Common denominators for success. Why do I simultaneously discuss grant proposals and business plans? Because you will find parallel elements in the successful execution of both.
Regardless of whether you are a retailer seeking a loan, or a non-profit seeking donors and grants, you must present a clear overview of your current and projected operations:
~ Market research, with statistics about your marketplace or service area, including the demographics of your target clientele.
~ A clear description of your organization, clarifying your goals and specifying how you differ from competitors.
~ Financial projections, with specifics regarding daily operations and plans for investing in facilities, equipment, and staff.
~ A timeline for achieving both short- and long-term goals.
~ Comprehensive marketing, public relations, and sales campaigns, as well as special events and community service projects that offer potential for free media coverage.
Vibrantly illustrate your key information. You have less than a minute to engage your reader's attention. Concrete images can be more valuable than words. Ask yourself and team members, "How can our message be highlighted? As a writer, I constantly seek creative means for varying the layout of the words I present. In addition to images, I employ color, shape, proportion, paragraphing, indentation and ornamentation (i.e. bullets and framing). This refreshes the reader's eyes by breaking up the monotony of extensive verbiage.
~ Illustrations, drawings and photographs should be bright, with good focus and contrast. Each must be pertinent to whatever point you are making, and serve as a memorable example of why your petition deserves positive attention and support. Check with your legal adviser about whether you need to obtain releases from individuals whose faces or other notable features may be visible.
~ Charts, tables, diagrams, and other statistical presentations must be well structured and labeled to ensure clarity in the meanings and relationships of their individual and collective parts.
Highlight your corporate brand whenever possible. Admittedly, there's no shorthand method for ensuring a business plan or grant proposal will yield the support you seek. Each topic I have explored here demonstrates one clear theme: The need to present an harmonious layering of complex details in an eye-catching format that is easy to understand. This same quality separates a casual doodle from a elegant pen and ink drawing in fine art; the professional artist has painstakingly built layers into his or her masterpiece, so that a depth of perspective is achieved that sweeps viewers into the heart of each scene.
Once your internal organization is in order, turn to your target market. With each point of contact anyone has with your organization, there should be confidence that their expectations will be met and even exceeded…especially if they are responding to a specific marketing program. For if you fail to deliver on the promise of any promotional activity, you have virtually purchased a negative advertising campaign...that will pay negative dividends for several years. This is true whether you are a physician, a sole proprietor, franchisee, or the chief executive officer of a non- or not-for-profit organization.
ARE YOU SHAPING A LONG-RANGE BUSINESS PLAN?
Refining a business plan is more than a writing exercise! When successful, it will generate:
~ Data for applications for grants and business loans
~ Elements to utilize in planning promotional projects
~ Proof of why someone should invest in your endeavors
THANK YOU FOR DROPPING IN!
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