Now that you have started your business, the next step is to get buyers for your goods and services — that is what a business proposal is for. A business proposal is a document you design to persuade an individual or organization to buy your product or service.
Also, it helps to describe how your organization’s goods and services can satisfy the clients’ needs or solve their problems. A winning business proposal can make a huge difference between convincing a prospective buyer or losing them.
A business proposal is beneficial to your organization in several ways. First, it helps you make realistic plans and projections and secure funding for your business. Also, it can provide your company with direction and structure by pointing out your strengths and weaknesses.
Writing a business proposal should be taken seriously, and it might seem like a complicated process. So, this article will provide you with seven simple steps to follow to write your business proposal.
Types of business proposals
There are three main types of business proposals: formally solicited, informally solicited, and unsolicited proposals.
Formally solicited proposal
A formally solicited proposal is one that you make to respond to an official request for you to write a business proposal. In a formally solicited business proposal, you are replying to a published request for proposal (RFP), request for quotation (RFQ), an invitation for bid (IFB), or a request for information (RFI). In this instance, you know all the requirements and have more information about the prospective buyer.
Informally solicited proposal
An informally solicited business proposal responds to a request in a more informal setting. For instance, conversations could have been held between an organization and a potential customer. This conversation could pique the customer’s interest, prompting them to ask for a proposal.
The informally solicited proposal could summarize what was discussed in the conversation. It is essential to focus on the customer and provide the necessary information the buyer needs to make a purchasing decision.
Contrary to solicited business proposals, formal or informal, unsolicited business proposals are sent to clients who have not requested one. Unsolicited proposals are always generic, meaning there is no direct connection between the customers’ needs.
They are not usually designed to close a sale. Instead, they introduce the possibility of a sale. Also, an unsolicited proposal is written when you approach a business or government to provide them with your service or product.
No matter the type of business proposal you are writing, using business proposal templates from Pitch makes the whole process so much easier and faster. You will also end up with aesthetically pleasing and well-written proposals.
How to write a business proposal in seven simple steps
When writing a business proposal, you should have a structure or outline. So, below are the steps to follow when writing a business proposal.
Craft your title page
The title page is the first thing your prospects will see when they get a hold of your business proposal. It is what will appear on the front cover of your business proposal or the first page of your proposal presentation. Because of this, your title page has to be so compelling that it gets your business prospects to turn the page.
A compelling title page could make the difference between getting your clients or investors to read your proposal and leaving your business for your competitors. You should add your proposal title, your business’s logo, the company name, and the date on the title page.
Also, you should indicate who you prepared the business proposal and the point of contact. You can also include who prepared the proposal by writing your company name and the specific individuals involved. Title pages help add a professional feel to the document and act as tone-setters for the whole proposal.
Write the table of contents and introduction
After the cover or title page, the next step is to write the table of contents. This section outlines the basic structure of your proposal. This part of a business proposal is crucial, except your proposal is brief. With a well-constructed table of contents, the reader will know what to expect in the proposal.
A word processor like Microsoft Word automatically helps individuals generate a table of contents using the headings in your document. Also, if you send your business proposal electronically, you can create a clickable table of contents. This makes it easy for your potential client to navigate through the sections in your proposal.
Different decision-makers will care about different aspects of your proposal and will need to access these areas quickly to see how your proposal addresses their pain points. A table of contents will help with this.
For instance, if a particular client is more interested in the executive summary, the table of contents will help such an individual know exactly where to find it. So, it is essential to include the page numbers where each section and subsection is found.
After the table of contents, the introduction is another important aspect of your proposal. You should add a short introduction to whatever type of business proposal you are writing. This will help your clients get familiar with you and your business.
When writing your introduction, you should focus on key sentences that encourage the readers to continue reading. It should include a description of your business, goals, and how your business plans to solve certain problems. An effective business proposal introduction accomplishes more with less, meaning it should be comprehensive without being too wordy.
Have a detailed executive summary
The third step is writing a detailed executive summary. If a reader only reads your executive summary, they should be able to understand your business and what you are proposing for your prospects. In the executive summary, you should provide answers to the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions that your clients may have about your proposal.
Although the word ‘summary’ is in ‘executive summary,’ this aspect of your proposal should not be the summary of your business proposal. It should instead serve as your business’s value proposition. With an executive summary, you should make a convincing case of why your company is the best solution to your prospects’ needs.
The major goals of your executive summary include the following:
Introducing your company to your target audience
Providing an overview of your company’s goals
Showcasing your company’s milestones, strengths, areas of expertise
The aim of writing a business proposal is to find solutions to a buyer’s problem or problems. So, when you outline the problem statement, you have to do so as clearly as possible. It develops a sense of urgency in your prospects when you do so. This will lead them to seek a solution, and you are that solution.
A well-defined problem statement helps you show your target audience that you have done enough research while also helping you point out problems your prospect probably didn’t know of initially. To determine your prospects’ problems, you should conduct thorough research to show them you care about their pain points.
State the proposed solution
After determining and highlighting the problems your business hopes to eliminate in the problem statement, you can move on to the next step, stating the proposed solution. In the executive summary, you had hinted at answering the who, when, where, what, how, and why of how you will help your client.
However, in the section, you should detail how you will solve the problems mentioned above. It would be best to mention anything that will distinguish you from your competitors to solve these problems. Ensure you provide accurate statistics and realistic projections to help you remain relevant.
Also, it is crucial to emphasize your company’s strengths and how you plan to use them to overcome the problems at hand.
Talk about pricing
The pricing aspect of your business proposal can be a bit tricky. This is because you do not want a situation where you underprice or overprice your products or services. Overpricing your products will scare off your buyers, while under-pricing will undervalue your business. The key to overcoming this challenge is to provide your potential buyers with options.
For example, you can provide them with a pricing comparison table. This will give your prospects room to work with and choose a price that will work with their budget. When your buyers realize you gave them pricing options, they will realize that you are flexible and be more motivated to buy from you.
You can also decide to break down the costs of each service or product. This will help your buyers see and understand the value of what they are paying for.
Conclusion and appendix
The conclusion is where you summarize all you have written in your business proposal. You should reiterate the problems and link them to the solutions your business or product will provide. Do not forget to thank the reader for considering your business and provide them with numbers they can contact if they have further questions.
Remember that your conclusion is the last chance to make a compelling case with your proposal, so you must construct it carefully. You can also decide to add a call to action to aid decision-making.
Lastly, you can decide to add an appendix or not to your business proposal. It is the section where you include any additional information you want to provide your readers about your product or business.
Now that you have learned about the seven simple steps to create your business proposal, below are tips that are guaranteed to help you write an excellent proposal.
Know your industry
Familiarizing yourself with your industry will help you identify the potential customer’s pain points and problems. Then, you will then be able to provide a product or service to solve the issues challenging people. Also, it would help if you carried out an analysis of your competitors and marketing trends. This will help you in designing a winning business proposal.
Provide relevant visuals
If there is one thing you should avoid when writing your business proposal, it is having only text in your proposal. You need to include relevant images, graphs, statistics, etc., that will cause your audience to engage with your proposal. However, you should not include just any image; they have to be visually appealing. Adding aesthetically pleasing visuals to your business proposal has a bigger impact and makes your proposal easier to understand.
Do a thorough grammar check
Making unnecessary spelling errors in your business proposal is not good for your brand image. When there are grammatical or spelling mistakes in your proposal, you make your prospects feel like you did not care enough to go over your proposal carefully. This can lead them to your competitors. So, it is vital for you to proof and reproof your proposal to prove that you are detail-oriented.
This article provided you with a guide to writing your business proposal in seven easy-to-follow steps. Also, the article offered you tips on writing a great business proposal. You can be certain that following these steps and adopting these tips will produce a business proposal that you will be satisfied with.
Lydia Iseh is a writer with years of experience in writing SEO content that provides value to the reader. As someone who believes in the power of SEO to transform businesses, she enjoys being part of the process that helps websites rank high on search engines