Business Proposal vs. Business Plan. Quite often, the terms “business proposal” and “business plan” are used interchangeably, giving you the impression that they are one and the same. But they are not. A business plan is a “formal statement of a set of business goals” and how these would be achieved. These documents sometimes can be included in a business proposal.
The secret behind writing a winning business proposal and one that will just be set aside is the presence of what I call the 3 Ps: problem statement, proposed solution, and pricing information.
A business plan is a guide for your business, a roadmap that outlines goals and details how you plan to achieve those goals. It is used to keep you on track (internal use) and to support any applications you might make when seeking investors, or when applying for commercial loans (external use). While a business proposal on the other hand is used to try to attract and acquire business. It pitches your business, product, or service to a potential client, vendor, or supplier. A client, vendor, or supplier might also request a business proposal from you when trying to evaluate whether or not you’re someone they want to work with, or whether or not you can provide the services or products they require. Write a good proposal and you might snag business; write a poor one, and you may lose out, even if you’re offering the best service out there.
Although business proposals present the same information and have the same layout, it’s important to take time and make each one unique. Each project is different, even if it’s with the same company. Remember, a business proposal must show how you or your company can help a potential client.
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