Nominate a Fellow
Fellow name:
E-mail address:
Fellow since January 1st, 1970

Download This Slide

Writing Business Proposals

A business proposal is perhaps one of the most important documents you need to learn how to write as an entrepreneur. It’s what spells the difference between failure and success. In today’s business world, business owners find themselves spending several hours writing and submitting business proposals to potential clients and business partners, and not getting any result from it. On the other hand, there are those entrepreneurs that are able to get contracts after just submitting one proposal. But, how do they do it? Well, this week’s lecture will look into just that.

What is a Business Proposal?

Before you start writing your proposal, you should understand what a business proposal is and how to best structure a persuasive business proposal. A business proposal is a written document that offers a particular product or service to a potential buyer or client. It can also offer a particular business agreement to a potential business partner. Generally, there are two types of proposals: the solicited proposals and unsolicited proposals. Solicited proposals are typically requested by the client or business, or submitted in response to an advertisement published by the client or business. On the contrary, unsolicited proposals are submitted to potential clients or business partners even though they’re not requesting one. Solicited proposals tend to have a higher win rate because they are more specific to the person or organization receiving them.

Business Proposal and Business Plan

Quite often, the terms “business plan” and “business proposal” are used interchangeably, giving you the impression that they are one and the same thing. But the truth is that they’re not. A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, and how they would be achieved. A business plan can sometimes be included in a business proposal.

The Outline of a Business Proposal

What should go in a business proposal? When writing a business proposal, you would want to include your goals and objectives, recommended solution, fee summary, fee schedule, estimated project schedule, next steps, and terms and conditions. This outline ensures that you start with the reader of the proposal in mind. First, you should address the business problem, then the solution, and finally, the pricing. This leads us to the 3 Ps of a winning business proposal.

The 3 Ps of a Winning Proposal

The 3 Ps is the secret behind writing a winning business proposal and not one that will simply be put aside. These are the Problem statement, the Proposed solution, and the Pricing information. Though every project is different, every winning business proposal follows the same basic structure. Once you’ve understood this structure, you will save yourself valuable time and land even more contracts.

The Problem Statement

The first step to getting more clients and business partners is to convince them that you clearly understand their needs better than any other person or organization. That’s where the problem statement comes in. A winning business proposal must be one that is capable of describing to the client or business what these needs are in a very clear and simple manner. This is very important because else, how can you expect the client or business to believe that you can help them adequately solve their problems if you don’t even know what those problems are?

The Proposed Solution

The primary objective of submitting a business proposal is to offer a solution to a problem that is faced by a prospective client or business partner. This part should be as detailed as possible and be able to address each and every need you have discovered.

The Pricing Information

For many clients and businesses, the pricing information is what will make them decide whether they would offer you the contract or not. How to write this part of the proposal greatly depends on the solution or solutions you have included in the previous segment. If the solution proposed will only entail a short period of time, a fee summary will suffice. However, for longer projects, segment these payments to specific milestones in a fee schedule list.

Explore More Resources →