For small businesses, getting effective business proposals out is key to attracting clients. The best way to write a successful proposal is to keep it short and to the point.
Here’s how to compose compelling business proposals that focus on your company’s competitive strengths.
How to write business proposals
A good business proposal concentrates on three focal points:
- the goal or challenge faced by the client
- the proposed solution
- the timeline and pricing of deliverables.
As with most business documents, proposals follow a standard format. A title page and interactive table of contents are followed by a concise overview of the proposal, known as the executive statement.
This is the crux of the proposal. It contains a synopsis of the important information:
- why your business is best qualified for the job
- the steps that would be taken to meet the client’s goals
- the advantages your company’s products or services have over the competition.
By reading the executive statement, the client should get the full gist of what you’re proposing. It should be persuasive and on point.
The event overview is a summary of the client’s needs or goals. It’s an opportunity to articulate a clear understanding of how you envisage the client’s requirements.
This is where the strategy you’ll use to meet the project’s goals is fleshed out. It includes deliverables, the techniques or methods you’ll use and the approximate time frame in which the project will be completed.
At this point, it’s time to focus on the unique selling points of your business and why your company is best qualified for the task at hand. Include case studies, client testimonials, awards and accreditation, so you can add weight and credibility to your claims.
When detailing the pricing of the proposed solution or project, include your company’s terms and conditions. Payment schedules, project timelines and the company’s cancellation policy allow the client to know exactly what’s expected.
Why it’s vital to follow up on business proposals
Following up on proposals is an essential part of proposal management. It shows you’re assertive in the way you do business and ensures you get a response – whether positive or negative.
It’s not always the best business proposal that wins the project. It’s the company that follows up on the proposal that’s most likely to land the deal. Hence the need to communicate regularly with the prospective client.
Persistence pays off. In this case, persistence can mean money flowing into the company account.
When and how to follow up
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to the follow-up process. Ideally, discuss the follow-up methods beforehand. Decide which options and timelines work best.
A gentle reminder is usually all it takes. Give the client sufficient time and space to analyse the proposal.
Free business proposal templates
Business proposals are standardised documents that can be customised to individual clients and projects. By using a free business proposal template, you can save your company or start-up time and money. Here are a few options to consider:
- Proposify offers a range of industry-specific business proposal templates (some are free)
- Lucidpress has dozens of free customisable templates
- JotForm features free PDF proposal templates covering a variety of sectors.
What we offer at The Workspace
Now you know how to write – and follow up – an effective business proposal, you need to get down to composing one.
At The Workspace, we don’t specialise in training on effective business proposals. However, we do aim to help South Africans grow their businesses, through flexible workspace that saves money and facilitates business networking.
We offer affordable, fully serviced offices and coworking. All our members have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services. For more information or to book a tour of one of our branches, call us on 0861 250 259 or contact us online.