When it comes to your business, getting sales and new clients are your lifeblood. That’s why it’s crucial to master writing and designing a professional business project proposal.
A business proposal that's well-written and has a polished design can mean the difference between winning or losing potential clients. But what is a business proposal exactly? What should it include and how do you make sure your business proposal is effective?
In this post, we’ll answer these questions. We'll also share what you need to know about most effective business project proposal types. Plus, we'll explain how to write and design a standout proposal that helps you close more sales.
What Is a Business Project Proposal?
Businesses use business project proposals to convince other businesses or customers to buy their products and services. A business project proposal will identify the buyer’s pain points and present the right solution for those pain points.
What Is the Purpose of a Business Project Proposal?
The purpose of the proposal is to inform potential buyers about your goods and services and to serve as a sales pitch that helps close the sale. Business proposals streamline the selling process and outline exactly what the project will entail, eliminating the scope creep later.
For a quick guide on how to write a business project proposal, study this tutorial:
Find Great Business Project Proposals On Envato Elements
Writing and designing a business project proposal isn't easy. But the good news is that you don’t have to start completely from scratch. There are many business proposal templates available online.
Professionally designed templates will save you time because they already have everything in place. All you've got to do is drop in your content.
One of the best places to find great business project proposals is Envato Elements. It's a subscription-based marketplace with thousands of modern and professional business project proposal templates.
Download as many business project proposal templates as you want: all for a low-monthly fee. Besides business proposal templates, Envato Elements has thousands of other unlimited-use design assets such as:
- stock photos
- business card templates
- and more
Another place where you can find even more great business project proposal templates is GraphicRiver.
This marketplace is part of Envato Market, a suite of marketplaces catering to various creative needs. On GraphicRiver, buy individual business project proposal templates on an as needed basis.
6 Types of Commonly Used Business Project Proposals
Now that we’ve covered what business project proposals are and how you can save time with professional business proposal templates, let’s talk about what are the different business project proposal types. By knowing the difference between types of business proposals, you’ll know exactly which proposal to send to each client.
There are six different types of business project proposals:
- formally solicited
- informally solicited
Let’s go over each of these below:
1. Formally Solicited Proposal
Use this type of proposal when you're responding to an official request for proposal. In most cases, this will be the easiest type of proposal to write as the potential client or customer will specify what they're looking for. In some cases, they'll even outline what they want the proposal to cover.
2. Informally Solicited Proposal
This type of proposal is the same as the formally solicited proposal, but with one difference. The information in the proposal isn’t clearly specified in an official document or request.
Typically, you’ll write this proposal when a client or customer is interested in what you've got to offer and asks for a proposal. Since the client doesn’t specify their needs, you’ll have to do more research on your part to analyze the client and understand what they're looking for.
3. Unsolicited Proposal
The unsolicited proposal like a cold call. You could send an unsolicited proposal if you stumbled upon a potential client and think that your offer is exactly what they need. This is one of the hardest proposal types to write as you’ll have to do plenty of research upfront and be very convincing in how you present your ideas.
4. Continuation Proposal
Send a continuation proposal when you want to send a reminder or an update about an ongoing project that’s already been approved. All you’re doing with this proposal is providing an update on the project and asking for approval to carry on with the project. These proposal types are the easiest to write unless the client wants major changes moving forward.
5. Renewal Proposal
Use the renewal proposal after you’ve completed a project and want to make a case for continued support. When it comes to renewal proposals remember to provide convincing proof why it’s beneficial to continue with the project.
6. Supplemental Proposal
Lastly, the supplemental project proposal is reserved for when you need approval for extra resources for the project. Provide reasons and justify why those resources are needed and create an updated estimate of what the project will take to complete.
What Should You Include in a Business Proposal?
No matter what type of proposal you’re writing, there are common sections that should be included in every business project proposal. These include:
- Title and table of contents. This is straightforward. The title and the table of contents provide a high-level overview of the proposal
- Executive proposal summary. The summary should include the basic information about your company, your history, accomplishments, goals, and milestones
- The description of the problem. In this section, you’ll provide a description of the client’s problem and provide a reason for them to find a solution
- The proposed solution. In this section, you’ll outline exactly how you’ll solve their problem and provide them with all the necessary details they need to know
- Project timeline and resources. After you explain the solution, add a section with the project estimated timeline and the resources you need to complete the project.
- Pricing and legal information. You’ll also need to provide them with the price, outline payment terms, and provide them with any required legal information
- Terms and conditions. Don’t forget to include terms and conditions that summarize everything you've promised to deliver as well as the client’s responsibilities.
- The acceptance and call to action. The last section should tell the client what the next steps are and make it clear how they can get started on the project. Include places for all the signatures as well as your contact information in case they've any questions.
Your proposal should also make it clear to the potential client why you’re the perfect fit for the project by answering these questions:
- what your business or company does
- the problem the potential client is facing
- the solution your company offers for that problem
- how your company will implement the solution to solve the problem
- how long the project will take, the resources that'll be required, and the investment needed for successful project completion
How to Write and Design Great Business Project Proposals in 2020
By now, you know what are the different types of business project proposals and what each proposal should include. Let’s tackle some writing and design tips that'll help you write a winning proposal in 2020 so you can confidently close more sales:
1. Research and Plan Your Project Proposal
The first step in writing and designing your business project proposal is to make a plan. The plan should include researching your client and their business.
Research helps you understand the problems, the budget, the preferred timelines, and specific industry requirements. This ensures that your proposal will present them with the best possible solution. The tips in this article can help:
After you’ve familiarized yourself with the client and their problems, create an outline for your proposal. Make a note of all the sections you want to include and the points you want to cover.
Learn more about proposals for freelancers and other creatives tutorial:
2. Clearly State the Problem
Once you've got a plan for your proposal, you need to clearly state the problem. This section has to make it obvious to the client what their pain points are and why they need to act on the problem. It should convince them to take action by relating the problem back to them, using their own words and concepts they can easily understand.
3. Present a Compelling Solution
Now that your audience is aware of their problem and they know what happens if they don’t act, it’s time to present them with a solution. You’ll want to back this up with evidence and data. Show the benefits of the solution along with the steps necessary for the successful implementation of the solution. This will make it clear what they can expect throughout the entire project.
4. Give Accurate Estimates
Your potential clients will also be interested in how long the project will take as well as how much it’s going to cost them. Include a section that gives accurate estimates of time, materials, expenses, and other resources needed.
Here's a tutorial to help you figure out what to charge:
5. Outline Next Steps
When you’re done writing out all the necessary sections of your proposal, conclude with a section that outlines next steps. This can include asking them to get in touch with you via phone or email, booking an appointment, sending over a signed proposal or similar.
Be clear and concise here. As we mentioned earlier, include your contact information in case they've got any questions.
6. Use Visuals
When it comes to the design of your proposal, include plenty of visuals. Photos, charts, graphs, icons, and infographics can help potential clients visualize how the project will go. It'll also make it easier for them to understand more abstract or complex concepts of the proposal.
7. Make Your Cover Engaging
Your proposal cover is the first thing potential clients will see. Make it more engaging by including a photo that relates to their project or a photo of your company.
You can also include your logo. Use a bold font for the title to instantly capture their attention.
8. Pay Attention to the Alignment
Your proposal will include both text and visual elements. Make sure they're properly aligned with the help of guides in your document. Proper alignment will make the entire proposal more visually appealing by adding hierarchy to your design.
9. Save Time With Templates
Save time on writing and designing your business project proposal by using professionally designed business proposal templates. These templates will not only have all the necessary sections, but they'll also have the basic layout and design elements. All you’ll have to do is add your content and then customize the template with your choice of colors and fonts.
If you're creating your proposal in MS Word, consider these templates:
10. Proofread Everything
Our last tip is to proofread the entire proposal several times to ensure there are no grammar or spelling mistakes. Make sure that all the information is accurate and up to date, especially if you’re talking about your company history or about your client’s business.
Write and Design an Effective Business Project Proposal
Writing and designing an effective business project proposal might seem daunting. But once you know what you need to include and which proposal type to start with, you’ll have a much easier time.
Get a head start on your business project proposal with one of our professionally designed business proposal templates from Envato Elements if you need proposal templates and other creative assets regularly.
Or, if you need a single business proposal template, choose one from thousands of modern business proposal templates from GraphicRiver.
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