New Business Venture Competition
This example of a format for a Business Proposal submission contains examples of the information that would be desired to present for entry in the New Venture Business Plan Competition. It is not represented as a mandatory format nor is it meant to imply that a contestant should include every bullet point shown here. Every business proposal is different, and not all plans would need to consider every point shown below and might need to add other materials not listed here. It is a good starting point to help someone without previous business proposal experience to organize their proposal.
Company Overview – Page One
The Company Overview is a brief one paragraph description of the company you have founded or want to found. Will it be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation? What are your ambitions for the company? Will it always be a small company, or do you want to grow it into an international giant? Upon reading this section, the reader should have a good idea of where you are and where you are going with your company.
In the introduction to the Company Overview, answer the following questions in a single paragraph.
- What is the name of our company?
- Does our company currently exist, or will it be forming?
- Where is it located? Where will we grow?
- How is our company organized (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation)?
Your mission statement is a short (one sentence to one short paragraph) inspirational statement of the vision and goals you have for your company. Too many mission statements are vacuous exercises in ambiguity, e.g. “employees are our most valuable asset”. Be sure that your mission statement is succinct and content rich, and excites your readers.
History and Current Status
Briefly outline the history and current status of your company. In this subsection, spell out the objectives of your company in a single paragraph in addition to providing history and status information.
- Where are we going with our company?
- What are our goals for the company (keep it small, grow it big, franchise it, etc.)?
- What is our exit strategy for ourselves and for our investors (sell to larger company, go public, buy out investors, etc.)?
Describe the founders and principal managers who will run the venture. Write a short paragraph on each of the key managers, describing their background and experience.
- Will you have a board of directors? Who will be on it? What will be their role?
- Will you have a board of advisors? Who will be on it? What will be their role?
- What is the ownership structure of your company? What percent of the company do each of the founders own?
Opportunity – Page Two & Three
Need for Product/Service
In this section you should describe succinctly what the opportunity is and why it is attractive.
- Why is this a great opportunity? Summarize the size, growth and trends.
- What is the compelling need? What problem are you solving?
- What evidence do you have that proves there is a market?
- Who is the target market?
- What is your competitive advantage?
Product or Service
This section is a detailed description of the products and/or services you will be selling. You should not assume that the reader is familiar with your product/service, so be sure to explain it carefully. Describe the product/service features:
- What are the attributes of your product/service, e.g. speed, innovativeness, ease of
- What evidence do you have to support the demand for these features?
- Is there a range of product/services being offered at the beginning of the venture?
- What is unique about the product/service? What are the benefits to customers?
- How do the benefits address the needs of the target market?
- How will the product/service be produced and delivered? Can you use the production process or delivery method to differentiate the offering?
- Are patents, copyrights, trade secrets or non-compete agreements involved?
- Where is the product in its lifecycle (early, growing, mature, declining)?
Briefly summarize the segment or niche that you chosen to start your venture. Why is this segment the best one in which to enter the market? Most ventures address either a consumer market or a business market. The motivations of each are different.
- Describe the market and segments in which you are competing, e.g. footwear, dental care products, industrial water purification, etc.
- Determine the size of the segments that you are considering in numbers of customers, units sold (or transactions) and dollar value of purchases.
- What is the historic growth rate? Future growth rate?
- What data is there to support your analysis? Identify the sources.
A great idea is meaningless if you cannot find customers. Carefully drafted and logical financial projections are irrelevant if nobody buys your product. In this marketing section you must convince the reader that there is indeed an eager market for your product. This is where you show how you are going to fit into the market structure you just finished describing.
- Price range and policy
- Target market
- Channels of distribution
- Advertising strategy
- Sales strategy
- Noteworthy marketing techniques (pricing, packaging, promotions, advertising, website, distribution, etc.)
- Market perception of the company (branding strategy)
- Market Share
Describe the industry environment.
- How are goods and services produced and delivered to customers? Where are they produced? What is the level of integration?
- On what bases do the companies in the marketplace compete: service, quality, price, new product/service introductions, customer support, etc.?
- What is the degree of rivalry among competitors? A highly competitive industry means price competition. Most new firms can’t compete on price.
- What is the response of competition to new entries into the market?
- What problems and concerns do customers have with these competitors?
- What is the average size of the competitors? Is your market place dominated by a few companies that control over 60% of the market?
- How do your competitors perceive themselves? Obtain brochures, literature, and
Describe the competitive environment in your industry. Write a paragraph that provides a short description of major competitors you anticipate in your market space.
- Direct: companies that produce same product/service; but, they may have different strategies to compete - price, quality, selection, performance, design, tech support.
- Indirect: companies that satisfy same need with different product/services.
- Future: companies that have the capability to enter your market; they may have the same customers; but use different technology or channels
Financials – Page Four
The Financial Projections section should be frosting on a cake. You’ve outlined a great business concept, demonstrated a real need in the marketplace, shown how you will execute your ideas, proven that your team is just right to manage the venture, and now you will show how profitable the venture will be and the cash flow. Note, however, that if your business concept is weak, or there is not a market, or if your execution is poor, or if your management team is incompetent, then your financial plans are doomed to failure. If you haven’t convinced your readers by now in the strength of your concept, then they won’t be convinced with your financials.
|Operating Income||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Cost of Revenues|
|% Gross Profit|
|Sales & Marketing|
|General & Administrative|
|Other Major Expenses|
|Break-Even Revenue =|
|Fixed Costs/(1-Variable Costs/Revenue)|