Table of Contents
A Beginner’s Guide to Writing a Business Proposal
After years of planning and hard work, you are able to start your own business. You have gotten your website, planned your product/service, and have built a team to run the operations. Now, all your business needs are clients. But how do you win prospective clients and convince them to do business with you? The answer is – using a well-written business proposal.
An impressive business proposal can be the difference between winning and losing a prospective client. Whether you have just started your business or are planning to expand your customer base – a business proposal is essential for every B2B brand. If you do not know how to write a business proposal, do not worry. In this blog, you can learn all the basics of an ideal business proposal.
What Is a Business Proposal?
A business proposal allows you to streamline the B2B sales process between you and your client by serving as a source of information as well as a sales pitch. As mentioned, the goal of a business is to convince the client why they should do business with your company. Primarily, there are two types of business proposals.
1. Unsolicited business proposals:
This type of business proposals is created for potential clients who do not request such a business proposal themselves, but you give them one anyway to secure a deal with them. In a majority of the cases, the business proposals are unsolicited since most businesses try to acquire new clients almost all the time.
2. Solicited business proposals:
As you may have guessed already, this is the type of business proposal that a prospective client actually requests. In such cases, the client organisation (or individual) asks for the proposal with a request for proposal (RFP). Usually, when a client company needs assistance from other organisations to solve a problem, they invite other businesses to submit a business proposal. The proposal should describe how the problem can be solved.
Surprisingly, the structure and the writing process of both these business proposal types are more or less the same.
What Are the Major Elements of a Business Proposal?
It is important to acknowledge that the content of a business proposal may vary depending on the business and the industry it is in. However, all the business proposals must have these following elements:
• Information about your company:
The business proposal you are preparing must include all the crucial details about your business – who you are, what you do, and why such a potential client (for whom you are preparing the business proposal) should choose you over your competitors. Remember to present these details in a way that helps you compel your prospect to consider you. All the details must be genuine.
• Your knowledge about the problem:
Your business proposal must include information that showcases your knowledge about the problem that the client is currently facing. Such details indicate that you have listened and done your research before approaching the prospect. In other words, you need to show that you know what the client needs.
• Methodology and pricing:
Besides the aforementioned elements, you also need to mention how much you want to charge for solving the problem and how you are going to solve it. These details allow your prospect to compare your proposal with the ones the other companies have offered and make an informed decision.
By now, you must have realised that you need to do homework about the client company (or individual) before you consider preparing a business proposal for it (him/her).
How to Structure a Business Proposal?
While these three elements mentioned above are absolutely important for a business proposal, the structure of a business proposal actually contains a lot more elements than that. While developing a business proposal, you need to include these following segments in it:
- Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- The Problem Statement
- The Proposed Solution
- The Timeline
- Pricing, Billing and Legal
- Terms and Conditions
- The Acceptance
It will be easier for you to prepare the business proposal if you develop an outline first based on these segments mentioned above. These segments must appear in the same order in your business proposal.
Steps to Write a Business Proposal
Now that you have learned about the fundamentals of a business proposal, let’s discuss the step-by-step process of writing a business proposal:
1. Begin with the title page:
The title page of your business proposal should provide a basic idea about you and the business you do. Mention your name, your company’s name, the date of submitting the proposal, and the name of the client company or individual you are addressing the proposal to.
2. Create the table of contents:
The table of contents allows the reader (which, in this case, is your potential client) to know all areas you have covered in your business proposal. If you are sending your proposal through email, try to add a clickable table of contents to it. This small trick will help the readers jump to different sections in the proposal just by clicking on the contents in the table. This not only makes your proposal more interesting but also enables easy navigation through the proposal.
3. Explain the purpose of your proposal through an “executive summary”:
An executive summary explains why you are sending this proposal to the client and why the solution you are offering is the best for the client. This segment should outline the benefits your company’s services or products offer and how efficiently they can solve the problem the client is currently facing. In simpler words, this section should provide a clear idea of how your business can assist the client.
4. Address the problem or need:
This segment offers a summary of the issue that’s affecting the potential client you are writing this proposal for. It is to demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of their needs and the problem they are currently facing.
5. Explain the best solution you have to offer:
After addressing the client’s needs or the problem they are facing, you need to propose a solution by offering a strategy to help them solve the issue. Try to personalise the solution you are proposing as per the client’s needs. This shows that you have prepared the proposal exclusively for that client. Mention what thing you will offer, what methods you will use and how much time you will need to solve the issue.
6. Mention your qualifications:
In this section, you need to explain why you are the best fit for the job. You have to tell them why they should trust you. You should add case studies of success stories from your former clients and mention all the relevant achievements and accreditations you have got in the business. This helps you demonstrate your expertise.
7. Mention the pricing options:
Now comes the part which makes or breaks the deal. You would not want to over or under-price your product or service. It will be better if you provide some pricing options for the client. Add an optional fee table in the proposal if possible. You can find a number of proposal software that offer responsive pricing tables. Clients can use the responsive tables to check out the products or services, and the prices are adjusted automatically on the table.
8. Clarify the terms and conditions:
Before you involve in a business with another party, it is wiser to clarify all the details about payment schedules, project timelines, pricing and others. This section should serve as a summary of what you and your client are agreeing to if they choose to accept this proposal. Also, provide clarity over the terms and conditions with your own legal team before you send out the proposal.
9. Leave space for signatures:
In the final step, add a signature box for the client to sign. Before the client company signs on the document as an agreement to the proposal, they can reach out to you if they have any doubts or queries.
With these steps, you can create a quality business proposal for one of your potential client. However, before you start working on such tasks, it will be helpful if you check out a few sample business proposals available on the internet.
Nathan William is an assignment expert who has been working with MyAssignmenthelp for the past 4 years. He holds a PhD in Sociology and has served as a guest lecturer in some of the reputed colleges in Australia. He also loves to volunteer for social work.