A business proposal is what spells the difference between success and failure. How you write your proposal is what will increase your chance of snagging a new client. 

 

The quality of your initial proposal could make a difference between winning and losing a contract. While a few contracts are won through a proposal alone, many are lost by it.

A business proposal is what introduces your approach to business, how you plan to solve the client’s problems, and what gives you a competitive edge from other people doing similar business. Your business proposal should be well thought through and professionally written.

It’s important to note that a business proposal is different from a business plan. A business plan is written when you’re trying to sell your idea about a business to prospective investors. It could also be used when you’re sourcing for funds.

A business proposal is directly from an established company. It outlines the services you are offering and explains why you’re the best fit for the job.

Before we get in o the format of a business proposal, some tips will help you learn how to write a business proposal.


Tips to Use When Writing a Business Proposal


businesswoman using laptop while drinking coffee

Image via Freepik

Writing a business proposal will be infinitely easier if you incorporate the following tips.

Know the Requirements

laptops pen and paper

Image via Pexels

You need to have a clear understanding of the client’s requirements to write a winning proposal.  When going through the RFP, get to know the company’s goals, the time frame required to complete the work, the budget, and how your role will help them achieve their goals.


Researching and writing a proposal is an extensive process. Take the time to determine if this is a right for you. Do not be in a rush to submit a proposal to anyone who asks for one.  Look for opportunities that provide you with better networking possibilities and those that offer continuing relationships.

Understand the Client’s Problem

understanding client problem

Image via Pexels

You can’t propose a methodology that is going to solve a problem if you don’t understand what the client’s problem is. While most clients will be quick to point out that this is what they’re looking for, in some time, you’ll realize that that was not the actual problem.


One of the best ways to understand your client is by talking to the person directly. Get to find out what their major concerns are, their management philosophy, and how they operate. Also, find out why previous solutions didn’t work.


Find out what criteria they’ll be using to evaluate your proposal and what they like and dislike when dealing with consultants.  The research process will save you from writing a proposal that is unacceptable or one with solutions that haven’t worked in the past.

Come up with a Methodology

desktop and working space

Image by rawpixel.com via  Freepik

After you’ve identified what the client’s goals are, it’s time to develop an approach to help them reach their goals.  This is the point where you brainstorm on the kinds of things need and what order they should be in.


Your methodology should depend on what the client’s focus lies. It could be to cut costs or to improve more on customer care.  There’s a no one size fits all kind of methodology. You need to custom-design an approach that is unique to the organization you’re working with.


When creating your methodology, analyze the resources required, the benefits, and if it’s practical.

Assess Your Solution

assessing solutions

Rawpixel image from Pixabay 

It’s imperative to evaluate your solution based on the criteria listed in the RFP.  Find out if your proposal is being assessed on completion time, price, and practicality. This will help you avoid coming up with a proposal that is unacceptable to your client.


Once you’re done with the above, it’s time to write the proposal. In some cases, the RFP will specify the format of your proposal.


How to Format Your Business Proposal


If the FRP doesn’t have a specified format, here is an outline that you can use.

Title Page

The title page contains your company’s name, your logo, and contact information. It should also have your client’s name, the date submitted, and the title.  This standard layout makes your proposal look organized and well laid out.


An example would look like this:


Skyridge Business Solutions

June 15, 2018

Prepared For:

Tom Ford

Tom’s and Associated

13th Main Street

Los Angeles, CA 40576

Prepared by:

Skyridge Business Solutions

989.465.0234

Ian@skyridgebusinessolutios.com


Table of Contents

Your proposal should have a table of contents in an outline format.  A TOC informs the reader on what to expect as they peruse the document.  If sending it electronically, it’s advisable to create a clickable TOC. This makes it easy for the client to go through specific sections without the need to go through several pages.

Executive Summary

An executive summary explains what services or products you provide. It’s also an excellent way to sell your business.  Your executive summary will depend on the industry the client is in and the duties you’re carrying out for the client. The tone used should also depend on your target audience.

The Current Problem at Hand

tired businesman suffering from headache

Image by yanalya via Freepik

At this point, you need to explain the problem that motivated the company to issue a request for a proposal.  This section will have information from the outlined background in the RFP. It could also include information from the research you’ve previously performed.


The statement of problem is where you show the client that you fully understand their needs and you‘re aware of the problem they are trying to resolve. Don’t just copy and paste this section, use your own words to restate the issue they’re facing.

Methodology and the Approach

hands writing down business plan

Image by photoroyalty via Freepik

This section lists the approach that you’ll use to tackle a client’s problem. It also highlights the steps you will take to ensure that the client’s problem is solved.


The approach and methodology are more detailed than other sections of a business proposal. However, be sure to use minimal jargon and avoid giving too much unnecessary detail.


Your document appears more visually appealing when you pair deliverables with their expected dates.

Benchmarks and Schedule

ceo giving presentation to corporate team

Image by yanalya via Freepik

Your client needs to have an idea of how long the proposed project will take. It’s critical for you to set realistic expectations. This will ensure the relationship stays positive. Avoid underestimations as you may promise what you’re unable to deliver.  You can omit this section of the proposal if you’re offering a product.

Pricing

modern pricing table

Image by coolvector via Freepik

The pricing section largely depends on the specific service or product you’re offering.  A fee summary is applicable if a one-time payment is required. However, if it’s a running project, a fee schedule would be a better option.


This section should explain the time and cost requirements for the steps listed in the methodology. Also, it should state on when the payment will be expected.


While you may want to avoid overestimating the cost, be careful as this may scare your potential client. Also, avoid underestimation as you may set your client up for unforeseen pricing issues in future. A pricing table makes work easier as it lets clients know the cost of the services offered and uncheck the services they think may not be applicable.

Qualifications

man holding diploma

Image by pressfoto via Freepik

You’re allowed to brag a little in the qualifications section of a business proposal.  This is the part where you convince a potential client that you’re the best person for the job.  You’re allowed to mention your years of experience, prior successful projects, relevant industry-specific training, or any certifications you have related to the job.

Benefits

businessmen brainstorming graph chart report data

Image by rawpixel.com via Freepik

The benefits section is where your potential client gets to know what they gain by choosing you to work on the project.


These are some of the tips and steps on how to write a business proposal.  A successful proposal responds to all aspects of an RFP. It also shows that you’ve done your homework and that you’re familiar with the client’s aspirations and present needs.

Featured Image via Freepik