First - It is only natural for us to consider the strengths and backgrounds of our crew, but it is also important to consider what opportunities validate these strengths. Contacts are Opportunities, they provide either specialized and exclusive knowledge or they are gate keepers to lucrative deals.
Its common to have public and transparent bidding... but c'mon this is traveller and we are dealing with a lot of gray areas. Everyone is trying to gain an edge, and we cannot exclusively rest on pure merit or competence.
I'm going to add a Background and Contact generator in my character creation. This should allow characters to have a random set of contacts with reliabilities that are unknown.
3-4 months to clear is amazing in TL10 standards. Especially a deal as big as $14-100M. This is thank to TL10 Financial AI and mega-computers helping evalute and create all sorts of projections and isolate all the variables.
The GM should help flesh out the biz plan, playing the role of the Backers. Backers want to venture to succeed and will provide the number crunching of their bank's mega comp to help optimize the biz plan and highlight all the risks.
Not all Applicants get approved and Players must consider the Character history if they will use Banks as their backers. If a Bank will not finance the deal, various patrons also do similar due diligence but they may have a special deal with regards how the business should behave. There is that rule of thumb that banks go for the sure thing, they have stake holders to please, and if the plan is sound enough bank will finance you. If you can take the plan to a highly respected bank, you can take it to anyone.
BTW don't show your plan to just anyone, Non-disclosure agreements and lawyering up is an assumption and considered by the GM. Consider it as part of the cost of doing business and a precaution taken... unless the players are unusually sloppy.
Here the team has to go to the Biz their going to court and offer them a deal. In the traveller economy and the high technology there is a HUGE GDP per Capita compared to us. A percent of that is Traded Goods, and you can average traded volume equal to 1dton = 5stons = $500,000 worth of goods. You can use that formula to deduce how many Freighters are plowing the lines (their contracts are for 50 years) getting the TOTAL GDP of all the systems on a route, modified by the tradable GDP in Dtons, and how many freighters are needed to service that Volume.
in a branch line you have a total GDP of $150T (Dingir to Nushku) and 1% that is trade via the Branch line. That is $1.5T or $1,500B goods divided by 40 jumps a year (starports in every system makes sure that only 2 days at the most to drop of freight and passengers) $37.5B in trade. $37,500M and get the Dtons by assuming each .5M is 1dton of goods. 75000dtons of goods need to be moved. Divide that by the no. of branch freighters and you have about 56 branch freighters (2000dtons). You can round that down to 50 branch freighters plowing the branch, conservatively because if there is any shrinkage its really expensive to keep those afloat.
The GDP can be used to determine what patrols each connection again, looking at operational costs.
I'll basically make these initial studies for Dingir and Sol system. As I've said I'll do the heavily lifting and the Players or the Team Leader gets to play executive.
Now the PCs need to see how much of that remaining market can they eat up or to create new markets.
Third - Plan in action. This is the adventure, you really have to follow up the leads and put the plan in motion. There is some hand-holding from the Bank, aka the GM, but thats fine.
The Players will be meeting people and business and dealing. They will be going through the challenges of being in places unfamiliar, strange and possibly dangerous. They will try to survive, make friends and business partners and ideally prosper.
In the course of a budget of time, ideally in 3 mo. they have contracts which are good for a number of months. The contracts are the reward and the game goes autopilot to reap the contracts while they last, then on to the next venture.