Best Business Proposal Guidelines in 2020

Business Proposal Guideline

Are you looking to start your dream project? More often than not, many great ideas never get to see the light of day. While numerous reasons are at play, one of the evident s is the lack of financial support. Whether your dream project becomes a reality depends on how well you’ve designed the project. That being said the other most important factor is presentation. For a fool-proof project success or failure comes down to how good your proposal is. If you’re looking for business proposal guideline this blog is just for you. 

To make this guideline as comprehensive as possible we’ve divided the whole business proposal guidelines into three sections. Each section has distinct instructions for you to follow sequentially. Without further adieu let’s check out what a business proposal is and how you can make the remarkable proposals no matter what the project you’re planning.

What Is a Business Proposal?

Business proposal is a term used to describe a variety of documents that are not necessarily the same thing. Business novices and even veterans make the mistake business proposals for it’s simpler and often specialised counter-parts. It’s important to ask yourself “Is a business proposal the thing I need to prepare in my case?” Only after having this answer should you follow through drawing up a business proposal.

The following documents are often mistaken to be the same as business proposals although they are not. We’ve covered each situation where they are appropriate so you can figure out exactly what you need.

Estimates

An estimate is a document containing specific portions of project cost, timelines, key services and deliverables. Business proposals also contain these sections, hence the confusion between the two makes total sense. Think of estimates more as a prologue than a full scale proposal. Estimates are handy especially when starting sub-projects with existing clients or when prospects contact you asking the cost of your services or venture.  Estimates are designed to ensure you only share information with clients which is absolutely relevant.

Quotes

Quotes feature the billing sum for a venture. Commonly used in construction businesses, quotes provide an exact figure of the expenses of your services. Quotes are only valid for a certain period of time so that you can readjust the amounts according to market shifts.

Bids

Specific calls for tenders are where Bids are applicable. Bids are primarily submitted for government projects with definitive service criteria and strict time bound contracts.

Business Plans

Business plans describe specific strategies to achieve distinct objectives in detail. These are formal business documents that explain the business idea, financial objectives and priorities. New businesses rely on business plans to secure funding from large investors and banks. Usually this means highlighting the core concept, financials and the business vision to project the  returns you stand to make from the whole project.

Business proposals

Business proposals are drafted as outright sales documents to persuade new prospective investors or clients. Business Proposals contain all the information featured in Bids, Quotes and Estimates.  However, business proposals increasingly feature the value your services will provide for your prospective investor or client, instead of featuring just the technicalities. Proposals are for accomplished businesses looking to maintain their growth by undertaking new ventures with fresh prospects.

Two sorts of Business Proposals

Business proposals can be divided into two broad classes based on whether you’ve had prior contact with the prospects or not. This obviously requires different approaches.

Spontaneous Proposals

Business proposals sent without earlier exchange are spontaneous propositions. It’s good to have an all inclusive version of the proposal as you’ll be convincing the prospect on paper. Spontaneous propositions work on account of general calls for contractship.

Requested Proposals

Requested propositions conversely, are the one you send to a possibility who has already shown interest in your business thoughts. This calls for a completely different approach taking into account the requirements of the customer. Requested proposals provide a definitive solution for the prospect. This sort of proposal is also a reflection of creating value for the prospect with your unique idea.

Why a quality Business Proposal matters

Instead of considering business proposals as a means to impress prospects you should consider them as protection from overworking and underestimating tasks. Well-thought-out proposals show foresight and distinction. Even if your proposal is rejected, a properly executed proposal may make future partnerships more probable.

Step 1: Preparation Before Writing Your Proposal

This progression sums up what data you have to have on hand before you can even begin to write. We’ve featured essential ideas that should be considered while choosing what information must be on your proposition.

Gather all relevant information

Spending the necessary time to collect information that will help you understand the project and your clients wants is the first step for an acceptable proposal. We have tried to cover the information that must be featured in your proposal as follows. However, you might have to add or remove based on your project.

Step 2: Writing Your Business Proposal

This section covers the specific elements you need to include in your proposal. Business proposals need to contain a lot of information and that too in a convincing manner. Although each proposal is different these basic topics need to be included regardless.

Follow a business proposal guideline

Here is a proposal outline that fulfils all requirements. Your job is to shape your project narrative according to this formation based on your needs. We’d like to recommend you use freely customisable proposal templates which are available on the internet. This reduces some of the extra work such as layout and formatting (i.e. font, colour scheme). 

1. Title Page

Your title page needs to have all the information about the project at a glance. This means including your name, the company’s name, the client name, the job title and date of submission.

2. Table of Contents

If your proposal is larger than 2-3 pages it’s necessary to include a table of contents for easy navigation through the proposal.

3. The Perfect Introductory Statement

Start by being thankful for the opportunity and your interest in the project to make the perfect introductory impression . Your introductory section should reflect  your zeal and enthusiasm for the project.

4. Executive Summary

You need to summarize the critical aspects of the project in this section. Information such as what value you intend to provide, your reasons for sending the proposal and why you’re the best choice for your prospects needs.

5. Project Overview

The project overview needs to focus on your prospects pain points. This creates the setting for your value proposition and helps you sell your proposal efficiently.

6. Value

Your prospective client needs details for instance the benefits, monetary gain or cost savings you aim to provide. You need to keep it as specific as possible to keep your client interested.

7. Scope of Work

This section should contain your proposed solution in detail. Including the services, timelines and project deliverables. It should also highlight the areas of client input.

8. Social Proof

To establish social proof of your service value you should include testimonials and case studies from previously satisfied clients. This boosts your credibility and provides the option for your prospects to verify your claims.

9. Detailed Caveats

You should clearly state the terms and conditions in order to manage your clients expectations from the very beginning. This protects you from doing work without any gains later on. However, bear in mind that too many caveats may portray you as being difficult to work with.

10. Project Investment

Do not in any way undermine the total investment needed to properly manage your project. You should emphasize your project’s value instead of stating the costs in depth. An important thing is to include a fee summary for shorter projects while you should feature a payment schedule for longer ones that lists payment milestones.

11. Success Metrics

Your proposal should clearly state the success metrics and explain why they are relevant for your project. You should detail the specific outcomes that you hope to achieve through managing your project.

12. Details of Next Steps

You should provide clear instructions on how the prospect can reach out to you. You should also include a gross idea on the immediate steps your prospect needs to take should they choose to select your proposal.

13. Appendix

Usually includes graphs and case studies or clarification of critical terms. An appendix while not mandatory is still appreciated as it makes the project proposal easier to comprehend

14. Professional Look

Make sure to include your logo in the header. Use the title page of the proposal to carry branding. You should make the proposal layout easily scannable. Visual elements such as charts, images and figures bring an essential vibe of professionalism. Pay special attention to the font-size, colour scheme and paragraph layout to ensure easy reading.

The following infographic contains writing tips that will help peak your prospects interest making the offer evermore lucrative.

business proposal guidelines

Step 3: Packaging & Submission

You need to review your proposal at least a couple of times after you’ve completed writing it. It’s recommended you have the proposal reviewed by some of your peers to make sure you haven’t missed anything essential. 

Before being done with the proposal, double-check all of your numbers for accuracy and avoid understating anything.For requested proposals, ensure that you’ve featured all the information your client specified. You should proofread the whole proposal for consistency in punctuation, formatting, grammar, type and font size. You should also check for paragraph flow and readability. It’s recommended you use simple synonyms instead of complex terms and avoid industry jargon at all costs.

Research by Bidsketch shows that proposals with less than 5 pages are 31% more likely to bring in the catch. As a standard keep sentences less than 18 words and avoid passive sentences as much as possible. The final step is to consider the arguments you use in the proposal to convince your prospects and you should recheck whether all the necessary information has been included.

Your proposal length should be just enough to feature your proposition without wasting time. Some prospects expect a detailed financial plan along with business proposals, here’s our blog on How to Write a Business Proposal With Financial Plan

Sending Your Business Proposal and Beyond

The period after sending your proposal is when you actually get to assess the possibilities of being accepted. It’s highly recommended you follow up with your prospect at least once. It will help if you create a fixed timeframe for yourself and tally their responses. If you are available every time they require an explanation, it translates into vigour and dedication. During this crucial stage, the best course is to give your prospect solid reasons to trust in you and your beloved project.

For requested Business Proposals mail your prospect a to refresh their memory on the time-sensitivity of your offer. Be sure to let them know you’re happy to come in if they need to speak in person. In case of spontaneous proposals, your prospects need proper time to consider before you knock.

Ending Notes

To seal the deal you need to put all of this together with accuracy and an authentic spin, so that your proposal stands out from the competition. As we’ve said shorter proposals have a higher chance of being accepted you should write your proposal as concisely as possible. 

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