A great business proposal has two jobs:
- It helps you stand out and be memorable.
- It also helps you close the deal by presenting a more compelling offer.
That’s why it’s crucial for your business proposal to include all the important details and have an attractive creative proposal design and compelling copy.
If you’re wondering how to close more sales and win more clients with your proposals, you’re in the right place.
Find Stunning Business Proposal Templates on Envato Elements
If you’re ready to start implementing some of these unique business proposal ideas, stop by Envato Elements and check out our collection of awesome premium business proposal templates.
We've got thousands of business proposal ideas templates on Envato Elements that not only have an attractive creative proposal design but are also easy to customize. The best part about business proposal templates is that they'll save you time. They already include all the important elements, so you won’t have to start from scratch.
What’s more, Envato Elements makes it easy to download as many business proposal templates as you need, all for one low monthly subscription.
Another place where you can find great business proposal ideas templates is GraphicRiver. It's a part of Envato Market with hundreds of single-use business proposal templates you can buy individually.
20 Great Business Proposal Ideas for 2021
Here are 20 creative business proposal idea examples that you can use to improve your bottom line and close more deals:
1. Outline Your Proposal First
No matter how many proposals you’ve written so far, creating an outline for your proposal should always be the first task on your list. An outline will help you get clear on what you’re offering to the client. It'll also help you create a structure that'll present all the needed information in a logical manner.
Your proposal should include the following sections:
- an introduction section
- your client’s problem
- your proposed solution
- examples and case studies that show your previous expertise and success rate
- how much the project will cost
- what steps they need to take to get the project rolling
Outlining your proposals and structuring them logically helps potential clients understand exactly how you can help them and why they should hire you. The following tutorial will help you to learn more about writing a proposal:
2. Include Testimonials
Testimonials aren’t reserved only for your website. Add them to your business proposal to establish trust and help your potential clients or business partners understand that you're the right person for the job.
According to research published at BigCommerce, 72% of customers say that testimonials and reviews make them trust a business more. So, there's no reason not to capitalize on this trend and use it in your own marketing.
If you already have testimonials, go ahead and include them in your next business proposal. Or, reach out to past clients and customers and invite them to share their opinion about your business and what it was like working with you.
3. Get Creative With Calls-to-Action
It goes without saying that your business proposal topic should include a call to action at the end. A CTA is the best way to invite potential clients to take the next step towards getting the project started.
Your call to action should stand out from the rest of the proposal. So, consider using colored background or text to make it easier to see. But, the color of your call to action isn't the only thing you should get creative with.
The text that you use for the call to action is just as important. For example, instead of using generic language such as Get In Touch, Call Now or Email Today, try to add a dash of personality and creativity. For example, you could use a CTA that reads Let’s Do This or It’s Time to Get Started or Take Action.
Not only are the examples above more powerful because they use action words, but they also give off a sense of urgency that'll make your clients more inclined to act.
4. Add an Expiration Date to Your Proposal
According to research published at Business2Community, when items are scarce, they're perceived to be more valuable. Apply the same approach to your business proposal. A great way to add genuine scarcity to your business proposal is to make your proposal available only until a certain date.
You can, for example, explain that after a certain date you won’t be able to offer the same pricing, so now is the time to act if they want to lock in the price. Don’t forget to follow up a day or two before the proposal expires to remind them about it. Another benefit of adding an expiration date to your proposal is the fact that you won’t have to wait indefinitely to hear back from the client.
5. Include a Case Study
Another unique business proposal topic idea is to include a case study. Like testimonials, a case study is an excellent way to showcase your expertise and the results you’re able to get for your clients.
A case study will have an even bigger impact if you’re able to find similarities between the past and the potential client. Explain them in a way that helps potential clients understand you're the right person or company for the job. Remember, a case study doesn’t have to be official and use corporate jargon to be effective. In fact, you’ll achieve much better results if you personalize the story.
6. Create a Prominent Summary or Project Statement
Here’s a great business proposal idea that's sure to make your proposal stand out from the competition. Consider including a prominent summary or project statement at the beginning of your business proposal. Your summary can be a sentence or two that tells the client the problem you’ll solve. Or, use a bullet point summary that outlines the goals of the project.
This is a great way to pique the client’s curiosity and encourage them to read further. A compelling project statement can set the tone for the entire proposal. All you've got to do is explain exactly how you would achieve the result or the goal that you’ve summarized at the beginning. It can also help the client immediately see that you've got a deep understanding of their problem and the knowledge to solve it.
7. Include Add-On Items
Consider including add-on items to each proposal you send out from now on. This helps the clients see all the services you've got to offer, and it can help you increase your profits.
For example, if you’re sending out a web design proposal, you could include an add-on design package for their social media graphics or logo design. If you’re a copywriter sending a proposal for a sales page copy, include an add-on service for writing their monthly email campaigns or sales sequence.
By including add-on services in your proposal, you give the client a chance to take their project to the next level. Plus, you make more money without having to bring on more clients.
8. Make the Decision a No-Brainer
Make sure your business proposal makes the decision to hire you an easy one. For starters, cut the number of options and packages you offer in your proposal. Presenting your client with more than three options can lead to decision paralysis.
Another way to make the decision a no-brainer is to create a comparison checklist between you and your biggest competitor.
It’s also a good idea to clearly outline the next steps the client should take to get the project started at the end of the proposal.
9. Use Legible Fonts
When it comes to the design of your business proposal, use legible fonts. Refrain from using dark text on dark background or light text on light background.
Stick to sans-serif or serif fonts for the text and refrain from using decorative or script fonts. While they do look nice, they're quite hard to read and will make you look amateurish.
Make sure your font size is adequate as well. If you use small font sizes, you run the risk of your proposal being quite hard to read.
10. Include Visuals
A few visual elements here and there can make your proposal more appealing and break up long paragraphs of text to make your creative proposal easier to read. There are several ways to include visuals in your proposals.
The easiest and the most obvious way to include visuals is to use images in your proposal. Include photos of yourself and your team members. You can also include photos of past clients, especially if you decide to include testimonials or case studies in your proposal.
Another way to use visuals is to add charts or graphs to visually represent important data. This can include projected revenue, costs, time estimates or other statistics.
The third way to include visuals in your business proposals is to add icons. Use icons to make various sections or headings stand out more.
11. Format Your Text
Your business proposal will consist of several different sections. So, use text formatting to make it more visually appealing. Use headings to signify the beginning of the next section and make the text larger than your usual paragraph size. You can also use bold text for the headings to make sections easier to spot.
Consider using italics for testimonials or other text that needs emphasis. Of course, don’t forget bullet points or numbered lists to break up your text and make it easier to read.
12. Personalize the Covers
A great business proposal idea example is to personalize the cover page for each client. You should include the client’s name on the cover of the proposal, but don’t let that be the only personalization you do.
Consider getting creative and using images that represent the project or your client. For example, if you’re writing a marketing proposal for a restaurant, consider adding a photo of a delicious meal as the background photo. Using a cover page that's tailored to each client makes them feel more appreciated and more inclined to check out the rest of the proposal.
13. Use and Customize a Template to Save Time
The last tip is to use a business proposal template and customize it with your brand colors, fonts, and other assets. Premade business proposal templates can save time when you need to send out a business proposal.
Business proposal templates have been designed with all the necessary pages and elements already in place. All you've got to do is replace the dummy information with your own.
Learn more about customizing business proposal templates here:
- Proposals35+ Best Business Proposal Templates Ideas For New Client Projects in 2020Marc Schenker
- ProposalsHow to Customize a Simple Business Proposal Template in MS WordLaura Spencer
14. Show How You Differ From Competitors
Chances are, you won’t be the only business offering project proposal ideas. That means you need to clearly communicate a value offering. Not only that, you need to identify how you differ from others. That’s a key driving factor as your proposal is considered.
A good way to do this is to use metrics. Metrics essentially are measurements of success: how you quantify results. Comparing your metrics to those of competing proposals goes a long way in helping close the sale.
Remember, the competitive landscape is ever more crowded. Making a proposal alone won't work. You need to ensure your proposal is recognized as the best proposal. Find some unique templates to help you create the best proposal in this article:
15. Use a Minimalist Design
Minimalism is a popular design philosophy, and for good reason. It offers two key benefits:
- It offers modern style.
- It's easy to read.
Both are essential in helping you deliver marketing proposal ideas. Discerning readers will appreciate your embrace of the latest design trends. It shows you stay current and focus on the future.
Readability is even more important. Your project proposal ideas may take up several pages. The last thing you want is to build a cluttered, confusing, and messy document. That ensures your business proposal topics and ideas will be lost. Minimalism is your ticket to stylish success.
16. Focus on Collaboration
Many marketing proposal ideas may span over months, or even years. In today’s global, connected world, collaboration is more important than ever. Establishing regular communication forms the foundation of successful business proposals.
You need to ensure the client knows how to reach out throughout the life of a project. With a collaborative focus, you can also set ground rules. This can include proposals for touch-base meetings, status reports, and more. Communication is really about outlining the boundaries of the proposed project itself!
Consider adding a page (or two) in your project proposal ideas to cover collaboration. This might include setting meeting schedules. Or it may propose the use of online file-sharing and collaboration tools.
The idea of collaboration lies at the heart of any proposal. Plan to talk early and often. It's key to success.
17. Know Your Client's Style
Winning sales and clients requires knowing how to present your project proposal ideas. That means communicating in a way prospects will appreciate. This requires some work in advance, but ultimately pays off down the road.
Learn more about the various types of business proposals in this article:
You may be presenting your proposal to strategic leaders who look at the big picture. Or, you might be sharing with experts who expect minute detail and exacting analysis. Either way, knowing your client’s preferred style goes a long way in closing deals.
18. Lay Out a Roadmap with Measurable Goals (Progress Tracking)
Business proposal topics set clients on a journey to success. Regular monitoring helps ensure that the journey is successful. It’s helpful to outline a project roadmap as part of your project proposal ideas.
A roadmap establishes key milestones. These may be profit targets to meet, sales volumes to reach, or countless other factors. Having these “ground rules” right from the start allows clients to gauge your success at a glance.
This is a great example of using data visuals. Flowcharts and timelines are useful tools to build this roadmap. It's all about adding simplicity, and infographics like those are a big help.
19. Clearly Define Pricing
Marketing proposal ideas come at a price. Clients know that, and it pays to be straightforward. Having a pricing table inside your proposal helps weigh your value versus cost.
One option for some businesses is tiered pricing. You may offer many levels of service based upon the price point. In a business proposal, this offers significant advantages.
For example, you might upsell from a lower to a higher price tier by showing the virtues of extra engagement. Or, you might convince hesitant clients to give your ideas a try, thanks to a lower introductory price. Either way, including pricing detail helps you be open, honest, and transparent.
Learn more about pricing in this tutorial:
20. Make a Shareable Document
Getting your project proposal ideas in front of the right audience is a must. You want to be sure people can read and review them from anywhere. That’s why you should always create a shareable document.
Try to stay away from word processor files like .docx or .pages for proposals. Depending on their devices of choice, readers might not be able to open your file! The best bet is to use a format like .pdf, commonly accessible and easy to read on mobile devices.
Using PDF files also offers a second advantage: it locks in your formatting. Different versions of word processing software might rearrange your content. A PDF copy is version-controlled and will look identical on any screen or device.
Here's a tutorial on how to convert PDF documents to Word and Word documents back into PDF files:
5 Creative Business Proposal Template Design Ideas for 2021
Now that we’ve shared these business proposal ideas with you, it’s time to put them to use. If you’re wondering how to do that and make sure your proposal has an attractive design, we’ve got a few ideas for you.
Explore some of the best business proposal templates from Envato Elements. Premium proposal templates already have all the pages you’ll need for your proposal in place. Plus, they offer plenty of customization options. Use these designs as an inspiration while you’re working on your proposal:
Check out this Pro Business Proposal template if you’re looking for a template with a professional and polished design. Edit the template with Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop. It includes image placeholders and premade character and paragraph styles for easy customization.
The DIGIBOX template has a minimal and clean design. Use it for any type of business proposal topic. It's easy to edit thanks to paragraph styles. The template comes with 24 premade pages and can be edited with InDesign.
Try the Jacob business proposal template if you’re looking for a modern and sleek template. It comes with 25 premade pages in A4 and US letter size. Edit it using Illustrator or InDesign. The template also includes predefined character styles and master pages.
This company business proposal template has a modern sales proposal design. Edit it with InDesign. It comes with premade character styles for easier editing. You’ll find templates for both A4 and US letter paper size along with 20 premade pages.
The Buzzer proposal template has 52 pages in total. That's more than enough to provide all the details about the project, cost estimations, and other important information. Edit the template using InDesign. It includes A4 and US letter paper size.
5 Creative Business & Project Proposal Design Trends for 2021
As you’re designing your business or project proposal, here are a few design trends to help your proposal look modern and relevant:
1. Add Geometric Overlays or Crops to Images
Make your proposal more interesting by adding geometric overlays to your images. Experiment by staying away from the traditional square or rectangle image crop. Try circles, triangles or other geometric shapes.
2. Include Visual Aids
Your proposal should include visual aids such as charts, graphs, diagrams. Consider anything that'll make it easier for potential clients to picture the data you’re presenting.
3. Color or Pattern Overlays
Another emerging trend when it comes to proposal and graphic design is to use color or pattern overlays. They work well with black and white images so that your sales proposal design doesn’t look too busy.
4. White Space Still Matters
White space is still important. It'll add breathing room to various elements and pages in your proposal.
5. Use Bold Typography
Typography is getting bolder and more decorative. Using flourishes and illustrative fonts in your proposal isn't recommended. Instead, consider using a bold font weight for your headings to make them stand out more.
More Business Proposal Template Resources
If you’re looking for mor business proposal design inspiration, we've got plenty of resources to help you out. Check out the following business proposal template roundups below:
- Templates25 Microsoft MS Word Business Proposal Templates to Make Deals in 2021Brenda Barron
- Proposals35 Professional Business Project Proposal Templates With Modern Pages 2020Laura Spencer
- Inspiration25+ Top Graphic Design (Branding) Project Proposal Templates (2020)Laura Spencer
Common Business Proposal Questions Answered (FAQ)
You've seen tips and tricks that are sure to spark project proposal ideas. Marry your business proposal topics with our tips so far to create a great proposal.
It's okay if you still have questions. We've rounded up five of the most common. Let's look at them and learn more about leveraging marketing proposal ideas:
1. How Does a Business Plan Differ From a Proposal?
You've likely heard of business plans, documents that help to capture the essence of strategy for a new business idea.
While a proposal is usually for a specific project or type of work, sometimes you're really pitching an entirely new business. In those cases, it's better to craft a deck that functions as a business plan instead.
Make sure that your proposal shouldn't be positioned as a business plan instead. See designs for a business plan in our guide below:
- Microsoft PowerPoint30 Best Business Plan PowerPoint Templates (PPT Presentation Examples 2020)Andrew Childress
2. How Should You Follow up after Giving a Proposal?
Proposals put your best foot forward and help you win business. And in the world of business, building a relationship and gravitas is crucial.
After you give a proposal, make sure to send a "thank you" as a follow-up. It shows that you value your potential client's time, and that's sure to help.
A business proposal isn't exactly an interview, but Cha Mendoza's guide has much in common for sending a thank you email.
3. What Other Apps Are Used to Create Proposals?
You've already seen examples and information about using PowerPoint to create decks. That helps you put your project proposal ideas in an attractive format.
Another great app to use is Apple Keynote. If you live in the macOS and iOS world, this is the app for you. See examples of great presentation designs to put your business proposal topics into in our article below:
4. How Do You Deliver a Great Proposal In Person?
Most people are terrified of speaking publicly. It's a skill that you've got to build if you want your marketing proposal ideas to shine.
Presentation skills are something you can improve in time. It just takes practice. Luckily, we've got a guide that's just for you. See our tips that help you improve your speaking skills:
5. Help! How Do I Think of Creative Ideas?
Are you preparing your presentation at the last moment? Maybe it's feeling a bit drab and uninspiring.
With the help of our tutorial, you too can spark your creative thinking. Use this tutorial for inspiration that'll help you create marketing proposal ideas of your own.
- Presentations20 Creative Presentation Ideas That'll Inspire Audiences to Action in 2021 (+Video)Julia Melymbrose
Learn More About Creating Great Business Proposals
Creating a great business proposal is a lot of work. You've got to do it right if you want to ensure you close the deal. Luckily, we've got plenty of tutorials to help you learn more about creating business proposals:
- ProposalsHow to Write & Design a Winning Business Proposal in 2019Laura Spencer
- PresentationsHow to Make Business Proposal Presentations in PowerPoint (+ Video)Tomas Laurinavicius
- ProposalsHow to Charge Premium Prices and Write Winning ProposalsJoyce Akiko
Create a Standout Business Proposal & Win More Clients
A great business proposal can make all the difference between successfully closing a deal or losing a client. With the tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way towards crafting better business proposals. Thanks to marketplaces like Envato Elements, you don’t have to start from scratch.
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