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The What, Why, and How of Business Proposal

Feb 14, 2023 · 7 min read

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Let’s say you’ve finally set up shop with this great business idea you’ve had for a while. Feels nice, but there’s got to be a way to put yourself out there and let those first prospective customers know why your solution is their best option, right? Well, that’s exactly what a business proposal is meant to do.

Of course, you’d have to choose the suitable way to approach your proposal depending on the type and size of the business you run — but don’t let that daunt you. Stick for a little bit as we get into it, and you’ll be all caught up by the end of this article.

What’s a business proposal?

A business proposal — not to be confused with a business plan — is a sales document that a business sends to a potential client. It may be requested by the customer or sent unsolicited, digital or printed, but it must outline your value proposition and show exactly how your product or service features can help solve the customer’s problem.

Do I really have to do that?

That depends on whether you want to succeed, to put it plainly. A lot of businesses actually rely on proposals to reach out and sell their services. You should also expect a great deal of customers to ask for one.

In fact, a well-written proposal can benefit you in ways you may not expect it to:

Sealing the deal

You have a great solution that all these potential customers are looking for, so make it your job to explain that in your proposal — as clearly as you can. Take into consideration their wants and needs and outline the roadmap that gets both of you there if you want to sign that contract.

Don’t just promise to do your best, but instead present yourself as a leader in the industry and show that you actually have the means to deliver the best case scenario. And remember: the customer is only able to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself.

Keeping it transparent

You don’t want any problems down the road just because you weren’t clear enough while making your proposition or didn’t bother to ask the customer for more details. A well-structured and thought-out business proposition leaves little to the imagination when it comes to your intentions and capabilities.

Don’t lead your customers on and always make sure you’ve got the right idea of what they’re interested in — this will surely help you avoid any misunderstanding in the future.

Building professional relationships

Nothing can make you look more professional in your customer’s eyes than presenting a great business proposal. If you take enough time to figure out the right approach, it will always show — and subsequently pay off.

Make sure that your writing and language are reserved and grammatically correct before you hit the Send button. You take your business seriously, don’t you?

Types of Business Proposals

As we mentioned earlier, there are a few ways to approach a business proposal. While remaining the same at its core, the form it takes essentially depends on whether it’s been asked for and the circumstances it was presented in. This being said, your proposal could fall into one of the three categories:


Grab the bull by the horns, they say — a customer might not have asked for your services yet, but you know there’s an opportunity for both of you here. Naturally, your move would be to introduce yourself and showcase the various ways this collaboration could work.

Informally solicited

Let’s say you met another business owner at a fundraiser or linked up with them on Instagram, for instance. There’s already a mutual interest in the air, but they obviously need to see more of the specifics before putting their bet on you. No problem whatsoever, because they can find out all about the prospects of working with you through your business proposal tomorrow morning.

Formally solicited

Casual networking can do wonders, but not everybody has time or is in a position for chit-chat. Sometimes a customer will send you a “request for proposal” (or RFP) that specifically outlines what they want from you. It means they’re on the market and you’re probably not the only one they’re looking at. To swing them in your favor, your business proposal should be mindful of the customer’s requirements, representing the best solution they can find. Their time for response will usually be limited, but when it’s a “yes”, you get yourself a legally binding agreement.

Making a perfect proposal

When it comes down to impressing a prospective customer, getting down on one knee might not do the trick. Instead, try focusing on all the steps below:

Do your research

Make sure you know who you’re dealing with to figure out the best approach.

Introduce yourself

A title page should include your and your company’s name, as well as the customer’s, followed by the submission date.

Write an executive summary

Go over the benefits of working with your company, so that anybody who doesn’t have the time to read the entire thing can get the idea of how you can solve their problem.

State the problem

Let your customer know that you understand their needs before you take action on them. A brief summary from your vantage point will do.

Propose a solution

For the heart of your proposal, outline the plan you came up with based on the customer’s requirements. A copy-paste in this case will only get you so far, so it has to be tailored specifically for them.

Show your accolades

This is where you can flex a bit — you’re the guy for the job, so let that be known. Any customer success stories, staff expertise and recognition from the press will surely give you bonus points.

Offer pricing options

No businessman will make a decision to work with you until they see the numbers, so make sure to include the whole range.

Include terms & conditions

This final part is sort of a template for what you both agree to, should the customer choose your offer: project roadmap, terms of payment and all the other important legal stuff you should definitely clear with your lawyers first.

Proofread the whole thing

No one’s perfect, some mistakes are bound to squeeze their way into the document — go over it when you’ve done all of the above to make sure it represents your intentions correctly.

Getting better

Make no mistake: you’re going to be writing a lot of proposals along the way. It might take some practice before you get the hang of it, so here are some more tips to making an offer no one can refuse:

Keep it simple

Don’t overcomplicate things. A business proposal should be however long it takes to get your point across.

Use active voice

“We will provide” works better than “you will be provided”. It just does.

Include engaging data

Numbers you’re proud of, visuals that represent your value — anything that can capture your customer’s attention and set you apart from other candidates.

Use a call to action

There should be no confusion when it comes to the steps following your proposal. What should a customer do if they like what they just read? Let ‘em know. And good luck!

Getting Perfect

Or you can forget everything we said and get your business proposal done on Enty in a matter of minutes. Just register on Enty, get to the “Contracts” section, answer a few simple questions, and your business proposal will be ready in a blink of an eye.

So, our main advice — work smarter, not harder and most importantly automate boring paperwork with Enty.
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