How to write A Winning Business Proposal:
What Is a Business Proposal?
A business proposal is a formal document that is created by a company and provided to a prospect with the purpose of securing a business agreement.
It’s a common misconception that business proposals and business plans are the same. The proposal’s aim is to sell your product or service, rather than your business itself. Instead of assisting your search for investors to fund your business, Learn How to write A Winning Business Proposal will helps you seek new customers.
Types of Business Proposals
There are two types of business proposals: unsolicited and solicited.
- Unsolicited Business Proposals – With unsolicited business proposals, you approach a potential customer with a proposal, even if they don’t request one, to gain their business.
- Solicited Business Proposals – Solicited business proposals are requested by a prospective client.
In a solicited business proposal, the other organization asks for a proposal with an RFP (request for proposal). When a company needs a problem solved, they invite other businesses to submit a proposal which details how they’d solve it.
Whether the proposal is solicited or unsolicited, the steps to create your proposal are similar. Ensure it includes three main points: a statement of the problem the organization is facing, proposed solution, and pricing information
- Begin with a title page.
- Create a table of contents.
- Explain your why with an executive summary.
- State the problem or need.
- Propose a solution.
- Share your qualifications.
- Include pricing options.
- Clarify your terms and conditions.
- Include a space for signatures to document agreement.
To Write a Winning Business Proposal, it’s very important you understand the business you’re writing the proposal for. If they’ve sent you an RFP, make sure you read it carefully so you know exactly what they’re looking for. It can also be helpful to have an initial call or meeting with the new client to ensure you fully understand the problem they’re trying to solve and their objectives.
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to begin writing your business proposal. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to writing a business proposal, but let’s take a look at some elements proposals often include. (You can Canva to design your proposal. )
1. Begin with a title page.
You have to convey some basic information here. Introduce yourself and your business. Be sure to include your name, your company’s name, the date you submitted the proposal, and the name of the client or individual you’re submitting the proposal to.
Your title page should reconcile engagement with professionalism. It’s a tone setter, so you need to make sure yours is sleek, aesthetically appealing, and not too “out there.”
Here’s an example of what it looks like when done right:
2. Create a table of contents.
A solid UX is valuable in virtually any context — and business proposals are no exception. You need to make things as simple and accessible as possible for the people on the other side of your proposal. That starts with a table of contents.
A table of contents will let your potential client know exactly what will be covered in the business proposal. If you’re sending your proposal electronically, it helps to include a clickable table of contents that will jump to the different sections of your proposal for easy reading and navigation.
3. Explain your “why” with an executive summary.
The executive summary details exactly why you’re sending the proposal and why your solution is the best for the prospective client. Specificity is key here — why are you the best option for them.
Similar to a value proposition, your executive summary outlines the benefits of your company’s products or services, and how they can solve your potential client’s problem. After reading your executive summary, the prospect should have a clear idea of how you can help them — even if they don’t read the full proposal. Here’s what one should look like:
4. State the problem or need.
This is where you provide a summary of the issue impacting the potential client. It provides you with the opportunity to show them you have a clear understanding of their needs and the problem they need help solving.
Research, critical thinking, and extra thought are key here. You have to do your homework. Take a holistic look at the specific issues your client is facing that you can help solve. Then, compellingly frame them in a way that sets you up for the next step.
5. Propose a solution.
Here’s where you offer up a strategy for solving the problem. Like the last step, you need to lean into specificity and personalization in this one. Make sure your proposed solution is customized to the client’s needs so they know you’ve created this proposal specifically for them.
Let them know which deliverables you’ll provide, the methods you’ll use, and a timeframe for when they should expect them.
6. Share your qualifications.
Are you qualified to solve this prospect’s problem? Why should they trust you? Use this section to communicate why you’re best for the job. Include case studies of client success stories, mention any relevant awards or accreditations to boost your authority.
7. Include pricing options.
Pricing is where things can get a bit tricky, as you don’t want to under or over-price your product. If you’d like to provide the prospect a few pricing options for their budget, include an optional fee table. Some proposal software offer responsive pricing tables which allow clients to check the products or services they’re interested in, and the price will automatically adjust.
8. Clarify your terms and conditions.
This is where you go into detail about the project timeline, pricing, and payment schedules. It’s essentially a summary of what you and the client are agreeing to if they accept your proposal. Make sure you clear the terms and conditions with your own legal team before sending the proposal to the client.
Read Also: How to write An Application Letter
9. Include a space for signatures to document agreement.
Include a signature box for the client to sign and let them know exactly what they’re agreeing to when they sign. This is also a chance to include a prompt for the prospect to reach out to you if they have any unanswered questions you can address.