Writing a business proposal can seem scary at first but with patience, research and the will to get it right, you can write a very good proposal. The kind of proposal that actually gets you that job, contract, business and so on.
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Firstly, you want to think about the person(s) who will be read your proposal and how you want your business to be perceived. A lot of people don’t put enough effort into writing proposals. Thus, downplaying the value of their business. Writing a good proposal does not necessarily mean writing an excessively long document. You do not want an executive reading half way and putting it in a pile. That said, you want to take your time crafting the proposal and the length depends on what you are proposing.
You might be writing a proposal to a prospective client to get a specific job or in response to an RFP (Request for Proposal). In both cases, you will need to do a good amount of research so the client is aware of how your business can offer value.
Getting leads for your business is good, but not every lead deserves a proposal. If you send proposals to every lead you get, you might be wasting the time and resources of your team. The majority of your proposal efforts should go towards clients and projects that are right for you. These are some research touch points to help you determine if you should write that proposal.
- Does this prospect fit our expertise?
- Can our services solve their problems?
- What kind of budget would they have for such a project and can we work with it?
- Are we talking to the decision maker?
Specifically for RFPs, you need to study it intimately, understand the project and evaluate your capabilities to execute the job. In the case of RFPs, your proposal will be in competition with other proposals. There are usually well-defined formats and requirements specific such projects. So you want to make sure your resources are suited for this kind of project in line with the needs of the company.
Once you are certain your business is right for the project now you need to write a winning proposal. Do your research on other companies who have completed similar projects and the company itself.
- Get the scope for the management and execution of similar projects
- Try to get an inside scoop on the company’s expectations for project timeline and delivery
- Try to find the right balance between a workable budget and the company’s probable budget.
- After all these you should be able to find how your business can offer the most value.
Your proposal cover is the first thing that will be seen so you should make sure it is well designed. Your cover could be expressive of conservative depending on your industry, you have to find the balance. It should contain
- The name of the project.
- Any project reference numbers.
- Name of the client and contact to whom you’re submitting.
- Name of your company and contact info.
- Date proposal was submitted.
This where present your company’s mission statement and vision. You should try to outline how your brand lines up with that of the client. It is your first chance to sell your company and what separates you from the others, include any company achievements.
The length of the introduction should be based on the duration of the project. You will only need to include your business values and standing for a long-term contract.
This where you show the client your approach towards solving the problem and why your company’s approach is the best. You want your reader to read this section and come out with conclusions that resonate. You want them to think twice before even considering another approach
Table of Contents:
You should add a table of contents if your business proposal is quite lengthy, it will help navigate the reader towards the key parts. Keeping in mind, your business proposal should not be too lengthy.
The body is where everything comes together. The body of your proposal should specify everything about the project undertaking. This is where you elaborate on your approach to the project. Highlight everything from the execution process to the management and timeline as earlier mentioned. Include details like personnel, location, pricing and general scope. Try to mention specific details of your company’s general approach and the special approach you will be taking towards this project. You want the client to feel like this project is all your company is paying special attention to this project.
Make sure to be clear direct and clear on what you are offering and what the client should expect from you.
Try to end on a high note with your conclusion. It’s your final chance to help make your client’s mind up. Summarize the key points of your approach, values and execution. Include case studies and testimonials if you have them. Try to make your deliverables sound believable and point out why you would be perfect for the project. Remember you want them to call you after this to set the tone for the next course of action.
Editing your business proposal is another important thing. Try to have another set of eyes look at it, preferably professional, even if you have gone over it.
You can now submit your business proposal and endeavour to do some follow up with anyone at the company to help you monitor progress.