Advanced guide: How to write a business proposal

Business proposals are a very common way of bidding for projects, but the way in which you construct your sales pitch could be the difference between securing a lucrative contract and walking away empty-handed. When a company wants to outsource their work, they will release a Request For Proposal. If you’re inexperienced in sending business proposals, you may find the whole process daunting, so we’ve put together a guide that will help you in writing a proposal that will deliver.

Focus on the needs of the vendor

A business proposal can take many forms: an electronic document, a letter or a presentation. If you are presenting your brief via PowerPoint, then why not brush up on your presentation skills first by undertaking one of our presenting courses? This is one of the many business development training classes we offer here at Frosch Learning.

However, before you dive straight into the writing or presenting process, it’s vital that you take some time to read over the initial brief (RFP) carefully. You need to get a clear idea of whether you have the time available to complete the work to the specified deadlines and the resources to complete the job to the highest standard. You need to think about what the potential client wants and whether you can help them reach these goals. If you find out that you may lack the resources to get the job done, then it may be worth waiting for a more suitable brief before pitching for work.

An executive summary

An executive summary should be used to persuade a client why your business should be chosen to complete your project. This is also where you summarise your company and outline how the client’s project will benefit from accepting your services. However, you should make sure that your spelling and grammar are immaculate, because this could seriously impact on your proposal’s credibility.

The statement of work

This section is key in ensuring you understand the problem the client has and what they want their project to achieve. If you miss this section out, you will present a warning to the client, so make sure that you state exactly what you’re going to do so the client knows that you understand the brief.

Approach

A brief outline of how you will go about meeting the brief should also be included. It should clearly outline your thought processes and the kind of resources you will use to complete the project. You might also include a timeline of events. This will go a long way in proving why your company will be better than the other bidders at meeting the brief.

Methodology

In your methodology, you will expand on the details given in the approach. You might want to include the exact processes and steps you will take to meet the brief. This is another great opportunity to boast about the resources you have at your disposal, but you should make sure that whatever you write about contains the right amount of detail to convince the client that your business has what it takes to deliver on its promises.

Qualifications

This section is essentially your portfolio. Here you will need to provide evidence of your qualifications to show that you are capable of delivering on your proposals. You might also want to include the history of your company and your industry background in this section, as well as some examples of similar projects that you have embarked on in the past. This is a great place to highlight your achievements, and what you put here could convince the client that you are right for the job.

Schedule

You should identify how long you expect each stage of the project take and any extra resources that may be required to allow you to meet the deadlines. If you are successful in your business proposal, then you should try and stick to this timeframe because the client will expect you to deliver the work on time. To avoid any disagreements down the line, you should also identify any factors that could slow down your progress, as this will allow the two parties to devise an action plan on how to overcome any potential issues.

Pricing                                                                                                                                                                              

A detailed breakdown of the price is required in this section, along with accurate dates on when you expect to receive payment. It would be wise to go through this section thoroughly because there are many factors to consider when pricing up your services. Just remember that the client won’t necessarily choose your business plan just because you are the cheapest, they will look to see which bidder provides them with a realistic, personalised action plan for their project. If you believe that there is potential for legal matters to arise during the project, then you should state them here, too.