How to Write a Business Proposal
Learn how to write a business proposal that is going to help you actually land leads and close deals.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur, the business proposal is one of the most important documents you need to learn how to write. That knowledge will set you apart from other people and prepare you for launching a business on a steady path to success.
It doesn’t matter where whether you’re a freelancer or you run a company – in today’s overcrowded business world, you will spend hours on submitting business proposals to potential clients. And you don’t want all that time to go to waste, do you?
Here is a complete guide to help you learn how to write business proposals that secure you the contracts you want.
First things first, what is a business proposal?
The business proposal is basically a written document that provides the buyer or client with a particular product or service. In general, you can divide business proposals into two types: solicited business proposals and unsolicited business proposals.
A client usually requests solicited business proposals. They are also submitted in response to an advertisement published by the customer or agency. Unsolicited proposals, on the other hand, are given out to potential clients even though they haven’t requested them.
In general, solicited business proposals have a higher win rate because they are far more specific to the client needs. Since writing a business proposal takes a lot of time, it’s a good idea to bet on solicited proposals.
If you have a list of potential leads, first qualify them and then start the sales conversation. You can drop them an email or give them a phone call. Once you’re certain that your service or product is needed, it’s time to pitch it and write a fantastic business proposal to show the client why they should buy from you.
How is a business proposal different from a business plan?
The terms “business proposal” and “business plan” are sometimes used interchangeably. But just because they seem to be the one and the same, it doesn’t mean they actually are. In fact, they’re two different things.
A business plan is a document that states the business goals of a company or entrepreneur. It also outlines how these objectives will be achieved. Naturally, a business plan can become part of a business proposal.
For example, if you’re starting a new company and need resources for funding it, you’ll have to come up with a business plan as part of your broader strategy that includes your business proposal as well.
What should a business proposal contain?
In general, it’s best to make sure that your business proposal includes the following sections:
goals and objectives,
terms and conditions.
By creating that type of outline, you will be making sure that the reader of the proposal understands your viewpoint. You should first talk about the business problem at hand, then provide the solution and make pricing appear in the very last sections of your proposal.
Do your homework
When writing a business proposal, it’s a good idea to do your fair share of research to make sure that you offer hits home. Remember that not all clients will give you explicit details about their needs, especially if you are considering to submit an unsolicited proposal.
Research your potential client, but also their competitors and customers. That way your business proposal will be as comprehensive as it can. Create a profile of the ideal customer that includes all types of demographic data. That way you’ll be able to personalize your research and gain a better understanding of what to say and how to say it to resonate with the client.
Assume the perspective of the client
When writing a business proposal, always try to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer. That way you will be more likely to include information they are looking for.
Ask yourself questions such as “How can these changes bring benefits to my organization?” or “Why should my company pay this amount of money for solutions you’re offering?”
If you collaborated with the client previously, convincing them to hire you on an ongoing basis is the best way to boost your income. Moreover, you’re familiar with your client’s needs, industry, and culture – these are all powerful arguments to convince them to pick you over someone else.
Tell them why it should be you
You’re approaching the company or client that has specific needs and chances are high that you’re not the only one reaching out to them. There might be countless other people who submitted their proposals to the company.
You need to stand out or risk getting lost in the crowd other proposals.
Emphasize your talents, experience, and other qualifications that will convince the client to choose you over someone else. You can make your proposal stand out by adding pictures or designs that keep readers engaged and add significant value to your proposition. You can also include a link to your portfolio to show off your work and expertise, especially if you’re submitting the proposal online.
Now you’re prepared to start writing your business proposal. Here are three things that make up the basic structure of every proposal you will write – and how to nail them:
State the problem – the first step to convincing the client that you understand their needs better than other freelancers or companies is stating their problem. That’s the most important element of a successful business proposal. Describe what the client needs simply. That point is crucial because no client will believe that you can help them solve their problem if you don’t even know what the problem is in the first place.
Propose a solution – that’s the core of your business proposal. The main goal of the proposal is offering a solution to the problem faced by the client. Include as many details as you can and address every single need of the client you have discovered during your research process.
Add pricing information – ultimately, the client will make the final decision on the basis of the pricing information. The way in which you write that part depends on the solution included in the previous section of your business proposal. For example, if your solution can be delivered over a short period of time, you can just include a fee summary. However, if you’re planning a longer project, it’s a good idea to segment fees to specific milestones and show it all on a fee schedule.
Now you’re to write a fantastic business proposal.
If you need a little kickstart to get your business plan flowing, you might want to start by simply filling out this super quick online proposal generator.
Have you got any questions about writing a business proposal? Or perhaps you have some other tips to help other entrepreneurs and companies create effective business proposals? Be sure to share them in comments and help the community learn more about the best business practices.