A business proposal refers to the kind of document designed in a way in order to convince an organization to purchase any particular product or service.
A business proposal can be either solicited or unsolicited. The company which is buying the product can be an active seeker for such offers or is buying from a salesperson. The solicited business proposal is one in which the client or prospect themselves approach to the bidder to buy their services.
They might approach several bidders at a time and compare their solutions for the problem defined by the client and the price structure to select the one that is suitable for them.
Unsolicited business proposals are the one in which the bidder goes to the client, for the example salesperson and explain to them about their product and services with the purpose to sell them.
To get the trust factor from the client organization, business proposals act as the magic wand for an entrepreneur. The purpose of every business or entrepreneur is to tackle a problem. Business proposals act as the biggest problem-solving factor.
If you want to lead your business in the competitive world, you should have mastery in the writing the business proposals.
A business proposal paper contains the following description:
- Your bringing to the table.
- Your effectiveness to solve issues related to other firm’s business.
- Your planning to decipher the issue.
- The overview of the problem-solving process i.e. time elements and other assets.
The basic structure/ Elements of your business proposal:
Most of the organization has the predefined format or structure for the business proposal.
The examples of such cases may be availing electrical wiring services, the field of architecture and landscaping, or even an advertising proposal. They all follow the same pre-defined format to write a business proposal.
In such areas, the main focus is the presentation by means of a meeting. The documents are just supplementary, but everything relays on the presentation. The presentation holds the discuss other general proposals, the general proposals related to different service activities, services, studies, etc.
Each business proposal should at least carry these two different papers and that is the proposal document and the cover letter.
Sometimes there are certain additional documents required that contains maps, photographs, graphs, charts, etc. The lengthy proposals are also called as ‘letter proposals’ that contains at most 6 to 8 pages.
The cover letter acts as the transmittal letter. The cover letters are very commonly used by the bidders to avail the lookout of the proposal as a brief version.
The general structure of a business proposal document is:
- Title page: This section of the business proposal document contains the name of the person who is selling the proposal, the company’s name of the seller, the person or company’s name to whom the proposal is submitted and the submission date of the proposal.
- Table of contents: This section is not necessarily used in short business proposals, whereas sometimes used in the long and complex ones. Sometimes, the client company has different departments to review different sections of the proposals, in such cases a table of contents may help. The reader can get the knowledge that which particular section belongs to which page and directly jump over that.
In case you are sending the web version of the business proposal, the table of contents should be added in the clickable format, to make it easy for the readers to jump through different sections.
- Executive summary: The summary section might be included here or you can covey it at the cover letter. It contains a summary of the advantages of buying the products or services from your company and how it can help to solve the issues.
Sometimes if the client doesn’t want to read the entire proposal, the executive summary can help them to understand how your proposal is helpful for them to solve their problem.
- Overview or summary of the problem or need: This section contains the restatement of the client’s major goals in the bidder’s interpretation. Inclusion of the restatement related to the problem is important to show that the bidder or seller understands the problem accurately.
- Strategy or approach to solving the problem: This particular portion of the business proposal contains a summary of the bidder’s proposed approach to solve the problems of the client. It acts as the key to gain the order if the price is suitable for the client and if the client finds it best to solve their problem as compared to other alternatives.
It is not necessary to write detail about this section. Providing details is the job of methodology. This section contains little arguments in favour of your approach.
- Representative tactics: This section of the research proposal contains detail explaining how you will carry a particular approach. The detail of the approach should be quite enough to convince the client.
- Company qualifications: This portion of the business proposal should contain the documented information about why the client should select the particular bidder depending upon their qualifications, past history or if any successful history related to this type of proposal.
- Schedule and benchmarks: The important elements of the job are showcased here against a timeline. If necessary, specific benchmarks are identified to indicate the successful accomplishment of intermediate objectives.
- Costs proposal, payment schedules, and legal matters: The conclusion of the business proposal should be done by showcasing the price in detailed version as possible. It is not awful to mention if the bidder expects the half or another amount of payment as they begin the work.
If there is any involvement of legal matters, mention it here. If the legal matters are lengthy, you can make a separate section for it.
How to write an effective business proposal:5 Steps
The essential steps to write a business proposal:
Step 1st – Collect your required information:
With the availability of a trending business opportunity, you might feel pressurized to send the proposal very sooner. But spending some time to gather information about the client’s requirement is prove out as more beneficial. Collecting information can help you to know about the key elements that you need to include in your proposal to make it more effective.
Few Questions & Answers you must know before writing a business plan for the client
- Who are your potential buyers?
- What is the pain point?
- What is the estimated budget?
- What is the deadline?
- Is your solution effective for their problem?
- What is the cost if they accept your proposal?
Inclusion of caveats us the best solution for all these questions. It can help to more quickly send the proposal and can protect you from unpredicted turns that might be taken by the project.
Always remember to avoid adding too much of information that can make your project come under the category of underdeveloped and make you leave the race before even starting.
Step 2nd – Define the objectives and scope of the project:
Remember to define the objectives of your business proposal before jumping to its scope. Always stay focused on the objective of your business proposal and keep your sight and reasons clear.
It will help you to provide a perfect structure for your proposal and its outline. The best location to include the objective of your business proposal is either in the introduction or in the executive summary section of your business proposal.
Step 3rd – Understand the objective of your business proposal:
The questions that are needed to understand the objective of your business proposal:
- The purpose of your business proposal.
- The requirements of your prospect or client.
- The issue of the client that you are going to solve with the help of your services and products.
- Is your solution effective to solve the issues of client or prospect?
After getting answers to all these questions, now prepare a business objective proposal that is focused mainly on the requirements of your client.
Step 4th – An instance of objective statement:
The main objective behind writing this business proposal is to exhibit how _________________ can solve the problem of _________________________ for ______________________________ by ___________________________________________________.
You can use this format to write the objective statement of your business proposal.
Step 5th – Outline the scope of the project:
The scope of the project should contain the following:
- Summary of its deliverables
The project scope can be outlined by answering the below-given questions by yourself:
- Who: Who will accomplish your job, who will supervise it and who will be called by the client in case of any issue or trouble?
- What: What you are going to deliver, what will be the requirement to complete the project, what will be the expectations of the customer and what will be the cost of the project for the client?
- Where: Where will you accomplish the job and where will you deliver it?
- When: When will you begin your project, when will key milestones be scheduled, when you will complete the project, and when you will get the due payment?
- How: How you will accomplish the work, how will you deploy it, how you will manage it, how will you attain the guarantee of quality, how will you mitigate the risk, how much time will you take to complete the project, and how will your project profit the customer?
- Why: why have you selected the chosen methodologies and alternatives and why the client should select you among others?
- Write the estimation of labour and costs: You should make the estimate of your project that how much you need to spend on it and how much you will charge to your client. There is an easy formula for calculating the estimate of labour costs: Mentally think about your project and note the amount of time consumed for each task. Sum up all these and product by 1.5.
For example, if you are estimating that your job will take 5 hours of time to get done, not it as 7.5 hours in the proposal because of 5*1.5= 7.5 hours. You might be thinking, what is the need to overestimate your project, this is because you never know what is the twists and turns come into the path of your project accomplishing. And this additional time can help you to tackle with this twist and turn.
In case, there is no twist and turns come into your project, you can use that time to avail bonus work or you can charge a low amount to the client. Either way can make your customer happy.
- Begin to draft your business proposal: Now here you will draft the actual business proposal document. Like any other assignment writings, business proposals also contains three parts and that is an introduction to give the summary for your project, body that contains all the detailed information, and conclusion that contains the information for the customer how to get progressed.
A perfect business proposal lies between 6 to 7 sections by adding up the signature page too.
The good business proposal should contain the following 6 sections:
Section 1 – Introduction: Your business proposal should start with the introduction paragraph. Begin writing the introduction paragraph by giving details statement about your company and what are the objectives of it to meet the requirements of the potential customers.
Also here you can write a story so that the client can understand certain features of your brand or service. Also write why the client should choose you or your company (accomplishments, awards, if any).
How lengthy your introduction would is totally depends on the type of business proposal you are crafting. If you are preparing a proposal for a day carpet cleaning job, then it is obvious that writing a few sentences is enough. For wider or bigger job, write a little lengthy introduction. But always keep it up to one single page.
Section 2 – Executive Summary: In any business proposal, the executive summary is seen as the most relevant sections. This is the section in which you showcase the facts why the client choose you or your company over others and the reader can get the takeaway message from your proposal document. There is no need to write the summary of each and every part of the proposal but should focus on the conclusions the reader should reach after going through your proposal.
Always use the direct and factual language in this section that is persuasive and objective. Don’t spend more than one page for this section.
Section 3 – Table of contents: Table of contents is the optional section while writing a business proposal. This section is more useful when you are writing a lengthy proposal containing too much of details. Each section should be listed with their consequent page numbers. It is mostly recommended to write a short proposal, and this additional section is not needed all the times.
Section 4 – Body: After presenting your entire situation in the executive summary, now its time to summarize the essentials of your proposal. The body section contains the answers of all the ‘wh’ words which were discussed in the second step. Here, also add the information related to pricing, logistics, scheduling, etc. For adding to the client’s knowledge and to build their trust factor, you can include data charts to explain the key concepts, use testimonials of the previous clients, also you can add a link redirecting to your website.
Best way to begin writing the body paragraph is by including the project details along with the pricing grid or breakdown of the timeline. Pricing grid mentioned here consists of the products, services, and price of the business proposal. It also sometimes contains information related to delivery. All should be in an easily readable format.
The body paragraph can also be concluded with a signed agreement form. This can also take the form of a contract agreement.
- Add your caveats: The body paragraph can also contain disclaimers or caveats. The disclaimer or caveat contains information about the kind of work you can avail to the client. Caveats section is also known as the terms and conditions. It is the most crucial section of your business proposal. Getting mastery in it is also very tricky.
It is a very general fact that the client will add on to their requirements after the beginning of the project too. They can do this either knowingly or unknowingly.
Section 5 – conclusion: Now when you have finished with all the details of your proposal, restate the extraordinary quality of service your company can deliver to the client. The business proposal should be concluded with a call to action. Invite the client or reader to connect with you for additional information. The purpose of the conclusion is to convince or persuade the client or reader to take immediate action.
Section 6 – Appendix: It is the non-compulsory section of the business proposal. It can be used to add additional information that is left in the body paragraph. The additional documents may include customer testimonials, projections, additional graphs, resumes, etc.
Also, you should be attentive about the length and tone of the proposal. Your proposal should be that much in length that it can be readable in one sitting. You should use only professional language to write the proposal.
- You can use appendix: You can add all the additional information such as testimonials, charts etc to the appendix. Remember not to repeat the facts.
- Business proposal language and tone: The language of the business proposal should be easily readable, precise and clear that is written by avoiding technical terms and industry jargon. Even if you the habit to crack jokes with your potential clients, never make your proposal humorous. As you don’t know who is going to read your proposal.
- Editing of a business proposal is important: It is very necessary to proofread the document before sending it to the client. Try to take the second opinion on your business proposal, if possible. Another person can notice the errors which might not have noticed by you. It is very necessary to write a flawless business proposal to get more recommendation or recognition.
- Send out your business proposal and follow up: Most of the times, the business proposal can be sent through an email. You should send it as an attachment rather than writing it on the email body. Writing on the body can increase the risk that it can cut off the message when it gets printed or forwarded.
Advance Tips to make your business proposal presentable:
There are certain tips to be followed to write a good business proposal:
- Opt for a designer or any professional template: If you want that your business proposal looks more professional then you can hire a professional who will hire a professional-looking business proposal template for you. Also, you can use a readymade template.
- Make use of the callouts for relevant points: You can use the callouts to describe how your solution can solve the problem of the customer.
- Make use of the bullet points and line items: You can use the line items and bullet points in your business proposal to make your proposal easy to read. An easy to read business proposal increases the probability to get it to read.
What to do after winning the business proposal contract?
Many people might be thinking that once you gain the contract, your struggle is over. But it is not the truth actually.
For Executing the project successfully, you need to focus on the following things:
- Verifying the status of each and every project.
- Understand and check the responsibility of every team member.
- Assigning the tasks whenever the project jumps into the new stage.
- Preparing reports to measure productivity, forecast income, etc.
Never leave a client in a dilemma. After covering all the elements in your business proposal, don’t forget to invite the client for further discussion. Also, mention the necessary amount of time and price that would be suitable for both the parties.
The business proposals letters should depict your creativity and style. An effective business proposal should have a clear understanding of the client’s problem and should have the best solution to solve the client’s problem meeting all their requirements.
So always keep in mind all the important points before writing a business proposal letter to grab the client’s attention and their recognition.
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