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    How to put together a business proposal: A guide for entrepreneurs

    How to put together a business proposal: A guide for entrepreneurs

    Putting together a business proposal can make or break your business, depending on the execution. That's a big claim. But stick with us. It c...

    Putting together a business proposal can make or break your business, depending on the execution.

    That’s a big claim. But stick with us.

    It could make a difference in terms of cash flow and investments, marketing, personnel, and other important business decisions (especially if you plan to ask for financing).

    Only when you have a super accurate and organized business proposal can you begin to appeal to customers and partners that you want to work with.

    With all the advice out there, how do you know what makes a good business proposal? It’s just like with all great social media design for your business! An effective business proposal starts with a great plan and your ideas. We gathered all the best advice and packaged it for you in a single article.

    We break down what makes a good, well-written business proposal, why you need one, what it should include, how to write one, and a few excellent examples for inspiration. Once you’re done reading, you’ll have all the background information you need to get started on creating a business proposal yourself.

    What is a business proposal?

    A business proposal is a formal document created by a company to describe their offer to a prospective client, the goal of which is to secure a business agreement. The business proposal outlines the company’s product or service offerings and sells them by describing all the benefits a customer receives.

    Business proposal vs business plan

    But do not confuse a business proposal with a business plan because they are not the same. The difference is that a business plan is made to find investors and get funding for business development. While a business proposal helps search for new customers and partners.

    To better understand what a business proposal is, check out professionally-made business proposal templates in VistaCreate.

    Marketing agency services offer Proposal Design Template
    Marketing agency services offer Proposal Design Template
    Business payment software managing offer Proposal Design Template
    Business payment software managing offer Proposal Design Template
    Corporate Identity Design Ad Proposal Design Template
    Corporate Identity Design Ad Proposal Design Template

    Explore business proposal templates

    Why you need a business proposal

    Whether you are an established small business looking to expand or a new one in the development stage, business proposals can help you with your business goals. Here is a short list of aims a business proposal may assist you with:

    • Find and attract new customers
    • Increase your sales
    • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business model
    • Showcase your products and service offerings
    • Outline your business direction and structure
    • Find additional ways for growth and development

    And this is not a complete list of the benefits!

    The use of a business proposal

    Once your business proposal is ready, know that the work put into it can be put to good use (more than one, in fact). A business proposal is primarily an external document, to be shown to prospects.

    More often, companies use business proposals to get new clients. The most common goals are to close the deal, extend the cooperation, conclude the agreement, or take other final actions to win a client.

    A business proposal can be used as a powerful marketing tool that allows you to simultaneously:

    • Promote the product or service you aim to sell;
    • Increase brand awareness;
    • Create a particular image for your company in the eyes of potential clients;
    • Attract new customers;
    • Build an audience of loyal customers.

    Sometimes companies also use business proposals to present a new or updated product or inform about promotions, sales, and individual offers. Such a proposal is usually limited in time and sent exclusively to those clients with whom you’ve already worked.

    Types of business proposals

    So what does a well-written business proposal include? Before we jump right in, let’s take a look at the main types of business proposals.

    Solicited

    Business proposals requested by potential customers are called solicited. Thus, a prospective client wants to better explore your offer and decide whether or not to accept it.

    A solicited business proposal is a much easier sale because your client is already looking for a certain product or service. And now, they only need to find businesses or vendors to cooperate with. A solicited business proposal can be:

    • Formal (formally solicited). This proposal is created as a response to an official request to write a business proposal. In this case, you have more information about your potential client and know all the requirements and demands. So, with a formally solicited business proposal, you only need to present your offer and start the selling process.
    • Informal (informally solicited). Obviously, informally solicited proposals are ones written without the official request. A prospective buyer wants to evaluate your company’s products or services and asks for a business proposal during an informal conversation. This type of proposal demands deeper research because you don’t have all the details and need to learn more about your prospective client to win them over.

    Unsolicited

    Unsolicited business proposals are somewhat similar to cold calls or cold emails. Such proposals are often more versatile and generic; they fit various business areas and potential customers.

    Of course, once you do deep market research and identify your prospective client’s needs and issues, you can create an attractive business proposal much easier. But in the scenario where a potential customer hasn’t requested your proposal, making a winning solution isn’t a simple deal. That’s why unsolicited business proposals should be especially compelling. At this stage, your client hasn’t planned or budgeted the proposal, and may not even know about your company.

    So take writing an unsolicited business proposal seriously. If you don’t know how to write a business proposal for your case, choose from numerous pre-designed business proposal templates in VistaCreate.

    Digital Services Ad Proposal Design Template
    Digital Services Ad Proposal Design Template
    Digital Services Ad Proposal Design Template
    Digital Services Ad Proposal Design Template

    What should a business proposal include?

    Every business proposal is unique, with its own proposition based on customers’ needs and the company’s offerings. You decide what to add to your proposal to engage clients and encourage them to purchase. However, there are some key elements that must be included in a well-written business proposal:

    • Information about your company. Describe who you are and what your company does, and provide contact information.
    • The problem statement. Describe the issues your client may be facing and demonstrate that you understand this problem; this communicates a sense of trustworthiness and reliability.
    • The proposed solution. Describe your solution and show how your prospective client can benefit from it. Prove that your business provides the best value for the price and is the right fit for your customer’s issues.
    • Pricing and other terms. Estimate time, money, and other resources needed for the proposal to provide the total project cost. You can also set a timeline and add extra terms and conditions to the possible agreement.

    You don’t have to mention all this information in a one-page document. Select any business proposal templatein VistaCreate to see how these terms can be presented.

    Select a business proposal template

    Real Estate offer with modern Building Proposal Design Template
    Real Estate offer with modern Building Proposal Design Template
    Leatherwork Designer services Proposal Design Template
    Leatherwork Designer services Proposal Design Template

    Complete guide on how to write a business proposal

    Before you start writing a business proposal, you should conduct thorough research. Analyze your competitors to understand what the market offers and how you differ to identify your strengths.

    Also, create a portrait of your potential client; explore the customers’ basic needs and pain points that your business can solve. The more profound research you do, the more successful your proposal will be.

    After the research is done, you can start making your business proposal. When writing one, remember that your goal is to prove the value of your offer to the prospective client. Divide your desired content into sections to create structure for your business proposal template.

    The pre-made layout streamlines the writing process, as it is easier to add the necessaryinformation in blocks. Or you can choose a ready-to-use business proposal templatein VistaCreate, which means you’ll only need to personalize it with your information.

    Now, let’s focus on the main steps of how to write a business proposal.

    1. Start with a title page

    The title page is one of your main weapons in the fight for customer loyalty. Here, you should showcase your business and provide basic information about yourself. Include your name, the company’s name, the date the proposal was submitted, and the name of the client or person you are sending your offer to.

    Carefully work on the title page design. On one hand, the design should be somewhat restrained to represent professionalism. But at the same time, your title page should be appealing to engage your client to read the whole proposal.

    Find winning examples made by professional designers in VistaCreate.

    2. Create a table of contents

    This is one of the main parts of your business proposal. Here, you need to provide a brief understanding of what is covered in your proposal. Make your table of contents scannable and easy-read to gain your client’s attention right away. Try to make things simple and accessible so that a person from the other side can quickly understand the main points of your business proposal.

    🔥Pro tip: If you are going to send a digital business proposal, make each point of the table of contents clickable. Such navigation with easy jumping from section to section will make it easier for a client to read your document and focus on the main parts of your offer.

    3. Prepare the executive summary

    This sectionis meant to be a concise summary of your business proposal compressed into one paragraph. Add the most important or interesting takeaways from the business proposal here. In the executive summary, you need to introduce your proposal so that a client can understand the general idea and value of your solution without reading the whole document. Show off your business by outlining your company’s milestones and describing how you can solve your client’s issues.

    4. Describe the problem statement

    Now it’s time to discuss the issues impacting your prospective client. The problem statement is the section where you can show your deep understanding of the issue your client is trying to solve. Analyze the problems your prospect is currently facing and outline them to get prepared for the next step, where you offer your solutions.

    🔥 Pro tip: Before writing a problem statement, do proper research to define the real issues of the client you’re sending your business proposal to. This will show that you have the exact solution for them instead of a generic presentation. Frame the problems as clearly as possible so that your potential client wants to urgently find a way to solve them.

    5. Suggest your solution

    This is where you should show how your business can alleviate your prospect’s pain points. As the section before, this one should be based on personalization. Make sure the solution you’re offering is tailored to your client’s specific needs.

    Explain why your solution is the best for a prospective client. Present your strategyand action plan, and describe why you’re going to deliver the solution this way. Don’t be afraid to elaborate on the details related to the issue; include the methods you will use, the estimated timeline, and the expected deliverables.

    6. Prove your expertise

    Now you need to convince your potential customer that your business is the right fit for solving their issues. Add your company’s achievements, relevant case studies, customers’ testimonials, and other social proofs to boost your authority. You can tellthem about your team, describe their qualifications and expertise, and convey a sense of credibility and responsibility. In other words, explain why a client should trust you.

    7. Provide pricing options

    Here you’re switching over to the issue of payment. Define the total cost of your services and add the payment schedule if necessary. A good trick is to include a table of pricing options to compare. Provide several options if you don’t want to scare off a prospective client with high prices or charge too little for your work. The client will be able to choose the appropriate package.

    You can also use this part of your business proposal to outline payment expectations: whether and when an invoice is needed; what amount of money is expected before and after thework is completed; how the refund policy is regulated; and other financial aspects. Besides, it’s necessary to include all legal issues, for example, permits or licensing that may arise while working on the project.

    8. Sum up your proposal

    The conclusion section should briefly summarize everything described above and include a strong call to action. Go into more qualifications and explain the benefits of your proposal to a customer. Prove that your business is the best choice for solving the exact issues of a prospective client and add a compelling call-to-action to explain what to do next. Now it’s time to say “yes” to your business proposal!

    9. Clarify terms and conditions

    Explain the following steps to move forward. Summarize the details of a future agreement so that both parties know what to expect after the proposal’s acceptance. This section of the business proposal templatemay include start and end dates, payment details, and contingency plans (e.g., early contract termination, delays, etc.). It’s better to agree on all terms and conditions with your legal team to ensure you don’t miss any important detail.

    10. Add final edits

    Add a small section for signatures at the end of your business proposal. Also, provide your contact information so that a client can reach you if they have questions to discuss. You can also add some references, definitions, and other relevant materials if necessary.

    Take advantage of the pre-made business proposal templates in VistaCreate and quickly draft your document to start winning over clients.

    Travel Insurance Offer Proposal Design Template
    Travel Insurance Offer Proposal Design Template
    Architecture Agency projects on abstract pattern Proposal Design Template
    Architecture Agency projects on abstract pattern Proposal Design Template

    Additional tips for a good business proposal

    All the steps above will help you to write a businessproposal. But there are a lot of things to keep in mind when writing a business proposal. So we’ve gathered some quick tips on how to add a professional touch to your proposal and make it truly effective.

    Make your proposal on brand

    Let the business proposal speak for your company with a branded design. Use your brand colors, fonts, and other visual elements. Thus, you can create a holistic impression about your business and show off your brand identity, making your proposal that much more memorable.

    🔥Pro tip: You can easily brand your business proposal templatewith the VistaCreate Brand Kit feature. Upload your brand colors, palettes, fonts, and other elements to the editor and quickly apply your brand style to any design. You can also create several brandkits in VistaCreate and switch between your color schemes to adjust your business proposal.

    Provide a unique experience

    Don’t just list all of the company’s achievements and projects. Share successful cases and past performances related to the topic of your business proposal. It’s better to focus on the risks you’ve taken and challenges you’ve solved.

    Describe what technologies you’ve used and define the skills that have helped you to get the job done. In short, share your unique approach to solving the client problems to have your business proposal approved.

    Alternatively, you can wow the potential customer from the start and offer them a cutting-edge business proposal that blends the real and the virtual worlds. The combination of AR and printed marketing is one of the hottest marketing trends in 2023 and beyond.

    ➡️ Learn more about Augmented Reality in marketing in our article.

    Balance all the info with visuals

    Try not to overload the page with information. It’s better to allocate a separate page for each section of your business proposal. Besides, use visuals to explain information in your business proposal.

    The human brain processes visual information faster than text. That’s why it’s better to add diagrams, charts, and other graphics to present your data. You can also highlight key messages with icons and use screenshots instead of wordy paragraphs; this will make your business proposal clean and scannable.

    To ensure your business proposal design is balanced, check out the following articles on design basics:

    ➡️ Design basics: The key principles of visual hierarchy in design

    ➡️ White space in design: What it is and the 5 best practices on using it in your designs

    Keep it simple

    There are no strict requirements on the length of your business proposal. Of course, you can add all the data you need to get your message and key information across. However, it’s better to focus on quality over quantity. Your writing should be easy to read and understand.Try not to use long, complicated sentences and avoid using buzzwords and business jargon.

    As a side note, don’t overuse acronyms. The language of your business proposal should be simple and straightforward. Add data in numbers and bulleted lists to strengthen your message and make your proposal more scannable.

    Run a thorough review of your first draft

    Don’t neglect extra review of your business proposal to ensure it is accurate and free of any mistakes. Pay close attention to grammar: a proposal with grammar andtechnical errors looks unprofessional. So double-check your draft or even run through your business proposal with multiple people.

    Final thoughts on putting together a business proposal

    To sum up, writing a compelling business proposal begins with understanding the client’s needs. Before starting your proposal, carefully analyze your client to identify key issues your company can help with. This will enable you to develop a unique offer tailored to your customer.

    Follow the step-by-step guide in this article and create a professional business proposal to successfully lock down new contracts. And if you want to deliver results even faster, make use of the ready-made templates in VistaCreate and create effective visuals for your business with ease.

    Alina Kalinina

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