legal form the new entity will take, and a sales strategy. Provide competitor research and state your advantage over them.
Step 3: Analyze the market Analyze the market further, targeting competitors to reassure the reader that your venture anticipates every stumbling block.
TIP: Stick to who, what, why, where, when, and how, like a good reporter, to keep the information succinct and pertinent.
Step 4: Describe responsibilities Describe the management team’s responsibilities and backgrounds. Outline the organizational structure, board, and ownership.
Step 5: Detail operations Detail operations by laying out current and future market strategies, production plans, customer support, and key personnel.
Step 6: Add a contingency Add a section detailing risks and provide a contingency plan. The reader needs to trust that you have thought of everything.
Step 7: Forecast scenarios Forecast financial scenarios for procurement, investment returns, and cash management. Provide an exit strategy that relies on historical and financial data.
TIP: Add one-page bios with summaries of accomplishments of the founders, central players, and key management.
Step 8: Construct an appendix Support the proposal with an appendix. Include additional documentation, patents, reviews, and letters of interest. Add non-compete agreements and resumes of technical principals.
FACT: Almost half of all small businesses fail within the first 5 years.