How To Write A Business Proposal

How to write a business proposal makes a big difference in the way you are perceived by potential clients and increase your chances of success. Although you may feel an urgency to get your business proposal written to seize an exciting and potentially lucrative opportunity, taking the time to assess and understand the project completely, and learn important details about the client can be the difference between acceptance or not getting project.

Of course, you don’t want to wait too long either. It’s important to strike while the iron is hot and the impression you made on the client is still strong. Sending a well-crafted business proposal with a personal note to follow up on a meeting without the passage of too much time lets the client know you’re interested. This is especially true if you actually promised the proposal by a certain date. It shows that you’re the type of person that can be counted on to keep your word.

So the trick is finding the balance between acting prematurely, before you can accurately determine your own costs, such as labor and material, and taking the time to cover all the bases to guarantee that you understand every facet of the project that could cause problems down the road.

Do Your Homework

  • Review the Request for Proposal (RFP). An RFP is the most common form of communication shared by potential clients, especially large business and government agencies, with businesses looking to secure a contract for the delivery of goods or service. The RFP contains important information that provides a fuller understanding of what is expected by the client, and includes key requirements that must be met, such as delivery dates and budgets. You can save yourself a great deal of time if you see right away that you can’t deliver what the client wants.
  • Clarify Confusion. It’s important that your business proposal clearly and completely addresses the requirements that are important to the client. If there is doubt about any issues, reach out to the client for clarification. Not only will you gain a fuller understanding of issues, it could also be an opportunity to get to know the criteria taken into account during the decision-making process or whether there are issues you can address that may not be included in the RFP, such as disappointments with previous suppliers. 
  • Make it Look Professional. You might be the best at what you do, but if your business proposal doesn’t look professional you may be judged accordingly. Do some research to find good business proposal samples on the Internet, as well as templates you can follow to make your proposal meet industry standards. There are basic style factors, such as using a good, easily readable font, like Times New Roman 12 point. Additionally, with stores like Staples that provide inexpensive print services, with a small expenditure you can make your proposal look like it was prepared by a pro.

Prepare to Succeed

Before you get down to the actual writing of the proposal, take a few minutes to review the important components of your document. This usually involves determining the following

  • Who from your company will be in charge of the project, who and how many of your workers will do the actual work, and who will be the primary contact for the client should questions arise? Labor is often the largest cost is satisfying a contract on time and on budget.
  • What exactly needs to be done to get the job done in terms of equipment and what will the costs be? If you will need to lease vehicles or equipment, this is the time to plan it out and allocate the costs for these budget items.
  • Where will the work take place? Will you have to provide housing or transportation for your workers? Will you need special clothing in the case of high or low temperatures?
  • How long will it all take and how can you make sure there are as few problems as possible? Most importantly, how can you make sure you keep the client happy with what you deliver?
  • Why should the client select you to win the project? Think of several major points that make your strongest case for being chosen.

Write the Proposal

If you’ve done your homework and understand the process you’ll follow to satisfy all the requirements of the RFP, this should be the easy part. Just follow the formats you’ve found to build your case. Include important items that you think can strengthen the proposal, such as photos, graphs, or images. Present your budget and make sure the numbers all add up.

Good luck.

To learn more about how to write a business proposal, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.