Are you an entrepreneur looking to make a big impression on potential investors? Or you're an employee of a larger corporation looking to make a case for a new project or initiative.
Regardless of your situation, the ability to write an effective business proposal can be the difference between success and failure. A well-crafted business proposal can open doors to new opportunities, partnerships, and investments.
But with so many elements to consider, it can be a daunting task. This step-by-step business proposal guide is here to help. It highlights everything from researching your target audience to the key elements of a business proposal. Read on to learn more about business proposal tips.
What Is a Business Proposal?
A business proposal is a detailed document that outlines your company’s goals and objectives. It also includes a financial model that forecasts potential earnings.
An effective business proposal is often the first step in securing funding or a contract for a larger project. More often than not, a business proposal requires a detailed SWOT analysis and a marketing plan. These sections show how you plan to reach your specific target market and goals.
Overall, the ultimate role of a business proposal is to persuade your readers (i.e., potential investors, clients, and partners) that the business opportunity is worth their time and money. You can use a business proposal for various reasons, including requesting funding, acquiring new partnerships, expanding your company's reach, etc.
Tips on How to Write a Business Proposal
Crafting an effective business proposal can be tricky, especially if it is your first time. However, with the right knowledge, you can write an effective business proposal that stands out and increases your success chances.
This business proposal guide provides steps on how to write an effective business proposal.
1. Create Your Title Page
The title page is the first thing people will see on your business proposal. Since it’s the first impression, you should make it outstanding. Ensure this page has high-quality and clear fonts, images, and colors that match your brand.
The title page should include the business's name, the proposal's title, and the person receiving the proposal.
2. Table of Contents
The table of contents is in almost every business proposal sample, so your business proposal is no exception. The table of contents allows the reader to scan your business proposal before diving in. It also allows them to find the information they're looking for quickly.
Your table of contents page should be chronological. Please don't get too granular with items on the list; this might make it appear too overwhelming.
3. Executive Summary
The executive summary is a precursor to the rest of the business proposal. It often helps persuade the prospective client to continue reading the full document.
The summary should include a strong argument for why the reader should invest in your company or product. Ensure this section highlights your business’s products and services benefits and how they solve a particular problem.
After reading this section, the prospective client should be able to visualize how you’re solving a problem. That's even without them reading the entire proposal.
4. Outline Your Customers' Problems and Your Company's Solution
You'll need to do a lot of research before writing this page. Extensive research will help show your potential clients that you understand their needs and know what you want to do.
How you choose to highlight customers' problems depends on you. You can list the problem statements alongside detailed deliverables. Alternatively, you can focus on two to three major problems and offer a list of their solutions.
Note that it's also best to add timetables. Most prospective clients usually want to know how quickly you can enact your solution and when to expect results. Timetables answer such questions.
They are also great tools that you can use to break up text while passing essential information.
5. Share Your Qualifications
What makes you the best choice for an investment or partnership? This is where you’ll outline your qualifications. You should use this section of your business proposal template to tell how you’re qualified to solve your customers’ problems. You can also tell them why they should trust you.
Overall, this business proposal template section is where you inform investors why you’re the best. Remember to support your claim with relevant certifications, awards, or accreditation.
6. Create a Pricing Table
Many business owners or entrepreneurs feel uncomfortable adding pricing to the business proposal. However, there's no way around it; your clients have budgets and will be comparing prices.
Therefore, you need to break down each aspect of the business into individual components within the budget. This will make the pricing feel more manageable to the customer.
When pricing your product or service, ensure you consider the overhead expenses and take them into account. It's also important to consider how many customers you'll need to sell to break even. Once you've done this, create a clear and concise pricing table.
7. Summarize with a Conclusion
This is the best and last chance to make a brief but compelling case. You summarize all the information in the business proposal template in one final section.
Tell how your customer will get value in your product and services. You can briefly discuss your qualifications and prompt the client/ investor to act. By now, your business proposal should have the prospective investor ready to work with you.
Note that if your business proposal is standardized, your contact information should be easily available. Alternatively, if the business proposal is customized, you can include the following sections to encourage the client to accept it.
8. Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions section of your business proposal is where you'll outline your company's policies and practices. Having these outlined is important so you don't end up in a situation where you've broken the law or made a promise you can't keep.
In some places, the proposal is a legally binding contract. Therefore, it's best to seek help from a legal expert when crafting this section.
Additionally, in this section, you should outline your delivery times, return policies, and anything else that has to do with your product or service.
Note that not all business proposals must include a legally binding contract. A simple call to action is enough if you're looking to push your client into further negotiations. The call to action should provide instructions about continuing with further negotiations.
The appendix is the part of your business proposal where you include additional information. The appendix is optional in a business proposal, but you can add it if you have extra information that doesn't fit the proposal.
You can reference this section with the entire proposal to avoid disrupting the flow of other sections. The appendix is useful for figures, illustrations, statistics, and information about your team. You can also add any reference material you wish to share here.
How Can Strikingly Help You to Execute Your Business Proposal
Image taken from Strikingly Product
Starting a real business includes setting up a brick-and-mortar store or office and creating an online presence.
The Strikingly website builder comes in handy when creating a website to establish an online presence. The Strikingly website builder will help you save some money you'd have spent on a developer. It has free and paid plans (affordable), each with its unique but powerful features.
However, using paid plans is best because of their intensive features and tools. All being said, below is how a Strikingly website can help you execute your business proposal.
1. Create an Online Presence
The major advantage of a website is it helps you create an online presence for your business. A robust website with information about your products or services helps potential customers make informed decisions about your business.
Overall, a website is a key component for any business and can help you reach a wider audience.
2. Helps Build Trust
Having a Strikingly website will show potential investors that you're committed to your business and have the necessary resources to succeed. This can help you build trust with potential investors and secure funding for your business proposal.
Additionally, you can build trust with customers by providing them with relevant information about your products and services.
3. Point of Contact
Your Strikingly website will offer customers an easy way to contact you and learn more about your business. You can provide your contact information on the website or add a contact page or button.
Image taken from Strikingly User Website
4. Sell Products
Your Strikingly website can help you sell various products, including physical and digital goods. It has a Simple Store feature that allows visitors to easily navigate and discover your products. The Simple Store section enables you to group products into various categories, add payment options, and more.
Image taken from Strikingly Product
Blogging can help you build a loyal customer base and generate leads, boosting sales. The Strikingly Simple Blog will enable you to share valuable information with your customers and provide them with relevant tips and advice.
Image taken from Strikingly Product
6. Leverage Social Networks
Social networks can help you reach a wider audience and engage with customers. Therefore, it’s essential to implement a social media strategy to create more buzz about your business. Establish your presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
You can then add links to your best blogs to social media platforms to make them more appealing. In addition, you can integrate your Strikingly website with your social media platforms. This makes it easy to manage them and also saves costs.
If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, you’ve likely had to write a business proposal in the past. Even if you haven't, you've probably at least considered it. A business proposal can be challenging to write, especially since you have to distinguish between being too persuasive and needy.
Writing an effective business proposal is valuable and can open up endless possibilities. These possibilities include securing funding, acquiring new partnerships, and expanding your company’s reach. This business proposal guide has a list of steps to create an outstanding proposal.