- By None
- Aug. 30, 2022, 12:19 p.m.
How Do You Begin A Business Proposal Easily ?
Building a business proposal is like building a house.
While there are certain elements that are always necessary — like the foundation
— a house varies based on location and the architect or homeowner’s
In the same way, the components of a business proposal can vary based on industry, company size, and many other factors.
Just like writing anything else, a well-written proposal begins by gathering information and assessing the problems that your potential client is trying to solve.
With that in mind, the following items are what readers are looking to glean from your proposal. Think of these as the roof, walls, and foundation of your document:
- Information about your company. Your background, your qualifications, and why you’re a better fit than the rest of your competitors.
- Demonstrated knowledge of the problem. Proof that you’ve listened and done your research. You know what the client needs and you have a viable solution.
Types of Business Proposals
There are two types of business proposals:
1.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.
2.Solicited Business Proposals - Solicited business proposals are requested by a prospective client so that they can decide whether or not to do business with your company.
In a solicited business proposal, the other organization asks for a request for proposal (RFP). When a company needs a problem solved, they invite other businesses to submit a proposal that 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 organization's problem, proposed solution, and pricing information.
How to Write a Business 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."
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 entire proposal.
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 clearly understand 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 faces that you can help solve.
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 on 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 of your business proposal template to communicate why you're best for the job. Include case studies of client success stories and 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 with 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. Summarize with a conclusion.
After providing the above information, it’s necessary to simplify it into one final section. Briefly summarize the proposal. Touch on your qualifications and why you’d serve as the best choice. To prompt further conversation, confirm your availability. At the end of the proposal, the goal is to have the client ready to work with you. Provide your contact information to allow them to follow up easily.
9. 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 agree 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.
Business Proposal Ideas
- Start with an outline.
- Include data and visuals.
- Add social proof.
- Incorporate video into your proposal.
- Use a call-to-action.
1. Start with an outline.
If you want to produce a thoughtful, effective business proposal, you need to have some idea of what you're hoping to achieve with it. So before you dive into writing, outline the major sections of your business proposal and the pertinent information you want to include. This will ensure you stay focused and your message stays intact as you write.
2. Include data and visuals.
You want your business proposal to capture your prospect's attention and help set you apart from any other ones they might have received. One of the best ways to do that is to include hard, quantitative data that helps stress the value of your business.
If you can find some relevant, compelling figures that highlight what you have to offer, you can establish authority and make yourself that much more convincing. It also helps to include visuals such as charts and graphs to enhance your proposal.
3. Add social proof.
Like the previous point, adding social proof lends your proposal another degree of credibility. You can only be so convincing when you're personally talking up how great your business is.
Prospects are skeptical. In many — if not most — cases, they probably won't take you at your word. They'll likely trust peers and fellow customers more than someone trying to win their business. That's why including elements like customer quotes and testimonials can go a long way.
4. Incorporate video into your proposal.
If you're creating an online proposal using document file formats like PDF, you can include multimedia elements to enhance the proposal experience. They can make your document richer and more engaging.
Whether you add video at the beginning as an intro to your proposal or in the project breakdown to verbally discuss some of the more confusing parts, extras like this can make an impression. This works especially on prospects who are visual or auditory communicators.
5. Use a call-to-action.
Prospects need direction. The best proposal in the world can only take you so far if you don't clearly define the next steps. That's why you have to make sure the reader knows what to do next after reading your proposal.
A clear-cut call-to-action is the best way to get there. Define and highlight exactly what they should do to act on the interest your proposal has generated. Without that guidance, you might leave your reader in limbo.