proposal writing tips

A Business Proposal Checklist to Help You Win More Clients

December 4, 2014

If you want to win more business, it is important that you have a properly written business proposal. The checklist below will help you write your business proposal so it includes the sections your prospective clients want to see when evaluating your company.

A Cover Letter

It is very important that you do not forget to include a cover letter with your proposal. Oftentimes, the cover letter is what really helps you get your foot in the door with a new client. View it as not only your chance to introduce yourself in writing, but to also warm up the prospective client so they’ll be more open to receiving the rest of the information you’re going to present in your business proposal.

Title Page
The title page is probably the simplest page of the entire proposal, but don’t underestimate its power. Leaving it out can leave an impression of lack of preparedness or unprofessionalism in the mind of your intended audience – and that’s hardly the type of impression you want to make. The only thing that really goes on the title page is your name, your company name, the name and company name of the person to whom you are submitting, and the date of your submission.

Table of Contents
Yes, the table of contents is also important, although it might not be necessary if your proposal is particularly short.

Executive Summary
Much like the cover letter, the executive summary is a key part of your business proposal. This is where you provide a summary of your proposal. It’s another way to whet your reader’s appetite for the material, so be sure it’s engaging.

Issue or Job Statement
Want to know why repeating the job requirements and objectives is an important part of a great proposal? Explaining the requirements in your own wording shows the reader that you understand what’s expected and what they need.

Approach
This section has to be the most exciting part of the proposal, both for you and for the person or company to which you’re submitting, as this is where you get to summarize how you’re going to approach the work or problem. Many busy readers decide whether or not they’ll read the rest of a proposal based solely on what they read in the approach section.

Methodology
In order for you to win the job, the methods you plan to use can’t be left a secret. The methodology section of your business proposal is where you go into some level of detail in explaining how you’re going to do what you’re bidding to do.

Bidder's Qualifications
Now, who are you and why should we listen to you? Sure, you may have covered some of your qualifications in the cover letter, but this section is where you expound even more on things like your history, accomplishments, training, and so forth.

Benchmarks or Project Schedule
Time is especially important in the business world. Your potential clients or customers want to know if you’re time frame fits in with their own. In this section, don’t just give them a turnaround time, but be very specific and break the work down into intermediate objectives where possible.

Cost, Payment, and/or Legal
Bid wisely. Knowing the project budget or cost expectations beforehand can help you breeze though this part, but this section has also proven to be a lot of trouble for some.

Keep this business proposal checklist handy and pull it out whenever you’re putting together a proposal for a client or job and you’re sure win more busienss.

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