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How to Write a Business Plan Proposal

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This video shows how Proposal Kit is used to create a business plan. A business plan in this situation is typically in the format of a proposal for pitching to a bank, lender or investor when seeking funding for a business or startup.

Read this related article: How to Write a Business Plan Funding Proposal

Proposal Pack HelpWatch this related video: How to Write a Proposal that Wins

Here are some related samples:
Here are some related templates:

In this video we're going to show you how to create a business plan using Proposal Kit. Proposal Kit was originally designed for writing proposals but it's expanded over the years to be able to create many kinds of business documents in addition to the proposals. You can create contracts, reports, studies and business plans, even resumes.

Usually the focus of creating a business plan in Proposal Kit is to have it in a proposal type format. One of the reasons for this is usually when someone's using Proposal Kit to create a business plan they're creating a business plan funding or startup proposal that's going to be given to a bank, a lender, an investor or so on. So that bank or lender or investor is going to want to see a nicely formatted document that's your proposal pitch to them.

But it's also going to incorporate all the elements of your business plan as well. So this is going to be one of the differences between using other types of business plan creation software and Proposal Kit. They might be focused more on just crunching the numbers and getting you a business plan but not necessarily in a proposal type format.

So you can also use other business plan software and business plan material with Proposal Kit. For example, you could use a business plan program that's focused on doing your number crunching but then write your content in Proposal Kit and just move the numbers over. Now Proposal Kit will also include a lot of Excel spreadsheets you can either use independently to help do your calculations for your budgets, cost/benefit analysis, your income statements, projections, all sorts of things.

Using the Expert Edition the Wizard can also directly link all the cells for your calculations into the Word documents. So that as you're doing your calculations of the spreadsheets all the numbers will auto–populate into the Word documents. So you do need the Professional edition of Proposal Kit for that feature.

So how Proposal Kit will work is whatever visual design theme you selected is going to determine the visual look of your proposal. Then every one of our design themes is going to have all the chapters and Excel spreadsheets and so on to build any kind of business plan. And we also have a number of samples included and pre–made layouts.

Now if you just need a premade basic business plan layout every Proposal Pack already has one preassembled. So you don't even have to use the Wizard software. If you just look at the root folder of wherever you installed your Proposal Kit or your Proposal Pack you'll see a number of Word documents that will start with FullProposal and there's one called FullProposal–BusinessPlan.

So this is basically what you can create out of the Wizard. But using the Wizard you can actually customize this a lot more using different chapters and applying different customizations to the documents and so on. So this is what a basic business plan will start with.

It'll have a cover letter, a front title page design, table of contents and then the list of chapters that make up this kind of general purpose business plan. Now this is where the Wizard we'll show in a second is used to customize this list of chapters and you can add in all sorts of industry specific topics or project specific topics, additional company information, and so on. There are thousands of additional chapters you can use in addition to what you're seeing right here.

And then every document after that will just have each chapter that's ready to start filling in. Financial related pages such as income projection, break–even analysis, balance sheets, profit and loss statements. So there's a lot of different tables for your financial information.

Now these stock templates you just have to type in these numbers. So this is where you could do your numbers in a different business plan software so on and then just put your final outputs here so you have a nicely formatted document version. Using our Expert Edition these individual cells will be linked to spreadsheet cells so as you're using spreadsheets to do your calculations all these numbers in the document will auto populate.

So we'll show that later. You need to use our Wizard to assemble the document and do all the linking. And this is the final layout for a general purpose business plan for any kind of business using one specific design theme.

This is the Marketing #1 design theme. We have hundreds of design themes plus using our brandable pack and the Expert Edition you can create your own design theme. You can import your own graphics, set your own color scheme, your own fonts and so on.

So now we'll show how the Wizard does all this more automated. So whatever Proposal Pack style you've purchased will be right here. We're using Marketing #1 in this example.

And you'll just go into the button #2 Document Projects. And we'll just give this a title. Now we click the Pick Documents button here.

This will take us to the screen where we can actually create any kind of document whether it's a proposal, contract, report, study, business plan and so on. Now in the samples we will have a couple business plan examples. So we just come down to the business plan.

This will narrow the list of hundreds of samples down to ones that are just business plan related. You can see we have a few here you can look at. And these are filled in examples.

You can also import the content of any of these examples into your proposal by selecting whichever one you want to use and clicking the Import Content from Selected Sample. We will also go over to the Quick Start tab. And here we have many many hundreds more layouts and we can just do a search on say business plan.

And you see there's a number of layouts here. So this one right here Business Plan Funding Request Proposal. If you import this, this will give you the exact same set of chapters that you saw earlier in the static document we just showed.

So you could pick any of these and get a slightly different variation of the chapters that may be more industry specific, say a medical practice. Select a business plan and if you just highlight any one of these it will tell you the list of chapters it's going to select for this. So you can see the medical one has a few additional chapters like the clinic, talking about health and wellness and so on.

And once you import this list you can still customize it with the thousands of chapters that are available by putting even more industry specific topics. Let's say we wanted to go to the Restaurant and Bar Funding so you'll see this business plan layout has a few more specialized topics like talking about the menu for the restaurant, the entertainment, the venue, talking about events there and so on. This Pop–up Kitchen Investment Funding Proposal.

That will have another slightly different version of chapters that's more related to that specific situation. So using any of these import lists just pick one that is somewhat close to what you're doing and if we don't have one that's really specific just go with the Business Plan Funding Request Proposal. As you see that has a very long list of chapters.

I will just import these topics. Now this is going to create a 45 page business plan funding proposal. You're going to remove any chapters that are not very specific that you really don't need.

You know, maybe you don't need the SWOT Analysis. And this one has a lot more chapters about the company itself. You know, maybe you don't need to talk about all these things in your business plan funding proposal, especially for a small business.

You could trim this down quite a bit. So now that we have our list of chapters we can use any of the thousands of additional chapters just by going into the Add Templates or Search by Name and just picking off different chapters. So say if we are a IT company.

We just come down to the IT list of chapters that we can find something additional here we can add into our business plan to talk about specific things we need to talk about. Or say you're in a media company, advertising, marketing, environmental, eco type business, real estate, constructions, medical. You can see all of the industry specific categories of templates by scrolling down this drop down.

Once you get past the industry specific ones you can go straight to ones that are project related. Say if you're selling services or products you need to talk about those and get those in your business plan. The business plan specific topics right here, most of which are already in this template.

If you're a non–profit company and you need to add some information about that and so on. All of these entries in the drop–down are just different categories chapters out of that big list of thousands that are available. The Search by Name tab that's if you kind of know the name of a chapter you want to add and you just want to find it in the whole library.

So say if we want to add an Income Projection template it's probably already in this one but you can just do a search on the word income and that will find all chapters in the library that have the word income in the title or description. So here's the Income Projection, Profit and Loss. So you'll see it also found a lot of related chapters.

This adds the Income Projection. Now that we have our list of chapters now let's remove the SWOT Analysis. So now we're going to build the document once we're done with all of our chapters.

Click the OK, Use Selected Templates button. And we're back on the project screen. This drop down here Business Plan, that's going to set the title graphic on the front cover page to say Business Plan instead of Proposal.

You can see Proposal Kit will give you a lot of different options for replacing that big Proposal graphic on the front cover. So in this case this business plan we've turned on the dynamic links to the Excel spreadsheets so we can show you that. Using the Expert Edition and the Company Data and Client Data screens.

The Company Data this is going to be your information, your contact information. This is going to be who you are writing the proposal to so this would be the lending company. Whoever at the bank you're submitting the proposal to, your investor or so on.

So just fill out this really quick with some dummy data. Okay, so I filled in some of the client data here and this gets populated into a few places like the front cover page, the title page and so on. Alright so now that we've added our data, we've selected our templates, we've set up our options.

When you click the OK, Save Project button this is when the Wizard will create the document. Okay now the document has been generated. We skipped ahead a little bit here because creating a 45 page document that is linked to many spreadsheets can take a little while.

So when that is done we just open up everything. So you'll see the Combined Project Document. That's the assembled 45 page business proposal.

Now I think earlier I mentioned this will give you the exact same layout as the pre–made one. This is actually a little longer. So this business plan has seven financial pages in it.

So each financial page in the document will have a matching Excel spreadsheet to go with it. So from this tab you can open the calculator spreadsheets. This tab you can open the document.

Now you'll notice Word popped up a message about linked spreadsheets so we just clicked YES on that. So what Word is doing is it's going through all the cells in the spreadsheets right now and updating the document. Now because this is a new document just assembled the cells will be updated already for when it's initially open.

You can see Word is doing that. So now Word is updated its document from the spreadsheets and you can see the merged name and address information here. As I scroll down you can see the Wizard put in the Business Plan graphic instead of the Proposal graphic.

The project title we entered into the data screen has been merged in here. The current date tag has been merged, the contact information, who is writing the business plan proposal and who is it going to. And you can see this Table of Contents this is actually longer than the pre–made one we showed earlier.

And as we scroll down you can see the rest of the pages are ready to start filling in. Now when we get to any of these chapters that are either schedule or financial related all of these line items are actually links to Excel spreadsheet cells. So you don't have to edit these in the Word document.

So for example the Income Projection. Now one thing you'll notice here is you want to open spreadsheets first. If you're going to be updating spreadsheets this is just how Word works is if you open your Word document first it's kind of already got the spreadsheets open kind of in the background.

So if you open a spreadsheet that's linked to you'll see these read–only messages which means we can't update the spreadsheet. So what we do is close everything and we open the spreadsheets first. All right now that we've closed the document now we can open these calculators.

So we'll go back and open the Income Projection. You can open multiple spreadsheets at once. We'll just do one for now.

This is the Income Projection Calculator and this is where if you're doing your business plan using other business plan software and doing calculations you can move those calculations over into our spreadsheets or you can just manually update the Word document and not even use our linked spreadsheets. So lots of different options depending on how you need to set up your proposal document or your business plan document. Okay now that we have the Income Projection open now we can go back and reopen the document.

We're gonna say NO this time because we haven't actually updated this. That should speed things up a little bit. So we're going to go back to that Income Projection chapter.

You see we just kind of control right clicked on the Table of Contents so it just took us right down there without having to scroll down. Okay so now that we're on the Income Projection chapter and any of this text you see in a red is just instructional text. Text like this once you read it and understand the comments and the instructions or tips, you know things like this you can just remove from your final version.

Okay so now that we have the Income Projection chapter up we have the spreadsheet up. We could actually go and update some of these numbers. If I save the spreadsheet you'll see Word automatically updates the document.

Now this can vary depending on your version of Word and so on. So sometimes Word won't auto update if you're using older versions. So this is using right now the current Office 365 and all of the current formats of the documents.

If something doesn't auto update what you do is you just edit these spreadsheets with the document closed and then when you're finished making your updates and you edit your spreadsheets and save them then you just go open the Word document. When it asks you that message about updating the document from the spreadsheets you say YES and it will automatically apply that. It'll actually run faster that way as well especially with a longer document.

A long document like this with a lot of linked cells will run a little slower depending on your version of Word and how fast your system is. So generally having everything open at the same time might be a little slower. So open spreadsheets first, edit then close them and then open the Word document and update.

As I scroll down you can see all of these financial tables are all linked cells from various spreadsheets. So when you're finished filling in your document, finished all your calculations you'll save your Word document as a PDF and then you'll have a final output version ready to email or upload or submit to your bank, lender or investor. Ok, so now we've closed everything.

Once you're finished with all of your edits and you're ready to submit you can just select your document and save as PDF. This will render your document in an Adobe Acrobat format, a PDF file, so that way you can submit just that PDF file. It will render in all of the links from spreadsheets so you don't have to send over the spreadsheets.

One common thing in proposals is you don't always show the people you are sending your proposal to all the fine details of all your calculations. Maybe in some cases you have to, others you don't. But if you just want to send the important details without all the fine details, all the calculations and so on just sending the PDF with the document formatted nicely with just information here.

This is how Proposal Kit is designed to work. Okay now the PDF version has been created we can open that up and take a look at it. Now you can scroll down and you'll see the fully rendered document.

Now these lines you might see are only a visual issue with Adobe Acrobat files. If you actually printed this document out on paper all these lines would be perfectly matched up just the way they look in the word document. This is only a screen issue sometimes with Acrobat.

Now if you want to fix this up the most common way people do that with Acrobat files is you just turn off the shaded or colored cell borders which also gives the whole thing a cleaner look. And I will describe that in the next example. So the Wizard has the ability to just turn off the cell borders if you don't want to see things like this in the Acrobat version.

So we'll do another business plan illustrating a different design theme and some different options and it all uses the same process. So we'll pick a different design theme now. Only the design themes you purchased will be in the list so we'll pick the Web #4 design theme.

So let's say our next example is going to be for a web hosting company doing a start–up business plan. And we'll also illustrate a little customization here where we're going to clean up the borders for the PDF version that we just mentioned. So we go into the tables tab of the Edit Style screen and we're just gonna uncheck the use of table borders.

And just like before we'll go into the Document Projects screen. We're going to add a new project. This time we're going to uncheck the dynamically linked Excel spreadsheets.

So we'll illustrate how you can do this with the Novice Edition that doesn't do the dynamic spreadsheet linking or if you just don't want to do that. So go into the Pick Documents button and last time we picked the Business Plan Funding layout from the Quick Start tab. This time we're going to do one of the samples.

There is a web hosting business plan sample. Now we can open the sample take a look at it here. And the samples are rendered PDFs so you can't edit these samples directly.

Each sample will have a little introduction page telling you what chapters were selected, what the design theme that was used is and then you scroll down you can see the actual filled in content. So with the Wizard we can recreate this exact business plan using all of its text but in the design theme that we purchased. So this design theme is called Contemporary #11 but say we purchased Web #4.

So when we build our own custom version of this it's going to be in the Web #4 design theme but with all the same text that you see in the sample and tagged to your own data. How we do that is you just click this button. Once we have the sample selected click Import Content from Selected Sample.

Now this is going to load 19 pages and you see this check box saying loading content. That's going to actually import the text of the sample as opposed to just giving you the general–purpose fill in the blank chapters. And just like before we can also edit this 19 page layout by removing chapters so if we wanted to remove something from here or we can go into the Add Templates or Search by Name and add more chapters to customize this stock sample layout.

When we're all done click OK, Use Selected Templates. Notice this is an 18 page document. So the 45 page one we just did now with the Novice Edition, the Novice Edition will limit you to a 10 page document.

So your business plan is going to be much shorter if you're using the entry level version. You'll still want to use the Professional Edition if you wanted much longer documents than 10 pages. And just click like before we've got our Company Data and Client Data and we'll just use the same client data for the last project.

So every time we create a project it saves the contact information so for future documents we can just pull in that same client data really easily from the drop down. Now that we have our new design theme, we have our new options, we have our data selected we click the OK, Save Project and build the document just like before. Now this build will go faster as the number of chapters is cut in half and it's not linking hundreds of cells between spreadsheets and documents.

Alright now that the second document has been generated we'll open this up take a look at it. Now you'll see the Wizard still created the Excel spreadsheets but in this example we haven't linked them to the document itself. So you can manually edit these spreadsheets and then copy your data over manually into the document.

Just as before name and address information has been merged. We have a different design theme this time the Web #4 and note if you click into the header here you'll see the full color version. This is just Word and how it deals with fading out stuff in the headers and footers until you do the final rendering or printing.

But you see these photos in our photo design themes are individual elements so you can swap in your own graphics manually. I mean you just import your own pictures or the Expert edition of our Wizard has a feature where it will swap in new pictures for you as long as you just make them the same size and put them in the MyGraphics folder. And you see again this design theme has its own Business Plan header, Table of Contents.

With our shorter business plan you can see here it pulled in the actual text from the sample and it also merged in our data that we put in the company and client data screens. So this is how the Wizard works to custom assemble documents piecing together all these different elements for you. This can save hours and hours of work or days of work piecing together a document like this from scratch.

So you can scroll down see the entire thing has been merged and ready for you to start editing. Now you see the financial chapters. This time you can see the colored cell borders have been removed after we checked that box.

It gives it a cleaner look actually and you won't run into those PDF formatting issues with the lines. And all of these are editable text. Now these are not linked cells to spreadsheets so you just edit this as text.

Now we can open this Startup Capital spreadsheet that's designed to match this document. So we can use the spreadsheet to do all the calculations and number crunching. But you see how complex a spreadsheet is.

You don't want to incorporate this as is into a Word document for your presentation. So after you've done your calculations in the spreadsheet just come over here and retype the amounts in the line items for your final presentation version. Same thing for pages like Breakeven Analysis.

You can see this calculator here matches the lines and cells here and so on. So once you've finished editing this document we're ready to save it and deliver it or print it. So just go over to here and when you're done save as PDF.

And you see the PDFs been generated and as we scroll down you see the full–color rendered versions. It's not faded out anymore like you were seeing in the Word version. And then we get down to these financial chapters with the tables themselves you can see how cleaner it looks by turning off the table borders.

And this PDF is ready to print, email, upload however you need to deliver it. So that is basically how you create business plan documents, business plan funding startup proposals for banks, investors and lenders using Proposal Kit.

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