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How to Draft a Great Business Proposal

Business owners and entrepreneurs gather around. How you present your thoughts and ideas in business influences the impression your enterprise leaves on the minds of prospective partners and sponsors. The official document that showcases your organization’s products and services to prospects and communicates your desire to do business with them, is called a proposal.

Why are Business Proposals Important?

A business proposal is a perfect way to convince your prospective client that your company is reliable and that your products or services are the best fit for their needs.

There are two types of business proposals; Solicited and Unsolicited.

Solicited Business proposals are drafted in response to a prospective client’s request. It is tailored to how the organization’s products or services can meet that client’s specific needs.

While, Unsolicited business proposals are sent without request to potential clients in a bid to convince them to do business with you, and convert them into paying customers.

What is the difference between a Business Proposal and a Business Plan?

While a business proposal focuses on turning prospective clients into paying customers, a business plan focuses on attracting investors. It is tailored to invite sponsorships and seek collaboration deals.

A business proposal sells the organization’s products or services, framing them as the best offer to suit the prospect’s needs. A business plan, however, sells the organization itself, its long and short-term goals, visions, objectives, and action plan. It emphasizes how partnering with the enterprise will be beneficial to the growth of the company, and the investor.

How to Draft a Compelling Proposal

1. Start your proposal with a title page.

Your title page should have an aesthetically pleasing design. Use bold but not too vibrant colors and attractive but simple font; it shouldn’t have too many sweeps and flourishes. The title page should contain a brief introduction of yourself and your organization. This is where you input the “Who We Are and What We Stand For” information. Don’t forget to include the date of the presentation and the name of the prospect.

2. Add a table of contents for easy navigation.

The goal is to make the proposal easily accessible. Add a table of contents for easy navigation. If the proposal will be presented as a soft copy, or a power-point document, write the table of contents in a format that takes the prospect to a page with just a click on the title. Where the proposal is to be presented as a hard copy, make sure to number the pages and include page numbers in the table of contents.

3. State the purpose of the proposal.

This section of your proposal should be able to answer the question: “why should we patronize your brand?” When writing this section, you want to be sure to turn features of your products or services, into benefits.

4. Cite the specific need of the prospect to which your organization can proffer a solution.

Quite frankly, your prospects need your products or services, as much as you need their patronage. Find a way to prove that in this section of the proposal. This is why it is important to do a thorough background check on any company before sending a proposal across, whether it is solicited or not.

5. Present your USP as the solution to the client’s problem.

Present your unique selling point as the proposed solution to the problem you highlighted above, on this page. Share details of the action plan if you are offering a service, or guidelines on how to use it for optimal effect if you are offering a product. For a product, you should also share details on maintenance, viability, and lifespan.

6. Highlight the necessary qualifications that boost your offer.

This is where you showcase your bragging rights. Received any relevant awards? Share that here. Certifications and brilliant recommendations from past clients should also be included. This section aims to answer the question “Why should we trust you to deliver?” You want to convince the prospect that you are reliable, and would give excellent results.

7. State your rates.

Now that the client is convinced that you are the best choice for their company, share how much the level of value you are offering would cost them. You don’t want to set a price that is too over-the-top, yet you don’t want to undervalue yourself. Conduct a market survey before drafting this proposal to be informed of the right pricing. It is advisable to offer several packages prepared for different budgets, so the company can choose the price range which they can afford.

8. Summarize

Give a summary of all you have said in the entire proposal and include your contact information, in case they would like to make further inquiries.

9. Spell out your terms and conditions.

Consult with your lawyer for guidance on the best terms of the agreement to include on this page. This is also where you outline the schedule for payment, the standard timeline for project execution, and the cost of extra hours.

10. Insert a column for relevant signatures.
11. Attach a proposal letter.

A proposal letter is a brief introduction to what is contained in your proposal. A well-crafted proposal letter will convince your prospect to skim through the main proposal. It should give your prospect an idea of what is in your proposal, but not go into much detail.

How to Write a Proposal Letter

  1. Introduce yourself and your organization briefly.
  2. State your purpose for reaching out to that particular prospect.
  3. Share your organization’s goals and objectives.
  4. Outline briefly the skill sets and qualifications that make you the best option.
  5. Highlight the different packages you offer and how they can be beneficial to the prospect.
  6. Finish up with a strong call to action and request feedback.
  7. Close with a positive remark and provide your contact information.

As a business owner, you should always be open to partnerships and collaborations, these are growth opportunities. Reach out to potential customers today with a well-crafted proposal and watch your business expand. I hope you find this helpful.

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