A business proposal always comes in handy when securing clients for your business. It is recommended that you know how to write a business process as a business owner. The post covers details on how to write a business proposal like a professional.
What is a Business Proposal?
A business proposal is a document sent by a vendor to a prospective customer. The aim is to showcase the vendor’s products and services with the hope of making sales. The business proposal is one of the important documents a business owner should learn to write. It is as important as a business plan. Thankfully, the process of writing a business proposal is not as complicated as most people think.
Types of Business Proposals:
There are generally three types of business proposals. They include:
a. Formally Solicited Business Proposal FSP:
The Formally Solicited Business Proposal is usually issued by a prospective customer to a vendor. It is used to make inquiries from the vendor. The Formally Solicited Business Proposal is further divided into three subcategories.
i. Request for Proposal: The Request for Proposal is issued by the prospective customer to a vendor or business owner. It usually contains specifications of what the customer wants. It is used when a prospective customer needs a particular product or services. The prospective customer issues the FSP to ensure the vendor has available and can provide what he wants.
ii. Request for Quotation: The Request for Quotation is used when there is a need for a product or services in large quantity. The aim is to ensure that the vendor has available and can deliver the required quantity needed. It is usually lengthy but in some cases shorter than the Request for Proposal. Also, the Request for Quotation is sent to various vendors.
iii. Invitation for a Bid: This form of FSP is used for some specific services. For instance, when there is a construction project, an invitation to Bid is issued to construction companies to submit bids. The primary thing the customer is looking for is the cost. It is usually lengthier than the other two proposals.
iv. Request for Information: Prior to sending an RFP, IFB or RFQ, a customer may issue a Request for Information. The purpose is to get general information about products and services from various vendors.
b. Informally Solicited Business Proposal ISP:
This is also referred to as a sole-source proposal because there are no competing bids from other vendors. After an oral conversation of inquiry by a prospective customer, the vendor follows up with an Informally Solicited Business Proposal. There is no format for writing an ISP.
c. Unsolicited Business Proposal UP:
This form of proposal is generally used to increase chances of sales. It is a proposal a vendor sends to a customer he or she has no prior contact with. It is like a marketing brochure that contains details of all the products and services a vendor offer.
How to Write a Business Proposal like A Professional:
The process of writing a business proposal is simply straightforward. All you need is the right format and you can be on your way to writing your own proposals. You may also download business proposal formats from the internet. But if you wish to write a unique business proposal, these are the steps to take:
Step 1: Read the Proposal:
A proposal can be written either in response to a solicited proposal or can be an unsolicited proposal. If you are writing an unsolicited business proposal then you have to skip this step. If on the other hand, you are writing a response to a solicited proposal, then you need to read through the proposal. Take out time to read through the proposal sent by the vendor.
Things to look out for when reading through a solicited proposal:
i. Requirements: You have to take note of the requirements mentioned by the customer. It could be a specific product or services. It could be the type of companies that are expected to submit a proposal. Always ensure that you meet the requirements before you submit a proposal.
ii. Mode of Reply: Most proposals contain a mode of reply. Read through the guideline for submission of the proposal and ensure you follow it through.
iii. Specifications: The next detail you should look out for is specifications of products and services. This detail is important when writing a response.
Step 2: Get The Information You Need:
After you’ve read through the proposal, the next step is to get the information you need. The information will come in handy when writing your proposal. It may include the details of the products available. The cost or estimated cost of your products and services.
Step 3: Write the Proposal:
This is where you commence the writing of your proposal. A business proposal is divided into different sections.
a. Cover Page: this is where you make your first impression. It is the first page of your business proposal. Thus, you need to be careful when writing your cover page. Details you should include in your cover page are; Name of Project. Project Reference Number. Name of your Company. Contact details of your Company. Name of person you are submitting to. Date of Submission.
b. Executive Summary: The executive summary is where you give details of why your company is the best for the job. It is where you sell your products or services. You may start by mentioning the problem your client is facing and how your products or services will help solve the problem. Your executive summary should spike the interest of the reader to know more. Thus, you have to use a persuasive language to write. It is best to keep this section on one page.
c. Table of Content: When writing a large business proposal, it is best to include a table of content and page numbers.
d. Solution/ Deliverables: This is where you outline the details of the services or products you to offer. You have to be specific in what you are offering. Don’t assume that the customer knows. Spell it out in white and black.
e. Phases of Project: if it is a big project, you may want to break it into phases. For each phase, outline what you intend to do.
f. Budget: This is where you mention the cost of handling the project. When writing a budget, it is best to write estimates. The estimates should be high. This will cover for the unexpected increase in cost in the future. Also, if you need a payment milestone for the project, include it in the budget section.
g. Testimonials: Adding a testimonial to your business proposal will build trust faster. Have you handled the similar project for clients in the past? Include the details of the project and the client as a testimonial in the proposal.
h. Conclusion: The conclusion is a summary of what you’ve proposed in the body and a call to action.
Step 4: Proofread the Proposal:
Always ensure that you edit and proofread your business proposal before you submit. Submitting a proposal with error is unprofessional. You can employ a professional editor to proofread the document before submission.
Step 5: Send the Proposal:
If the mode of sending the proposal is outlined in the proposal, follow it through. If not, you can send either as an e-document to the customer’s email or mail to the customer’s business address.
Factors to Consider When Writing a Business Proposal:
a. Font: The font matters. You can make use of the Time New Romans and 12 pt.
b. Tone: Your tone should be clear, concise and straight to the point.