Business proposals are an integral part of forming new partnerships and gaining new projects for your company. Creating one can seem like a daunting and long and tedious process which requires a large amount of information. This Business Kitz blog will take you through all the basic requirements of a business proposal, and will be a structural guide on how you can create your own.
What is a business proposal?
A business proposal serves as a document that can be sent to prospective clients in the hopes of pitching your company to provide a product or service, or to complete a specific project. It allows you to highlight who you and your company are, address what they need, what it is you are proposing, and why you are the best fit for them.
Types of business proposals
There are two different categories that your business proposal can fall under:
Solicited proposal: This is when a proposal is specifically requested by a company. They will outline what it is they are looking for and your proposal will act as a response to that. Many companies issue an “RFP” (Request For Proposal) document that outlines exactly what they’re looking for.
Unsolicited proposal: This is when a client is approached without any explicit request in the hopes of gaining their business. This can come from you identifying a company that could benefit from your services or an issue that you can fix.
The Three P’s
Regardless of what type of proposal you’re preparing, it needs to address three major points:
- Problem Statement: the issue being faced
- Proposed Solution: how you plan to rectify it
- Pricing: how much your proposed solution will cost
Structuring a business proposal
An important note to remember that whilst this is a standard format to follow and a great starting point for you to begin writing your proposal, it is not set in stone. Every proposal is different and can be adjusted and curated to better suit you, your business, and your industry
We all know the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”, however, we also know that a good title and proposal cover can be the reason behind someone choosing to read your proposal over someone else’s. The title page needs to include your name, your company’s name, the name of the person/company you’re submitting your proposal to, and the date it’s submitted. Try to incorporate your brand guidelines in this page as well.
2. Table of Contents
A table of contents is a useful addition to your proposal as it is an easy access guide to the entire document. Most of the time the people reviewing proposals don’t have much time on their hands, so a table of content this makes it easier for them to find the information they deem most important.
3. Executive Summary
This is one of the most important components of the business proposal. It acts as a summary of the entire document that should be no more than a page long. A good executive summary gives a clear and brief understanding of the proposal without having to read the entire thing, while also giving readers a reason to want to know more.
This section should also introduce readers to:
- Your company
- Your values and goals
- What you’re trying to achieve
4. Problem Statement
Now you’re at the main reason why you’re writing your proposal in the first place: to address an issue. Ensure you keep this section concise and get right to the point. You want the issue to be clear and understood whilst highlighting what aspects of it needs to be addressed in order to create a sense of urgency for the reader and a direct path to the solution: you.
5. Proposed Solution
This section is the reason why you’re submitting the proposal: to show readers how you can rectify their issues and help them to achieve a resolution. Whilst other sections have been kept concise and to the point, this is where the detail comes in. Clearly explain how you would resolve each issue previously highlighted with the steps and timeline you would follow to implement these solutions, along with anything else you deem relevant.
As much as a readers may like your proposal, they still might not know enough about what you can offer them and need some convincing. This is the moment to pitch yourself and show how you and ONLY you are the most qualified person for the job. You can do this by listing your qualifications, education, experience, previous successes, and any other relevant information.
This section requires you to be clear and honest about the implementation timeline of your proposal, whilst further highlighting your preparation and understanding of the task at hand. This ensures you and your prospective client both understand what the next step is and helps to avoid setting unrealistic expectations that you won’t be able to achieve.
This is where all the finances required for your proposal (costs, fees, payment schedule and terms etc.) are clearly outlined. You can also include the resources you need, the reason why, and the cost allocation for each of them so that they know exactly what the money is going towards.
The structuring of this section depends on what it is you’re offering them, whether it’s a one-time payment or multiple transactions. One of the easiest ways to structure this section is through a pricing table. Any legal obstacles (e.g., permits) should also be included within this cost or in its own section depending on how many payments there will be.
This is the final part of your proposal, meaning it’s the last chance to sell your solution. Provide a summary of everything discussed throughout your plan, but make sure the most important aspects and benefits are highlighted to leave the reader with a strong belief in your solution.
10. Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions serve as a final outline and clarification of what is on offer and will dictate the legal terms of the agreement, such as confidentiality and policies.
This is simply a space for signatures for the proposal to become official.
The final two sections are not required in the proposal if you are wishing for it to lead to further consideration and negotiations, they only need to be included if you wish for your proposal to be used as a contract.
Business Kitz offers a fully customisable business proposal template that will enable you to create a fully-comprehensive business proposal with professional guidance to assist you in landing your new long-term client.
There is a lot that goes into a business proposal, but when writing one always remember:
Know your audience
This is one of the most important things to keep prioritise when writing your proposal. Your reader wants to be sure that whoever the proposal they select is going to be the best fit for their company and project, so ensure you understand their specific company or RFP as best you can before beginning your proposal.
Branding is everything
Incorporate your brand guidelines where possible (e.g., colour scheme, logo) to embed your brand identity with the reader and help it stand out.
Simplicity is key
You don’t want to overwhelm the person reading it by including all possible technicalities and details. The last thing you want is for them to lose interest before they even get to your proposed solution.
Not all set in stone
Remember that every company, industry, and RFP is different. They all have different wants, needs and requirements so it is important to ensure you address those when it comes to structure, design and the length of your proposal.
Be persuasive. Avoid just explaining and focus on the how. If you don’t express your belief in your project and the benefits it will bring, then you no longer become an option for them.
Preparing a business proposal that suits you and your project’s needs can be a difficult process. Check out Business Kitz subscription service today to access our full range of legal, commercial and employment documents to build your business with a solid foundation to ensure compliance. If you are unsure about how to best protect yourself and your future business, our sister company, Legal Kitz can assist you. To arrange a FREE consultation with one of their highly experienced solicitors, click here today, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 988 954.