Writing a Winning Business Proposal

A business proposal is a persuasive document prepared to convince a client to buy a product. The success of a business is pegged on the ability to convince clients to buy its products. Preparing a business proposal is, therefore, a defining moment as it has a direct impact on profitability.  Sufficient research is imperative before writing a proposal to ensure the acquisition of in-depth information about the industry and client’s needs.

Business Proposal versus Business Plan

A business proposal is usually confused with a business plan despite the two documents being substantially different.  The purpose is a major point of distinction between a proposal and a plan. Unlike a business plan that seeks to secure funds for new and existing businesses, a business the purpose of a proposal is to sell a product of an existing company. However, some information contained in a business plan is still relevant in a business proposal.

Two types of business proposals

A business proposal can be solicited or unsolicited. A solicited business proposal is created after a client expresses interest in the company’s product.  This interest can be referred to as the request for proposal (RFP), request for bid (RFB), request for information (RFI), or request for quotation (RFQ).  A client who sends any of these four documents is simply requesting for a proposal.  An unsolicited proposal is developed to serve potential clients who have not shown interest in the company’s products.  This type of a proposal, therefore, requires a good understanding of the client to identify their existing problems.

Business Proposal Format(Template)

Business proposals differ across industries and in line with product features. Despite these differences, proposals conform to a specific format. The 3Ps framework guides the development of an effective business proposal.  According to this framework, the process of developing a proposal should emphasise on ‘problem definition’, ‘proposed solution’ and ‘pricing’. These elements ensure that the proposed product addresses the client’s specific needs and at the right price. A winning business proposal should contain the following sections:

1.Cover letter

The cover page introduces the proposal to the relevant recipient giving a brief introduction and purpose of the proposal.

2.Cover page

3.Executive summary

This section has a summary of the entire proposal. Each section is given emphasis to furnish the reader an idea of what the entire document contains. The executive summary should be clear and straight to the point to enable the reader to decide whether the document is worth reading.

4.Table of contents

This part shows the main chapters and their commencing pages.

5.Problem Statement

This section is among the most important parts of a business proposal as it shows the extent to which the seller understands the target client’s problem.  It is written after a thorough research of the industry and the client’s processes to ensure the defined problem aligns with the realities of the internal and external business environment.

6.Proposed solution

A solution should be identified to solve the identified problem. Specific interventions need to be identified showing how each initiative contributes to the solving the problem.  For instance, if the problem identified is customer experience, solutions need to address elements that are directly related to customer experience.

7.Company qualifications

This section focuses on showing the company’s capability in helping the client to address the defined problem.  Information about the company’s track record, human resource fitness, and other resources should be provided to convince the client that the company is the best product vendor.

8.Schedule

This section entails describing the key steps of implementing solutions and their time frames.

9.Costs

This part is concerned with making pricing decisions.  In the case of a highly competitive industry, competitors’ prices should be considered to ensure a competitive price is set. Setting a too high price can force clients to seek services from a cheaper seller.  On the other hand, the price should give the company a reasonable profit margin.

Over the years, Blue Ocean Outsource has created persuasive proposals enabling many businesses to bring high-end clients on board.  Contact us for a winning proposal that does not only convince the client but also guide on building customer intimacy.

What to Include in a Business Plan

Importance and purpose of a business plan

 

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