How to Write an Excellent Business Proposal [+ New Templates]

by Kasia Perzynska Last Updated: 2018.08.02

Business proposals can take on different names. You can call it a sales pitch, company presentation, or a portfolio. But no matter what you call it, the primary goal always stays the same.

In a business proposal, you’re striving to get new prospects hooked on your pitch and because of this, you’re continually researching new ideas on how to become a better seller.

As a result, you’re constantly learning:

  • How to convey your message more efficiently.
  • How to amend your business proposal format.
  • How to state your point transparently, making an even stronger impact.
  • What business proposal template will win more deals.
  • How to stand out from the crowd of similar offers.

Since your audience gets frequently bombarded with a little too much information, the answers to all these questions aren’t that obvious.

Consequently, it is constantly getting trickier to grab their attention in an effective and consistent way.

For this reason (and to save you time too), I’ve prepared the ultimate guide on how to write an excellent business proposal that brings results and helps you close more deals.

So let’s begin.

In this article you’ll discover:

1. What is a business proposal?

Just to make things clear, I’m going to explain what a business proposal is. Usually, it’s a written form of business offer directly sent by a sales representative to a prospective buyer.

The goal of a business proposal is to attract customers and to close deals. They are deal-makers, but also deal-breakers, which makes them a key element of any sales process.

Here’s a simple business proposal example:

How_to_Write_an_Excellent_Business_Proposal-09

And one more thing.

2. What is the difference between a business proposal and a business plan?

Don’t confuse a business proposal with a business plan. Although these two business terms belong to the same category and may sound quite similar, they are completely different.

A business plan is a document that comprehensively presents a business idea. It works as a roadmap to outline all the business related details and defines how you are going to operate as an entrepreneur. It works as a guidebook for you, your coworkers and your partners and lets you keep track of everything involved.

A business plan helps you validate a business concept when you’re trying to gain support from third parties, such as investors.

Side note: Read more about business plans → How to Turn a Business Plan into an Effective Pitch Deck

Now you understand that the definition of a business plan differs from the idea behind a business proposal as it doesn’t serve to seal a deal unless you’re pitching your business plan to investors.

3. What is in a business proposal?

Business proposals are usually divided into three main parts.

The first part involves stating the problem in an emphatic way. At this point, you’re trying to illustrate a pain point to your prospect and make sure he or she can indeed recognize it as a day-to-day struggle.

Example:

How-to-Write-an-Excellent-Business-Proposal-08

Once a pain-point is brought to light and your prospect comes to realize its severe presence, your solution starts to be perceived differently → more favorably.

Now, your product or service has become necessary or even irreplaceable in their eyes.

In this way, you’ve created the right momentum to provide a solution.

Present a product or service that perfectly alleviates the previously described pain point.

Example:

how-to-write-an-excellent-business-proposal

This is where you include a detailed specification of products you offer.

Draw prospects’ attention towards the benefits that are most essential for their particular requirements. You also need to show the reasons why your company is the best choice among the other similar offers.

Example:

how-to-write-an-excellent-business-proposal

Finally, you present a rough pricing estimate for the service and voilà! You’ve got it!

Let’s just do a short review of what we’ve learned so far.

A standard business proposal comes down to:

  1. Stating a problem
  2. Proposing a solution
  3. Providing a price estimate

4. How do you write a business proposal?

Even the best solutions can get rejected because of business proposals that don’t meet expectations. This makes writing a business proposal crucial for building healthy customer relationships.

When promoting your business offer, be honest about the facts and stick to the real picture.

This might get a little tricky at times, so I’ll now reveal some essential tips for writing a successful business proposal:

Collect the information

When a business opportunity suddenly comes your way, you probably want to act quickly and hand over your business proposal to the prospect as fast as possible.

And that’s natural, you’re trying to seal the deal, while your lead is still hot (for instance, after a personal meeting).

But, hold yourself back for a second and gather the necessary information first, so you don’t mess up and lose a contract because of a stupid mistake.

To be successful, whether as a startup founder or business professional, you have to be able to present ideas and engage audiences. This means a thorough analysis of your customer profile and data and a comprehensive analysis. – Forbes

Take some time to learn about the customer you’re pitching and about the organization they work for, and consider what product would fit their company. Make sure to craft a business proposal individually and tailor it towards the client’s needs.

This research and extra analysis are always worth it as it will help you accurately evaluate the costs of your service and eventually get approved.

Employ task management tools

To create excellent business proposals you need to maintain high-quality customer service.

Without top quality buyer-seller relationships, you’re dead and gone.

So stay organized and don’t forget the details and agreements that come from the conversations you have. Remember, your prospects actually have an impact on the final shape of your business proposals.

While you’re still working at a smaller scale, you might be able to keep up with those details simply by remembering things. But as your organization grows over time, and the number of prospects you stay in touch with adds up, your memory won’t be enough in the long run.

Human memory is fallible. Trust in technology instead.

For this reason, it’s better to employ online tools that enhance your productivity, remember all the customer-related data for you and simply automate some labor-intensive and repetitive tasks, letting you act faster, work faster and close deals faster.

Outline your business proposal

Okay, so once you know how to gather customer information efficiently, you can now move on to outlining your business proposal.

Start with finding answers to these essential questions:

who, what, why, where, how and when

The Five Ws and H are questions whose answers are considered basic in information gathering and problem-solving. They constitute a formula for getting the complete story on a subject. – Wikipedia
  • First of all, you have to determine the Who. Who is in the company you’re representing? Who is the point of contact? Who is going to manage the project?
  • Secondly, you should define what the solution is that you have to offer; and what the customer can expect from you.
  • Thirdly, Why is this specific solution the best for your customer? Why is your company the best fit for this job? Why should a given prospect choose you over others? Here, you are about to specify your value propositions. In other words, reasons that help you stand out from the crowd and make your business proposal special.
  • Next, Depending on the specific industry you operate in and what exactly you have to offer, state where exactly the service or product will be delivered and handed over to the customer.
  • Then, explain exactly what methods and approaches you’ll apply to provide a solution in your business proposal. In other words, how you are going to execute the plan.
  • Lastly, include a deadline to finish up your when.

Once you have all the basic Ws&H questions answered, you are ready to go further and dig deeper into your business proposal.

Business proposal structure

Normally, you start a business proposal with a title page and introduction.

✅ Title page

Your first page plays the role of a cover that consists of a compelling title for your proposal, plus your company contact information and the name of the prospect to whom you’re submitting your business proposal. You should also include the date of submission on the title page.

✅ Introduction

Next comes the introduction. Here, you should describe the company you represent and try to showcase it in the best possible light in order to allure your customer. Tell the brief story behind your organization and add some intriguing facts about your team.

Example:

How_to_Write_an_Excellent_Business_Proposal-11

This is also the right place to build up a brand image, foster trust and create a bond between your organization and a potential buyer.

The introduction of your business proposal is a great place to brag about company accomplishments, talk about awards, and provide some testimonials and other credentials that distinguish you from competitors.

✅ Table of contents

If your business proposal gets little lengthy, providing a table of contents might help. Present a schedule and outline the main paragraphs of your presentation to make it easier to find individual sections that are most interesting or important to your prospects.

✅ Executive summary

After the introduction comes the executive summary. It’s an imperative part of your business proposal because it’s the place where you put your solution forward and draw major conclusions. Do your best to make your executive summary a strong and concise statement.

Include a precise justification for why your team of professionals is the best for the job. This paragraph should be short, compelling and persuasive. Write it in a direct and simple language that matches the tone of voice of your customer.

✅ Main body

Next comes the extensive part where you can dive into the details of your business proposal and get into:

  • A statement of the problem or job at hand.
  • Providing the solution
  • Price estimation

Remember, show your client that you understand their needs and know how to solve their ongoing issues. Finally, provide a rough calculation of the cost of your project.

✅ Conclusion

A business proposal conclusion should summarize the main facts about your offer. Remember to re-emphasize your company’s achievements and include a call-to-action to encourage action and get in touch with your company for more information.

5. What’s the best business proposal format?

When you’re creating a business proposal, its format might cause some difficulties.

If you ask me what the most frequent business proposal format people tend to choose is, I’d answer that they usually go for PowerPoint presentations. (Interestingly, at Amazon, these are banned.)

However, if you find yourself in need of creating a top-notch business proposal at the last minute, you don’t have to build it from scratch.

There are great resources that come in handy in making professional business proposal templates crafted for your needs.

For instance, Improve Presentation provides you with several types of business proposal templates, so go ahead, browse the library and download them from there and fill it out with your content.

Business proposal template examples:

1. Pitch Deck Presentation Template

Here’s a great business proposal template for your pitch deck.

Inside, you’ll find enticing charts, graphics, infographics, timelines and 52 professional vector icons that will surely get you inspired for a data presentation. This template is available in three color schemes and includes 64 editable slides.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Pitch Deck Premium Presentation Template

Pitch Deck Premium Presentation Template

This template allows you to focus on your product rather than designing a presentation template, so you’re ready to give a pitch that makes investors want to back your company.

DOWNLOAD

Pitch Deck Premium Presentation Template Slide Examples

Pitch Deck Premium Presentation Template example
Pitch Deck Premium Presentation Template example
Pitch Deck Premium Presentation Template example
Pitch Deck Premium Presentation Template example
Pitch Deck Premium Presentation Template example
SEE MORE SLIDES

Pitch Deck Presentation Template was designed to help you explain everything, from your product features and market insights to marketing metrics and versatile analysis clearly and simply.

And the best part is, it wasn’t created with only your needs in mind, but also in accordance with investors’ intent.

2. Ultimate Business PowerPoint Template

This is a business proposal template with over 100 amazing slides that are easy to adjust. All the slides are available in 6 color schemes.

This template will be excellent for whenever you need to sell your business right. Inside, you’ll find beautiful charts, graphics, infographics, timelines and 145 icons that you can flawlessly move, resize or change colors throughout your presentation’s slides.

The clean, straightforward layout keeps your audience focused on the message, rather than just on the slides themselves.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Ultimate Presentation Template

Ultimate Presentation Template

This is our top selling business template with over 100 amazing slides that are easy to adjust. All the slides are available in 6 colors out of the box.

DOWNLOAD

Ultimate Presentation Template Slide Examples

Ultimate Presentation Template example
Ultimate Presentation Template example
Ultimate Presentation Template example
Ultimate Presentation Template example
Ultimate Presentation Template example
SEE MORE SLIDES

3. Company Presentation Template

The company presentation template is great to showcase your company’s story in a simple and compelling way.

What’s inside?

  • 36 unique presentation slides
  • 13 editable icons you can easily move, resize or change colors with throughout your presentation’s slides.
  • 2 color schemes

Here’s a sneak peek:

Company Presentation Template

Company Presentation Template

Present the details of your business with the Company Presentation Template’s clear and easily customizable slides. Perfect for maintaining corporate branding requirements.

DOWNLOAD

Company Presentation Template Slide Examples

Company Presentation Template example
Company Presentation Template example
Company Presentation Template example
Company Presentation Template example
Company Presentation Template example
SEE MORE SLIDES

From a map of the US to show market penetration and a timeline for sharing milestones to a variety of graphs for all your data to preformatted tables for lists, this template makes it easy for you to focus on your work, instead of creating a presentation from a blank slide.

Back to you

As said before, business proposals can be called by different names, but no matter what you call them, the main purpose stays the same – it’s all about getting prospects hooked on a pitch.

So, make sure you create solid business proposals that are well-written on the content side and well-presented on the other. Visual aspects become crucial here because they help your clients focus on what’s important and better understand the data. And people are so visual, they buy with their eyes.

Now it’s your turn to take action, so learn this lesson and create an outstanding business proposal that’s informative and visually appealing at the same time.

How do you like my article? Do you have any other suggestions on creating powerful business proposals? Let me know in the comments below.

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