A business proposal is a document that outlines the objectives of a certain project, it is used to provide details of how your business can benefit the potential client.
Learning how to write a business proposal is a crucial skill for every business owners who desires to grow through new ventures and partnerships.
Writing any kind of proposal is a critical task. You have to convince the potential customer that you or your business is the perfect fit for their needs.
You need to stand out by clearly articulating your offerings that match the prospective customer’s requirements.
Your aim, when sharing your business proposal with a prospect is to be clear, concise, and convincing enough in your messaging so as to choose you or your company from the pool of proposals lying in their inbox.
Types Of Business Proposal
There are two basic types of business proposals.
Solicited business proposals: This type of proposals are specifically requested by prospective clients that require less information, as a result, the client typically includes all or at least most of the relevant information about themselves and their requirements for your proposal in a formal request for proposal RFP document.
Unsolicited business proposal: This type of proposals are sent to potential clients with the hope that they will want to hear more. Because you will not have been provided with an RFP document first, you will need to conduct thorough research on your own to understand your audience prior to writing this type of proposal.
Now that you know the importance and types of a business proposal, we will outline tips on how to write a business proposal that ramps up your conversion rate.
1. Build The Title Page
This is the first step in getting eyes on your work. The introduction to your business proposal is always the title. creating a strong, solid title page gives a prospective client an idea of the value proposition, as well as what is going to follow within the proposal.
The title page should clarify who you are, who your audience is, and what the topic of your proposal will be.
When sending a proposal to an external audience, be sure to include the full name of your business, your name, and all relevant business contact information.
For internal proposals, it’s more important to focus on what your proposal is about. Your title should reflect what problem you are solving or what solution you are proposing.
Keep this page simple and clean in terms of both layout and content—avoid cluttering it with unnecessary text and too many graphics.
2. Create A Table Of Content
A table of contents lets potential clients know exactly what’s included in your proposal by making it scannable, easy to read, and accessible.
A table of contents informs your potential client what is included in your business proposal.
This brief list of topics covered in your proposal is only necessary for longer documents, it makes more detailed proposals easier to navigate.
A business proposal needs to be as simple and accessible to the clients as possible.
3. Write An Executive Summary
As the name suggests, this is a concise summary of the content you will be presenting throughout the rest of your proposal.
For customer, client, or investor proposals, this is your first chance to introduce yourself and your brand. Briefly discuss who you are, what you do, what need your proposal addresses, and how you plan to fill it.
For internal proposals, it is especially important to emphasize the “why”—the reason you are submitting this proposal and how your solution will benefit your company.
For the summary, conciseness is key. Keep sentences short, simple, and to the point; avoid getting too detailed (you can go into more depth in the following sections).
4. State The Problems Or Need
This section where you demonstrate your understanding of your prospect’s needs and the problem they need your help with so you can offer up your solution.
This section is where you clearly state the problem you are trying to solve or the need you seek to fill.
This is your opportunity to show that you understand both the problem itself and the requirements you’ll need to fulfill in order to solve it.
Be sure to emphasize why it’s so important that this problem gets solved.
Be as detailed as necessary to fully convey the scope of the issue your proposal will address, just be sure to only include directly relevant information.
5. Propose A Solution
This is the meat of your proposal—a clear and detailed outline of your solution and its benefits.
explain your strategies for solving each problem. The more personalized and specific you can make this section, the better.
Preemptively address any concerns your audience may have at this point by discussing potential obstacles and how they can be avoided or addressed.
Clearly state why your solution is the best solution. What is it that makes your proposal more effective or beneficial compared to alternative options?
When writing this section, always keep your audience at the forefront of your mind. The more tailored your proposal is to your audience’s perspective, the more convincing it will be.
6. Share Your qualifications
This is where you reassure your audience that you have the experience and/or expertise necessary to solve the problem.
This section is mainly useful for proposals directed at customers, clients, or investors who may be unfamiliar with you or your work.
You may also want to include this section in unsolicited internal proposals if, for example, the colleague it is addressed to is someone with whom you have had little prior communication.
This section may not be necessary for a solicited proposal, as the use of an RFP indicates your audience is already aware of your qualifications.
For this section, tone is almost as important as the content itself. A confident tone will reinforce the trust you are trying to build.
7. State The Cost summary
This is where you include the financial cost of your solution, as well as any other potential costs such as time, resources, etc. it may incur.
Clearly break down the different costs, ensure your readers will know exactly what they are paying for and how much it will cost.
If applicable, make sure to differentiate between necessary costs and those that, while ideal to include, can be cut if absolutely necessary.
For electronic submissions, consider including a responsive pricing table that will allow the reader to check off only the items they are interested in to instantly calculate the total.
For this section, good organization is critical. Use simple tables, charts, or lists to make it as easy as possible for your reader to review their options.
8 Lay Out Terms And Conditions
This is the section that mentions all that you and your client would be agreeing to if your proposal is accepted.
It includes details about the project timeline, pricing and payment schedules.
You must get this section run by your legal team before sharing it with your client.
Use this section to thoroughly cover billing procedures, project timelines, and other legal formalities, the “terms and conditions” of your agreement.
This section is likely not necessary for internal proposals, but is absolutely necessary for proposals directed at customers, clients, or investors.
Avoid frustrating your reader with confusing legalese and industry jargon here; keep your vocabulary simple and direct.
This is where you and your reader sign off on the proposal once it is accepted.
Be sure to include both your and your readers’ names and titles in print below the signature lines.
For customer, client, or investor proposals, include contact information should they have questions or concerns about your proposal.
Again, keep this section simple and easy to read in order to smooth the path to acceptance.
As for creating the document itself, there is a wide variety of purchasable business proposal templates and programs. However, many major drafting platforms (such as Google Docs) offer free templates you can use as well. In most cases, you can even customize the look of these to fit your brand image.