You have launched a business, and your business is performing well in terms of customers’ engagement and productivity. However, the world’s market is full of untapped opportunities and potential prospects that you can use to your advantage. A sound business proposal helps you to develop a link between your client and your business. Today, we’ll discuss how to write a business proposal.
What’s a Business Proposal?
A business proposal is a business document that a company creates in order to secure a business agreement or deal. The goal of a business proposal is to sell your product/service, rather than selling the whole business. Most importantly, it helps you to reach out to new customers. However, some people misunderstand that business plans and proposals are similar. In fact, they are not.
Types of Business Proposal
The main two types of the business proposal are as follows;
Solicited Business Proposal
A solicited business proposal is when companies and businesses request other businesses for the proposal. It usually happens when they’re facing some problem, and they invite other companies to send a proposal that how they plan to handle the prevailing issue.
Unsolicited Business Proposal
An unsolicited business proposal is when you directly contact a potential customer and send your proposal without their request in order to get their attention and business.
How to Write a Business Proposal
Whether it’s a solicited business proposal or unsolicited, the writing process is the same. Here’s how to write a business proposal, some of the main steps are as follows;
The title page comprises your company’s basic information like the company’s logo, name of the client, title, date, and contact detail. A good title page would give the impression of being organized and well-project because it’s the first thing they would see of your proposal. You know very well the significance of the first impression.
The title page is the only place where you could show visual graphics and give the impression however you want to be perceived. It’s better if you don’t show over the visual logo and difficult graphics on the first page. According to research by Google, people love to see simple designs that they’re familiar with.
You can’t just go into your client’s office and present your project without introducing yourself. A cover letter acts as an introduction to your business. However, it should start with a company introduction, a little background information, and how your company is better than the competitors. Make sure that your tone is friendly, and end it with thanks, gratitude, and your signature.
Writing and designing a business proposal is a lengthy and difficult process. However, you can make it simpler and easier by using the readymade template. If you’re writing your company’s proposal, then track the variable that you’re writing it. According to a study, 32% of the proposals close the deal use videos and photos.
Therefore, when you’re designing the proposal, and then feel free to add images and pictures in order to attract the attention of customers. If you want to write a winning proposal, then you have to do a lot more than just writing a text on the white page.
Table of Content
If your proposal is a bit lengthy, then you should structure your document by adding a table of content. People usually avoid a table of content, but it plays a significant role because it assists them to check whatever they’re looking for in the lengthier document.
It’s easy to generate to table of content with a simple plugin on WordPress by making the headings as TOC. Therefore, you should format the headings and sub-headings while writing the proposal and create it automatically.
If your proposal is in the digital format, then make TOC clickable, so that reader could easily navigate through the document. It’s important to mention it here that different clients would look for different things in the proposal. TOC would allow them to find the relevant information easily.
An executive summary is an overview and summary of the whole content of the proposal. It can make or break the deal. Here you should mention what type of business you are in and what services you’re offering to the client.
Your tone would change depending on the client. If your target client is a young startup, then you would use a casual tone with humor and tech jargon. It’s important to keep in mind that the executive would offer an explanation for everything or sell anything.
Your client is dealing with a problem. Therefore, you should mention in the executive summary that how you’re going to address it and the details would be in the proposal. However, you shouldn’t put much emphasis on your planning and strategies. Instead, your focus should be on addressing the client’s needs and results.
In simple words, we can say that let executive summary be the overview and leave the detail for the other pages. It would make your short, comprehensive, and to the point.
As the name implies it would comprise of a short custom-made solution to the customer. Here you should answer all the expected questions that the customer would ask. However, you should also make it clear that what they should expect. It means project delivery timetable, date, or other relevant information.
Here you can divide the main plan that how you’re planning to execute your strategy. The most successful proposals have a length of 6 to 8 pages, and you should make the solution section comprehensive. Things and details your client won’t care about, and you shouldn’t mention them. However, if the client would request further information, then you can send follow-up documents.
Breakup & Divide
Breaking up and dividing this section is very important. Your proposal shouldn’t suppose to be a long single document. You have the option to further break it down into the following sections;
- Strategic Assessment
- Outlook and Goals
There are various other combinations that you can use, and it depends on your proposal and you’re planning to explain the solution. If you have a complicated solution, then divide the solution, so that the reader would understand it.
When you’re going to discuss the pricing, then it’s important to describe it in detail in the table format explaining the price range of various products and services. Many companies offer their services on monthly billing. However, if you’re pricing on an hourly rate, then mention that how many hours you’re going to invest in the project.
There are many applications available that would help you to develop a responsive pricing table within your proposal. It would allow them to calculate the pricing best suited for them without anyone’s assistance.
You should be transparent about pricing. The potential clients would like to know the scheduled payment date, how much you’re charging them, and how they’re going to pay them. It’s important that you mention all the details.
About the US
You have already introduced your business to the client in the cover letter section. Here in the about us section; you talk about those things that differentiate your business. Most importantly, you offer people an opportunity to be familiar with your team and get to know you. It should comprise photos and a short biography.
Anything that could make your business stand out from the crowd, you should mention it there. It doesn’t mean that you should follow the sale pitch approach. You should just introduce your team to the public.
You can’t close the deal without talking about your jobs, awards, and previous record. It gives the clients insight into your company by studying clients’ testimonials as social proof of your commitment.
According to a study, 92% of the clients would trust the recommendations from friends and relatives, instead of media and advertisement. The industry awards and recommendations from satisfied customers would further cement the trust of upcoming clients.
If you have working experience with a client or a company, then you don’t need to share the social proof of testimonials. However, if you’re sending an unsolicited proposal to a client, then you have to include all the records of testimonials as social proof of your credibility and commitment.
If your testimonials are amicable, then it would make it easier and simpler for people to reach out to you. There are different types of testimonials; therefore, you should add such testimonials relevant to your industry. For instance, if you’re working in the formal business industry, then a humorous and funny approach won’t work there. It should be relevant and fit the mood.
CTA & Agreement
You should include terms of conditions, call-to-action, agreement, or some other type of action at the end of the proposal. You have to be very careful with it because it would impact the desired outcomes. Business proposals are legally binding contracts in some areas if they’re in agreement with certain criteria.
It won’t be useful to add it in such business proposals if the client is considering further negotiations. If your proposal is not a legally binding contract, then you should make the reader contact you in order to move to the next stage.
Conclusion: How to write a business proposal
After an in-study of how to write a business proposal, we’ve concluded that a business proposal is necessary if you’re reaching out to the clients. If you’re writing a business proposal, then follow the abovementioned pattern and follow the professional tips and suggestions.
Ahsan Ali Shaw is an accomplished Business Writer, Analyst, and Public Speaker. Other than that, he’s a fun loving person.