In today’s competitive world, often the right business proposal could make all the difference between a successful business pitch and a not so successful business venture. This is exactly why writing a business proposal is considered to be a rather difficult art form. Often entrepreneurs with loads of amazing ideas fail to give shape to their business initiative because they don’t know how to write a business proposal that is strong, effective and decidedly makes an impression on everyone who reads it or even scans through it. A great business proposal is almost always to the point and never fails to make an impression.
In fact, almost anyone can write a winning business proposal if they can keep in mind some basic rules. Indeed, it is a myth that writing a business proposal is a gift that only a few people are born with. In fact, a well-written business proposal is an intelligent mix of information, style and strong strategic placement of facts. In the words of the famous godfather, it makes an offer that most investors can’t refuse. It is in fact, the key catalyst that takes the business forward in a constructive manner.
Step by Step How to Write a Business Proposal
So here is a quick lowdown on how to write a business proposal that can instantly catapult your business to great success and help you to achieve your goals with a lot more ease and relative alacrity:
- Carefully Analyze the Key Requisites
- Try & Grasp The Client Problem Accurately
- Develop Steps as Required
- Carefully Consider the Pros & Cons
- How to Overshadow Competition
1. Carefully Analyze the Key Requisites
Often the trick to writing a business proposal that easily attracts attention is having a clear picture of the key needs of the client. Carefully consider the person or the client for whom you are preparing this business proposal. Remember you would have to calibrate the content accordingly. So it is very important that you read the RFP as thoroughly as possible. This will enable you to have a crystal clear viewpoint of what exactly is required and how you need to fashion the broad proposal in sync with it.
Often it is useful to create a questionnaire for self-analysis. It can raise key issues like:
- The key goals that are being targeted
- The time frame that is being allocated
- The budget involved and the average scope of work that is expected
- Are you geared to take up the contract and fulfill it?
While there is no hard and fast rule that necessitates the creation of these questions, I firmly believe that they become very important means of self-analysis and help you take a realistic view of the entire deal. In short, it will help you gain better clarity on the key content that you must highlight in your business proposal.
Research and analysis form the most crucial part of your quest towards how to write a business proposal. Therefore, never crimp on time that you need to undertake proper research and make sure you have a complete grasp of the client’s needs.
Remember you might not respond to every RFP you receive, but it makes sense to give due attention to every one of them, read them thoroughly to improve your understanding of the business dynamics and the strategic elements involved. Also, it becomes important to explore the networking possibilities that arise from liaising any of these potential partners.
2. Try & Grasp the Client Problem Accurately
Common sense plays a key role in the formulation of the effective business proposal. You must understand that you cannot possibly give the client a suitable solution if you are not able to understand the problem properly. Most veterans in the business say that while in the first meeting, a client might list out something that they need, you will eventually research and realize that this is not what they might need actually.
Therefore if you want to understand how to write a business proposal effectively, it is essential to understand in detail what exactly the client needs, more importantly, how exactly do you intend to fulfill the client’s demand.
In this context, many times, talking to the client at length help you in writing a business proposal more effectively. You could even speak to the employees in the client’s firm, discuss the key issues that they might be facing and then take a call on what content to include based on that.
You can even look at garnering some basic information about the client company. Often questions like the time for which they have been doing business, the total duration that they have corporate exposure for and a detailed idea about the core product model. Also, try and understand who the main decision makers in the firm are. It can often help you plan out a strategy for the business proposal with more details and depth.
You also need to develop a fair understanding of the financial condition of the target firm and how they plan to generate revenue going forward.
Sometimes before writing a business proposal, it is a good idea to take up a constructive conversation with the employees in the client company. This is useful as you would then know about suggestions and solutions that have already been suggested and which did not turn out as effective. This saves your very important time and energy in unnecessarily working on the same kind of endeavor and thus, wasting your time and energy.
3. Develop Steps as Required
When you are exploring how to write a business proposal that is decidedly strong and makes a big impact, you must understand that each one is unique in form and quality. Therefore it becomes essential that you are able to devise strategy and steps in sync with the key requirements.
You can employ any method to reach that end like introducing brainstorming sessions and the like. You can get together with your team and try to think loudly about the key requirements of each client. If you are handling multiple business proposals in a given instance, you must understand that each one would be very different from the rest, and you need to undertake steps as per the unique requirements of every proposal individually.
Often a custom designed pointed strategy that works towards resolving the key issues highlighted for a specific business proposal can become the key to writing a business proposal that seeks to make all the difference. You must be careful about analyzing the myriad cost and benefits aspect and also the resource that would be taken into consideration.
Remember the steps that you strategize should do justice to the key problem that you are working upon. It does not have to be an accepted policy or a popular proposal, but as long as it serves the core purpose of satisfying the key requisites of the business in question, it is good to go.
4. Carefully Consider the Pros & Cons
This is a major risk when you are writing a business proposal. Let’s say that you have come up with a brilliant plan to address the particular crisis in hand but your client is not too excited or they refuse to accept it, then what? In most occasions, it would mean that you would have to go back to the drawing board again. Remember that the client concern is primary. There is nothing that matters as much while you are debating about how to write a business proposal that is effective, impactful and acceptable as well.
This is exactly why you must be able to grasp the key decision maker’s concerns and bias and try and fashion a business proposal that is in sync with that. Remember however brilliant your strategy might be, if the client does not like it, it would be of no use whatsoever. So consider the pros and cons of every solution very carefully and make sure you are taking into consideration every pre-condition that is crucial for a specific situation.
An interesting observation at this stage would be to find out the bias or the specific interest areas of the key decision makers. Let’s say that a majority of them are financially oriented; you could then look at creating a business that elaborates on the financial advantages that the plan can unfurl. This will, no doubt, enhance the acceptability level of the plan and the decision makers may even consider looking at a radical suggestion just on the basis of the financial gain it might be projecting.
Another important consideration that you need to always keep in mind if the RFP or the details of the client’s demand. Consider the pros and cons of every suggestion in respect to the demands that might have been outlined in the broad RFP. This would give you a realistic and to the point understanding of the different parameters and weigh the pros and cons of every solution that you offer. This would improve the rate of acceptance of these offers.
5. How to Overshadow Competition
Often the secret to how to write a business proposal that is brilliant and well accepted is also about how you can offer a better solution compared to your competitors. You must remember that the business proposal that you are offering is your peg or offer that will win you the particular project. It is, in short, your application letter to get accepted and bag the business offer. In that respect, it becomes vital to understand how your competition or other potential groups are bracing for it.
So you must be extremely careful in fashioning your business proposal in a way that can easily highlight the strength and the other positive elements of your business. To make sure that you get hired instead of your competition, it is important to highlight the core strength areas of your business and also address any reservation, which you might think that the client might have against you. In other words, you have to make such an offer that is just too good to refuse.
This is particularly important if the competitor firm, which is also presenting a business solution, is a rather established player in the field. If you are a relatively new or small, take special care to highlight your strength. This is to make sure that when a client is comparing multiple business proposals, your weaknesses should not come to light. Rather the strength of the core business proposal that you are offering should convince the client that you alone can steer their endeavor towards its final success.
Also, as they say, everything is fair in love and war, and this is no less than war. Therefore you must be nimble-footed in highlighting ever possible element that you might be better at. When you are writing a business proposal to win, make sure you put up a comparison table. Make sure you show the client how your business stacks up compared to your key competitors and the areas where you excel in a meaningful manner.
This is a crucial aspect in how to write a business proposal because this will explain to the client why it would make sense to hire you instead of the 20 other equally brilliant proposals. It helps them understand the key advantages that you bring along and the expertise that you would be able to offer. The comparison table would act as an eye opener in terms of highlighting the relative strength and expertise that you bring along and how this can alter the course of the client’s business in a meaningful manner. After all, the client wants to further its business, so the client must be convinced that you alone can help them achieve this goal rather seamlessly.
In some lucky coincidences, the client might even offer you the names of some key competitors that they might be talking to. Don’t get too worked up. You must learn to keep a cool composure and look at clinically cutting short and clearing the business proposal of every possible competitor.
How to Write a Business Proposal That Wins You the Order
Once you complete the above mention five steps, more often than not you have the basic framework of a brilliant business proposal in hand. You have all the broad components that can help you win the order. All that is left now is assembling them in a way that it makes for an immensely interesting read.
Yes, when you are writing a business proposal, the style of writing also becomes extremely important. You must make sure that the proposal progresses in a film like a pace, and the client most times will finish it before putting down. So the question is how do you write a business proposal to make it a blockbuster?
When I mention that it must have a film like quality, essentially I am trying to highlight the most basic element of a narrative style. Avoid making it sound boring even when you are discussing hard fact. Chuck the serious, somber style and pack in a pinch of fun and zest to keep the client occupied.
Also follow the RFP instructions very carefully. If it lists out a set format in which they require the business proposal, make sure you stick to it. Do not deviate from this set format in any way. While you have to make an effort in creating a distinct mark for yourself, make your business proposal does not stand out by not adhering to rules. It should follow instructions carefully to the last T.
But then, there are some cases where such details are not specified, the question then how to write a business proposal that can make an impression? There are same basic factors and pattern that you can follow to make sure that your proposal
1. Background Information
This is invariably the beginning of the business proposal. In this part, it is very important to list out the current situation, the various background triggers that actually triggered the decision to come up with the RFP. The RFP is the broad outline that helps you understand the client’s demands, concerns and the reason why they are inviting you and many others to come up solution for their problem.
2. Clarify Your Target
Once you know the problem, it is time for the target or the end result that you seek to achieve through the business proposal. You must be very specific in the goals that you seek to achieve through this proposal. After all, this will help the client understand how you plan to address their problem and how to solve it as well. This again highlights the need to follow the RFP closely and fashion the potential solution structure in sync with it. That will, after all, provide you the edge that can help you get past the competition. So right at the beginning, list out the goals that the business proposal seeks to address and how exactly it plans to move towards achieving it in a clear, composed manner.
Now that the goals are already in place, your next step in writing a business proposal is about going ahead and achieving it. But remember achieving the goal cannot be one vanilla statement in the entire business. You have to describe your plan in step by step fashion. Gradually proceed with the entire strategy and the unique offering that you feel can help you win the deal. In step by step manner, you must explain to the client how they will go about clearing the roadblocks and proceed towards the exact goal. You must take the client in confidence while leading them to this goal that they are worried about and unable to achieve thus far. It is this business proposal that should gradually lead the client towards their final objective.
4. List out the Cost & Time Factors
Every step that you list out while writing a business proposal will need a certain amount of time and expenses in terms of achieving it. So you have to be very specific about these key factors while you are writing the business proposal. You must understand that the challenges involved in every step are always as much about implementation as it is about the relative time and cost that will be required. So if your proposal is very specific and systematic in listing out these two crucial variables, the client becomes far better aware of the ground realities. In fact, these are the steps that can often help them decide for or against a proposal. Given the relative cost and expenses, they might even need you to skip a few steps or add a few more. But remember you have to provide the basic framework first.
5. List out Your Strength
One of the cardinal rules of how to write a business proposal is decidedly not about modesty. You do not have to be shy about what your strength and merits are. On the contrary, you need to spell out your company’s positives and qualifications in bold lettering. Tell the client what you are good at and how you can offer a constructive framework that can assure success in helping them reach their objective. Remember the business proposal is your passport to success and expanding the scope of your organization. Leave no stone unturned in achieving it.
Listing out your strength can also help the client in undertaking a meaningful evaluation of the relative merit of the business proposal that you might have suggested. This is that single most influential element that can actually help them decide for or against a business proposal. Remember they are here to do business as much as you are. Therefore, it works in both of your favor to list out the positives upfront and make the client understand clearly what you are bringing to the table and why it needs additional attention. In many ways, it can decide the overall course of the actual business proposal.
6. List out the Key Benefits
Let’s face it; business is not out there for charity. They have issued the RFP with a specific purpose and goal. Well, the mettle of your business proposal is decided by how effectively you can help the client achieve this goal. In this context, it becomes extremely important to list out every small and big benefit that your business proposal can help your client offer. Often when you are wondering how to write a business proposal that is effective, remember the need of the client is primary. It is your job to explain to the client how and why implementing your recommendations can help make a difference in their business dealings and overall profitability. Often the most crucial factor that you should highlight is the extent of profit that the client can make by implementing your proposal. This often becomes the game-changer for the business proposal.
How to End a Business Proposal That Maintains Its Punch
When you set out to understand how to write a business proposal, you must understand that the ending of the business proposal is almost as important as the beginning. If I might add a food corollary here, you never like a meal that leaves a bad aftertaste. So it is never sufficient to make sure that appetizer and entry are good but to dish out a completely delectable package where every element screams for attention. The approach needs to be pretty similar while writing a business proposal. The way you end the proposal and the finishing touches that you apply is often as important as the introduction and the main body of the proposal.
This is exactly why you must review the proposal very carefully after you have written it. You must make sure that this is addressing every single query presented in the RFP. Your success in writing a business proposal is not just in creating a broad framework but making sure every small and big element is touched upon, and there are no gaping loopholes. Grammatical errors might not impact your client’s business meaningfully, but they impact the flow of uninterrupted reading. This is exactly why you must also proofread the proposal once before submitting it. You must make sure that there are no unnecessary spelling and grammar errors.
You might be surprised to know that there are many business contracts that are awarded only on the basis of the quality of business proposal that is submitted. So it would never be wise to get a great proposal marred by a bad writing style or careless spelling or grammar errors. Often poor writing and grammatical errors can raise a question market on the business efficiency of the proposal presenters. Therefore make sure that the final copy that you submit to your client is well written, properly proofread and typed out clearly.
Write Your Business Proposal Properly
When you explore the various factors of how to write a business proposal that is effective and undeniably strong, it becomes essential to remember that it is the complete package that matters. It won’t be sufficient just to have pockets of excellence. While writing your business proposal, you must be careful that the proposal in its entirety is great, in terms of suggestions, framework, reply to RFP and of course the final presentation. Sloppy writing and success do it go hand in hand. Therefore, your business proposal has to be pointed and focused. and address the key issues with precision.