Is your business proposal securing new clients for you, or is it leaving you trailing behind the competition?
In this article I will explain how a business proposal can win you new clients and the most effective format to use.
What Is A Business Proposal?
Surprisingly, many people confuse a business proposal with a business plan. Although a business plan is crucial for every business (read our article ‘5 Reasons You Need To Create A Business Plan’), this is used to map our your business future and a great asset to support funding applications to potential investors. Whereas a business proposal is a document you would send to a potential client, outlining the service you offer and why you are the best fit for their needs.
Think of it as a sales itch in written form. Whether you are detailing a discussion had or contacting the individual for the first time.
What Should I Include In A Business Proposal?
Although the exact details to include in a business proposal will depend largely on your industry, the basics remain the same.
Creating a standard format can save valuable time as the structure will be in place and the details ban be filled in according to the current prospect you are communicating with and the solution you are providing. So, let’s take a look at the structure.
- Title Page
To give your business proposal a professional finish, start with a title page which should include your company name, the name of the person/company you are submitting the proposal to and the date.
- Company Summary
This section is to introduce your company and should include a brief description about your business, what it does, how it helps and the experience/qualification that makes you the expert they should be working with. The is a great opportunity to sell your unique selling points i.e. what makes you different to your competitors.
- Current Position/Analysis
In this section you detail the current situation of the prospect and the issues they are facing or job that needs to be completed. This is to show that you have a true understanding of their needs and the issue they are trying to solve.
- Approach & Plan
In this section you outline how you will solve the issue or carry out the necessary job at hand. It’s the ‘Plan of Attack’ so needs to drill into more detail about the actions you will be taking and the results expected. It is crucial that you give enough information to assure the prospect that you know how to achieve the results they are looking for, but not too much that they get bogged down and can no longer see the big picture. Also avoid using industry terminology that they may not understand. The customer should be able to see a clear route of the actions that will achieve their desired goals.
- Targets & Schedule
Once you have explained HOW you are going to solve their problem, you need to make it clear how long this will take and how you measure progress and success.
Remember: Don’t promise what you cannot delivery!
- Costings & Legal Requirements
This is where you go into the financials. You will explain the costs involved, how and when the payments should be made and any licences or access that is required to complete the task.
This is your final stab at the sales pitch so make it good!
Here you will explain the benefits of choosing you over your competition and the benefits they will see by making this choice. What difference do these results make to their business?
- Executive Summary
It’s always more beneficial to send your business proposal to the decision maker. However, in some situations, especially with large corporations, this is not always possible. Therefore, creating and Executive Summary is helpful to highlight the key points from each section.
Try to keep this to a single page so that they can scan through quickly and know the important points.
How Long Should A Business Proposal Be?
This vey much depends on many factors from how complex the project is, to what information the prospect is requesting, so there is no definitive answer.
However, if you follow the format above, you will find that the length will determine itself.
Have you written a formal business proposal and sent it to a potential customer? We would love to hear your success stories in the comments below.
Do you need help typing up a business proposal? We are here to help. For more information or a quote, call Lyn on 01329 481202 or click on the ‘Request Call Back’ button below.
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