A business proposal is perhaps one of the most critical documents you need to learn how to write. It is what spells the difference between success and failure, whether you’re a freelancer or you have a company of your own.
In today’s cut-throat business world, entrepreneurs find themselves spending hours upon hours submitting business proposals to potential clients, and not get any results. On the other hand, there are those that are like snipers, able to get the contract after just submitting one business proposal.
So how do they do it? Well, this article will teach you show you how to do just that.
The Basics of a Business Proposal
Before you even go and start writing that business proposal, you must first understand what it is and learn the basics.
A business proposal is a written document that offers a particular product or service to a potential buyer or client. There are generally two kinds of business proposals: solicited business proposals (which are submitted in response to an advertisement published by the buyer or client) and unsolicited proposals (submitted or given out to potential buyers or clients even though they are not requesting for one).
Business Proposal vs. Business Plan
Quite often, the terms “business proposal” and “business plan” are used interchangeably, giving you the impression that they are one and the same. But they are not.
A business proposal is created to offer a product or service to a buyer or client. On the other hand, a business plan is a “formal statement of a set of business goals” and how these would be achieved. The latter is only part of what is included in a business proposal.
3 Ps of a Winning Business Proposal
The secret behind writing a winning business proposal and one that will just be set aside is the presence of what I call the 3 Ps: problem statement, proposed solution, and pricing information.
A successful business proposal must be one that is able to describe to the client what their needs are in a plain and simple manner. This is extremely vital because how can you expect the client to believe that you can help them solve their problems if you don’t even know are these problems?
Here’s an example of a well-written problem statement of a business proposal:
With the presence of social media in today’s advancing world, Puffin Media Inc. hesitated to make the leap from traditional marketing to social media marketing.
Their marketing tactics seem to be losing effectiveness and the company feels as if they are missing out on a large segment of their market. In addition, their competition has began acquiring the majority of the business in the market and have brought Puffin Media’s growing revenues to a halt.
The main objective of submitting a business proposal is to offer a solution to a problem faced by a prospective client. This part should be as detailed as possible, and able to address each and every need you have discovered.
Here’s an example:
The solution that is recommended for Puffin Media Inc. is to deploy their company on all of the major social media channels; however, there is a major difference in creating social media platforms versus creating a brand you can promote on those platforms.
A marketing campaign must be created utilizing these media channels and creating immediate engagement with your audience. In order for this to be successful, you know how to make sales. Initially, acquire some fans, followers, subscribers, and connections and invite them to join you in particular discussion or attend a specific event.
The purpose of this is not only to promote Puffin Media Inc, but also to solicit feedback from the target audience.
For many clients, the pricing information is what will make them decide whether they would offer you the contract or not.
How to write this part greatly depends on the solution or solutions you included in the previous segment. If the solution proposed will only entail a short period of time, a Fee Summary will suffice. For longer projects, segment these payments to specific milestones in a Fee Schedule list.
Things to Remember When Writing a Business Proposal
Now that you know the essentials of a winning business proposal, it’s time to go ahead and start writing, right? Well, not exactly.
The next part is to be able to find out what to put under the 3 Ps so that you can develop a business proposal that gets their attention and awards you that contract.
Do Your Research
Not all clients and buyers will give you the explicit details of their wants and needs, especially if you’re submitting an unsolicited business proposal. Extend your research to include the competitors of your potential client, and their customers as well. This will ensure that your business proposal will be as comprehensive and as detailed as possible.
Put Yourself in their Shoes
Another thing to remember when writing a business proposal is to always put yourself in the shoes of your potential clients. Doing this will help you provide information on things that they would most likely ask, such as “Why should we pay you this much amount for the solutions you’re offering” and “How can these changes benefit me?”
If you determined that a company or client has certain needs, chances are others would have done the same. That means that there will be others that have submitted their respective proposals to the company or client.
That being said, it is important to make sure to highlight your talents, experience and other qualifications to convince the client why they should choose you or your company.
Writing that Business Proposal
When you got all of these, then you’re finally able to start writing your business proposal. One of the best ways on how to write a persuasive business proposal is to use a business proposal software.
Business proposal software programs helps you write your business proposal without having to worry about how they should be put together and the content that you need to include. These programs contain two kinds of proposal templates that you can use and re-use, depending on which one you need to write.
In addition to the stored templates, you can create your own proposal templates through these programs based on previous proposals you’ve created, making it even more convenient for you and your business.
A Final Word…
Although business proposals present the same information and have the same layout, it’s important to take time and make each one unique. Each project is different, even if it’s with the same company. Remember, a business proposal must show how you or your company can help a potential client.