In today’s cut-throat business world, entrepreneurs find themselves spending hours upon hours submitting business proposals to potential clients, and not get any results. On the other hand, there are those that are like snipers, able to get the contract after just submitting one business proposal.
Having a good business proposal is essential if you want to be successful in whatever business you are doing. Let’s define a Business Proposal: in a nutshell, I will say is an offer that outlines what you can do for you can do for your prospect and why you can do it better than anyone else.
THE 3 BASIC SECTIONS OF A BUSINESS PROPOSAL
Your business proposal needs to be written in a way that makes it worthy of your client’s attention. To do so, the plan should indicate how it will solve your client’s most vexing problems. You need to clearly understand the issues your clients are facing and why they should do business with you.
There are three basic sections you should always address when writing a business proposal:
1) Your client’s need
The most common mistake business proposal writers make is failing to understand the client’s business, industry or challenges in the industry. Given this, you should include the following questions in the first section of your business proposal:
- What is the greatest challenge this industry is facing?
- What is the current challenge this business is facing?
By this point, you should have also gathered answers from your client to the following key questions:
- When did they first determine this business problem existed?
- What have they done in the past to address this issue, and what was the outcome?
- What areas of their company are affected, and are they able to quantify the need?
- What is the best outcome they wish to achieve with this project?
- When do they want this project completed?
- Do they have a set budget for this project?
2) Your solution
Carefully and clearly, your business proposal must address:
- Your depth of understanding of the need. Relevant industry research and benchmarks may be included. Do you have a case study or comparable experience with similar companies? If you have, state the results.
- How you will go about addressing the need. Be detailed. Include the steps in the process and the value of each step.
- The potential results you will be able to deliver and their impact on the needs outlined earlier.
- Why you can do the best job, which may include the benefits of doing business with you.
To wrap up your business proposal, you’ll need to address the administrative aspects of your proposal, including:
- Preliminary timeline and milestone
- Terms and conditions
HOW DO YOU START?
- The Basics of a Business Proposal
Before you even go and start writing that business proposal, you must first understand what it is and learn the basics.
A business proposal is a written document that offers a particular product or service to a potential buyer or client.
There are generally two kinds of business proposals:
- solicited business proposals (which are submitted in response to an advertisement published by the buyer or client)
- unsolicited proposals (submitted or given out to potential buyers or clients even though they are not requesting for one).
- Business Proposal & Business Plan
Quite often, the terms “business proposal” and “business plan” are used interchangeably, giving you the impression that they are one and the same. But they are not. A business proposal is created to offer a product or service to a buyer or client. On the other hand, a business plan is a “formal statement of a set of business goals” and how these would be achieved. The latter is only part of what is included in a business proposal.
- 3 ‘P’s of a Winning Business Proposal
The secret behind writing a winning business proposal and one that will just be set aside is the presence of the 3 ‘P’s: Problem Statement, Proposed Solution, and Pricing Information.
A successful business proposal must be one that is able to describe to the client what their needs are ina plain and simple manner. This is extremely vital because how can you expect the client to believe that you can help them solve their problems if you don’t even know are these problems?
Here’s an example of a well-written problem statement of a business proposal: With the presence of social media in today’s advancing world, Puffin Media Inc. hesitated to make the leap from traditional marketing to social media marketing.
Their marketing tactics seem to be losing effectiveness and the company feels as if they are missing out on a large segment of their market. In addition, their competition has begun acquiring the majority of the business in the market and has brought Puffin Media’s growing revenues to a halt.
The main objective of submitting a business proposal is to offer a solution to a problem faced by a prospective client. This part should be as detailed as possible, and able to address each and every need you have discovered.
Here’s an example:
The solution that is recommended for Puffin Media Inc. is to deploy their company on all of the major social media channels; however, there is a major difference in creating social media platforms versus creating a brand you can promote on those platforms.
A marketing campaign must be created utilizing these media channels and creating immediate engagement with your audience. In order for this to be successful, you know how to make sales. Initially, acquire some fans, followers, subscribers, and connections and invite them to join you in particular discussion or attend a specific event.
The purpose of this is not only to promote Puffin Media Inc., but also to solicit feedback from the target audience.
For many clients, the pricing information is what will make them decide whether they would offer you the contract or not.
How to write this part greatly depends on the solution or solutions you included in the previous segment. If the solution proposed will only entail a short period of time, a Fee Summary will suffice. For longer projects, segment these payments to specific milestones in a Fee Schedule list.
- Things to Remember When Writing a Business Proposal
Now that you know the essentials of a winning business proposal, it’s time to go ahead and start writing, right? Well, not exactly.
The next part is to be able to find out what to put under the 3 Ps so that you can develop a business proposal that gets their attention and awards you that contract.
- Do Your Research
Not all clients and buyers will give you the explicit details of their wants and needs, especially if you’re submitting an unsolicited business proposal. Extend your research6 to include the competitors of your potential client, and their customers as well. This will ensure that your business proposal will be as comprehensive and as detailed as possible.
- Put Yourself in their Shoes
Another thing to remember when writing a business proposal is to always put yourself in the shoes of your potential clients. Doing this will help you provide information on things that they would most likely ask, such as “Why should we pay you this much amount for the solutions you’re offering” and “How can these changes benefit me?”
- Why You?
If you determined that a company or client has certain needs, chances are others would have done the same. That means that there will be others that have submitted their respective proposals to the company or client.
That being said, it is important to make sure to highlight your talents, experience and other qualifications to convince the client why they should choose you or your company.
- Writing that Business Proposal
When you got all of these, then you’re finally able to start writing your business proposal. One of the best ways on how to write a persuasive business proposal is to use a business proposal software162.
Business proposal software programs helps you write your business proposal without having to worry about how they should be put together and the content that you need to include. These programs contain two kinds of proposal templates that you can use and re-use, depending on which one you need to write.
In addition to the stored templates, you can create your own proposal templates through these programs based on previous proposals you’ve created, making it even more convenient for you and your business.
NOTE: Although business proposals present the same information and have the same layout, it’s important to take time and make each one unique. Each project is different, even if it’s with the same company. Remember, a business proposal must show how you or your company can help a potential client.
Sample Proposal Cover Letter
Summary: A cover letter to convince the recipient company to award the desired contract or job to the proposing company. There should be a clearly stated intention by the proposing company, with relevant impressive information, in the contents of the letter to the recipient for a favorable consideration in awarding the contract.
September 9th 2017
Gracy Telecom LTD
84 Noalimba Avenue
Somewhere, BR X0A 1W0
Dear Mrs. Grace,
Further to our earlier discussion on Gracy Telecom’s current project, we now submit a proposal from Forever Young Ltd. for your consideration. We believe Forever Young Ltd. is your right candidate to collaborate with Meteor Organization in marketing your products globally, with its high quality services, commitment, and expertise.
From our enclosure, you will approve of Forever Young Ltd’s impressive business strategies, which have heaped outstanding feedback from our clients in past projects for the outstanding services rendered to Forever Young’s esteemed clients. Enclosed is a listing of our esteemed clientele for your perusal.
Forever Young is capable in adjusting and focusing on current and effective strategies while tracking the current market sentiments to benefit Meteor Organization in your sales strategies for your new product launch.
We look forward to hearing positively from you for further collaboration.