What’s in a business proposal? This document provides you with a free business proposal template. Feel free to adjust it to suit your needs. No two businesses will use exactly the same format, so it’s important that you understand what the purpose of the proposal is. What are you trying to achieve? Does the format help you do that? If not, adjust it so that it does! Ultimately, a business proposal is comprised of three parts:
- A problem statement.
- A proposed solution.
- A pricing estimate. It’s worth noting that a business proposal is not just an estimate. While you will likely touch on costs in the proposal, an estimate is much more informal, and doesn’t take the whole picture into account in the same way a business proposal does.
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.
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.
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.
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