A good business proposal outlines your plan to potential investors or lenders. In addition, it provides an opportunity to examine your project, anticipating challenges and identifying opportunities. A short business plan should include two basic elements: a description of the business, including goals and operational plans, and a budget.
Start your business description with a Statement of Purpose. This is a one- to two-sentence description of your business and its purpose.
Describe the nature of your business. Tell about the product or service you will offer, and how and where you will market it.
Analyze your market. Discuss your target customers, how they will benefit from your business and what methods you will use to reach them.
Outline day-to-day operations. Briefly describe your regular business activities and the major facilities and supplies you will need to execute them.
Establish your current financial situation. Disclose all sources of funding and resources you will use to set up your business.
Project business income. List all sources of income for the next year: investor contributions, loans and business activities. Break down income into monthly subtotals and include an annual total.
Estimate business expenses. Include employee salaries along with operational items like rent, office supplies and marketing costs. Subtotal by month along with the annual total.
Add a five-year plan for your budget. This is a projection of your business growth, and may be helpful for investors.
Include an appeal for financing if you plan to present your proposal to investors or lenders. Outline your specific financial need and how their investments will benefit your business.
Attach supporting documents. You can include things like bank statements, marketing plans and loan applications.
Nola Moore is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles, Calif. She has more than 20 years of experience working in and writing about finance and small business. She has a Bachelor of Science in retail merchandising. Her clients include The Motley Fool, Proctor and Gamble and NYSE Euronext.