Your chances of landing a client are greatly affected by your business proposal. An excellent proposal will help you win their business.
Flawed proposals can cost you your business, even if you offer the best service. So how do you create a business plan? What format should you use? What should you include?
It all depends on the industry you are in and whether or not your product or service is being offered. However, it’s easy to write a business plan. This guide will answer all your questions.
This guide will tell you what to expect from your business proposal
- What is a business proposal?
- What are the differences between a business proposal & a business plan?
- Format of a business proposal
- How long does it take to create your business proposal?
- How to write a business plan
To get started with your business proposal, you can download the free template here. You’ll be able to create a business proposal that clearly explains your business and wins more clients by the end of this article. Let’s get started.
What is a business proposal?
A business proposal is a document that you send to prospective clients. It outlines the service you offer and explains why you are the right person for the job.
A pitch is a request by an individual or business to do a job, provide a service or be the seller of a product.
What are the various types of business proposals?
Unsolicited or solicited business proposals can be submitted. A solicited proposal is one where the client asks for suggestions. An unsolicited proposal is one that you approach a client to try and get their attention.
Both are acceptable, but solicited proposals are easier to sell. Your prospective client has decided to purchase or use a service and is looking at potential vendors.
Your prospect client may have sent you a request for proposal (or solicited proposal) to get your opinion.
There are differences between a business proposal (or business plan)
A business proposal and a business plan are not the same things. It is the biggest misconception. However, some areas overlap (like your executive summary), but the two are distinct.
However, it is possible to use information from your business plan when writing your business proposal. It is a great place to begin.
They are not interchangeable. A business plan is a coherent strategy for how your business will operate and make money. A business proposal is a pitch to potential clients about your products and services.
Your goal is to sell your potential client on your product/service, not your business, as with a business plan, you’re not looking for funding. You are trying to sell a product or service.
Also, a business proposal is not an estimate. However, you will likely touch on pricing and costs in your business proposal. An appraisal, however, is informal and only a brief look at the total cost.
What goes into a business proposal?
The following three Ps should be addressed in your business proposal:
- Problem Statement: What is your customer’s current issue?
- Proposed solution: How you solve that problem better than any other solutions
- Pricing: What is the cost of this solution compared to other options?
You might start brainstorming if you aren’t sure where to begin. Start with these points, and you will have a rough idea of your business plan.
How to write a business plan
After you have completed that, if you are ready to get more detailed, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to format your business plan.
The title page of your business proposal should contain your name, company name, name, and date.
Table of Contents
A table of contents can be a nice touch, depending on the length of your business proposal. It should be included after the title page and before you get into details. It’s a good idea to include anchor links to each section if you are sending it as a PDF.
Your proposal should be introduced with an executive summary that sells your company and the products or service you offer. It’s not about how you can do the job; it’s about why your company is the best. Here, you can also draw on your business plan’s executive summaries.
Statement of problem, issue, or job
After your executive summary is complete, discuss the problem the client is facing. Don’t think of the “problem” or “issue” as a problem. For example, their main problem might be finding the right person for their project. However, make sure you fully understand their motivations for requesting the product or service. For example, if they are proposing a new website design, be sure to understand their goals.
It is where you can show your client that they understand their problems and are committed to solving them. It is an excellent opportunity to explain the problem they face in your own words so that they can understand you.
Methodology and approach
This section outlines how you intend to solve the problem of your potential client and the steps that you will take to implement your plan.
This section will explain how you plan to meet your client’s requirements. Although the previous areas were a little more detailed than this, you will be able to go into great detail about how you plan to solve their problem.
Avoid going into too many details. Keep the jargon to an absolute minimum. You want your client to follow the plan and understand it but not get lost in details.
Brag! This section of your business proposal is where you can convince potential clients that you are the best person for the job.
You can list any industry-specific training or certifications that you have, past projects of similar nature, and years of experience.
Schedule and benchmarks
Talk to your client about the time frame of your project.
It is essential to ensure that both you and your potential client get along well from the beginning.
You might be tempted not to realize how long it will take to finish the project. Unfortunately, you can’t promise what it won’t deliver.
This section may not apply if you are offering a product. If so, you can omit it. Likewise, you can customize the business proposal format to fit your industry and business.
All legal issues, including cost, payment, and other matters
It is the place to get down and dirty.
The type of service or project you offer will determine how you structure this section. For example, if one-time payment is required, a section called “Fee Summary” might suffice. Otherwise, a “Fee Schedule” list or pricing table may be more appropriate. To ensure that you are providing the client with the correct information, always refer to the RFP.
Include any legal information, such as licensing or permits, if there are any. If necessary, you can add a separate section devoted to the legal aspects of the project.
It is your last sale–do not be afraid to explain to your potential client everything they can gain from choosing you to finish the project.
Your clients will be impressed by your professionalism and the many ways they will benefit from you and your company as their solution.
What length should a business proposal take?
It is a million-dollar question that has no answer when it comes to business proposals. You may have been asked by your teacher in school how long an essay should take. They would reply that it was as long as it took to answer the question.
It applies to your business proposal. It all depends on the industry you are in, the scope of your project, and the client’s requirements regarding detail and elements.
However, clients will appreciate the way you present your proposal to them. Follow the format for a business proposal as a guide, and you will be on your way to creating a winning bid that attracts new clients.
Disclaimer. The opinions and views expressed in this article are the authors Andrew Napolitano.