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International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences, 2(6) June 2013, Pages: 242-255

TI Journals

International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences

ISSN
2306-7276

www.tijournals.com

The Art of Writing and Presenting


High Profile Selling Business Proposal
T. Timothy Alabar 1, Ayaga Dennis 2
1,2

DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS MANAGEMENT, BENUE STATE UNIVERSITY, MAKURDI- NIGERIA.

AR TIC LE INF O

AB STR AC T

Keywords:

The rate of business failure in our contemporary society, especially developing economies seems to
be occasioned by lack of adequate planning by top management of organizations. But it is said,
success breeds success, and the more you are at defining your business perspectives, the better the
position of the firm. Business proposal can make sweeping differences in the ability of the
organization to elicit profits and create satisfaction to owners. It is in the light of the foregoing that
the paper adopts a conceptual approach at looking at the potentials of writing and presenting high
business proposals. Conceptually, the paper defines what a business proposal is, characteristics of a
good business proposal, guides for business proposal and the steps involved in writing a business
proposal. The paper further looks at the process of presenting a business proposal, why business
proposal is needed, difficulties involved in preparing a business proposal, and finally offers the tips
for overcoming the challenges in business proposal design.

Selling
Business
Business proposal
Business proposal design

2013 Int. j. econ. manag. soc. sci. All rights reserved for TI Journals.

Introduction
The success of business organizations largely depends on how they are well planned and the extent to which such plans are carefully
implemented. Today, most entrepreneurs conceive wonderful business ideas but lack the necessary funds required to float a successful
business. This makes entrepreneurs to fall back on banks, investors and other financiers to fund their businesses. Attracting the attention of
financers highly depends on the entrepreneurs ability to submit an acceptable business proposal. It is not an exaggeration that a good
number of business plans compete among themselves to earn investors interest on daily basis. A clear and compelling business proposal is
necessary to build a successful enterprise that delivers profits and satisfaction to owners.
It is in line with the above assertion that Tracy (2004:3), emphasized that seventy-four (74) percent of self-made millionaires in America
are entrepreneurs who started and build their businesses through a high selling business proposals. Selling as a profession is gainful and
there is no ceiling on its practice, sometimes it is only a small plan that cause a customer to buy from one person rather the other. The fact
is that the salesperson who wins the sale may be only a nose better than the one who loses it. But on the whole, if you are properly trained
and skilled, and are selling the right products/services in the right manner at the right time at the right price, there will be no limit to the
amount of success you will achieve in that line of market endeavor (LeBoeuf, 1987:47-50).
But it must also be realized that, in selling, you only have to be a little bit better and different in each of the key plans of selling for it to
accumulate into an extraordinary difference in performance and success.
It is in the light of the foregoing that the paper is designed to take a look at the art of writing and presenting a high profile selling business
proposal. This will therefore help readers and practitioners in particular that generally; the starting point for selling success begins with
formulating and implementing a high selling proposal(s) today.
Structurally, the paper is divided into:
(i)
Definition of business proposal.
(ii)
Characteristics of a good business proposal.
(iii)
Basic business proposal guides.
(iv)
Procedural steps in writing a business proposal.
(v)
Presenting a business proposal.
(vi)
Why prepare a business proposal.
(vii)
Difficulties and problems involved in preparing business proposal.
(viii)
Tips for overcoming challenges of business proposal.
* Corresponding author.
Email address: alabar2006@yahoo.com

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Internat ional Jour nal of Economy, Mana ge ment and Social Sciences , 2(6) June 2013

Business Proposal Defined


In the words of Nickels McHugh and McHugh (1999: 23), a business proposal or plan is a detailed written statement that describes the
nature of the business, the target market, the advantages the business will have in relation to competition and the resources and
qualifications of the owner(s). A business plan therefore forces potential owners of business organizations to be quite specific about the
good or services they intend to offer (Willingham, 1984:45).
These entrepreneurs are made to analyze competition, calculate the money needed to start the business and cover other details of operation.
These make a business plan become mandatory looking for financial assistance from bankers and other investors.

Characteristics of a Good Business Proposal


A business report is a statement detailing the various preparations and considerations in a new business venture. It is an evaluation of the
new opportunity with emphasis on technical and marketing viability. In report writing of this sort, we are not only concerned with
practicality but also profitability and indeed marketability. Whatever the prevailing circumstance, a good business report must not be
lacking the following:
The corporate vision and mission: A business plan must reflect the corporate vision and mission of the organization. This needs detailed
consideration by top management to establish the business the company is really in and to relate this consideration to future business
intentions. A business proposal that does not reflect this spells doom for the organizations marketing effort and subsequent success (Aaver,
2006: 56-59).
Little resistance to the planning process within the organization: Managers strongly believe that planning is essential for the organizations
continued success. Consequently, as they are active participants in the process and are equally committed to successfully implementing the
strategies that are developed with little resistance will make it unique (McDonald, 1996:225).
Thirdly, strong support from top management is necessary to draft a good business proposal. McDonald (1996:228) says other employees
are more likely to take planning seriously when top executives are strongly committed to the planning process and its outcomes. According
to him, this is particularly true for decentralized strategic marketing systems. When lower-level business executives are given more
responsibility for making strategic decision, they should also be given commensurate authority and support including resources for
environmental scanning, market analysis, and other systems needed to provide adequate information for planning, and effective
implementation of the plans that are developed.
In addition, an effective business proposals strike a balance between creativity and control. This means that both elements of top-down
and bottom-up planning are synchronized. Top business executives must formulate a clear strategic vision to guard against business
strategies straying too far from that vision and make sure that such strategies at different levels are coordinated with one another. At the
same time, lower-level managers must be encouraged to stay in close touch with the external environment to identify emerging threats and
opportunities and initiate strategic response when and where necessary, (Alabar & Aume, 2008:4).
Tracy (2002:45) asserts that in all, a good business plan must cater for business contingencies and corporate constraints. These help in
matching ambition to ability to maximize performance.

Basic Business Proposal Guides


The basic guides of a good business proposal according to Adams (1991:57-64) and brown (1997: 67-80) include:
1.

Analyze your Potential Markets: Who will want your product or service? You are thinking about the actual people who will use your
product or service and how pleased they will be buying it as you are selling it.

2.

Define Your Company: What will you accomplish for others? What products and services will you produce or provide? Write down
all the specific needs your company will satisfy. Potential investors need to know that your business will be meaningful and
marketable to people who can use your product or service. So concentrate on the external needs your company will meet.
What will your product or service enable people to do better, more cheaply, more safely, or more efficiently?
Think of all the positive benefits your company will provide. Write them down. Admire them. Absorb them into your consciousness.
Believe in them. These are the primary motivators that readers of your business plan will respect and value.

3.

Choose a Winning Strategy: How will you distinguish your product or service from others?
Although there are millions of types of businesses, there are actually only a few basic strategies that can be applied to make any
enterprise successful. The first step in selecting an effective strategy is to identify a competitive advantage for your product or service.

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How will you establish that your product or service is better, cheaper, more delicious, or more convenient? How can you make your
company more noticeable than your competitors? What restraints in your business or its industry might determine which strategy you
choose?
Your competitive advantage may include designing special features not found in rival products. It may entail superior service
characteristics such as speedier delivery, a lower price, or more attentive sales people. Perhaps youre establishing an image or brand
of exceptional quality or reputation.
Once you have established the competitive advantage, you will be able to select the best strategy to reach your goal.
4.

Develop a Strong Marketing Campaign: How will you reach your customers and what will you say?
Positioning your company means concentrating on the competitive advantages you have identified: will your product or service
distinguish itself by its superior quality, its revolutionary features or its ability to make your customers happier than they have ever
been in their lives?
When you have the right marketing campaign in place, you have an operating plan to gain market share, generate revenue, and bring
your financial projections into reality.

5.

Build a Dynamic Sales Effort: How will you attract customers?


Knowledge of your competitive advantages is just as important in designing a dynamic sales effort as it is in developing an effective
marketing campaign. You will need to think about what product or service qualities that will be the most compelling to your
prospective customers. Then you will have to devise convincing language that clearly communicates this competitive advantage to
your sales staff that will in turn use it when talking to your customers.
Therefore, your sales plan must address the issue of how you will create a sales staff that is as knowledgeable about your business as it
is about your potential customers.

6.

Design Your Company: How will you hire and organize your workforce?
By the time you have reached this stage of thinking about your potential business concept, you will probably have a good idea of the
number of people you will need and the skills they will require to get your enterprise up and running.
As you think about hiring personnel and organizing your workforce, you must also confront your desire and ability to be a good boss.

7.

Identify Your Companys Initial Need: What will you require to get started?
Make a list of all the tangible and intangible resources you need to get your business going. The total estimated price of all of these
items will become your start-up cost whether you are buying highly sophisticated computers or simply installing a new telephone line
on your desk. If there is any item in your estimates that seem unreasonably high, research other alternatives. But keep in mind that it is
better to include every element you truly need along with a reasonable estimate of the cost of each item, so you dont run out of money
or default on your loans. Be honest and conservative in your estimates, but also be optimistic.

8.

Target your Funding Source: Where will you find your financing? As your business concept begins to take shape, you can begin to
hone in on the most likely financing sources.
For the vast majority of entrepreneurs, the well-known, high profile means of raising money, such through venture capital companies
or by going public, are not viable options. Your own credit, credit rating, and business history are key factors in obtaining financing
for your venture. Your ability to tap into your personal network of friends, family, and professional contacts is crucial to raising
money beyond what your own personal funds or credit can provide.

9.

Explain Your Financial Data: How will you convince others to invest in your endeavor?
The accuracy of your financial figures and projections is absolutely critical in convincing investors, loan sources, and partners that
your business concept is worthy of support. The data must also be scrupulously honest and extremely clear.
This analysis should also include a comparison of the ventures financial performance compared to the industry standards.

10.

Present Yourself in the Best Light: What are your qualifications for bringing your plan to fruition?
The talents, experience and enthusiasm you bring to your enterprise are unique. They provide some of the most compelling reasons for
others to finance your concept. Keep in mind that investors invest in people more than ideas.
Even if your potential business has many competitors or is not on the cutting edge of an industry, the qualifications and commitment
you demonstrate in your plan can convince others to proffer their support.

11. Write the Plan: Write up a draft of your business plan. At first, do not worry about capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. All you
need to worry about is putting your ideas down on paper. Write down everything you think you need to compile an effective and
efficient business plan.
Procedural steps in writing a Business Proposal
Business proposals share no uniformity in their content. Rather they vary to some extent on the bases of either they are long range or short
range. According to Akpan (2003:79-85) other bases include product plan and venture plan.

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A business proposal is therefore divided into sections taking the following outline as enunciated by Alabar & Aume (2008:4-6), Alabar
(2011: 12) and Brown (1997: 15-25).
Cover sheet: Business Name, Address, Phone Number, Principals

Executive Summary or Statement of Purpose


Table of Contents
Section One: The Business
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.
I.

Description of Business
Products/Services
Market Analysis
Marketing Plan
Location
Competition
Management and Operations
Personnel
Application and Effect of Loan or Investment

Section Two: Financial Data


A.

B.
C.

Projected Financial Statements


Income statements
Cash flow statements
Balance sheets
Assumptions to projected financial statements
Break even analysis
Sources and uses of funds

Section Three: Supporting Documents: Historical financial statements, tax returns, resumes, reference letters, personal financial
statements, facilities diagrams, letters of intent, purchase orders, contracts, etc.
A) Description of the Business
Section one (A) provides an overview of key information which is developed in greater detail in the following pages. Aim for clarity
and simplicity in this part. Too much detail here gets in the way of the main ideas.
Basic Questions that situate the sub-heading:
o
o
o
o
o

What general type of business is this?


What is the status of the business? Start-up, expansion or take-over?
What is the business form? Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation or Limited Liability Company?
What are your products?
Who are (will be) your customers?

Additional Questions for Start-ups:


1.
2.
3.
4.

Why will you be successful in this business?


What is your experience with this type of business?
What will be special or unique about this business?
Why will your business be successful?

Additional Question for Purchase of Existing Business:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

When and by whom was the business founded?


Why is the owner selling it?
How was the purchase price determined?
What are the current financial conditions and trends?
How will your management make the business more profitable?

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Products/Services
The section describes your product offering. This will include details of product features and an overview of unique technology
or processes. But dont stop there and dont focus too much on technology. You must also describe the product benefits and why customers
will want to buy.
For most businesses, the products/services are not totally unique. If yours are, take advantage of this while you can, and plan for
the competitive battles that will come.
If your products/services are not unique, you must find a way to position your products/services in the mind of your customers
and to differentiate them from competition. Positioning is the process of establishing your image with prospects or customers. (Examples
include: highest quality, lowest price, wider selection, Best customer service faster delivery, etc).
Basic Questions:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

What products/services are you (will you be) selling?


What are the features and benefits of what you sell?
What position do you have (or want to have) in the market?
How do your products/services differ from the competition?
What makes your products unique and desirable?
Why do (will) customers buy from you?

B) Market Analysis
For start-up or existing businesses, market analysis is important as the basis for the selling and marketing plan and to help justify the
sales forecast. Existing businesses will rely heavily on past performance as an indicator of the future. Start-ups have a greater
challenge-they will rely more on market research using libraries, trade associations, government statistics, survey, competitor
observation, etc. In all cases, make sure your market analysis is relevant to establishing the viability of the business and the
reasonableness of the sales forecast.
Questions for Existing Businesses:
1.
2.
3.

Who are your current customers? (List largest customers or categories).


What do they buy from you?
Why do they buy from you? (Quality, Price, Reputation, etc?).

Basic Questions:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Who are the purchasers of your products or type of products? (Geographic, Demographic and Psychographic characteristics)
What is the size of the market? Is it growing?
What is (will be) your share? How will your share change over time?
What is the industry outlook?
Are there segments of users who are under-served by competition?
Do any of these under-served segments present opportunities?

C) Marketing Plan
In this section, you include the highlights or your detailed marketing plan. The basic components of a marketing plan are:

What are you selling? (What benefits do you provide and what position or image do you have?)
Who wants the things you sell? (Identify target markets)
How will you reach your target markets and motivate them to buy? (Develop Product, Price, and Promotional Strategies)

Product Strategies

How will your products be packaged?


How broad will your product line be?
What new products will you introduce?
What Position or Image will you try to develop or reinforce?

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Pricing Strategies
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

What will be your pricing strategies? (For example; Premium, Every Day Low Price, Frequent Sale Price, Meet Competitor
Price, etc).
How will you compare with competition and how will they respond?
Why will customers pay your price?
What will be your credit policies?
Is there anything about your business which insulates you from price competition?
Can you add value and compete on issues other than price?

Promotional Strategies
1.
2.
3.
4.

Who are your target markets?


How will you reach your target market? (What Media will you use?)
How will you motivate them to buy? (What message will you stress?)
What is the cost and timetable for implementation of the marketing plan?

D) Location
Locations with greater customer traffic usually cost more to buy or rent, but they require less spending for advertising to attract
customers. This is especially true of retail businesses where traffic count and accessibility are critical.
Basic Questions:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

What is the business address?


It is owned or leased? If leased, what are the terms?
Are renovations or modifications needed, and what are the costs?
Describe the property and the surrounding area.
Why is this good location for your business?

For Mail Order, Manufacturing, Consulting, or other companies where the customer does not purchase while physically at the business
address, less location details is needed. Modify the location section to fit your situation. In some cases, a good location may be one close to
suppliers, transportation hubs or a complementary business that will also attract your target market.
E) Competition
Who is your competition? Is one of the first questions a banker or investor will ask. Business by nature is competitive, and few
businesses are completely new. If there are no competitors, be careful; there may be no market for your products.
Basic Questions:
1.
2.
3.
4.
F)

Who are (will be) your largest competitors? List them.


How will your operation be better (or worse) than your competitors?
How are competitors doing? What are their sales and profits?
(If Start-up) how will competition respond to your market entry?

Management and Operations


Because management problems are the leading cause of business failures, it is important to discuss management qualifications and
structure. Resume of principals should be included in supporting data. If your business will have few employees and rely heavily on
outside professionals, list these key people and their qualifications. If you are seeking financing, include personal statements for all
principals in supporting data section.

Basic Questions:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

What is the business management experience of the management team?


What are the functional areas of the business?
Who will be responsible for each functional area?
Who reports to whom?
What will salaries be?
What management resources outside the company are available?
How will your products/services be produced? (Describe manufacturing processes, proprietary technology and key supplier
relationships).

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G) Personnel
The success of many companies depends on their ability to recruit, train and retain quality employees. The amount of emphasis in your
plan will depend on the number and type of employees required.
Basic Questions:
1.
2.
3.
4.

What are the personnel needs now? In the future?


What skills must they have? What training will you provide?
Are the people you need available?
What is their compensation? What fringe benefits will be provided?

H) Application and Effect of Loan or Investment


This section is important whether you are seeking a loan, outside investment (equity) or investing your own money. It may be
necessary to complete Section Two, Financial, Data, before completing this part.
Basic Questions:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

A.

What is the total investment required?


How will the loan or investment be used?
How will the loan or investment make the business more profitable?
When will the loan be repaid?
If you are seeking equity (selling part of the business to an investor): What percent of the company are you willing to give up?
What rate of return is possible for the investor? (Note: If your business plan will be presented to private investors, seek legal
counsel to be sure you are in compliance with securities laws).

Projected Financial Statements


The basic Purposes of financial projections are:

Establish the profit potential of the business, given reasonable assumptions.


Determine how much capital the company needs and how it will be used.
Demonstrate the business can generate the cash to operate and re-pay loans.

It is usually helpful, but not necessary, to complete at least a rough draft of Section One (the written section) before attempting the financial
section. In the written section, you will develop and describe your strategies for the business. In the financial section, you will estimate the
financial impact of those strategies by developing projected Income Statements, Balance Sheets, and Cash Flow Statements. It is usually
recommended that these projected statements be on a monthly basis for at least the first twelve months or until the business is profitable
and stable. Activity displayed beyond the monthly detail may be in summary form (such as quarterly or annually). The forecast period for
most business plans is two to four years.
Before you start developing projected financial statements, gather the suggested information on the following pages. The personal computer
is an excellent tool for financial projections; and those with a good background in accounting and personal computer spreadsheets may
want to create their own financial forecast model. (There are also some specialized software programs which have basic templates to help
with your financial forecast).
The quality of your projection depends on the accuracy of the assumptions. (Garbage in-Garbage out). Existing businesses will rely heavily
on past financial results as the basis for their forecasts. Start-ups have greater challenges. They must do extensive research to prove the
reasonableness of their numbers. Examples of sources include: Industry data from public sources and trade associations, personal
interviews with potential customers and people in the business, competitive observation and analysis, etc.
For items 1 and 2, use the following Fixed Asset/Start-up Expense List.
1.
2.

Estimate fixed asset requirements for the first year: Include Land, Buildings, Leasehold improvements, Equipment, and Vehicles.
Estimate any start-up or one-time expenses: Include any expenses needed to begin operation such as legal fees, licenses, and initial
marketing costs.

For item 3, use the following Unit Selling Price and Cost Analysis sheet.

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3.

Define each unit of your product or service and estimate the selling price and direct cost per unit: In the appropriate places on
the form, estimate Cost of Sales and calculate Gross Profit as a percentage of the selling price.

For item 4 through 6, use the following Projected Income Statement.


4.

Estimate sales by month for at least one year: (Unit sales price times the number of units). Consider how start-up, marketing, and
seasonal factors affect sales.
5. Estimate monthly Cost of Sales and Gross Profit based on the percentages of sales calculated in #3 above: Use a weighted
average if multiple product lines.
6. Estimate and itemize fixed expenses by month for at least one year: Include things like rent, insurance, utilities, salaries,
marketing, legal/accounting, etc. Determine all categories which apply to your business, but dont include expenses here that are in
cost of goods (services) sold.
7. Describe the amount of inventory (if any) required to support the sales forecast: Express in number of days sales or turnover if
possible.
8. Describe your credit, and collections policies: If you will make sales on credit, estimate the number of days after the sale before the
average customer pays.
9. Describe how fast you must pay your vendors for any items you will purchase.
In line with the financial projections concept, the paper therefore brings to fore the template arrangement for fixed asset/start-up expense
list as captured on appendix A.

A. Optional Method to Calculate Needed Capital Many businesses can get a reasonable picture of their financial future by using the
following formula. If the business will start making sales very soon after opening, you may decide to multiply monthly fixed expenses by a
number smaller than six.
A demonstration of the template for the optional methods of calculating the needed capital is represented on appendix A.
B. Break Even Analysis Break even (B/E) analysis is a simple, but very effective financial feasibility test. B/E is used to find the amount
of sales necessary to pay all fixed costs (and have zero income). In your business plan, it represents a minimum acceptable performance.
Follow these steps to calculate:
1. Determine contribution Margin Percent: Contribution Margin (CM) equals Sales minus Variable Expenses. CM% equals CM
naira divided by Sales. Note: The biggest variable expense is usually Cost of Goods Sold (CGS), which is the direct material and
labour necessary to make a product or service ready for sale.
2. List total all Fixed Expense for a specific time period (usually one month): Fixed expenses do not rise or fall with sales
volume. Examples: Rent, insurance, utilities, etc.
3. Break Even Sales is Fixed Expenses Divided by Contribution Margin %:
An example of calculating Break Even Analysis is demonstrated on appendix C.
C. Sources and Uses of Funds
The sources and uses of funds is a statement of how much money you need (and where it will come from) and how that money will be
used. This statement should be included if your business plan is being presented to a lender or investor. By definition, sources must equal
uses. The example of a typical format of sources and uses of funds is demonstrated on appendix D.

Presenting a Business Proposal


When a plan is written, the entrepreneur should be able to present it in a most coherent and lucid style so as to attract the attention of the
targeted audience. The following points as advanced by Tracy (2004:67-79) and Tracy (2003: 33-56) should be taken into consideration for
an effective presentation:
1. First impressions are vitally important. The first thing funders see is your business plan, so make sure it is well-presented but not overdetailed.
2. Practice the presentation. One idea is to practice your presentation on low-priority funders and analyzing how you did before going on
to more likely prospects.
3. Look conventional and like you mean it. Dont over-dress but be serious and determined.
4. Make sure you have the key facts at your fingertips. You must know your business and business plan inside out. If you dont know,
just say you dont and promise to get the information. Dont become flustered over things you dont know.

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5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.

13.

Be clear in your own mind about the keys to your success and what is so interesting about your project but dont get bogged down in
detail and dont over-egg your case.
Listen carefully to questions and make sure you answer the question asked. Dont go off on a long circuit round the issue without
dealing with it.
From preliminary meetings or phone calls try to find out who will make the funding/lending decision and if possible, deal with them.
If you are asked for further information, provide it quickly but make sure it is well-presented and detailed.
Do not be too defensive. Assume information will be analyzed critically. It can be useful to practice dealing with criticism or probing
questions so long as it doesnt affect the morale of the group.
Be certain that the money you ask for is what you will need. Asking for more lately is a lot harder.
Treat negotiating for money with the same thought and planning you would if buying a house or arranging a wedding. Getting money
is like a cup final. You may only get one shot at it.
Planning a social enterprise is a long process and once you have reached the money stage youll want to get on; but dont put all your
eggs in one funding basket. You may need to raise money from lots of different sources. Think ahead, do research and remain
determined and optimistic even if rejected the first time.
Do think about money, your group or local community could invest. This doesnt have to be a huge amount and could be pledged to
the project (i.e. drawn down only if other funding is provided) and repayable from profit. Even a small gesture can raise the confidence
of other funders.

Why Prepare a Business Proposal


A business plan helps you evaluate the feasibility of a new business idea in an objective, critical, and unemotional way, (Kotler & Keller,
2006:176-180). The major reasons why a business plan is needed are:
Marketing Is there a market? How much can you sell?
Management Does the management team have the skill?
Financial Can the business make a profit?
It provides an operating plan to assist you in running the business and improves your probability of success.
Identify opportunities and avoid mistakes.
Develop production, administrative, and marketing plans.
Create budgets and projections to show financial outcomes.
It communicates your idea to others, serves as a selling tool, and provides the basis for your financing proposal.

Difficulties and Problems Involved in Preparing Business Proposals


There are challenges and errors in business plan preparation and presentation which may undermine the credibility of the plan and derail
your chances to receive funding, Churchill Jr, Ford and Walker Jr (1997:104-106):

Submitting a rough copy, tells the reader that management doesnt take the planning process seriously.
Outdated historical financial information or unrealistic industry comparisons will leave doubts about the entrepreneurs
planning abilities.
Unsubstantiated assumptions can hurt a business plan; the business owner must be prepared to explain the why of every point
in the plan.
Too much blue sky a failure to consider prospective pitfalls will lead the reader to conclude that the idea is not realistic.
A lack of understanding of financial information: Even if someone else prepares the projections, the owner must be able to
explain them.
Lack of specific, detailed strategies: A plan that includes only general statements of strategy (We will provide world class
service at the lowest possible price) without important details will be dismissed as fluff.

Tips for Overcoming Challenges of Business Proposal


Alabar, (2009:5-7) and MacDonald (1996:67-89) highlight the tips for overcoming challenges that may emanate from a business plan.
These include:
1.

Do your research: You will need to make quite a few decisions about your business including structure, marketing strategies and
finances before you can complete the entire process. By having the right information to hand you also can be more accurate in your
forecasts and analysis.

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Internat ional Jour nal of Economy, Mana ge ment and Social Sciences , 2(6) June 2013

2.

Determine who the plan is for: Does it have more than one purpose? Will it be used internally or will third parties be involved?
Deciding the purpose of the plan can help you target your answers. If third parties are involved, what are they interested in? Although
dont assume they are just interested in the financing part of your business. They will be looking for the whole package.

3.

Download the Business Plan Guide: The business plan guide contains general advice on business planning, a complete overview of
the business plan template and a glossary explaining the main terms used throughout the arrangement.

4.

Get some help: If you are not confident in completing the plan yourself, you can employ the help of a professional to look through
your plan and provide you with advice.

5.

Actual verses expected figure: Existing businesses can include actual figures in the plan, but if your business is just starting out and
you are using expected figures for turnover and finances you will need to clearly show that these are expected figures or estimates.

6.

Write your summary last: Use as few words as possible. You want to get to the point but not overlook important facts. This is also
your opportunity to sell yourself. But dont overdo it. You want prospective banks, investors, partners or wholesalers to be able to
quickly read your plan, find it realistic and the motivated by what they read.

7.

Review your plan: Your business plan is there to make a good impression. Errors will only detract from your professional image. So
ask a number of impartial people to proofread your final plan and see areas of amendment if possible.

Conclusion
Writing a business proposal is really tasking and time demanding that care must be emphasized in the process. Actually, there is no uniform
pattern of writing a business proposal, but most times, business managers fail to achieve stated objectives not because of poor field work
but a poorly prepared proposal. Managers should appreciate the fact that the world we live is characterized with bountiful opportunities and
threats that if adequate plans are made in terms of what one wants to achieve in business within a time frame, adequate thinking must be
done before appropriate actions are taken. A functional business proposal exposes and alerts you to emerging opportunities, and brings you
to the right ideas for the right things to do, in order to achieve the objectives of the organization.
In business as it is rightly said, success breeds success and the more you are at defining your perspectives, the better the position your
business stands. Therefore the art of writing and presenting high selling proposals is one of the most important management and sales ideas
that emphasized that a small differences in ability can lead to enormous differences in results.

References
Aaver, J.T. (2006). Management: Theory and Practice. Terdia Publishers; Makurdi.
Adams, E. (1991). Growing Your Business Plan. Home Office Computing; New Jersey
Akpan, A.B. (2003). Marketing Strategy: Concepts and Applications. Isola Ola and Sons; Zaria.
Alabar, T. T. and Aume, A. (2008, October). Writing marketing proposals. Being a Paper
Presented at a Workshop organized by Nigerian Institute of
Management, Makurdi Management Center, 18th- 22nd .
Alabar, T.T. (2009, May). Understanding the Selling Process. Being a Paper
Presented at a Workshop organized by Nigerian Institute of Management,
Makurdi Management Center, 18th- 22nd .
Alabar, T.T. (2011, December). Workplace Conflict Resolution using Arbitration and Collective Bargaining Principles. Being a Paper Presented at a
Workshop organized by Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (Federal Inland Revenue Services Unit) Abuja, 14th.
Brown, C. (1997). Becoming your Own Boss: Developing a Solid Business Plan. Essence; U.S.A.
Churchill Jr, G.A., Ford, N.M. and Walker Jr, O.C. (1997). Sale Force Management. 5th Edition, McGraw Hill; U.S.A.
Kotler, P. and Keller, K.L. (2006). Marketing. 12th Edition; Prentice-Hall; New Delhi.
LeBoeuf, M. (1987). How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life. Pastoral Care Publishing; Lagos.
MacDonald, M. (1996). Marketing Plan: How to Prepare Them, How to Use Them. 4th edition. Heinemann; U.S.A.
Nickels, N. McHugh, S.M. and McHugh (1999). Understanding Business. 5th Edition. McGraw Hill; New York.
Tracy, B. (2002). Be a Sales Superstar: 21 Great Ways to Sell More, Faster, Easier in Tough Markets. Joint Heirs Publications; Benin City, Nigeria.
Tracy, B. (2003). Change Your Thinking Change Your Life: How to Unlock Your Full Potential for Success and Achievement. John Wiley and Sons Inc;
New Jersey.
Tracy, B. (2004). The Psychology of Selling: Increase Your Sales Faster and Easier than You Ever Thought Possible. Thomas Nelson Publication; Nashville.
Willingham, R. (1984). The Best Seller. Prentice-Hall; Englewood Cliffs; New Jersey.

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APPENDIX A
FIXED ASSET/START-UP EXPENSE LIST
Fixed Asset Description:

Cost:

Land/Building

______________________________

Equipment and/or Vehicles

______________________________

Leasehold Improvements

______________________________

(Other)

______________________________

_____________________
____________________________

______________________________

____________________________

______________________________

Start-up Expense Description:


Legal/Organization Costs

______________________________

Initial Marketing & Promotion

______________________________

Licenses and Permits

______________________________

Beginning Inventory

______________________________

(Other)

______________________________

_____________________
____________________________

______________________________

____________________________

______________________________

Total Fixed Asset and Start-up Expenses:

______________________________

Unit Selling Price and Cost Analysis


Product or Service #1:
A.

___________________________________________________

Selling Price:

___________________________

Less
Direct Costs:
Materials

________________________ ___________________________

Labour

__________________________

___________________

Sub-contractors

__________________________

___________________

(Other)

__________________________

___________________

B.

Total Cost per Unit

___________________

C.

Unit Gross Profit (A minus B)

___________________

D.

Gross Profit % (C divided by A)

A.

___________________

Product or Service #2:

___________________________________

Selling Price:

___________________________________

Less
Direct Costs:
Materials

________________________ ___________________

Labour

__________________________

___________________

Sub-contractors

__________________________

___________________

(Other)

__________________________

___________________

B.

Total Cost per Unit

___________________

C.

Unit Gross Profit (A minus B)

___________________

D.

Gross Profit % (C divided by A)

___________________

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APPENDIX B
Total Required Capital
Six Months of Fixed Expenses + Asset Purchases + Start-up Expenses
Column I
Monthly Fixed Expenses
Salaries (include owner)
Payroll Taxes at 12%
Rent
Marketing and Advertising
Supplies
Telephone & Utilities
Insurance
Maintenance
Legal and Accounting
Miscellaneous
(Other)
Monthly Fixed Expense Sub-total
Asset Purchases
Purchase of Land and Building
Decorating and Remodeling
Fixtures and Equipment (plus installation)
Deposits on Rental Property and Utilities
Beginning Inventory
Asset Purchase Sub-Total
Start-up Expense You Pay Once
Legal and Accounting Organization Costs
Licenses and Permits
Initial Advertising and Promotion
(Other)
_________________________
Start-up Expense Sub-total
Total Estimated Cash Need to Start (Add Column 2)

Unit Sales Price:

#10

Less Cost of Goods Sold:


Material & Labour

Less other Variable Exp:


Commissions
Total Fixed Expense
Unit Contribution Margin = #6

CM% (#6 #10) = 60%

__________
__________
__________
___________
___________
___________
___________
___________
___________
___________
___________
____________

Column 2

x6=

__________

____________
____________
____________
___________
___________
__________
___________
___________
___________
___________
__________
__________

Monthly Fixed Expenses:


Rent

2,000

Utilities

1,000

Salary

3,000

Other

4,000

1
$10,000

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Int ernational Journal of Ec onomy, Mana ge me nt and Soci al Sc iences , 2(6) June 2013

APPENDIX C
B/E

Fixed Expense CM%

B/E

#10,000 6

Monthly B/E Sales =

#16,667

The Art of Writing and Presenting High Profile Selling Business Proposal
Internat ional Jour nal of Economy, Mana ge ment and Social Sciences , 2(6) June 2013

APPENDIX D
Sources and Uses of funds
Sources:
Term Loan

_______________________

Line of Credit

_______________________

Personal Equity

_______________________

Outside Equity

_______________________

Others

_______________________

Total Sources:

..

Uses:
Purchase Building

_______________________

Purchase Equipment

_______________________

Renovations

_______________________

Inventory

_______________________

Working Capital

_______________________

Cash Reserve

_______________________

Other

_______________________

Total Uses:

..

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