A business proposal is, at its most basic, a document written by a seller to a potential buyer, to convince them to invest. The seller describes their business and how the buyer can help in context, and what the buyer will get out of the deal.
The seller can offer a particular product or service to the buyer through the proposal. For example, a freelance website designer might write a business proposal to a local organization that needs its website revamped. The designer will quote rates and time it will take to complete the project, and offer professional information on other websites they have designed in the past. Many business proposals of this type also offer rates of success for the different websites, such as how much traffic was driven to the new site, commentary from clients on appeal of the website, etc.
Types of Business Proposals:
In general, there are two types of business proposals: solicited and unsolicited. The most common unsolicited business proposals come in the form of brochures, showing what services or products the seller – which can be a company or an individual – offer to the potential buyer. There is no direct connection between the seller and the buyer, although the seller might strategically send brochures to a mailing list, or place them in specific locations where interested buyers might see them.
Solicited proposals can be formal or informal. Informal proposals often stem from a verbal or informally written agreement between a seller and a buyer for the seller to write and send the proposal. Typically, there are no competing proposals involved, as there is an existing relationship between the buyer and seller which has led the buyer to become interested in the seller already.
Formal solicitations for business proposals include the formal, written request; evaluation criteria for each submitted proposal; request for price quotes from seller; and further information on the seller. Formal requests for business proposals often mean the buyer is interested in the seller already, or could be a general call to fill a position for the buyer. The buyer expects to receive numerous competing offers that they will evaluate.
Estimates are an integral part of a business proposal, but equally important is stating how the seller can be of help to the buyer. If you are a seller, be very clear that you can solve a problem for the buyer, and outline how you would do that. The cost is an aspect of this explanation, but it is not the only aspect, and buyers will consider paying more for higher skill level or a better fit with a seller.
How to Write a Good Business Proposal
When writing a business proposal, the seller should research the buying company or individual as much as possible to make sure that the seller’s products or services will solve a problem for the buyer. In the earlier example, if a company needs a new website and posts online that they want applications for a web design contract position, then the freelance website designer should look through the company’s existing website and make sure that the freelancer’s interests and skills line up with the company’s needs.
Use our free business proposal template to get started!