Clear, compelling and concise communication is essential when writing a business proposal in college. Whether an undergrad or a seasoned executive in business school, your professors will look for a few key elements when evaluating your work, including a strong executive summary and straight-forward qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Executive Summary

Get to the point! Whether in school or in the workplace, your teachers or colleagues don't have time to waste. The executive summary should be a very brief synopsis of your business, its goals and how you will reach them. It should be no more than one page in length and should focus on defining your business or product and provide some concrete details on recent performance and future plans. Keep in mind that this may be the only piece of your proposal that many people will read, so make it count!

Qualitative Analysis

A significant portion of any business proposal is the narrative, or qualitative, portion of the plan. This will include your company's mission, a description of the products or services offered, biographies of the officers and an analysis of your market and opportunities. When developing such a plan for a collegiate course, it's vital to align the subtopics of your proposal with the concepts you've covered in class. For instance, if you're taking a marketing course, you will want to fully articulate what you believe to be the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the competitive marketplace.

Quantitative Analysis

Use quantitative analysis to support the claims within your proposal.
Use quantitative analysis to support the claims within your proposal.

Having a handle on your past or projected financials is essential to a college business proposal. Since most college proposals are theoretical, much of this information will likely be fabricated. Most business plans contain a balance sheet that outlines the company's assets and liabilities, as well as expected cash flow for the following fiscal year and beyond. Consider utilizing publicly available resources offered by different government agencies. For instance, the Tennessee Department of Treasury recommends working through a comprehensive questionnaire to ensure that your business plan is well-rounded and provides sufficient financial analysis.

Appendices

Most business plans contain a healthy number of appendices. Use this tool to your benefit. Many of those who read your proposal will not be concerned with the intricate details of each subtopic. Your professors, however, will likely scrutinize different aspects of your plan, depending on their specialty. If you're submitting a proposal in an accounting course, for example, it's important that the detailed financial statements at the end of your plan accurately support the claims made in the body of your proposal.