A business proposal is required when pitching your business to investors.
Your aim is to give a detailed presentation of your business, with a breakdown of your financial plans as well as a sales funnel that can guarantee a return on investment.
Your investor wants to know that they are making the right call when they invest in your ideas.
I recently wrote a proposal for my book and I’ll discuss how I applied the requirements for a detailed business proposal.
Here’s how it happened.
I was sending out direct messages to people referring them to read my ebook when someone responded with an offer to invest in my publication.
At the time I had never written a business proposal and I didn’t know where to begin.
But I had a game plan on marketing my book and all the possibilities for sales.
Now when I say I reached out to people to read my book, it wasn’t one of those broadcast type of messages. Each message was personalized and well written and I had great feedbacks including from this one person that wanted to invest in my idea.
My message was clear. I knew why this book would succeed.
That’s the first lesson. Be convincing. Be original.
Your business proposal should include the following:
- Cover letter
- Cover page
- Table of contents
- Executive summary
- Over view of the problem
- Strategy to solving the problem
1. Cover letter
In my case, my cover letter was the body of the email I officially sent out to my investor. It gave a short synopsis of my book and expressed my gratitude for his intreast in investing in my work.
For a small business, you might include a short summary about your company. Make it brief. One sentence is enough. Include any background info about how your company came to be, this would explain your why. Like Simon Sinek would say, Start with why.
2. Cover page
Since I was sending a PDF file and not a power point presentation, my cover information was in form of a letter heading.
It had my name, and contact details.
But as a small business, your cover page should include the name of your company, the name of the person to whom you’re submitting your proposal, and the date submitted.
3. Table of Contents
I didn’t need a table of content as my proposal was short and written to an individual and not an investment broker.
So, depending on the details of your business proposal and the format in which your proposal would be submitted.
4. Executive summary
This is where you introduce or propose.
Get right to it and win hearts with your executive summary. Sell your business and the products or services you provide. If you find yourself rambling in any paragraph, go ahead and rewrite.
Since I had little idea about writing a business proposal at the time. I called a few friends together, dressed up and presented my proposal on our TV. My friends played the part of ruthless executive with no time to spare. Their criticism helped me a lot.
Here’s what my Overview looked like:
Thank you for your interest in my work and for showing a desire to see it published.
I am committed to exploring every available means to tell unique stories that:
1. Are beautiful pieces of art;
2. Give people a chance to dream/Imagine by painting pictures with words;
2. Serve as historical reference points.
3. Contribute to the literary community.
4. Stories that elevate and celebrate true heroes – the ones whose stories were never told.
I believe that the greatest stories are the ones we’ve lived.
In my little interactions with the world, I find that literature/ movies have helped kindle world views.
The cultural wealth portrayed in Gesiye helps to shed light on stories that are true of the southern tribes of Nigeria.
This part holds weight for me because;
Writers and filmmakers who have greatly influenced the world through consistent storytelling mostly sold stories of Igbos and Yorubas thus Limiting the narrative of the south to topics such as Militancy and kidnapping.
Literature has become such a powerful tool in stirring important conversations as portrayed by Chimamanda Ngozie Adiche.
Although Gesiye is largely fiction, I cannot ignore its significance in the world of Literature;
As an Izon native, I hope to paint new pictures in order to repair the damages enabled by the single-sided story.
What this means on the business side is that;
The book Gesiye would become a cultural tool that would speak for Izon communities.
NOTE: I used bold text to emphasize cultural details that my investor could relate with and he probably had a passion for cultural representation.
5. Overview or summary of the problem or need
If you notice, my proposal already hinted at a gap in works of literature and my plans to solve this by creating works that would fill this gap. As a first timer though, I also merged my Executive summary with my overview. It looks okay for my kind of proposal but you should split this when writing your business proposal.
6. Strategy or approach to solving the problem
I mentioned earlier that I had a rough idea on my sales funnel and how to go about marketing my book. A rough idea isn’t enough, get into details.
For me this included a detailed breakdown of the platforms I intend to partner with and why. I went ahead to list other partners and compared their advantages.
I also included my goals and how the desired platform helped meet the specific goal.
Still struggling with your business, here’s some pep talk for you.
Investors like to see a timeline for achieving set goals.
The timeline must be feasible for it to be convincing.
Here are the mile stones for my book project. For each mile stone I gave a breakdown of its importance to the project.
Most times your investors have little idea on what it takes to achieve your goal sometimes they don’t and it’s up to you to explain the importance.
- File for ISBN
- Cover Art
- Promo and Book Party
Break down each segment of your business and put numbers to each task. It helps to pad the budget in the case where the investor makes a counteroffer or cut back on cost. Keep it clean, keep it reasonable.
And I am Speaking from experience.
I was a bit too honest with my figures and when the budget was cut, meeting my goals was a bit difficult.
Here is a sample of my budget.
|Cost (N)||Vendor||Additional Information|
|ISBN/ Unique ebook Number||RECATED||ISBN International||convenient|
|Proofreading/ formatting||REDACTED||REDACTED||Offers her Network within Book Community with a chance to feature in a radio show.|
|Initial order on Printed Copies||REDACTED||Note: this amount is for initial order from amazon to resell in Nigeria market. Amazon offers free shipping on orders over $25. Estimated price per copy $4 That is N1,550 X 20 copies|
|Book promo||REDACTED||Additional information below.|
|Book party||Not Included|
Google display ads campaign
Goal: Create awareness for the title and author
Secondary goal: Conversion and lead generation
KPIs: Number of Impressions
Secondary: Lead generation and conversion
Target: Nigerians (male and female, 18 to 45)
Specific target: readers, book lovers, curious minds (judging by their interest)
- Ad banner (containing the book cover, a picture of the author and caption)
- Email Marketing (an email opt-in option for those that will click but not be able to buy instantly)
- Landing page
- Lead magnet for the email Marketing (perhaps 10% of the book)
Strategy (subject to review)
● Jump on the race/rape trend to attract attention
Period: One month
Daily ad budget: 3.3 dollars
Overall budget: 100 dollars
A proposal isn’t so difficult after all, you just need a little guide. I hope this helps you draft that business proposal. Best of luck.
Check out this 5 MUST READ BOOKS on marketing.