10 Steps to Write a Better Business Proposal

10 Steps to Write a Better Business Proposal

Niti Samani
Niti Samani
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
10 Steps to Write a Better Business Proposal
10 Steps to Write a Better Business Proposal

With the inception of the business, comes other activities like fund management, inventory management, sales and marketing and revenue growth.

The business, along with its employees work on designing a business proposal that is sent by the business to a prospective client to obtain a specific job.

This article aims to cover business proposals and how to write them better.  

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What is meant by a Business Proposal?

A business proposal is a written sales document to convince a prospective client to accept the job or to let the company use their services.
Business Proposal
Business Proposal

A business proposal is a sales document that includes information like scopes, estimates, bids, quotes, completion dates and timelines.

Unlike estimates, a business proposal is more detailed to win the complicated jobs and services. Business proposals are also more specific in their promises and hence do not give approximate pricing and scope as estimates give.

The business proposal can be solicited or unsolicited. When the customer has asked for the proposal verbally or in a written format known as Request for Proposals (RFP), it is known as a solicited business proposal.

However, when a business sends the customer a proposal they have not asked for, it is known as an unsolicited business proposal.

Solicited business proposals are tailored to the customer’s needs, with a tone that makes the customer choose your business over other competitors.

Unsolicited business proposals are however those which are unanticipated by the customers and competitors. Due to this, they need to be especially convincing. If won, unsolicited proposals are worth the risks.

Why do you Need a Business Proposal?

A business proposal is needed for the following reasons:

Why do you Need a Business Proposal?
Why do you Need a Business Proposal?

To Make Realistic Plans and Forecasts

Writing a business proposal will make the business look deeply into all the challenges, risks and even opportunities. This will ensure that the business does not miscalculate when it will break even.

A correct calculation of all the operating expenses against the revenues and funding will lead the business to forecast its future activities.

Writing a business proposal will hence make the business focus most on the worst- case scenarios and then on the best- case scenario.

To Secure Funding

For a business to run, funding are as important as revenues. A smooth flow of both leads to a smoothly running business which is essential for its success.

Writing a business proposal will help in proving to prospective investors the benefits of investing in your business.

Business proposals will also demonstrate how your products and services are different and why customers would want to buy from you.

A business proposal will find the best part of its business with respect to the investor’s wants and expectations.

To Give Direction and Structure to the Business

A business proposal gives a concrete structure to the business. It draws down the entire layout on how to take the business in the direction you want.

This direction and structure are given by the business proposal through taking decisions like cash flows, marketing and personnel.

A business proposal also gives the basis through which to monitor the business’s performance. This leads to making adjustments in the functioning as and when required, making the business flexible.

A flexible business with proper resources management leads it to its success.

To Identify the Strengths and Weaknesses

When writing a business proposal, SWOT analysis of the business is carried out. A SWOT analysis is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

This analysis makes the business factor in even those changes which are beyond its control.

An understanding of the business along these lines ensures that it can adapt its functioning to make the most of the strengths and opportunities and mitigate the effects of weaknesses and threats.

To Put Everyone on the Same Page

A business proposal ensures that all the levels of its organization are on the same page.

A collective understanding of the business’s strategies, goals and values help in preventing misunderstandings. This aids in furthering the business’s objectives and its success.

What does a Business Proposal consist of?

A business is surrounded by untapped potential all around it. Tapping into this potential will benefit the products and services of the business, and lead to more revenue gains.

Business proposals will help your business reach your potential base. Business proposals will act as the bridge between you and your clients. A strong business proposal will hence highlight your value proposition and convince the client to do business with you

The business proposal should be simple, clean, easy to read and a representation of your brand. It should not have any types or glaring grammatical errors (you can make use of Grammarly to help you eliminate grammar mistakes).

Irrespective of whether it is solicited or unsolicited, a strong business proposal should include:

  • A statement of the problem that the organization is facing
  • Proposed solution
  • Pricing information

10 Steps to Write a Better Business Proposal?

Writing a business proposal is a strategic and analytical art. How well a business proposal is written will determine how convinced the customers are, and thus the revenue of the business.

If it is a solicited business proposal, you should carefully read the Request for Proposal as submitted by the client to carefully understand their needs. An initial call can also be taken with the client to understand their needs better.

10 Steps to Write a Better Business Proposal
10 Steps to Write a Better Business Proposal

Hence, there is no common format for a business proposal. But the most important elements that each of them should include are:

Title Page

The title page should include basic information like your name, your company’s name, date of submission of the proposal, name of the client that you are submitting the proposal to.

The title page represents you and sets the tone for your proposal. It should hence be engaging and professional. A good title page is sleek, uncluttered and aesthetically appealing.

Table of Contents

A business proposal needs to be as simple and accessible to the clients as possible. The table of contents ensures this.

A table of contents informs your potential client what is included in your business proposal.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

In the case of an electronic business proposal, the table of contents should be clickable to facilitate easy navigation and reading.

Executive Summary

The key to writing a good executive summary lies in how specific it is. An executive summary should include details on why you are sending your proposal and why it is the best option for your prospective client.

Executive Summary
Executive Summary

The executive summary highlights the benefits of your products and services and how it gives a solution to your client’s problems.

An executive summary should be such that your potential client should know how you will be able to help them, even without reading the whole proposal.

Stating the Client’s Problem/Need

This is the section where you mention the client’s problem or need and how it is impacting them. This is a way of showing your clients that you have understood their problem/need correctly.

Stating the Client’s Problem/Need
Stating the Client’s Problem/Need

This section would be written in such a way that it makes the client compelled to read further. It should also set up a base for the solution that you will propose next.

Propose a Solution

This is the section where you propose a solution to the client’s problem/need. It needs to be written in a personalized yet specific manner.

Propose a Solution
Propose a Solution

The solution proposed should be customized to the client’s needs. It should include what you will provide them, the methods you will use and a time- frame by when they should expect its execution.

Share your Qualifications

In this section, you show your prospective client why you are the right person for them.

Share your Qualifications
Share your Qualifications

To do so, share your qualifications, any awards/accolades won and case studies of the client’s success stories.

Give Pricing Options

As a business, you should ensure that you do not under-price or over-price your products and services.

Give Pricing Options
Give Pricing Options

Ideally, an option of different pricing segments with their different products/services should be shared with your client. This will have a higher probability of matching your client’s requirements and you getting your business.

Terms and Conditions

This is the section that mentions all that you and your client would be agreeing to if your proposal is accepted.

It includes details about the project timeline, pricing and payment schedules.

You must get this section run by your legal team before sharing it with your client.

Include a Space for Signatures to Document Agreement

This is a prompt for your client to reach out to you if they have any unanswered questions.

Include a Space for Signatures to Document Agreement
Include a Space for Signatures to Document Agreement

It is important to let the client know what they are agreeing to before they sign the document.

Including signatures in the business proposal makes it a business agreement when signed.

Clear, Thoughtful and Effective Tone

A business proposal needs to be thoughtful, effective and includes hard quantitative data to show your credibility.

The business proposal should be rich and engaging. If it is electronic, it should include videos and auditory communicators to make an impression.

The business proposal should have a clear call to action with an opportunity for your clients to explore your other upper-tier opportunities.

The business proposal should be simple, clean, easy to read and a representation of your brand.

Lastly, it should be formulated in a manner that exceeds your prospective client’s expectations and removes all the obstacles along the way. Such a business proposal would lead the business to win the deal.


What is the Difference between a Business Plan and a Business Proposal?


Business Plan

Business Proposal

Focus

Business Plan focuses on business goals and how to achieve them. It covers ideation till execution of the planning. 

Business Proposal focuses on solving prospective client’s challenges. 

Key Elements

Business Plan’s key elements are: Business model, marketing strategy and financial projection.

Business Proposal’s key elements are: Products/services, benefits, company information, pricing information and structure

Purpose

The purpose of a business plan is to record and convey information, attract investors and gather funds.

The purpose of a business proposal is to generate sales.

Document Type

Business plan is an internal document. 

Business proposal is an external document.

Shareability

The business plan can be shared with the numerous stakeholders. 

The business proposal is shared only with the target group. 

Scope

Business plans have a vast scope. 

Business proposals have a limited scope.

Time-Bound

Business plans are for the future. They have long term goals with a scope to make changes in them as needed.

Business proposals are for the present. It is a time sensitive document. 

Represents

Business Plan represents the factual description of the business. 

Business proposal represents a value proposition and a call to action. 

How does Deskera help in Writing a Better Business Proposal?

Deskera CRM is a cloud platform that stores and manages your leads and contacts. It hence is an ideal platform for managing your proposals too.

Deskera CRM
Deskera CRM

Your business proposal can be incorporated in the Deskera sales pipeline stages. This will make it more convenient to track the proposal activities. The stages of the sales pipeline can be customized as per your needs.

Customizing Sales Pipeline on Deskera CRM
Customizing Sales Pipeline on Deskera CRM

It will also facilitate the movement of prospective clients through the different stages of the sales pipeline.

Moving Clients through Different Stages of Sales Pipeline on Deskera CRM
Moving Clients through Different Stages of Sales Pipeline on Deskera CRM

What will further help you would be the real-time insights that the Deskera CRM platform provides. Using these insights, you can know your business's strengths, weaknesses as well as forecast the opportunities and threats. Further business activities could be planned accordingly.

The insights would also show the areas that are faring nicely and badly. Working upon these areas accordingly will ensure larger profits, customer retention and a happier work environment for your business.

Deskera CRM
Use Deskera CRM to build a better business proposal

Key Takeaways

Starting and managing a business is no easy task. It has several processes and stages that need to be looked after. Writing business proposal is one of the most important process of your business.

Unlike Business Plan which is an internal document, a business proposal is an external document that is mainly aimed at securing business deals. To secure business deals, business proposals are needed to,

  • Make Realistic Plans and Forecasts
  • Secure Funding
  • Give Direction and Structure to the Business
  • Identify the Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Put Everyone on the Same Page

The 10 steps to writing a better business proposal which will determine the long time health of the business are,

  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Stating the Client’s Problem/Need
  • Propose a Solution
  • Share your Qualifications
  • Give Pricing Options
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Include a Space for Signatures to Document Agreement
  • Clear, Thoughtful and Effective Tone

These are the keys of the business plans and proposals, an understanding and application of which will ensure a smooth and successful business.

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