11 Tips for Writing a Business Proposal

July 27, 2021
October 12, 2021
11 Tips for Writing a Business Proposal

The moment your business takes off and you feel ready to take on clients is when you need to work on your business proposals. For each client, the key to reaching them, effectively putting your ideas forward, and getting them to see your value- is through a solid business proposal.

We have reached out to business leaders to share their best tips on effective business proposals. Following these tips can help you convince potential clients to do business with you.

1. Add only Relevant Details

“A business proposal needs to contain the proper level of detail without being bogged down in too much fluff as part of the story. For example, the proposal needs to start with a super brief introduction and then cover why what is being proposed is important and who the potential audience/customer will be and how it will fulfill a need and/or solve a problem.” (Jill L. Ferguson)

2. Add in Marketing Plans

“A section on marketing plans is important to show that thought was put into how to reach that segment of the audience/customer population and that the founders of the business understand who these people are and what kind of spending habits they have. There needs to be a section on the executive staff and their experience as well as how the business will operate.” (Jill L. Ferguson)

3. Include a Budget

“And lastly, a budget will need to be included, especially if one is using the proposal to seek funding or partnerships, and milestones can be tied to the budget if you are seeking additional funding (meaning investors and bankers, etc. will need to understand what the funding is for.) Infused into the entire document should be the branding and voice of the company as well as its mission/vision/objectives.”

Jill L. Ferguson, Artist, Best-selling Author, Coach, Consultant, Entrepreneur Founder of Women's Wellness Weekends

4. ROI

“The most important thing to keep in mind: the deal is far from done when you're sending the proposal. You can't assume that your prospect has a clear understanding of what exactly they're buying and why it will help them. The best thing to do is focus on the actual value attached to your price tag. The most effective way to achieve that is to include an interactive ROI calculator in your proposal: let them fill in the blanks, pick certain products or services from your offer, and have the calculator automatically count the increase in the revenue you bring to the table.” (Michael Tomaszewski)

5. Make Your Executive Summary Engaging

“Nothing speaks clearer and louder than the bottom line. Arguably, the make-or-break part of every business proposal is the executive summary. The most common mistake people make is treating this section as an introduction. It shouldn't be sexy, it shouldn't focus on storytelling but actually, summarize the whole rest of the document. Write it in a way that enables a busy executive to skip reading the whole thing. How? Write your executive summary once you're written the rest of the proposal. Then, skim the cream: pick the most important bits and compile them into a 3- to 4-paragraph summary.”

Michael Tomaszewski, Head of Content, Storydoc

6. Mention your Unique Selling Point

“The writers should tailor their proposals to their intended audience in order for them to be interesting to read. The answers to the problems that your product or services can address must be included in the business proposal. Also, to entice the client, highlight your company's unique selling feature. If clients view your USP to be useful to them, your chances of getting new contracts to rise. Don't forget to include ideas and recommendations.”

Alex Claro, VPN Analyst Credit Donkey

7. Be Aware of the Market

“Research current marketing trends, the competitive landscape, and any industry challenge to get started. Once you have this information, you can start thinking about how your service or product would assist the client in navigating the marketplace. Then you may offer your proposal in a way that demonstrates how your solution can help them succeed in today's environment.”

Jake Smith, Managing Director Absolute Reg

8. Understand Their Circumstances

“The situation analysis is your opportunity to demonstrate to your potential client that you listened to them throughout earlier interactions. Demonstrate that you are fully aware of their current difficulties and that you are willing to assist. If you want to win the client, identify their difficulties clearly and tailor your proposal to address them.”

Chana Charach, CFO at Income.ca 

9. Focus on Visual Appeal

“If you want to stand out, you must include something that the majority of firms overlook or ignore. Business proposals are text-heavy papers that can be tedious to read at times. Include visuals in your proposal to make it stand out and to keep the prospect's attention for as long as feasible. Visually supported proposals are 38 percent more likely to be recalled by reviewers.”

Edward Mellett, Founder/Co-Founder WikiJob.co.uk

10. Research into Your Client

“Researching into your prospective client has to be the most important step of writing a business proposal. The client is the key to the business proposal. One needs to first think about them, and their business issues, even before writing the business proposal. The needs of the client should guide you on how the proposal should appear, how you should frame issues, and the end target of the proposal.” (Alina Clark)

11. Keep it Non-Technical

“On the other hand, a business proposal should also try to be as non-technical as possible. A simple proposal will always sell better than a clunky, complicated one. The point of a proposal is not to impress the client, it’s to solve a facet of their business. Big words are proposal killers. They may confuse the client, or cause you to lose touch with the proposal needs altogether. Short simple sentences will make your proposal more appealing to the customer, and more understandable in the long run.”

Alina Clark Co-Founder & Marketing Director CocoDoc 

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