How does your client understand that your business caters directly to their needs? With the help of a well-written business proposal. At the end of a successful meeting, your client will ask you to forward the business proposal to better understand the aspects that constitute your business.
However, before you set out to prepare the best business proposal for your business, you first need to understand the primary aim of the business proposal. A business proposal is a formal document that works as an offer to provide a product or service to a prospect. It also details the bid of the potential buyer.
The factors included in a business plan should explain the problems faced by the prospect, how your business can solve them better than others, and a general approach followed by you to provide the said solution. Along with that, the business proposal should also outline your organization and its working method.
Is there any difference between a business proposal and a business plan?
People who have recently set up their businesses or start-ups always get stumped while defining the difference between a business proposal and a business plan.
Confusing the elements of a business proposal for that of a business plan can create an informal impression on the clients and potential buyers. While a business proposal details how you can offer a solution to your potential clients, a business plan is an official document that describes the business goals and the methods acquired by the business to achieve these goals. It also includes the nature of the company and outlines the background of the organization.
Thus, while creating a business proposal, you need to make sure that it is directed towards the reader, that is, the potential client. It should address their issues and how your organization can best provide solutions for them.
General guidelines for writing a business proposal
Some general guidelines must be followed while writing the business proposal. These guidelines ensure that your proposal is understandable and easily navigable by the clients, no matter which organization or industry they belong to. The guidelines will also help you establish your credibility in front of potential buyers.
- Make sure that your business proposal is written on the stationery that is tailored for your organization. It should include the logo of your organization and colouring, if available.
- Use standard fonts for the complete document. The most common and safe one is Times New Roman font with 12-point sizing and a 1-inch margin all over.
- Make sure that you add the page numbers and mark the complete document as confidential.
- You can tailor your business plan as per the format of the RFP that you received. Also, you can format it as per the conversation and presentation that was carried out between you and the potential buyer.
- Do not use any jargon or technical terms that are specific to the industry that you work in. Your buyer might not belong to the same industry, and it can create confusion.
- Avoid making the language of the business proposal humorous or casual. Use business language such that there is no chance that any part of the proposal comes off as offensive.
- Make sure that you portray your gratitude towards the client if you have received an RFP.
- Format the content of your business proposal such that it can be skimmed. Bold out the points you want to stand out and break apart the content in bullet points and subheadings.
- If you need to submit your business proposal online, make sure it is formatted to be read on a tablet or smartphone.
- Do not extend the length of the business proposal to more than 5 to 6 pages. The information included in the business proposal should be crisp and convey the point across without any fluff.
Key elements of a business elements
A business proposal that has the potential to convince the potential buyer into becoming a buyer is as follows. Make sure that you include them in the business proposal in a way that creates an impact on the clients.
The first thing that the client should see when they get your business proposal is the title page. A well-designed title page should have a relevant image and text addressing the client and providing them with the basic information regarding what they can expect from this business proposal. In short, the face of your business proposal.
The introduction of the business proposal is referred to as the executive summary. This is the part where you need to convince the client to engage with the complete content of the proposal, and in turn, with your organization as well. It is the most read part and should get across to the client that you are aware of their situation and how you can promote and ease their journey towards their goal.
The next part that you need to include in the business proposal is the timescale that you have planned. The timescale can be as short as a few weeks or can span months. The part should detail when you plan to finish your responsibilities, what and when the tasks will be completed during this timeline, and how you will address the situation when something goes wrong.
You can utilize the timescale by allowing yourself a little extra time in the timeline. You can impress your client when you finish the work before the promised deadline.
How can you prove that you can actually perform the tasks that you detailed in the timeline? By showing examples and past projects. You might already have case studies and a portfolio of your past clients available on your website, but it is good practice to include them in the business proposal as well.
You can also include the credentials and certifications gained by your staff that are relevant to the job at hand. This will prove your credibility even more firmly.
It is the second most referred part of your business proposal. The pricing at which you offer your services and products should be well-defined and detailed in this section. Make sure that all the aspects of the pricing are correctly defined. You can even make the required efforts to simplify your pricing system such that it is more straightforward.
Also, you can increase the chances of increasing your credibility and your sales by affirming that you offer only one pricing model. Thus, instead of choosing among multiple pricing models, the client only has to decide whether they want to buy your services or not.
A guarantee establishes that the client can trust you and your organization. However, make sure that you do not offer the traditional money-back guarantee to avoid any unwanted abuse of your services. You can provide a guarantee by offering a part of your service or a timeline as well.
A lot of people overlook this part in their business proposals. However, it can help you establish a permanent connection with the client. How can the client sign up with you if they like your business proposal? Include these steps and processes in this part.
Explain how they can sign the agreement, settle the invoice, and begin with the initial consultation.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions, or terms of business, are the section that covers you as well as the client. When the client signs the contract with you, they also agree to these terms and conditions.
You can ease the process of creating a business proposal by using a pre-designed template. They can immediately provide you with a professional-looking document that can be tailored and edited based on your requirements.