How to Write a Business Proposal
If you have started your business recently, you must be looking for ways to build a customer base. But it is never easy to find the prospects who will voluntarily convert into your loyal customers. For that, you need a business proposal. Such proposals can help bridge the gap between you and your potential clients.
A business proposal helps you streamline the B2B sales process between you and your client by serving as a source of information as well as a sales pitch. The primary objective of a business proposal is to convince the client why they should do business with you. If you do not have enough idea about a business proposal or how to write a business proposal, you can find all the necessary details.
What Are the Types of Business Proposals?
Before you get to the part of writing a business proposal, it is important that you learn about the different types of business proposals there are. Primarily, there are two types of business proposals – unsolicited and solicited.
Unsolicited business proposals:
This type of proposals is created for the potential clients who do not request one themselves, but you give them one anyway to gain their business. In most cases, the business proposals are unsolicited since a majority of the businesses use it to acquire new clients.
Solicited business proposals:
Unlike the first one, a prospective client actually requested this type of proposals. In such business proposals, your client organization (or individual) asks for the proposal with an RFP, which stands for a proposal request. When a company needs to solve a problem, they invite other businesses to submit a proposal which describes how they would solve it.
Whether you are willing to prepare a solicited proposal or an unsolicited one, the steps to create the proposal remains the same.
The Major Elements of a Business Proposal
While the content of a business proposal varies from one business to another, certain elements are essential for the proposal. Based on these three elements, the recipient of your proposal will be taking the decision whether to do business with you or not.
- Information about your company
Your business proposal must include details about who you are, what you do, and why a potential client would pick you over your competitors. You need to present the details in a way that compels the prospect to consider you. But do not lie in your proposal.
- Show your knowledge about the problem
The proposal should also demonstrate your knowledge about the problem the client is currently facing. This shows that you have listened and done your research. This element shows that you know what the client needs.
- Pricing and methodology
Lastly, you need to mention how much you are going to charge for solving the problem and how exactly you are going to solve it. These details will help the prospect compare your proposal with the ones offered by others and make his/her or their decision.
As you may realize, you need to do a lot of homework before you consider writing a business proposal.
- The Structure of a Business Proposal
Now that you are aware of what elements to add in your business proposal, let’s take a look at the structure of an ideal business proposal. A business proposal should include these following parts:
- Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- The Problem Statement
- The Proposed Solution
- The Timeline
- Pricing, Billing and Legal
- Terms and Conditions
- The Acceptance
You can use these elements to create your business proposal outline. These elements should appear in the same order in your business proposal.
How to Write a Business Proposal?
If you are still clueless about how to write a business proposal, simply practice the following steps:
1. Start with a title page
Utilize the title page to introduce yourself and the business you do. Remember to mention your name, your company’s name, the date of proposal submission, and the name of the client or individual you are addressing the proposal to.
2. Prepare a table of contents
As you may have guessed already, a table of contents allows the reader (your potential client) to know what areas are covered in the business proposal. In case, you are sending the proposal via an email, try to include a clickable table of contents, where the reader can jump to different sections in the proposal by clicking on the contents in the table. This makes the proposal easy to navigate through.
3. Use an “executive summary” to explain the purpose of your proposal:
4. Address the problem or need:
In this section, you need to offer a summary of the issue that is impacting the potential client, whom you are sending this proposal. This section allows you to show them that you have a clear understanding of their needs and the problem the client is facing right now.
5. Offer your best solution:
Next, you need to propose a solution by offering a strategy to help them solve their issues. Be sure to personalize the proposed solution as per the client’s needs to acknowledge the fact that it is done exclusively for them. Let them know what things you will provide, what methods you will use, and how much time you need to solve it.
6. Mention your qualifications:
Use this section to explain why you are the best fit for the job. You need to tell them why they should trust you. Include case studies of success stories of your former clients, and mention any relevant achievements or accreditations you have received to showcase your expertise.
7. Provide pricing options:
Now comes the pricing part, which often determines whether the client will finalize the deal with you or not. You do not want to over or under-price your product or service. This is why offering a few pricing options for the clients can be a good idea. Include an optional fee table if possible. Some proposal software offers responsive pricing tables, allowing the clients to take a look at the products or services they are interested in. The prices are adjusted automatically there.
8. Provide clarity over terms and conditions:
Before doing a business with another party, it is always better to clarify the project timeline, payment schedules, pricing, etc. This section summarises what you and your client agree to if they accept this proposal. It is also recommended to clear the terms and conditions with your own legal tea, before sending out the proposal.
9. Leave space for signatures:
Lastly, include a signature box for the client to sign. As mentioned, you need to clarify what exactly they agree to when they sign on the document. This also gives your prospect a chance to reach out to you if they have any doubts or questions before they can agree to the proposal.
With these steps, you can develop a decent business proposal by yourself. However, if you need some inspiration, you can check out some business proposal samples available on the internet.
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