Create a Business Proposal

Create a Business Proposal: Tips, Templates, and Examples

You're ready to launch. You've got a killer product and you know what you're doing, but do you know how to sell it?

Preparing a business proposal. It's a way of communicating your vision and strategy with others who may be involved in making your business dreams come true.

Business proposals are critical when you're trying to land a new customer. Imagine owning a landscaping business and wanting to work for a new homeowner in your area. 

You could email them, "I'm a landscaper, and I can mow your lawn for $20." But that's not very convincing. A better option would be to create a business proposal that explains your experience, the services you offer, and how much they will cost. This way, the homeowner can see that you're serious about your business and know what to expect.

In this article, we'll go over the following:

  • What a business proposal is 

  • The different types of proposals

  • What to include in your proposal and how to create one 

We'll also give examples and templates to help you get started. By the end, you should know precisely how to write a business proposal to help your business stand out and win more customers.

What Is a Business Proposal?

A business proposal is a formal, written document that outlines the services you're offering, how much they cost, and what benefits your customers will get from working with you. It's also an opportunity to show off your expertise and why you're qualified.

A good business proposal should be easy to read and understand and detailed enough to show that you've put thought and effort into it. A proposal can help secure funding, win a contract, or get a new client. So it's essential to put your best effort into creating one that will impress by doing your research, being specific about what you're offering and why it's critical, and letting the customer know that you understand their needs.

You've probably seen those TV shows where people pitch their business ideas to investors. A business proposal is a lot like that. Still, instead of pitching your idea for funding (or investment), you're using it to get potential customers excited about what you can do—and how you can help solve their problems.

But what makes a business proposal different from a business plan?

A business plan is a document that outlines your entire business. It includes your mission statement, target market, financial projections, and marketing strategy. On the other hand, a business proposal focuses on a specific project or opportunity.

The purpose of a business proposal is to convince someone that your company can provide the services they desire. It should highlight your skills and experience—and explain how those qualities align with the client's needs. A business proposal is often part of the sales process and can aid in securing new customers or winning new projects from existing clients.

2 Types of Business Proposals

There are two main types of business proposals: unsolicited proposals and solicited proposals.

An unsolicited proposal: This is the proposal a business offers without a potential client's request. This means you're reaching out to someone with an idea or solution without them explicitly asking for it. For example, if you own a landscaping business and see a neighborhood with many overgrown lawns, you could create an unsolicited proposal to offer lawn mowing services to the owners.

A solicited proposal: This is the proposal a business offers after a potential client request through a request for proposal (RFP) or request for quote (RFQ). For example, if you own a marketing agency and receive an RFP from a local company looking for help with their social media marketing, you would create a solicited proposal in response to their request.

Knowing the difference between these two types of proposals is essential because they require different approaches. An unsolicited proposal is a way to introduce yourself and your business to a potential client, while a solicited proposal is a response to a specific request. 

Understanding these differences will help you create a proposal tailored to your audience and one that meets their needs.

What You Should Include in the Business Proposal

When creating a business proposal, it's crucial to include all the necessary information to convince a potential customer to choose your business. Here are some key elements you should include in your proposal:

An overview of your business

This should be a brief introduction to your business, including what you do, whom you serve, and what sets you apart from other companies in your industry. If you're creating a business proposal for a new client, this is an excellent opportunity to highlight how your services can help them meet their goals.

A good business overview will also include a brief history of your business, including how you started. This section should be no more than two paragraphs long and should not contain any information irrelevant to the proposal.

A description of the problem or need

Please explain the problem or need that the potential customer is facing and how your proposal addresses it. Be specific and use simple language that your audience can easily understand. You can also include relevant statistics or research data supporting your claims.

For example, when writing an email marketing proposal to a potential client who runs a web-based business, you might include statistics that show how many people visit their site each month and the average number of pages they view. This will help demonstrate how your proposal can help them increase sales.

A proposed solution

Outline the solution you're proposing, including the products or services you're offering and how they will solve the customer's problem. Remember to tailor the answer to the customer's needs, and include any research and data supporting your claims.

You want to show that you know what they need and ensure they understand how your solutions will help them achieve their goals.

Present the solution in a way that's easy for your audience to understand, so it's essential to use simple language and avoid jargon. It may be helpful to include visuals or other forms of media (such as infographics) if your audience will better understand what you're offering.

The benefits of your solution

Explain the benefits of your solution, including how it will solve the customer's problem and any additional benefits it offers.

For example, when offering meeting recording and transcribing software, explain its benefits, such as saving time and money by allowing customers to review recordings of meetings and provide feedback on previous discussions. You can also explain how the solution streamlines collaboration, improves productivity, and increases employee satisfaction.

If a customer needs more information about your product or service before purchasing, consider offering additional resources such as a free demo or trial. Consider offering a free consultation with one of your sales representatives who can answer any customer's questions about purchasing your product or service.

Pricing and payment terms

Include details about the cost of your products or services and any discounts or promotions you're offering. You should also include information about payment terms, such as when payment is due and how it will be collected.

A business proposal can be a great way to explain your payment terms. If you're working with an established company, they may have their payment terms in place, so checking before including any specific details about how you receive payments is essential. 

Timelines and deliverables

Outline the timeline for completing the project, including any milestones or deadlines. Include details about what you deliver to the customer, such as a finished product or a report.

If you need access to certain information or resources before starting work, include that in the proposal. This can help avoid delays and ensure that both parties are on the same page.

You may also include some basic details about how you'll work with the customer, such as communication methods and whether you're willing to travel for meetings.

Qualifications and experience 

Show off your skills and experience by including information about your qualifications and relevant experience. This could consist of education, certifications, or past projects you've completed.

It's also a good idea to include information on any previous relevant projects and your role in completing them. This shows that you have the skills necessary to complete the job.

When starting your career, include some of your goals in the proposal. This shows that you have a passion for what you do and a desire to learn more about the field.

Customer testimonials or case studies

Including customer testimonials or case studies can be a powerful way to demonstrate the effectiveness of your solution. Testimonials can be in the form of written statements or video clips from satisfied customers. This shows how your company's product or service has helped solve a problem for them.

If there are several testimonials, include statistics about how many customers have used your product/service and their results.

Terms and conditions

Include any terms and conditions that apply to your proposals, such as warranties, guarantees, or cancellation policies. You should also include any special instructions or information you want the client to know.

For example, if your business has a policy that prohibits certain types of work while on vacation, be sure to include this in your proposal, so they know what they are getting into. You can also include a section for the client to sign if they accept your proposal. This way, you have documentation of their acceptance and can move forward with the project.

Including these elements in a proposal can communicate the value of your products or services and convince a potential customer to choose your business.

How to Write a Business Proposal

Writing a business proposal can seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. By following these 15 easy steps, you'll be able to create a professional and compelling proposal that will help you win more customers.

Step 1: Begin with a title page. The title page should include the name of your company, the date, and the name of the person or company you are submitting the proposal to.

Step 2: Create a table of contents. This will help the reader easily navigate your proposal and find the information they want.

Step 3: State the problem or need. Explain the problem or need that your business is trying to solve. Be specific and provide examples to illustrate the problem.

Step 4: Build out the customer journey. Describe the steps a customer will go through when interacting with your company. This will help the reader understand how your product or service will solve their problem.

Step 5: Qualifications. Discuss your company's qualifications and why you are the best choice to solve the problem. Include information about your experience, skills, and any relevant certifications or awards.

Step 6: Outline your solution. Describe in detail how your product or service will solve the problem. Include any unique features or benefits that set your solution apart from others.

Step 7: Pricing and terms. Include a cost breakdown of the solution and any terms or conditions that apply to your product or service. Also, include relevant information about your company's refund policy, warranty, and other essential details.

Step 8: Supporting documents. Include any additional documents that support your proposal, such as case studies, testimonials, or technical specifications.

Step 9: Conclusion. Summarize your proposal's key points and reiterate why your company is the best choice to solve the problem and deliver a solution. This is the last opportunity to show the customer why they should work with you, not your competitors.

Step 10: Call to action. Please include a clear call to action that tells the reader what you want them to do next, such as setting up a meeting to discuss the proposal further.

Step 11: Contact information. Provide your contact information, including your name, title, phone number, and email address, so the reader knows how to contact you.

Step 12: Close. Thank the reader for reviewing your proposal and asking for their feedback.

Step 13: Review, edit and send. Take the time to review and edit your proposal to ensure it is clear, concise, and error-free. Print out copies of your proposal and deliver them to the appropriate parties. If you are submitting your proposal electronically, be sure to save it in a PDF format.

Step 14: Follow up. Follow up with the reader to see if they have an