The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Winning Business Proposal [Examples + Template]

What is a Business Proposal?

A business proposal is a written document that outlines the plan for a business or project. It presents a solution to a problem or need, and aims to convince a potential client or partner to choose your company over competitors.

Types of Business Proposals

Not all business proposals are the same. The type of proposal you create will vary depending on the project and the intended audience. Here are some common types:

  • Formally Solicited Proposal: Created in response to a request for proposal (RFP) or request for quote (RFQ) from a client.
  • Informally Solicited Proposal: Created without a formal request from the client, but in response to an identified need or problem.
  • Unsolicited Proposal: Created by the business without an expressed need from the client. Its purpose is to attract the client's attention and establish a relationship.

How to Write a Business Proposal

Ready to create your business proposal? Follow these steps:

1. Begin with a title page.

The title page should include your company name, the proposal title, the date, and the client's name and contact information.

2. Create a table of contents.

For longer proposals, a table of contents can help the reader navigate the document.

3. Explain your 'why' with an executive summary.

The executive summary should provide an overview of the proposal that highlights the key benefits and value proposition of your solution.

4. State the problem or need.

Describe the problem or need that your proposal aims to solve. Demonstrate your understanding of the issue and its impact on the client.

5. Propose a solution.

Present your proposed solution and how it addresses the problem or need. Explain why your approach is better than other solutions that the client may be considering.

6. Share your qualifications.

Outline your credentials, experience, and expertise that make your company the best fit for the project. Include relevant case studies and testimonials to further demonstrate your capabilities.

7. Include pricing options.

Provide pricing information and options for the client to choose from, including any associated costs or fees.

8. Summarize with a conclusion.

Recap the key benefits and value proposition of your solution, and summarize why your company is the best fit for the project.

9. Clarify your terms and conditions.

Include any necessary legal or business terms and conditions for the project, such as payment schedules, warranties, and delivery timelines.

10. Include a space for signatures to document agreement.

Make it easy for the client to accept your proposal by providing a signature space and instructions for signing and returning the document.

Business Proposal Templates

If you're not sure where to start, there are many resources available for business proposal templates that you can customize for your needs. Some popular options include:

Business Proposal Example

Example Proposal:

How to Write an Effective Business Proposal

This example proposal from the MaRS Discovery District provides a detailed breakdown of the different components of a business proposal, including goals & objectives, methodology, timeline, team, and more.

Business Proposal Ideas

Ready to take your business proposal to the next level? Here are some creative ideas to make your proposal stand out:

1. Start with an outline.

Use an outline or mind map to organize your ideas and create a visual overview of your proposal.

2. Include data and visuals.

Use charts, graphs, and other visual aids to illustrate key points and data that support your proposal.

3. Add social proof.

Include testimonials, case studies, and examples of successful projects to demonstrate your credibility and experience.

4. Incorporate video into your proposal.

Use video to introduce your team and showcase your company's culture and values.

5. Use a call-to-action.

Include a clear call-to-action that encourages the client to take the next step, such as scheduling a meeting or signing a contract.

6. Include upsell and add-on opportunities.

Suggest additional services or products that could provide added value to the client and increase your revenue.

7. Create a sense of urgency.

Use language that creates a sense of urgency and emphasizes the need for action, such as limited time offers or exclusive opportunities.

8. Keep it simple.

Avoid using technical jargon or industry-specific terms that could confuse or overwhelm the client.

9. Make the decision for them.

Make it easy for the client to say yes by providing clear instructions on how to proceed with the proposal.

10. Stay on brand.

Ensure that your proposal reflects your company's brand image and messaging.

11. Quality control.

Proofread and edit your proposal carefully to ensure that it is error-free and consistent in tone and messaging.

Let Your Business Proposal Do The Talking

A well-crafted business proposal can be the difference between winning or losing a potential client or partner. Follow these tips and best practices to create a winning proposal that showcases your strengths and competitive edge.