How does one write a perfect business proposal? Why do some entrepreneurs spend hours and energy trying to craft the best proposal, and getting no result in the end, while others send just one and get a contract, investment or whatever it is they bid for. Is it just ‘connection’ or is there something the winning proposal has that others don’t? Have you ever thought about it? In this article, I will show you how to write a business proposal that gets you a win every time, 10/10!
A proposal is one of the most important documents you will learn to write as an entrepreneur. Most people shy away from it because it could very challenging, some confuse it with a business plan and get stuck trying to put together all the statistics and numbers, while others choose to outsource the entire thing, spending their hard-earned cash in the process. It is critical that you learn how to write a business proposal so that, even if you choose to outsource it, at least you understand what goes into the document and you can review it to suit your future needs. First of all…
What is a business proposal and how is it different from a business plan?
A business proposal is a document that offers a particular service or product to potential clients or buyers. It is often used interchangeably with business plan and so people believe that they are the same thing but in reality, they are not. While a business proposal offers a particular service, product or business idea to attract investors or clients, a business plan is a detailed road map showing that business’ feasibility and how to meet its goals.
While a business plan is very detailed, usually many pages long and carries a lot of numbers and statistics, a business proposal is concise, straight to the point, only a few pages long and has the singular goal of getting the next person interested enough in what you are saying to want to sit down with you and have a chat or take a look at your business plan.
Why is learning how to write a business proposal so important?
Think of it like this. If you have a business idea, for example, and you need Globacom to invest in (fund) your idea. You send a proposal telling them what your business is about, what you need them to do and what they gain by investing in your idea. If they are interested, then they ask for and you send them a detailed business plan showing the feasibility and long-term success plan of the business. If your proposal does not do enough to get their interest, they may not ask for your business plan, no matter how perfect it is. That is the reason knowing how to write a business proposal is so important.
Your proposal speaks for you in your absence, you might not be in the room when your proposal is being discussed and considered. This could mean the difference between success and failure of your aim.
How to write a business proposal – 5 Important details to note
- Have a registered business name: and use that business name throughout the proposal except where you have to sign. Corporate organizations don’t relate or discuss business with individuals. To get the attention of organizations or government, you need to have a registered company. If not, none of them would take you seriously. Getting your business registered is really simple. I wrote this article to guide you through the process. When you register your business name, create your logo and use it on the document. You could hire a graphics expert to design your logo for a small fee.
- Do your research: find out everything you can about your potential client. What is their mission and goal? What problems do they face and how does your proposition help them solve the problem? People only listen to you if your idea helps them fill a need or problem – keep this in mind. If your proposition does not help a client fill a particular need, you need to reconsider your pitch.
- Keep your proposal short and precise: yours probably won’t be the only proposal they have to consider. Keep it short, simple and attach only important details. Make sure your title and the first sentence are captivating enough to hold the interest of the reader.
- Put yourself in the place of the company/reader: if you were the reader and someone presented that proposal to you, what would you like to see? What areas of problem and solution would you like the proposal to discuss? What tone and structure would you like the proposal to carry? People often turn down requests because what they like to hear does not appear. This is where doing your research becomes important because you need to know what challenges and problems they face and how best to solve them.
- Why should they choose you? There are probably other proposals they have to consider. Why should they refuse others and choose yours? Highlight your skills, talents and experience at handling such issues. A brief profile of yourself or your company and what best qualifies you for the job
A winning business proposal needs to have three basic elements. I call them the 3 Ps: The problem, the proposed solution and the pricing information. You need to show to the client that you understand clearly what the problem is that you are trying to solve. You should state enough to show that you also have the solution to the problem. When you know the problem and you have the solution, the pricing information states your fee or, if you are looking for funding, your profit-sharing formula. When you have the 3 Ps, you need a tool to help you put it all together.
One of the best ways to draft a business proposal is to use a software or download a template and edit to suit your particular needs. Pandadoc.com has lots of proposal templates for different situations. It comes in handy because you would not need to learn how to write a business proposal (every word) from scratch, which could be very challenging. You can also download a trial version of Proposal Pack Wizard for free – it is one of the best proposal applications I ever came across.
I have to warn you though, while using a template or software, make sure to add your own touches and keep your proposal unique. You are probably not the only one using that same software or template and it doesn’t help when your proposal looks like it was copied.
Consistent perfect practice makes perfect. Why not give it a go? Draft a sample business proposal now using the above information. If you have written one before, compare what you have now with what you had before? What is the difference? Do you have further questions on how to write a business proposal? I would love to know about it. Let me know in the comment box. Cheers!