Starting a business sounds fun when you’re at the brainstorming stage, but things get real once you’re out and about, trying to reel in those clients. Writing a professional business proposal is probably among the first biggest steps you’ll be making as an entrepreneur, and this will separate you from being a business with a great idea to a business that actually has a future.
A solid business proposal has enough strength to decide the outcome of your business, and this is especially notable for startups. If your write up a poorly-devised business proposal andleave out specific information, it could keep you from acquiring funding or even turn off your prospective clients. So, when you’re writing your business proposal, it’s best to avoid these 5 most common mistakes:
- Not Getting to the Point
When you write your business proposal, don’t waste your time on lengthy, overenthusiastic introductions. Rambling and going off-tangent will bore prospective clients. Imagine having so much to do for the day, then read a business proposal that wastes precious time rambling and not getting to the point. Would you read on? Probably not. Keep your introduction succinct and get to the point as soon as possible. Remember that you want to grab someone’s attention and make an impression. Your business idea could be revolutionary and mind-blowing, but if your business proposal takes five minutes to get there, then your idea won’t even stand a chance.
- Being Vague
Keep this in mind: vague is not vogue. When you get right down to it, it never has and it never will be. It’s understandable that when you develop your business idea, everything may not be so clear at first. However, if you use similarly vague terms and language in your business proposal, you’re not going to appeal to prospective investors and partners.
Make sure to make a solid business plan by being as specific and detailed as possible. Explain every aspect of your business as detailed as you can, exactly what it does, how long it will take to develop, and how exactly you are going to market it. Every section of your business proposal should be as similarly detailed.
- Not Doing Enough Research
Your business idea could be the most interesting thing in the world, but if you don’t have research backing you up, then don’t expect clients and investors to come calling. Fantastic ideas are great, but people want to see numbers that support it and make it concrete. If there’s no data supporting your idea, then no investor will want to support you. Remember, investors are all about numbers.
You should take the time to do your research: look into competitors, compare demographics, growth rates, and similar industries. No one can say no to hard facts, so the more hard numbers and facts there are in your business proposal, the better it is.
- Not Customizing Your Proposal
While web design proposal templates do exist and they’re a viable medium for creating business proposals, don’t be tempted to send the same one to all your prospective clients and investors. Though you don’t need to customize your pitches, personalizing your message does increase the acceptance rates of your proposal.
Do a little research on the companies and people you’re sending your proposals to. Will you be sending them to several people or just an individual? If you’re sending to one person, then a personalized message is important as it introduces you as an amiable business and not just generic startup who has no time to differentiate their messages.
- Spelling Mistakes
If you thought that spelling mistakes weren’t your problem anymore after getting out of school, then you are gravely mistaken. Even the best entrepreneurs fall victim to spelling mishaps and could potentially put you in a bad light. This tells investors that you not only have a bad command of the language but have so little attention to details that you can’t be bothered to check for errors. When writing business proposals, use spell check or run them through a trusted colleague at least. The devil is in the details—and he is definitely waiting in the form of grammatical errors.
Your business proposal is not just the introduction to your business idea, but of you and your company as a whole. It also shows how serious and how professional you are about your company. Make sure that you invest your full effort and commitment in it, as a solid business proposal can be your first bridge to your first clients, investors, and partners.