Using Business Angels to Build Your Business

If you’ve already approached your family, friends, and your bank for funds to help your business, and are still a bit short, then your next step is to approach business angels. These are people who have built one or more successful businesses themselves, and would like to diversify their interests elsewhere.

A given business angel might be willing to invest up to $250K, but will usually feel more comfortable sharing that risk with other angels.. So, for example, if you decided that you needed a quarter of a million dollars, an angel would probably be happier putting in half of it if another angel did the same. That doesn’t mean that he or she wouldn’t put in that amount; it only means that it probably would have to be matched by another angel who invested the same amount. And, of course, if you’ve secured some investment from your family and/or friends already, that would make them feel better because their risk would be diluted that much more.

Not all angels will limit themselves to sums as low as this, The mature oil-rich Middle Eastern countries have many very wealthy people who will invest several million dollars on their own if the project meets their standards. And that’s really the most difficult part.

Business angels often work through brokers, people who have a “stable” of angels who look to them for good investment opportunities. A friend of mine is one such broker, and he tells me that the problem is not a lack of money, but rather it’s a lack of good projects.

Business angels will want a concise summary of your business. It may not need to be a formally written business plan. That will depend entirely on what the investor wants. A well written document could be as short as one page. You’ll need to check with the broker to find out what is preferred.

Here are some items that you’ll want to include in your summary: what you’re selling, a good estimate of how much of the market you could get over what period of time, and your anticipated profit and loss for the first three years. They might want a percentage of your company and/or a seat on your board, if you have one. This is not because they want to control your company, but instead because they want to protect their investment. But, what ever else you do, hold onto at least 51% of your business.

Objectives for a Business Plan

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Any business plan requires a set of objectives. These objectives will serve as a guide in order to draft an effective plan. Also, the objectives can determine the simplicity or complexity of a plan.

On creating objectives for a business plan, you need to keep in mind the reasons why the business will be created. What will the business be a few months from now? What will be your projection regarding the business after 5 years? This will also include identification of the growth rate of the business. If you are going to start at a certain business niche, you should be able to project a reasonable growth after a certain period of time. This will serve as the objective that you would want to achieve.

Your objectives can be aimed towards the growth of a business. Or, it may also be for the rehabilitation of certain products or services. Having a crystal clear business plan will allow you to have a clearer direction or path that you need to take in order to achieve success.

Also, these objectives need to be specified towards a certain product or service, if needed. There can be general objectives. But there should also be specific ones detailing all the actions that your company needs to take.

For your projected business, the things that you will be implementing should be easily determined or measurable so that you will have a basis for either failure or success when you evaluate in the future. Also, this feature can allow you to be content with your efforts or increase your efforts to improve poor developments as assessed with the objectives.

You do not enumerate objectives that are exciting, interesting, and sensational if they are unrealistic. You need to be able to stick to business plans that will make it very possible for you to achieve and get to where you need to go. There can be a little struggle, but basing on the experience of the general public or of other business owners, that target should be reachable.

There should be a timeframe for you to follow. You do not only set your plans and work on them whenever you want to. In order for each phase to be followed and in order for the plan to actually work, you need to develop a timeframe that will be reasonable enough for you to complete a certain task.

Detailing your goals and making them easy to understand is also important. If you are going to need the help of other people, you need to send your message regarding your business goals as clearly as you can. This can be done with the help of statements that back up or further explain the objectives of what you have listed.

Also, clear objectives can give your business plan a greater chance of being considered as credible and effective. This is important if you are going to apply for loans or if you are to work with investors.

How to Write a Project Business Proposal

So, you have a great idea for a project. As we all know, a “project” could be almost anything. You might be thinking of a neighborhood project, like creating a club where kids can safely hang out after school; an in-house corporate project like teaching employees how to use a new document management system; or a project for a client, such as creating a new commercial website. No matter what sort of project you’re planning, the odds are that you need to convince others to approve your ideas and give you the job. That means that you need to write a project proposal.

Don’t worry-writing a project proposal is not nearly as difficult as it may sound. You probably already know most of the information you need to put in a proposal. And you don’t need to start off by staring at a blank computer screen, either. There are great ready-made kits available that give you templates, instructions, and samples to work with-that’s a huge head start.

There’s also a basic structure you should follow when writing any project proposal. No matter the type of project, you need to: introduce yourself and your project, describe the need and how the project will meet that need, provide the details of what you propose to do and explain the costs, and persuade your proposal readers that you are the perfect choice to successfully complete the project. Finally, you should end with a “call to action,” requesting readers to take the next step-setting up a meeting, signing a contract, voting for your ideas; whatever makes sense for your project.

The most important goal of your proposal is to convince the people reading it to approve your ideas and support and fund your project. This means that you have to prove you understand the issues and plan to meet the needs of others. So a good project proposal should never be all about you. Start off by imagining yourself as the proposal reader. What do you already know about the project and the proposal writer? What would you want to know?

First of all, any proposal reader will want to know why you are proposing the project to them. So gather all the information you have about your readers, and do research if you need to fill in some gaps. You need to convince the readers that it’s in their best interest to support your project. You need to persuade them that your project will benefit them.

In other words, you need to write not a one-size-fits-all proposal, but a customized proposal. Depending on how many people need to approve your project, you may need to include information tailored to each type of person involved in the approval process. Easy to digest summaries for executives, staffing and resources information for managers and technical or logistics details for project leads.

But this doesn’t mean that you need to start from scratch each time. You’ll find that most of the basic information stays the same, even though you are addressing a particular reader and or group of readers in each tailored proposal section. You may simply restructure the same information in a couple different ways (bullet points for one person, expanded details for another).

Let’s work through the proposal structure in order. Start your proposal with a Cover Letter, which should be a brief personal introduction of yourself and your project, along with a mention of the action you want them to take after reading your proposal. Be sure to include your contact information, so readers can easily find you if they have questions. Next, create a Title Page with the title of your specific proposal (for example, “Streamlining Our Order Process,” “Rehabilitating the Parkview Playground,” or “Converting XYZ’s Corporate Fleet to Hybrid Vehicles.”

If your project is long and detailed, you’ll add a Table of Contents next. This is where a proposal kit can really help, because the library of topics they include are extensive enough to cover all types of specialized proposals. Each template will become a topic page, which will then be listed in your Table of Contents. You can’t compile a Table of Contents until you have written the proposal, but remember that your TOC should be placed right after the title page.

Now you have completed the introduction section. Next comes the section where you describe the project needs, goals, and objectives, always keeping the readers’ point of view in mind. For an internal company proposal or a complex corporate proposal, you will probably need to start off this section with an Executive Summary, which is basically a list of your most important points. Keep in mind that an upper-level decision maker may read only this Executive Summary.

Next, outline all the need for the project. You might include pages like Needs Analysis, Project Background, Goals and Objectives, and other details that explain the current need or opportunity.

Next, explain what you propose to do and the benefits your project will provide. Of course, given the variety of the thousands of potential projects, each project proposal will differ dramatically from the next one. The complexity of the project will determine the length of the proposal: your proposal might be only 5 pages long, or more than 50. This is where the topics included in a ready-made kit’s extensive library will be incredibly useful. Odds are that you will find a pre-written template for every project detail. There are hundreds of topic templates, so there’s no way to list them here. The names shown below are only a few of the most commonly used topics.

For general project information, you can use topics such as Opportunities, Benefits, Project Plan, Project Methods, and so on.

Depending on the type of project, you might need pages like Project Management, Volunteering, Personnel, Supervision, Outsourcing, Facilities, Production Plan, and Schedule topic pages.

You might need evaluation topics such as Expected Results, Evaluation, Acceptance Criteria, Measures of Success, or summary topics such as Project Summary and Recommendations.

If your project is very complex or technical, you may need detail pages such as Documentation, Diagrams, Definitions, Schematics, and Studies.

Any project has costs, so you will probably add financial pages like Budget, Project Cost Summary, Cost/Benefit Analysis, and so on.

To show that you have considered all aspects, think about adding topics such as Assumptions, Risk Analysis, Contingency Planning, Coordination, Project Oversight, and Accountability.

After you’ve provided all the details for your project, it’s time to persuade your readers that you’re right for the job. Add topics to describe your Qualifications, Credentials, Company History, and Experience, and be sure to include any Referrals, Testimonials, or Awards you’ve received. Finally, conclude with a Call to Action, specifically asking readers to take the next step in approving your project.

Those are all the basic steps for writing your proposal. Now you should take some time to make the proposal look good by adding your company logo, choosing special fonts or bullets, or using colored borders on your pages. Be sure to match the style of your proposal to the style of your organization and the type of project, and keep in mind your relationship with your readers.

Spell-check and proof every page before you send the proposal out. It’s never a good idea to proofread your own work, so try to find someone else to do the final proofreading pass.

Finally, print the proposal or save it as a PDF file-whatever seems appropriate for your project and your readers. Then deliver it using the method that’s customary for your organization. It’s common to email PDF files, but these days many people receive so much email that a PDF attachment might be easy to overlook. If you decide to print a complex proposal, make sure the pages are easy to flip through, and add tabs if needed. For an internal company project, you might be sharing editable Word versions using collaboration software.

You can see now how the content of each project proposal will vary widely because of the variety of organizations and types of projects. But you can also see that all project proposals should follow the same basic structure.

Want to speed up the process of creating a proposal? Then use a pre-designed proposal kit and get a head start. Pre-designed templates found in kits contain easy-to-understand instructions and examples that will guide you to add appropriate content to each proposal page. A good kit will include a variety of sample project proposals, too; studying these can give you great ideas on what to include and how to format your own proposal.

Project Business Software

A good business project management software program is there to help ensure that you remain on track with whatever task has been set in order to reach your goals. Before the introduction of computers and software the only way a person could devise and then manage their projects was by using pen and paper.

However, because of the introduction of the likes of such programs as Microsoft Office Project or Microsoft Office Visio many of the tasks previously done by you can now be done on your PC quickly and efficiently. Using such programs, you will not only help you to organize but also manage your business more effectively. In addition, when it comes to planning and then tracking projects everything is easily available to hand and the information can then be provided quickly to those that need it.

Now let us take a look at some of the other benefits that a business can gain from using such software programs when they have a project underway, no matter the size.

Benefit 1 – These types of software programs provide those involved with the project a quick but clear picture of exactly what is happening and where the project is at and where it is going. So even those people who do not get involved with the project from the beginning are quickly able to be brought up to speed on what is happening, what has happened and what will be happening in the future.

Benefit 2 – All the programs can be fully customized by those using them so that they can work in relation with the project that is taking place. Moreover, they allow you to track every step of the project as and when it occurs.

Benefit 3 – There are some project business management software programs around which can not only be used within the confines of your company but can also be relayed to others no matter where they are in the world.

Benefit 4 – The reporting systems on these programs are easy to understand and can provide the information that is required at the click of a button in order to that you can then make a much more informed decision.

Benefit 5 – Because the information can be made readily available to many different people at any one time this means that those involved in the project can collaborate together more effectively.

As you can see from above there are many reasons why if you have any projects to be carried out in the future that need to be constantly monitored and tracked. Then getting a good quality business project management software program is essential.

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