A business proposal is a solicited or unsolicited document written by a business owner or a freelance requesting a prospective client for a particular job.
For business owners, they can write the proposal if they wish to sell certain services or products persuading an institution to buy them.
In such cases, the business proposal could become solicited where the client can Request for Quotation (RFQ), Request for Proposal (RFP) or Invite for Bid (IFB).
Alternatively, the client could not ask for the documentation like issuing a brochure making it an unsolicited proposal.
The Difference Between Business Proposal vs. Business Plan
Lots of people confuse and use the terms ‘business plan’ and ‘business proposal’ interchangeable thinking they carry the same meaning when they don’t.
A business plan is an official statement presenting a range of business goals formally with measures on how they would get achieved.
Sometimes a business proposal may contain a business plan.
A business proposal on the other hand centers on how a project would get implemented, the steps, value, and approach which would be taken soliciting the client’s business.
5 Effective Tips for Writing a Business Proposal
The following tips on how to write a business proposal will help you grasp the whole idea of the purpose of a business proposal.
1. Use of proper layout and formality
A well laid out business proposal should contain great grammar and spellings, so as not to confuse or give the reader a hard time to understand.
It is also a must for it to be signposted for the reader to accept or acknowledge its approval. A sloppily written document could present you as an unserious worker.
A proper presentation of your document’s layout and avoidance of typos is thereby advisable as its considered a representation of your character.
2. Inclusion of your Experience
Your credibility as a prospective business associate is crucial. Quoting or sharing your previous client’s testimonials would undoubtedly make you rise above your competition.
The endorsement from a third-party makes your business proposal come to life and shows your experience or competency in similar jobs.
3. Meeting Client’s Expectations
Being a problem solver is the best way to win a business proposal. Targeting the problem your client’s faces and providing a proposed solution on how to solve it would certainly earn you a consideration.
Presenting the challenges and how your services or products would alleviate such concerns in a meaningful way could certainly win your business proposal.
4. Mastering Client’s Assurance Techniques
Presenting the client with a solution to a problem is a good idea, offering them with a foreseen problem and a solution is a better advantage.
Since most clients like long term arrangements, being able to present a long-term solution effectively through your products and services is great.
It’s, however, essential to make it solution centered on the proposal offered rather than you holding the answer.
5. Quoting of Appealing Prices
Your initial business proposal should have an invoice or quote or fair prices. However, ensure you don’t devalue yourself by listing the lowest prices than your competitors.
Discounting your services or products is also not advisable as it implies you believe the list price should get lowered.
How to Write a Business Proposal –
Structure and Content
A business proposal’s success could mainly get determined by meeting a checklist containing crucial standardized information which 80% of your written report should include.
Though most people find it hard on how to write a business proposal, it can get simplified through the use of a business proposal template.
A response by vendors to a submitted proposal should also familiarize themselves on how to write a business proposal using the same format in their response.
For an unsolicited proposal, some common elements used include:
A. Cover Letter
The best way how to write a business proposal is to add a cover letter giving a brief description of your company.
A background narration of how your company came into existence, number of employees and such details should also get included.
The uniqueness of your products, services or operations is an added advantage if mentioned.
B. Cover Page
A cover page should mark the beginning of your document and is a preferred way writing a business proposal.
The formality is to start with your name, the company’s name, the recipient of the letter and the submission date.
An already made business proposal template could also assist in the procedural formality.
C. Table of Contents
Before launching into lots of details, starting with a table of contents is a preferred method of how to write a business proposal exceptionally if it’s lengthy.
The table of contents is placed after the cover page and helps breakdown the sections of the below body.
D. Executive Summary
Presenting your products and services in an executive summary is an advisable technique when writing a business proposal.
Alternatively, you can use the executive summary form your business plan or expound on it.
E. Summary or Overview of the Need or Problem
Tackling the problem or need the client is facing by discussing it might be the best approach on how to write a business proposal.
If there are multiple issues, list them from the worst to the least for what you may consider least might be their most significant. List them loosely but in an easy to understand way.
F. Approaches and Strategies for Solving the problems
Offering proposed solutions to the issues is an excellent method when you’re writing a business proposal but should become detailed.
The solutions offered should not only be theoretical but practical on how your services or products could solve the situation.
The best way to write a business proposal is to be clear and precise especially on the timeline of the project.
Ensure you set realistic deadlines when you would be able to finish specific projects if multiple.
Payments and costs associated with the projects should get included in the proposal.
Referral to the client’s Request for proposal (RFP) is a great way when learning how to write a business proposal, maintaining transparency while easing their decision making.
How to Write a Business Proposal (summary)
How to write a business proposal guide, of course, doesn’t guarantee a win for your business proposal.
Though you might give convincing arguments on how your product might offer solutions to the problems, if you don’t know how to write a business proposal that is captivating, then you will not win.
Checking on your competition’s strengths and weaknesses could also prove an advantage of changing techniques in your proposal.
Offering better services and alternative products to solve long-term problems could improve your odds for your project proposal to be successfully selected.