So you have to write a business proposal, huh? I understand that feeling you are having right now.
The idea of writing a business proposal can be daunting especially if you have never written one and have no idea how to write a business proposal. Well, good thing we are here to provide you with this all-inclusive guide on how to write a business proposal and any other professional support you may require.
But before we go into details in discussing how to write a business proposal, let us start with the essential components of a business proposal.
- Definition of a business proposal
- Purpose of a business proposal
- Components of a business proposal,
- Finally, how to write your business proposal
In this guide, we’ll show you how to write a business proposal that wins you, long-term customers, and business partners.
What is a business proposal?
At its most basic, a business proposal is a formal document that your company sends to a potential client or partner, outlining a project you will like to embark on, and all the necessary information concerning the project and how you will deliver it.
The goal of writing a business proposal is to persuade the reader to see the world in the same way that you do, and dime you fit to get the job done. It helps convince them that your company is qualified to perform the work, has a clear understanding of their needs and problems, and has the right solution and know-how to get it done.
Purpose of Writing a Business Proposal
A business proposal is critical to winning new clients and getting new business.
In some cases, a business proposal can be sent in response to either an inquiry from a potential client, a direct response to a Request for Proposals (RFPs), or as part of soliciting a new business or business partnership opportunity. But business proposals can also be unsolicited, sent directly to potential clients or prospective partners with no prior contact made but with hopes of generating a business or partnership.
Both types of proposals can be effective tools for attracting new clients and winning over prospective buyers and partners.
While businesses often think of proposals as primarily for new projects or services, they are also used when a client request changes to the existing project scope or service agreement. It’s important to note that in these situations, there may not be an official request for proposal (RFP) process involved—it could just be an informal request for more information about how your company will handle their needs.
Components of a Good Business Proposal
A solid business proposal will include information like:
– What you can provide for the client
– How you’ll provide it (using what resources)
– Why you’re the best person for the job (your qualifications)
– How much it will cost
All of which are simplified into the various sections as identified below:
- Title page:
The title page is essentially the cover for your business proposal. Although often neglected by many, it gives your reader a quick grasp of what the document addresses, and can determine whether or not your proposal is ever opened. It should include;
– The title of the proposal for example; a business partnership proposal
– Name of company or person proposing (you)
– Logo if available
– contact information
– Date of submission
– Name of prospective client/partner you’re addressing the proposal to
– Address and phone number of your company, if desired
– Your website, if desired
- Executive summary
This is like a short version of the whole proposal. It summarizes what you want to do and how you’ll do it.
This section is not mandatory for proposals, but it is important because it introduces the reader to your company, give them some context for the proposal, and possibly piques their interest.
It’s not a comprehensive outline of everything you’ll be discussing. The executive summary should be concise, about one to two pages long, depending on how much information you need to convey. It will likely be one of the first things people read, so make sure it’s enticing enough to capture their interest and get them invested in what follows.
Some proposals don’t even include an executive summary; instead, they go right into a table of contents and a statement on why they’re responding to this specific request for proposal (RFP).
- Table of contents
The table of contents acts as an outline so that anyone reading your document can quickly see where one section ends and another begins.
Not all proposals require a table of contents, but if yours involves extra documents like appendices or contracts, this is an important way to help readers understand how those documents relate to each other and the rest of your proposal, and where they can find them within your document.
- Problem statement/need assessment/opportunity statement/purpose statement/statement of purpose or objective(s).
Depending on what you’re writing about and why, this might be called different things in different situations, but often it’s some variation on “problem statement.” Whatever it’s called, this section describes exactly what issue or opportunity exists in the world that has prompted you to respond with this proposal.
This section might also talk about why you’re qualified to solve whatever problem exists (or create whatever opportunity could exist), though sometimes that gets its separate section too (see below).
- Proposed solution
In this part of your proposal, you describe exactly how you’ll solve whatever problem was described above, or take advantage of whatever opportunity was described above and typically why these proposed solutions make sense based on both logic-based reasoning as well as research and data.
It’s about providing a clear, concise picture of how your product or service works and how it will benefit your audience. The main points that should be covered are:
– How do you solve the problem?
– What is your value proposition?
– How will they benefit from choosing your proposed solution?
– How can they be sure that you can deliver it?
- Business description and market analysis
Describe your business and the industry it is in. Provide a profile of your target market, including geographical, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics. Describe your competition, and explain how you will compete with them. Detail what you have learned through market research. Discuss the trends that will affect your business.
This part is only necessary if all of this information is essential to the proposal you are submitting.
- The Cost Structure/Cost Summary (If Desired)
This section is usually peculiar to RFPs and unsolicited proposals, but not so much for a partnership proposal.
In this section, you should outline how much money you will need to get the project completed. This should include details of how much money you require and how you plan to spend it.
For a partnership, you may also need to show how much both parties are to earn. This needs to be realistic as well as ambitious.
The amount of money that you’ll need will depend on the type of project. If your project is something like a physical product then it would make sense to show estimates for production costs like materials needed and labor costs.
If the financials are complicated, consider adding an appendix of spreadsheets with more details about income projections and other financial information as necessary.
- About you and your team
The last part of your business proposal should include a section about you and your team. This section should lay out the qualifications, specializations, and experience of key people who will be involved in bringing the project to life.
Include a brief bio for each team member that includes past projects they’ve worked on that are relevant to this project. Emphasize their involvement in this project and their role in it.
If you have high-profile clients or investors backing your venture, don’t forget to mention them here!
- Supporting documents (if any)
Include any supporting documents at the end of your proposal. These may include company brochures, a copy of your legal business registration, letters of recommendation (if you have them), an expression of interest form, a non-disclosure agreement document, and so on.
To be consistent with the rest of your proposal, use the same fonts and formatting in these documents as you used in the previous sections.
On each document, include a cover page that states the name of the document and its date.
Putting Your Business Proposal Together
Reading the various components of the business proposal above, you’ll agree with me that putting together a business proposal either for a request for proposal, unsolicited cold prospecting, or even a business partnership is no rocket science. All you require is a proper understanding of what the business proposal should contain.
To assist you in putting together a business proposal that helps your business stand out from the crowd, win more business and grow your bottom line we have developed a sample business proposal template that cut across different business types that you can download, convert to a Word document and edit.
For more professional support in putting together your winning business proposal, you can contact the Effe Towers business development team.