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.
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.
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.
Opportunity – Page Two & Three
Need for Product/Service
In this section you should describe succinctly what the opportunity is and why it is attractive.
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:
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.
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.
Describe the industry environment.
Describe the competitive environment in your industry. Write a paragraph that provides a short description of major competitors you anticipate in your market space.
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)|