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A business proposal is a document that invites a potential client in hopes of winning a project. It outlines a firm’s product or service offering. Also, it explains how you can solve their problems, at what cost you can solve them, what the timeline is, and what your qualifications are, including your traditions and prior experience. Creating a business proposal requires research that determines what to include in your proposal draft.

Instead of seeking an investor for your business, a business proposal assists you in seeking new customers.

Business plan and business proposal – the difference

The term business plan and business proposal are sometimes used as synonyms; however, they are very different. A business plan refers to the growth strategy; it documents the roadmap to begin a new business or grow an existing one. In contrast, a business proposal looks at a potential customer by providing bids. A business proposal is a sales document that includes all necessary information like an estimate, quotes, and bids.

10 steps to create a business proposal

Before creating a business proposal, you must know the company. If they already sent a request for proposal (RFP), read it carefully; then only you know what they want. If you call them, you can see the problem they are trying to solve. So, face-to-face contact will make you create a precise business proposal. After you complete your research, you can start creating a business proposal.

Gathering essential information to create a business proposal tends to be complex because different clients may need additional details. For example, some may only require a proposed solution and price, while others need client reference lists, company history, and work samples.

There are primarily two types of business proposals; UNSOLICITED BUSINESS PROPOSALS and SOLICITED BUSINESS PROPOSALS.

As the name suggests, unsolicited business proposals request your offerings even if they don’t request you for a solution. In contrast, solicited business proposals are requested by a potential customer seeking a solution. To make your proposal professional and attractive, use ready-made business proposal templates and edit according to your need. That will help you stand out from the competition.

Check out the steps to create a business proposal

1. Start with a cover page

On the title page, you have to include some basic information. First, introduce your business model and your business. It’s like a resume, so include your name, company name, date, and the name of the client you are submitting the request to. This cover page should reveal your professionalism, so create it aesthetically appealing, well-organized, and clear.

2. Create a table of contents

Make a table listing the content of your proposal. A solid UX is virtually valuable when someone goes through with your submission. People need readable proposals, so you must make things as accessible and simple as possible.

It allows the client to know exactly what will be covered in the business proposal. If your proposal is in electronic or digital form, try to include a clickable table of content that enables quick jumping to each section. In the table of content, you can include the following things:

  • Executive summary
  • Event Overview
  • Qualifications
  • Recommended Services
  • Price list
  • Terms and Conditions

3. Executive summary

Frame an organized executive summary that explains why you are sending the proposal and explain why your solution is the best for the potential customer. The purpose of the executive summary lies in clarifying why you are the best choice for them.

Your executive summary should be like a value proposition; it outlines the advantages of your products/services and how they fit to solve your customer’s problem. After they read your executive summary, they should have a precise idea about your products/services, and with this, they would understand how you’ll be able to help them, even if they don’t have the time to read the entire proposal.

4. Define the need

In this section, you can provide a snippet of the problem that impacts the potential client. Here, you can state their needs by showing them you understand their requirements or the problem they need help fixing. Be a cynic to know their needs and must do your homework.

5. Design your proposed solution

The proposed solution contains product quantities, materials, staff assignments, and the customer’s problem statement. The same should be included in the scope of work section. Besides, in this section, you offer a strategy for solving the problem. Make sure this statement is specifically created to match the client’s needs.

6. Specify your qualifications

Why are you the best option for the job? In these sections, you should give a detailed note on why they should trust you. For example, what are your specialties in solving a particular problem? To gain their trust, you can include case studies of client success stories and specify what accolades you have been awarded from reputed clients.

7. Timeline

Mention how long you anticipate it to take to finish the order. Mention your points and take responsibility for providing products/services according to your expectations.

8. Include price estimates

Figure out your price calculation and present it to the potential client. Create a table and itemize it to show where the price comes from. Make clear how each item is priced. For example, if you, a service provider, cite your price quoted hourly, weekly, monthly, or annual.

9. Create a summary

Simplify the above-said sections by providing a final section. In this section, briefly summarize the proposal. Then, give a short note on your qualification again, and repeatedly say why you would be the best choice. Finally, mention when you will be available for a chat and provide your contact details to let them keep touching you.

10. Share your terms and conditions.

This is where you provide details about pricing, project timeline, and payment schedules. It would be a summary of what you expect from the client if they agree to your proposal. Before drafting your terms and conditions, discuss them with your legal team.

Apart from these, you can include a cover letter and a space for signatures to document the agreement. This is also an opportunity to form a prompt for the potential client to reach out to you if they have any unreciprocated questions you can address.