A business proposal is a written formal document that is created by a seller or a company to a potential client for the purpose of securing a business deal or winning a project. The length of a business proposal depends on lots of things. Based on different criteria a business proposal could be 30 to 50 pages but remember there is no standard length and it could be more or less depending on the personal perspective.
Many people misunderstood a business proposal with a business plan. The main aim of a business proposal is to sell the product or service of an individual or a company. A business plan will assist you to grow the business while a business proposal will help you seek new customers.
Jump To A Section
- 1 Types Of Business Proposals
- 1.1 Formally Solicited Business Proposals
- 1.2 Informally Solicited Business Proposals
- 1.3 Unsolicited Business Proposals
- 1.4 The Importance Of A Business Proposal
- 1.5 Elements Of A Business Proposal
- 1.6 Title Page
- 1.7 Table Of Contents
- 1.8 Executive Summary
- 1.9 The Problem Statement
- 1.10 Propose A Solution
- 1.11 Share Your Qualifications
- 1.12 The Timeline
- 1.13 Pricing Options
- 1.14 Terms And Conditions
- 1.15 The Acceptance Section
Types Of Business Proposals
There are three types of business proposals available. They are:
1. Formally Solicited Business Proposals
2. Informally Solicited Business Proposals
3. Unsolicited Business Proposals
Formally Solicited Business Proposals
This type of proposal is made when a seller or a company aims to respond to an official request for a proposal. When companies face problems they invite other businesses to submit a proposal to see how the businesses will solve the problem. So, this type of business proposal contains more information that will fulfill the requirements.
Informally Solicited Business Proposals
This type of business proposal is used when there isn’t an official request from any company. Usually, a prospective buyer might be interested in your product or service and ask for a proposal to evaluate or compare with other companies. You have to research a lot to create an informally solicited business proposal because they are not based on official requests which often contain more information.
Unsolicited Business Proposals
This type of business proposal is like a cold email or a marketing brochure because usually a seller approaches a potential customer with an unsolicited business proposal. Most of the time an unsolicited business proposal is generic and it lacks any understanding of the buyer or their requirements.
The Importance Of A Business Proposal
1. A business proposal is the first step to outline your products or services to potential customers
2. It makes a formal proposal for the delivery of goods or services to the clients
3. A business proposal indicates the specific terms of the transactions
4. A proper business proposal can be directed at the initiate of the seller or exporter
5. A business proposal contains information about the quality and quantity of products or services
6. It contains information like price, deliveries, payment terms, and other terms
7. This type of proposal is accurate in terms of proposed commercial transactions
8. It gives an overview of the structure and style of the business
9. A proper business plan can also be used as an advertising plan
10. A business plan can answer these questions:
11. What are the real pain points of business?
a) What problems is your business really having?
b) How can we alleviate all of the present problems?
c) What are the solutions to solve any business problems?
Elements Of A Business Proposal
Before you start writing a business proposal you must have a clear concept of the elements of a business proposal. Moreover, make sure you read the RFP and follow the instructions to read the business proposal. Usually, a business proposal must have the below elements:
1. Start the proposal with a title page
2. Include a table of contents
3. Include an executive summary
4. State the problem or need
5. Propose a solution
6. Share your qualifications
7. Further, demonstrate the timeline of your proposed solution
8. Include pricing options
9. Explain your terms and conditions
10. Include a space for signatures to document the agreement
For a business proposal, the title page is very important. The page contains information about the business, what kind of products or services you are offering, the company’s name, the date you submitted the proposal, and the name of the client or individual you’re submitting the proposal to. A good page title must have:
1. Your name along with your company’s name
2. The name of the prospect or their business
3. The date you’re submitting the proposal
Table Of Contents
A table of contents will allow the potential customer to know exactly what will be covered in the business proposal. You have to make sure a business proposal is scannable and a table of contents will help the cause. It will make the business proposal easier to navigate by adding hyperlinks to the table of contents. So the clients can easily jump to specific sections without having to scroll through the whole proposal.
This element of the business proposal contains reasons why you’re sending the proposal and why your solution is the best for the prospective client. It explains the importance of your company’s products or services and how they can solve the problem of the client. So the main goal of the Executive Summary is to –
1. Introduce your company to your buyer
2. Provide an overview of your company goals
3. Showcase your company’s milestones
4. Overview of your company’s overall vision and future plans
The Problem Statement
This part of a business proposal provides a summary of the issue impacting the business of the potential client. Here your main goal is to outline the problem statement as clearly as possible to the clients regardless of the client already knowing the problems. This way you will have the opportunity to show the client that you have a clear understanding of their needs and the problem they need help solving. It will create urgency for your potential client to find a solution to the problem as soon as possible.
Propose A Solution
This section showcases how you can alleviate your prospective buyer’s problem and it must include a strategy for solving the problem. Try to give a solution that is customized according to the client’s requirements so that they will understand you’ve created this proposal specifically for them. This section must include information related to the solution you will provide, how you plan to deliver the solution, an estimated timeline of when you can implement the solution, and other relevant details.
This part of a business proposal is also very important because it will tell the potential client whether you are right for the job and why should they trust you. This section will tell the client why you are the best option for them. You should include information like case studies of clients, client success stories, your completed projects, and mention any relevant awards if you have won to boost your authority.
This section, further, demonstrates the timeline of your proposed solution. It will show how prepared you are for this job/problem and it will help the clients decide whether they should hire you or not. The timeline must include information regarding how and when you provide all your deliverables. You can share the information using a flow chart or a road map. If you want to pitch a long-term project then include a detailed timeline in your business proposal.
This part of a business proposal is a bit tricky because here you outline everything from your pricing, payment schedule, and payment terms. Make sure you don’t underprice or over-price your product or service. The best practice for this section is to include a few pricing options according to the budgets of the potential client. You can include a pricing comparison table or an optional fee table in your business proposal. This will give the client some options to work with and decide what type of product or service they can get from their budget. You can also break up your pricing stage by stage so that the client can easily understand what they are paying for.
Terms And Conditions
This part of the business proposal contains information regarding the terms and conditions for the product or service you are providing. In fact, it is the summary of what you and the client will be agreeing to if they accept your proposal. You must consult with your legal team before sending the proposal to the client to avoid any future legal problems.
The Acceptance Section
This is the last part of a business proposal. This section must include a signature box for the client and the seller to sign when they agree with the proposal and finalize a deal. Here you and the client can sign the proposal and both of you can make things official.
Magalie D. is a Diploma holder in Public Administration & Management from McGill University of Canada. She shares management tips here in MGTBlog when she has nothing to do and gets some free time after working in a multinational company at Toronto.