proposal writing tips

What To Write In A Business Proposal to Land More Clients

December 6, 2014

You may have a great business idea and the passion to bring it to life. But to get the gears moving, you need to first be able to pitch your idea and persuade investors that it is a viable and potentially lucrative solution. That is where a business proposal comes in.

When you are writing a business proposal for the first time, it can be difficult to judge what business topics to put in and what to keep out. Writing the perfect pitch and managing to persuade potential investors is a skill that comes through experience and through a little knowledge of how to write a business proposal.

Business proposal topics to approach

A business proposal is any document written to a client in order to obtain a certain job. In the proposal document, there is usually a formal structure that most business owners follow loosely.

Executive Summary

There is generally an executive summary at the beginning, which should lay down the fundamentals of the business. This section should answer questions like: what will the product be? Who are the consumers and owners? What do you anticipate the future to be for your business and the industry?

Introduction

The Executive Summary can be the introduction, or there can be a separate section including the company description (mission statement, company objectives and goals etc.) which talks about the guiding principles of the company, the desired future, annual sales targets, customer satisfaction evaluation etc. Short and long term target markets and industries can also be described in the introduction. Consider factors you think will help the business to succeed, competitive strengths, and the skills and experience you bring to the business. Also discuss legal form of ownership and define jargon in this section.

Statement of the Issue

Here, insert details about your goals and objectives from the client's perspective. This section shows the client that you know what the issue or problem is, and is trying to solve it.

Approach or Plan of Work

This section should talk in brief about how you are trying to resolve the client's problem. This section will therefore include reasons for why you think your solution will succeed in solving the client's problems. It's important to discuss the benefits of the solution you are proposing.

Methodology

Here, discuss how the Approach will be implemented, and can include Marketing and Operation plans. The first should discuss market research in a specific, data-filled way. Using bullet points to do this is useful.

Your Experience

Discuss why your skills, experience, qualifications etc. will bring to the business, and it's possible to go into details about the specific experience that you've gained to be able to bring to the table.

Timeline

Next, you need to talk about the timeline, where you can make a note of the frequency or the date when the most important elements of the job are carried out. Creating a timeline with benchmarks helps to keep you motivated as suggest success of many of these activities.

Budget and Expense

This section should deal with specifying the budget of the project or an estimation of what you're expecting the project to cost. Consider both indirect and direct costs ranging from employee salaries, to legal fees, rent etc. Include financial plans if your proposal is complex or lengthy, appending a 12-month projection and, optionally, a 4-year projection of profit and loss, projections of balance sheet, cash flow, break-even calculation etc.

Conclusion

Wrap up your proposal with a discussion of how you can face obstacles and overcome them. It's important to show that you are aware of potential problems that could come in your way. Explain the issues, and rebut them with justifications of how the project's benefits far outweigh potential obstacles. You can finally go over about the benefits of the proposal and outline your deadlines, and have a call to action for what you want your client to do. After the conclusion, add an Appendix if it is necessary.

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