Many people have skill-sets and ideas needed for the growth of any business but lack first-hand knowledge on how to write a convincing business proposal, sell themselves and pitch their ideas to a prospect. A well detailed business proposal is a top opportunity to win new business and gain partnership.
Nevertheless, not every proposal gives your business an edge over others. There are lots of aspects to consider. Right from the audience to the content of your proposal, to the formatting, each part of a business proposal requires planning and development.
However, though it seems overwhelming, this article contains outlines, styles, and content of a winning proposal. There are also a number of helpful tools and tactics that will improve your bid and sales strategy. Incorporating these concepts will produce stronger, and more appealing business proposals.
WHAT IS A BUSINESS PROPOSAL
A business proposal is a written document that offers a particular product or service to a prospective client or buyer. Business proposal is generally different from business plan. In a business proposal, you are explicitly stating ways how you can grow a different business other than yours with your acquired skill-sets.
Also, a business proposal should identify the problem, offer a solution, and explain in details why you are the best person to solve the problem. It is the ultimate sales document, a version of all the value your solution brings to a client.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BUSINESS PROPOSAL AND A BUSINESS PLAN
Often times, the terms “business proposal” and “business plan” are used interchangeably, giving one the impression that they are one and the same. But they are not. A business plan is a “formal statement of a set of business goals” and how these would be achieved. These documents sometimes can be included in a proposal. A business plan could be personal. It contains detailed goals and objectives of your company.
While a business proposal is aimed at identifying problems in another’s business, and proposing a solution which you will be paid for. Owning your own business doesn’t limit you from sending business proposals to other firms/companies.
TYPES OF BUSINESS PROPOSALS
There are generally two kinds of proposals:
- Solicited proposals.
- Unsolicited proposals.
This type of proposal is usually requested by clients, or could be submitted in response to an advertisement published by the client/customer.
This is given out or submitted to potential clients even though it was not requested for. Going out of your way to pitch a business idea when it’s not requested for is a risk but most times yield positive results if your presentation is convincing enough. This kind of proposal requires you to deliberately prove to your client why he/she should consider you.
However, solicited proposals tend to have a higher win rate because they’re more specific to the person receiving the proposal. Writing a proposal is such a time-consuming process, you’ll want to stick to solicited proposals, but don’t limit yourself regardless.
BUSINESS PROPOSAL TEMPLATES
Proposals are time intensive, it’s advisable to avoid starting from scratch. You can start with one of the following:
- Get a template that matches what you need online.
- For additional time savings, and faster turnaround time on your proposals, proposal software like Bidsketch is a good start.
- Other more focused tools like electronic signature software, Docsketch, helps close deals faster.
ELEMENTS OF A CONVINCING BUSINESS PROPOSAL
A proposal requires you start with the client in mind.
- Title page
This contains a title and basic information about your company; name, contact information, logo, client’s name, and date.
- Cover letter
This is like an invite for the client to checkout your proposal. It entails an introduction about who you are, brief background information about your company, a short overview of what makes your company standout amongst other competitors.
You must make this professionally friendly and encourage your client to reach out with questions. End the letter with a “Thank you”, and a signature.
- Table of contents
Except your proposal is brief, it is advisable to include a table of contents. It helps your potential client know what to expect in your proposal. It is like an oversight of what your proposal contains.
Your proposal should contain:
Goals and Objectives
Fee schedule and summary
Estimated project schedule
Terms and Conditions
- Executive summary
This covers the goals and objectives of your company. Why the client needs you, and what you can offer.
This section outlines the solution that you are pitching.
Also, it is necessary that you describe the anticipated result of the project and overall time frame in this section. Discuss the client’s needs and convince them that you are the best for the job. Address the business problem, solution and then pricing.
It is important that you end your proposal the same way you begin with a cover letter.
In this section, you get to give the client a brief but concise information about your company. Let your client get to know the organization he/she will be working with. Include information about your awards, past successes, social media platforms, former clients testimonials and pictures of your company and workers.
This is where you client agrees to your terms and conditions and goes off to endorse business with you. In this section, you should provide a space for signatures and compliance to agreement.
Read also: Cover Letter Outline, Format, and Examples
THREE STEPS IN WRITING A CONVINCING BUSINESS PROPOSAL
To make a name for yourself in the business world, you must learn to tap into little secrets and follow principles. That’s the magic.
Every project is different but the secret to writing a convincing proposal is the same. Once you understand these secrets, you can save time and get more clients.
These secrets include:
The first secret to gaining clients is to convince your prospects that you know and understand their needs better than your competitors. However, you must explain to your prospective client what these needs are in simple sentences. Furthermore, you need to make the client believe that you can offer solutions to their problems by first stating their problems.
After evaluating your prospective client’s problems, it is only wise that you spare no details with respect to the solution you will provide, how you plan to deliver this solution, an estimated time frame of when your solution will be evident and other relevant details. You must also, gain your client’s trust.
This is where you outline your pricing, payment schedule and method, payment terms as well as legal backings to the deal. Also, you should provide your buyer good pricing options, something like a pricing comparison table that can aid him/her make a choice. In addition,make sure to break your pricing stages so your client sees clearly what he/she is paying for.
In summary, writing a convincing business proposal that sells is all about you understanding your buyer, their problems and positioning yourself as someone who can offer solutions. Take action today and start creating your own business proposals for more deals and growth in your business.