How to Write a Proposal and Get What You Want (Free Templates)
A proposal has a lot of different purposes, but there’s only one good way to write one: the way that pulls together all of the information in a concise and persuasive way and helps you get what you want … whether that’s a whole new software system, or just a tweak to your marketing strategy.
This Process Street article isn’t about a business proposal — also known as a quote — but instead about the document required when formally pitching an idea for action and execution by managers or department heads .
To explain how to write a proposal document and get what you want, we’ll go through the following:
Free proposal writing template
When are proposals necessary, why are proposals important, examples of proposals, how to write a proposal: step-by-step, last steps before submitting the proposal, more free proposal writing checklists, even more free proposal writing checklists, customize your proposal checklists with process street.
Let’s get started.
If you fancy taking a quick look at a free interactive template, that will help you write your proposals right away, feel free to dive straight into this!
Writing a Proposal: Step-by-Step Guide
There are more templates, like this one, further down in this post, so stick around.
Any project you don’t have the clearance or authority to start without a higher-up’s approval, you need to submit a proposal for.
According to SSWM , a proposal is “a detailed description of a series of activities aimed at solving a certain problem”.
That problem could be anything, from:
- Process improvement
- Cost reduction
- A new marketing strategy
If it’s an idea you need to ask permission to execute, or to get action on, it needs a proposal.
A proposal is a way to pitch an idea and state your requirements, so it’s important for supervisors because they can get information in writing (not casually in the elevator), and be able to act knowing the full implications of their decision.
They’re also a chance for you to make a structured, logical argument and lay down everything in favor of your idea. A well-written proposal shows your manager you care about the cause, and it’s not just a mid-meeting whim you blurted out.
To write a top proposal you need to scrutinize it before you present it.
It’s a broad topic, but it’s best explained with examples.
- Proposal for Process Improvement
- Proposal for Server Replacement
- Proposal for Cost Savings
Below is a simple proposal example with some basic sections.
Now let’s take a look at how to write a proposal — whether it’s as simple as the one above, or more complex.
Here’s the general structure of a proposal:
As you can see, a proposal generally consists of:
- Introduction : A brief overview of the problem, solution, costs, and benefits.
- Issue : The main definition of the issue, including subject, purpose, main argument, background information and importance.
- Solution : The main definition of the solution, including your step-by-step plan, the benefits, and how potential obstacles will be overcame.
- Qualifications : Overview of the personnel required, experience.
- Conclusion of the costs and benefits, and wrap-up : Balance the cost against the benefit, reinforce your point one last time.
1. Identify and define your reader
Just like with any kind of persuasion, it helps if you understand how to appeal to your audience. Who will be reading your proposal and deciding if it’s accepted or rejected? What do they care about? What kind of language and benefits would resonate with them? This is the first step because it’s an important thing to keep in mind as you go along and as information that informs the way you write from here on.
2. Define the problem your proposal will solve
Who : Who will the proposal affect?
What : What’s the reason for you to write the proposal in the first place? Explain the current situation and the problems that come with it.
3. Define the solution
How : How are you going to solve the problem? Explain step-by-step in detail.
Who : Identify the personnel you need, along with their prior experience to add persuasion to the proposal
4. Conclusion: costs, benefits and wrap-up
Reiterate : The purpose and main argument
Costs : Break down the projected costs involved for different elements of the project
Benefits : Break down the benefits to the organization, monetary and non-monetary, to persuade the reader there’ll be a return on investment
Thanks : Thank the reader for their time.
Contact information : Where can the reader get in touch with you? Make sure to be crystal clear to make the details easily discoverable.
Clear writing is your best friend when you’re trying to write persuasively. For that reason, there are a few checks to run before you submit your proposal.
Remember, what’s clear to you might not always be clear to other people.
1 .Check for jargon (then destroy it)
Although jargon is popular in the business world, not everyone shares the equal love for it. It’s terms like right-size, blue sky (verb), turn-key, and synergize. They might mean something to you, or make you feel intelligent, but there are simpler alternatives that will help people understand what you mean !
2. Change the passive voice to the active voice
The passive voice is defined as :
“The noun or noun phrase that would be the object of an active sentence (such as Our troops defeated the enemy) appears as the subject of a sentence with passive voice (e.g. The enemy was defeated by our troops).”.
It’s a long-winded way of expressing something that could be expressed in simple terms:
The passive voice sounds distant and even deceptive, and, since the reader might even just be skimming your proposal, you don’t want to add extra words to cloud your point.
3. Proofread the proposal
Install a tool like Grammarly and check the proposal in an online text editor. Grammarly will manage to pick up on anything that is grammatically incorrect and sometimes even flags up stylistically poor phrases. Poor spelling and grammar will only discredit the value of what you’re saying and could be a problem that leads to your proposal being rejected.
As promised, check out the below five templates that have each been designed by the team at Process Street — makers of the finest remote work software for processes around — to help you write winning proposals.
Proposal Template Checklist Process
This proposal template is a checklist that should be used alongside the proposal document you are planning to submit. Use it to make sure that all the elements have been considered, that the proposal contains everything it needs to and that it meets all set requirements.
Click here to access the Proposal Template Checklist Process!
Business Proposal Template Checklist
Whether your business proposal is solicited or unsolicited, use this business proposal template checklist to ensure you include all the required information in your proposal and cover key areas such as these the problem the organization is facing, the proposed solution, the budget, and a key CTA.
Click here to access the Business Proposal Template Checklist!
How to Write a Grant Proposal Checklist
Use this template to make sure your grant proposal includes all the relevant information, that it contains everything it needs to, and that it meets all stated RFP requirements.
Click here to access the How to Write a Grant Proposal Checklist!
Research Proposal Example Checklist
Use this template to convince others that you have a worthwhile research project and that you have the competence and the work-plan to complete it.
Click here to access the Research Proposal Example Checklist!
Project Proposal Template Checklist
Use this template, alongside the proposal document you are planning to submit, to set the project vision, define the project requirements, describe the deliverables, and specify the deadlines.
Click here to access the Project Proposal Template Checklist!
If you’re looking for more inspiration, give these alternative proposal writing templates a go too.
- Bid Proposal Template Checklist
- Budget Proposal Template
- Construction Proposal Template Checklist
- Consulting Proposal Template Checklist
- Continuation Project Proposal Template
- Contractor Proposal Template Checklist
- Event Proposal Template Checklist
- Marketing Proposal Template Checklist
- Project Proposal Template
- Renewal Project Proposal Template
- Simple Proposal Format Checklist
- Sponsorship Proposal Template Checklist
- Supplemental Project Proposal Template
- Website Proposal Template Checklist
If the above templates don’t quite fit your company, industry, or the proposal document you are writing, don’t worry!
Process Street to the rescue!
Process Street is super-powered checklists . We are a super-charged, state of the art BPM SaaS platform which allows you to create templates and run individual checklists from these. You can check tasks off as you work through them, set deadlines, request approvals, assign various tasks , and work through your proposal workflows with ease.
Watch this to get an idea about who we are and what we do:
To help you customize your proposal writing template, and make your proposal wriitng easier, you can use all these different types of Process Street features:
- Dynamic due dates
- Task permissions
- Conditional logic
- Approval tasks
- Embed widget
- Role assignments
You can also connect your templates to thousands of apps through Zapier , webhooks, or API access to automate your proposal processes and workflows.
If you’re unfamiliar with process automation, what it means, and the benefits it can bring to your business, watch this Process Street webinar on automation:
Remember, if you want to get access to any of our proposal writing checklists, just click the links above and they will be added to your Process Street account where you can use them over and over again. Or, if you haven’t yet signed up for a Process Street account, click here and start your free trial.
Has this guide helped you out? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
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Benjamin Brandall is a content marketer at Process Street .
I am strongly looking forward to learning how to write a proposal, thanks
Thanks Honar, it’s an honor to have you here 😉
I am looking forward to learning how to write a great proposal. Thanks for posting this site.
Practice makes perfect, just keep it up and you will get there!
Looking forward for you to checklist and using it to edit my proposal…. thx a lot
Awesome, and remember you can sign up for a free account for life, no credit card required to run up to 5 checklists for proposals or anything else!. Check out more about Process Street here: https://www.process.st/product/
I really loved your paper on how to write a proposal. I looked up others and found total satisfaction when I came across yours! Thanks again Tanya Palacios
We are very pleased to hear that.
thanks a lot for helping me understand proposal writing more clearly. Am very grateful.
Of course, proposal writing can be tricky, but if you follow the templates we provide you will quickly see it’s not that difficult. Proposals follow the same structure most of the time, once you learn that structure it’s easy to create proposals quickly.
Very nice and excellent advice and coaching on proposals writing. I will always keep in touch for more information.
Excellent writing Benjamin. Definitely agree with the destroying jargons part. There’s no need for these kinds of words for project proposals. Anyway, here’s an informative step-by-step guide that I’d like to share regarding writing project proposals: https://www.freenvoices.com/how-to-write-project-proposal . I believe that this will complement your well-written article and your readers too. 🙂
Great post Evatt, thanks for sharing!
I am in the process of drafting a proposal for a multi-million deal. Looking forward to getting pointers to make my proposal a seller!
After reading your post,it now became crystal clear that proposals are not easy…But thanks alot. You’re a good teacher
Hey Vitalis, yes they take some practice but you will get there. Just keep it up!
i want to write proposal for study PhD but i dont know how to write it can you send to me example thank you very much best regards
Hi Mays, There’s some good advice here in regards to writing a PhD proposal: https://www.findaphd.com/advice/finding/writing-phd-research-proposal.aspx
My personal advice would be to really demonstrate strength when outlining your methodology. This section is a great opportunity to display deep knowledge of methodological approaches and their academic grounding. Make sure to cite the foundational texts for the approach you want to take and to reference current academic discussions pertinent to your particular application of that approach. If you can find a recently published PhD thesis which takes a similar methodological approach to you own then you can read through their methodology section to give yourself both inspiration and a great starting point for building a methodology reading list for yourself.
Best of luck!
Además, asimismo desarrolla otros proyectos de formación en línea sobre marketing digital y nuevas tecnologías con la finalidad de instruir a emprendedores de qué forma crear un proyecto digital para vender sus conocimientos.
Your blog is very informative. Nice you tried to provide a crystal clear information on this topic!
Nice one, at least have got an idea now about proposal writing
Appreciate the guidelines on how to write an explicit formal proposal.
You are most welcome Ogoh, we’d love any feedback you may have in the future!
Appreciate for providing knowledge on proposal writing
I’m really happy to learn from this paper.I’ve increased my knowledge in proposal writing.Thanks
Wow! You’re really doing a nice work, really haven’t got it detailed and simplified before.
Nice job. I am a professional proposal writer in lagos Nigeria and I must confess that you have done a good job on this article. I learnt a few new things. Keep up the god work
Thanks Mr Sam, always good to have the support of an expert.
the explanation is very complete I am happy to be able to find articles on various types of letters and I can learn here thanks for all the articles
We tried our best Zaki, thanks for the kind words
nice suggestions. thanks
Thanx for the great work U have done towards my exprienc on Proposal writing.May God bless U.
You did a great job in outlining all the nitty-gritty of writing a great proposal in this article. Kudos!
Thank for sharing this knowledge
It was a pleasure!
Write a comment…great work but I need a proposal on how to start car wash business inside school
Thank you for the little experience I have achieved on proposal writing. Can you give me a broad idea on a proposal I wan to write, I want to do a Clean City proposal…
Hey Darious, check out these posts we wrote on sustainability: https://www.process.st/corporate-sustainability/ https://www.process.st/sustainable-business/
so grateful for the information.
Very happy to learn how to write a proposal from you.
Very happy to help you 🙂
Very informative, really appreciated your expertise. I learned quite a bit. Thank you, I’m all set, also number two (2.) Change the passive voice to the active voice is something for me to remember when I’m writing.
Yes that’s a great tip!
It is really great, I would like to know more about writing a great proposal about enhancing bank customer service
Sounds like an important project, you might also enjoy this post: https://www.process.st/enterprise-risk-management/
I sincerely appreciate you for this brilliant presentation. I still need to know more about the solicited proposals. Thanks!
I would like to know how to write a good proposal .
I’m looking forward to be the best in writing proposal, in the organization
Good luck with your endeavors Paul!
I want to learn how to write project proposals
I have an idea of how to write the proposal but would am unsure and would rather see what the experts have to say about it. Thanks!
I want to write a proposal to get a generator for my hospital as a back up
This piece has given me a clearer understanding on how to and what to look out for in writing a proposal. But I will be more grateful if u can give me a template and points on how to write a proposal to a state government to train their young people on drug abuse and how to minimize the current menace it is causing to our society. Thanks, it was a nice experience.
Glad to hear you liked it. We don’t have any templates specific to that use case, but we will look to create some more soon. Cheers, Adam
Glad you enjoyed the experience 🙂
Thanks very much for the well explained presentation.
Hello. This is very good and helpful, I need help to write a proposal for freelancing and content writing. Thanks
I’m not sure if this is what you’re looking for, but we have an article here about pitching to TechCrunch: https://www.process.st/write-for-techcrunch/
I hope it helps!
You are most welcome!
I never knew on how to write a proposal but now I have got something from you thank you. But I would like an example of a professional proposal …… as for me am writing a proposal on the need to make clubs for youth of East Africa based science, technology and arts plz I need it very soon even today
We don’t currently have any examples for you, but we are working on a set of processes to follow to help people write proposals like these. It should be published in a few weeks.
For the time being, perhaps look at what different organizations say they want. Here are a few examples from the UK:
– Warwickshire Community And Voluntary Action (CAVA) have this document where they ask people to send them proposals to start youth programmes. They explain what they are looking for and how they will judge the proposal.
– Here is another example but this time from an organization in Manchester, UK. This has instructions and requirements, and you can use its specifications as inspiration for how to create your proposal.
I hope some of this makes the proposal writing process clearer.
Best of luck, Adam
This may also help: https://www.process.st/proposal-template/
Good luck with your proposal Naomi! Sounds like it’s for a great cause..
Thats great. I have learned alot thanks.
I need to know how to write a proposal writing. Can u give an example plzz…..
Hi Sapioamoa, you can find a collection of examples here: https://www.process.st/proposal-template/
I hope this helps! Adam
i thank you for that and now i am requesting for help, i am a student first year and my ambition is to help the orphans i would like you to help me how to write a proposal of that kind. thank you.
Hey Deo. It sounds like you’re doing great work. Check out these proposal templates . They should help you!
thank you so much sir
Living in a rural setting in Uganda- am writing a proposal to ask for financial donations to buy agricultural inputs, medical assistance etc for my community- this website has helped to put ideas together and to hopefully come out with a winner! Thank you!.
That’s great to hear we’ve been able to help! Best of luck Catherine!
am very greatful to receive such an skillful knowledge from you,but may i pls receive a sample of how to write a proposal for starting a small scale printing firm just in kenya.
thank you in advance
Thanks for the kind comment, Elijah. You might be able to find some more useful information in our most recent article about proposals (with lots more templates) here: https://www.process.st/proposal-template/
Nice one. Thanks for this.
Glad to hear it helped, Deji!
Glad you enjoyed this, Lillian! ⭐️
This is what i was looking for so long. Thanks for summing up all these informations about how to write a proposal. I’m really glad that you add these free template 🙂
Awesome, glad you enjoyed the templates. Was there a particular one that you found most helpful?
Are you still free to give feedback? Happy New Year btw.
Sure we are here to give feedback! Just leave your question about proposal writing in the comments and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
I feel this is among the most vital information for me.
And i’m glad reading your article. But want to statement on few normal things, The web site style is perfect, the articles is truly excellent : D. Excellent activity, cheers
Glad to hear you enjoyed it!
Hi,have learned a lot from you,could you please help me to write a proposal how to spend on projects in a christian organization Thanks
Not sure how that would be any different, but if you have a specific question about writing proposals I’d be happy to answer it 🙂
Thanks sir for your post. I’am very greatful to receive such an skillful knowledge from you
Any organization needs a visual identity these days. It includes a unique logo, colors, wordmark, typeface, and some visual elements like illustrations and iconography that makes a memorable first impression and sets the brand apart from the competitors.
Am glad to have gotten more ideas than I expected on how to write a proposal. All in one article.
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How to Write a Business Proposal [Examples + Template]
Published: December 05, 2023
Free Business Proposal Template
Propose your business as the ideal solution using our Free Business Proposal Templates.
Thank you for downloading the offer.
Here's what every new business owner needs: an extra 8 hours in the day, an endless supply of coffee, and, most importantly, a really strong business proposal.
A business proposal can bridge the gap between you and potential clients. Done correctly, and it will outline your value proposition and persuade a company or organization to do business with you.
Here, we'll take a look at the various kinds of business proposals and go over how to write one. We’ll also see some ideas and examples to help guide yours.
Know exactly what you need? Jump to one of the following sections:
What is a business proposal?
Types of business proposals, how to write a business proposal, business proposal templates, business proposal example, tips for writing a business proposal, business proposal ideas.
A business proposal is a formal document that’s created by a company and given to a prospect to secure a business agreement.
It's a common misconception that business proposals and business plans are the same. However, a proposal helps you sell your product or service — not your business itself.
Think of it this way: instead of assisting your search for investors to fund your business, a proposal helps you seek new customers.
Follow Along With HubSpot's Business Proposal Template
Download the Template for Free
There are two types of business proposals: unsolicited and solicited.
- Unsolicited Business Proposals : With unsolicited business proposals, you approach a potential customer with a proposal, even if they don't request one, to gain their business.
- Solicited Business Proposals : Solicited business proposals are requested by prospective clients so that they can decide whether to do business with your company.
In a solicited business proposal, the other organization asks for a request for proposal (RFP). When a company needs a problem solved, they invite other businesses to submit a proposal that details how they'd solve it.
Propose your business as the ideal solution using our Free Business Proposal Templates
- Problem summary
- Proposed solution
- Pricing information
- Project timeline
You're all set!
Click this link to access this resource at any time.
Fill out the form to get your template.
Whether the proposal is solicited or unsolicited, the steps to create your proposal are similar. Make sure it includes three main points:
- A statement of the organization's problem
- Begin with a title page.
- Explain your why with an executive summary.
- State the problem or need.
- Propose a solution.
- Share your qualifications.
- Include pricing options.
- Summarize with a conclusion.
Before writing your business proposal, it's crucial you understand the company. If they've sent you an RFP, make sure you read it carefully, so you know exactly what they want.
I recommend having an initial call or meeting with any new clients to ensure you fully understand their objectives. Ask open-ended questions to understand not just what they want, but why they want it.
Once you've done your research, it's time to begin writing your business proposal. While there's no one-size-fits-all approach to writing a business proposal, there's several elements most proposals include. (I designed this example business proposal using Canva .)
1. Begin with a title page.
You have to convey some basic information here. Introduce yourself and your business. Be sure to include:
- Your company's name
- The date you submitted the proposal
- The name of the client or individual you're submitting the proposal to
Your title page should reconcile engagement with professionalism. I think of it as your first tone-setter, so you need to make sure yours is sleek, aesthetically appealing, and not too "out there."
Here's an example of what a business proposal template looks like when done right:
The executive summary details exactly why you're sending the proposal and why your solution is the best for the prospective client.
Specificity is key here. Why are you the best choice for them?
Like a value proposition, your executive summary outlines the benefits of your company's products or services and how they can solve your potential client's problem.
After reading your executive summary, the prospect should offer a clear idea of how you can help them, even if they don't read the entire proposal. Here's what one should look like:
3. State the problem or need.
This is where you share a summary of the issue impacting the potential client. This is your opportunity to show them you understand their needs and the problem they need help solving.
In the example above, I included several signals to showcase my expertise – that I've been in the photography biz for 10 years, that I've worked with over 500 clients, and that I've been featured a number of publications.
As you approach this section, focus on presenting yourself as an authority. Consider leveraging tools like:
- Case studies
- Client testimonials
- Relevant awards
- Industry accreditations
6. Include pricing options.
Pricing is where things can get a bit tricky, as you don't want to under or over-price your product.
The pricing section of your proposal could include:
- A detailed pricing breakdown, including packages, tiers, and add-ons or optional services
- How product features and benefits align with pricing choices
- Pricing for different needs and budgets
- How your pricing compares with competitors
- An FAQ section to respond to anticipated objections and explain your pricing strategy
7. Summarize with a conclusion.
After sharing the above information, simplify it all into one final section.
- First, briefly summarize the proposal. Be sure to share your qualifications and why you’d serve as the best choice.
- Then, to prompt further conversation, confirm your availability to go over the next steps.
- At the end of the proposal, the goal is to have the client ready to work with you. So, be sure to offer your contact information for easy follow-up.
In need of some inspiration before you begin writing? Here are example business proposal templates from popular business proposal software companies you can use to help create your proposal.
1. HubSpot's Free Business Plan Templates
Download these Templates
We know how crucial a great business proposal is to your and your client’s success. That's why we've compiled 2 Free Business Proposal Templates for you to use and customize for any of your projects.
You'll gain access to a concise, one-page template (pictured above), as well as a longer template for you to refine your plan and proposal.
Download the templates now to get started on building your proposal.
What We Like
The one-page template is clear, straightforward, and easy to read — without skipping on the key elements of a business proposal. This format is especially useful for busy clients who appreciate brevity and clarity.
2. Web Design Proposal
With advertising on social networks projected to reach $82.23 billion dollars in 2025 , it's in your business's best interest to have a plan for growing your client's social media presence.
To help you in that effort, the information in this social media marketing proposal includes an executive summary to help introduce your high-level ideas, an assessment of the client’s company to show your diligence, and a breakdown of billing to show how your company charges for posting, content creation, and analytics.
This template includes all the bells and whistles of a social media proposal packaged in a fun yet professional design. It also includes helpful writing instructions under each section.
8. Content Marketing Proposal
Business proposal templates are helpful places to get started, but what should your business proposal look like when it's complete? This template should inspire you.
When pitching your content marketing services to clients, this template can help you organize your ideas. While it walks you through initial objectives and how to communicate your prospected results, one of the most helpful parts of this template is the pricing ideas it gives you when charging for your services.
In the business template example below, Social Portal Consulting (SPC) pitches a marketing proposal to Graphic Bean. At first sight, this proposal appeals to the creative. I recommend going a step forward and designing the layout in your or your client’s brand colors.
Besides the design, the social media icons quickly tell the prospect what platforms Social Portal is pitching. Because we see Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest icons, the client instantly knows that this proposal doesn’t include LinkedIn, YouTube, or other platforms.
While maintaining its design, this example outlines Social Portal Consulting’s plans efficiently. It begins by providing insight into Graphic Bean and its goals before elaborating on how SPC can leverage its expertise to help them achieve them.
This business proposal template includes an easy-to-follow timeframe for goals and objectives while keeping the client abreast of how payment will happen across the project.
Overall, this is an excellent example of how to combine the elements of social media marketing into a creative and concise business proposal. Finally, we'll leave you with some business proposal ideas to get you started on your own.
- Start with an outline.
- Keep it simple.
- Stay on brand.
- Quality control.
- Include data and visuals.
- Add social proof.
- Use a call-to-action.
- Create a sense of urgency.
- Make the decision for them.
- Incorporate video into your proposal.
- Include up-sell and add-on opportunities.
- Clarify your terms and conditions.
- Include a space for signatures to document agreement.
- Create a table of contents.
1. Start with an outline.
If you want to produce a thoughtful, effective business proposal, you need to have some idea of what you're hoping to achieve with it.
Before I dive into writing a proposal, I always outline the major sections of the proposal that I want to include. That way, I can stay focused and make sure my message stays intact as I write.
Use these free business proposal templates to make sure that your outline includes everything you need.
2. Keep it simple.
Ultimately, there's no definitive blueprint for how long a business proposal has to be. Yours should be however long it takes to convey the information you want to get across.
That said, I'm a firm believer in quality over quantity, especially when it comes to business proposals. Keep your sentences short and simple, and avoid including too much business jargon.
You want anyone who picks up your proposal to make sense of it. So, be straightforward and don't get too fancy. Aim for substance over flash.
3. Stay on brand.
Don't be afraid to let your company's personality shine through in your proposal. Stay true to your brand and show the client what sets you apart from your competitors.
4. Quality control.
I've made it a habit to add an editing/QA step in my writing process. During this step, I do a quick spelling and grammar check before hitting send.
So, as you draft your proposal, and after checking for the basics, keep scanning this document until it's just right.
Check to make sure your proposal:
- Meets client needs and expectations
- Highlights your value proposition
- Is well-structured and easy to read or skim
- Complies with legal, ethical, and regulatory requirements
- Looks professional and engaging
5. Include data and visuals.
You want your business proposal to capture your prospect's attention and help set you apart from any other ones they might have received. One of the best ways to do that is to include hard, quantitative data that helps stress the value of your business.
Use relevant, compelling figures that highlight what you have to offer. This can establish authority and make your proposal more convincing. It also helps to include visuals such as charts and graphs to enhance your proposal.
6. Add social proof.
From my experience, you can only be so convincing when you're personally talking up how great your business is — which is why adding social proof is key to establishing credibility.
At the end of the day, prospects are skeptical. They may not take you at your word. But they'll likely trust peers and fellow customers. That's why including elements like customer quotes and testimonials can go a long way.
7. Use a call-to-action.
I've learned that the best proposal in the world can only take you so far if you don't clearly define the next steps. That's why you have to make sure the reader knows what to do after reading your proposal.
A clear call-to-action is the best way to get there.
Define and highlight exactly what they should do to act on the interest your proposal has generated. Without that guidance, you might leave your reader in limbo.
HubSpot customers : Use this CTA builder to create powerful customized CTAs.
8. Create a sense of urgency.
No one wants to feel as if they missed out on a great opportunity. From my experience, prospect tend to drag their feet and put off making a decision if there isn't a sense of urgency.
So, as you create your business proposal, your goal should be to add a degree of urgency. When prospective clients read your business proposal they should feel that the best time to sign up for your service is now .
One way I accomplish this is by stating short and long-term goals for their business. They'll have to wait for the long-term goals, but I make the short-term goals so enticing that they'll be ready to begin a collaboration.
9. Make the decision for them.
Craft your copy in a way that seems like saying "no" to the proposal would be stepping over dollars to pick up pennies. Your offer should go above and beyond their expectations. Do everything in your power to remove friction and objections along the way.
10. Incorporate video into your proposal.
If you're creating an online proposal using document file formats like PDF, add multimedia elements. This will enhance the proposal experience, make your document richer, and keep them engaged.
Try adding a video at the beginning as an intro to your proposal. Or, put a video in the project breakdown to verbally discuss some of the more confusing parts.
Extras like this can make an impression. This tip works especially well with prospects who are visual or auditory communicators.
Pro tip : HubSpot Video makes it easy to record and embed video into a website or email for a big proposal boost.
11. Include up-sell and add-on opportunities.
They say you won't receive unless you ask. And readers won't explore the upper tiers of your solutions if you don't give them the opportunity.
So, share some upsells and add-ons about your business that they can act on. Call out a specific pain point and how this extra can add value.
With this step, balance is important. Show them everything your business has to offer without overwhelming your recipient.
12. Clarify your terms and conditions.
Your business proposal should include details on your project timeline and payment schedule. This summary is basically what you and the client agree to if they accept your proposal.
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How to Write Winning Business Proposals: Examples & Free Templates (2023)
By Aditya Sheth , May 25, 2023
The great Mark Cuban once said, “Sales cure all.” If a business doesn’t sell, it doesn’t make money and by extension the business fails. That’s why you need to write business proposals .
A well-written business proposal can often mean the difference between winning or losing a prospective client.
In this in-depth guide to creating business proposals, we show you how to close more deals, make more sales and crush your business goals — all by using easy-to-edit professional business proposal templates .
Here’s what this guide will cover (click to jump ahead):
What is a business proposal.
- How to write a business proposal step by step
What should you include in a business proposal?
Business proposal format, what are the types of business proposals, more business proposal examples + writing and design tips.
- FAQs about business proposals
Looking for a shortcut? Watch this quick video for an overview of everything to include in your business proposal:
An effective business proposal is a document used by a B2B or business-facing company (this may not always be the case) where a seller aims to persuade a prospective buyer into buying their goods or services.
A business proposal outlines what your business does and what you can do for your client . It can be general like this business proposal example:
Or it can be more specific, like this business proposal template which focuses on proposing a project for the Newton Center Rail:
Or this business proposal sample, which presents a plan for a social media strategy and campaign:
To design a business proposal that holds the client’s attention, identify their pain points . Then provide your buyer with the right solution to alleviate those frustrations.
Return to Table of Contents
How to write a business proposal step by step
Before you start creating your business proposal template, you need to know what it comprises. At a high level, your effective business proposal should include the following:
- Table of contents
- Executive summary
- The problem statement
- The proposed solution
- The timeline
Pricing, billing, and legal
- Terms and conditions
- The acceptance
Below, you can see business proposal examples that demonstrate how to include these 10 sections.
Business proposal title
A compelling title could mean the difference between someone reading your proposal or ignoring it in favor of a competitor’s.
What makes a good title page? Here are the essential elements to include:
- Your name along with your company’s name
- The name of the prospect (or their business)
- The date you’re submitting the proposal
The gray business consulting proposal template above contains all the details a prospect would want to know. The title also offers a strong tangible benefit to the prospective buyer. Honestly, “Who doesn’t want to grow their business?”
Return to business proposal content sections
The table of contents is a fundamental part of every winning business proposal template. It makes your proposal scannable and easy to read.
The people you will be pitching to are usually C-level executives. These are busy people who don’t have time to read your entire proposal in one go.
That’s why most of the business proposal examples in this list include a table of contents.
Adding a table of contents to your document makes it easy for them to go through it at their own pace. They can also skim through parts of the proposal that they deem more important. You can see how this abstract business proposal template uses the table of contents:
You can also make your business proposal template easier to navigate by adding hyperlinks to the document, particularly in the table of contents. This way your clients can jump to specific sections without having to scroll through the entire document.
It’s easy to add hyperlinks in the Venngage editor. Select the text you’d like to turn into a link, then click the link icon in the top bar. From there, select the page you want to link to! Then download your completed design as an Interactive PDF .
The executive summary is a staple in all kinds of annual reports , leadership development plan , project plans and even marketing plans . It is a concise summary of the entire contents of your document. In other words, write a business proposal outline that is easy to glance over and that highlights your value proposition.
The goals of your executive summary are:
- Introduce your company to your buyer
- Provide an overview of your company goals
- Showcase your company’s milestones, overall vision and future plans
- Include any other relevant details
This gray business proposal example has a detailed yet short executive summary including some social proof in the form of clients they’ve worked with:
Take note of how precise this business proposal example is. You want to keep your executive summary concise and clear from the get-go. This sets the right tone for the rest of your proposal. It also gives your buyer a reason to continue reading your proposal.
Pro Tip: Try to write an executive summary such that, even if your prospective client doesn’t read the entire proposal (with a good executive summary, they most likely will), they should have a clear idea about what your company does and how you can help them.
The point of writing a business proposal is to solve a buyer’s problem. Your goal is to outline the problem statement as clearly as possible. This develops a sense of urgency in your prospect. They will want to find a solution to the problem. And you have that solution.
A well-defined problem statement does two things:
- It shows the prospect you have done your homework instead of sending a generic pitch
- It creates an opportunity for you to point out a problem your prospect might not be aware they had in the first place.
This bold business proposal template above clearly outlines the problem at hand and also offers a ray of hope i.e. how you can solve your prospect’s problem. This brings me to…
The good stuff. In the proposed solution section, you show how you can alleviate your prospective buyer’s pain points. This can fit onto the problem statement section but if you have a comprehensive solution or prefer to elaborate on the details, a separate section is a good idea.
Spare no details regarding the solution you will provide. When you write a business proposal, explain how you plan to deliver the solution. Include an estimated timeline of when they can expect your solution and other relevant details.
For inspiration, look at how this business proposal template quickly and succinctly outlines the project plan, deliverables and metrics :
At this point, the prospect you’re pitching your solution to likes what they’re reading. But they may not trust you to deliver on your promises. Why is this?
It’s because they don’t know you. Your job is to convince them that you can fix their problem. This section is important because it acts as social proof. You can highlight what your company does best and how qualified your team is when you write a business proposal for a potential client.
This free business proposal template showcases the company’s accolades, client testimonials, relevant case studies, and industry awards. You can also include other forms of social proof to establish yourself as a credible business. This makes it that much more likely that they will say yes!
Pro Tip: Attaching in-depth case studies of your work is a great way to build trust with a potential client by showcasing how you’ve solved similar problems for other clients in the past. Our case study examples post can show you how to do just that.
To further demonstrate just how prepared you are, it’s important to outline the next steps you will take should your buyer decide to work with you.
Provide a timeline of how and when you will complete all your deliverables. You can do this by designing a flow chart . Or add a roadmap with deadlines. Pitching a long-term project? A timeline infographic would be a better fit.
If you look at this abstract business proposal template below, even something as simple as a table can do the trick.
The timeline is not always set in stone, rather it’s an estimation. The goal is to clarify any questions your potential client might have about how you will deliver for the underlying B2B sales process.
On this page, you can outline your fees, payment schedule, invoice payment terms , as well as legal aspects involved in this deal.
The key to good pricing is to provide your buyer with options. A pricing comparison table can help with this. You want to give your client some room to work with. Make sure you’re not scaring off your client with a high price, nor undervaluing yourself.
Breaking up your pricing in stages is another great way to make sure your potential client knows what he’s paying for. Look at how this simple business proposal template does this:
The legal aspects can slot right into the terms and conditions section. Alternatively, you can add them to the signature section of the proposal to keep things simple.
Summarize everything you have promised to deliver so far. Include what you expect from your prospective buyer in return. Add the overall project timeline from start to end, as well as payment methods and payment schedule. This way, both of you will be clear on what is being agreed on.
This step is very important as it outlines all the legal aspects of the deal. That is why the terms and conditions section of your proposal needs to be as clear as possible.
I recommend consulting a lawyer or your legal team when working on this section of the business proposal. If you’re a business veteran and understand the legalities of your business, you can use the same terms and conditions across all your proposals.
The final step of this whole process. Your client has read your business proposal and they want to buy what you have to offer.
Add a small section at the end of your proposal to get the necessary signatures. This way, you and your client can sign the proposal and the partnership becomes official.
Be sure to also include your contact information in your business proposal template. It acts as a gentle prompt to your client to contact you in case they have any questions. A professional way of doig that would be to include an e-business card with your contact details, email i.d and any other social links you want to share. You can go through this article for the best digital business cards .
A business proposal usually aims to answer the following questions:
- Who you are and what your company does
- The problem your buyer is facing
- The solution your company offers to alleviate the problem
- How your company will implement this solution effectively
- An estimate of resources (time, money, etc) required to implement the solution
You can see how this sample business proposal template covers the above points.
Notice how this proposal template addresses the same project like in one of the previous templates, but uses a completely different design style (more retro, while the previous business proposal template is more modern and minimalistic).
You can remove or add more sections depending on the goal of your business proposal. Essential, your business proposal can follow this format:
- Pricing, billing and legal
We go into detail on how you can write a business proposal (plus different business proposal templates you can apply the tips to) in the next section . But you can also click on the format items above to learn how you can best write them!
If you aim to create a holistic business proposal, feel free to just edit from the two templates right above. You can also add your brand colors and logo to your design, using My Brand Kit :
Here’s another example of a business proposal template that you can edit:
Generally, there are three types of business proposals:
1. Formally solicited
A formally solicited business proposal is made when you respond to an official request to write a business proposal.
In this scenario, you know all the requirements and have more (if not all) information about a prospective buyer. You simply need to write the business proposal for your buyer to evaluate so you can begin the sales process .
2. Informally solicited
Informally solicited business proposals are written when there isn’t an official request for a proposal. A prospective buyer is interested in your services and asks for a proposal so they can evaluate it.
An informally solicited proposal requires a lot more research from your end. These types of proposals are usually created out of informal conversations. They are not based on official requests which often contain more detail.
Think of this as a marketing brochure or a cold email . Unsolicited business proposals will often take a generic, one-size-fits-all approach to business proposals. Unsolicited proposals lack any understanding of the buyer or their requirements.
But with additional market research , personalization and identifying customer pain points , you can propose a customized solution based on your buyer’s needs. This can be a very persuasive approach, such as in this business proposal example:
Now that you know how to write a business proposal, let’s look at how you can optimize your proposal to deliver results!
Below you’ll find some winning business proposal templates and examples to get you started. I’ve also included some design tips to keep in mind when you’re creating your next business proposal:
1. Know your audience
If you have some clarity on who your ideal buyer is — their pain points, their budget, deadlines, among other things — you’ve already won half the battle.
If you are a business that helps clients with everything from running giveaways or helping grow their blog , identify which customers to pitch. This is a sure-shot way to close the deal.
Mapping user personas for your ideal buyer can help bring some clarity. It will also help you position your business proposal correctly. This improves the chance of your buyer moving your business proposal to the “Yes!” pile.
2. Put your brand front and center
If your company follows certain brand guidelines, incorporate them in your business proposal templates. Consider how business proposal examples like the one below highlight brand identity :
From the color palettes to the company logos , everything follows their brand guidelines. The result: a business proposal that’s consistent across the board.
Pro Tip: Switching this template to match your brand assets is actually pretty easy. Venngage’s My Brand Kit feature allows you to import your color palettes, logos as well as font choices. Any Venngage template can now be your template.
You can also consider this sample business proposal template:
Design companies sure do know their design. They did a phenomenal job keeping their brand colors consistent while opting for a black design. This unique color scheme also makes their white logo prominent throughout the proposal.
3. Try less text, more visuals
Have you ever read a proposal and thought to yourself, “Wow, this is all text and has no images, I love it!”? Yeah, me neither.
The free business proposal template below is a perfect example of the “less is more” principle. It does a phenomenal job of communicating what it needs to. By substituting some of the text with icons and visuals, you get a clean business proposal that’s much more scannable.
Want to keep things strictly professional? Instead of icons, you can always add your team’s headshots. This shows your buyer exactly who they’ll be working with.
Check out this formal business proposal format for some inspiration:
4. Switch up your business proposal designs
It doesn’t hurt to go above and beyond once in a while. Jazz up your business proposal template with some extra colors. This helps make your business proposal more engaging. It also helps your buyers retain information faster.
The business proposal example alternates between black, white and grey backgrounds. It still manages to maintain consistency in its branding . Just switching up your backgrounds once in a while can also bring in some variety to an otherwise standard business proposal.
This SEO business proposal sample proves that it’s possible to switch up the colors in every other page. But it still maintains the same color scheme across the entire proposal just like a professionally designed website :
Pro Tip: Not a color expert? Our guide on picking colors can help you pick the right color scheme for your proposals.
FAQ about business proposals
What is the purpose of a business proposal.
A business proposal aims to streamline the B2B sales process (which is often complex ) between you as a seller and a buyer.
It does this by serving the dual purpose of acting as a source of information. The proposal also acts as a sales pitch aimed at convincing your buyer why they should buy what you have to offer.
What are the best practices for business proposal design?
- Do a thorough spell-check. The goal of your business proposal is to convince your buyer why you’re the perfect person for the job. A proposal with typos or grammatical errors communicates the opposite. A thorough spell-check before you send your proposal is a must.
- Keep things clear and readable: Clarity is an important aspect that you have to ensure in your business proposal. If you want your proposal to hit home and make an impact on the buyer, you have to write it in an understandable way. To keep things clear and readable, there are a couple of things that you can do. You can, for one, take care to use easy wording and segmented sentences from the get-go. You can also try paraphrasing the hard parts of your proposal once you are done writing it.
- Let your brand shine. As discussed before, writing a business proposal is all about knowing your ideal buyer and focusing on their pain points. But that doesn’t mean your business proposal template has to be boring. Demonstrate how different you are compared to other companies. You can do this through your brand guidelines , by using more visuals, switching up your proposal design or showing off your personality in your writing .
- Create a business proposal PDF. Downloading your business proposal in PDF format allows you to attach other collaterals with your business proposal. These can include a company explainer video or case studies showcasing the work done with past clients. Also, who doesn’t love saving paper?
How long should your business proposal be?
The length depends on the scope of the work as well as the complexity of the project. Here is a one-page business proposal template:
Can your business proposal template really be one page? Yes, as long as you understand who your buyer is and their pain points. You should also have the ability to communicate everything your ideal buyer needs to know about your business in a succinct manner.
Or if you’re feeling adventurous how about just two pages? Often, clients prefer if you go straight to the point and avoid all the fluff.
For example, this green modern marketing proposal template wastes no time in getting down to brass tacks:
Need more inspiration? Check out this blog on the 5 marketing proposal examples that’ll help elevate your business.
There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to deciding how many pages you should include in your business proposal template. And at the end of the day, “the only rules are the ones you set for yourself”.
At the end of the day, writing winning business proposals that sell is all about you understanding your buyer, their potential pain points and positioning yourself as someone who can alleviate those pain points.
Now that you know how to write compelling business proposals, what are you waiting for?
Take action and start creating your own business proposals to close more deals and grow your business today!
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Sales | How To
How to Write a Business Proposal (+ Template & Examples)
Published February 27, 2023
Published Feb 27, 2023
REVIEWED BY: Jess Pingrey
WRITTEN BY: Bianca Caballero
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This article is part of a larger series on Sales Management .
Manage Sales With CRM
Free Business Proposal Template
- 1 Determine Sales Proposal Requirements
- 2 Gather Necessary Information
- 3 Design Your Proposed Solution
- 4 Calculate Pricing
- 5 Draft Your Proposal
- 6 Edit Your Proposal Draft
- 7 Send Your Proposal
- 8 Follow Up With Your Recipient
- 9 Best Practices in Writing Sales Proposals
- 10 Bottom Line
A business proposal is a document sent to a prospective client that outlines a firm’s product or service offerings. It also explains how you will provide a solution, the cost, timeline, and qualifying information, such as your background and prior work experience. In this article, we outline eight steps for how to create a business proposal, offer a free proposal template, and provide best practices for writing proposals.
Creating a sales proposal can feel tedious, especially if you’re drafting it from scratch each time. We’ve created a free template that you can use as a resource for your sales proposal.
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Free Sales Business Proposal Template
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💡 Quick Tip:
Use ClickUp for free to see your entire sales funnel in one place.
- ✓ Free forever, unlimited users
- ✓ Manage all leads, emails and tasks
- ✓ Create presentations, lead forms, and contracts
- ✓ Professional workspace templates
After you’ve downloaded our free template above, you can now customize it according to your business needs as you follow the steps to writing a proposal below:
1. Determine Sales Proposal Requirements
The first step in learning how to write a business proposal is knowing what needs to be included. Government agencies, public universities, and large corporations typically use requests for proposals (RFPs). These are formal solicitation requests for products or services in which the requirements are normally laid out line by line and must be followed precisely.
If you are writing a proposal for a potential customer undergoing your unique sales process , include things a decision-maker would like to see. For instance, pricing, timelines, and the proposed solution regarding quantities and the mode of product or service delivery are critical purchasing factors enclosed in the document.
Pro tip: ClickUp is a free-forever project management tool that helps teams:
- Create professional proposals
- Collaborate with shared tasks and team chat
- Assign tasks to teammates
ClickUp project management board (Source: ClickUp )
2. Gather Necessary Information
Gathering essential information and materials for your proposal can be complex because each potential client may want different details. This could demand other personnel to get involved in pulling the documents and information needed. For instance, some may only request the price and proposed solution, while others will ask for your background story, client reference lists, and work samples to show you’re qualified.
While learning how to write a proposal for business purposes, you may have to dig around your file database for company information, employee biographies, marketing materials, and pricing sheets. Keeping all resources needed for a proposal in one place makes this process easier. Use customer relationship management (CRM) systems to track your proposal progress and acquire what’s needed to draft it in one place.
Pro tip: HubSpot is a popular CRM platform that lets you monitor opportunities using sales pipelines and store documents—all in one system. You can utilize the Sales Documents feature to store, share, and customize templates and materials you’ll need for your proposals.
HubSpot’s deals and opportunities pipeline (Source: HubSpot )
HubSpot’s Sales Documents library (Source: HubSpot )
3. Design Your Proposed Solution
Your proposed solution involves the processes, materials, product quantities, and personnel required to fulfill the offerings or address your customer’s problem statement. Additionally, it should be included in the scope of work section in the proposal. For businesses that only provide a product, such as equipment for a manufacturing plant, this step could be as easy as knowing the quantity and having a logistics plan for delivery and installment.
For more service-based businesses, such as business consultants or content development services, there will likely be more steps and deliverables to complete the work. Regardless of your business, you can use the five W’s and an H methodology to construct a proposed solution that addresses your prospect’s primary pain points:
- Who: Who will be involved, do the work, manage, and be a point of contact for the prospect?
- What: What solutions or products will be delivered, and what resources, processes, or technology will be used?
- Where: Where will work be done or delivered to?
- When: When will the work start and be completed, what are the key milestones throughout the project, and when is each deliverable expected to occur?
- Why: Why did you choose this particular solution for this customer’s needs?
- How: How will work be done, managed, and checked for high quality and customer satisfaction?
For example, a business-to-business (B2B) content writing business might be trying to address a statement of needs issued by a client: “We would like to express thought leadership on the topic of the Zero Trust Cybersecurity Framework.” In this case, the business could use the solution in this business proposal example:
The objective of this business proposal is to demonstrate how ABC Writing Agency can promote the thought leadership of Cybersecurity Corp. for the Zero Trust Security Model. We believe the best course of action is to research and copyright a branded e-book (roughly 4,000 words) regarding Zero Trust Security, the details of the solution, its benefits, and the modern-day security challenges it solves (what) with the final product completed in August 2022. (when) The e-book will use your logo and branding scheme to convey your personal grasp on the subject and thought leadership using a series of direct quotes and statistical callouts. (why)
To ensure high-quality work and client satisfaction, we will begin with an initial call to construct a detailed outline discussing the sections, style guides, tone, and to retrieve direct quotes. Following an initial draft, multiple rounds of edits will take place between Cybersecurity Corp. and ABC Writing Agency to develop a final draft. (how)
The project will be led by our senior editor, Collin Buchanan, and content manager, Jake Cunningham, who comes from the world of cybersecurity. Our team will utilize and manage freelancers experienced in writing e-books on technical topics to research and copyright the asset. (who) All work will be completed by us virtually and delivered via Google Docs. (where)
4. Calculate Pricing
Once you know how you’ll provide your product or service, the next step in writing a proposal is formulating the costs to specify in the document’s pricing section. This is one of the toughest steps because of all the factors that need to be considered, such as product cost and other expenses. That’s why it is critical to accurately communicate your costs to avoid losing a deal for overcharging—or worse—winning a deal with significantly underestimated costs.
As you price everything, you can either do a flat fee, hourly rate, per-unit charge, or some combination of the three. Sometimes, it’s best to work backward by establishing your desired probability first in the form of a percent like 20% profit or a flat dollar amount such as $10,000 above the work cost.
For example, you want to make a 20% profit on the work for an equipment installation job for a manufacturing business, and you’re pricing using a flat fee. You’ve itemized the costs as the following:
- 1 x $80,000 manufacturing equipment = $80,000
- 3 installation/delivery employees x 5 hours x $32 per hour = $480 wages
- $480 employee wages x 7% employer payroll tax = $33.6 payroll tax
- $480 employee wages x 20% benefits and workers’ compensation = $96 benefits and compensation
- $200 for the delivery truck and gas = $200 for delivery costs
When you add all the itemized expenses, the total cost for this installation job will be around $80,809. To get the total, you need to charge this customer to meet your desired profitability, and multiply it by 20% to get $16,162. Add that to your total cost ($80,809 + $16,162), and $96,971 is the flat fee you will charge for the installation job.
Pro tip: Struggling to visualize your pricing process? Try using these seven free estimate templates . Designed for various business types, these templates allow you to outline and itemize the costs of providing work to share with your customers to help win more deals easily.
5. Draft Your Proposal
Now that you know your proposal requirements, have gathered the necessary information, determined the proposed solution, and calculated pricing, you are ready to draft the document. Following along with our free template, your draft will consist of the following elements:
The title page leans more toward showing the professionalism of your business than providing information. There should be a specific title establishing the purpose, such as “ABC Writing Agency Proposal for Cybersecurity Corp. to Promote Thought Leadership on Zero Trust Security.”
Also, be sure to indicate who the proposal was prepared for in terms of the decision-making person and their company name. Add your logo to the front and the contact information for the primary point of contact for your business so they can contact you with further questions.
Table of Contents
Use a table of contents to break down each part of the proposal for business so they can easily navigate through it. Because of the digital age we live in, we recommend linking your table of contents electronically to each associated section. That way, those reading your proposal can go to any part of the document by clicking on the table of contents.
The executive summary takes everything in your proposal and compresses it into one paragraph. Essentially, if a reader reads this section, they should be able to grasp the general idea of your solution. Here’s a business proposal example using the content writing example above:
With over 10 years of experience in writing high-quality marketing assets, we are eager to assist Cybersecurity Corp in its endeavor to promote thought leadership on Zero Trust Security. We plan to achieve this by writing a comprehensive e-book using engaging copy, stat callouts, and direct quotes from your leaders to help associate the security framework with your brand.
Here’s your time to talk about your inception story, mission statement , founding purpose, and company history. You can also provide biographies and professional pictures of your company founders, leaders, and key personnel that might be involved in the work you provide.
This is also the time to express your unique selling proposition . In other words, addressing the question “why choose us” over competitors. Lastly, if you’ve had any recognition or won any company awards, this is the section to highlight those successes.
Scope of Work
This section correlates with creating your proposed solution in step three as you present it in an actionable business plan. Describe the work that will be completed and the tangible deliverables associated with it.
In this small business proposal example, we see how a content writing business might construct a scope of work:
We will provide content writing services to create predetermined marketing assets for Cybersecurity Corp. This includes researching online data for usable information, interviewing subject matter experts (SMEs) for additional insights and quotes, copywriting drafts, inserting callouts, and making edits per revision requests made by Cybersecurity Corp. Deliverables for the scope of work above include:
- 1 x outline developed by ABC Writing Agency and approved by Cybersecurity Corp.
- 1 x drafted e-book (max. 4,000 words) delivered by Google Doc
No matter how long your scope of work is, it’s crucial to avoid industry or technical jargon that the general audience may not understand. Take the time to review the scope of work and translate any statements that may be misunderstood or confusing.
Be sure to indicate how long you expect it to take to complete the entire scope of work. It’s also a good idea to provide estimates for each milestone or individual deliverable you set. Whenever possible, present the information visually to help your reader absorb it better. Below is a sales proposal timeline example for a sales consulting business and its milestones.
Pricing or Price Estimate
For this section, take the price calculation you did in step four and present it to the potential customer. While you should itemize it to show where the price comes from, avoid adding your desired profitability, as that should be private to your business. Make sure it’s clear as to how each item is priced, whether that be hourly, per unit, or a flat fee.
This section should also be used to explain payment expectations, e.g., when invoices must be paid by, how much money is required upfront vs after work is completed, refund policy, and if other billable expenses can be included automatically or require client approval.
Be upfront with your estimate if you don’t know how many units you’ll need or how many hours it will take to accomplish your business offering. Provide an explanation and an estimated range.
Conclusion, Terms & Appendix
The final sections should include additional information that could be useful to your prospective client. A conclusion should express your gratitude for the opportunity and explain the next steps to move forward. Terms (or terms and conditions) can be added in a proposal or in the service agreement to cover legal aspects of a working contract, like contract dispute policies, confidentiality, rules on subcontracting, etc.
The appendix is optional but would utilize visuals or supplemental documents to enrich your proposal. For instance, you might include links to sample work, a client reference list, or a catalog of options for materials or software vendors from which the client can choose.
6. Edit Your Proposal Draft
Once you have completed the first draft of your proposal, run it by multiple departments to ensure it is comprehensive and accurate. Some things to consider as you review it for potential revisions:
- Has strong readability: The proposal uses appropriate style, tone, and structured sentences to create a clean flow of information understood by the specific reader.
- Avoids grammar and technical errors: The proposal avoids punctuation, spelling, or other errors related to proper writing mechanics.
- Addresses requirements: The proposal contains all the information and sections required to meet the reader’s or customer’s needs and objectives.
Use editing tools such as Grammarly to evaluate your business proposal writing for enhanced quality. Grammarly lets users upload text into a system to check for grammar and spelling mistakes as well as for engagement and readability of content. There’s also a plagiarism check feature to evaluate the text to billions of pages online. You can even adjust style preferences when subscribing to Grammarly Business to ensure it meets all your goals.
Grammarly Business’ in-line writing suggestion (Source: Grammarly Business )
Pro tip: Use graphic design tools like Canva to give your sales proposal the professional touch it needs. Canva is a user-friendly platform with thousands of free templates for presentations, marketing materials, social media posts, and proposals for business. Users of all design skill levels can easily turn regular copies into visual masterpieces.
Canva’s sales proposal templates (Source: Canva )
7. Send Your Proposal
Now that your proposal is drafted, edited, and has the aesthetics it needs, it’s time to send the document for review. More formal submissions for RFPs may require that you submit them in person, electronically, or both, so review those provisions carefully before sending them in.
Some sales plans incorporate unsolicited proposals to new leads to present problems they didn’t know existed with viable solutions they could offer. In these cases, they use the proposal to get their foot in the door and create sales opportunities.
When taking this course of action, it’s important to add context to the unsolicited proposal. For instance, in a sales email , briefly introduce yourself, your business, and what services you provide. Furthermore, indicate why you wanted to send a proposal to them specifically and let them know they can reach out if they wish to discuss it further.
8. Follow Up With Your Recipient
Even after you send a proposal, the process is not over. Make time to follow up to confirm the contact received the proposal and see if they have any questions. Because of the proposals’ details, there are usually other clarification steps in the procurement process, such as interviews, client meetings , or sales presentations before work begins.
We recommend using a customer relationship management (CRM) system with task management capabilities to ensure sales reps don’t forget to reach out to a prospect after a proposal is initially sent. A CRM like Pipedrive lets you design and assign tasks to team members from within a project. You can also create projects that are linked to open or won deals.
Pipedrive’s project and task management feature (Source: Pipedrive )
Best Practices in Writing Sales Proposals
Now that you know the steps in how to write a business proposal, there are a few tips you can practice and maintain to produce thoughtful and effective proposals.
Keep It Simple
When learning how to make a business proposal, remember to write short, simple sentences. While there is no strict rule on the business proposal format or length, make sure it is straightforward and easy to understand. Avoid loading it with too much business jargon and fancy words. Instead, strike the sweet spot between conveying essential information and ensuring anyone who reads it can understand it.
Outline Major Sections & Pertinent Information
The first thing to do when learning how to do a business proposal is to outline all the major sections of your document. This should also include all the pertinent information that you want to get across. The business proposal outline will help you stay focused on the main points of the document and keep your ideas from drifting away.
Add Data & Visuals
Capture your prospect’s attention by including quantitative data and figures highlighting your offerings and the value of your company. For example, you can show your month-on-month sales trends as proof of your stellar performance. Adding visual elements like charts and graphs can also help make your proposal more engaging.
Pro tip: Maximize the use of visualization tools from your CRM. For example, Pipedrive allows you to create a sales flow chart based on reports, making it easier to generate the best data to make your offerings more appealing.
Increase Credibility With Social Proof
Assert your company’s credibility. Many prospects won’t readily believe your claims about your business and are most likely to trust the word of their own peers and other customers. To help build your credibility and gain their trust, include social proof, such as reviews and testimonials from your own customers.
Use a Call to Action (CTA)
After the prospect reads your proposal, direct them to the next step. Use a call to action with a verb that defines what they should do to act on their interest in your proposal. Examples of CTAs are “Subscribe today” or “Download this guide now.” You can also use a CTA with a no-obligation statement like “Sign up, it’s free” for prospects who perceive risks in taking action.
Another excellent idea when adding CTAs is to create a sense of urgency to make your prospect feel that now is the best time to subscribe to your service. Some people are motivated to do something right away for fear of missing out (FOMO). That said, phrases like “Limited-time offer” and “On sale now for 20% off” can trigger action from prospects.
Stay True to Your Brand
Each company has a different brand voice and personality. Staying true to your business brand is a great way to stand out among your competitors. For instance, if your company sells baby clothes, it is best to use language that parents with babies can relate to, like “cute and cuddly” or “snug and comfy.” Use a more formal tone of voice in your proposal if you are selling office wear.
Many business owners and sales managers would like to standardize their proposal-writing system. However, it can be tricky to address the unique needs of every solicited and unsolicited opportunity to get the correct information in order and present their proposed solutions. Our how-to sales proposal examples and free template will help you streamline your bidding process to win more deals.
About the Author
Find Bianca On LinkedIn
Bianca Caballero is a subject matter expert at Fit Small Business who covers Sales and Customer service topics. Prior to working at FSB, she was in field sales and territory management. When she launched her career as a writer, she worked with companies from the US, Australia, and China. At present, she uses her 12+ years of writing experience to provide FSB readers with the best answers to their questions.
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How to Pitch a Business Idea to Your Boss: 6 Steps to Score That “Yes”
No matter what industry you’re in, it helps to know how to pitch a business idea to your boss. So when that terrific idea does hit you—the one that’ll change your company forever—you’ll know how to convince your boss to say “Yes!” and then champion the idea to his or her boss.
#1. Know your audience.
Never go into a pitch meeting until you’ve identified a few key factors.
For one, what kind of presentation approach will speak to your boss? Does she find financial figures and ROI persuasive? Or does she prefer to see the big picture? Or does she get down into the nitty-gritty details?
You should also know what her hot-button issues are based on what company problems she brings up all the time.
#2. Spell out the business plan.
Break your idea down to its bare bones and create a physical product—usually a handout, but you could also use a PowerPoint presentation or a video—that spells out the basics. This is where you can win points for being as open, clear, and honest as possible. List exactly what you’ll need to make the idea work, including:
You’ll be tempted to play down what you’ll need, but that can hurt you in the long run. You risk communicating to your boss that the idea isn’t worth pursuing. If it requires so little effort, it’ll likely produce a minimal effect. Try instead to show that the impact of your idea is worth the investment.
#3. Gather support.
Be careful: this isn’t so you can use that support as leverage against your boss. The last thing you want to do is go into a presentation, and when it doesn’t go well, you bust out with something like: “Well, Meg and Hank and Felice all loved the idea and are already onboard.” Do that, and to your boss it’ll look like you’re trying to circumvent her and go behind her back.
That probably won’t go over well.
Gathering support in this case involves talking to other possible stakeholders who might have some potential involvement in your idea. Give them a chance to hear you out and weigh in on the proposal. Listen when they point out possible problems with your initiative. They might even identify benefits you missed and will want to mention.
#4. Pick the right time to present your idea
Timing is everything. This is when knowing your audience really comes in handy, because for this, you need real-time intel on your boss’s frame of mind. Here are a few things to consider:
- How’s the company doing? Are the executives considering a big decision, or is your office getting hit with sweeping changes? If so, now might not be the time to bother your boss.
- How’s your boss doing? Is she feeling overloaded or stressed? Then back away. Slowly. Of course keep your foot in the door. Propose another time, preferably after the stress has passed and your boss has more time. Make sure he understands the delay is because you feel this idea is very important and deserving of his attention.
- How’s your boss doing personally? Be sensitive to any out-of-office issues your boss may be going through. Give him the space he needs and wait for the right moment.
#5. Get your boss involved in the idea.
Tailor your proposal to your boss so that when you go in front of her, the pitch meeting actually becomes a collaboration session. Give your boss a chance to weigh in on the matter. Ask her for feedback and suggestions. She’ll definitely have insights you probably haven’t considered. The more invested your boss feels in the process, the better advocate she’ll be for your idea when she takes it to her boss.
#6. Don’t be afraid to use FOMO.
FOMO is the fear of missing out, and it’s a very real problem for many people. Over 50 percent of people are worried that if they’re away from their social networks, they’ll miss out on a significant event or status update .
Your boss needs to have the same concern about your idea. The ideal situation is if you could show your boss how your competition is investing in an initiative similar to the one you’re proposing. The proper application of FOMO can motivate your boss to give your idea a good, long look.
Don’t let your good business ideas go to waste.
Your boss needs them. Your company needs them. Sometimes even a rejected initiative can spark an idea that really takes off. Following these tips, and knowing how to pitch a business idea to your boss, gives your ideas a fighting chance.
How to Write a Business Proposal: Step-by-Step Guide
- Sep 19, 2023
- 22 min read
- First published on
- Apr 6, 2020
You just finished an amazing meeting with a potential client, they seem ready to pull the trigger and excited to work with you. Then they utter the following sentence: “Please send me a proposal.” And now you have to remember how to write one. This guide will give you a system and guidelines on how to write a business proposal and make that process easy and repeatable.
Writing business proposals is arguably not that fun. In fact, most business owners would rather avoid the task. However, if you have an amazing business proposal template to start with you can speed the process up significantly. The key is to build everything right the first time round and give yourself a reusable template you can tweak and adjust until it’s perfect.
What we’ll cover in this article
- Proposal templates
- Visual presentation and design
- Introduction (Executive summary)
- Detailed specification
- Terms and conditions
- Optimizing your proposals for conversion
What Is A Business Proposal?
An effective business proposal is a formal document created with the purpose of persuading your potential customers to work with you. It’s a document used in a variety of industries – from selling carpets to offering enterprise software solutions and social media marketing , all of it starts with a business proposal.
Two types of business proposals
Besides the difference in the industry, the main division is between solicited and unsolicited business proposals. A solicited business proposal is sent when you already have a connection with the potential customer and they’re interested in what you’re selling.
Usually, the buyer themselves will ask for a proposal outlining your problem statement. Whether they’re a small business or government agencies, your proposal should follow the project details they’ve outlined.
On the other hand, unsolicited proposals are sent without the explicit request of someone who may be interested in what you’re selling. Whether you’re writing formally solicited proposals or unsolicited ones, you’ll need to know how to structure them.
Although it’s easier to create a solicited proposal, don’t stress out about writing unsolicited ones. Our guide can help you in both situations.
How To Write A Business Proposal The Easy Way
Have you ever freehanded a business proposal into the body of an email? Or started compiling it in a Word document from scratch? Or maybe you’re more into InDesign so you noticed a typo on your freshly exported PDF?
The fact of the matter is, creating a proposal for every client from scratch is both exhausting and a waste of time. Having a structured proposal writing system in place will save you countless hours. At the most basic level, your proposal writing system is two things:
- Having a great business proposal template written with everything in it
- Knowing what needs editing each time
The first thing, getting your business proposal template in order, is vital. The second is a matter of personalization to the specific job and client.
What Is A Business Proposal Template?
Put simply, a proposal template is a proposal that is about 90% finished. Think of it as a collection of all the best pieces of content you’ve ever put into previous proposals.
Your best introduction describing the problem statement, your best pricing strategy , best type of proof, best title page, etc. A winning template combines all the best elements of the proposals you’ve sent which resulted in sales for your product or service.
If you’re using proposal software like Better Proposals, compiling this shouldn’t be difficult, because you will know which proposals work for your target audience thanks to our analytics and reports.
But what if you’ve never sent proposals before so you don’t have a basis for templates? What if you don’t have the time or just don’t know a thing about proposals? No reason to worry – our proposal library has more than 130 different proposal templates that help sell a wide range of products or services .
Once you have your template in place, you’ll only need to fill out the major details, such as:
- The client’s information
- Specifics about the offer
- Pricing, timelines, detailed specification
- A proof section with an example similar to the offer you’re sending, etc.
Once you add these, your business proposal is ready to go. The main idea is that templates help you write proposals in 15 minutes instead of 5 hours. To see what the template creation process looks like, check out how easy it is to design yours in Better Proposals .
The importance of a good business proposal template
The best thing about a good proposal template is that you only need to create it once. After that, it’s just a matter of tweaking the details. If you do it properly the first time around, sending out a proposal turns into a few minutes’ work.
The best tip we have is to choose your best proposal and turn it into a template. Allocate a good day to getting it as good as it can be – turn all specific information into placeholders, get your formatting sorted, and make sure your pricing section is clean and clear.
This also means editing the copy like it’s a headline on your website. Consider the wording, your client, and the emotions you want to evoke – really make each section shine.
Despite their growing popularity, this is the time to resist the urge to use AI content writers . The content they produce is easy to spot and putting effort into creating a great business proposal template makes all the difference.
Later in this article, we’ll look at what is included in a business proposal, and that goes for your template too. We’ll provide business proposal examples as well. Next time you have that meeting with your potential client and they ask you to send them a business proposal for your proposed solution, you’ll confidently walk away knowing exactly what to do.
How To Write A Business Proposal That Sells
Most people think that writing a business proposal is boring and time-consuming. And for the most part, they’re right. There really is no creative flair in writing them and it’s all about pitching your product or service so that the new client says yes and gives you money.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a way to make proposal writing easier and more efficient and get your prospective client on board more quickly.
In the following sections, we’ll show you that writing a business proposal is more about preparation and using the right tools to make writing easier. In other words, we’ll teach you how to write a business proposal with minimal effort and maximum sales performance.
Once you pick the right proposal software tools, you’ll see how easy it is to create a winning proposal.
What questions are your customers asking?
When writing a business proposal, there’s a situation going on that only the best salespeople understand. Your potential client has a list of questions. They’ll rarely tell you what those questions are, mostly because they’re pretty awkward.
For example, we had a situation when I quoted someone £40,000 for some software once. The proposal was about 17 pages long, and the client replied with one sentence:
“Sounds good. What happens if you die? How do I get my data back?”
I didn’t think it was an appropriate time to go back to him and explain I probably wouldn’t care about his data if I was dead. However, I did explain to him a contingency plan that we had in place for nearly a decade now for this exact situation. I told him, and he signed up.
This got me thinking. While this guy was the first bold enough to ask that question, he can’t have been the first guy to think it. From that moment on, we included the contingency plan in every business proposal we sent under a section called ‘How we protect your data’.
Awkward questions your potential customers have but won’t ask you:
- What happens if you die?
- What will I do if they screw up my search engine rankings?
- What happens if they take over my website and vanish?
- What happens if they redesign my website and I get fewer conversions than I got before?
A rare client will actually ask these questions to your face, but it doesn’t mean they won’t pop into their mind. Think about it. How many questions do people actually ask on the back of proposals? Answer these questions in your proposal before the client gets a chance to ask them.
How do you want your potential clients to feel?
Don’t think of business proposals as just sales documents – think of them as taking someone on an experience. Think movies. The emotions override the content. It’s less important how you get them to feel sadness at the end, so long as you do.
Writing a business proposal isn’t that different. It’s all about the emotion you want your potential client to feel at the end of reading it. For example:
- Excitement – Describing possibilities using uplifting pictures and success stories is good here. Don’t bore them with a document resembling a long business plan.
- Confidence – Include lots of proof and trust-building elements into this. Don’t make suggestions; be certain in your wording.
- Action taking – Lots of commanding words and talking about the next step. Don’t bog them down with a list of 42 things to decide on. Just get them to do the “next” thing.
You could find the best custom writing service out there and you’d still be the only one who can do this properly. That’s because, depending on your client and what you’re selling, only you know what’s most appropriate.
What you definitely don’t want to be doing is talking in “maybes”, “ifs”, and using suggestive wording when you want someone to trust you. It sounds like you’re not sure. As a good friend, Mitch Miller, says:
“The doctor doesn’t ask the patient if it’s the right prescription. He just prescribes the right thing and tells them to get out of the office.”
How To Write A Business Proposal – The 8 Core Elements
There are 8 elements most business proposals should include. Some are absolutely essential; some are not – that depends on your specific situation. Here they are:
Does your proposal need to have all of these sections? Maybe yes, maybe not – it depends. However, all of our proposal templates have these sections out of the box. But wait – there’s one thing we haven’t mentioned on purpose.
0. The cover page
All proposals should have a well-designed cover page with an image and text to address the specific client. We’re leaving it out because all of our business proposal templates come with beautiful, professionally designed cover pages already built in.
A beautifully designed cover page can help your business stand out because it gives your entire document a level of professionalism. What’s more, it brings the wow factor that pulls clients in right off the bat.
1. The introduction
Also known as the Executive summary. Good business proposals always start with a great introduction . This is the most read part of your proposal, so it needs to get across that you understand their situation and you’re clear on their goal. Your meetings and discovery sessions should be heavily predicated on getting the information for this section of the proposal.
The biggest reason you’re not winning new business is not getting a chance to do a meeting or initial call about the job. As a result, you never discovered what the client wants to achieve, what’s important to them, and what makes them tick. And because you don’t know that information, you lead with the things that don’t matter as much (e.g., the price or the technicalities of what you’re going to do).
This is why a discovery call is one of the most important things to include when you learn how to write a business proposal. Without it, you’re essentially guessing what the client needs.
Every Business Proposal Needs A Good Introduction
Your introduction should show the client that you’ve listened to their problem and that you have the cure, which you will show them in the next section. If you want to create an ongoing relationship, you need to show that you’ve researched your client’s company.
If you want to present your clients with a custom service, this is the place to stress that. Show them how you customize your usual offer to match their exact pain point.
According to our own research, this is the most-read section of all business proposals besides the pricing. Most clients read just these two sections, so make sure that you invest extra time and care in this one.
How to write a proposal introduction
This section is also known as a summary or an executive summary, depending on your resources. Even though the title is different, everything else is the same – it’s a section where you discuss how you’re going to solve the client’s problem and present your value proposition.
The most important tip we have here is to make it all about the client and the solution to their problem. In other words, refrain from going on and on about yourself. At the end of the day, a client reading a proposal wants to know what solution you offer. And if they’re interested in your company history or the process of forming an LLC , they’ll Google it.
Make sure to keep it short and to the point. You want to keep your entire proposal easy to read and as enjoyable of an experience for your potential client as possible.
Since the executive summary is such an important part of any standard business proposal, don’t be afraid of asking your team members to read it and give you feedback. And if you need more practical writing tips, check out our in-depth proposal introduction writing guide .
2. The detailed specification
This part varies depending on what you’re selling. If it’s a website, this could be a list of pages and features. If you’re writing a social media marketing proposal, then this could be the strategy or the talent and credentials of your team. It’ll vary.
The basic idea is to be as detailed as possible in your offer. That way, the prospective client understands exactly how your proposed solutions work.
The reason it’s important is that if the deal goes bad, you both have this section to refer back to. Your business proposal outlines accountability and what the client should hope for. Moreover, it also serves as a good exercise for you when writing a good business proposal, as this is all the information you’re going to gather in any discovery phase of the deal.
It’s important here to keep this in plain English. Stay far away from jargon, as it will only confuse the potential client. The less the reader understands, the less they trust you.
Also, if you absolutely must write about your company, this might be the place to do it. Who you are, what you do, how long you’ve been doing it, and what makes you stand out. However, don’t spend too much time or space on this because the focus is on the client, not you.
3. The timescales
It doesn’t matter if it’s a wide bracket, like 2-4 weeks – you have to give the client some clue about your project timeline . Otherwise, it’s a massive unknown.
It can be really useful to find out if the client has a special event or another reason for a project timeline to be important to them. If there is, tie that in. You can even tie that into scarcity to give them the incentive to sign the proposal off by a certain date. And if you’re writing unsolicited proposals, you need to be especially convincing and present your project timeline in a way that will make it hard to say no to.
Be as specific as possible, but also use this section to your advantage. More time to deliver means two things:
- You can finish earlier than promised and impress your client
- You have more time to spare if something goes unexpectedly wrong
More time is always better, but make sure that you consider the need for urgency as well.
4. The proof
You must prove to your client that you can actually deliver your proposed solution. Now, you might say, “we have examples on our website”. That’s nice – but the client is not looking at your website, they’re reading your proposal – your one big “ask” for the business. They want solid proof and a few good case studies will do.
You need to have sufficient proof in a good business proposal. This could be examples, testimonials, video case studies, screenshots from a client proving you helped them with something, a recording of a voicemail – anything.
As you can see in our business proposal example, it doesn’t have to be complex and have the production value of a Spielberg classic. It just needs to get the point across.
To help them feel like they’ll be in good hands, you can also indicate relevant credentials and certifications your team managers and members have. After all, product managers and team leaders will play a massive role in ensuring that your product or service is of top quality.
The good news is, there is more than one type of proof that you can choose. Case studies, testimonials, portfolio pieces, explainer videos – there are lots of ways to convince your clients that you’re the real deal.
5. The price
Based on our data, this is the second most read section of any business proposal – people usually jump straight from the introduction to the pricing table. Needless to say, spend some extra time here to make it look right.
When using our business proposal templates, you can choose how to format your price based on project details. That said, there are a few things you want to make sure of.
The first is that the pricing is super clear. If you have somewhat of a confusing pricing structure, then this might be time to think about simplifying it.
Speaking of which, we’ve done some research on pricing in business proposals and you can see our results in the latest Proposal Report . As it turns out, it’s a better idea to have a single offer and price instead of trying to get more money with upsells. Proposals with a single offer sold significantly more – 20.6% for offers with upfront costs and 33% higher for offers with monthly retainer costs.
The reason is that a business proposal is a matter of getting a simple answer – yes or no. The more options you add, the more difficult it gets for them to decide whether to sign or not. Keep your responsive pricing tables super simple.
The way you format your price can help avoid further negotiations. Our analysis of real-life pricing mistakes should give you a good idea of what to avoid.
How to name your pricing section
Finally, there is one more thing that you should know about the pricing section – don’t call it that. We’ve discovered that these names work better:
- Return on investment
- And others following this pattern
Basically, you want your clients to see your services as an investment in their business, rather than a simple cost and money down the drain. Small businesses or enterprise clients, no one wants to spend money – they want to invest it.
6. The guarantee
Some people love the idea of a guarantee. Others don’t like giving guarantees for fear of abuse. However, a guarantee is a great way to push new clients further towards conversion.
Instead of a typical money-back guarantee, consider guaranteeing a part of your service or a timescale. Cheryl Laidlaw’s “Website in a Day” service is a good example.
She, at the time of writing, charges £1,995 for the day and delivers the website THAT NIGHT. The client doesn’t go home (and neither does Cheryl) until it’s done – which is an amazing offer .
7. The next steps
A lot of times, people seem to forget the very basics – to show the client what to do next. Sure, some people might read your business proposal and say, “Great, okay, let’s go ahead”. But why would you leave it up to them to figure it out?
It’s not their job to figure out how to buy from you, especially if you’re sending informally solicited proposals. Just make sure to tell them what the next steps are. Usually, this will be something like:
Step 1: Sign the proposal by typing your name in the box below and hitting ‘Accept’. This makes the proposal a legally binding contract.
Step 2: We’ll invoice you for 50%. Please pay for this immediately.
Step 3: We’ll arrange our initial consultation call with you.
Anyone can do these tasks on their own – they’re not all that complex. The problem is that if you leave all of this unsaid, you’re leaving your clients wondering. Explain all the details of what’s going to happen next.
8. The terms and conditions
You absolutely should be including your contract or terms and conditions. Just put it on a separate page called Terms & Conditions or Terms of Business .
There’s a great contract written for freelancers which covers 98% of the basics. If you’re not using a contract in your business right now, use this until your legal team demands something better.
You should always include your terms in your business proposals because when someone signs the proposal, they automatically sign the contract . It covers you and it covers the client, so it’s only natural to include it.
Just reading the words “terms and conditions” may make you feel dizzy because of the work ahead, but it’s actually something that you can do once and never fret about again later.
A Business Proposal That’s Optimized for Conversion
So let’s say you’ve followed all the steps in the “How To Write A Business Proposal Guide,” and you now have the best structured proposal on the planet, and it still loses business. Why could this be? – perhaps it’s a conversion problem. We’ve analyzed hundreds of thousands of proposals sent through our platform to see what makes them convert. Here are some data-backed tips to help you.
1. Send your proposals quickly
For over four years now, sending proposals out within 24 hours of meeting the client has been the best way to increase conversion rates. According to our data, proposals that are sent out within that time frame had a 23% higher conversion rate than those sent only a day later.
2. Include a cover page
While jumping straight into the introduction won’t hurt your conversions significantly, our data shows having a cover page makes a difference. Proposals with a cover page convert 4.6% better than the ones without it.
3. Don’t go overboard
The length of a business proposal will largely depend on what you do. That said, proposals that convert the best are short, concise, and to the point. Our data backs this up, showing that the optimal proposal length has been 6-7 sections for five years now.
4. Make sure your proposals are mobile-friendly
The number of clients opening business proposals on desktop computers has been steadily decreasing over the years. As a matter of fact, as much as 46% of proposals are now opened on mobile devices.
You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and you can’t control what device your client chooses to use. So what do you do? Choose a responsive design that looks great on all screen sizes.
5. Look professional
Pixelated logos, mismatched fonts, and typos are the best way to lose credibility right off the bat. Our data shows that branding goes a long way, with proposals sent from a custom domain converting 19.3% better than the ones sent from a third-party domain.
6. Integrate live chat
Great customer service is always crucial to increasing your conversion rate. Live chat not only helps you to respond to your client’s questions in real time but also puts them at ease. That’s why proposals with integrated live chat convert 18.2% better than those without it.
7. Make the offer easy to accept
The harder you make it for the client to do business with you, the more business you’re losing. With business proposals, the answer is easy – use a web-based platform like Better Proposals. That way, you’re letting clients sign documents electronically and pay, all in one place.
Using traditional PDFs sent as email attachments makes your conversion rate 88% worse. It’s not a surprise when you think about it – nobody likes going through the hassle of printing, signing, scanning, and sending the document back.
Using Proposal Software To Write, Send & Track Your Business Proposals
The truth is, rarely anyone writes proposals these days – most people use proposal software. Here’s why it’s a good idea:
- Proposal software is web-based . You can send your clients links instead of PDF files.
- Proposals are optimized for different devices. They look and feel the same on a phone, laptop or tablet.
- You get to use proposal templates . (We have more than 130 of them.)
- You can track what the client does with the proposal. You get notifications when they read, forward and sign.
- Clients can instantly sign proposals electronically. This means your proposals are considered legally binding contracts. No need for third-party tools like DocuSign or DocuSign alternatives – good proposal software has that already built in.
- Clients can pay from the proposal. Paypal, Stripe, GoCardless, you name it.
- You can use a variety of integrations . MailChimp, Zapier, Salesforce, HubSpot , or whatever else you are using in your sales workflow.
- Detailed reporting . Find out what works and what doesn’t, no guessing.
- The ability to use live chat . You can chat with the client as they’re reading the proposal, increasing your conversions.
- You get to write your proposals in 15 minutes , not 5 hours. Pull the data from your CRM and populate it with automatic fields – it’s that simple.
These are just some of the many reasons why you should consider using proposal software rather than opening Word next time you want to write an effective business proposal.
Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting a new business , following our guide will help you dramatically increase the number of people who say yes to your proposals. In summary, here are the exact steps that you need to take to write an amazing business proposal:
- Start off with a proposal template
- Find out the questions that your clients are asking
- Think of how you want the clients to feel as they read the proposal
- Include the 8 elements of a winning business proposal, as listed above
- Use proposal software to automate the writing process
One of the biggest reasons people take forever to write business proposals and ultimately do a bad job is because they are using software that simply isn’t geared up to doing the job in an effective way. It might sound like a self-serving suggestion , but you should take a look at using Better Proposals for writing your next business proposal.
The business proposal templates in our Marketplace alone will save you a ton of time with many business proposal examples to browse, and our proposal software has everything you need for writing proposals in one place.
Ready to take your business to the next level?
Better Proposals takes the hassle out of admin work, makes you easier to buy from, and helps you win more deals.
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How to Write a Business Proposal — 2022 Guide and Template
A business proposal can make or break your chances of securing a new client. Write a great one, and you’ll likely snag their business.
Write a poor one, and you might lose out—even if you’re offering the best service out there. So, how do you write a business proposal? What is the proper format? What do you need to include?
While it all depends on your industry, and whether or not you’re offering a product or service, writing a business proposal is pretty straightforward. We’ll answer all those questions and more throughout the course of this guide.
What to expect with this business proposal guide
Whether you’re starting fresh or need to look at a specific section, here’s what we’ll be covering in this guide.
- What a business proposal is
- The differences between a business proposal and a business plan
- The format of a business proposal
- How long to make your business proposal
How to write a business proposal
You can download a free business proposal template here to start writing up your own proposal as you work through this article. By the end, you’ll be prepared to develop a well-written business proposal that can explain your business clearly and win more clients. Let’s get started.
What is a business proposal ?
A business proposal is a document you’d send to a prospective client, outlining the service you’re offering, and explaining why you’re the best person for the job.
It’s a pitch by a business or individual to complete a specific job or project, to supply a service, or, in some instances, to be the vendor of a certain product.
What are the different types of business proposals?
A business proposal can be either solicited or unsolicited. With a solicited proposal, the prospective client will put out a request for proposals; with an unsolicited business proposal, you are approaching a client in hopes of attracting their business, even though they did not explicitly request a proposal.
While both are commonplace, a solicited proposal is an easier sell, as your prospective client has already decided that they want to make a purchase or use a service, and they’re evaluating possible vendors or businesses.
With a solicited proposal, your prospective client might have issued an RFP, or “request for proposal.” This is exactly what it sounds like—they want you to send over a business proposal so they can take a look at it.
Differences between a business proposal and a business plan
A business proposal is not the same as a business plan . This is the most common misconception, but while there are areas of overlap (like your executive summary ) the two are different.
That being said, you can certainly pull information from your business plan while writing your business proposal—in fact, that’s a great way to start.
But don’t confuse the two; they are distinct and separate. In short, a business plan represents the cohesive strategy of how your business operates and makes money. A business proposal is an official pitch to clients selling your products or services.
A business proposal outlines a particular product or service offered by an established business to a prospective client.
You’re trying to sell your prospective client on your product or service, not on your business itself. You’re not after funding, as you are with a business plan, you’re trying to make a sale.
A business proposal is also not an estimate; although you’ll likely touch on costs and pricing in your business proposal, an estimate is much more informal and just a quick look at the costs, not the whole picture.
What goes into a business proposal?
Your business proposal should address the three Ps:
- Problem statement: What your customer’s current problem is
- Proposed solution: How your business solves that problem better than other solutions
- Pricing: How much that solution costs compared to alternatives
If you’re stuck on how to start, maybe try brainstorming first; start with these three points, and you’ll have a rough, bare-bones version of your business proposal.
Once you’ve done that if you’re ready to go more in-depth, here is a step-by-step look at how to format your business proposal.
Your business proposal should start with a title page, which should include your name, the name of your company, the name of the person to whom you’re submitting your proposal, and the date submitted.
Table of contents
Depending on how long your business proposal is, a table of contents is a nice touch. Include it after your title page, and before you launch into any details. If you’re delivering it as a PDF, including anchor links down to each section, so it’s easy to get to specific areas.
Introduce your proposal with a great executive summary, one that really sells your business and the products or services you provide—it’s about why you’re the right company for the job. You can draw from your business plan’s executive summary here, too.
Statement of problem, issue, or job at hand
Following your executive summary, go on to discuss the problem that the client is currently facing. Think of “problem” or “issue” loosely; after all, their main problem may just be finding the right person to complete their project. But be sure you understand why they want the product or service they’re seeking. If the proposal is for developing a brand new website, make sure you understand what they want to get out of the site—better sales, more content management flexibility.
This is the place to show your new client that you understand their needs , and fully grasp the issue they are trying to solve. Take this opportunity to restate the issue they are facing in your own words so that they know you understand what they are looking for.
Approach and methodology
This section shows how you plan to tackle your potential client’s problem, and the steps you’ll take to carry out your plan.
This is where you’ll get into the nitty-gritty of how you actually plan to fulfill your client’s needs. While earlier sections might have been a bit surface-level, this section of the business proposal is where you’ll go into detail about what steps you’ll take to solve their problem.
Be careful of going into too much detail, though—keep the jargon to a minimum. Your client should be able to follow along and get a clear sense of your plan, but you don’t want to drown them in minutiae.
Go ahead, brag a little—this is the section of your business proposal where you get to convince your potential client why you are the most qualified person to take on the job.
You can mention any relevant education, industry-specific training, or certifications you have, your past successful projects of a similar nature, years of experience, and so on.
Schedule and benchmarks
Be clear with your potential client: How long will your proposed project take?
Making sure you and your prospective client are on the same page from the outset will help make sure that the relationship stays positive for both of you, and that you don’t set your client up with unrealistic expectations.
While you might be tempted to underestimate how long it will take you to complete the project, don’t. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver!
If you’re offering a product, this section might not be applicable to you, so feel free to omit it. The business proposal format is flexible, so tailor it to suit your business and industry.
Cost, payment, and any legal matters
Here is where you get down to brass tacks and state the cost, and payment schedule if necessary.
How you structure this section will largely depend on the particular project or service you are offering. A section entitled “Fee Summary” may be sufficient if one-time payment is required; otherwise, a “Fee Schedule” list or pricing table might be more appropriate. Always refer back to the client’s RFP whenever possible, to make sure you’re supplying them with all the information they need to help make their decision.
If there are any legal issues to attend to, such as permits or licensing, include this information here. Feel free to add a section entirely devoted to handling the legal side of the project if need be.
This is your final sell—don’t be afraid to detail for your prospective client all they have to gain by choosing you to complete the project.
Impress upon your clients why you are the best choice, and all the ways in which their business will benefit from choosing you and your business as their solution.
How long should a business proposal be?
When it comes to the format of a business proposal, this is the million-dollar question without an answer. Remember in school, when you’d ask your teacher how long an essay should be, and they’d reply, “as long as it takes to answer the question.”
The same applies to your business proposal. It ultimately depends on your industry, the scope of the project, and the client’s specifications in terms of detail and elements included.
That being said, the tighter your initial proposal can be and the more directly you can make your point, the easier it will be to pitch it to clients. Start by following the business proposal format above as a guide, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a winning business proposal—and securing new clients.
Editor’s note: This article was originally written in 2018 and updated for 2021.
Briana is a content and digital marketing specialist, editor, and writer. She enjoys discussing business, marketing, and social media, and is a big fan of the Oxford comma. Bri is a resident of Portland, Oregon, and she can be found, infrequently, on Twitter.
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Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or a new entrepreneur, a business plan is crucial to the success and growth of your business, but it can feel like an overwhelming task.
A business plan should act as a “compass,” according to Danielle Langton, a business strategist and coach based in Austin, Texas. It can help you maintain focus as you navigate the market, silence internal and external distractions, and secure business financing .
A well-written business plan will also create confidence, clarity, direction and alignment for a business owner and their team. To help you navigate the process, two business advisors share their best tips for writing a business plan.
1. Think big picture
Rather than diving into a 60-page business plan template, start by conceptualizing your business, recommends Oren Shani, a certified business advisor at Accion Opportunity Fund, a nonprofit community development financial institution based in California.
For new businesses, that means thinking about what differentiating value you bring to the market and how to turn that value into revenue, says Shani. For operating businesses, Langton says, it means understanding what worked the previous year and what didn’t.
Once you have this “bird’s-eye view,” you can more easily narrow down your action steps, which will vary based on your business, says Shani. “A lot of businesses find that they don’t need that 60-pager,” he says, noting that some businesses really only need a one-page mini-plan, or “lean plan.”
2. Factor in your lifestyle
Langton’s main advice to her clients is to prioritize the balance between business and their personal lives. Understanding and outlining your priorities outside of the business gives you clarity on how you can spend time with your business, which can ultimately make you a more efficient and effective business owner. “As you are creating a living,” she asks her clients, “are you actually also enjoying the life that it is providing, or are you just so focused on the revenue?”
To create this clarity, she recommends starting with your “nonnegotiables,” or things that you aren’t willing to sacrifice in your daily life to run your business. From there, you can build what your ideal week looks like and work your business schedule around that.
3. Make the time
As for actually sitting down to write your business plan , consider both your schedule and how you work best. For those who prefer to focus on one task at a time, Langton suggests setting aside a week, even blocking the time on your calendar if you’re having trouble making it a priority. Consider a change of scenery to clear any mental blocks or provide extra inspiration.
However, if feeling overwhelmed has kept you from starting in the first place, Shani advises against compartmentalizing. Getting something on paper, even if it’s just a bulleted list to start, is more effective than waiting for a free day with no distractions, he says. Plus, working on your business plan while running your business can provide benefits too, as real-time analysis can enhance your strategy as you go.
Langton adds that perfectionism and business plans don’t go hand in hand, especially for new business owners.
4. Embrace the living business plan
Whether you’re a new business owner or 20-year veteran, a business plan is never truly done, according to both Shani and Langton. As your understanding of your business, the market, and your customer base changes and adapts, so should your business plan.
The lengthiest part of the business plan process is the learning, rather than actually getting it on paper, says Shani. Every time a sale is made or not made, for instance, a business owner should seek to understand why or why not. This will help them identify their customers’ purchasing behaviors and how their customers engage with the business’s brand and products.
For some business owners, a monthly or quarterly cadence to check in, reprioritize and shed the things that aren’t working may make the most sense. Others may find it more useful to revisit their plan when there are new insights or significant changes to the market, such as new regulations, nearby real estate developments or fresh competitors, says Shani.
5. Leverage your busy season
For business owners expecting an upcoming holiday rush , this can be good news for your business plan, in addition to your bottom line. Leaning in during your busy season can be one of the best ways to collect data about your business, and capitalizing on that information at the end of the year can set you up well for the next, says Langton.
Not everything has to be buttoned up by the first of the year, but making observations and mental notes now will set you up to make meaningful updates to your business plan in January, she says.
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How to write a business proposal (The modern way)
Yauhen Zaremba Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc
Nothing speaks to a customer’s direct needs like a well-written business proposal.
But how do you make sure that your proposal is engaging to every potential client?
This year, we analyzed nearly 570,000 proposals sent in 2021 through the PandaDoc platform for insights on what works best and what doesn’t.
Here’s what we learned about writing business proposals.
→DOWNLOAD NOW: FREE BUSINESS PROPOSAL TEMPLATE
The basic structure of your business proposal
Building a business proposal is like building a house.
While there are certain elements that are always necessary — like the foundation — a house varies based on location and the architect or homeowner’s preferences.
In the same way, the components of a business proposal can vary based on industry, company size, and many other factors.
Just like writing anything else, a well-written proposal begins by gathering information and assessing the problems that your potential client is trying to solve.
With that in mind, the following items are what readers are looking to glean from your proposal. Think of these as the roof, walls, and foundation of your document:
- Information about your company. Your background, your qualifications, and why you’re a better fit than the rest of your competitors.
- Demonstrated knowledge of the problem. Proof that you’ve listened and done your research. You know what the client needs and you have a viable solution.
- Pricing and methodology. How you plan to solve the client’s problem, information about your proposed solution, and how much it’s going to cost.
In the next section, we’ll take you through how to draft a business proposal using our social media proposal template as an example.
If you’re not a social media company, don’t worry.
While the template we’re using is an example of a simple project proposal, the basic structure applies to nearly every business proposal — no matter how complex they might be.
You can download this proposal example and hundreds of other business proposal templates on our website.
Here are the nine elements of a business proposal , and what to include in each section.
Before you start, a quick note on length
Based on our analysis of proposals on our platform, we found that the average proposal length is about nine pages.
But, as several of our own account executives and sales team members were quick to point out, longer doesn’t always mean better.
“Short and sweet has a high conversion rate,” said Josh Gillespie, from Upmarket Sales . “Fewer pages and less fluff is better. Ideally, a proposal should be fewer than 10 pages for transactional proposals below $10,000, and never more than 50 pages.”
Artyom Voronetskiy, Account Executive with PandaDoc, agrees:
“Keep it short, on-point, and eye-catching. Do not write more than six to ten pages unless your product is extremely complicated.”
While you should make sure to include all relevant information that prospective clients will need in order to make a decision, take care to avoid overcrowding them with irrelevant details.
01. Cover page
This section includes basic information like your company’s name and contact information, your company logo, your client’s name, and contact information, the date, and a title.
A strong title page makes the project proposal look neat, organized, and well put together.
It’s also the very first thing that your prospective client will see when they open your proposal, and everyone knows how important that first impression can be.
Studies have shown that you have as little as 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression when designing visual content like websites.
The same holds true for your cover page.
Unlike the rest of your document, a cover page is a place where you can place graphics and visual content to set the tone before the reader dives into the meat of your proposal.
But don’t go overboard with complicated graphics and logos on this page. According to a study by Google , users love simple and familiar designs , especially at a first glance.
This is also a great way for you to stand out. Based on our data, only about 13% of proposals we see use cover pages . Take advantage of this missed opportunity and use it to stand out from your competitors.
02. Cover letter
You wouldn’t walk up to your potential client and dive into project specifics without introducing yourself, would you?
A cover letter is that introduction.
Include a one-liner about your company, short background information about how your company came to be, and a brief overview of what makes your company better than the rest.
Make it friendly and encourage your reader to reach out with any questions. Close it with a thank you and a signature.
Cover letters don’t have run on to the point of exhaustion. They can be simple, short, and sweet. In this example, the text is just over 100 words, but you could make it even easier to read by using bullet points.
Check this out:
Thank you for considering [Sender.Company] for your social media marketing needs.
Enclosed, you’ll find a proposal based on our understanding of your social media expectations. Briefly, we propose:
- An expanded social media strategy across currently unused platforms and channels
- A comprehensive distribution strategy designed to generate original and unique content
- Improved post automation for increased audience engagement during peak times
Our methods and procedures are based on extensive analysis, an intense study of social media trends, and the application of specifics unique to [Client.Company].
We are confident in delivering effective results within your social media channels.
Thanks again for considering us, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with questions.
My contact information is below.
Your cover letter can take on many forms, and you can use those formats to make your proposal stand out from the crowd.
In our proposal example, note that we’ve also used an image to keep things fun and interesting.
This is critical throughout your proposal. In our research, we found that a proposal with media like photos and videos included is 34% more likely to close.
As you’re designing your proposal, don’t be afraid to add graphics and images to keep readers engaged. A winning business proposal is more than just black text on a white page.
As you’re designing your proposal, don’t be afraid to add graphics and images to keep readers engaged. A winning proposal is more than just black text on a white page.
03. Table of contents
Unless your proposal is very brief, include a table of contents that outlines the basic structure of your document.
A table of contents is an important, but often overlooked, part of any longer document because it helps the reader know what they can expect to find in the proposal.
Most word processors generate a table of contents automatically using the headings in your document . As you’re writing, take the time to set the formatting for your headings and then simply generate a table of contents from those headings.
A table of contents isn’t always necessary, but it can make any proposal much easier to parse as your document is passed around to all appropriate parties.
Remember: Proposal documents may not be read chronologically. Different decision-makers will care about different things and will check your proposal to see how it addresses their unique pain points.
Don’t lose a deal just because stakeholders couldn’t find what they were looking for!
04. Executive summary
Your executive summary sets the scene for the rest of your proposal by providing a high-level overview that summarizes the contents of future pages.
If you provided a few of these details in your cover letter (like the bullet-point example shown above) this is your opportunity to go into greater detail and summarize your overall strategy.
Using our example, our potential clients are primarily realtors in the greater Chicago area looking to reach new clients through social media marketing, so your executive summary might read like this:
This proposal outlines a coordinated plan crafted with the intent of building John’s Real Estate social media presence, primarily including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, and Twitter.
By engaging an audience through social media channels, our team will demonstrate the ability to generate awareness, widen your company’s potential reach within your target market, and contribute to driving more website traffic, which will ultimately result in top-line growth.
We help realtors identify, target, and communicate with their ideal clients through each of the following:
- Creating Engaging Social Content
- Posting Company-Related Updates
- Promotions & Social Campaigns
- Integrating Social Media Activity into Other Marketing Plans
While our competitors work to serve multiple industries and target audiences , we specialize in the real estate industry. Our co-founder Tom Lancaster also has a background in both social media and real estate , giving him a unique perspective on the needs of the market.
Your own executive summary will shift depending on the duties you’re performing for the client, and what kind of industry they’re in.
Your tone might also change. If you’re targeting a young travel startup run by college graduates, you might use a more casual tone peppered with industry jargon and humor.
Jump Social Media Marketing offers full-service social media services for the real estate industry. Our team ensures area realtors are targeting their core market with an authentic message across the best channels possible.
Jump Social Media Marketing will work to identify, target and market to your ideal customer through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, and Twitter channels. Our team estimates we will grow your social media followers from your combined 214 followers to over 5,000 in the next six months and generate additional leads for your business.
We know that today’s realtors are also tasked with marketing homes and their own real estate firms. With a background in real estate and social media , Jump Social Media understands the unique needs of your industry.
While writing, keep in mind that your executive summary isn’t designed to explain every detail or sell your entire RFP response by itself!
Don’t get lost describing deliverable logistics or strategic plans. Focus on the client’s needs and the outcomes they specifically wanted to address in their request for proposal.
Let your executive summary present a high-level overview and leave the other pages of the document to explain the details. This will prevent your summary from getting overcrowded or bogged down with specifics best handled elsewhere.
05. Proposal and solutions pages
The proposal section is a general overview of the custom-made solution your company has devised for your potential client.
This section gets into the specifics.
Anticipate their questions, and take them through the process so they know what they’re signing up for when they hire you.
As Josh points out, this section of the proposal is critical because it demonstrates the relevance of your product or service to a specific product.
“Quick delivery and relevance to your specific prospect are two of the most important items in any proposal,” he said. “Prospects need to know what you’re selling, how it will help them, and how long it will take them to get it.”
Describe exactly what deliverables they can expect and when they can expect them.
A timetable that pairs deliverables with their expected date can make your document more visually appealing, and your information more digestible.
You might also break down your main objectives even further by describing how you plan to execute a given strategy.
In our example, we touched on six key goals during our executive summary. Let’s expand on those here.
1. Creating engaging social content
Beginning with quick and thorough planning/preparation, our team will plan out a dynamic, ongoing social content calendar to guide you to your goals.
We will grow an increasing social audience and follower base using each of the following techniques:
- Hashtag campaigns
- Strong use of keywords
- Sharing/retweeting relevant news
- “Liking” posts
- Staying updated within the industry
- Contributing our own unique content to broaden reach.
2. Posting company related updates
Our plan is to engage your social media audience by sharing company news, press releases, events, employee spotlights, and more.
We will also pay attention to industry trends, and share them. This will help to gain exposure to your target market.
3. Promotions and social campaigns
We will utilize social channels to connect with your follower base and engage them with promotions to get them excited about both current events and the brand itself.
These campaigns may be as short as a day or run up to six months. We’ll analyze the results from each campaign, and then we will provide a report of its success.
Results of campaigns can be compared so the most effective promotions, offers, or contests can be replicated.
4. Integrating social media activity into other marketing plans
With clear communication and monthly brainstorm meetings, we’ll be able to consolidate the marketing initiatives to fit your goals and promotional material.
Campaigns via social media are more important than just sharing about giveaways, sales, contests, and/or promotions. We will agree on a schedule for a series of posts to keep up the exciting momentum for all prospective customers.
It is important to regularly maintain marketing activity for maximum growth.
We will continually monitor each channel and will respond to any questions, comments, and posts within a two-hour time period. Two hours will allow us to confirm that accurate information is relayed back to the person asking.
We will provide you with each of the following:
- Daily and weekly analytics. Follower growth, reach, demographics, comments, “likes”, shares, retweets, and additional metrics as provided by each platform and our own internal tracking data.
- Reporting. Summarizing various results and activities over each quarter.
We will also set up a monthly meeting to go over the results and then tweak our approach accordingly.
Your own content may look different than this depending on your proposal writing skills and services, but you can still use the example as a framework. Add in more details as needed.
For example, a cybersecurity company would need to include information on penetration testing and how often it would be done to look for possible intrusions and hacks.
Breaking up this section
While writing your proposal content, keep in mind that this section is both the most important and the most flexible section of all.
Your entire proposal doesn’t need to be bundled into a single, long section. It can easily be broken down into smaller sections such as:
- Strategic Assessment
- Goals & Outlook
There are other combinations you can try, depending on your proposal and how your solution should be explained.
If you’re offering a complex solution to a client problem, breaking your proposal into bite-sized chunks is a great way to ensure that readers understand your solution.
The importance of good data
Leveraging good data is critical when creating an effective business proposal.
Use details surrounding impact and ROI around your products and services to prove your worth and add value to your proposal.
Consider these two phrases:
“Our customers love us!”
“To date, our products and methodologies have helped more than 700 companies increase their sales by 35%!”
Which sounds better? Which is more compelling? Numbers and figures catch the eye and help readers build trust. By demonstrating a proven record of success, with numbers and data, you’re adding tangible details that help to justify your costs.
This is especially useful when competing with other solicited proposals, especially if you can include these data points as visual representations (charts, graphs, etc.) of your success within your proposal document.
This is the section where clarity and specifics are key — and nearly every member of our sales team agreed.
Create a pricing table that clearly identifies each product or service, and pair it with the most accurate pricing information you can provide.
Jump Social Media Marketing operates on a monthly billing cycle. Here’s a layout of the pricing and services for John’s Real Estate.
While building the proposal, all you’d need to do is set the price for the item and the quantity of distribution.
If you were sending an hourly contract, the quantity becomes the estimated number of hours invested at a predetermined rate.
For recurring payment schedules, you’ll need to structure the document in a way that reflects your monthly workflow.
Transparency is critical in this section. Potential customers want to know how you’re charging them, what they’re being charged for, and over what period they should expect to pay.
Be sure to include all details in a clear and accurate way.
07. About us
While you already said hello with the cover letter, this section is where you get to explain what makes your company unique.
If you’re a small business or a new company, get personal and give your potential client a chance to get to know you and your team members. Include brief bios and photos of the people they’ll be working with.
If your company has a unique backstory, a mission, or a cause that your company stands for, share that with readers. For example:
Too often in social media , good things come at a price. At Jump, paying for followers or favorable reviews of products is tantamount to criminal activity.
Authenticity is important in today’s online world, and Jump Social Media Marketing makes this our No. 1 priority in your social media space.
The information included on this page doesn’t have to be a stodgy company boilerplate or a cleverly designed sales pitch.
As the old saying goes: People buy from people — so don’t be afraid to let your team’s personality shine through.
08. Testimonials and social proof
No sales proposal is complete without information about your past successes, awards, and jobs well done.
Often, this comes in the form of social proof, such as client testimonials and short case studies.
Why do you need this? Because social proof matters!
According to data, 92% of customers are more likely to trust earned media, like recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.
By including recommendations from satisfied customers and industry awards that prove your expertise, you can earn additional trust from prospective clients.
Here’s a good example of how Jump Social Media Marketing might leverage the accolades they’ve received:
Jump Social Media Marketing has received major public recognition for our work.
We’ve been named as Chicago’s Best Social Media Agency for Small Businesses by the Chicago Tribune for the past three years and have been recognized as a recommended partner by the National Association of Realtors .
We also grew the Chicago Real Estate Solutions Facebook page from 0 to 5,000 in six months , secured 250 new leads in that time frame , with 25% converting to sales .
You can also provide testimonials from past clients who can speak to your approach and how it worked for them, like so:
Lively and humorous testimonials like these can add additional personality to your company while building trust and rapport with potential clients.
However, keep your industry in mind when compiling testimonials and do your best to find user feedback that fits the mood.
If your industry has serious clients, a humorous approach may not be appropriate. If you’re working with a 3D manufacturing company with B2B clients, the messaging and tone they take with their own clients — and what they expect from the businesses they work with — may follow different expectations.
Be sure to plan accordingly.
09. Agreement and CTA
Depending on your business proposal, you may include an agreement, a call to action, and terms and conditions at the end of your document.
Your signature below indicates acceptance of this social media marketing proposal and entrance into a contractual agreement with Jump Social Media Marketing beginning on the signature date below:
Depending on your goals and your sales process, you need to be very careful in this section. In many jurisdictions, proposals are considered legally binding contracts if they meet the criteria for a contract.
By adding legal language and/or an electronic signature request at the bottom of your document, you might be entering into a contract earlier than expected.
This may not be ideal if your proposal is only intended to provide a rough estimate of costs or bring the client into further negotiations.
If you don’t intend to create a legally binding contract from your proposal, be sure to note that in your document and prompt the reader to contact you to move the process forward.
On the other hand, well-built proposals can double as complete contracts with all the terms and conditions necessary to start work immediately.
If you’re confident in the scope of work and you’re ready to take on the additional work, let the client know by promoting them for a signature.
How does a business proposal look?
First things first: We’re well past the turn of the century. Nobody likes getting thick envelopes in the mail.
Modern business proposals are sent electronically, and this is more convenient for both you and your potential customers.
While it’s possible to email a proposal created with a word processor like Microsoft Word, platforms like PandaDoc are a better fit. Our tools help you create a collaborative environment for negotiation, feedback, and electronic signature .
Regardless of how you choose to send your proposal, be sure to pay close attention to the look and feel of your document. Especially because your proposal may be your first impression with several key stakeholders, it’s essential that you follow expected formats and make a good impression.
If you search for business proposal examples online or take a look at our template library , you’ll find that most proposals rely on the structure described above to emphasize their value propositions.
Taking care to create a visually appealing proposal will help you communicate your ideas more easily. It’s also something that your competitors are doing and something that many clients are beginning to expect.
In our research, we found that roughly 80% of proposals included an image and 20% included a video. We also saw higher close rates when these multimedia tools were used compared to when they weren’t.
Exactly how a proposal is designed still has some flexibility, depending on your brand and what you’re trying to achieve, but keep in mind that it can have a big impact on success.
Proposals with pages of blocky text are much harder to navigate than proposals with charts, graphs, images, and bullet points.
It’s important to spend time beautifying your proposal,” points out Jared from PandaDoc Sales .
“A proposal that are can draw the eye directly to relevant content and keep the reader engaged is a powerful tool when trying to close a deal.”
Rather than writing a 1000-word About Us section, consider including team member headshots and a brief bio.
Rather than adding highly technical language about operational processes and leaving stakeholders to figure it out, provide visual aids that summarize the information in a clear and easy fashion.
Clearly defining your milestones isn’t the only reason to pay careful attention to how your proposal is written.
While there can be legal ramifications to poorly written proposal content, perhaps the most important consideration is the impression that your proposal leaves behind.
Your proposal introduces your client to the quality of work they can expect from your business. If it’s full of typos, spelling, and grammatical errors, or just seems sloppy, you’re unlikely to close the deal.
Read and re-read. Be sure to proofread every passage for errors before you send it to prospective clients or save it as a template.
You can also offset some of this tedium, especially on smaller deals, by focusing on creating a concise offering rather than a long-winded document.
As Quincy Berg, Enterprise Account Executive for PandaDoc points out,
If these aren’t assets that you have on your staff, consider hiring that skillset onto your team or hiring a freelancer to assist with proofreading and correction.
While many clients will overlook a stray typo or a misplaced comma, too many errors will land your proposal in the discard pile.
A word about costs
When you’re creating proposals, it’s easy for costs to add up. Costs for customized professional business proposals can take hours of research, consultation, and preparation — all with no guarantee of success.
That’s why savvy companies do everything they can to lower the cost of proposal preparation. Typically this is done by generating a template for business proposals — an outline or skeleton that someone can fill out quickly to save time and expedites internal company processes.
It’s an effective way to keep overhead low. Based on our research, an average of 20 documents are generated from each template you create .
That’s a huge time saver for any business.
After you hit ‘Send’
Once you’ve sent your proposal, your next step will depend on the process. Based on our information, about 65% of proposals containing a signature block close within 24 hours.
However, your mileage may vary. RFPs tend to be competitive processes, so you may have to wait until the submission window closes before you hear a response.
Don’t forget to follow up and ask your potential client if they have any questions. Based on the proposals we looked at, you are 30% more likely to close a deal if you send a series of reminders to keep your proposal top of mind.
PandaDoc and other proposal software tools can help you monitor your proposal using document analytics so that you know exactly when to reach out.
These tools let you know when your potential client viewed your proposal, how many times they opened it, and which sections they spent the most time on.
With these insights, you can anticipate their questions or objections and have your responses ready to go.
Free business proposal templates
Ready to get started but don’t know where to begin? PandaDoc can help with some great examples of business proposals.
In the proposals that we looked at, those created using our templates regularly created high-performing results for customers with minimal editing time.
Take a look at some of the metrics around the top professional business proposal templates currently in our template library .
Once you’ve fitted an existing template to your personal needs, you can save it as a fresh template in your content library for even faster reuse.
In doing so, you can slim the entire business proposal design process down from hours to minutes or spend more time refining your proposal for maximum appeal.
To see the true power of the PandaDoc editor, be sure to check out our community gallery for expertly designed templates from real PandaDoc customers.
If you’re a PandaDoc user, you can eve swipe these proposals and load them directly into your PandaDoc editor with a single click.
It’s just that easy.
Social Media Marketing Proposal Template
Used 13721 times
Legally reviewed by Yauhen Zaremba
Ultimately, your business proposal should be focused on your client’s needs and how your business plans to fix them.
No matter how you choose to build your proposal, never lose sight of that goal.
The RFP you receive will have most of the information you need to build a great proposal.
Take things step-by-step, and use the opportunity to show your client that your business is the right fit for the job.
Originally was published in October 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness in February 2022
Frequently asked questions
What’s the point of a business proposal.
Typically, the point of a business proposal is to describe in detail how your product or service will meet a client’s needs. Depending on those needs and the industry that you occupy, the content included in a standard proposal will fluctuate.
For example, at PandaDoc, many of our proposals are customized to fit the unique needs of enterprise-level organizations that are too big for our smaller plans.
If you were to compare our sales team to that of a construction company submitting a proposal to construct a building, the difference in requirements becomes clear. The proposal required for building construction is probably longer and may include far more business proposal topics than what our sales representatives would include when closing a deal.
However, despite the differences and industry requirements, each proposal will still follow the standard proposal format depicted above.
What is the format of a proposal?
The traditional format of a business proposal is as follows:
- Cover letter
- Table of contents
- Executive summary
- Proposal & solutions pages
- Testimonials & social proof
- Agreement & CTA
Based on our research into over 566,000 proposals created on our platform, most proposals are around nine pages in length .
To get a closer look a how to get started and how to bring your business proposal ideas to life using these sections, check out each section of this article.
What should be included in a business proposal?
Your business proposal should include everything you think you need in order to sell your product or service.
This includes all of the basic headings and subheadings you’ll see in a traditional proposal, as well as any supplemental documentation to justify your costs and reinforce your proposed approach to solving the client’s problem.
In addition to basic information about your product, you should also consider including the following:
- Contact information
- Value statements
- Pricing tables
- Client testimonials
- Examples of past work (case studies)
- Images, graphics, and related multimedia
If you’re sending your proposal electronically, you should also consider including an electronic signature block so that decisionmakers can quickly and easily seal the deal when they’re ready to proceed.
What types of business proposals are there?
All business proposals are essentially the same, but your submittal method may vary depending on the type of business proposal you need to send.
Solicited proposals are proposals that a company has asked you to provide for their consideration. The potential customer has reached out to your business and requested a proposal. This usually falls into one of two categories:
Formally solicited proposals are typically competitive and follow a standardized (formal) process. The prospective client sends out an RFP detailing the scope of work and requests that your business formally submit a bid to complete that work.
Informally solicited proposals are typically created based on conversations between a prospective client and a vendor that they want to work with. There might not be any formal documentation, and there may be no competitive process. This work can often lead to a sole-source, non-competitive contract.
Unsolicited proposals are documents that your company sends to a prospective client who hasn’t asked for one. They are not submitted in response to an RFP or an information request. Such proposals are typically created based on a market opportunity — often one that the client is either unaware of or hasn’t yet acted upon.
Proposals 14 min
Proposals 12 min
Document templates 15 min
How to Write a Business Proposal (Examples & Templates)
A complete guide to writing business proposals that land deals. Easy-to-follow steps, actionable examples, and insider tips from sales pros.
11 minute read
Not a fan of writing business proposals? Few people are. After all, it puts you in quite a vulnerable position. You need to convince prospects to pick you and make them understand why you’re the perfect fit for their needs.
This guide will show you a simple step-by-step process you can follow to ace every business proposal you create. Plus, for every section of your proposal, you’ll get sample content you can take as a point of reference and use to score more deals.
First, see a business proposal example created with Storydoc:
Static, plain-text proposals are a relic of the past. With Storydoc, you’ll get engaging, interactive proposals looking better than anything you’ve ever created. Rise above your competitors and give your customers a proposal they will be proud to show their boss.
What is a business proposal ?
A business proposal is a formal document devised by a company and delivered to a prospect with the purpose of securing a contractual agreement between the two parties. A good business proposal shows to your potential clients why your offer is the most beneficial to them. Before we dig deeper, if you just need a quick checklist, here it is. To learn more about a specific section just click on a desired item in the interactive table of contents and we’ll take you right there.
Here's how to write a business proposal:
Now, let’s go through each step and see some examples.
1. Create a title page
Starting with the basics. The title page of your business proposal needs to feel professional and inviting. Most importantly, though, make it feel as personal as possible. Include:
- The name of your business
- The subject matter of your proposal
- Your prospect’s name and job title
- Your prospect’s company logo
- Submission date
Business proposal title page example:
Jane Atkins ABC Company Inbound Marketing Proposal for Acme Corp
Submitted to: John Random, VP Growth Submitted on: May 5, 2023
Using your client’s logo is virtually a must. But you kick your title page up a notch by applying other elements of their branding, too: think colors, master visuals, and overall vibe. They will notice and appreciate it. These unique business name ideas will make you stand out from the crowd - your business name matters.
2. Include an interactive table of contents
One of the keys to success in business communication is setting up expectations and then meeting them. A table of contents achieves just that: you tell your readers exactly what they’ll find in your proposal. If you’re sending your proposal electronically, make the ToC clickable, with jump-to links to appropriate chapters of your proposal. It will make navigating through the document so much easier (much like we did with this piece, you're welcome!).
Speaking of electronic versions… Do your best to prevent your prospects from printing out your proposal. A 2020 study found that once someone prints your proposal, your chances of landing the deal shrink by 84%!
Sample table of contents:
Assessment and Project Overview
Methodology - SEO Audit - Internal Linking Optimization - Digital PR Assets - Digital PR Outreach
Qualifications and Testimonials
Terms and Conditions
Agreement and Rollout Process
3. Write a compelling executive summary
As the name implies, an executive summary is a section that, well, summarizes the whole document. In business proposals, your executive summary should contain the essence of your value proposition: explain why you’re submitting the proposal, what makes your product or services relevant to the client’s specific needs, and how you’re going to tackle their problems. The key thing to remember? Don’t mistake an executive summary for an introduction. The summary is basically a shortened version of your whole proposal. Its purpose is to provide a busy reader ( who could be your prospect ’s boss, the titular executive) with an overview of your offer, clear enough for them to not have to read the proposal in full. If you want to learn more about writing executive summaries, specifically, see our dedicated guide: Executive Summary—Examples and Definition
Sample executive summary for a business proposal:
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This proposal outlines a detailed plan of action aimed at maximizing the profits of Acme Corp by boosting the inbound organic traffic to your e-commerce store. As your company displays a very high on-site conversion rate and the online traffic you generate is highly monetizable, the best strategy for maximizing your revenue is boosting your SEO performance. Acme Corp is lagging behind its key competitors in most of the search performance metrics: domain rating, backlink quality , and, as a result, organic traffic. Applying basic SEO maintenance will result in a dramatic increase of relevant monthly visitors to your site, contributing to a substantial increase in revenue. In the second phase of the project, our team will enhance your online presence and earn high-quality backlinks through a data-driven digital PR campaign, further improving your domain rating and the consequent search engine rankings for the highest-converting keywords and phrases.
While executive summaries come at the beginning of business proposals, write this section last. Create the rest of your proposal beforehand, then “skim the cream:” compile the key bits into the summary.
4. Identify the problem and propose a solution
Here’s where the big guns come in. If you’ve managed to get them interested enough to reach this part, you’re halfway there. It doesn’t mean it gets easier at this point. Quite the contrary— This section, usually called “Assessment,” or “Project Overview,” is the meat and potatoes of your proposal. You need to make sure it tastes like Black Angus fillet mignon with gratin dauphinoise. Here are a few tips for making it powerful and convincing to your prospects:
- Focus on the grander scheme of things here. Paint a big picture, plant an idea: it’s not the time to get to the nitty-gritty yet.
- B2B buyers can smell generic from miles away. Do your best to customize this part to the exact needs of your customer, never use a copy-pastable template.
- Make it about them. Instead of “selling” your product or services, focus on the tangible business result they’ll get out of this. ROI is the most direct, hard-hitting metric after all.
- Don’t overuse jargon or highly technical terms. You’re communicating with a human, not an algorithm.
- It’s okay to use your sales deck as a point of reference. It’s what got them interested in the first place, so do rely on the same main message.
Sample project overview in a business proposal:
ASSESSMENT AND PROJECT OVERVIEW Acme Corp is currently looking for ways to bring more inbound traffic to the company website. As an e-commerce business with competitively priced, high-quality performance clothing, any traffic you generate is highly monetizable. Your current traffic sources mostly constitute direct (15%), AdWords (40%), and display ads (18%). Organic traffic acquisition has been heavily underperforming for your site. At the same time, both your key competitors, DoeSports and GreenWay, bring in twice as much organic traffic as you do through paid sources (via Ahrefs, and SimilarWeb analysis). This shows that SEO efforts can be highly profitable in your industry. Your e-commerce store suffers from a few easy-to-fix SEO issues that we will address immediately:
- Poor-quality backlinks from spam sites, low SEO health score, and irrelevant anchor text in internal links.
- Fixing these issues alone will boost your SERP positions by 5–10 places for highest-volume keywords, amounting to 5,000–8,000 more unique visitors per month.
- Considering your extremely high average conversion rate of 3% and an average conversion value of $75, those efforts will increase monthly revenue by at least $11,250.
Furthermore, in comparison to your competitors, AcmeCorp has a poor domain rating: 49, compared to 66 of DoeSports and 70 of GreenWay, indicating fewer relevant backlinks and weaker referring domains. Our team will acquire relevant, high-quality backlinks from key industry publications through digital PR and outreach campaigns based on unique data-driven studies. This will result in:
- A significant boost in your domain rating, directly contributing to all major search engines rankings.
- A projected boost in traffic to your website of further 12,000 visitors per month.
- Enhanced brand visibility.
Even at the stage of the deal where you send the proposal, don’t assume your customer understands what they’re buying and why they need it. You still need to get your sales message across: let your prospects understand the value attached to your price tag.
5. Explain your methodology
If the executive summary of a business proposal is the why , and the project overview, the what , here’s the part where you describe how . If you’ve nailed the previous sections, your prospect knows that your solutions are relevant to their problems and has a bird’s eye view of expected outcomes. It’s time to explain your methods for achieving what you promise to deliver. List all the deliverables they can expect from the project or service, together with a timetable and a list of dependencies detailing the deadlines or frequency of delivering specific items or milestones. How granular you are in this part largely depends on the duration of collaboration you’re discussing, and many other project-specific details.
If you’re writing an event video proposal, you’ll want to explain what the client can expect:
- Before the event (consulting your needs and ideal outcomes, auditing the venue, setting up lighting, and so on),
- During the event (how many videographers on site, exact timetable, total shooting time),
- After the event (post-production, sound and music, additional editing, total length of video material delivered).
If, on the other hand, your proposal refers to long-term marketing consulting contract, the description of your methodology will be more general:
- Month 1: identifying and fixing technical SEO issues (anchor text, internal linking, backlink quality).
- Month 2: auditing the site content and optimizing existing URLs for search engine performance using an SEO rank tracker tool .
- Month 3: automating the funnel, running A/B tests on form pages.
And so on… Let’s have a look at what it might look like in practice.
Business proposal sample—methodology:
- Disavowing links from low-reputation websites
- Fixing critical issues on existing URLs
- Improving site speed
- Fixing errors in robots.txt
- Optimizing meta titles and meta descriptions
- Fixing errors in HTML tags
Internal Linking Optimization
- Identifying internal linking opportunities
- Creating SEO-friendly anchor text combinations
- Removing links to 404 URLs
Digital PR Assets
- Running unique surveys via OnePoll
- Creating data-driven content relevant to the audiences of industry online publications
- Creating shareable infographics depicting the findings of the study
Digital PR Outreach
- Identifying key leads in relevant industry websites
- Email outreach to our database of relevant contacts
- Passive link building via Google AdWords
6. Back up your proposal with proof of qualifications
Your business proposal might be visionary so far. Still, if it’s not credible, it will get you nowhere. The client might love your ideas. They might be beyond excited to see them come to life. But— They don’t know you. And remember the old saying: “Trust everybody, but always cut the cards.” (Yes, it’s a euphemism for “Trust no one, ever.”) How do you make them trust you? Show them you’ve done it before and you succeeded. Again, and again. List verifiable, measurable achievements you or your company can boast about and pepper those with social proof. See a few examples:
- Customer case studies,
- Industry awards,
- Years of experience,
- Media mentions.
The ideal composition of those will depend on the type of project and the industry: If you’re a photographer, your client won’t care too much about the awards you might have gotten or what The New Yorker wrote about your solo show. They’ll want to review your portfolio to see if that’s the vibe they're into and hear from your past clients to check if you’re not a pain to work with. If, in turn, you’re writing a marketing business proposal, your best bet will be to emphasize examples of your past campaigns together with detailed key metrics you boosted for your clients. Writing a proposal in an informal tone? You can add a short “About Us” section. Introduce team members who would be working on the project and explain what makes them the best professionals available on the market for solving the particular problem in question.
7. Outline your pricing options
This is where things get rather technical. On the face of it, the pricing section seems fairly obvious. They might be in love with your solutions, but they don’t yet know if they can afford you. Pricing is a tricky part on your end, though. You don’t want to scare off your lead with a sky-high estimate; at the same time, you don’t want to undersell yourself. The best option is to go for an interactive pricing page where every type of service or activity has a separate price tag to it and your clients can easily select a package that suits their needs and meets their budget—ideally, the total price should get automatically calculated. Alternately, you can use an estimate generator , which is an effective tool for automatically calculating cost forecasts based on various criteria and input data. This tool is both affordable and consumes little computing resources, so you can get it along with the best laptop for the money in the $300-$500 range. If you don’t have such an option at hand, create a very specific pricing table that clearly identifies each item or service, as well as the billing period. Here’s a practical example.
Sample pricing for a business proposal:
Remember, your goal is to make them comfortable with the pricing. Make them understand that your offer is not a cost but an investment worth every penny. A great way to achieve this is adding a live ROI calculator. It’s a perfect reminder of why they’re reading the proposal in the first place: to find a solution that will help them increase the revenue.
Below, you can see a sample ROI calculator created with our presentation maker tool :
Interactive ROI calculator example
8. Finish with terms and conditions + contractual agreement
Here’s a bad dream— The client loved your proposal, you’re midway through the project, and, all of a sudden, they’re refusing to make a second payment on your account. “We agreed on 30% upfront, and a full payment upon completion.” You know that’s not what you agreed on. Or do you? A proper business proposal comes with a detailed set of terms and conditions, together with contractual agreement at the bottom, helping both parties involved avoid any misunderstandings. In the terms and conditions, describe the timeline of the project, payment terms and schedule, cancellation policy (if applicable), and possible pre-agreement amendments to the proposal itself.
Sample terms and conditions for a business proposal:
TERMS AND CONDITIONS Timeline Start date: June 1, 2023 End date: July 31, 2023 Total payment due: $11,150 40% of the total payment is due upon signing. 100% of the total payment is due upon project completion. After the final payment, any elements of text, graphics, photos, or other creative work created by ABC Company for Acme Corp are owned by Acme Corp. ABC Company retains the right to showcase their creative work done for Acme Corp as examples in their portfolio. Prior to signing the contractual agreement, elements of this proposal might be amended in cooperation with Jane Atkins, ABC Company.
At the bottom of your document, include a legal agreement clause and a space for signatures. Make it easy for them to make a decision without additional documents. Adding a date and signature space in a business proposal will help you close the deal faster. For maximum convenience, you’ll want electronic signatures enabled.
Sample agreement clause for a business proposal:
If you agree to the terms of this inbound marketing proposal, please sign in the field below. Your signature indicates that you enter into a contractual agreement with ABC Company that commences on the date signed below. [ date ] [ signature ] John Random, Acme Corp
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And that’s a wrap…
I hope this step-by-step overview of business proposal writing has straightened out any queries or doubts you might have had. For the final word, here are a few extra tips to keep in mind before you hit “send.”
Business proposal tips:
- Start with an outline.
- Never reuse old proposals.
- Use hard numbers whenever possible.
- Don’t shy away from your brand.
- Make next steps obvious.
- Re-read, proofread and edit.
Thanks for reading. Keeping my fingers crossed for your proposal!
Hi, I'm John, Editor-in-chief at Storydoc. As a content marketer and digital writer specializing in B2B SaaS, my main goal is to provide you with up-to-date tips for effective business storytelling and equip you with all the right tools to enable your sales efforts.
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Business proposal templates
Learn how to write an effective business proposal with our free templates. A business proposal is a sales pitch to potential clients, so it's critical to present the best solution to their needs right off the bat. Find out what to include, how long it should be, and what templates are available.
A business proposal may seem easy, but the process can be challenging, especially if you’re new to it. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered – here is how to write a business proposal that gets results. Plus, we’ll provide you with free business proposal templates to help get you started.
The importance of sending a business proposal
When you’re running a business, it’s important to always be on the lookout for new opportunities. After all, you never know when a potential client or customer might come knocking. And when they do, you’ll want to be prepared with a well-crafted business proposal.
A business proposal is essentially a sales pitch. It’s an opportunity to sell your products or services to prospective clients or customers. And just like any other sales pitch, you’ll need to put your best foot forward if you want to stand out from the competition with your unsolicited proposal.
How to title a business proposal
In fact, you may not be the only person sending business proposals to this potential client or customer, so an effective business proposal must stand out from the rest. One way to make a perfect proposal amazing is to choose an attention-grabbing title.
Your title should give the reader a general idea of your proposal without giving too much away, so keep it short and to the point. It’s also important that your title is relevant to your proposal. Otherwise, you risk confusing or frustrating your reader and not sealing the deal you wanted.
Business proposal subject line examples
[Company Name] – New Business Proposal
- [Your Name] – Follow Up Business Proposal
Re: [Name of Potential Client] – Business Proposal
Attention: [Name of Decision Maker] – Business Proposal Regarding [Topic of Project]
Action Required: Review Business Proposal for [Name of Project]
- Time-Sensitive: Read This Business Proposal
- [Company Name] – Urgent Business Proposal
[Your Name] – [Company Name]’s Business Proposal for [Topic of Project]
- Business Proposal – Please Read
Collaboration [Your Company] x [Name of Potential Client] | Business Proposal
- [Your Name] x [Name of Potential Client] | Business Proposal
- Briefing Paper – [Your Company] & [Name of Potential Client] | Business Proposal
- Strategic Partnership Proposal – [Your Company] & [Name of Potential Client]
How to write a business proposal
To successfully write and deliver a business proposal, keep in mind the communication plans you have in place. Before you start contacting businesses with proposals, make sure that this aspect is taken care of.
When writing a sales proposal, you need to understand that decision-makers often don’t have time to read through long, drawn-out documents. It’s therefore important to write a proposal that is clear, concise, and to the point, especially if you want to speed up the sales process.
The best way to do this is by using a creative business proposal template to help organize your thoughts and professionally present your proposal. Plus, it’ll save you time in the long run.
Determine if the business proposal is cold outreach, or if the potential customer has already shown some interest. For cold outreach, your proposal should be more professional and include an executive summary. For the latter, you can focus on the project itself and be less formal in tone. Remember to refer to any previous conversations that you’ve had with the prospect in your project proposals.
Keep in mind that the goal of a professional proposal is to persuade the reader to see things from your perspective and take action accordingly. Therefore, make a strong case for why they should choose your products or services over those of your competitors.
The more you personalize your proposal, the better. Tailor it to the specific needs of your potential client or customer. Research and find out as much as possible before you even start writing. The more information you have, the better equipped you’ll be to include project details and write a relevant proposal to their needs.
What to include in a business proposal
- executive summary
- problem statement
- proposed solution
- project timeline
- detailed budget
- about your company
- examples of previous work
- call to action
Business proposal examples and templates
In light of your specific needs, we believe that our [products/services] are the best solution for your company. Our team is highly experienced and qualified to provide you with the [type of service] you require. We have a proven track record of success and would be honored to put forward our skills and experience to work for you.
Over the years, we have been able to help our clients by providing them with high-quality [services/products]. We are proud of the long-standing relationships we have built with our clients and we work hard to maintain that trust.
We understand that you are currently facing the problem of [describe the client’s problem]. This can be a difficult and time-consuming task, which is why we are proposing our [products/services] as a solution.
Our team has the necessary skills and experience to provide you with a comprehensive solution that will address your needs. We believe that our [products/services] are the best option for you, as they have already helped our other clients achieve their desired results.
Project Timeline and Budget:
We have attached a detailed project timeline and budget to this proposal so that you can gain a clear understanding of the work that will be done and the associated costs from it.
[Company Name] – Previous Work Examples:
As requested, we have included examples of our previous work with similar clients. We have also included a list of references so that you can speak to our past clients directly.
Call to Action:
We would be honored to put our skills and experience to work for you. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this proposal further, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely, [Your Name] [Your Title] [Company Name] [Phone Number] [Email Address]
As a team of experienced professionals, we believe that collaboration is key to success. We would be honored to put our skills and experience to work for you and contribute to the success of your company.
We are a [type of company] that has been in business for [X] years. We have worked with clients in a variety of sectors, including [list of industries].
We are fully aware of the challenge you are currently facing with [describe the client’s problem]. Since challenges like this can be difficult and time-consuming, we are proposing our [products/services] as a solution.
We decided to put together a comprehensive solution that will address all of your needs. Our team has the necessary skills and experience to provide you with a [type of solution] that will help you achieve your desired results.
Project timeline and budget:
We believe that the work can be completed within [number of weeks/months]. The budget for this project is $[total amount].
Relevant examples of our previous work:
Our past collaborations with clients in similar situations should give you a better idea of what to expect from us.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this proposal further, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be more than happy to answer any of your questions.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Dear [Name of Potential Client]
On behalf of [Company Name], I’d like to submit this business proposal for your review.
As a [type of company], we have worked with clients in a variety of sectors, including [list of industries]. We are confident that we have the necessary skills and experience to provide you with a comprehensive solution that will address your needs.
Since we’ve been operating for [X] years, we have the relevant experience to put together a [type of solution] and make [Name of Project] successful.
Your challenges, [describe the client’s problem], are ours too. We believe you need a team of experienced experts who can provide you with a [type of solution] that will help you achieve your desired results.
In this proposal, we have included a detailed project timeline and budget to give you a clear understanding of the work that will be done and the associated costs. Our estimation is that the work can be completed within [number of weeks/months].
Furthermore, we have included relevant examples of our previous work with clients in similar situations. These should give you a better idea of what to expect from us.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this proposal further, please do not hesitate to contact us.
[Company Name] is delighted to submit this business proposal for your review. Our team of experienced professionals are confident that we have the necessary skills and experience to provide you with a comprehensive solution that will address all of your needs.
As a [type of company], we have worked with clients in a variety of industries, including [list of industries]. Our team members have extensive experience in [type of solution] and are confident that we can provide you with a successful solution.
[describe the client’s problem] this may be a bottleneck for your company and our team can help you overcome it.
We are proposing a [type of solution] to help you achieve your desired results. This comprehensive solution includes [key features of solution].
We have included a detailed project timeline and budget for your review. Our estimation is that the work can be completed within [number of weeks/months]. As for the budget, we have estimated a total cost of $[total amount], which could be divided into [X] payments.
Examples of previous projects delivered by [Company Name]:
To give you a better idea of what to expect, we have included relevant examples of our previous work with clients in similar situations.
If you have questions or would like to discuss this proposal further, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit a proposal for [Name of Project]. We understand that you are looking for a [type of service] and our team is confident that we can provide you with the solution you need.
We at [Company Name] are a [type of company] with extensive experience working with clients in [list of industries]. Our team members have excellent skills in [type of solution] and are confident that the solutions and methods we use are the most effective.
The scope of our collaboration with you will be as follows: [key features of solution].
We believe that this is the most comprehensive solution to your problem and we are confident in our ability to deliver results. If required, we can also provide you with [type of solution] for the project.
The estimated time required to complete marketing plans for the project is [number of weeks/months].
Pricing and payment terms:
The total cost of the project is $[total amount], or we can offer you a [pricing plan]. Payment would be upfront and cover the entire project.
If you have questions or would like to discuss this proposal further, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Bearing in mind that you are looking for a [type of service], we believe that [Company Name] is the best solution for your needs. Our team stands out for its experience with [type of solution] and by always providing the most effective solutions to our clients. We have put together a comprehensive proposal that includes an executive summary, introduction, problem statement, proposed solution, project timeline, detailed budget, and information about our company. We have also included examples of our previous work and a list of references.
About [Company Name]
[Company Name] is a [type of company] that has worked with clients in various industries, including [list of industries]. What sets us apart from other companies is our dedication to providing the best possible service and always finding the most effective solutions for our clients.
We understand that everyone is different, and so we tailor our services to each individual client’s needs. Our team members have extensive experience in [type of solution] and are confident that the solutions and methods we will use are the most effective.
[Company Name] would like to offer you a comprehensive solution to your problem, which includes [key features of solution]. We believe that this is the most comprehensive solution to your problem and we are confident in our ability to deliver results. If required, we can also provide you with [type of solution] for the project.
The estimated time required to complete the project is [number of weeks/months].
Upon our estimation, the total cost of the project will be $[total amount]. The payment schedules will be divided into [X] payments, each of which will be due upfront. A detailed breakdown of the costs associated with the project is included in the attached budget.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this proposal further, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you soon and thanks for considering [Company Name]
[Company Name] has worked with clients in various industries, including [list of industries]. We have put together a comprehensive proposal and included examples of our previous work and a list of references.
Thank you for your time, [Company Name]
Business proposal good practices
Here are a few tips to help you send a polished proposal to people who may be interested in your offer.
- Start by doing your research. This will give you a better understanding of your audience and what they’re looking for.
- Stress the unique selling points of your products or services. What makes them different from what your competition is offering?
- What is your company background? Even a single USP can boost your B2B sales process.
- Be clear and concise. If you want to send an excellent business proposal that brings results, make sure you get to the point quickly.
- Double-check that you have included all relevant details. Describe your development process, project overview, or related business consulting services. If it’s a long document, group business proposal content sections into a table of contents.
- End with a call to action . Tell your clients what you want them to do next and make it easy for them to take that step.
- Emphasize the benefits that your potential client or customer will enjoy. What’s in it for them? Why should they choose your offer? If your entire proposal doesn’t speak volume to their needs, they’re not going to bother reading it.
- Use simple language and avoid technical jargon. A business proposal is considered a formal document, keep in mind that not everyone will be familiar with industry-specific terms.
- Make sure your proposal is error-free by proofreading it carefully before you send it out. Nothing will sink your chances faster than a typo or grammatical errors.
- If applicable, outline the steps that you’ll take to complete the project as well as future plans you may want to offer. Even if it’s a basic proposal for now, listing essential elements will show a potential client that you have a plan and you’re organized.
- Include information about your company: your experience, qualifications, and any relevant awards or certifications. This will help build trust and confidence in your ability to deliver on what you’re proposing.
- Don’t forget about attaching case studies or client testimonials. These can be very helpful for convincing your reader that you’re the right company to onboard. Since opinions from external clients serve as social proof, they can bring you closer to success.
- Use an attention-grabbing proposal template. Leveraging an editable proposal template can help you customize your message to each prospect’s needs.
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Business proposals can be make-or-break opportunities for your company. Sending the right business proposal template can be the difference for landing a new client.
By following the best practices above, you can increase your chances of writing a proposal that is not only read but also accepted. And with professional proposal templates, you’ll be well on your way to success.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you write a business proposal via email.
Begin by introducing yourself and your company. Clearly define the proposal's purpose, emphasizing the specific problem or need. Outline tailored solutions aligned with the recipient's goals, highlighting your unique qualities and past successes. Present a transparent budget and end with a clear call to action. Personalize your proposal, and always proofread before sending.
How often should I send business proposals?
The answer to this question depends on your business and your relationship with the potential client. If you’re just starting out, you may want to send a marketing proposal for every project that comes your way. As you build up a client base, you can be more selective about which projects you submit proposals for.
What should I include in a business proposal?
The contents of a business proposal varies depending on the project and the client’s needs. In general though, you’ll want to include an executive summary, introduction, problem statement, proposed solution, project timeline, detailed budget, and information about your company.
How long should a business proposal be?
The lengths vary depending on the project and the client. In general, a one-pager will do in many cases, but for more complex projects you may need to include additional information in your project proposal templates.
What is the difference between a business proposal and a business plan?
An unsolicited business proposal is typically used to pitch a new idea or project to a potential client, while a business plan is more focused on long-term strategy and growth.
Should I follow up after sending a business proposal?
Yes, you should always follow up after sending a business proposal to show that you’re interested in the project and that you’re willing to put in the effort to seal the deal. A simple email or phone call can go a long way, but you can also get creative with your follow-ups.
What are the most popular types of proposals?
There are different business proposal format templates that you can use for an event proposal template, a bid proposal, SEO proposal template, video production proposal template, funding proposal template, or a business consulting proposal template. With many modern proposal templates, you can quickly customize your message to any type of proposal.
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With over $20 million dollars in sales and having supported thousands of ambitious women’s businesses, I want to help you…
First 7-figure year with my proven ceo growth method., discover how to, less than 2% of women ever get their businesses past the million-dollar mark.
Seven figures in revenue. Ask most female entrepreneurs… And they’ll tell you – that’s the dream. Being able to grow your business past the six-figure mark alone is a massive accomplishment. But what most business experts won’t tell you is that true, sustainable growth happens once you push beyond that six-figure ceiling. …and the businesses that really “make it” (think: hire a full-time team, get acquired, have industry recognition) are all at the seven-figure mark and beyond. But you know that. That’s why you’re here. The problem is…
I didn’t think twice. I put the $10k on my credit card + decided to invest in myself when nobody else would. And it paid off. Working with my coach literally changed the trajectory of my life. Within a few weeks – my inner world started to change. I was feeling more abundant, coming back to my own inner power, standing firm in who I was… And then hopping on a plane across the country to a Brendon Burchard event. If saying yes to my coach was the first domino – the Brendon Burchard event was the moment all the other pieces started to fall into place. I had no idea what to expect. I arrived at the event wide-eyed, wondering if I could maybe start a business “one day.” I left with a new friend and the beginnings of our business idea… Then the momentum started to build. Within 5 months of the event, we launched our business. Within minutes of launching, we had doubled our launch goal. Within our first year of business, we had hit $1.4 million in sales. I was a millionaire by the age of 30.
And I’m not okay with that. You’ve put your time, energy, money and resources into your business… You KNOW you could make an impact in your own world and disrupt your entire industry if you were given the opportunity… But you don’t know how. And what really keeps you up at night is wondering if all the success you’ve experienced so far is just some weird accident. You’re worried it could all slip away tomorrow if you stop hustling so hard, lose a client, or get swept away in the economic downturn. Which – I get. It makes sense because I’ve been in your shoes EXACTLY. But it doesn’t HAVE to be this way. Because there’s actually a simple way to risk-proof your business – inviting predictability, stability and ultimately – the ability to scale. To be a part of that 2% of female entrepreneurs who scale past 7 figures. And to be a part of a movement that grows that number past just 2% because – that’s too low. Thousands of business experts have been gatekeeping the secrets to real growth for far too long. But not me. Not anymore
You can bet on yourself and see what you can really do.
You can stay where you are and stay stagnant…
I’m known as one of the leading female entrepreneurs in the industry, paving the way for other female entrepreneurs to achieve wealth. I’m the co-founder of bossbabe with my business partner, Natalie Ellis. A few years ago, I was making $70k a year as a chiropractor in my small town in the UK. I was burned out, exhausted and wondering if this was all that my life was going to amount to. Even worse…my family life was suffering and I was stuck in a relationship that drained me. Every day after work, I’d come home and Google, "how to start a business." I knew I wanted more and let these 5-9 Google searches give me hope that somewhere in my future – things could change…for the better. One night, I got an advert for a local business coach who was accepting new clients for a limited time. The investment? $10k. Which was nearly 15% of what I was making at the time so… …yeah. It felt like (and was!) lot of money for 28-year-old, Danielle the Chiropractor. But something tugged at my heart, and – despite what I knew my friends and family would think of me spending that much money on a coach… I couldn’t shake the feeling on a gut level that this is what I was meant to do. As if the Universe was presenting me with a choice:
It Just Takes One Decision To Change Your Business (And Your Life).
My story is proof this is true. And so are the thousands of female entrepreneurs I have supported over the years. Entrepreneurs who started from zero, grew to six figures, then scaled far past that. I’m talking about people like… Brenda Chen. Brenda's business was successful by all accounts. She had her income in the low-six-figures, a goal many women dream of. But at the same time...she knew she was made for more. Cut to: she's now invested in, founded and even acquired multiple businesses and reached the high six-figure mark in <12 months time.
"Having Danielle as a mentor was the ultimate up-level! I went from a coach with a dream to a business leader confidently running a company that has now served hundreds of clients. The best part is that the skills I learned to scale my business are timeless. I’ve been able to continue to implement them and refine as I continue grow my income and my impact."
Or Justine Steel – who was running her own coaching business with dreams of growing her income and impact. The problem was – she had no idea what steps she needed to take to hit the next milestone, and continue to grow after that. When she started working with Danielle as her coach, she immediately started to see results. And the best part is – she now has a business-building toolbox that CONTINUES to serve her – even years later.
"I was a part of Danielle's Mastermind and it completely transformed me! I was able to scale my income from low to high 6 figures (something that would normally take years and years!). I was confident to go after what I wanted because of the support I got from the coaches and community. Since then, I became an investor and founded/acquired multiple businesses. Forever grateful to Danielle and the bossbabe community!"
And, we can’t forget about Yuh Ying – who was doing great until she just…hit that invisible revenue ceiling we’re all familiar with. No matter how much website traffic/new leads/qualified customers were coming through the doors – nothing seemed to do the trick.
Until – after <6 months of applying our formulas – she was able to grow from $20k months to $80k months…and maintain that consistently. So…how did they do it? How did these women break through their business ceiling? And more importantly…
How can this become YOUR story, too?
To bring not only scalability but also stability to your business? I want to ask you to stop for a moment and think to yourself: what would this really mean for me? When you’re consistently bringing in six-figure MONTHS (not years)... When you can hire a team member without worrying about how to pay their salary… When you can actually turn AWAY a client who isn’t a good fit because your revenue isn’t reliant on their contract… When you can get in rooms with industry leaders you follow on Instagram and consider them your peers… When exiting your business and making a seven (or eight!) figure sale becomes a real possibility for you…
You’re Virtually Guaranteed That Will Be Your Reality With This One Move.
And not only does this mean having a seven-figure business and all the possibilities that revenue number unlocks… It also means peace of mind that your business isn’t going to just vanish in a flash or go belly up if you don’t get a signature on the dotted line of your pending contract. Because with all this new revenue, you’ll be able to…
Hire a team to support you in the day-to-day so you can have your focus where you excel (and not where you don’t). Get in rooms with other multiple six & seven-figure entrepreneurs who just get it + can fill in your blind spots. Take time to freaking live your LIFE – because not everything is about growing a business and making money and you deserve to enjoy the other hours in your day, too.
What would that feel like for you? Because THAT is what a real, thriving business looks like and it IS possible – even if right now that feels like a long shot. I’ll share the secret most business leaders have been gatekeeping in just a second… But first, let me tell you a bit about myself… Just so you know you can trust me to walk alongside you and help you make this your reality.
I’m the co-founder of bossbabe – the #1 community for female entrepreneurs around the world… My life mission is to help women build WEALTH from their businesses – specifically, by getting predictable, stable cash flow so you can have peace of mind and know what to expect on your P&L each month.
But why is predictability so important?
Well, you’ve heard your business is your baby – and that’s true for how it grows, too. At first, it’s slow and steady growth – hitting all the major milestones little by little. You take baby step by baby step as you make your first sale, first $1,000, first $10,000 and so on. But all of a sudden - you hit those rocky, unpredictable teenage years and THIS is where most entrepreneurs fail. You’ll have your best revenue month yet, and then zero inquiries the next. You’ll go from reading an email from a nightmare client that has you in tears to immediately hopping on a Zoom call where you’ve got to be the smiling face of your brand. You’ll go from scrolling job postings on LinkedIn and thinking about throwing the towel in, to checking your bank balance and feeling like you’re crushing it. You’re essentially white water rafting in a one-person float, constantly wondering what’s around the corner. Getting to stability and scalability in your business is the FASTEST way to guarantee your success and build WEALTH. And when more women have wealth – everything changes. Obviously, YOUR life and YOUR business get better… But also – the world changes. When women have wealth, women have influence and that means women are creating a better, safer, kinder, more equitable world. And I want that. Don’t you?
That’s Why I Want More Women Like You To Have 7-Figure Businesses
I’ve experienced this firsthand both at bossbabe and in the businesses of thousands of clients. Natalie and I were in the early stages of running bossbabe, and we were doing everything (and I mean everything) just the two of us. We had no budget to outsource work, much less hire a team. Get this – we even made up a fake assistant named “Renee” who we could delegate to just to make ourselves feel a little less alone (and have a good laugh once in a while).
To our surprise (and delight!) – when we launched The Société, it was an instant hit. We surpassed our launch goal within a matter of days (think: welcomed TWICE the number of women to our membership than we initially set out to).
And then looked at each other wondering… What now? If you’re at the stage where your goal is 7-figures, you’ve had that moment, too. Where suddenly it feels like your business outgrew you and what you’re capable of. And it excites you but… It also scares you a little bit. We were making money, but…how do we retain them? How do we get new customers? How do we have enough cash in the bank that we have some buffer? People throw around the term imposter syndrome, but it’s more than that. It’s like – what just happened? How do I do this? I’m not cut out for this? Or maybe I am? And then the chaos strikes. It was like running on a treadmill but someone else was controlling the pace – we’d sprint, then stroll, then jog, then sprint again – it was exhausting and unpredictable at best. The only thing that was consistent was that everything was inconsistent. And nobody can keep up a pace like that for long. So we had to do something different if we wanted to survive. If you’re reading this – you’re likely having that realization yourself. You need to learn how to bring 2 key things to your business: stability and scalability. Once we did that for bossbabe – we unlocked… 🔓Our first seven figures… 🔓Our first critical hires… 🔓Our first speaking engagements and real press… 🔓Our first opportunities to get in rooms with more established entrepreneurs… 🔓Our first inquiries about funding and acquisition… 🔓Opportunities we were able to actually turn down (like the entrepreneurs who say no on Shark Tank because they KNOW their value).
Because Here’s The REAL Determining Factor To Hitting The 7-Figure Mark In Your Business
The entrepreneurs who hit seven figures are the ones who figured out how to bring in that stability and scalability. And you achieve THAT when you do this other ONE thing really well. And if you really want this – you need to learn to do it, too. You need to learn to stop with the shiny-object syndrome, stop looking left right and center at what everyone else is doing, stop doubting yourself and your business… And get LASER FOCUSED on dialing in what works. It’s called the 80/20 rule and it’s a proven concept in all categories of life.
80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.
That means the entrepreneurs who really make it - the “2%” – have DOUBLED DOWN on the 20% of things in the business that are getting them the most results. Going all on that 20% means you get scalability and stability. Going all in on that 20% means you get to hire a team, get expert coaching, be in rooms that the doors are closed to right now. And I’m going to show you how to do that.
This Is The Simplest, Most Reliable Way To 10x Your Business – Without Burning Out
I did this for bossbabe and since then, I’ve worked with thousands of women entrepreneurs to get them the same results. I’ve been a part of that 2% for years – so I’m uniquely QUALIFIED to teach this to you. So…I’ve decided to share the secrets others have been gatekeeping for years. Because I’m not intimidated by that 2% number growing. In fact – I want it to. So I’m laying it all out there – all my business secrets… No fluff… No BS… Just proven, repeatable systems that WORK. The things that I have PERSONALLY witnessed taking women entrepreneurs from the idea stage to starting their business… From starting the business to their first sale… From their first sale to the six-figure mark… And now…
I’ve Developed The Simplest, Most Reliable Way To 10x Your Business
Because that’s where you’re at now. You see, when I started bossbabe – I was solely focused on serving early-stage entrepreneurs. But many of you have grown up and grown out of business fundamentals. You’re ready for a quantum leap. You’re realizing that the way your business has been over the past few years is NOT how it needs to be moving forward. And if you want to do this thing… Like – really do this business thing… You need to achieve a different level of results that’s not been available to you yet. Until now.
I’m Giving You Access To Results Most Of Us Can NEVER Achieve On Our Own
Because with this kind of community… Things that take most entrepreneurs YEARS to navigate and figure out alone… Become crystal clear in SECONDS. Yes…you know how to make sales with your business and have been able to get it to this stage on your own…
But do you want the next years of your business to look like the last? The sleepless nights, constant hustling, chaos, unpredictability, exhaustion…
Or do you want to have a clear, intuitive, proven path forward where your questions are a call away and feedback/brainstorming sessions are at your fingertips and your results are GUARANTEED.
The answer is obvious.
Now, to be clear – what I’m offering is a private mastermind and mentoring group. I purposely am limiting the number of entrepreneurs who can join because it really is an exclusive, private, close-knit group and it’s important to me to protect that. Because I KNOW (and you do, too) that there are other masterminds out there that prey on entrepreneurs just like you. They’re fluffy, feel-good communities but they lack real connection – and more importantly – real results. But what WE have inside this mastermind is an exclusive group of entrepreneurs who are not only sharing critical insights and information and developing connections with each other… But also learning from me and getting a direct line to my inbox… I’m PERSONALLY looking at your business, giving you feedback, encouraging you and giving you support… So you’re getting INSTANT feedback, connection, coaching, industry intel…
PLUS You Get A Lot More Inside The Mastermind…
It STARTS with a 1:1 strategy call with me where we’ll look at your business through a magnifying glass and set a clear intention for our time together. PLUS - each month, we’ll have a “hot seat” coaching call… That means you’re putting ME in the “hot seat” – asking personalized questions and getting tailored feedback… And after that I’ll put YOU in the “hot seat” to pick apart your business (with love!) and find what you need to be doing to make 7 figures inevitable.
That means – finding your best opportunities and your biggest risks so we know exactly what your 20% to focus on is (and what the 80% you need to ignore is).
Because You Also Get Access To Templates That Do The 80% For You
Because that 80% that’s not growing your business is often still necessary… But you can’t always hire for every little thing. So for just a minute – my team is going to be YOUR team. We’ve put together resources you can plug + play into your existing business model - getting you results without wasting your time. Including emails that are basically an entrepreneur’s MadLibs so you can fill in your copy and be delivering value/closing sales in a blink. And budgeting templates so you don’t have to navigate intimidating P&L statements on your own and know exactly how to get your business in a healthy, safe, stable financial position. (hint hint - the kind of position that investors and buyers want to see). And even legal docs so you don’t have to allocate a massive legal budget to protecting your IP and covering you/your business in the event that sh*t hits the fan. And so much more that I don’t even have space to list it all out – but trust me… It’s goooood.
AND You’ll Get Access To 2x LIVE Retreats/Events To Connect + Grow – In Person
Because – let’s be honest – we’re ALL craving that in-person time. So we’ll get together 2x a year to have that kind of inspirational energy, power learning sessions… And time to laugh and connect and enjoy time together that’s just pure FUN because your entrepreneurial journey GETS to be fun, too. But because we live in a virtual world and online communities are KEY – the connection is not JUST for in-person events…
You’ll Also Get A PRIVATE Slack Community To Connect On The Daily
Think of it like your favorite best friend group chat – but on another level… The entrepreneur edition. Your place to connect with my team directly, bounce ideas off each other, check-in, get encouragement and realize that entrepreneurship does NOT have to be lonely. We get to create community AND learn from each other. That’s what we’re doing here.
So Here’s A Quick Recap Of Everything Included
When you join my 7-Figure, CEO Growth Method Mastermind, you’ll get…
1, 60-minute 1:1 call with me, Danielle Canty ($4,000) 2, in-person 3-day retreats to connect with one another + countless celebrity speakers ($50,000) 1, 60-minute small group coaching call each MONTH ($48,000) 24/7 access to our private Slack community with hands-on support from team bossbabe ($10,000) Dozens of critical business-building templates ($10,000)
A value of WELL over $120,000 . All specially curated to get you RESULTS .
But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what some of bossbabe's past students are saying…
"The Mastermind saved my 2020! Since I joined the program I signed 20 new clients. I also gained over 1K new leads."
lEsHONDA, The sPORT sORORITY
"I struggled getting myself out there with confidence. I was frustrated and felt like it was holding me back. Since joining the Mastermind I have launched my program and feel more confident."
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"While our industry is fairly cyclical we made 5 figures during our launch season, which is pretty exciting. And yes, even with an audience of less than 6K."
CARINA, PRODUCT-BASED BUSINESS
"Last year was my 5th year in business & my first million dollar year in sales as well as hitting 20k on my email list. bossbabe products are still save as favorites in my browser & always will be!
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So at this point… You’re probably wondering how much it costs to join this 7-Figure, CEO Growth Method Mastermind... What are these, now 7-figure entrepreneurs investing in themselves and their businesses to be a part of this… Honestly? Based on what all MY entrepreneur friends are telling me when they give ME feedback on MY offer… A lot less than it should cost. Because with all the resources… And community… And events… And calls… And online feedback… You WILL hit 7-figures in your business if you put in the work. Period. End of story . I promise. But I’m not charging 10% of that. Not $100k. Or $80k. Or $50k. I want this to be a no-brainer, sign me up, simple decision for you. For any female entrepreneur who is ready to be a part of the 2%. To make more money, hire a team, connect with others in the industry, learn, grow, build… Take a freaking vacation… So that’s why… Joining this 7-Figure, CEO Growth Method Mastermind is just a $30,000 investment for the full year and payment plans are available.
Think Of It As Your Way To Guarantee Your Business Success - Bringing In $100k MONTHS in 2023.
You can join us now, you get instant access to ALL the resources above and will have a business with true stability and scalability within MONTHS. All the calls…all the resources…all the community…all the events. It’s a complete no-brainer. And I’m sure you’ve done the math but… When you’re consistently having six-figure months and running a seven-figure business – it’s pretty easy to recover your investment when you apply what you learn. In fact – I’d be SHOCKED if you didn’t make your money back. (And the $30k is a pretty great tax write-off if you ask me.) Suffice it to say: the value is priceless. So while you’re probably ready to click the “Get Access” button right now… You’ll notice… There IS no “Get Access” button on this page. And that’s because the 7-Figure, CEO Growth Method Mastermind is intentionally designed to be a private, exclusive container. Ultimately, my priority is to get you results and to protect what we’ve created within this unparalleled group. So that’s why – intentionally – you can’t just “Get Access” to the 7-Figure, CEO Growth Method Mastermind. Instead, we need to make sure you’re the right fit and protect the energy of this space we’re creating together. So before you can buy, your next step is this: you need to apply. We’ll ask you a few questions about yourself, your ambitions and your business and give you an honest assessment of whether or not the 7-Figure, CEO Growth Method Mastermind is the right next step for you. If your application seems aligned, we’ll schedule a call with you and only then will you be able to access the 7-Figure, CEO Growth Method Mastermind. There’s no question for me whether or not this works. I KNOW in this Mastermind, I can help you get your business to that seven-figure mark and beyond. I’ve done it before and it’s simple to recreate for you, too. The only question is whether or not you’re ready to put in the energy and make critical decisions in your business to get results. Because some people don’t. Some people are content with where they’re at. Some people actually WANT to do it on their own. If that’s you – this is not for you. But if you want to do this… If you want to get results and actually move your business forward this year – like at a quantum leap level… All you need to do is take the first step to apply.
YES! I Want To Apply Now
Once we’ve got your application, we’ll reach out and let you know whether or not you’re moving on to the interview stage. Remember, this isn’t a “sales call.” This is an interview to genuinely gauge whether or not this program is a fit for you. In fact, what I’m most interested in is whether your business is at a stage where you’re ready to make key shifts and grow to that seven-figure mark because some people have upper limits and behind-the-scenes challenges that would get in the way. I want to make sure you don’t have any red flags that are going to hold you back because in this program, I’m DETERMINED to get you results. So if you’ve ever dreamed of joining the 2% of female entrepreneurs who hit seven figures. And if you’re determined to make that number grow past 2%... And if this is the year you’re willing and able and determined and focused enough to actually go all-in and make that change… Then you’re going to want to apply ASAP. As you can imagine, spots in this mastermind are EXTREMELY limited. It’s going to be CLOSE knit. Because that’s where you’ll get the best results. PLUS – the price will NEVER be this low again – so you’re going to want to act while you have access. Sound good? Let’s see if you’re ready to join the BEST female entrepreneurs in the world, in the premiere mastermind for seven-figure businesswomen…
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How to Write a Proposal in 10 Easy Steps [Templates Included]
You’re tasked with writing a proposal, and a lot is at stake.
Now is not the time to guess. What should you write? How can you appeal to the client’s deepest desires? How do you satisfy client expectations for your specific industry?
Now is the time to follow a proven process. We’ve analyzed millions of proposals sent with our software to see which tips and tricks actually have an impact on closing rates.
We’re covering all that and more.
Keep reading for our step-by-step guide that shows you exactly how to write a proposal simply by customizing the sections in one of our proposal templates . The right template will show you exactly what to include while helping you save hours on design and formatting.
What’s in this guide:
What is a proposal?
How to write a proposal in 10 easy steps, industry-specific proposal writing guidelines, 3 proposal templates, next steps: write your own proposal.
A proposal is a document that outlines a project or service to clarify the details and get agreement from all parties involved. Proposals typically include the overall service approach, important timelines, and key deliverables.
For best results, use proposal software instead of a PDF. This way, you’ll get important features for sales like e-signatures, brand and content control, and full visibility into the client’s viewing activity.
The 9 Important parts of a proposal
There are many different ways to structure a proposal . Through our research of successful proposals , we’ve found that the winning documents usually include these key sections:
Terms and Conditions
Case Studies (or Social Proof)
Each proposal might name these key sections differently, or put them in a different order.
No matter the sections you choose, make sure you include a table of contents. If you use Proposify , the table of contents is automatically shown on the left-hand side, so clients can easily click around to review different sections again. As you might imagine, the pricing section is often viewed a few times before a decision is made.
Proposals vs reports
While a proposal is used to pitch a new project or service (either to a client or internally to your boss), a report is designed to share details on a project that’s already taken place. Use reports to audit business operations or share the success of a marketing campaign.
Follow along with our step-by-step process, as we use our advertising proposal template . While the content of the examples is specific to advertising, this template can easily be adjusted to fit any industry or project type.
Step 1. Discover the needs and requirements
You can’t write a great proposal without a great pitch.
Take the time to understand what your client needs, what their goals are, what they’re concerned about, and what results they care about most.
If you’re pitching a project internally, be sure to talk with different stakeholders and members of your team.
Tips for discovery:
During discovery sessions , ask the appropriate questions to find out if the client is worth your time. Do they fit your ideal client profile? Are they ready to implement your solution? Set criteria to determine if this prospect is ready to even receive a proposal for you. And make sure to update your criteria over time as you learn more about your ideal client.
Proactively discover and handle objections . Ask the client about any concerns, hesitations, or times they’ve been burned by service providers before. This way, you know exactly what points to cover in your proposal.
Get verbal agreement from the client on your pitch and approach before putting it in writing with a proposal.
Step 2. Create the cover page
Kick off your proposal writing with a compelling cover page (also known as the title page). The visuals and style take center stage here—it’s your first impression after all. As for the text, you just need a proposal title and key details such as your company’s name, the client’s name, the date, and your contact information.
Our proposal example features a bright, bold design and all of the details you need. There’s no “one way” to do this right, as long as you’re following your brand guidelines.
Tips for creating cover pages:
Give your project a results-driven title that will immediately put the entire pitch and investment into perspective.
Make sure to choose a proposal template that matches the style of your brand, as it will be easy to change the colors and text later.
Step 3. Write the cover letter
Now it’s time to write your cover letter. This is one of the most challenging proposal sections to write because it really sets the tone for the rest of your pitch.
The cover letter (also known as the executive summary) should do more than just provide an overview. This section must be persuasive enough to convince your client to read the rest of the proposal.
Appeal to their desires, hit their key pain points, and get them excited about the transformation you can provide. Make sure you’re crafting compelling, relevant messaging specifically for each individual buyer.
Tips for writing cover letters:
Make sure the copy is on brand. That might mean funny and irreverent or serious and formal.
Put the focus on the outcome of the service, whether that’s customer acquisition, improved facility safety, or a memorable event.
Step 4. Create a company bio
Before you move on to the project approach and pricing, it’s smart to tell the potential client a bit about your company.
This section could include basic information such as your founding date and the niche you focus on, as well as small business bragging rights, such as awards, average results, or audience reach.
If this is an internal pitch, you can write about your team instead of the entire company.
In our example proposal, there’s one page for a company bio and one page for company statistics that matter to the potential client.
Tips for writing company bios:
Even though this section is about you, find ways to make it about your prospective client. Include the company details that show that you can get them the results they’re looking for.
Get creative. Instead of just a wall of text, can you use icons or statistics to show who you are?
Make sure to save this section as a template to re-use it for future proposals. You don’t have to modify this for each client, but you might want to create slightly different company bios for different services (if you offer very different services).
Step 5. Add social proof
We recommend that you include social proof immediately after your company bio section. This way, you use the words of your previous clients to back up the nice things you just said about yourself.
Social proof can be testimonials, mini case studies, reviews, and star rating averages.
If you’re doing creative or construction work, you might also want to include a couple of portfolio samples.
Tips for using social proof:
Match the testimonial or review to the pitch. Have a bank of testimonials to choose from so you can always pick the most relevant ones.
Be concise. You may want to trim or edit long testimonials so each one is under 50 words. Otherwise, prospective clients might not read them.
Continue to proactively collect social proof. Ask happy clients to write a testimonial or review you online
Step 6. Outline the core approach
Now it’s time to sell your services. Create an approach section to showcase what you want you plan to offer the client.
There are so many different ways to write this section, as it really depends on what you’re pitching. You might break the work down into categories with bullet points or descriptions for each category. Or, you might write a few paragraphs describing your proposed solution and why you believe it’s the best fit for the client.
Tips for writing approach sections:
Consider giving this section a unique name, such as The Project Path , Our Plan , or Let’s Get to Work .
Beef it up with additional details. You might include a list of deliverables, a more detailed breakdown of the scope of services, or a timeline illustration with important milestones.
If you don’t have package options and there’s only one price listed, then this section should be very detailed. If there are pricing and service options, then this section will be simpler, and the following section will have the service breakdowns (per package options).
Step 7. Create a pricing table
When writing proposals, make sure to give plenty of time and attention to the pricing section. All of the details and options you provide will help clients better understand what they’re getting.
We recommend naming this section "Your Investment" as it helps remind potential buyers of the investment they’re making in their business.
In our example below, you’ll see 3 package options on the first page of the pricing section. And then, the client can select their package choice on the second page. This will automatically update the total pricing of the proposal.
Tips for proposal pricing:
Use optional pricing when possible, such as packages, project lengths, or add-ons, because these methods are known to positively affect closing rates .
Make sure to clarify the different types of costs, such as hourly costs versus fixed costs for an event management pitch.
Step 8. Write bios for your team members
In Step 4, you created a bio for your company to sell your company’s expertise and prove that you have what it takes to succeed at the service you’re pitching.
Now it’s time to show your client the real humans they’ll be working with if they decide to work with you. Think of this as the “you’re in good hands” section.
Include the faces the client will interact with, making sure to specify your team’s unique talents and what they bring to the table.
Tips for writing team bios:
Only include bios for up to 6 people. You could write bios for the entire company (for a very small business), the executive team, or the people who will handle the account if the proposal is won.
Use this section to show off not only your credentials but your personality. Have fun with it, but as always, stay on brand. A formal proposal might skip the jokes and stick just to the accolades.
Step 9. Add your business contract
This section of the proposal should include the contractual details that will formalize the agreement. This way, you can send the business proposal, and you don’t have to also send a separate contract.
You might have multiple pages of legal clauses or a simple statement of work.
Tips for writing proposal contracts:
If the statement of work isn’t already clarified in the meat of the proposal, make sure to include it here.
Include a clause on refunds, cancellations, and project modifications.
Make sure to have your legal team help you craft the contract section so you know it satisfies your company’s requirements.
Step 10. Sign and send it for signature
And lastly, you need to write your e-signatures page and add an e-signature for yourself and one for your client.
As soon as a client has chosen their pricing options, they can sign the proposal to begin the project.
Tips for adding proposal e-signatures:
Write a message above the signature that helps to seal the deal. Talk about how excited you are to get started and clarify what the immediate next steps will be after the proposal is signed.
Always sign your proposals before you send them! Our research shows that a proposal is more likely to close if you’ve already signed it by the time the client opens it.
Review your proposal analytics to know how to follow up with clients. For example, if a client hasn’t opened the proposal yet, remind them to do so. But if they’ve opened it several times, ask if they have any questions or if they would like to modify the project.
Every industry has its own proposal writing best practices. Here are some tips to consider.
When writing a software proposal, ensure you include ample information on how you will help the client implement and utilize your software. That might look like staff training sessions, custom integrations, a pilot rollout, etc.
In the construction industry, you will likely receive a request for proposals (RFPs) from large corporations and government agencies. So make sure you check the details of the RFP so that your solicited proposal covers all required information.
You typically need to include a very detailed pricing and timeline breakdown, and you might need to showcase your adherence to state and county requirements , whether for certifications, environmental protections, etc.
Marketing is all about results. You should include a couple of different formats of social proof, such as statistics with client results and testimonials. Marketing also requires a lot of creativity regardless of the channel, so make sure you showcase your company’s creative side with unique proposal headings and imagery.
When you’re writing a proposal for event management, catering, or some other service, you need to keep a couple of things in mind. First, make sure that you source testimonials from event attendees, not just your direct clients. Also, your pricing section should include the fixed costs (such as a venue) and the variable costs (like your team’s hours decorating the event or the venue’s bar tab at the end of the night). For any variable costs, provide an estimate that’s 10% higher that what you actually expect.
Proposify offers dozens of proposal templates to guide your writing and help you win deals. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Construction job proposal template
Ready-made for the construction industry, this template includes previous projects to serve as portfolio pieces, a detailed project summary with items the client is expected to provide, and a project schedule.
2. Accounting proposal template
While this template was created for accounting services , it can be easily modified to fit various consulting services. The top sections include the introduction letter, about us page, project summary with goals and service breakdown, and a detailed pricing estimate.
3. Catering proposal template
With this event catering proposal template , you’ll get a short and sweet introduction page, a longer company bio, a food showcase, event details (great for proactively handling any confusion or mix-ups), a theme moodboard, and a menu sample.
This proposal could be adapted for other types of creative work, such as photography, retail store decorating, or makeup services.
To write an effective proposal, you must start with a solid understanding of the client’s needs. This way, you can put their desired results and transformation front and center. Write a cover letter, project summary, company bio, and pricing table to clarify what the client will receive while also selling your company as the best solutions provider.
You can easily write a proposal using our detailed, beautifully designed proposal templates .
Ready to close deals faster? Start your free trial of Proposify.
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How To Write A Business Proposal: Expert Tips And Tricks
October 2, 2019 by Contributed Post
A well-written business proposal is key to success.
Don’t know where to start?
You can turn to a professional writing service and buy a high-quality business proposal online…
Or you can read this post to learn how a good business proposal should look like to attract the attention of your target audience.
1. Choose your target audience
It’s early to start creating a commercial offer until you have clearly decided who to specifically address it. If you try to grab all the customers in one text, nothing will come of it. Each offer has its own audience. As a rule, this is a small segment with specific tasks, which should be solved.
No one will read the text written for everyone. Such a document is a useless collection of words and graphics because there is no order and solution to a specific problem. Even if it is beautiful, stylish and printed on quality paper. If you want to sell, narrow the audience as much as possible. For each segment of the audience, you need to create a separate business proposal.
2. Identify the problem and offer its solution
Have you identified the audience? Now, it’s high time to decide on the problems you want to solve. In one group of clients, there can be similar tasks, but they need to be solved in different ways. Therefore, first, make a list of problems and only then proceed to find a solution.
If you miss and send a commercial offer with a solution to a problem the client does not have, the sale will not take place. No man will give money just like that. There is always a problem he wants to solve. It is important he/she sees the solution in your proposal.
Therefore, first, decide for yourself what solution you’ll offer in the business proposal. If you try to cover all the problems and offer a solution for each one, your text will turn out to be chaotic and abstract. Remember: incomprehensible texts are difficult to read.
Each participant of the selected audience has his/her own problem, but all of them may be associated with one object. Divide the tasks into groups and determine which solution is suitable for each of them.
For example, you have three solutions for different customer tasks. Choose one for which you’ll create a business proposal. It’s great if you can solve several tasks with one solution. It’s how you’ll reach a larger segment of the audience.
3. Structure a business proposal in the right way
When you’ve determined exactly how you’re going to solve the problem, you have an almost ready template. Add a few important arguments that will help the client make a purchasing decision. And organize all your thoughts and ideas in the form of a business document.
You have the structure of the future text. Now start writing following the tips:
- Be short, but understandable.
- Remember, the client wants to get answers to all questions and understand what he/she buys, from whom, and what benefits he/she will get. Besides, he/she wants to be sure that you can be trusted to solve the problem.
- Use guarantees, arguments, and smoothly turn the structure into easy-to-read text.
- When the text is ready, reread it at least twice. Correct phrases that are difficult to read. Remove what seems unnecessary and add what is missing.
- Afte, ask colleagues or friends to read the finished text. They’ll give you good feedback. Write down the notes and think about them. Maybe you should fix some points or even rewrite everything. If so, have patience and start over until you’re completely confident that the business proposal text sounds perfect.
4. Take care of the convenient design of the proposal
It is important to understand: the task of design is to make it not beautiful, but convenient to read. Convenient design is always interesting. You can use icons, frames, selections, photos and everything able to attract the attention of your customer. But only if this does not prevent the client from reading the text. Do not overdo it. Do not make a business proposal variegated. Respect the customer – make it easy-to-read.
5. Send a business proposal to the client
Now, you have a formatted business offer. It must be sent to the client. Here, too, there are separate techniques and methods. First, make sure you know the answers to the following three questions below:
- How to send business offers by email?
- Do I need an accompanying email for a proposal?
- How to make a title to the letter with a business proposal?
At each stage, it is important to think about what to include in the proposal. Moreover, think what form you’ll provide this information in. A business proposal is a small part of a large sales funnel. Before reading it, the client performs other actions – talking to you on the phone, opening (or not opening) a letter, reading texts on the site page.
Keep in mind: if a client receives an offer unexpectedly and at the wrong moment, even the most selling text can fail. Consider the nuances and think twice before making a step if your goal is to make business proposal work.
Here is the summary. So, to start using a proposal, follow this scheme:
- Select an audience.
- Identify the problem you want to solve.
- Choose a solution to the problem.
- Make the structure of the business
- Write the text following the structure.
- Make a text in the design.
- Send a business offer to the client.
As you can see, everything is simple. But if something doesn’t work out or you lack time to finish the project within the necessary terms, you can always ask for a business proposal writing help from this dissertation writing service.
The best-qualified writers will analyze all the project details and create a top-notch proposal that will hook your potential customer.
Sam Tut says
February 7, 2020 at 1:27 AM
Just read out the whole post. The post is wonderful and inspires the reader… Thank you!
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How to Persuade Your Boss That Your Idea Is Great
- Peter Mulford
An idea resume can help you share your thoughts in a clear and convincing way.
An idea résumé represents a clear, structured way that you, as a team member, can add value to your organization. It’s essentially a document that shares your initial thoughts in a clear, concise, and controlled way while explicitly connecting your idea to the broader goals of the company, as well as the pain points you’re trying to soothe. Presenting your boss with this template before approaching them in person or pitching your idea in a meeting will give you a better shot at sparking change. Leaders will appreciate the structure, and it may just open the door to a larger, more serious discussion. Here’s how to start:
- Step 1: Outline the problem you’re looking to solve. First, document in detail the problem that has catalyzed your idea, outlining the issue, its potential causes, its practical effects on the organization, and any data you can gather as evidence to support these points.
- Step 2: Describer the idea itself. Now that you’ve outlined the problem, summarize what you’re proposing as the solution. Make sure the idea you choose supports the organization’s overall purpose and vision.
- Step 3: Provide evidence. Using data points, begin to bolster your idea with more details surrounding the implementation, including potential costs and criticisms or hurdles that could arise.
- Step 4: Explain why your company should invest. In any scenario, end by showcasing that your company will gain more than they will lose if they choose to go with your proposal. Your idea must provide some sort of value for both the company and its people, so showcase how it will benefit everyone involved.
Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .
Many workers, especially those in their early careers, feel uncomfortable proposing new business ideas or processes to their bosses — even though bottom-up innovation can bring tremendous value to a company. Individual contributors are often the people within an organization who interact with customers regularly, have the closest contact with clients, and keep track of pressing priorities and problems. They’re the most immediately impacted by the internal processes and equipped to innovate. Yet, they’re often the least likely to speak up.
- PM Peter Mulford is the chief innovation officer at BTS , a management consulting and professional services firm. Peter has a passion for learning, teaching, and innovating solutions to difficult problems.
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Feb 1, 2022
How to write a proposal email
Want to learn how to write proposal emails? Our business proposal email samples and a proposal email template will help you to land that client, project, price change, or get your idea taken forward.
Table of contents
Are you hesitant about how to write a business proposal email? Don't worry; you're not alone.
By the time you've read this article on how to write professional proposal emails, you know everything there's to know about sending sales, business partnerships, project, and price proposal emails to clients old and new.
We'll run you through a business proposal email format from subject lines to greetings and provide you with 10 business proposal email samples that will put the lesson into practice.
To top it off, we will introduce you to our proposal email template and show you how to write proposal emails with Flowrite , your new AI writing assistant, like this:
What is a proposal email?
In most cases, a proposal email is an official correspondence sent in the early-mid stages of the sales process. A formal proposal email is a significant step in the sales funnel, providing all the information a lead needs to choose whether to become a client or customer.
The basic sales funnel has four stages, including:
Proposal emails are typically actioned at stage 2 and provide the information a client needs to transition to stage 3.
An effective proposal email includes all the important information a client or customer needs. In addition, it summarises the main talking points of your offer, including supporting evidence, timeline, key terms, any conditions, and the all-important costs.
The bottom line is that a great proposal is essential for transforming a prospect into a customer.
Different types of proposal emails
Proposal emails sent to a potential client are known as solicited messages, which means they won't come as a surprise when they're delivered.
Proposal emails are critical to the sale process, but the same approach can also be used to communicate with people you don't have a relationship with. These are known as unsolicited proposals or cold emails and can include:
- Presenting new services or solutions to a potential new client
- Sharing ideas to your boss
- Responding to opportunities such as grants
Both solicited and unsolicited emails should contain the same information and follow the same structure described below.
“A proposal email is a summary of the discussions and dialogues that you've had with a potential customer and a written, explicit statement of the business arrangements you've discussed,” says author and business expert Geoffrey James .
He describes a business proposal email as an essential email that every salesperson must master, but how’s the best way to do it?
In his expert opinion, every successful proposal email shares the following 7-step structure:
- Statement of gratitude (one sentence)
- Problem definition and financial impact (one or two sentences)
- Desired outcome (one or two sentences)
- Proposed solution (two to five sentences)
- Proposed price (one sentence)
- Risk reduction (one or two sentences)
- Next step (one sentence)
Now, this may seem like a long-winded way to say what you want to, but it actually cuts out the irrelevant information and focuses effort and attention on what matters. Strip out the jargon, ditch the management speak and keep things simple is his advice, and we agree.
Sometimes you might want to create a more visual proposal or send a presentation. For doing so, you can find inspiration from this extensive gallery of business proposal templates.
In our examples below, we show how you can use this structure flexibly, combining sentences where appropriate to cut out pointless prose that could confuse the message. You can cut out elements such as price, or risk reduction if they’re not relevant. Effective emails are personalized and professional, so shape your communication to make it as clear as possible.
Someone who agrees is email expert Matthew Brown , who helps to clarify exactly what you’re doing: “While your sales proposal email is technically a "sales document," it's not where you do the selling.”
It’s also not a contract either, so avoid legal jargon or attempting to write in an overly formal way.
All sound clear? Let’s show you how this works in practice by outlining the correct proposal email format.
Business proposal email format
The email format for sending a business proposal is simple and includes just five essential parts:
- Subject line
- Opening line and body
It doesn't matter if you're emailing someone for the first time or the hundredth time; when sending a proposal email, stick to this format, and you won't go wrong. You can use the format outlined here to create all types of professional emails, so learn it once, and it's a skill that will stick with you for life. Once mastered, you'll be creating great emails in minutes.
professional emails, so learn it once, and it's a skill that will stick with you for life. Once mastered, you'll be creating great emails in minutes.
1. Business proposal email subject lines
Your email subject line for a business proposal is perhaps the most essential part of your proposal, with 69% of email recipients judging the contents of every message by the subject line alone. Books have been written on writing effective subject lines, so we will only cover the basics of proposal email for informal and formal business proposals.
Subject line for a formal business proposal
Formal subject lines get straight to the point. They're all about explaining upfront what you're sending. So here are a few business proposal email subject line examples from the formal end of the spectrum.
- Business proposal from <insert company>
- 5 ways we can save you more money
- I have a proposal for you
- A new business proposal
Subject line for an informal business proposal
An informal subject line aims to grab attention in your message, creating just enough interest to get a click. Here are some examples of business proposal email subject lines that are informal:
- Boost profits by partnering with our business
- Are you happy with your current supplier?
- Can we offer you a better deal on your <service>?
- We can save you 50% on your costs…
- I have a proposal for you…
2. How to start a business proposal email
When you decide how to start the proposal email, you should stop and think about the recipient and whether you are beginning to draft a formal business proposal or an informal one.
Email greetings for a formal business proposal
When you're writing to someone that you know, use a formal email greeting:
- Dear <first name and surname>,
An excellent proposal is all about research, so hopefully, you'll have the name of the person you're messaging.
If you don't, it's OK (but not ideal) to address them using their job title. Here's an example.
- Dear Purchasing Manager,
Try to avoid using overly fussy greetings such as 'Dear Sir/Madam' and 'To whom it may concern. We also suggest not bothering with Mr, Mrs, or Ms either as these are outdated, too.
Email greetings for an informal business proposal
When writing to someone you know, a current client, customer, or colleague, then you can use a less formal approach if you want to.
- Hi <First name>,
To learn more about the conventions and best practices regarding email greetings, read our article on how to start an email .
3. Email opening lines and body
Proposal emails are about informing, engaging, and inspiring someone with a great idea, concept, or product, so it's tempting to go into details but don't.
Using James’ structure as a guide, we recommend your proposal emails follow this outline:
- Next step (one sentence)
Getting the right tone of voice in your emails is critical. You'll want to appear confident about your proposal but avoid boasting or being too overconfident.
In some cases, such as when you know the person, a friendly approach can work. If you don't know the person, then a formal approach is more likely to get a response.
Ultimately, it's up to you how you want to present yourself in proposal emails. Before putting pen to paper (or finger to key), check out our email proposal examples below for some guidance and inspiration.
To help you find the best possible email opening phrases, we've compiled a list of 100 best email opening sentences .
4. How to end a proposal email
The approach you take to end a business proposal email depends on whether you are writing a formal or informal business proposal.
Email sign-offs for a formal business proposal
If you're writing a formal proposal email, it's advisable to use a formal email ending, such as:
- "Yours sincerely" if you know the person's name; and
- "Yours faithfully" if you don't (or are writing to a group)
Email sign-offs informal business proposal
If you're happy to be less formal, then feel free to select a professional email ending from the list below.
- Kind regards
- With best wishes
- I look forward to hearing from you
We've tackled the conventions and complexities of how to end an email in a previous article, so be sure to check it out if you need more information.
Professional email signature
A professional email signature for your proposal contains everything the recipient needs to know about you and how to contact you, including:
- Company (if relevant)
- Email address
- Phone number
You can add more detail, such as social media account links, a logo, and product details if it's relevant. For example, if you're in a profession with recognized qualifications (such as law or accountancy), then include your qualifications if you want to.
10 proposal email samples
We've provided the basics of how to write professional proposal emails; now, it's time to put it into practice. Here you can find 10 proposal email samples that tackle slightly different types of proposals. These examples demonstrate all the essential elements you need to include, but always remember to personalize your pr
1. Business proposal email sample
This standards business proposal email provides a short and snappy template to follow, using James' outline.
2. Sample email for proposal submission
Sometimes you'll want to email your boss with a proposal. While you can afford to be a little less formal, the principle is still the same, so stick to the script.
3. Proposal email to your boss
Sometimes you'll want to email your boss with a proposal or idea. While you can afford to be a little less formal, the principle is still the same, so stick to the script. This is a sample of how how to propose an idea to your boss via email.
4. Proposal email sample to an existing client
When messaging an existing client, you already have a relationship to dispense with some formalities. In this example of a proposal email to a client, we still stick to the format but introduce some elements of personality and focus on shared outcomes.
5. Sales partnership proposal email
A sales partnership is a collaboration that should bring you both profit, so our example of how to draft a sales partnership focuses on that. Here's how to draft a business proposal email that brings mutual benefit.
6. Business partnership proposal email sample
In this example of how to send a proposal email to a client, we describe how to write an email proposing an idea that can benefit you both. This business partnership proposal focuses on the productivity benefits and profit you'll both enjoy.
7. Proposal email to offer services
Businesspeople are busy, so we've stripped back this proposal email to offer services to the essential information they need.
8. Price proposal email sample
In business, it's the price that matters, so we've focused on cost savings in this price proposal email sample.
9. Project proposal email
Collaborating on a project involves establishing a partnership. In this example of how to write a project proposal email, we aim to establish a connection and create interest, and then request a meeting to discuss details further.
10. Email to propose an idea
Sometimes you won't have developed a project plan, but you may have an idea you want to run past a potential partner, boss, client, or customer. In this sample of how to propose an idea through an email, we keep it brief and aim to kickstart a conversation.
Proposal email template by Flowrite
Flowrite is an AI writing tool that turns your instructions into ready-to-send emails and messages. Our browser extension and web app take care of the email format, capitalization, grammar, spelling, punctuation – you name it.
You can focus on the message, and Flowrite will handle the delivery. We dare to claim that it's the fastest way to improve your business communications.
Our AI template collection features dozens of email templates to help you with proposal emails. To grasp how easy and fast it's to write a business proposal email with Flowrite , check out the example below.
Still hesitant about how to send a proposal via email? Didn't think so. If you found this blog post about how to write proposal emails helpful, we suggest that you bookmark it to access our business proposal email samples the next time you write one.
In case you feel that our business proposal email format lessons could benefit your team, why won't you share this article with them?
Lastly, if you ever need help on how to write professional proposal emails, Flowrite and our business proposal email template are ready to help.
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Reply to: "
Hi Kyle, I'm Jane, an early-stage investor at Primity.vc. I just noticed Grava, and I wanted to say congratulations on the amazing progress you've made! It's really impressive how quickly your company has grown in such a short time. I would love to learn more about what you're doing and see if we can find a way for Primity.vc to be involved with your company's success going forward. Please let me know when would be a good time for us to talk. Best, Jane
available for a zoom call on friday apr 9 at 1 pm pst?
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about to update our office supplies could you send 2022 catalog to me? currently speaking to a range of suppliers looking to make an order in the next two weeks
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How to Submit a Proposal to your Boss – 17 Best Tips
If you want your boss to take notice of your ideas, then it is necessary that you know how to write a proposal to your boss which is readily accepted by your boss.
The proposal can be any, but you have to know when is the right time to present it in front of your boss. If the timing is wrong, then you will not be successful in achieving what you have been looking for.
The points that you will include in the proposal will be different according to the proposal applying.
All throughout you have been lingering with a thought which you feel will be changing the whole scenario of the organization, but if you cannot present it well then the idea will sound meaningless and your boss will never approve of the idea.
In your proposal, you will have to put across some very good researched argument in favor of why this idea is really vital for your business and for performing well.
Provide all the strong points in the proposal so that it leaves your boss with no other option than saying yes for your idea.
You can either stick to your regular job and say that it is not your duty to bring in the changes as there are people sitting there who are actually getting paid for doing such job or you can go ahead with your conviction and place the proposal in front of your boss.
This will help you a long time, if your idea is accepted then you will find your ground underneath even as a newcomer.
How to Write a Proposal to Your Boss:
While thinking about ‘ how to present ideas to your boss ‘, there are several matters that you have to take into account. You must keep all of these in mind while doing so.
1. Brainstorming session:
Before you start a proposal, you have to do your research well and for that, a brainstorming session is very much necessary.
You have to invest quite a lot of time in researching about the idea well, so that you can come up with pros and cons of that idea.
If you have any cons in that, then you will be able to prepare a good proposal and a proper argument to support your idea, so that it is convincing enough for your boss.
2. Include real numbers:
The major mistakes that many people make in writing a proposal is that they jot down what they want to do and how they will do that rather than pointing out the real numbers, that is how much revenue will be earned through this or how this is going to affect the company’s productivity in a positive manner.
The managers and your leaders are interested in knowing how many leads you are going to get them or how many signed contracts you will get from the company.
Therefore, when you are planning to write down a proposal, irrespective of what it is for and which position it is in, concentrate more on the positive outcome that will be achieved following your proposal.
Give them the numbers and you will witness that your boss will say yes to it more easily and your proposal will be self explanatory in itself.
3. Chalking out the projections:
You have an idea, it’s great, but how would you project it in real life is the biggest question that needs to be answered in your proposal.
When your boss goes through the proposal he must understand how you are going to implement the plan that you have in a better way, so that the results achieved is a positive one as well.
If the plans revolve more on budget and less on implementation methods, then you can easily term the plan as a poor one that will definitely not impress your boss.
4. Timing is the key:
If you saw that your boss just got reprimanded by his own boss due to something, then also it is not the right time to talk about your proposal, instead wait for some time and ensure that he is in the best of mood to place your proposal.
If that means waiting for a few days, then also it is okay rather than rushing into the matter and getting it rejected right away.
5. Give specific intimation:
When you want your boss to say yes to your proposal, then you have to provide specific information to your boss, so that he knows for which you are seeking his permission.
If you want him to figure out the ways, then most probably you will get a negative answer for your proposal.
6. Explain business benefits:
While presenting the business proposal, you will have to point out what the company will gain, if it is just you who will be benefitting from the proposal, then most likely you will hear a No for the proposal.
If you want to work from home on some days of the week, then you will have to explain it to your boss from the business point of view and not from your point of view.
You will have to explain that you will be able to invest more time in the work if you work from home because time will not be wasted in commuting.
If you explain the proposal in this way, your boss will surely understand it better, rather than saying that you have to pick up and drop your kids to school.
7. Pros and cons taken into account:
Don’t allow your boss to think about the disadvantages that might be part of the proposal, instead, you come up with the cons along with the pros so that your boss understands that you have done your research well and have judged both the ways before presenting the proposal.
While explaining, tally both the sides in front of your boss in order to make your arguments stronger and better.
8. The answer can be a No, even when it is a good enough proposal:
You have to understand that your proposal can be turned down by the manager even when you think the proposal was good enough
Don’t take it personally because it is not you, instead you have to understand that your manager already has more than one pressing requests already lying with him on his table.
Take it in your stride and prepare a better proposal next time around.
9. Provides solutions for the downhill:
But, you must come up with a solution to, otherwise if you think your boss will be the one who will provide you with a solution, and then your proposal will most likely meet a negative reply.
If something involves cost, then you will have to come up with some cost saving idea as well which will cut down on the cost.
10. Confident about your proposal:
Before you start planning to convince others, you will have to be convinced about the proposal first.
When you are confident about your idea, then only you will be able to convince your boss about the great proposal.
11. Figure out where to go:
When you have an idea, you must know where you need to present it. Ask someone for help who is senior in your office and he will be able to guide you where you need to place your bets.
12. If salary is involved, then research the range first:
Before coming up with the salary for the position for which you have written a proposal, you must research well in other companies and see how much the position offers there, so that you can come up with a competitive salary for the position.
If you have written a proposal for a new position, then salary is a major factor that you have to keep in mind.
13. Assemble the documents:
Now schedule a meeting with the concerned person and present the details in front of him and ask the concerned person whether he has any question or not.
When you are presenting a proposal, it is important that you provide all the documents in order and wait for the reply.
14. Jot it down:
You might have a great memory, but when you are presenting a proposal, it is better that you do it in writing otherwise your boss might not have a clear idea about the whole scenario.
You can send him an email, so that he goes through the problem and your solution for the problem in short and if he liked the idea, then you can elaborate later.
15. Work on details:
You must work on the details about the new position, what requirements the candidate must fulfill and to whom the new candidate will report.
Once you have checked out all the details, you will know how to start with the proposal and how to go about the process.
16. Job responsibilities and criteria:
In case you are working on the specific responsibilities of any job, then you will have to explain what the role requires and what task the candidate must perform.
The task must be outlined properly, otherwise, it might overlap with other positions of the company
It is not only about the job responsibility, instead, you will also have to note down what educational background is required or what are the qualifications that are required for the position.
You will also have to mention whether experienced people are required or you want completely fresh graduates for the job.
17. Take culture into account:
The culture of the team is very important and once the plan is implemented properly, you can predict as well as plan for the result
You must take into account that every problem can be an opportunity too, if you can weave your proposal in the right manner. So, just keep all the right points in mind while penning down the proposal in the right way.
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