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.
Not all clients and buyers will give you the explicit details of their wants and needs, especially if you’re submitting an unsolicited business proposal. Extend your research to include the competitors of your potential client, and their customers as well. This will ensure that your business proposal will be as comprehensive and as detailed as possible. You can get strategic with this by creating a profile of your ideal customer. How old are they? Where do they live? Where do they hang out online? Personalizing your research like this will help give you clues about what to say (and how to say it) to resonate with someone.
Types of proposalsProposals are produced for many different purposes, but they can be split into two categories: solicited and unsolicited.
- The solicited proposal usually begins with a request for a proposal (RFP). Many companies will use an RFP template to give potential suppliers details of what they are looking for in a bid. It will usually give a timeline of when items are due and what they are looking for in the document.
- The unsolicited proposal is initiated by the person who writes it. The writer usually submits it because they have an idea they want to pitch or they want to sell something.
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.
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