For your business to be successful in a competitive marketplace, having a business proposal is necessary. This way, you build new relationships that increase the size of your customer base. Therefore, you must have a solid business proposal when starting out your business to close the existing gap between you and your prospective customers.
But while you might have the desire to write a business proposal, how do you go about this entire process? If you’re looking for a solution to this predicament, you’re in the right place. Here’s an in-depth guide highlighting all the steps to follow when writing a business proposal.
What is a Business Proposal?
Before going any deeper, it’s important you first understand what’s a business proposal is. The business proposal is a document that highlights your skills and capabilities and how these will be ideal in helping to satisfy the needs of your potential clients. It’s through this that you get to persuade these clients into conducting business with you.
It’s important you don’t confuse a business proposal with a business plan that seeks to highlight your company’s mission and vision details by explaining its marketing plans and financial forecasts. Instead, your focus when writing the business proposal should be to;
- Pitch a certain item to a retailer
- Persuading a supplier to work with you
- Winning a project or contract with other bidders
- Requesting for funding
When writing a business proposal, there are two types you need to know about, and these are;
- Solicited business proposals: These are business proposals that the potential customer has requested. They’re also referred to as imitation for bid (IFB), request for quotation (RFQ), or request for information (RFI).
Unsolicited business proposals: This is a business proposal you submit to a prospective customer even without their request, hoping they’d be open to doing business with you. An example of this includes cold emails or marketing brochures. Many unsolicited business proposals are generic, and the buyer’s requirements or understanding are still not well understood.
How to Write a Winning Business Proposal
After grasping what the business proposal is, you now understand its importance, and this takes us to the next step, knowing the steps to follow when writing this document. Here’s an exhaustive guide on how to write a business proposal.
Start With a Title Page
You should make use of this first step to introduce yourself and your company. This means stating your name, the business name, the name of the client receiving the proposal and the date you’re submitting this proposal. This section needs to be well put together, neat and organized.
Table Of Contents
Including a table of contents in your business proposal is necessary to keep your reader up-to-date on what is contained in the document. You need to make sure that this section is clean, concise and straightforward. Doing this saves your energy and time that you’d better direct in other areas of this document.
When sending the business proposal electronically, make sure to add a clickable table of contents that directs your readers straight to their area of interest. This makes the navigation and reading of the table of contents a lot simpler.
This section is where you state the reason for sending the business proposal and shouldn’t exceed one or two pages. It’s here that you should go into detail about the document’s scope and purpose. This is vital in giving the reader insights into what they should expect. Knowing this allows them to know whether to spend their valuable time going over the entire document.
By reading the executive summary, the client should be able to identify the products or services being offered by the company and how they can help them solve possible issues they’re experiencing.
Mention The Problem Statement
Here you need to clearly give an overview of the possible issue that’s affecting your prospective client. Doing this shows that you understand their needs and have the right product or services to solve whatever issue you’ll help resolve.
This part entails a clear explanation of the plan you have in place to solve whatever issue the potential client might be having. You shouldn’t directly mention your product or service in this section. Instead, just let your client know the deliverables you have to offer, the timeframe within which you’ll complete the expected tasks and the methods you’re planning to use.
This section must be personalized to your client’s specific needs. This gives them the impression you’ve written the business proposal for their use only.
Approach and Methodology
This section clearly explains the methodology you’ll be using to attain the solutions highlighted in your business proposal. You should do this by clearly outlining the framework, direction and path of how you’ll execute your services. Go ahead and state the types of resources you’ll be using and your company’s strategy to attain such outcomes.
You must give the reader an idea of how you intend to finish this process, thereby ensure they’re on track towards attaining their set business goals.
You need to take great care with this area as you don’t want to over or under price your products or service. When detailing the prices, you need to detail. To do this, you should formulate a pricing table that states every product or service where you’ll detail precise pricing details. The importance of neither underpricing or overpricing is to avoid surprising your client with unexpected costs in the future or scare them off.
The pricing tables should be responsive to allow potential clients to check off services which they might need. Also, this gives you a chance to compute the overall cost saving you from the concerns of errors popping up later on.
Explain Your Terms And Conditions
This is the part where you explain in detail the pricing, payment schedules and timeline within which the project will be completed. It serves as an overview of what you and the prospective client will first agree on should the business proposal be accepted. This means explaining your terms of employment, expectations, and milestones.
Make sure to be clear with the terms and conditions of your contract as this may affect your business operations. It’s because of this that you should always include help from your legal team when writing a proposal before submitting it to the client.
Once your potential client had read through the business proposal and is fully convinced, the next thing is accepting the offer. This usually entails including a small section with every signature from both you and the client to formalize everything. While doing this, subtly include your contact details that your client can use to get in touch with you.
What To Include In Your Proposal Cover Letter
The goal of the business proposal is to answer a couple of questions. For this reason, you need to include several things required to exactly address this, including;
- Details about your company and what it does
- The problem the buyers face
- The solution to address the challenges your client faces
- The strategy to be put in place to implement the solutions effectively
- An approximation of the resources such as time and money needed to execute the solution
Business Proposal (Templates)
To write an in-depth and convincing business proposal, you need first to put yourself in your client’s position. Only after understanding this should you proceed with writing the business proposal. You’ve been taken through all the important details and steps you need to know when writing a business proposal in this post. Now that you understand this, it’ll be easier for you to create a business proposal that wins.