A business proposal is the most important part of your entire venture. Without this, no one is going to take your idea seriously which can mean you won’t receive funding. Make sure you do thorough research on every facet of your business idea so there are no “uh-ohs” down the road. To learn about starting your own business try this online course: how to start a business.
Here is a sample business proposal for an organic food retailer. You can tailor this for your business.
This is your chance to grab the attention of the reader in the most concise and informational summary you can muster. Never let this run over one page long. Also, do not write this portion until after you have done everything else, all research, all numbers crunched and the entire packet completed. (You can read about the full business proposal template in this article.) Since this business is fairly new, the executive summary will not be as detailed (with financial growth, charts and graphs) as it would if it were already well-established.
Our mission is to provide a healthy and sustainable food option for our consumers. As an organic and GMO-conscious business that practices zero-waste policies, we not only feed our customers – we educate them. Yampa Valley Naturals was founded in 2012 by Maya Stone and Joseph Yebcavich. We are a home based business seeking a permanent commercial location for retail and wholesale purposes. Our products are organic treats such as breads, granolas, jams and mushrooms that serve the population of the Yampa Valley and beyond. We are Colorado Proud certified, part of the Main Street Chamber of Commerce and have all necessary permits to operate legally within Routt County.
The founders of YVN have years of experience in running successful businesses, overcoming difficult obstacles and advocating for the organic and GMO-free food scene. Combined, Maya and Joseph have 10 years of mushroom growing, bread baking and retail experience. Maya served on the city council in VA for sustainable food committee and Joseph is a representative of the sustainability council in Steamboat Springs, CO.
We are prepared to invest 50% of the total needed start-up funds. They are seeking the final 50% of funding to meet our financial goals from Mountain West Bank and interested angel investors. There is also a Kickstarter campaign active to aid us in this process. We foresee Yampa Valley Naturals becoming a staple in the Steamboat Springs community; to educate the public about the importance of local and organic food; to provide cost effective healthy food options; and to develop partner programs with Colorado Mountain College to enrich the Sustainability program and further the local food goals of the valley.
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I. General Company Description
This section reviews your company’s goals, objectives, and philosophy, as well as goes over what the industry is like.
Company Goals and Objectives
- To be the leading organic and GMO-free food producer in Colorado
- To have a store front with prepared food and products and food-to-order
- To educate consumers about the current and future state of the food industry, plants and their health benefits and
- To obtain GMO-free certification
- To obtain USDA 100% organic certification
- To have three full-time employees with salary and benefits
- To encourage local food swapping
Sustainable, Local and Organic is our motto.
- Sustainable, because it’s important to reduce our footprint on the fragile environment by recycling, reusing and repurposing.
- Local, because stimulating the local economy is good for you, good for me and good for the other members of your community. It creates a healthy atmosphere for thriving business and happy people.
- Organic, because eating products that are pesticide and preservative free is crucial to your health.
The phrase is also an acronym for SLO food which is a movement to counter the ever-so-popular fast food world we live in. SLO food encompasses not only how your food is grown and where you buy it, but where and how you enjoy it, too. SLO food intends to remind people to just slow down. Food is meant to be enjoyed as a cultural event – not as just a means to survival.
The food industry is forever growing, changing and adapting to the demands of the consumer. In recent years there has been an exponential growth in the organic food market. Consumers are becoming more aware of what they are ingesting and how important it is to choose preservative free and pesticide free products. The organic industry is on the rise as sale trends show for 2012. According to the Nutrition Business Journal, organic food sales in the United States have increased from approximately $11 billion in 2004 to an estimated $27 billion in 2012. Furthermore, according to the USDA Economic Research Service, organic food products are still gaining ground in conventional supermarkets as well as natural foods markets, and organic sales accounted for more than 3.5 percent of total U.S. food sales in 2012. We anticipate this positive growth to continue in coming years.
II. Products and Services
Describe in depth your products or services in this part of the business proposal. Don’t be afraid to go into even further detail than our example below shows, based on your specific industry. Include advantages and disadvantages you have over the competition.
Description of Products/Services
We produce and package organic products for wholesale, retail, and foodservice. These products include but are not limited to:
- Granola Bars
- Trail Mix
- Fruit Butters
- Herbs (Fresh/Dried)
- Mushrooms (Fresh/Dried)
- Nut Butters
- Artisan Breads
Yampa Valley Naturals has a distinct advantage as a local organic foods producer. We dedicate a tremendous amount of time to research to ensure the best organic, GMO-free ingredients in all of our products. While not every product we sell is 100% organic and 100% GMO-free – we strive to be. This sets us apart from our competitors as no other business in town produces sustainable, local and organic packaged food.
Living in the Yampa Valley can have its setbacks in the agriculture and product creation sector due to our rather remote and high-altitude location. Obtaining certain ingredients is already problematic but we need to again dramatically narrow our search to meet our high standards of organic and GMO-free ingredients.
III. Marketing Plan
First, include a section on economics here. Because this is drastically different for every industry, we have not include an example here. However, here are some of the questions you should seek to answer with your economics section:
- What is the total size of your market?
- Is there a current demand for your product?
- What are the trends?
- Is there growth opportunity?
- Are there any barriers you face to being successful as a start-up?
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Next, include a section about customers. Identify your targeted customers, their characteristics, and their geographic locations, otherwise known as their demographics.
Our target customers range from young to old and they will primarily be residents of Routt County, CO. Our products cater to the sweet tooth of kids, the health nut to the diabetic elderly. There is one important theme here and that is: S.L.O.
Our most popular customer groups will most likely be Steamboat Springs residents with at least a middle-range income. Typically these customers will be eco-conscious or health-conscious citizens and could very well be in the education, health, or food sector.
You should also include a section on your competitors. List major competitors by name in this section if possible.
Surprisingly, none. We have been unable to locate a company with similar values and/or products located in the Yampa Valley. There are local farms that produce fresh herbs, but this is only a small portion of our entire product inventory. Insofar, we have seen no signs of local gourmet mushroom farmers or any local organic foodservice companies. Restaurants in town primarily carry big name organic foods in their shops and we intend to become the new local source for high-quality organic products at the retail, wholesale and foodservice levels.
For a lot of Steamboat residents, locally produced foods are more appealing than ones produced from corporations. At a talk held by the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council in April entitled: Local Foods, speakers asked the approximately 100 Routt County citizens what their idea of “local” was. The results were impressive. More than 80% of the room considered local foods to be produced only in Colorado. Out of that 80% almost half considered local to be only produced in the Western Slope area which encompasses Steamboat Springs. These people are our target market and we have no true competitors at this moment.
How will you get the work out to customers? Include this information in the next section. You should include not just direct promotional strategies, but also branding strategies and budget information.
Currently we are relying heavily on word-of-mouth. Our business financial structure right now cannot hold as many clients as we are receiving inquiries from which is why we are seeking a loan. Once we are able to aptly expand our operations we intend to use local print media (newspaper, other publications), social media, email, flyers and our previous product exposure at local businesses.
Yampa Valley Naturals is reserved, yet hip, organic and sustainable, small town gig. We like folk music, a good hike and nice glass of wine, we’re not hippies but were considerate of our environment and those in it. We seek to portray a contemporary and simultaneously back country feel with our products. They are sleek, yet cozy and familiar yet exotic. If we manage to make our customers feel any of these then we are on the right track.
Monthly spending really depends on our sales. We anticipate approximately 1 shipment of paper a month, 1 shipment of business cards every 6 months. Annually this equals $630 a year. Our prices are comparable to a bit higher than our competitors. After much research we have realized that because our products are primarily made with organic, GMO-free and local ingredients. We do not have any direct competitors in Steamboat Springs that produce and package their own organic and local foods for sale.
We have already see our customers make their decision on the quality of our product over the price. We initially had incredible affordable prices as we didn’t understand our market yet. We have driven the prices up considerably and have actually seen an increase in our sales.
V. Sales Forecast
Make sure that this information is extremely detailed and describes not just the projection, but details about why you’re predicting these sales and expenses. This part will be most scrutinized by anyone considering giving you money.
VI. Operational Plan
Explain the daily operation of the business, its location, equipment, people, processes, and surrounding environment.
We are producing our products in our home kitchen currently. We intend on producing all products on site once we obtain a certified commercial kitchen and retail space. We plan to keep a tight rein on inventory by implementing monthly inventory checks and will adjust our methods on a regular basis accordingly.
We started off as a cottage kitchen business working out of our home kitchen. We now operate out of a commercial kitchen in town, use our home mailing address as our business location and our products are sold via events, farmers markets, third party, and on our website.
Our ideal location is a small shop off of the main street. Oak Street, which runs parallel to Lincoln Ave. (the main road) has great boutiques and unique shops that would be a great fit for us. There is ample street parking and rent is cheaper.
Yampa Valley Naturals has already obtained a city sales tax license, a state sales tax license, a wholesale and retail manufacturer license and insurance through Mountain West insurance agency. We have no trademarks and are unsure as to zoning at this point as our location is still to be determined.
Yampa Valley Naturals will be run by the founders, with a possibility of hiring one or two part-time employees – depending on business. We have factored in these salaries into our forecasts. If we do bring on employees there will be extensive training required to ensure that our product quality and customer service is always consistent. Pay will begin at $12 an hour for part-time employees. We will not offer health insurance.
For more in depth information about how to complete a full business plan, forecasts and all, check out this easy online course: writing a business plan draft. It’ll walk you through all you need to know! There is also a great article on how to write a winning proposal. There is so much information at your disposal – use it!