You recently made some headway in talking to a potential business lead. They are interested in knowing more about your business. Now you have to come up with a proposal and you have no idea about how to create one. You are confused and you really need some help. Granted, the experts you are speaking to are charging you a lot of money and you have no cash to spare. What do you do? This post will show you how to create a business proposal and there’s a free business proposal template for you to download at the bottom.
What The Heck Is A Business Proposal?
A business proposal is a document a business sends to a potential client to get the potential client to patronize them. The business proposal can be asked for (solicited). This means that the client requests a proposal from the business. It can also be unsolicited meaning the business can also submit to a potential customer without being asked to. This article will guide you with a business proposal template that will help you draft a detailed and comprehensive business proposal.
When you send a business proposal, you should know that your recipient receives many other proposals from people like you. In other to increase your chances of landing the opportunity, you must write your business proposal in a way that will:
- Differentiate you from the competition
- Clearly promote your value proposition and how the recipient will benefit from it.
When Asked To Send A Business Proposal
For a solicited business proposal, the client/customer will send you either a Request For Information (RFI), Request For Quotation (RFQ) or Request For Proposal (RFP).
When the client wants to know the capability of your business, they send an RFI. The purpose is to compare your offer with other offers and decide which is best to hire. So when responding to this, make sure to give a detailed account of your competencies, your experience and previously completed projects and testimonials from customers.
The client asks for the RFQ when the they know what they want but need the requirements for completing the project and the entire cost. They consist primarily of cost data, delivery details, quality assurance requirements and a sample contract.
Request For Proposal is a document that announces the project and asks for qualified contractors to bid for it. The clients usually asks for this when they have a need that is too complicated for generally available products. When responding, you should write a detailed description of what your business does, the products or service you will offer and delivery dates.
These are four steps to write a good business proposal.
1. Get All The Information You Can
Once you are asked to send a proposal, there is a temptation to quickly submit whatever document you have created, especially since your competition will also be bidding for the job. Taking the time to learn everything you can about the project and the client will give you an edge when you eventually submit your proposal.
This is because with sufficient knowledge, you can draft a very accurate and effective document as the information will inform the points to add in the proposal.
One of the ways to increase your chances of getting the deal is to set up a meeting with the client. Just to make sure you are both on the same page before you create the proposal. Ask them questions to know their major pain points.
Some of the key questions to ask yourself and find out from them are:
- Who are the buyers? You need to know all the people involved in the process
- What Are Your Pain Points? Ask your clients about their previous experiences with other businesses. Find out what it is they need the most that other businesses can’t seem to provide.
- What is the budget? You need to know what their budget is for the project; what they are willing to spend so you do not waste time on a project that may have no profit.
- Is there a deadline? Ask for their deadline to know how you will arrange the timeline of your execution
- What will it cost you? Calculate the cost of materials and labor so you don’t overspend.
2. Define Project Objectives and Scope
The first things you want to do before outlining the scope of your project is to define the objective of your business proposal. It is vital to properly articulate the objectives of the proposal so you always stay on track with the purpose of the proposal.
Answer the following questions to draft a proposal objective.
- What is the purpose of the proposal?
- How do you solve the needs or pain points of your prospect or customer?
- What problems are you solving with your products and services?
- How does your solution solve your customer’s or prospect’s problems?
The scope of the project gives a short summary of everything you will deliver. It should include features, functions, tasks, costs and schedules. This step will clearly show the scope of your work (the “who, what, where, when, how, and why”) according to your proposal and financial costs.
You can outline the project’s scope this way:
- Who: This will show who will be doing the work, who is overseeing the work, and who will be dealing with the customer if there is a problem.
- What: This will outline the solutions that will be delivered, the requirements to get it done, what the customer can expect, and what it will cost them.
- Where: This will show where the work will be done, and where it will be delivered.
- When: It shows when you will begin, when the key milestones will be scheduled, when the project will be completed, and when the payment will be due.
- How: How the work will be done will be outlined here. Also, how it will be deployed, how it will be managed and finally, how you intend to achieve quality assurance and customer satisfaction.
- Why: This will answer why you have chosen the strategies and alternatives you have selected, and why you are the best option for the customer.
3. Calculate Labor And Cost
From the beginning, it is better to determine how much the project will cost and the proper amount to charge the client. A lot of businesses use the basic formula to calculate the labor costs:
4. Start Drafting The Business Proposal
Having taken the steps above, now you can begin drafting a detailed and persuasive business proposal. These proposals usually follow a simple formula. It begins with an introduction that summarizes your business and the project. This is followed by a body that shows all the details (including a pricing table, photos, and charts), and a conclusion that tells the customer how to proceed.
The six sections you should address in your business proposal include
(a) Introduction: Start by introducing your company and mission in a way that relates to your potential client’s needs. Highlight what distinguishes your company, your accomplishments, your credentials, and any awards. Aim to keep this section to one page.
(b) Executive Summary: This is where you should present the case for why you are the right company for the job, and give the reader the key message of the proposal. Focus on the conclusions you want the reader to reach after reading it.
(c) Table of Contents (optional): A table of contents can be useful for longer proposals with many details. List each section with their corresponding page number. In general, we recommend keeping your proposal as short as possible—most proposals shouldn’t need this extra section.
(d) Body: This is where you can answer the “who, what, where, when, how, and why” questions. Include information on scheduling, logistics, and pricing. You can use data charts to illustrate essential concepts, and can also include testimonials from past clients and a link to your website.
(e) Conclusion: End with a call to action that encourages the reader to contact you or visit your website for more information. Ideally, you want your client to take immediate action on something, even if it is something small.
(f) Appendix: This optional section can include information that might not fit well in the body of your proposal. For example, you can include staff resumes or additional graphs, projections, and customer testimonials.
free business proposal template For You
Click here to download our free business proposal template. It is simple and easy to use.
Remember to always proofread your proposal before sending it to your prospective client. Whenever you can, send it to other people to critique and edit. Make sure you use clear, concise, and simple language that avoids industry jargon and technical terms
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My name is Emmanuel Ejiga. Content lead of OG Capital
I am a writer. Technical writer, song writer, and sometimes fictional writer.