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proposal writing tips

A Business Proposal Outline for Creating a Winning Business Proposal

July 9, 2013

Business Proposal Outline

In order to write a business proposal that will win over the company you are presenting it to, there are several items that you need to include in your proposal. The goal is to target your proposal to meet the client’s precise needs. Below is a general business proposal outline that can be used by nearly any company to sell their products and/or services to another business (B2B).

Section I. Administrative Summary

The first section of your business proposal should focus on summarizing what your business offers. For instance, if a company is in the IT field, their administrative summary should include basic information regarding what the company can do and has done in the past for other clients. The goal here is to clearly define how your company works, what it is capable of doing, and how operations are handled.

Section II. Client Requirement Overview

In this section the proposal should shift gears from discussing what your company can do to proving you understand what the exact needs are of the company that will be receiving your proposal (your potential client). A detailed explanation and examination of their specific problem areas shows a vested interest in your client's needs and how you will solve their problems and improve their business, be it improved operations, better efficiency, lower materials, costs, more sales, happier customers, improved productivity, etc.

A business proposal can make or break a huge sales contract, so this section should be thorough and layout all the problems your potential client may be facing that your product/service solves. This includes failing sale numbers, lost productivity, increased costs, lower profits, etc. You also need to detail what your client can expect from a relationship with your company, and how your product or service will be implemented into their platform with minimal disruptions.

Section III. Company Solution

This is by far the most important section in any business proposal. It is the sales pitch for your company's product or service. It should explain in detail in the clearest language possible exactly how your product or service will solve their problems and do it better than any competing products or services. In this section your company should provide evidence that proves how you have helped other similar clients and how your product/service will help this new company if they become your client. This can be done with case studies and other documents that prove the quality and results delivered by your products or services.

Section IV. The Benefits

This section should outline step by step exactly how your potential new client will benefit from your product or service. It should provide testimonials from past clients who have used your product or service and how they benefited from it. This section should include quantitative numbers, statistics, analysis, graphs and figures to demonstrate the exact measurable results your product or service produces. However, simplicity is key because if a person cannot understand what your are saying, they will ignore it. Also, the ‘benefits section’ should not include a description of what your company will do, but rather it should be the sales pitch to prompt action—to hire your company.

Section V. Cost analysis

The final part of a business proposal is the cost analysis. Even though the information presented may reflect a very large sum of money, the emphasis should be on cost comparison and return on investment. The most important thing you can do in your proposal is to prove that buying your product or service is a wise investment that will help your client improve their business. If your product or service costs $10,000, you need to prove that your client will receive more than $10,000 worth of value. In business it all comes down to proving how you will help your client earn more money or save money. It's all about the bottom line and the company who can prove their product or service will have the biggest impact on their client's improvement in their bottom line will win the most business. You cost analysis should be a summary of the entire proposal and should leave a client ready to take action and hire you instead of one of your competitors.

For even more information, here is an article on how to write a business proposal.

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