A guideline to prepare a business proposal

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In this write-up we will see how to write a business proposal which happens to be one of the important documents that either spells success to your company or gets you nothing. Today’s competitive environment requires entrepreneurs to be stretching themselves in establishing themselves in the market and when a climate is suitable for handling an enquiry or preparing themselves to reaching out to a prospect arises then a business proposal is a vital tool there. Before the sojourn on reading how to write a business proposal happens here let’s get the understanding of what a business proposal is get the basics on it right.

A business proposal can be defined as a written document that specifies what can be offered as a service or product to a potential buyer. A business proposal can generally be prepared on 2 lines primarily: as solicited and unsolicited ones.

  • Solicited business proposal: This is submitted as a response to an advertisement published by a client or buyer.
  • Unsolicited business proposal: These are submitted or given out to potential clients or buyers even though they have been requested by them.

So one can conclude that a solicited business proposal is more of a reactive document and the latter a pro-active document/tool developed to meet the client’s needs to convince them to engage your business to support them reach their end objectives.

What then is the difference between a business plan and a business proposal?
Though the words business plan and business proposal might sound similar there are in fact differences: The business proposal is created with an objective to showcase what can be offered to a prospective client as a product or service whereas a business plan is a formal statement as collection of set of business goals. This means a business plan is a part that goes into the business proposal.

Steps to write a winning business proposal:
1. Understanding the requirements: A winning proposal starts with a thorough clear understanding of the client’s requirement. As you scan your text ensure to seeing what exactly the client is looking out for and what is my role in helping them reach that objective. Then proceed to understanding the time frame required or requested, the budget allocated for the same in addition to the scope of work. All this to be drafted post the answer is arrived as “yes”: can my company do it, do we have the necessary expertise and resources to execute this project. Also see your willingness to do it and the time you would need to getting this proposal ready.

Due-diligence should be done about the company before actually embarking on developing the proposal.

2. Understand the client: This is one important aspect that needs to be done. Trying stepping into the shoes of the client in understanding the exact problem intensity and once you have duly understood it try proposing the methodology to solving that problem. The best way to do this is by talking to the client and the people working with them directly. Here the typical issue they are facing, their operational policies and the management policy can be unearthed. Check out if any past activities in similar grounds have been explored or executed. Here get the likes and dislikes your client has.

Try gathering more information like: how long they have been in business, who the major decision makers are within them, their products and services they offer, their competitiveness and their financial position in case they are willing to divulge upfront. If this is not possible to meet the people from the organisation depend on the secondary research to give you some information to initiate proceedings.

3. Devise a methodology: Once the problems are clearly identified, devise or develop steps to solve the problem. If this is challenging upfront try organising brain storming sessions internally and try bringing out a solution. To validate for practicality of the approach check to seeing if it is practical, cost wise economical, beneficial fits into the time slot required with the optimum resources involved.

4. Evaluation of Proposed Solution: To see if what you have devised as solution and what may be acceptable to your client check with them to see if they are fine with your approach. In simple terms it understanding the clients’ pulse. This means is your client cost or quality conscious. Based on the answer to this revisit your strategy and tinker your proposal’s scope of work.

5. Outwit your competitors: Remember this business proposal is a sales document with which you would like to persuade your client to work with you not your competitor. So in this reinforce with points that talk about your company’s strengths, how different and competent you are.

6. Draft your proposal: With all the points mentioned until the previous step now proceed to collating all the information in a format you can comfortably spell this out. In case a template is available organise these points accordingly. The following heads could be viable to look into:

  • Current Situation: This is giving a brief background of what the client company is currently into and giving details about the problem that they are facing now or why are looking to hire your company.
  • Goals: This needs to be clearly spelt out as a set of points to solve the problem being addressed.
  • Proposed Methodology: Detail the steps that shall enable the organisation to ultimately meet their goals and how you would enable them in this exercise.
  • Timing & Cost: This section clearly indicates how long your company will be engaged in this exercise, the resources to be involved the cost it takes to implementing this solution along with the mode and the schedule of payment.
  • Qualifications: This describes why your company is the best fit to address this problem, competitive strengths, experience of having executed similar such projects in the past and the evaluation criteria you have developed this solution on.

7. Review: Ensure to seeing if the business proposal fulfils all the requirements your client is seeking for and check for logical flow and connect. In addition to that have another set of eyes to proof read for any spelling or grammatical errors.

To ensure that the completed proposal looks thoroughly professional, print it on quality paper and have the final copy professionally bound. Then get ready to put your proposed solution into action. Remember many contracts are won based on the quality of the proposal prepared and do not let lethargy and carelessness loose out wonderful million dollar opportunities.

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