The wrong proposal can sink your business’s chances of raising capital. Here’s how to write a proposal that will inspire investor confidence.

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Although the structure of your business proposals should be tailored to your industry, there are still basic principles every proposal must adopt in order to be taken seriously. Here are five factors you should integrate into every business proposal.

1. Cover letter.

A well-written introductory cover letter, outlining your company mission and delineating what makes your business unique and innovative, will either entice your prospects, or make them disinclined to take you seriously. You must make your prospects interested in what you have to offer within the first few lines, so make the letter succinct and engaging.

2. Understanding of your prospective market.

What do your clients/customers want, and how will you provide it? Make sure you interview a cross-section of potential relevant consumers and include your market research into your proposal.

3. Budgetary outlooks.

Your potential investors and partners will need a comprehensive understanding of your operating costs in relation to the proposed cost of your products/services. Give your client an easily understandable synopsis of your expenses, and attach a detailed budget for an in-depth analysis.

4. Scope of your business.

How do you expect your business to evolve in the next year, five years, decade? Give your potential investors the framework of your project’s development, and answer the following questions:

  • Who are your existing or potential team members, and what credentials do they have/will you require?
  • What will you need to achieve your short-term and long-term objectives for business growth and client services?
  • What risks do you anticipate?
  • What is your expected timeline? What will influence your ability to meet your deadlines?
  • What will your company offer that is different from other businesses?

5. Appropriate voice and style.

Compose and edit your proposal so that it fits the general stylistic expectations of people within your industry.

Above all, you want your proposal to be persuasive. Carefully construct your proposal, and ask your peers to review it before you send it to your prospects. A well-crafted proposal will mean the difference between struggling to find backers and having the support you need to make your business a reality.