How to Write a Business Proposal in 6 Easy Steps
There are as many reasons to write a business proposal as there are projects you want to win, get funded, or get approval for. Some of the common reasons to write a proposal are:
- Upgrading technology or replacing with new solutions
- New ventures, products, services, programs, or projects
- Additional staffing needs
- And most importantly—getting new clients
Whether you’re writing your first proposal or you’ve got a few under your belt, the following will have you creating a winning business proposal in 6 easy steps.
- Create a compelling title. You want to pitch your idea with a title that clearly communicates the value of your project. Your audience should be able to easily grasp the idea you’re conveying.
- Draft a brief executive summary. Use bullet points to lay out the big idea of your proposal, the problem it will solve, why your target audience needs it, the resources you’ll need to complete it, and the benefit it will have on the company. Since this sums up everything you want your audience to get out of your proposal, make every word count. You want to grab your reader’s attention.
- Write your proposal’s story. This is a brief narrative that describes the current situation and the problem or challenge faced, and how your proposed action items and recommendations will solve that problem. You want this part to be comprehensive, but still short enough that it can be read easily. Again, make every word count.
- Offer proof of impact. The results you propose should impact the company in some way, and you want to quantify this as much as possible. Are you saving the company hundreds of man hours by implementing new technology? Clearly state each impact and explain whether it’s quantitative or qualitative.
- List your resource requirements. What do you need to complete the project? If this is an internal project, you might need additional headcount, software, or hardware. If you’re proposing to a prospective client, you want to detail how long your project will last and your proposed fee for performing the work, including any equipment or materials that would need purchased.
- Tell them why you’re the only one for the job. Internal or external, you need to sell yourself as much as you need to sell your proposal. Make sure your target audience understands that you’re the right person for the job. You can’t assume they know; you need to detail why they shouldn’t select someone else.
Tips to keep in mind
- Keep paragraphs short and use bullet points to leave plenty of white space around your text. Dense paragraphs full of text are hard to read; don’t risk your target putting your proposal aside because it’s difficult to read.
- Use a bold, larger font for headings. This makes your business proposal easier to scan so readers can jump to sections they’re most interested in. And make sure you don’t strand any headlines at the bottom of a page with the accompanying text following on the next.
- Your corporate logo and any images should be in color for a more professional appeal.
- Finally, save your business proposal as a PDF so it protects your formatting. If you send Word documents, they have a sneaky way of displaying formatting differently on other computers.
A professional proposal goes a long way to instilling confidence in your abilities. Make sure your proposals are all concise, to the point, and grammatically correct and error free. Consider your business proposal an ambassador of your company or your department. You want to exude professional capability and trustworthiness.
This is where a robust business proposal planning template can come in handy. hutwork.com offers an intuitive template to help you craft a winning proposal that gets attention and results. Visit hutwork.com to learn more about this powerful business planning platform.