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How to Write a Business Proposal (Examples & Templates)
By Aditya Sheth , Nov 21, 2022
The great Mark Cuban once said, “Sales cure all.” If a business doesn’t sell, it doesn’t make money and by extension the business fails. That’s why you need to write business proposals.
A well-written business proposal can often mean the difference between winning or losing a prospective client.
In this in-depth guide to creating business proposals, we show you how to close more deals, make more sales and crush your business goals — all by using easy-to-edit professional business proposal templates.
Here’s what this guide will cover (click to jump ahead):
What is a business proposal, what should you include in a business proposal, business proposal format, what are the types of business proposals.
- How do you write a business proposal? Business proposal templates
More business proposal examples + writing and design tips
- FAQs about business proposals
Looking for a shortcut? Watch this quick video for an overview of everything to include in your business proposal:
An effective business proposal is a document used by a B2B or business-facing company (this may not always be the case) where a seller aims to persuade a prospective buyer into buying their goods or services.
A business proposal outlines what your business does and what you can do for your client. It can be general like this business proposal example:
Or it can be more specific, like this business proposal template which focuses on proposing a project for the Newton Center Rail:
Or this business proposal sample, which presents a plan for a social media strategy and campaign:
To design a business proposal that holds the client’s attention, identify their pain points . Then provide your buyer with the right solution to alleviate those frustrations.
Return to Table of Contents
A business proposal usually aims to answer the following questions:
- Who you are and what your company does
- The problem your buyer is facing
- The solution your company offers to alleviate the problem
- How your company will implement this solution effectively
- An estimate of resources (time, money, etc) required to implement the solution
You can see how this sample business proposal template covers the above points.
Notice how this proposal template addresses the same project like in one of the previous templates, but uses a completely different design style (more retro, while the previous business proposal template is more modern and minimalistic).
You can remove or add more sections depending on the goal of your business proposal. Essential, your business proposal can follow this format:
Table of contents
Executive summary, the problem statement, the proposed solution, qualifications, the timeline, pricing, billing and legal, terms and conditions, the acceptance.
We go into detail on how you can write a business proposal (plus different business proposal templates you can apply the tips to) in the next section . But you can also click on the format items above to learn how you can best write them!
If you aim to create a holistic business proposal, feel free to just edit from the two templates right above. You can also add your brand colors and logo to your design, using My Brand Kit :
Here’s another example of a business proposal template that you can edit:
Generally, there are three types of business proposals:
1. Formally solicited
A formally solicited business proposal is made when you respond to an official request to write a business proposal.
In this scenario, you know all the requirements and have more (if not all) information about a prospective buyer. You simply need to write the business proposal for your buyer to evaluate so you can begin the sales process.
2. Informally solicited
Informally solicited business proposals are written when there isn’t an official request for a proposal. A prospective buyer is interested in your services and asks for a proposal so they can evaluate it.
An informally solicited proposal requires a lot more research from your end. These types of proposals are usually created out of informal conversations. They are not based on official requests which often contain more detail.
Think of this as a marketing brochure or a cold email . Unsolicited business proposals will often take a generic, one-size-fits-all approach to business proposals. Unsolicited proposals lack any understanding of the buyer or their requirements.
But with additional market research , personalization and identifying customer pain points , you can propose a customized solution based on your buyer’s needs. This can be a very persuasive approach, such as in this business proposal example:
How do you write a business proposal? Business proposal templates
Before you start creating your business proposal template, you need to know what it comprises. At a high level your effective business proposal should include the following:
Below, you can see business proposal examples that demonstrate how to include these 10 sections.
Business proposal title
A compelling title could mean the difference between someone reading your proposal or ignoring it in favor of a competitor’s.
What makes a good title page? Here are the essential elements to include:
- Your name along with your company’s name
- The name of the prospect (or their business)
- The date you’re submitting the proposal
The gray business consulting proposal template above contains all the details a prospect would want to know. The title also offers a strong tangible benefit to the prospective buyer. Honestly, “Who doesn’t want to grow their business?”
Return to business proposal content sections
The table of contents is a fundamental part of every winning business proposal template. It makes your proposal scannable and easy to read.
The people you will be pitching to are usually C-level executives. These are busy people who don’t have time to read your entire proposal in one go.
That’s why most of the business proposal examples in this list include a table of contents.
Adding a table of contents to your document makes it easy for them to go through it at their own pace. They can also skim through parts of the proposal that they deem more important. You can see how this abstract business proposal template uses the table of contents:
You can also make your business proposal template easier to navigate by adding hyperlinks to the document, particularly in the table of contents. This way your clients can jump to specific sections without having to scroll through the entire document.
It’s easy to add hyperlinks in the Venngage editor. Select the text you’d like to turn into a link, then click the link icon in the top bar. From there, select the page you want to link to! Then download your completed design as an Interactive PDF .
The executive summary is a staple in all kinds of annual reports , project plans and even marketing plans . It is a concise summary of the entire contents of your document. In other words, write a business proposal outline that is easy to glance over and that highlights your value proposition.
The goals of your executive summary are:
- Introduce your company to your buyer
- Provide an overview of your company goals
- Showcase your company’s milestones, overall vision and future plans
- Include any other relevant details
This gray business proposal example has a detailed yet short executive summary including some social proof in the form of clients they’ve worked with:
Take note of how precise this business proposal example is. You want to keep your executive summary concise and clear from the get-go. This sets the right tone for the rest of your proposal. It also gives your buyer a reason to continue reading your proposal.
Pro Tip: Try to write an executive summary such that, even if your prospective client doesn’t read the entire proposal (with a good executive summary, they most likely will), they should have a clear idea about what your company does and how you can help them.
The point of writing a business proposal is to solve a buyer’s problem. Your goal is to outline the problem statement as clearly as possible. This develops a sense of urgency in your prospect. They will want to find a solution to the problem. And you have that solution.
A well-defined problem statement does two things:
- It shows the prospect you have done your homework instead of sending a generic pitch
- It creates an opportunity for you to point out a problem your prospect might not be aware they had in the first place.
This bold business proposal template above clearly outlines the problem at hand and also offers a ray of hope i.e. how you can solve your prospect’s problem. This brings me to…
The good stuff. In the proposed solution section, you show how you can alleviate your prospective buyer’s pain points. This can fit onto the problem statement section but if you have a comprehensive solution or prefer to elaborate on the details, a separate section is a good idea.
Spare no details regarding the solution you will provide. When you write a business proposal, explain how you plan to deliver the solution. Include an estimated timeline of when they can expect your solution and other relevant details.
For inspiration, look at how this business proposal template quickly and succinctly outlines the project plan, deliverables and metrics :
At this point, the prospect you’re pitching your solution to likes what they’re reading. But they may not trust you to deliver on your promises. Why is this?
It’s because they don’t know you. Your job is to convince them that you can fix their problem. This section is important because it acts as social proof. You can highlight what your company does best and how qualified your team is when you write a business proposal for a potential client.
This free business proposal template showcases the company’s accolades, client testimonials, relevant case studies, and industry awards. You can also include other forms of social proof to establish yourself as a credible business. This makes it that much more likely that they will say yes!
Pro Tip: Attaching in-depth case studies of your work is a great way to build trust with a potential client by showcasing how you’ve solved similar problems for other clients in the past. Our case study examples post can show you how to do just that.
To further demonstrate just how prepared you are, it’s important to outline the next steps you will take should your buyer decide to work with you.
Provide a timeline of how and when you will complete all your deliverables. You can do this by designing a flow chart . Or add a roadmap with deadlines. Pitching a long-term project? A timeline infographic would be a better fit.
If you look at this abstract business proposal template below, even something as simple as a table can do the trick.
The timeline is not always set in stone, rather it’s an estimation. The goal is to clarify any questions your potential client might have about how you will deliver for the underlying B2B sales process.
On this page, you can outline your fees, payment schedule, invoice payment terms , as well as legal aspects involved in this deal.
The key to good pricing is to provide your buyer with options. A pricing comparison table can help with this. You want to give your client some room to work with. Make sure you’re not scaring off your client with a high price, nor undervaluing yourself.
Breaking up your pricing in stages is another great way to make sure your potential client knows what he’s paying for. Look at how this simple business proposal template does this:
The legal aspects can slot right into the terms and conditions section. Alternatively, you can add them in the signature section of the proposal to keep things simple.
Summarize everything you have promised to deliver so far. Include what you expect from your prospective buyer in return. Add the overall project timeline from start to end, as well as payment methods and payment schedule. This way, both of you will be clear on what is being agreed on.
This step is very important as it outlines all the legal aspects of the deal. That is why the terms and conditions section of your proposal needs to be as clear as possible.
I recommend consulting a lawyer or your legal team when working on this section of the business proposal. If you’re a business veteran and understand the legalities of your business, you can use the same terms and conditions across all your proposals.
The final step of this whole process. Your client has read your business proposal and they want to buy what you have to offer.
Add a small section at the end of your proposal to get the necessary signatures. This way, you and your client can sign the proposal and the partnership becomes official.
Be sure to also include your contact information in your business proposal template. It acts as a gentle prompt to your client to contact you in case they have any questions.
Now that you know how to write a business proposal, let’s look at how you can optimize your proposal to deliver results!
Below you’ll find some winning business proposal templates and examples to get you started. I’ve also included some design tips to keep in mind when you’re creating your next business proposal:
1. Know your audience
If you have some clarity on who your ideal buyer is — their pain points, their budget, deadlines, among other things — you’ve already won half the battle.
If you are a business that helps clients with everything from running giveaways or helping grow their blog , identify which customers to pitch. This is a sure-shot way to close the deal.
Mapping user personas for your ideal buyer can help bring some clarity. It will also help you position your business proposal correctly. This improves the chance of your buyer moving your business proposal to the “Yes!” pile.
2. Put your brand front and center
If your company follows certain brand guidelines, incorporate them in your business proposal templates. Consider how business proposal examples like the one below highlight brand identity:
From the color palettes to the company logos , everything follows their brand guidelines. The result: a business proposal that’s consistent across the board.
Pro Tip: Switching this template to match your brand assets is actually pretty easy. Venngage’s My Brand Kit feature allows you to import your color palettes, logos as well as font choices. Any Venngage template can now be your template.
You can also consider this sample business proposal template:
Design companies sure do know their design. They did a phenomenal job keeping their brand colors consistent while opting for a black design. This unique color scheme also makes their white logo prominent throughout the proposal.
3. Try less text, more visuals
Have you ever read a proposal and thought to yourself, “Wow, this is all text and has no images, I love it!”? Yeah, me neither.
The free business proposal template below is a perfect example of the “less is more” principle. It does a phenomenal job of communicating what it needs to. By substituting some of the text with icons and visuals, you get a clean business proposal that’s much more scannable.
Want to keep things strictly professional? Instead of icons, you can always add your team’s headshots. This shows your buyer exactly who they’ll be working with.
Check out this formal business proposal format for some inspiration:
4. Switch up your business proposal designs
It doesn’t hurt to go above and beyond once in a while. Jazz up your business proposal template with some extra colors. This helps make your business proposal more engaging. It also helps your buyers retain information faster.
The business proposal example alternates between black, white and grey backgrounds. It still manages to maintain consistency in its branding . Just switching up your backgrounds once in a while can also bring in some variety to an otherwise standard business proposal.
This SEO business proposal sample proves that it’s possible to switch up the colors in every other page. But it still maintains the same color scheme across the entire proposal just like a professionally designed website :
Pro Tip: Not a color expert? Our guide on picking colors can help you pick the right color scheme for your proposals.
FAQ about business proposals
What is the purpose of a business proposal.
Essentially, a business proposal aims to streamline the B2B sales process (which is often complex) between you as a seller and a buyer.
It does this by serving the dual purpose of acting as a source of information. The proposal also acts as a sales pitch aimed at convincing your buyer why they should buy what you have to offer.
What are the best practices for business proposal design?
- Do a thorough spell-check. The goal of your business proposal is to convince your buyer why you’re the perfect person for the job. A proposal with typos or grammatical errors communicates the opposite. A thorough spell-check before you send your proposal is a must.
- Let your brand shine. As discussed before, writing a business proposal is all about knowing your ideal buyer and focusing on their pain points. But that doesn’t mean your business proposal template has to be boring. Demonstrate how different you are compared to other companies. You can do this through your brand guidelines, by using more visuals, switching up your proposal design or showing off your personality in your writing.
- Download your business proposal as a PDF. This allows you to attach other collaterals with your business proposal. These can include a company explainer video or case studies showcasing the work done with past clients. Also, who doesn’t love saving paper?
How long should your business proposal be?
The length depends on the scope of the work as well as the complexity of the project. Here is a one-page business proposal template:
Can your business proposal template really be one page? Yes, as long as you understand who your buyer is and their pain points. You should also have the ability to communicate everything your ideal buyer needs to know about your business in a succinct manner.
Or if you’re feeling adventurous how about just two pages? Often, clients prefer if you go straight to the point and avoid all the fluff.
For example, this green modern marketing proposal template wastes no time in getting down to brass tacks:
There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to deciding how many pages you should include in your business proposal template. And at the end of the day, “the only rules are the ones you set for yourself”.
At the end of the day, writing winning business proposals that sell is all about you understanding your buyer, their potential pain points and positioning yourself as someone who can alleviate those pain points.
Now that you know how to write compelling business proposals, what are you waiting for?
Take action and start creating your own business proposals to close more deals and grow your business today!
More business communications templates + writing tips you might be interested in…
31 Consulting Proposal Templates to Close Deals
How to Write a Project Proposal [10+ Templates]
20+ Professional Business Letterhead Templates + Branding Tips
How to Write a White Paper [Tips & Templates]
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What Is a Business Proposal? Definition and Guide
- by Shopify Staff
- Nov 18, 2022
- 3 minute read
A business proposal is a document that’s designed to persuade an organization to buy a product or service. A proposal is usually solicited or unsolicited – meaning, that the purchasing company is either actively seeking proposals that meet a specific need or is reacting to an offer, often from a sales person, to consider a proposal.
For example, an unsolicited proposal might result from a dinner conversation at a trade show where the seller tells a prospect that they have a solution to the prospect’s problem, and says, “Would you like me to submit a proposal for that?”
Solicited proposal language
Companies use a range of acronyms when soliciting business proposals from vendors:
- Request for information (RFI) – This screening tool often precedes the proposal solicitation process. It’s designed to help the buyer understand which vendors are in the best position to provide what’s needed.
- Request for proposal (RFP) – In addition to outlining what the customer needs, this document also details not only what it wants to receive from the vendor in the proposal, but also how the proposal information should be organized and presented. An RFP is often used when the buyer needs to evaluate which company is the best vendor based on a number of factors besides price.
- Request for quotation (RFQ ) – These are used when price is a primary factor in the purchasing decision, but not the only one. The buyer might need information about product availability, delivery times, and other specifics. Proposals responding to RFQs are often shorter than those for RFPs.
- Invitation for bid (IFB) – IFBs are used to solicit services based primarily on price. Most simply put, they’re a request for a response to the question: “What would you charge to do this?”
Business proposal elements
While business proposals can take the form of a less-structured proposal letter, they are often long documents that might include anything from engineering specifications to business plans to project staffing, depending on what’s requested in the RFP.
Vendors responding to RFPs must always follow the buyer’s preferred, stated format with the proposal. Common elements requested, which can also be used in unsolicited proposals, often include:
- Cover letter
- Executive summary
- Table of contents
- Overview or summary of the problem or need
- Strategy or approach to solving the problem
- Representative tactics
- Company qualifications
Business proposals can be as short or as long as necessary to communicate required information.
What Is a Business Proposal? FAQ
What is meant by business proposal, what should a business proposal include.
- Executive Summary: A brief overview of the proposal, including a summary of the main points and any applicable background information.
- Problem Statement: A clear explanation of the problem or need that the proposal is addressing and why the proposed solution is necessary.
- Proposed Solution: A detailed description of the proposed solution, including any relevant information about the product or service being offered, pricing, timeline, and any other key details.
- Benefits: A list of the benefits that the proposed solution will provide to the customer, such as cost savings, increased efficiency, or improved customer experience.
- Evaluation: A summary of the evaluation process that was used to determine the effectiveness of the proposed solution.
- Conclusion: A brief statement summarizing the proposal and its key points.
What are the 3 main types of proposals?
- Informal proposals: Informal proposals are generally short, straightforward documents used to describe a project and its estimated costs. They are typically used to propose a specific solution to a problem or a request for products or services.
- Formal Proposals: Formal proposals are more involved and often require extensive research and planning. Such proposals are typically used to secure contracts or large grants.
- Request for Proposals (RFPs): RFPs are used by organizations to solicit proposals from potential vendors. They contain specific information regarding the project, the requirements, and the evaluation criteria used to select the successful proposal.
Why is a business proposal important?
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What is a Business Proposal? Definition, Types, and Examples
- June 7, 2022
- 10 min read
- Feb 3, 2023
There’s nothing better than getting a request for a proposal . It means that your marketing and sales efforts have paid off.
If this step makes you worried, or if you haven’t sent a business proposal in a while, it may seem like harrowing work.
But don’t panic. We got you covered .
Let’s take a look at what makes a good business proposal, along with the most successful types used today.
What Is a Business Proposal?
A business proposal is a sales document that a supplier sends to a prospective client with the purpose of winning a specific project. It’s an official document that outlines your proposed solution and value proposition.
Many service-based businesses and B2B Saas businesses depend on proposals to sell their services and bring in new business. The proposal can be either digital or printed . It explains the product or service features taking into consideration the potential client’s problem or needs.
In other words, an effective business proposal shows how a company can solve the prospect’s problem and help you win a new client.
Types of Business Proposals
Business proposals can be solicited or unsolicited. A solicited business proposal is sent when a client specifically requests one. A client can ask for a proposal casually in conversation, during a meeting, or send a formal request for proposal (RFP) document.
Here’s how it works:
Formally Solicited Business Proposal
For example, a small boutique resort has been a regular client of your landscaping business. They have already hired you for a few one-time jobs and you know what they need. Now they want a regular service and need to double-check the terms before paying.
They ask you to send a business proposal that contains service names, prices, timelines, payment options, etc.
After receiving your offer, they are obliged to respond within an agreed period. In case the resort agrees to your terms, the proposal becomes a legally binding purchase agreement.
Informally Solicited Proposal
In this scenario, the boutique resort has discovered your landscaping business and is interested in your services.
In an informal conversation between the two reps, they ask for a document outlining more details about the quality of your services, previous clients’ reviews and testimonies, pricing, etc. The difference is that they are not obliged to respond to the offer.
Your landscaping business is running a lead generation campaign and wants to inform the local boutique resorts about the services it offers. In this campaign, you’ll create multiple unsolicited business proposals containing an introduction to your company, your expertise, etc.
Unsolicited proposals need to be especially convincing since you’re sending them to a cold audience.
Business Proposal vs. Business Proposal Letter
A business proposal letter or cover letter is a document that businesses sometimes send to their prospects alongside a business proposal. A shorter proposal may even combine these two in a single document.
A cover letter helps provide context on why you’re sending the accompanying business proposal.
Keep your cover letter brief, no longer than one page . It definitely shouldn’t steal the show from the business proposal.
- Mention when the proposal was requested
- Credit people who helped prepare the proposal
- Offer an introduction (executive summary) of the proposal
- Thank the potential client
- Provide your contact information
You can mention the client’s RFP document or refer to a conversation where the potential client has expressed interest in seeing the business proposal.
Proposals vs. Estimates
Business proposals and estimates are both sales documents that businesses use in attempts to win projects.
However, a business proposal is much more detailed than an estimate and usually covers more complex projects and relevant details.
Proposals also tend to explain the value the company will provide to a potential client, together with listing its past projects and including client testimonials.
Some small businesses use estimates to detail the costs and tasks covered by the project. Then, they prove their value through other means, like during a call or a site visit. This way they avoid drawing a formal proposal altogether.
In some cases, the prospective client gets a referral from a trusted partner or they have read great online reviews. In both cases, the job is not overly complex and a project estimate will do.
However, in the majority of cases, the clients may need more proof to make sure your business is the right fit.
Then you need a proposal to prove that as a supplier or service provider you are able to provide the right approach, design, timeline, etc.
Key Parts of a Business Proposal
Let’s take a look at how to create a well-written business proposal.
We recommend you start with a beautifully designed business proposal template. When using Better Proposals, you can rely on more than 100 business proposal templates that you can easily customize to your needs.
They make your entire proposal process easier and quicker. You won’t have to write a business proposal outline, since the templates already come with all the essential business proposal elements.
The Cover Page
The cover page is the first thing your potential client sees, so make sure to make the right impression from the beginning. Ask any graphic designer and they’ll tell you that here less is more . Keep it simple and focus the client’s attention to:
- the project name
- the name of the person the proposal is addressed to
- your company name
- your contact information
- submission date
You also need to include your logo . Since this is the cover page, make sure you use a high-resolution version.
If you’re thinking about whether you need the cover page at all, let me assure you that you do. We did our own research that shows that if you include a cover in your proposal, you’re 4.6% more likely to land the account.
The Introduction or Executive summary
Before they sign off on the project, the clients need to like you. And they can’t like you if they don’t know you.
Your intro needs to be tempting. After all:
- The introduction is the part of your business proposal on which people spend 38.2% of the total time reading your proposal.
This is the part where you tell them what your company is all about and how you can bring value to their business.
On the other hand, avoid the common misconception of making the intro all about you. Instead, you want to focus on the client’s pain point . This way, you’re holding their attention from the very start and raising your chances of sealing the deal.
Easier said than done, eh?
Here are a few pro tips.
Keep it short and sweet
The rule of thumb with introductions is to keep them short. For now, your goal is to hook your prospects and keep them reading.
Make it personal
Your business may be sending a lot of business proposals, but you don’t want to copy-paste the same generic content over and over again. Generic content always loses to customized pitches, so you’re ruining your chances of closing a deal.
Your potential client is likely entertaining other companies as well, so you need to stand out from the crowd. Use your executive summary to do just that.
This is fairly easy, especially if you’re using proposal software .
Draw from meeting notes
If you had a call with your potential client and asked the right questions , you should have a pretty good idea of your prospect’s pain points. Now you only need to show why you’re the right choice to tackle those problems.
You can mention the goals they shared with you, their current situation , and how you can help them achieve those goals.
When your prospect gets past the executive summary, they’ll be eager to know what’s in it for them. Here it’s important that you focus on the end result rather than the process that will get them there. Let’s say you’re selling landscaping services.
As a professional, you know how much work goes into each project. You need to do the on-site assessment, improve the soil, create the drainage slopes, select plants for each layer, etc. not to mention the actual manual work.
Since you take pride in your expertise, you may be tempted to describe the entire process from start to finish. However, that’s not always the best idea.
The client is hiring you to get the results, not a crash course in gardening. At the end of the day, they are interested in the improved aesthetic appeal of the resort and the increase in traffic that goes along.
I admit that finding the right balance between describing your solution and results can be difficult. The trick is to focus on benefits while allowing just enough technical specs to resolve any potential disputes.
The Project Timeline
All clients want to know how long a project is going to take. Include a timeline to help your client get on board with the process and to set your own pace and milestones, suggests Ryan Zomorodi, co-Founder of Real Estate Skills .
For example, a big project can have a six-month timeline, which may seem intimidating for the client. The best course is to break it up.
First, it helps the client distinguish between different phases. Second, it lets you set deadlines for yourself to keep you on track.
The Social Proof
There’s hardly a better way to win a client who’s on the fence than showing them that you’ve done similar projects before.
That’s why you absolutely must add a relevant case study to your business proposal.
Depending on the project, you can choose an industry- or project-centred case study.
As you can see in our business proposal template, it can be in a short format. No need to include your entire portfolio.
Keep your prospective client in mind when creating your business proposal. The whole experience should be positive for them, instead of feeling like doing homework.
You’ve shown that you understand your client’s needs and offered appropriate solutions. Now it’s time to nail the pricing section.
Help them choose you by making small adjustments:
- Use “Investment” instead of “Pricing “
It sounds much better this way because it assures your client that they are investing in the future.
- Add a brief testimonial
After seeing the price, the client needs to see how your solution has helped someone else’s business take off. It helps them realize the value you provide for the money.
- No optional services
You may be tempted to offer your clients upsells and package prices. However, our report shows that this can actually hurt your conversion rate. It’s much better not to give any choices. If you go with one price, you can ask for a 20.6% higher upfront fee and 33% higher monthly fees.
Some businesses embrace the idea of a guarantee. Others are less enthusiastic about giving guarantees, fearing abuse.
Still, guarantees can be the last piece the client needs to convert. Instead of a typical money-back guarantee, consider guaranteeing a part of your service or a timescale.
For example, for smaller projects, you can offer a “curb appeal in a day” guarantee.
The Next Steps
At this point, you need to tell the client how they should proceed. Take some time to explain the steps they need to take to close the deal. You don’t have to go overboard here. Everything up to now should be clear.
As you can see in our business proposal template, this section should be pretty straightforward.
By signing, the client agrees to the terms of the proposal and agrees that their typed name can be used as a digital signature.
Terms and Conditions
Finally, it’s always better to include your terms and conditions in your proposal. That way, the new client only needs to sign one document. They know what to expect and you’re legally covered.
All our business proposal templates come with proposed terms and conditions sections which you can adapt to your liking.
Once your proposal is done, read it and make sure that there are no grammatical errors.
A business proposal is a complex sales document that can be simplified if you’re using the right proposal software.
Instead of starting with a blank page, you’ll be able to write an amazing business proposal that converts in less than an hour.
When you choose your business proposal template you won’t have to figure out how to structure your offer. Our templates are always being updated with the latest marketing trends, as we hone the features that regularly make the most conversions.
Sign up for our 14-day free trial and see for yourself why we’re the best choice.
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What is a Business Proposal: definition, types, examples
Published: 3 September, 2021
What is a business proposal?
Types of business proposals, customer request types, how to write a business proposal, checkout our sales pipeline templates freebies.
“How to make a business proposal?” — a question that, perhaps, any B2B startup has faced at least once.
Successful selling consists of many components, with the quality product or service being just one of them. Sometimes, a sales presentation or business proposal can boost a customer’s sales funnel movement and increase the number of successfully closed deals.
Here, we’ll explain the differences between types of business proposals and give some valuable tips on how to write them.
A business proposal is aimed at attracting potential clients with what a company sells.
It’s a document in either digital or printed form that explains product or service features, taking into consideration the lead’s needs and wants. In other words, business proposals show how a company can help solve a customer’s specific problem.
Business proposals can be solicited and unsolicited.
A solicited proposal is sent upon customer request and can be formal or informal. An unsolicited proposal is sent out as a base test and, in this sense, is similar to a cold email .
Consider these business proposal examples:
Informally solicited proposal
Company A has discovered Company B and got interested in its products. As the result of an informal conversation between the two, Company A asks for a document to learn more details about the product’s quality, shipping terms, pricing options, etc. It isn’t obliged to respond to the offer.
Formally solicited proposal
Company A is a regular client of Company B and has already figured out what it needs. It’s willing to place an order and wants to double-check the terms before paying.
Company A asks Company B to send a business proposal, containing item names, prices, shipping details, etc. After receiving an offer, it’s obliged to respond during an agreed period. In case Company A agrees to the terms, the offer will turn into a legally binding purchasing agreement.
Company B runs a lead gen campaign and wants to inform Company A about services offered. It creates a general proposal that contains an introduction of Company B, its expertise, terms for cooperation, partnership programs, and other business-related information.
Although solicited business proposals are made upon the request from a prospect , clients’ requests may differ, depending on the number of details included:
Request for information
RFI is a request that buyers issue for discovery purposes, e.g., to compare products, services, or vendors present on the market.
Request for proposal
This is an in-depth document that asks for a formally solicited business proposal. A buyer may send RFPs to several vendors and then choose the best offer.
Request for quotation
Also known as the Invitation for Bid, RFQ is issued when a customer wants to purchase a specific service or product and compares prices on the market. Unlike RFPs where clients consider time estimates, provider’s experience, and other terms, RFQs are issued to make a choice based on the price.
It’s also issued in case of a prolonged deal registration process. To reduce financial or currency risks, the company requests a quote (as a sort of a promise) from a supplier to assure the right to buy the product at a specified price in the future.
There is no conventional design or structure you should use for the proposal, so you may either compile it by yourself or pick up a fitting business proposal template, for example, on PandaDoc , Jotform , or Canva and adjust it to your case.
Still, there are some common elements to include in your business proposal:
1. Title page
Here you should put your name, your company’s name, and a proposal title, say “Web design proposal” or “App software development.” You can also add the proposal’s starting date, your company’s registered address, phone, email, logo, and the name of the prospect.
2. Table of contents
If your proposal isn’t a single-page document, it’s a common courtesy that you list all chapters and specify pages. Besides, you can add hyperlinks to the document to make it easier to navigate.
3. Executive summary
This is a separate-page chapter where you briefly describe who you are, what you do, and the purpose of contacting. You can also list how the customer will benefit if they choose your company, for example, “turnkey service provision,” “insurance coverage,” “dedicated manager or consultant,” and so on.
4. Main body
Here you should list initial requirements from the client and precisely describe how you’re going to meet them, how much it will cost, and how long it will take.
To deliver marketing automation for Company A, we will carry out several works:
- Gathering data — [Date completed]
- Setting up CRM — [Date completed]
- Transferring the existing customer database to CRM — [Date completed]
- Testing CRM’s work — [Date completed]
- Connecting CRM with marketing automation tools — [Date completed]
- Test tools’ work — [Date completed]
- Training consultation — [Date completed]
- Training deliver — [Date completed]
The level of precision is up to you and your client; however, it’s better to be as specific as possible. If you respond to RFPs or RFQs, you can add a correspondence matrix — a table where customer’s requirements are matched with the proposal’s page numbers or chapters.
5. Additional clauses
If some details may vary, e.g., you predict that some additional costs can occur during the agreement execution, mention them in this chapter.
6. Pricing and billing
Specify the exact sum and payment details. You can also include shipping terms, in case there’s goods delivery.
7. Terms and conditions
Wrap up your offer — mention the expected duration, payment methods, and schedule.
8. The acceptance page
This is a page for approval signatures. The client can either send you the letter of acceptance or sign the initial proposal, depending on the prior agreement with you.
And here’s one more tip!
If you want to learn how to create a business proposal in a particular niche, write an RFI and mail it to competing companies. This doesn’t oblige both parties to proceed with some further actions, and you can check out the document’s general structure, length, word choice, and so on.
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An effective business proposal is a document used by a B2B or business-facing company (this may not always be the case) where a seller aims to persuade a prospective buyer into buying their goods or services. A business proposal outlines what your business does and what you can do for your client.
A business proposal is a document that outlines a proposed business plan, detailing the product or services to be provided, the costs associated with the project, and the expected outcomes. It is typically used to request funding from investors, secure contracts from customers, or to obtain approval for a project from stakeholders.
A business proposal is a sales document that a supplier sends to a prospective client with the purpose of winning a specific project. It’s an official document that outlines your proposed solution and value proposition. Many service-based businesses and B2B Saas businesses depend on proposals to sell their services and bring in new business.
A business proposal is aimed at attracting potential clients with what a company sells. It’s a document in either digital or printed form that explains product or service features, taking into consideration the lead’s needs and wants. In other words, business proposals show how a company can help solve a customer’s specific problem.
A proposal manager is a management professional who manages and oversees business proposals at a company or organization. They're responsible for ensuring a proposal is created effectively and within its deadline. Some proposal managers work for a particular company while others work at contracting firms for multiple different organizations.
An internal proposal is a type of proposal used to pitch a project within your organization. Many times when people think of proposals, they think of external proposals submitted to another organization to secure work. However, proposals can also be used internally to explain an idea and how it could benefit your company.