Writing an effective business proposal is a crucial step in securing new clients and winning business deals. A business proposal is a formal document that outlines a company's product or service offering, the value proposition, the proposed solution to a specific business problem, and the expected outcomes of the project. It’s typically presented to a potential client or customer with the aim of gaining their business.
Unsolicited business proposals are when you pitch your company to clients without them first asking to learn about it, whereas solicited proposals are created if a potential company has expressed interest and would like to learn more.
Throughout this article, we keep coming back to the importance of one thing: being specific. A business proposal should be customized to each intended audience and shouldn't read like a generic description.
Here are some tips to help you write a great business proposal:
1. Understand your audience
Before writing a proposal, it’s important to understand your audience. Who are they? What are their needs? What problems are they facing? By understanding your audience, you can tailor your business proposal to meet their specific needs and address their pain points. If you don’t understand the needs of the prospective client, your business proposal will fail to resonate and will likely go ignored.
2. Start with a strong executive summary
Your executive summary is your chance to make a strong first impression. It should provide a brief overview of your proposal, highlighting the most important points. This section should be concise and compelling, showcasing your value proposition and demonstrating why your proposal is worth reading.
With unsolicited business proposals, it’s vital that you have a clear and persuasive message to encourage readers to continue reading the proposal.
3. Outline the problem
After your executive summary, you should outline the problem you are trying to solve. This section should be detailed and specific, highlighting the pain points your audience is facing. By highlighting the problem, you make your proposal more relevant and show your audience that you understand their needs.
This is why point 1 is so important - without clearly understanding the target audience of the business proposal, you’ll be unable to outline a problem important enough to them. Specificity is key here. Look at the issues your client is facing and think of a compelling way your company can help solve them.
4. Present your solution
Once you have outlined the problem, it’s time to present your solution. This section should be the meat of your proposal, showcasing your expertise and providing a detailed plan of action. Your solution should be tailored to meet the specific needs of your audience, and it should demonstrate why your proposal is the best option.
Here, you can go into detail about the method you’ll use and the timeframe they can expect.
5. Provide evidence
Throughout your business proposal, you should provide evidence to support your claims. This could include case studies, testimonials, data, or any other evidence that backs up your solution. By providing evidence, you demonstrate your credibility and make it easier for your audience to take action. By the end of this section, your potential client should be confident that you can meet their needs.
6. Include a clear call to action
Finally, you should include a clear call to action. This section should be concise and compelling, motivating your audience to take action. Whether you are asking for a meeting, a contract, or funding, your call to action should be clear and specific.
What else to include in a business proposal
You might choose to include a Table of Contents at the beginning to provide an outline for the document before people get started. Also, it’s good practice to include a pricing page with a few pricing options depending on your client’s budget.
Writing a great business proposal requires a clear understanding of your audience, their needs, and specific pain points. It’s important to present a compelling and customized solution that showcases your expertise and credibility. Providing evidence to support your claims and a clear call to action can make a huge difference in winning new clients and sealing business deals. By following the tips outlined in this article, you’ll be on your way to writing a winning business proposal that stands out from the crowd.