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13 Creative Business Proposal Ideas for Better Sales in 2020


A great business proposal has two jobs:

  1.  It helps you stand out and be memorable.
  2.  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.

Business Proposal Ideas
One of our best business proposal design ideas from Envato Elements.

If you’re wondering how to close more sales and win more clients with your proposals, you’re in the right place. 

We’ve gathered 13 creative business proposal idea examples that'll help you improve your sales in 2020. We'll also explain how you can use proposal templates to create attractive proposals quickly.

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 business proposal templates.

Envato Elements

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.

Envato Elements proposal templates

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.

13 Great Business Proposal Ideas for 2020

Here are 13 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:

  1. an introduction section 
  2. your client’s problem 
  3. your proposed solution 
  4. examples and case studies that show your previous expertise and success rate 
  5. how much the project will cost 
  6. 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.

minimal business proposal with testimonials
Minimal business proposal with testimonials

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.

proposal with case study
Proposal template with a case study page from Envato Elements.

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.

Proposal with prominent statement

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.

proposal with three options
Business proposal template with three options.

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.

Project Proposal Template
Project Proposal Template

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.

Creative Agency Proposal Template
Creative Agency Proposal Template Example

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

Business Proposal Template
You'll find hundreds of easy-to-use business proposal ideas templates on Envato Elements.

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:

5 Creative Business Proposal Template Design Ideas for 2020

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:

1. Pro Business Proposal

Pro Business 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. 

2. DIGIBOX Business Proposal Template

DIGIBOX Business Proposal Template

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.

3. Jacob - Business Proposal Template

Jacob - Business Proposal Template

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.

4. Company Business Proposal Template

Company Business Proposal Template

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.

5. Buzzer Clean Business Proposal Template

Buzzer Clean Business Proposal Template

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 2020

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.

Proposal With Creative Image Crops
Proposal With Creative Image Crops

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.

Proposal With Color Overlays
Proposal With Color Overlays

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.

Proposal With Bold Typography
Proposal With Bold Typography

More Business Proposal Template Resources 

If you’re looking for more business proposal design inspiration, we've got plenty of resources to help you out. Check out the following business proposal template roundups below:

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: 

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.

Use the business proposal ideas in this article to create better business proposals. Stop by Envato Elements or GraphicRiver to find a creative proposal template for your business.

Editors Note: This tutorial was originally published in February of 2019. It's been updated to include new information—with special assistance from Brenda Barron.

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