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Blog Business

How to Write Business Proposal (Examples + Free Templates)

By Aditya Sheth , Jan 25, 2024

How to Write Winning Business Proposals

The great Mark Cuban once said, “Sales cure all.” If a business doesn’t sell, it doesn’t make money and by extension the business fails. That’s why you need to write business proposals .

A well-written business proposal can often mean the difference between winning or losing a prospective client.

In this in-depth guide to creating business proposals, we show you how to close more deals, make more sales and crush your business goals — all by using easy-to-edit professional business proposal templates .

Here’s what this guide will cover (click to jump ahead):

What is a business proposal, what are the components of a business proposal.

  • How to write a business proposal step by step

What should you include in a business proposal?

What are the types of business proposals, more business proposal examples + writing and design tips.

  • FAQs about business proposals

Looking for a shortcut? Watch this quick video for an overview of everything to include in your business proposal:

A business proposal is a document designed to outline a business plan to convince potential client, investor or partner to engage in a business agreement with you or your company. It’s basically a sales pitch in writing to persuade potential clients to show them benefits of working with you or your company for their business success.

A business proposal outlines what your business does and what you can do for your client . It can be general like this business proposal example:

general business proposal template

Or it can be more specific, like this business proposal template which focuses on proposing a project for the Newton Center Rail:

simple business proposal project proposal template

Or this business proposal sample, which presents a plan for a social media strategy and campaign:

social media marketing business proposal template

To design a business proposal that holds the client’s attention, identify their pain points . Then provide your buyer with the right solution to alleviate those frustrations.

Working on a new project? These project proposal examples might come in handy for you.

The components of a business proposal can change depending on the field, company size and client needs. While details may differ, strong proposals typically introduce your company, explain the problem, offer a solution and its benefits, highlight your team’s skills, and outline timeline, cost and next steps.

How to write a business proposal step by step

Before you start creating your business proposal template, you need to understand the business proposal format. At a high level, your effective business proposal should include the following:

  • Create a compelling business proposal title
  • Build a table of contents
  • Craft the executive summary
  • Write a detailed problem statement
  • Propose your solutions
  • Showcase your team’s expertise
  • Create a realistic timeline
  • Present your payment structure
  • Specify the terms and conditions
  • Receiving the decision

Below, you can see business proposal examples that demonstrate how to include these 10 sections.

1. Create a compelling business proposal title

A compelling title could mean the difference between someone reading your proposal or ignoring it in favor of a competitor’s . 

What makes a good title page? Here are the essential elements to include: 

  • Your name along with your company’s name
  • The name of the prospect (or their business) 
  • The date you’re submitting the proposal

Gray Business Consulting Proposal Template Cover Page_Venngage

The gray business consulting proposal template above contains all the details a prospect would want to know. The title also offers a strong tangible benefit to the prospective buyer. Honestly, “Who doesn’t want to grow their business?”

2. Build a table of contents

The table of contents is a fundamental part of every winning business proposal template. It makes your proposal scannable and easy to read.

The people you will be pitching to are usually C-level executives. These are busy people who don’t have time to read your entire proposal in one go.

That’s why most of the business proposal examples in this list include a table of contents.

Adding a table of contents to your document makes it easy for them to go through it at their own pace. They can also skim through parts of the proposal that they deem more important. You can see how this abstract business proposal template uses the table of contents:

Creative Social Media Business Proposal Template Table of Contents

You can also make your business proposal template easier to navigate by adding hyperlinks to the document, particularly in the table of contents. This way your clients can jump to specific sections without having to scroll through the entire document. 

It’s easy to add hyperlinks in the Venngage editor. Select the text you’d like to turn into a link, then click the link icon in the top bar. From there, select the page you want to link to! Then download your completed design as an Interactive PDF .


3. Craft the executive summary

The executive summary is a staple in all kinds of annual reports , leadership development plan , project plans and even marketing plans . It is a concise summary of the entire contents of your document. In other words, write a business proposal outline that is easy to glance over and that highlights your value proposition.

The goals of your executive summary are:

  • Introduce your company to your buyer
  • Provide an overview of your company goals
  • Showcase your company’s milestones, overall vision and future plans
  • Include any other relevant details

This gray business proposal example has a detailed yet short executive summary including some social proof in the form of clients they’ve worked with:

Gray Business Consulting Proposal Template About Us

Take note of how precise this business proposal example is. You want to keep your executive summary concise and clear from the get-go. This sets the right tone for the rest of your proposal. It also gives your buyer a reason to continue reading your proposal.

Crafting an executive summary and keeping it concise and compelling can be challenging. but you can use an AI summarizer online to generate an executive summary. Such tools are trained on relevant AI models that can extract core points from a given text. You can get such a point either in bullet form or in abstract summary form.

Pro Tip: Try to write an executive summary such that, even if your prospective client doesn’t read the entire proposal (with a good executive summary, they most likely will), they should have a clear idea about what your company does and how you can help them.

4. Write a detailed problem statement

The point of writing a business proposal is to solve a buyer’s problem. Your goal is to outline the problem statement as clearly as possible. This develops a sense of urgency in your prospect. They will want to find a solution to the problem. And you have that solution.

 A well-defined problem statement does two things: 

  • It shows the prospect you have done your homework instead of sending a generic pitch
  • It creates an opportunity for you to point out a problem your prospect might not be aware they had in the first place. 

Texture Business Proposal Template

This bold business proposal template above clearly outlines the problem at hand and also offers a ray of hope i.e. how you can solve your prospect’s problem. This brings me to… 

5. P ropose your solutions

The good stuff. In the proposed solution section, you show how you can alleviate your prospective buyer’s pain points. This can fit onto the problem statement section but if you have a comprehensive solution or prefer to elaborate on the details, a separate section is a good idea.

Spare no details regarding the solution you will provide. When you write a business proposal, explain how you plan to deliver the solution. Include an estimated timeline of when they can expect your solution and other relevant details.

For inspiration, look at how this business proposal template quickly and succinctly outlines the project plan, deliverables and metrics :

Sales Plan Proposal Table Template_Venngage

6. Showcase your team’s expertise

At this point, the prospect you’re pitching your solution to likes what they’re reading. But they may not trust you to deliver on your promises. Why is this?

It’s because they don’t know you. Your job is to convince them that you can fix their problem. This section is important because it acts as social proof. You can highlight what your company does best and how qualified your team is when you write a business proposal for a potential client.

business proposal qualifications section

This free business proposal template showcases the company’s accolades, client testimonials, relevant case studies, and industry awards. You can also include other forms of social proof to establish yourself as a credible business. This makes it that much more likely that they will say yes!

Pro Tip: Attaching in-depth case studies of your work is a great way to build trust with a potential client by showcasing how you’ve solved similar problems for other clients in the past. Our case study examples post can show you how to do just that.

7. Create a realistic timeline

To further demonstrate just how prepared you are, it’s important to outline the next steps you will take should your buyer decide to work with you.

Provide a timeline of how and when you will complete all your deliverables. You can do this by designing a  flow chart . Or add a  roadmap  with deadlines. Pitching a long-term project? A timeline infographic would be a better fit.

If you look at this abstract business proposal template below, even something as simple as a table can do the trick.

Abstract Business Consulting Proposal Template Timeline_Venngage

The timeline is not always set in stone, rather it’s an estimation. The goal is to clarify any questions your potential client might have about how you will deliver for the underlying B2B sales process.

8. Present your payment and terms

On this page, you can outline your fees, payment schedule, invoice payment terms , as well as legal aspects involved in this deal. You can even use the  Excel Invoice Template  to create professional-looking invoices (including brand logo and other elements) and add them to this page.

The key to good pricing is to provide your buyer with options. A  pricing comparison table can help with this. You want to give your client some room to work with. Make sure you’re not scaring off your client with a high price, nor undervaluing yourself. 

Breaking up your pricing in stages is another great way to make sure your potential client knows what he’s paying for. Look at how this simple business proposal template does this:

Bold Business Proposal Template Pricing Page_Venngage

The legal aspects can slot right into the terms and conditions section. Alternatively, you can add them to the signature section of the proposal to keep things simple.

9. Specify the terms and conditions

Summarize everything you have promised to deliver so far. Include what you expect from your prospective buyer in return.   Add the overall project timeline from start to end, as well as payment methods and payment schedule, incorporating these details into an online digital project management tool. This way, both of you will be clear on what is being agreed on.

This step is very important as it outlines all the legal aspects of the deal. That is why the terms and conditions section of your proposal needs to be as clear as possible.

Modern Business Proposal

I recommend consulting a lawyer or your legal team when working on this section of the business proposal. If you’re a business veteran and understand the legalities of your business, you can use the same terms and conditions across all your proposals.

10. Receiving the decision

The final step of this whole process. Your client has read your business proposal and they want to buy what you have to offer.

Add a small section at the end of your proposal to get the necessary signatures. This way, you and your client can sign the proposal and the partnership becomes official.

Be sure to also include your contact information in your business proposal template. It acts as a gentle prompt to your client to contact you in case they have any questions. A professional way of doig that would be to include an e-business card with your contact details, email i.d and any other social links you want to share. You can go through this article for the best digital business cards .


A business proposal usually aims to answer the following questions: 

  • Who you are and what your company does
  • The problem your buyer is facing
  • The solution your company offers to alleviate the problem
  • How your company will implement this solution effectively
  • An estimate of resources (time, money, etc) required to implement the solution

You can see how this sample business proposal template covers the above points.

business project proposal template

Notice how this proposal template addresses the same project like in one of the previous templates, but uses a completely different design style (more retro, while the previous business proposal template is more modern and minimalistic).

Generally, there are three types of business proposals:

1. Formally solicited 

A formally solicited business proposal is made when you respond to an official request to write a business proposal.

In this scenario, you know all the requirements and have more (if not all) information about a prospective buyer. You simply need to write the business proposal for your buyer to evaluate so you can begin the sales process .

2. Informally solicited 

Informally solicited business proposals are written when there isn’t an official request for a proposal. A prospective buyer is interested in your services and asks for a proposal so they can evaluate it.

An informally solicited proposal requires a lot more research from your end. These types of proposals are usually created out of informal conversations. They are not based on official requests which often contain more detail.

3. Unsolicited 

Think of this as a marketing brochure or a cold email . Unsolicited business proposals will often take a generic, one-size-fits-all approach to business proposals. Unsolicited proposals lack any understanding of the buyer or their requirements.

But with additional  market research , personalization and identifying customer pain points , you can propose a customized solution based on your buyer’s needs. This can be a very persuasive approach, such as in this business proposal example:

corporate business proposal example

Now that you know how to write a business proposal, let’s look at how you can optimize your proposal to deliver results!

Below you’ll find some winning business proposal templates and examples to get you started. I’ve also included some design tips to keep in mind when you’re creating your next business proposal: 

1. Know your audience 

If you have some clarity on who your ideal buyer is — their pain points, their budget, deadlines, among other things — you’ve already won half the battle.

If you are a business that helps clients with everything from running giveaways or helping grow their blog , identify which customers to pitch. This is a sure-shot way to close the deal.

Mapping user personas  for your ideal buyer can help bring some clarity. It will also help you position your business proposal correctly. This improves the chance of your buyer moving your business proposal to the “Yes!” pile.

2. Put your brand front and center

If your company follows certain brand guidelines, incorporate them in your business proposal templates. Consider how business proposal examples like the one below highlight brand identity :

content marketing plan business proposal example

From the color palettes to the company logos , everything follows their brand guidelines. The result: a business proposal that’s consistent across the board.

Pro Tip: Switching this template to match your brand assets is actually pretty easy. Venngage’s My Brand Kit feature allows you to import your color palettes, logos as well as font choices. Any Venngage template can now be your template.

You can also consider this sample business proposal template:

Example of a Business Proposal

App design companies sure do know their design. They did a phenomenal job keeping their brand colors consistent while opting for a black design. This unique color scheme also makes their white logo prominent throughout the proposal.

3. Try less text, more visuals

Have you ever read a proposal and thought to yourself, “Wow, this is all text and has no images, I love it!”? Yeah, me neither.

The free business proposal template below is a perfect example of the “less is more” principle. It does a phenomenal job of communicating what it needs to. By substituting some of the text with icons and visuals, you get a clean business proposal that’s much more scannable.

Social Media Plan Proposal Template

Want to keep things strictly professional? Instead of icons, you can always add your team’s headshots. This shows your buyer exactly who they’ll be working with.  

Check out this formal business proposal format for some inspiration:

Red Human Resources Consulting Proposal Template Team

4. Switch up your business proposal designs

It doesn’t hurt to go above and beyond once in a while. Jazz up your business proposal template with some extra colors. This helps make your business proposal more engaging. It also helps your buyers retain information faster.

Simple Business Proposal Example

The business proposal example alternates between black, white and grey backgrounds. It still manages to maintain consistency in its branding . Just switching up your backgrounds once in a while can also bring in some variety to an otherwise standard business proposal.

This SEO business proposal sample proves that it’s possible to switch up the colors in every other page. But it still maintains the same color scheme across the entire proposal just like a professionally designed website : 

SEO Marketing Proposal

Pro Tip: Not a color expert? Our guide on picking colors can help you pick the right color scheme for your proposals.

FAQ about business proposals

What is the purpose of a business proposal.

A business proposal aims to streamline the B2B sales process (which is often complex ) between you as a seller and a buyer.

It does this by serving the dual purpose of acting as a source of information. The proposal also acts as a sales pitch aimed at convincing your buyer why they should buy what you have to offer.

What are the best practices for business proposal design?

  • Do a thorough spell-check. The goal of your business proposal is to convince your buyer why you’re the perfect person for the job. A proposal with typos or grammatical errors communicates the opposite. A thorough spell-check before you send your proposal is a must.
  • Keep things clear and readable: Clarity is an important aspect that you have to ensure in your business proposal. If you want your proposal to hit home and make an impact on the buyer, you have to write it in an understandable way. To keep things clear and readable, there are a couple of things that you can do. You can, for one, take care to use easy wording and segmented sentences from the get-go. You can also try paraphrasing the hard parts of your proposal once you are done writing it.
  • Let your brand shine. As discussed before, writing a business proposal is all about knowing your ideal buyer and focusing on their pain points. But that doesn’t mean your business proposal template has to be boring. Demonstrate how different you are compared to other companies. You can do this through your brand guidelines , by using more visuals, switching up your proposal design or showing off your personality in your writing . 
  • Create a business proposal PDF. Downloading your business proposal in PDF format allows you to attach other collaterals with your business proposal. These can include a company explainer video or case studies showcasing the work done with past clients. Also, who doesn’t love saving paper?

How long should your business proposal be? 

The length depends on the scope of the work as well as the complexity of the project. Here is a one-page business proposal template:

one page business proposal template

Can your business proposal template really be one page? Yes, as long as you understand who your buyer is and their pain points. You should also have the ability to communicate everything your ideal buyer needs to know about your business in a succinct manner.

Or if you’re feeling adventurous how about just two pages? Often, clients prefer if you go straight to the point and avoid all the fluff.

For example, this green modern marketing proposal template wastes no time in getting down to brass tacks:

Project Business Proposal

Need more inspiration? Check out this blog on the 5 marketing proposal examples that’ll help elevate your business.

There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to deciding how many pages you should include in your business proposal template. And at the end of the day, “the only rules are the ones you set for yourself”.

At the end of the day, writing winning business proposals that sell is all about you understanding your buyer, their potential pain points and positioning yourself as someone who can alleviate those pain points. 

Now that you know how to write compelling business proposals, what are you waiting for?

Take action and start creating your own business proposals to close more deals and grow your business today!

More business communications templates + writing tips you might be interested in…

  • 31 Consulting Proposal Templates to Close Deals
  • 20+ Professional Business Letterhead Templates + Branding Tips
  • How to Write a White Paper [Tips & Templates]

Sales | How To

How to Write a Business Proposal (+ Template & Examples)

Published February 27, 2023

Published Feb 27, 2023

Jess Pingrey

REVIEWED BY: Jess Pingrey

Bianca Caballero

WRITTEN BY: Bianca Caballero

This article is part of a larger series on Sales Management .

Free Business Proposal Template

  • 1 Determine Sales Proposal Requirements
  • 2 Gather Necessary Information
  • 3 Design Your Proposed Solution
  • 4 Calculate Pricing
  • 5 Draft Your Proposal
  • 6 Edit Your Proposal Draft
  • 7 Send Your Proposal
  • 8 Follow Up With Your Recipient
  • 9 Best Practices in Writing Sales Proposals
  • 10 Bottom Line

A business proposal is a document sent to a prospective client that outlines a firm’s product or service offerings. It also explains how you will provide a solution, the cost, timeline, and qualifying information, such as your background and prior work experience. In this article, we outline eight steps for how to create a business proposal, offer a free proposal template, and provide best practices for writing proposals.

Creating a sales proposal can feel tedious, especially if you’re drafting it from scratch each time. We’ve created a free template that you can use as a resource for your sales proposal.


Free Sales Business Proposal Template

A screenshot of Fit Small Business' Sales Business Proposal Template cover page

Thank you for downloading!

💡 Quick Tip:

Use ClickUp for free to see your entire sales funnel in one place.

  • ✓ Free forever, unlimited users
  • ✓ Manage all leads, emails and tasks
  • ✓ Create presentations, lead forms, and contracts
  • ✓ Professional workspace templates

After you’ve downloaded our free template above, you can now customize it according to your business needs as you follow the steps to writing a proposal below:

1. Determine Sales Proposal Requirements

The first step in learning how to write a business proposal is knowing what needs to be included. Government agencies, public universities, and large corporations typically use requests for proposals (RFPs). These are formal solicitation requests for products or services in which the requirements are normally laid out line by line and must be followed precisely.

If you are writing a proposal for a potential customer undergoing your unique sales process , include things a decision-maker would like to see. For instance, pricing, timelines, and the proposed solution regarding quantities and the mode of product or service delivery are critical purchasing factors enclosed in the document.

Pro tip: ClickUp is a free-forever project management tool that helps teams:

  • Create professional proposals
  • Collaborate with shared tasks and team chat
  • Assign tasks to teammates

Visit ClickUp

ClickUp project management board (Source: ClickUp )

2. Gather Necessary Information

Gathering essential information and materials for your proposal can be complex because each potential client may want different details. This could demand other personnel to get involved in pulling the documents and information needed. For instance, some may only request the price and proposed solution, while others will ask for your background story, client reference lists, and work samples to show you’re qualified.

While learning how to write a proposal for business purposes, you may have to dig around your file database for company information, employee biographies, marketing materials, and pricing sheets. Keeping all resources needed for a proposal in one place makes this process easier. Use customer relationship management (CRM) systems to track your proposal progress and acquire what’s needed to draft it in one place.

Pro tip: HubSpot is a popular CRM platform that lets you monitor opportunities using sales pipelines and store documents—all in one system. You can utilize the Sales Documents feature to store, share, and customize templates and materials you’ll need for your proposals.

A screenshot of HubSpot's deals and opportunities pipeline

HubSpot’s deals and opportunities pipeline (Source: HubSpot )

A screenshot of HubSpot's sales documents library

HubSpot’s Sales Documents library (Source: HubSpot )

3. Design Your Proposed Solution

Your proposed solution involves the processes, materials, product quantities, and personnel required to fulfill the offerings or address your customer’s problem statement. Additionally, it should be included in the scope of work section in the proposal. For businesses that only provide a product, such as equipment for a manufacturing plant, this step could be as easy as knowing the quantity and having a logistics plan for delivery and installment.

For more service-based businesses, such as business consultants or content development services, there will likely be more steps and deliverables to complete the work. Regardless of your business, you can use the five W’s and an H methodology to construct a proposed solution that addresses your prospect’s primary pain points:

  • Who: Who will be involved, do the work, manage, and be a point of contact for the prospect?
  • What: What solutions or products will be delivered, and what resources, processes, or technology will be used?
  • Where: Where will work be done or delivered to?
  • When: When will the work start and be completed, what are the key milestones throughout the project, and when is each deliverable expected to occur?
  • Why: Why did you choose this particular solution for this customer’s needs?
  • How: How will work be done, managed, and checked for high quality and customer satisfaction?

For example, a business-to-business (B2B) content writing business might be trying to address a statement of needs issued by a client: “We would like to express thought leadership on the topic of the Zero Trust Cybersecurity Framework.” In this case, the business could use the solution in this business proposal example:

The objective of this business proposal is to demonstrate how ABC Writing Agency can promote the thought leadership of Cybersecurity Corp. for the Zero Trust Security Model. We believe the best course of action is to research and copyright a branded e-book (roughly 4,000 words) regarding Zero Trust Security, the details of the solution, its benefits, and the modern-day security challenges it solves (what) with the final product completed in August 2022. (when) The e-book will use your logo and branding scheme to convey your personal grasp on the subject and thought leadership using a series of direct quotes and statistical callouts. (why)

To ensure high-quality work and client satisfaction, we will begin with an initial call to construct a detailed outline discussing the sections, style guides, tone, and to retrieve direct quotes. Following an initial draft, multiple rounds of edits will take place between Cybersecurity Corp. and ABC Writing Agency to develop a final draft. (how)

The project will be led by our senior editor, Collin Buchanan, and content manager, Jake Cunningham, who comes from the world of cybersecurity. Our team will utilize and manage freelancers experienced in writing e-books on technical topics to research and copyright the asset. (who) All work will be completed by us virtually and delivered via Google Docs. (where)

4. Calculate Pricing

Once you know how you’ll provide your product or service, the next step in writing a proposal is formulating the costs to specify in the document’s pricing section. This is one of the toughest steps because of all the factors that need to be considered, such as product cost and other expenses. That’s why it is critical to accurately communicate your costs to avoid losing a deal for overcharging—or worse—winning a deal with significantly underestimated costs.

As you price everything, you can either do a flat fee, hourly rate, per-unit charge, or some combination of the three. Sometimes, it’s best to work backward by establishing your desired probability first in the form of a percent like 20% profit or a flat dollar amount such as $10,000 above the work cost.

For example, you want to make a 20% profit on the work for an equipment installation job for a manufacturing business, and you’re pricing using a flat fee. You’ve itemized the costs as the following:

  • 1 x $80,000 manufacturing equipment = $80,000
  • 3 installation/delivery employees x 5 hours x $32 per hour = $480 wages
  • $480 employee wages x 7% employer payroll tax = $33.6 payroll tax
  • $480 employee wages x 20% benefits and workers’ compensation = $96 benefits and compensation
  • $200 for the delivery truck and gas = $200 for delivery costs

When you add all the itemized expenses, the total cost for this installation job will be around $80,809. To get the total, you need to charge this customer to meet your desired profitability, and multiply it by 20% to get $16,162. Add that to your total cost ($80,809 + $16,162), and $96,971 is the flat fee you will charge for the installation job.

Pro tip: Struggling to visualize your pricing process? Try using these seven free estimate templates . Designed for various business types, these templates allow you to outline and itemize the costs of providing work to share with your customers to help win more deals easily.

5. Draft Your Proposal

Now that you know your proposal requirements, have gathered the necessary information, determined the proposed solution, and calculated pricing, you are ready to draft the document. Following along with our free template, your draft will consist of the following elements:

The title page leans more toward showing the professionalism of your business than providing information. There should be a specific title establishing the purpose, such as “ABC Writing Agency Proposal for Cybersecurity Corp. to Promote Thought Leadership on Zero Trust Security.”

Also, be sure to indicate who the proposal was prepared for in terms of the decision-making person and their company name. Add your logo to the front and the contact information for the primary point of contact for your business so they can contact you with further questions.

Table of Contents

Use a table of contents to break down each part of the proposal for business so they can easily navigate through it. Because of the digital age we live in, we recommend linking your table of contents electronically to each associated section. That way, those reading your proposal can go to any part of the document by clicking on the table of contents.

Executive Summary

The executive summary takes everything in your proposal and compresses it into one paragraph. Essentially, if a reader reads this section, they should be able to grasp the general idea of your solution. Here’s a business proposal example using the content writing example above:

With over 10 years of experience in writing high-quality marketing assets, we are eager to assist Cybersecurity Corp in its endeavor to promote thought leadership on Zero Trust Security. We plan to achieve this by writing a comprehensive e-book using engaging copy, stat callouts, and direct quotes from your leaders to help associate the security framework with your brand.

Company Background

Here’s your time to talk about your inception story, mission statement , founding purpose, and company history. You can also provide biographies and professional pictures of your company founders, leaders, and key personnel that might be involved in the work you provide.

This is also the time to express your unique selling proposition . In other words, addressing the question “why choose us” over competitors. Lastly, if you’ve had any recognition or won any company awards, this is the section to highlight those successes.

Scope of Work

This section correlates with creating your proposed solution in step three as you present it in an actionable business plan. Describe the work that will be completed and the tangible deliverables associated with it.

In this small business proposal example, we see how a content writing business might construct a scope of work:

We will provide content writing services to create predetermined marketing assets for Cybersecurity Corp. This includes researching online data for usable information, interviewing subject matter experts (SMEs) for additional insights and quotes, copywriting drafts, inserting callouts, and making edits per revision requests made by Cybersecurity Corp. Deliverables for the scope of work above include:

  • 1 x outline developed by ABC Writing Agency and approved by Cybersecurity Corp.
  • 1 x drafted e-book (max. 4,000 words) delivered by Google Doc

No matter how long your scope of work is, it’s crucial to avoid industry or technical jargon that the general audience may not understand. Take the time to review the scope of work and translate any statements that may be misunderstood or confusing.

Be sure to indicate how long you expect it to take to complete the entire scope of work. It’s also a good idea to provide estimates for each milestone or individual deliverable you set. Whenever possible, present the information visually to help your reader absorb it better. Below is a sales proposal timeline example for a sales consulting business and its milestones.

Pricing or Price Estimate

For this section, take the price calculation you did in step four and present it to the potential customer. While you should itemize it to show where the price comes from, avoid adding your desired profitability, as that should be private to your business. Make sure it’s clear as to how each item is priced, whether that be hourly, per unit, or a flat fee.

This section should also be used to explain payment expectations, e.g., when invoices must be paid by, how much money is required upfront vs after work is completed, refund policy, and if other billable expenses can be included automatically or require client approval.

Be upfront with your estimate if you don’t know how many units you’ll need or how many hours it will take to accomplish your business offering. Provide an explanation and an estimated range.

Conclusion, Terms & Appendix

The final sections should include additional information that could be useful to your prospective client. A conclusion should express your gratitude for the opportunity and explain the next steps to move forward. Terms (or terms and conditions) can be added in a proposal or in the service agreement to cover legal aspects of a working contract, like contract dispute policies, confidentiality, rules on subcontracting, etc.

The appendix is optional but would utilize visuals or supplemental documents to enrich your proposal. For instance, you might include links to sample work, a client reference list, or a catalog of options for materials or software vendors from which the client can choose.

6. Edit Your Proposal Draft

Once you have completed the first draft of your proposal, run it by multiple departments to ensure it is comprehensive and accurate. Some things to consider as you review it for potential revisions:

  • Has strong readability: The proposal uses appropriate style, tone, and structured sentences to create a clean flow of information understood by the specific reader.
  • Avoids grammar and technical errors: The proposal avoids punctuation, spelling, or other errors related to proper writing mechanics.
  • Addresses requirements: The proposal contains all the information and sections required to meet the reader’s or customer’s needs and objectives.

Use editing tools such as Grammarly to evaluate your business proposal writing for enhanced quality. Grammarly lets users upload text into a system to check for grammar and spelling mistakes as well as for engagement and readability of content. There’s also a plagiarism check feature to evaluate the text to billions of pages online. You can even adjust style preferences when subscribing to Grammarly Business to ensure it meets all your goals.

A screenshot showing an example of Grammarly Business' in-line writing suggestion

Grammarly Business’ in-line writing suggestion (Source: Grammarly Business )

Pro tip: Use graphic design tools like Canva to give your sales proposal the professional touch it needs. Canva is a user-friendly platform with thousands of free templates for presentations, marketing materials, social media posts, and proposals for business. Users of all design skill levels can easily turn regular copies into visual masterpieces.

A screenshot showing several business proposal templates in Canva

Canva’s sales proposal templates (Source: Canva )

7. Send Your Proposal

Now that your proposal is drafted, edited, and has the aesthetics it needs, it’s time to send the document for review. More formal submissions for RFPs may require that you submit them in person, electronically, or both, so review those provisions carefully before sending them in.

Some sales plans incorporate unsolicited proposals to new leads to present problems they didn’t know existed with viable solutions they could offer. In these cases, they use the proposal to get their foot in the door and create sales opportunities.

When taking this course of action, it’s important to add context to the unsolicited proposal. For instance, in a sales email , briefly introduce yourself, your business, and what services you provide. Furthermore, indicate why you wanted to send a proposal to them specifically and let them know they can reach out if they wish to discuss it further.

8. Follow Up With Your Recipient

Even after you send a proposal, the process is not over. Make time to follow up to confirm the contact received the proposal and see if they have any questions. Because of the proposals’ details, there are usually other clarification steps in the procurement process, such as interviews, client meetings , or sales presentations before work begins.

We recommend using a customer relationship management (CRM) system with task management capabilities to ensure sales reps don’t forget to reach out to a prospect after a proposal is initially sent. A CRM like Pipedrive lets you design and assign tasks to team members from within a project. You can also create projects that are linked to open or won deals.

Pipedrive’s project and task management feature (Source: Pipedrive )

Best Practices in Writing Sales Proposals

Now that you know the steps in how to write a business proposal, there are a few tips you can practice and maintain to produce thoughtful and effective proposals.

Keep It Simple

When learning how to make a business proposal, remember to write short, simple sentences. While there is no strict rule on the business proposal format or length, make sure it is straightforward and easy to understand. Avoid loading it with too much business jargon and fancy words. Instead, strike the sweet spot between conveying essential information and ensuring anyone who reads it can understand it.

Outline Major Sections & Pertinent Information

The first thing to do when learning how to do a business proposal is to outline all the major sections of your document. This should also include all the pertinent information that you want to get across. The business proposal outline will help you stay focused on the main points of the document and keep your ideas from drifting away.

Add Data & Visuals

Capture your prospect’s attention by including quantitative data and figures highlighting your offerings and the value of your company. For example, you can show your month-on-month sales trends as proof of your stellar performance. Adding visual elements like charts and graphs can also help make your proposal more engaging.

Increase Credibility With Social Proof

Assert your company’s credibility. Many prospects won’t readily believe your claims about your business and are most likely to trust the word of their own peers and other customers. To help build your credibility and gain their trust, include social proof, such as reviews and testimonials from your own customers.

Use a Call to Action (CTA)

After the prospect reads your proposal, direct them to the next step. Use a call to action with a verb that defines what they should do to act on their interest in your proposal. Examples of CTAs are “Subscribe today” or “Download this guide now.” You can also use a CTA with a no-obligation statement like “Sign up, it’s free” for prospects who perceive risks in taking action.

Another excellent idea when adding CTAs is to create a sense of urgency to make your prospect feel that now is the best time to subscribe to your service. Some people are motivated to do something right away for fear of missing out (FOMO). That said, phrases like “Limited-time offer” and “On sale now for 20% off” can trigger action from prospects.

Stay True to Your Brand

Each company has a different brand voice and personality. Staying true to your business brand is a great way to stand out among your competitors. For instance, if your company sells baby clothes, it is best to use language that parents with babies can relate to, like “cute and cuddly” or “snug and comfy.” Use a more formal tone of voice in your proposal if you are selling office wear.

Bottom Line

Many business owners and sales managers would like to standardize their proposal-writing system. However, it can be tricky to address the unique needs of every solicited and unsolicited opportunity to get the correct information in order and present their proposed solutions. Our how-to sales proposal examples and free template will help you streamline your bidding process to win more deals.

About the Author

Bianca Caballero

Find Bianca On LinkedIn

Bianca Caballero

Bianca Caballero is a subject matter expert at Fit Small Business who covers Sales and Customer service topics. Prior to working at FSB, she was in field sales and territory management. When she launched her career as a writer, she worked with companies from the US, Australia, and China. At present, she uses her 12+ years of writing experience to provide FSB readers with the best answers to their questions.

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How to Write a Business Proposal in 7 Steps

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Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C company, you’re in the business of convincing customers to choose to spend their money with your business. For a B2B company that process usually involves a business proposal. In the B2B industry, once you've attracted new customers, which are most likely other businesses, you have to actually make a deal. Unlike B2C companies, who use marketing strategies and then hope their customers respond and purchase their product and service, there's a little more involved in this exchange. That's where your business proposal will come into the picture.

Luckily, even though your process and the exact format for your business proposal can be unique to your company, there is also a general formula you can follow to make things easier, especially the first few times you write a proposal.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the general steps of how to write a business proposal—including how to decide what kind of proposal you're writing, how you should organize it, and what information you should include.

i have a business proposal for you

How to write a b usiness proposal: 7 essential steps to follow

With these starting points in mind, let's get down to the process. Whether you’re just learning how to write a business proposal, or want to change up the one you’ve already been using, you’ll want to break down writing into a step-by-step approach. The organization is key when you’re writing a business proposal—structure will not only help you answer the core questions mentioned above, but it’ll also help you create consistent, successful proposals every time you’re pitching new business.

This being said, when writing a business proposal, you can break down the document into these sections:


Table of contents

Executive summary

Project details

Deliverables and milestones

Bonus: Appendix (if necessary)

Step 1: Introduction

The introduction to your business proposal should provide your client with a succinct overview of what your company does (similar to the company overview in your business plan). It should also include what sets your company apart from its peers, and why it’s particularly well-suited to be the selected vendor to undertake a job—whether the assignment is a singular arrangement or an ongoing relationship.

The most effective business proposal introductions accomplish more with less: It’s important to be comprehensive without being overly wordy. You'll want to resist the temptation to share every detail about your company’s history and lines of business, and don’t feel the need to outline every detail of your proposal. You'll want to keep the introduction section to one page or shorter.

Step 2: Table of contents

Once you've introduced your business and why you're the right fit for the client you're submitting the proposal to (a quasi-cover letter), you'll want to next create a table of contents. Like any typical table of contents, this section will simply outline what the client can expect to find in the remainder of the proposal. You'll include all of the sections that we'll cover below, simply laid out as we just did above.

If you're sending an electronic proposal, you may want to make the table of contents clickable so the client can easily jump from section to section by clicking the links within the actual table of contents.

Step 3: Executive summary

Next, your business proposal should always include an executive summary that frames out answers to the who, what, where, when, why, and how questions that you’re proposing to the client lead. Here, the client will understand that you understand them.

It's important to note that despite the word "summary," this section shouldn't be a summary of your whole business proposal. Instead, this section should serve as your elevator pitch or value proposition. You'll use the executive summary to make an explicit case for why your company is the best fit for your prospect’s needs. Talk about your strengths, areas of expertise, similar problems you’ve solved, and the advantages you provide over your competitors—all from the lens of how these components could help your would-be client’s business thrive.

Step 4: Project details

When it comes to how to write a business proposal, steps four through six will encompass the main body of your proposal—where your potential client will understand how you’ll address their project and the scope of the work.

Within this body, you'll start by explaining your recommendation, solution, or approach to servicing the client. As you get deeper within your explanation, your main goal will be to convey to the client that you’re bringing something truly custom to the table. Show that you've created this proposal entirely for them based on their needs and any problems they need to solve. At this point, you'll detail your proposed solution, the tactics you’ll undertake to deliver on it, and any other details that relate to your company’s recommended approach.

Step 5: Deliverables and milestones

This section will nest inside the project details section, but it’s an essential step on its own.

Your proposal recipient doesn’t get merely an idea of your plan, of course—they get proposed deliverables. You'll outline your proposed deliverables here with in-depth descriptions of each (that might include quantities or the scope of services, depending on the kind of business you run). You never want to assume a client is on the same page as you with expectations, because if you’re not aligned, they might think you over-promised and under-delivered. Therefore, this is the section where you'll want to go into the most detail.

Along these lines, you can also use this section of the prospective client's proposal to restrict the terms and scope of your services. This can come in handy if you’re concerned that the work you’re outlining could lead to additional projects or responsibilities that you’re not planning to include within your budget.

Moreover, you might also want to consider adding milestones to this section, either alongside deliverables or entirely separately. Milestones can be small, such as delivery dates for a specific package of project components, or when you send over your first draft of a design. Or, you can choose to break out the project into phases. For longer projects, milestones can be a great way to convey your company’s organization and responsibility.

Step 6: Budget

There’s no way around the fact that pricing projects isn’t easy or fun—after all, you need to balance earning what you’re worth and proving value, while also not scaring away a potential client, or getting beaten out by a competitor with a cheaper price. Nevertheless, a budget or pricing section is an integral part of a business proposal, so you'll want to prepare your pricing strategy ahead of time before getting into the weeds of any proposal writing.

This being said, if you fear the fee might seem too high to your potential client, you might decide to break out the individual components of the budget—for example: social media services, $700; web copywriting $1,500—or create a few different tiers of pricing with different services contained in each. The second approach might not work for all types of businesses or proposal requests, but it may be worth considering if you’re worried about your overall fee appearing steep.

With these points in mind, once you've determined how to outline your pricing, you'll list it out (you might even include optional fees or services) and the overall cost for the scope of work you've described.

Step 7: Conclusion

Finally, your conclusion should wrap up your understanding of the project, your proposed solutions, and what kind of work (and costs) are involved. This is your last opportunity to make a compelling case within your business proposal—reiterate what you intend to do, and why it beats your competitors’ ideas.

If you're writing an RFP, again, meaning a potential client has requested this document from you, you might also include a terms and conditions section at this point. This end-on piece would detail the terms of your pricing, schedule, and scope of work that the client would be agreeing to by accepting this proposal.

Bonus step: Appendix (optional)

After the conclusion, you might also decide to include an appendix—where you add any supplemental information that that either doesn’t fit within the main proposal without being disruptive for the reader, or is less than essential to understanding the main components of your proposal. You’ll likely only need an appendix if you have stats, figures, illustrations, or examples of work that you want to share with your potential client. This being said, you might also include contact information, details about your team, and other relevant information in this section.

If you don't have any additional information to include, don't worry—you can end your business proposal with the conclusion section.

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Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Business proposal considerations

Before you dive into determining how to write a business proposal that will give you a competitive edge, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

First, you'll want to make sure that you’re accomplishing the right objectives with your proposal. When writing a business proposal, you’re trying to walk a line between both promoting your company and addressing the needs of your would-be client, which can be difficult for any company to do.

This being said, you'll want to remember that a business proposal is different than a business plan, which you likely already wrote for your company when you were starting your business. Your business plan spells out your company's overall growth goals and objectives, but a business proposal speaks directly to a specific could-be client with the purpose of winning their business for your company.

With this in mind, in order to write a business proposal for any potential client, you'll need to establish your internal objectives and how these will contribute to the work you're proposing. To explain, you'll need to consider the following:

What tasks will need to be done for this work?

Who will do each task, and oversee the job at large?

What you’ll charge for the job?

Where will the work be delivered?

When will it be done?

Why are you the best fit for the job the client needs to be accomplished?

How will you achieve results?

Not only are these questions at the heart of clear and concise writing, but you also won't be able to write your business proposal without answers to them. So as you're going through the different pieces of your business proposal, keep in mind the objectives of your business, while also remaining persuasive regarding why the potential client should work with you instead of someone else.

The next important thing you'll need to keep in mind before you start writing a business proposal is what kind of proposal are you writing. Essentially, there are two types of business proposals—solicited proposals where someone requested the proposal from your company—and unsolicited proposals, where you're sending the document to another business unprompted.

In the case of solicited proposals, often called RFPs (short for a request for proposal), it’s likely that this potential client already knows at least a little about your business. With these kinds of business proposals, you'll want to spend less time convincing the client that you're the best small business consultant for the job and more on making your proposal feel custom to their specific brief, project, or problem. On the whole, the less generic your business proposal is, the more likely you are to win the work.

Unsolicited proposals, on the other hand, are much harder to sell.

As you’re writing a business proposal to a company that doesn’t know they may need your services, you’ll want to focus on getting them to understand why your company is specifically unique. You want to show them that you can add significant value to their business that they don’t already have. If there is currently someone performing the function you would like to, the sell will even be more difficult.

Business proposal examples

So, now that we've gone through all of the steps to show you how to write a business proposal, let's discuss some examples. As you go through the writing process, you might find it's helpful to consult external resources to review business proposal samples or templates and see how other businesses have structured these types of documents. Specifically, it might be even more helpful to review business proposal examples that relate to your particular industry—such as marketing, advertising, or finance.

General business proposal sample

If you're looking for a general business proposal example, you might consult BPlan, which offers advice, examples, and templates for the documents that are required to plan and operate a small business. In the BPlan sample, BPlan breaks their example into three overarching parts—a problem statement, a proposed solution, and a pricing estimate. This may be a good place to start if you're writing a business proposal for the first time and need a simple, general example to follow.

For a solicited proposal or RFP, you may want to reference a business proposal example that specifically operates under the assumption that you've been asked for this proposal. In this case, you may check out one of the downloadable RFP templates from Template Lab.

Template Lab offers both Word and PDF versions of their templates—and these business proposal samples will include sections more appropriate for RFPs including terms and conditions, scheduling, and points of contact.

Business proposal template services or software

For the most advanced and plug-and-play type business proposal samples, you may decide to utilize a service like Proposify or PandaDoc. These software services allow you to choose from their library of professionally designed and outlined business proposal examples (which are also usually industry-specific) and customize the template for your business's needs.

It's important to note, however, that although you may be able to sign up for a free trial for these services, most of them will eventually require a paid subscription.

5 best practices for writing a business proposal

Writing a business proposal can seem overwhelming at first, as it requires you to provide information about your company and its services as they relate specifically to what your prospect needs. As you go through the process again and again, however, it will become easier and easier to write a succinct and effective business proposal.

This being said, there are a few best practices you can keep in mind to help you as you get started:

1. Be direct.

Although you might feel the urge to show off your language skills while trying to impress a client, when you’re writing a business proposal, tour best bet to win business is to be clear, concise, and direct. You won't want to use overly flowery language or anything that could possibly be misconstrued.

2. Don’t leave room for ambiguity.

You'll want to make sure your proposal is straightforward and easy to understand, with no room for misinterpretation around what you say you’ll do or deliver.

Therefore, you'll want to avoid overly complicated industry jargon to be sure your client can understand exactly what you're talking about and what it means within the scope of your (and their) business.

3. Write for the right audience.

If you were writing a proposal for a specialty food business, it shouldn't look or sound exactly the same as if you were writing a proposal for an asset management company. You'll always want to keep your audience in mind as your craft and develop your proposal.

Ultimately, your best bet is to be straightforward, clear, and stick to the details, but you also shouldn't be afraid to tailor your writing to your audience so that your client feels that the proposal has truly been created with their business in mind.

This being said, your proposal should show that you not only understand your potential client but that you also respect them professionally.

4. Consider a title page.

Although this may not be necessary for a shorter business proposal, a title page can help with the general organization, flow, and professional feel of your document.

Like a title page for any other type of report, this one-page cover sheet would precede the remainder of your proposal and would likely include your business's name, contact information, and logo, as well as who you're submitting the proposal to.

Depending on your business or the potential client you're submitting the proposal to, you might decide that a title page is unnecessary, however, it's worth keeping in mind that it may be something to visually draw in your reader from the start.

5. Err on the side of brevity.

Finally, within the world of business proposals, shorter is usually better. This isn't to say, of course, that you should leave out details or omit important sections—it simply means that you should try to find the most succinct way to say what you need to say and get your point across to the potential client.


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The bottom line

There's no doubt about it—learning how to write a business proposal is a lot of work. Luckily, however, you can follow our steps so you know what to include in your proposal and how to include it.

Ultimately, selling your services to potential clients is part of running and managing your business and as you do it again and again, it will only become easier.

This being said, as you go through the lifecycle of your business, you'll begin to accumulate a library of business proposals that you can continuously reference and use to develop your pitching strategy and writing process based on proposals that have and have not worked. And, hopefully, by taking the time to invest in this business proposal process, you'll be winning the work you need to grow your business.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

On a similar note...

How to Write a Business Proposal: Step-by-Step Guide

how to write a business proposal featured image

You just finished an amazing meeting with a potential client, they seem ready to pull the trigger and excited to work with you. Then they utter the following sentence: “Please send me a proposal.” And now you have to remember how to write one. This guide will give you a system and guidelines on how to write a business proposal and make that process easy and repeatable.

Writing business proposals is arguably not that fun. In fact, most business owners would rather avoid the task. However, if you have an amazing business proposal template to start with you can speed the process up significantly. The key is to build everything right the first time round and give yourself a reusable template you can tweak and adjust until it’s perfect.

What we'll cover

  • Proposal templates
  • Visual presentation and design
  • Introduction (Executive summary)
  • Detailed specification
  • Terms and conditions
  • Optimizing your proposals for conversion

What is a business proposal?

An effective business proposal is a formal document created with the purpose of persuading your potential customers to work with you. It’s a document used in a variety of industries - from selling carpets to offering enterprise software solutions and social media marketing , all of it starts with a business proposal.

Two types of business proposals

Besides the difference in the industry, the main division is between solicited and unsolicited business proposals. A solicited business proposal is sent when you already have a connection with the potential customer and they’re interested in what you’re selling. 

Usually, the buyer themselves will ask for a proposal outlining your problem statement. Whether they’re a small business or government agencies, your proposal should follow the project details they’ve outlined.

On the other hand, unsolicited proposals are sent without the explicit request of someone who may be interested in what you’re selling. Whether you’re writing formally solicited proposals or unsolicited ones, you’ll need to know how to structure them. 

Although it’s easier to create a solicited proposal, don’t stress out about writing unsolicited ones. Our guide can help you in both situations.

How To Write A Business Proposal - Take Your Proposal Writing From Good To Great

How to write a business proposal the easy way

Have you ever freehanded a business proposal into the body of an email? Or started compiling it in a Word document from scratch? Or maybe you’re more into InDesign so you noticed a typo on your freshly exported PDF?

The fact of the matter is, creating a proposal for every client from scratch is both exhausting and a waste of time. Having a structured proposal writing system in place will save you countless hours. At the most basic level, your proposal writing system is two things:

  • Having a great business proposal template written with everything in it
  • Knowing what needs editing each time

The first thing, getting your business proposal template in order, is vital. The second is a matter of personalization to the specific job and client.

What is a business proposal template?

Put simply, a proposal template is a proposal that is about 90% finished. Think of it as a collection of all the best pieces of content you’ve ever put into previous proposals.

Your best introduction describing the problem statement, your best pricing strategy , best type of proof, best title page, etc. A winning template combines all the best elements of the proposals you’ve sent which resulted in sales for your product or service.

How To Write a Business Proposal Using A Proposal Template

If you’re using proposal software like Better Proposals, compiling this shouldn’t be difficult, because you will know which proposals work for your target audience thanks to our analytics and reports.

But what if you’ve never sent proposals before so you don’t have a basis for templates? What if you don’t have the time or just don’t know a thing about proposals? No reason to worry – our proposal library has more than 130 different proposal templates that help sell a wide range of products or services .

Once you have your template in place, you’ll only need to fill out the major details, such as:

  • The client's information
  • Specifics about the offer
  • Pricing, timelines, detailed specification
  • A proof section with an example similar to the offer you’re sending, etc.

Download This Complete Guide On How To Write A Business Proposal

Once you add these, your business proposal is ready to go. The main idea is that templates help you write proposals in 15 minutes instead of 5 hours. To see what the template creation process looks like, check out how easy it is to design yours in Better Proposals .

The importance of a good business proposal template

The best thing about a good proposal template is that you only need to create it once. After that, it’s just a matter of tweaking the details. If you do it properly the first time around, sending out a proposal turns into a few minutes’ work. 

The best tip we have is to choose your best proposal and turn it into a template. Allocate a good day to getting it as good as it can be - turn all specific information into placeholders, get your formatting sorted, and make sure your pricing section is clean and clear.

This also means editing the copy like it’s a headline on your website. Consider the wording, your client, and the emotions you want to evoke - really make each section shine.

Despite their growing popularity, this is the time to resist the urge to use AI content writers . The content they produce is easy to spot and putting effort into creating a great business proposal template makes all the difference. 

Later in this article, we’ll look at what is included in a business proposal, and that goes for your template too. We’ll provide business proposal examples as well. Next time you have that meeting with your potential client and they ask you to send them a business proposal for your proposed solution, you’ll confidently walk away knowing exactly what to do.

How to write a business proposal that sells

Most people think that writing a business proposal is boring and time-consuming. And for the most part, they’re right. There really is no creative flair in writing them and it’s all about pitching your product or service so that the new client says yes and gives you money. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a way to make proposal writing easier and more efficient and get your prospective client on board more quickly.

In the following sections, we’ll show you that writing a business proposal is more about preparation and using the right tools to make writing easier. In other words, we’ll teach you how to write a business proposal with minimal effort and maximum sales performance.

Once you pick the right proposal software tools, you’ll see how easy it is to create a winning proposal.

How To Track A Business Proposal Once Sent Out To a Client - Learn More

What questions are your customers asking?

When writing a business proposal, there’s a situation going on that only the best salespeople understand. Your potential client has a list of questions. They’ll rarely tell you what those questions are, mostly because they’re pretty awkward. 

For example, we had a situation when I quoted someone £40,000 for some software once. The proposal was about 17 pages long, and the client replied with one sentence:

“Sounds good. What happens if you die? How do I get my data back?”

I didn’t think it was an appropriate time to go back to him and explain I probably wouldn’t care about his data if I was dead. However, I did explain to him a contingency plan that we had in place for nearly a decade now for this exact situation. I told him, and he signed up.

This got me thinking. While this guy was the first bold enough to ask that question, he can’t have been the first guy to think it. From that moment on, we included the contingency plan in every business proposal we sent under a section called 'How we protect your data'.

Awkward questions your potential customers have but won’t ask you:

  • What happens if you die?
  • What will I do if they screw up my search engine rankings?
  • What happens if they take over my website and vanish?
  • What happens if they redesign my website and I get fewer conversions than I got before?

A rare client will actually ask these questions to your face, but it doesn’t mean they won’t pop into their mind. Think about it. How many questions do people actually ask on the back of proposals? Answer these questions in your proposal before the client gets a chance to ask them.

How do you want your potential clients to feel?

Don’t think of business proposals as just sales documents - think of them as taking someone on an experience. Think movies. The emotions override the content. It’s less important how you get them to feel sadness at the end, so long as you do.

Writing a business proposal isn't that different. It's all about the emotion you want your potential client to feel at the end of reading it. For example:

  • Excitement – Describing possibilities using uplifting pictures and success stories is good here. Don’t bore them with a document resembling a long business plan.
  • Confidence – Include lots of proof and trust-building elements into this. Don’t make suggestions; be certain in your wording.
  • Action taking – Lots of commanding words and talking about the next step. Don’t bog them down with a list of 42 things to decide on. Just get them to do the “next” thing.

You could find the best custom writing service out there and you’d still be the only one who can do this properly. That’s because, depending on your client and what you’re selling, only you know what’s most appropriate.

What you definitely don’t want to be doing is talking in “maybes”, “ifs”, and using suggestive wording when you want someone to trust you. It sounds like you’re not sure. As a good friend, Mitch Miller, says:

“The doctor doesn’t ask the patient if it’s the right prescription. He just prescribes the right thing and tells them to get out of the office.”

The 8 core elements of writing a business proposal

There are 8 elements most business proposals should include. Some are absolutely essential; some are not – that depends on your specific situation. Here they are:

Does your proposal need to have all of these sections? Maybe yes, maybe not – it depends. However, all of our proposal templates have these sections out of the box. But wait - there’s one thing we haven’t mentioned on purpose.

0. The cover page

All proposals should have a well-designed cover page with an image and text to address the specific client. We’re leaving it out because all of our business proposal templates come with beautiful, professionally designed cover pages already built in.

A beautifully designed cover page can help your business stand out because it gives your entire document a level of professionalism. What’s more, it brings the wow factor that pulls clients in right off the bat.

How To Write A Business Proposal Step Zero - Start With A Cover Page

1. The introduction

Also known as the Executive summary. Good business proposals always start with a great introduction . This is the most read part of your proposal, so it needs to get across that you understand their situation and you’re clear on their goal. Your meetings and discovery sessions should be heavily predicated on getting the information for this section of the proposal.

Step One  - How To Write A Business Proposal - The Introduction

The biggest reason you’re not winning new business is not getting a chance to do a meeting or initial call about the job. As a result, you never discovered what the client wants to achieve, what’s important to them, and what makes them tick. And because you don’t know that information, you lead with the things that don’t matter as much (e.g., the price or the technicalities of what you’re going to do). 

This is why a discovery call is one of the most important things to include when you learn how to write a business proposal. Without it, you’re essentially guessing what the client needs.

Every business proposal needs a good introduction

Your introduction should show the client that you’ve listened to their problem and that you have the cure, which you will show them in the next section. If you want to create an ongoing relationship, you need to show that you’ve researched your client’s company.

If you want to present your clients with a custom service, this is the place to stress that. Show them how you customize your usual offer to match their exact pain point.

According to our own research, this is the most-read section of all business proposals besides the pricing. Most clients read just these two sections, so make sure that you invest extra time and care in this one.

How to write a proposal introduction

This section is also known as a summary or an executive summary, depending on your resources. Even though the title is different, everything else is the same – it’s a section where you discuss how you’re going to solve the client’s problem and present your value proposition.

The most important tip we have here is to make it all about the client and the solution to their problem. In other words, refrain from going on and on about yourself. At the end of the day, a client reading a proposal wants to know what solution you offer. And if they’re interested in your company history or the process of forming an LLC , they’ll Google it.

better proposals e-commerce website design proposal template screenshot

Make sure to keep it short and to the point. You want to keep your entire proposal easy to read and as enjoyable of an experience for your potential client as possible. 

Since the executive summary is such an important part of any standard business proposal, don’t be afraid of asking your team members to read it and give you feedback. And if you need more practical writing tips, check out our in-depth proposal introduction writing guide .  

2. The detailed specification

This part varies depending on what you’re selling. If it’s a website, this could be a list of pages and features. If you’re writing a social media marketing proposal, then this could be the strategy or the talent and credentials of your team. It’ll vary.

The basic idea is to be as detailed as possible in your offer. That way, the prospective client understands exactly how your proposed solutions work.

better proposals simple web design proposal template screenshot

The reason it’s important is that if the deal goes bad, you both have this section to refer back to. Your business proposal outlines accountability and what the client should hope for. Moreover, it also serves as a good exercise for you when writing a good business proposal, as this is all the information you’re going to gather in any discovery phase of the deal.

It’s important here to keep this in plain English. Stay far away from jargon, as it will only confuse the potential client. The less the reader understands, the less they trust you.

Also, if you absolutely must write about your company, this might be the place to do it. Who you are, what you do, how long you’ve been doing it, and what makes you stand out. However, don’t spend too much time or space on this because the focus is on the client, not you.

3. The timescales

It doesn’t matter if it’s a wide bracket, like 2-4 weeks – you have to give the client some clue about your project timeline . Otherwise, it’s a massive unknown.

better proposals freelance writing proposal template screenshot

It can be really useful to find out if the client has a special event or another reason for a project timeline to be important to them. If there is, tie that in. You can even tie that into scarcity to give them the incentive to sign the proposal off by a certain date. And if you’re writing unsolicited proposals, you need to be especially convincing and present your project timeline in a way that will make it hard to say no to. 

Be as specific as possible, but also use this section to your advantage. More time to deliver means two things:

  • You can finish earlier than promised and impress your client
  • You have more time to spare if something goes unexpectedly wrong

More time is always better, but make sure that you consider the need for urgency as well.

4. The proof

You must prove to your client that you can actually deliver your proposed solution. Now, you might say, “we have examples on our website”. That’s nice – but the client is not looking at your website, they’re reading your proposal – your one big “ask” for the business. They want solid proof and a few good case studies will do.

You need to have sufficient proof in a good business proposal. This could be examples, testimonials, video case studies, screenshots from a client proving you helped them with something, a recording of a voicemail – anything.

better proposals wedding photography proposal template screenshot

As you can see in our business proposal example, it doesn’t have to be complex and have the production value of a Spielberg classic. It just needs to get the point across.

To help them feel like they’ll be in good hands, you can also indicate relevant credentials and certifications your team managers and members have. After all, product managers and team leaders will play a massive role in ensuring that your product or service is of top quality.

The good news is, there is more than one type of proof that you can choose. Case studies, testimonials, portfolio pieces, explainer videos – there are lots of ways to convince your clients that you’re the real deal.

5. The price

Based on our data, this is the second most read section of any business proposal – people usually jump straight from the introduction to the pricing table. Needless to say, spend some extra time here to make it look right.

When using our business proposal templates, you can choose how to format your price based on project details. That said, there are a few things you want to make sure of. 

The first is that the pricing is super clear. If you have somewhat of a confusing pricing structure, then this might be time to think about simplifying it.

better proposals high-end web design proposal template screenshot

Speaking of which, we’ve done some research on pricing in business proposals and you can see our results in the latest Proposal Report . As it turns out, it’s a better idea to have a single offer and price instead of trying to get more money with upsells. Proposals with a single offer sold significantly more – 20.6% for offers with upfront costs and 33% higher for offers with monthly retainer costs.

The reason is that a business proposal is a matter of getting a simple answer – yes or no. The more options you add, the more difficult it gets for them to decide whether to sign or not. Keep your responsive pricing tables super simple.

The way you format your price can help avoid further negotiations. Our analysis of real-life pricing mistakes should give you a good idea of what to avoid.

How to name your pricing section

Finally, there is one more thing that you should know about the pricing section – don’t call it that. We’ve discovered that these names work better:

  • Return on investment
  • And others following this pattern

naming your pricing section proposal report data

Basically, you want your clients to see your services as an investment in their business, rather than a simple cost and money down the drain. Small businesses or enterprise clients, no one wants to spend money - they want to invest it.

6. The guarantee

Some people love the idea of a guarantee. Others don’t like giving guarantees for fear of abuse. However, a guarantee is a great way to push new clients further towards conversion.

better proposals brand design proposal template screenshot

Instead of a typical money-back guarantee, consider guaranteeing a part of your service or a timescale. Cheryl Laidlaw’s “Website in a Day” service is a good example. 

She, at the time of writing, charges £1,995 for the day and delivers the website THAT NIGHT. The client doesn’t go home (and neither does Cheryl) until it’s done – which is an amazing offer .

7. The next steps

A lot of times, people seem to forget the very basics – to show the client what to do next. Sure, some people might read your business proposal and say, “Great, okay, let’s go ahead”. But why would you leave it up to them to figure it out?

It’s not their job to figure out how to buy from you, especially if you’re sending informally solicited proposals. Just make sure to tell them what the next steps are. Usually, this will be something like:

Step 1: Sign the proposal by typing your name in the box below and hitting ‘Accept’. This makes the proposal a legally binding contract.

Sign the proposal

Step 2: We’ll invoice you for 50%. Please pay for this immediately.

Step 3: We’ll arrange our initial consultation call with you.

Anyone can do these tasks on their own – they’re not all that complex. The problem is that if you leave all of this unsaid, you’re leaving your clients wondering. Explain all the details of what’s going to happen next.

8. The terms and conditions

You absolutely should be including your contract or terms and conditions. Just put it on a separate page called Terms & Conditions or Terms of Business .

better proposals Facebook ads proposal template terms and conditions screenshot

There’s a great contract written for freelancers which covers 98% of the basics. If you’re not using a contract in your business right now, use this until your legal team demands something better.

You should always include your terms in your business proposals because when someone signs the proposal, they automatically sign the contract . It covers you and it covers the client, so it’s only natural to include it.

Just reading the words “terms and conditions” may make you feel dizzy because of the work ahead, but it’s actually something that you can do once and never fret about again later.

A business proposal that's optimized for conversion

So let's say you've followed all the steps in the "How To Write A Business Proposal Guide," and you now have the best structured proposal on the planet, and it still loses business. Why could this be? - perhaps it's a conversion problem. We’ve analyzed hundreds of thousands of proposals sent through our platform to see what makes them convert. Here are some data-backed tips to help you.

1. Send your proposals quickly

For over four years now, sending proposals out within 24 hours of meeting the client has been the best way to increase conversion rates. According to our data, proposals that are sent out within that time frame had a 23% higher conversion rate than those sent only a day later.

2. Include a cover page

While jumping straight into the introduction won’t hurt your conversions significantly, our data shows having a cover page makes a difference. Proposals with a cover page convert 4.6% better than the ones without it.

3. Don’t go overboard

The length of a business proposal will largely depend on what you do. That said, proposals that convert the best are short, concise, and to the point. Our data backs this up, showing that the optimal proposal length has been 6-7 sections for five years now.  

4. Make sure your proposals are mobile-friendly

The number of clients opening business proposals on desktop computers has been steadily decreasing over the years. As a matter of fact, as much as 46% of proposals are now opened on mobile devices. 

You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and you can’t control what device your client chooses to use. So what do you do? Choose a responsive design that looks great on all screen sizes.

documents opened on mobile proposal report stats

5. Look professional

Pixelated logos, mismatched fonts, and typos are the best way to lose credibility right off the bat. Our data shows that branding goes a long way, with proposals sent from a custom domain converting 19.3% better than the ones sent from a third-party domain.

6. Integrate live chat

Great customer service is always crucial to increasing your conversion rate. Live chat not only helps you to respond to your client's questions in real time but also puts them at ease. That’s why proposals with integrated live chat convert 18.2% better than those without it.

7. Make the offer easy to accept

The harder you make it for the client to do business with you, the more business you’re losing. With business proposals, the answer is easy - use a web-based platform like Better Proposals. That way, you’re letting clients sign documents electronically and pay, all in one place.

Using traditional PDFs sent as email attachments makes your conversion rate 88% worse. It's not a surprise when you think about it - nobody likes going through the hassle of printing, signing, scanning, and sending the document back.

sign by drawing with better proposals

Using proposal software to write, send, and track your business proposals

The truth is, rarely anyone writes proposals these days – most people use proposal software. Here’s why it’s a good idea:

  • Proposal software is web-based . You can send your clients links instead of PDF files.
  • Proposals are optimized for different devices. They look and feel the same on a phone, laptop or tablet.

Use a proposal software

  • You get to use proposal templates . (We have more than 130 of them.)
  • You can track what the client does with the proposal. You get notifications when they read, forward and sign.

Progress of your business proposal

  • Clients can instantly sign proposals electronically. This means your proposals are considered legally binding contracts. No need for third-party tools like DocuSign or DocuSign alternatives – good proposal software has that already built in.
  • Clients can pay from the proposal. Paypal, Stripe, GoCardless, you name it.

Pay from the proposal

  • You can use a variety of integrations . MailChimp, Zapier, Salesforce, HubSpot , or whatever else you are using in your sales workflow.
  • Detailed reporting . Find out what works and what doesn’t, no guessing.

Sales report from your proposals

  • The ability to use live chat . You can chat with the client as they’re reading the proposal, increasing your conversions.
  • You get to write your proposals in 15 minutes , not 5 hours. Pull the data from your CRM and populate it with automatic fields - it’s that simple.

i have a business proposal for you

These are just some of the many reasons why you should consider using proposal software rather than opening Word next time you want to write an effective business proposal.

The takeaways

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting a new business , following our guide will help you dramatically increase the number of people who say yes to your proposals. In summary, here are the exact steps that you need to take to write an amazing business proposal:

  • Start off with a proposal template
  • Find out the questions that your clients are asking
  • Think of how you want the clients to feel as they read the proposal
  • Include the 8 elements of a winning business proposal, as listed above
  • Use proposal software to automate the writing process

One of the biggest reasons people take forever to write business proposals and ultimately do a bad job is because they are using software that simply isn’t geared up to doing the job in an effective way. It might sound like a self-serving suggestion , but you should take a look at using Better Proposals for writing your next business proposal. 

The business proposal templates in our Marketplace alone will save you a ton of time with many business proposal examples to browse, and our proposal software has everything you need for writing proposals in one place.

How many signatures can you collect in 14 days?

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Proposal Rejected: 10 Common Business Proposal Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Find data-backed reasons business proposals fail and find out how to avoid making the same proposal mistakes yourself.

Business Proposal Pricing Mistakes: How (Not) to Present Your Pricing Table

Check out these real-life proposal pricing table mistakes, why they're costing you business, and what to do instead.

i have a business proposal for you

Business proposal templates

Business proposal templates

The importance of sending a business proposal

How to title a business proposal, business proposal subject line examples, how to write a business proposal.

Determine if the business proposal is cold outreach, or if the potential customer has already shown some interest. For cold outreach, your proposal should be more professional and include an executive summary. For the latter, you can focus on the project itself and be less formal in tone. Remember to refer to any previous conversations that you’ve had with the prospect in your project proposals.

What to include in a business proposal

Business proposal examples and templates, business proposal good practices, frequently asked questions, how do you write a business proposal via email, when should you follow up after a proposal, how do you follow up on a business proposal, how often should i send business proposals, what should i include in a business proposal, how long should a business proposal be, what is the difference between a business proposal and a business plan, should i follow up after sending a business proposal, what are the most popular types of proposals.

Email still remains one of the major customer service channels for a huge number of consumers. Check out our free customer service templates.

The article discusses the importance of email in sales and marketing with a potential return on investment of up to 4400%. Ready-made email templates for different occasions like sales introduction, prospect follow-up, loyalty programs, and customer birthday offer emails are featured. Reminder email templates for trial expiration, renewing subscription, and overdue payments are also discussed. Survey email templates, including tips for gaining customer feedback, and examples of bad email practices with tips for writing effective business emails are included as well.

Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize business operations. Creating a comprehensive FAQ page is crucial for businesses to offer self-service options for customers. It’s essential to implement the best FAQ software for a well-structured and visually appealing page. The FAQ page can cover a variety of topics and examples of frequently asked questions.

This article offers various email marketing templates for e-commerce businesses, including delivery notifications, return confirmations, post-purchase emails, and reminder emails. It emphasizes the importance of building up a database of interested subscribers through producing valuable content and effective promotion. Best practices for composing reminder emails are also provided. The article concludes with sales contact information and a newsletter subscription option from LiveAgent, a customer service software provider.

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5 Professional Business Proposal Examples to Inspire Your Own

Clifford Chi

Updated: May 24, 2022

Published: May 13, 2019

Throughout the buyer’s journey, content obviously plays a huge role during the beginning and middle stages. At the last stage of the buyer’s journey, though, it can be somewhat overlooked.

business proposal examples: image shows two people working on a business proposal together

A lot of marketing teams are focused on creating the beginning- and middle-stage content that brings in the views and leads most sales teams are focused on closing during the final stage of the buyer’s journey. So, in a nutshell, marketing teams don't create enough content for this stage and sales teams don't leverage them enough during it.

→ Download Now: Free Business Proposal Template

However, one of the most important pieces of content any organization can create and leverage really only gets used during the final stage of the buyer’s journey -- the business proposal. By outlining your organization’s value proposition, highlighting how your product or service can solve your prospect’s specific problem, and listing your pricing, your business proposal communicates crucial information your prospects need to know before they even think about doing business with you.

Fortunately, to help you create an engaging and convincing business proposal, we’ve rounded up the best business proposal examples we could find on the Internet. Read on to learn how to start writing business proposals that will win you contracts and grow your organization.

i have a business proposal for you

Free Business Proposal Template

Propose your business as the ideal solution using our Free Business Proposal Templates

  • Problem summary
  • Proposed solution
  • Pricing information
  • Project timeline

You're all set!

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1. “ How to Write a Business Proposal [Tips & Examples] ” | HubSpot

In her thorough blog post about writing a business proposal, Meredith Hart , a Junior Staff Writer for HubSpot’s Sales Blog, fleshes out the fundamental elements included in most business proposals and even created a business proposal example in Canva to give you even more insight on how to craft a compelling one.

After reading her informative blog post, you’ll learn about the fundamental elements you should include in your business proposal, their purpose, how to write each element, overarching tips for creating a top-notch business proposal, and some business proposal examples for web design, SEO, and sales.

2. “ How to Write a Business Proposal (The Modern Way) | PandaDoc

One of the most robust business proposal examples on this list, PandaDoc’s guide on writing a modern business proposal will help you chip away at this daunting task one step at a time.

In their guide, they cover the structure most business proposals follow, the ten sections to include in your own, what information to include in each section, an example of each section, some quick tips for improving your business proposal, and what you should do after you send your business proposal to a prospect to help you anticipate any follow up questions they might have and, in turn, boost the odds that you close them as a customer.

3. “ Business Proposal For PDF & Word ” | HubSpot

business proposal template

Download the Template

In HubSpot’s flagship business proposal example offer, they provide you with a fully customizable sample template that gives you detailed instructions on what sections to include in your business proposal, the information to include in each section, and how you can write each section in a convincing fashion.

Since their business proposal template is completely customizable, you can also replace their instructions with your own information, add additional information and sections, and add your own branding and logo. Additionally, you can download your finished business proposal as a Word or PDF file, print it, and email it to your prospects.

4. “ How to Write a Business Proposal in 6 Steps ” | Fit Small Business

Fit Small Business’ business proposal example is the most fleshed out example on this list. Not only do they cover what exactly a business proposal is, the steps to writing a successful one, and provide an example of one, but they also describe the best methods and tools for sending a business proposal, how to follow up, and what to do after you win a contract.

Additionally, Fit Small Business provides you with some design tips for your business proposal, the best business proposal formats to use (with examples), and answers to frequently asked questions about creating effective business proposals.

5. “ HubSpot Partner Agency Proposal Examples ” | HubSpot

To help marketing agencies write better business proposals, HubSpot teamed up with four of their agency partners to create four downloadable proposal examples for each of the agency’s specializations.

After downloading it, you’ll have access to proposals created by agencies that specialize in inbound marketing, growth content strategy, industrial manufacturing marketing, and digital solutions and consulting marketing. Since your organization operates in its own specific situation, you can sift through each example to see which one best meets your needs.

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How to Write a Business Proposal

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Briana Morgaine

8 min. read

Updated March 18, 2024

A business proposal can make or break your chances of securing a new client. Write a great one, and you’ll likely snag their business.

Write a poor one, and you might lose out—even if you’re offering the best service out there. So, how do you write a business proposal? What is the proper format? What do you need to include?

While it all depends on your industry, and whether or not you’re offering a product or service, writing a business proposal is pretty straightforward. We’ll answer all those questions and more throughout the course of this guide. 

  • What to expect with this business proposal guide

Whether you’re starting fresh or need to look at a specific section, here’s what we’ll be covering in this guide. 

  • What a business proposal is
  • The differences between a business proposal and a business plan
  • The format of a business proposal
  • How long to make your business proposal
  • How to write a business proposal

You can download a  free business proposal template here  to start writing up your own proposal as you work through this article. By the end, you’ll be prepared to develop a well-written business proposal that can explain your business clearly and win more clients. Let’s get started.

  • What is a business proposal?

A business proposal is a document you’d send to a prospective client, outlining the service you’re offering, and explaining why you’re the best person for the job. 

It’s a  pitch by a business or individual  to complete a specific job or project, to supply a service, or, in some instances, to be the vendor of a certain product.

What are the different types of business proposals?

A business proposal can be either solicited or unsolicited. With a solicited proposal, the prospective client will put out a request for proposals; with an unsolicited business proposal, you are approaching a client in hopes of attracting their business, even though they did not explicitly request a proposal.  

While both are commonplace, a solicited proposal is an easier sell, as your prospective client has already decided that they want to make a purchase or use a service, and they’re evaluating possible vendors or businesses.

With a solicited proposal, your prospective client might have issued an RFP, or “request for proposal.” This is exactly what it sounds like—they want you to send over a business proposal so they can take a look at it.

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  • Differences between a business proposal and a business plan

A business proposal is not the same as a  business plan . This is the most common misconception, but while there are areas of overlap (like your  executive summary ) the two are different.

That being said, you can certainly pull information from your business plan while writing your business proposal—in fact, that’s a great way to start.

But don’t confuse the two; they are distinct and separate. In short, a business plan represents the cohesive strategy of how your business operates and makes money. A business proposal is an official pitch to clients selling your products or services. 

A business proposal outlines a particular product or service offered by an established business to a prospective client.

You’re trying to sell your prospective client on your product or service, not on your business itself. You’re not after funding, as you are with a business plan, you’re trying to make a sale.

A business proposal is also not an estimate; although you’ll likely touch on costs and pricing in your business proposal, an estimate is much more informal and just a quick look at the costs, not the whole picture.

  • What goes into a business proposal?

Your business proposal should address the three Ps:

  • Problem statement: What your customer’s current problem is
  • Proposed solution: How your business solves that problem better than other solutions
  • Pricing: How much that solution costs compared to alternatives

If you’re stuck on how to start, maybe try brainstorming first; start with these three points, and you’ll have a rough, bare-bones version of your business proposal.

Once you’ve done that if you’re ready to go more in-depth, here is a step-by-step look at how to format your business proposal.

Your business proposal should start with a title page, which should include your name, the name of your company, the name of the person to whom you’re submitting your proposal, and the date submitted.

Table of contents

Depending on how long your business proposal is, a table of contents is a nice touch. Include it after your title page, and before you launch into any details. If you’re delivering it as a PDF, including anchor links down to each section, so it’s easy to get to specific areas. 

Executive summary

Introduce your proposal with a great executive summary, one that really sells your business and the products or services you provide—it’s about why you’re the right company for the job. You can draw from your business plan’s executive summary here, too.

Statement of problem, issue, or job at hand

Following your executive summary, go on to discuss the problem that the client is currently facing. Think of “problem” or “issue” loosely; after all, their main problem may just be finding the right person to complete their project. But be sure you understand why they want the product or service they’re seeking. If the proposal is for developing a brand new website, make sure you understand what they want to get out of the site—better sales, more content management flexibility. 

This is the place to show your new client that you  understand their needs , and fully grasp the issue they are trying to solve. Take this opportunity to restate the issue they are facing in your own words so that they know you understand what they are looking for.

Approach and methodology

This section shows how you plan to tackle your potential client’s problem, and the steps you’ll take to carry out your plan.

This is where you’ll get into the nitty-gritty of how you actually plan to fulfill your client’s needs. While earlier sections might have been a bit surface-level, this section of the business proposal is where you’ll go into detail about what steps you’ll take to solve their problem.

Be careful of going into  too  much detail, though—keep the jargon to a minimum. Your client should be able to follow along and get a clear sense of your plan, but you don’t want to drown them in minutiae.


Go ahead, brag a little—this is the section of your business proposal where you get to convince your potential client why you are the most qualified person to take on the job.

You can mention any relevant education, industry-specific training, or certifications you have, your past successful projects of a similar nature, years of experience, and so on.

Schedule and benchmarks

Be clear with your potential client: How long will your proposed project take?

Making sure you and your prospective client are on the same page from the outset will help make sure that the relationship stays positive for both of you, and that you don’t set your client up with unrealistic expectations.

While you might be tempted to underestimate how long it will take you to complete the project, don’t. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver!

If you’re offering a product, this section might not be applicable to you, so feel free to omit it. The business proposal format is flexible, so tailor it to suit your business and industry.

Cost, payment, and any legal matters

Here is where you get down to brass tacks and state the cost, and payment schedule if necessary.

How you structure this section will largely depend on the particular project or service you are offering. A section entitled “Fee Summary” may be sufficient if one-time payment is required; otherwise, a “Fee Schedule” list or pricing table might be more appropriate. Always refer back to the client’s RFP whenever possible, to make sure you’re supplying them with all the information they need to help make their decision.

If there are any legal issues to attend to, such as permits or licensing, include this information here. Feel free to add a section entirely devoted to handling the legal side of the project if need be.

This is your final sell—don’t be afraid to detail for your prospective client all they have to gain by choosing you to complete the project.

Impress upon your clients why you are the best choice, and all the ways in which their business will benefit from choosing you and your business as their solution.

  • How long should a business proposal be?

When it comes to the format of a business proposal, this is the million-dollar question without an answer. Remember in school, when you’d ask your teacher how long an essay should be, and they’d reply, “as long as it takes to answer the question.”

The same applies to your business proposal. It ultimately depends on your industry, the scope of the project, and the client’s specifications in terms of detail and elements included.

That being said, the tighter your initial proposal can be and the more directly you can make your point, the easier it will be to pitch it to clients. Start by following the business proposal format above as a guide, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a winning business proposal—and securing new clients.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Briana Morgaine

Bri Morgaine is a seasoned content marketing leader with a decade of experience in copy editing, social media operations, and content strategy— having honed her skills at industry giants like Palo Alto Software and Andreessen Horowitz.

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9 Business Proposal Examples Buyers Love (Ready for Use)

Learn from tried and tested business proposal examples that make you stand out from your competitors, impress buyers, and get you the deal—every time.

i have a business proposal for you

Dominika Krukowska

6 minute read

Business proposal examples

Sending a business proposal is the scariest stage in the selling process. It's the last stretch after a long sales process you've poured your heart into. You've gotten this far, and it would be such a shame to get rejected now.

But to win you'll have to stand out and bring something to the table that your competitors can't. This post will show you how to get that something, put your competitors to shame, and get the deal every time. Let's take a look at tried and tested examples that set you apart, engage buyers, and make your proposal steal deals even from long-term suppliers .

Static vs. interactive business proposal examples

The truth is, most business proposals are failing because they’re dull, hard to read, and just like all the rest.

Ask yourself this —when your proposal is being compared to your alternatives can the buyer tell the difference?

If you’re sending buyers static PowerPoint, PDF or Word documents, then the answer to that question is clearly “no” —you are not standing out, and you’ve already lost.

Your unique value proposition ends up buried in a stack of decks that look just like any other presentation your prospect has ever seen . Same old—same old.

If you hope to stand out among your competitors, you’ll need an interactive business proposal . You’ll want to take your buyers through a captivating storyline experience and let them interact with your proposal.

Instead of sending them yet another boring reading task, you can send them a story they can engage with. An interactive story in which they can see your solution play out specifically for them, with live graphs, videos, and narrated content.

Interactive business proposal presentations are highly engaging for your buyers regardless of the device they’re viewed on. You can guide them through a storytelling narrative that’s easy to follow and be sure that your audience doesn’t miss any important insights ever again.

This is what interactive proposals look like—

Business proposal examples

Interactive decks make it easier than ever for your prospects to take that next step straight from the deck. Whether you want them to book a demo or reach for their credit card, interactive templates go way beyond PowerPoint and let you do all that and more.

This shift in how business proposals are made is already done. You either jump on the bandwagon or get left behind.

Best business proposal examples that get noticed and get the deal

All examples presented below have been designed in line with business proposal best practices and validated through Storydoc’s extensive user data (over 100K buyer sessions). They are immediately available to pick up and use, and can be easily tweaked according to your particular needs.

If you need help figuring out how to structure your proposals and what to include in them, follow our guide on how to make a winning business proposal presentation .

Jump ahead to the examples you need:

Best business proposal example for sales

Sales proposal example

Sales proposal template

A template designed to grab and keep attention. Use it to convince your client's boss that you're worth the splurge.

What makes this proposal deck great:

  • Extensive personalization features allow you to create tailor-made versions of your business proposal in just a few clicks. You can save time by pulling all data directly from your CRM. By adding a personal note to your proposal, you can get 68% more people to read it in full .
  • Flawless mobile experience. As 19% of business proposals get opened on mobile devices , all components have been optimized to be 100% mobile-responsive.
  • Animated slides are perfect for grabbing and keeping your prospects’ attention. They’re also a time-tested recipe for boosting engagement, as interactive decks get scrolled all the way down to the bottom 41% more often and read 21% longer .

Best business proposal example for general business

General business proposal example

General business proposal template

An all-purpose proposal template, guaranteed to make an immediate impact. Easy to tweak to match your specific needs.

  • Versatile components that can easily be adjusted based on your industry and particular use case.
  • Intuitive, user-friendly editor that can auto-extract your key visuals and match all the components to your company branding.
  • A combination of text-based and visual slides allows you to add context to the numbers and make all information easily digestible.

Best business proposal example for SaaS companies

SaaS proposal example

SaaS proposal deck

A perfect template to let your prospects grasp the value attached to your price tag at that crucial stage of the deal.

  • Interactive tiered slides are perfect for providing a brief overview of the available pricing options and the value that’s attached to the price tag. They can also be used to segment content for different decision-makers in the company.
  • Vertical timeline slide allows you to guide prospects through a captivating storyline that grabs their attention and increases retention by 60-70% .
  • Logo placeholders can be used to legitimize your offering by including examples of past customers. You can also include buttons or links to customer case studies or play them straight from the deck.

Best business proposal example for designers

Design proposal example

Design proposal template (Dark)

If your design proposal doesn't look amazing, you can kiss that contract goodbye. The design proposal template above makes sure your aesthetic shines as bright as your value proposition.

  • Including a video in the cover slide will help you leave a lasting impression and get 32% more people to interact with your deck .
  • Various image placeholders are perfect for presenting your aesthetic while complementing it with your main value proposition.
  • Scroll-based design that always stays perfect regardless of the device your design proposal will be viewed on.

Best project proposal example

Project proposal example

Project proposal template

Clean, easy-to-follow, elegant proposal template aimed at presenting the key aspects of your project at a glance.

  • Interactive elements will make all the crucial aspects of your project easy to understand and follow, from the project scope to the budget and the implementation process.
  • Easily customizable fields enable you to tweak your decks and personalize at scale.
  • Smart CTAs make it easier than ever for your prospect to take that next step, such as book a demo or arrange a meeting, straight from the deck. Decks with a clear, singular next step have a 27% higher conversion rate than those ending with a generic “thank you” slide.

Best business proposal example for the creative industry

Creative project proposal example

Creative project proposal

Designed with freelancers and creative agencies in mind. It's one of the more artsy project proposal layouts in our gallery, which will be a better pick for relaxed industries, rather than corporate environments.

  • Vibrant design will immediately grab the attention of potential buyers and reflect the youthful nature of your business.
  • Collapsible text-based slides allow you to present all the key aspects of your project without overwhelming the reader with walls of text.
  • Interactive elements , such as tabs to click through or sliders, position readers as the main characters in your narrative, creating active engagement.

Best business proposal example for technological companies

Tech project proposal example

Tech project proposal

Fresh and crisp, this project proposal template will be an ideal pick for startups and hi-tech companies. The main idea behind the design was to let you highlight your modern brand identity.

  • Image and video placeholders enable you to explain even the most complex technological processes in an easily understandable way.
  • Intuitive, user-friendly editor that works on autopilot. Any components you choose to add will automatically adjust to the overall deck layout, so the design will always stay intact.
  • Web-based design means that you can make changes to your proposal at any time without having to resend it to your prospects. Once they have the link, you can be sure they are always seeing the freshest version of your proposal.

Best business proposal example for consulting agencies

Consulting proposal example

Consulting proposal template

Visually highlight the pain point and quickly show that your skills and experience make you the best fit for the project.

  • Minimalist design with a variety of animated slides keeps the focus on your key message at all times.
  • The media array slide builds expertise and trust by showing the faces behind your services.
  • The ability to embed images and videos straight into the deck allows you to present customer case studies.

Best formal business proposal example

Formal proposal example

Formal project proposal

This elegant project proposal template will work best for more complex, formal proposals in industries such as engineering, infrastructure or large-scale real estate. A lot of space dedicated for detailed descriptions of technical specifications will allow your readers to take a deep-dive into your offering.

  • Text columns are ideal for outlining project scopes or schedules in an easy to follow manner.
  • The perfect balance between text-based and visual slides will allow your readers to get deep insights into the technical specifications of your solution without losing their attention halfway through.
  • The image slide r is perfect for presenting your current customers to build authority and trust or can be used to bring people’s attention to the main integrations your solution offers.

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Go from boring to captivating buyers with a dedicated business proposal maker

The sales process is long and complicated—but creating your sales and marketing collateral shouldn’t be. Don’t get bogged down using legacy slide-based presentation software like PowerPoint, or you’ll just pour your time and effort down the drain.

Most buyers won’t be able to single out your generic proposal from their heap of alternatives no matter how pretty you make the design.

In order to create an outstanding business proposal, you may want to consider using a dedicated business proposal maker .

You’re free to use Storydoc for 14 days. You get to keep the proposals you make forever!

Business proposal makers, such as Storydoc, virtually work on autopilot. You just need to fill in the blanks while the editor pulls the rest of the data directly from your CRM.

The design always stays perfect, so you can instantly amaze your prospects with an interactive experience they’ve never had before .

Personalized business proposal presentation

No matter what industry you’re in, you can put together a tailor-made proposal in less time and with better performance. This way, you’ll be geared to present a business proposal that impresses your prospects and gets them to say ‘Yes!’ to your offer.

Hi, I'm Dominika, Content Specialist at Storydoc. As a creative professional with experience in fashion, I'm here to show you how to amplify your brand message through the power of storytelling and eye-catching visuals.

Make your best business proposal to date

Try Storydoc for free for 14 days (keep your anything you make forever!)

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For companies

Feb 1, 2022

How to write a proposal email

Want to learn how to write proposal emails? Our business proposal email samples and a proposal email template will help you to land that client, project, price change, or get your idea taken forward.

Blog writer

Lawrie Jones

Table of contents

Are you hesitant about how to write a business proposal email? Don't worry; you're not alone.

By the time you've read this article on how to write professional proposal emails, you know everything there's to know about sending sales, business partnerships, project, and price proposal emails to clients old and new.

We'll run you through a business proposal email format from subject lines to greetings and provide you with 10 business proposal email samples that will put the lesson into practice.

To top it off, we will introduce you to our proposal email template and show you how to write proposal emails with Flowrite , your new AI writing assistant, like this:

What is a proposal email?

In most cases, a proposal email is an official correspondence sent in the early-mid stages of the sales process. A formal proposal email is a significant step in the sales funnel, providing all the information a lead needs to choose whether to become a client or customer.

The basic sales funnel has four stages, including:

Proposal emails are typically actioned at stage 2 and provide the information a client needs to transition to stage 3.

An effective proposal email includes all the important information a client or customer needs. In addition, it summarises the main talking points of your offer, including supporting evidence, timeline, key terms, any conditions, and the all-important costs.

The bottom line is that a great proposal is essential for transforming a prospect into a customer.

Different types of proposal emails

Proposal emails sent to a potential client are known as solicited messages, which means they won't come as a surprise when they're delivered.

Proposal emails are critical to the sale process, but the same approach can also be used to communicate with people you don't have a relationship with. These are known as unsolicited proposals or cold emails and can include:

  • Presenting new services or solutions to a potential new client
  • Sharing ideas to your boss
  • Responding to opportunities such as grants

Both solicited and unsolicited emails should contain the same information and follow the same structure described below.

“A proposal email is a summary of the discussions and dialogues that you've had with a potential customer and a written, explicit statement of the business arrangements you've discussed,” says author and business expert Geoffrey James .

He describes a business proposal email as an essential email that every salesperson must master, but how’s the best way to do it?

In his expert opinion, every successful proposal email shares the following 7-step structure:

  • Statement of gratitude (one sentence)
  • Problem definition and financial impact (one or two sentences)
  • Desired outcome (one or two sentences)
  • Proposed solution (two to five sentences)
  • Proposed price (one sentence)
  • Risk reduction (one or two sentences)
  • Next step (one sentence)

Now, this may seem like a long-winded way to say what you want to, but it actually cuts out the irrelevant information and focuses effort and attention on what matters. Strip out the jargon, ditch the management speak and keep things simple is his advice, and we agree.

Sometimes you might want to create a more visual proposal or send a presentation. For doing so, you can find inspiration from this extensive gallery of business proposal templates.

In our examples below, we show how you can use this structure flexibly, combining sentences where appropriate to cut out pointless prose that could confuse the message. You can cut out elements such as price, or risk reduction if they’re not relevant. Effective emails are personalized and professional, so shape your communication to make it as clear as possible. 

Someone who agrees is email expert Matthew Brown , who helps to clarify exactly what you’re doing: “While your sales proposal email is technically a "sales document," it's not where you do the selling.”

It’s also not a contract either, so avoid legal jargon or attempting to write in an overly formal way. 

All sound clear? Let’s show you how this works in practice by outlining the correct proposal email format.

Business proposal email format

The email format for sending a business proposal is simple and includes just five essential parts:

  • Subject line
  • Opening line and body

It doesn't matter if you're emailing someone for the first time or the hundredth time; when sending a proposal email, stick to this format, and you won't go wrong. You can use the format outlined here to create all types of professional emails, so learn it once, and it's a skill that will stick with you for life. Once mastered, you'll be creating great emails in minutes.

professional emails, so learn it once, and it's a skill that will stick with you for life. Once mastered, you'll be creating great emails in minutes.

1. Business proposal email subject lines

Your email subject line for a business proposal is perhaps the most essential part of your proposal, with  69% of email recipients judging the contents of every message  by the subject line alone. Books have been written on writing effective subject lines, so we will only cover the basics of proposal email for informal and formal business proposals.

Subject line for a formal business proposal

Formal subject lines get straight to the point. They're all about explaining upfront what you're sending. So here are a few business proposal email subject line examples from the formal end of the spectrum.

  • Business proposal from <insert company>
  • 5 ways we can save you more money
  • I have a proposal for you
  • A new business proposal

Subject line for an informal business proposal

An informal subject line aims to grab attention in your message, creating just enough interest to get a click. Here are some examples of business proposal email subject lines that are informal:

  • Boost profits by partnering with our business
  • Are you happy with your current supplier?
  • Can we offer you a better deal on your <service>?
  • We can save you 50% on your costs…
  • I have a proposal for you…

2. How to start a business proposal email

When you decide how to start the proposal email, you should stop and think about the recipient and whether you are beginning to draft a formal business proposal or an informal one.

Email greetings for a formal business proposal

When you're writing to someone that you know, use a formal email greeting:

  • Dear <first name and surname>,

An excellent proposal is all about research, so hopefully, you'll have the name of the person you're messaging. 

If you don't, it's OK (but not ideal) to address them using their job title. Here's an example.

  • Dear Purchasing Manager,

Try to avoid using overly fussy greetings such as 'Dear Sir/Madam' and 'To whom it may concern. We also suggest not bothering with Mr, Mrs, or Ms either as these are outdated, too.

Email greetings for an informal business proposal

When writing to someone you know, a current client, customer, or colleague, then you can use a less formal approach if you want to.

  • Hi <First name>,

To learn more about the conventions and best practices regarding email greetings, read our article on how to start an email .

3. Email opening lines and body

Proposal emails are about informing, engaging, and inspiring someone with a great idea, concept, or product, so it's tempting to go into details but don't. 

Using James’ structure as a guide, we recommend your proposal emails follow this outline:

  • Next step (one sentence) 

Getting the right tone of voice in your emails is critical. You'll want to appear confident about your proposal but avoid boasting or being too overconfident.

In some cases, such as when you know the person, a friendly approach can work. If you don't know the person, then a formal approach is more likely to get a response.

Ultimately, it's up to you how you want to present yourself in proposal emails. Before putting pen to paper (or finger to key), check out our email proposal examples below for some guidance and inspiration.

To help you find the best possible email opening phrases, we've compiled a list of 100 best email opening sentences .

4. How to end a proposal email

The approach you take to end a business proposal email depends on whether you are writing a formal or informal business proposal.

Email sign-offs for a formal business proposal

If you're writing a formal proposal email, it's advisable to use a formal email ending, such as:

  • "Yours sincerely" if you know the person's name; and 
  • "Yours faithfully" if you don't (or are writing to a group)

Email sign-offs informal business proposal

If you're happy to be less formal, then feel free to select a professional email ending from the list below. 

  • Kind regards
  • With best wishes
  • I look forward to hearing from you

We've tackled the conventions and complexities of how to end an email in a previous article, so be sure to check it out if you need more information.

Professional email signature

A professional email signature for your proposal contains everything the recipient needs to know about you and how to contact you, including:

  • Company (if relevant)
  • Email address
  • Phone number

You can add more detail, such as social media account links, a logo, and product details if it's relevant. For example, if you're in a profession with recognized qualifications (such as law or accountancy), then include your qualifications if you want to.

10 proposal email samples

We've provided the basics of how to write professional proposal emails; now, it's time to put it into practice. Here you can find 10 proposal email samples that tackle slightly different types of proposals. These examples demonstrate all the essential elements you need to include, but always remember to personalize your pr

1. Business proposal email sample

This standards business proposal email provides a short and snappy template to follow, using James' outline.

2. Sample email for proposal submission

Sometimes you'll want to email your boss with a proposal. While you can afford to be a little less formal, the principle is still the same, so stick to the script.

3. Proposal email to your boss

Sometimes you'll want to email your boss with a proposal or idea. While you can afford to be a little less formal, the principle is still the same, so stick to the script.  This is a sample of how how to propose an idea to your boss via email.

4. Proposal email sample to an existing client

When messaging an existing client, you already have a relationship to dispense with some formalities. In this example of a proposal email to a client, we still stick to the format but introduce some elements of personality and focus on shared outcomes.

5. Sales partnership proposal email

A sales partnership is a collaboration that should bring you both profit, so our example of how to draft a sales partnership focuses on that. Here's how to draft a business proposal email that brings mutual benefit.

6. Business partnership proposal email sample 

In this example of how to send a proposal email to a client, we describe how to write an email proposing an idea that can benefit you both. This business partnership proposal focuses on the productivity benefits and profit you'll both enjoy.

7. Proposal email to offer services 

Businesspeople are busy, so we've stripped back this proposal email to offer services to the essential information they need.

8. Price proposal email sample

In business, it's the price that matters, so we've focused on cost savings in this price proposal email sample.

9. Project proposal email

Collaborating on a project involves establishing a partnership. In this example of how to write a project proposal email, we aim to establish a connection and create interest, and then request a meeting to discuss details further.

10. Email to propose an idea

Sometimes you won't have developed a project plan, but you may have an idea you want to run past a potential partner, boss, client, or customer. In this sample of how to propose an idea through an email, we keep it brief and aim to kickstart a conversation.

Proposal email template by Flowrite

Flowrite is an AI writing tool that turns your instructions into ready-to-send emails and messages. Our browser extension and web app take care of the email format, capitalization, grammar, spelling, punctuation – you name it.

You can focus on the message, and Flowrite will handle the delivery. We dare to claim that it's the fastest way to improve your business communications.

Our AI template collection features dozens of email templates to help you with proposal emails. To grasp how easy and fast it's to write a business proposal email with Flowrite , check out the example below.

Still hesitant about how to send a proposal via email? Didn't think so. If you found this blog post about how to write proposal emails helpful, we suggest that you bookmark it to access our business proposal email samples the next time you write one.

In case you feel that our business proposal email format lessons could benefit your team, why won't you share this article with them?

Lastly, if you ever need help on how to write professional proposal emails, Flowrite and our business proposal email template are ready to help.

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7 simple steps to write a business proposal | a guide for small businesses.

7 Simple Steps to Write a Business Proposal | A Guide for Small Businesses

Why would your small business need to write a proposal? Government agencies and big companies may require you to submit one in response to their request for proposal (RFP). Or a new client could want an in-depth look at why you’re the right business for the job.

Whatever the case, writing powerful proposals helps small businesses win jobs in today’s competitive business environment, according to Entrepreneur .

Confused about what a business proposal (also known as a “project proposal”) is? This article has an easy-to-understand definition.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Get a Template
  • Understand the Requirements
  • Talk to the Client
  • Brainstorm Solutions
  • Sell Your Value
  • Fill out the Details
  • Review and Revise

1. Get a Template

A business proposal template helps you create a professional-looking, detailed proposal. Proposals generally have the same format, though there may be specific requirements depending on what industry you’re in, according to Inc. .

Microsoft Office has free proposal templates for service-based businesses (Word) and another for construction contractors (Excel).

Or take your proposals to the next step. FreshBooks has cloud-based proposal software that makes creating and sending winning proposals easy.

i have a business proposal for you

2. Understand the Requirements

A RFP makes understanding a potential client’s requirements simple. An RFP will typically include the project’s timeline, budget and scope. It’s important to look beyond the RFP, though (or however the client sent you the project details—an email or your notes from a phone call).

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What goals does the client have?
  • How is my business uniquely positioned to help the client achieve their goals?
  • Is the project scope, budget and timelines doable?

Next, decide if you really want to take on this project. Just because you received an RFP, doesn’t mean you have to submit a proposal—though you should certainly thank the client for considering you for the project. Proposals are incredible time-consuming to prepare and time ultimately costs money.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I have the time, resources and expertise to do this job (and do it well)?
  • Does this contract seem like it will extend into an ongoing relationship?
  • Does the client have good connections to other potential clients?
  • Is there a better opportunity on the horizon?

3. Talk to the Client

If you haven’t had a conversation with the prospective client yet, now’s the time to do it. Perhaps you got an RPF over email. Schedule a chat over the phone or in person about what the client really wants from the project.

An email or RFP may ask for certain deliverables but as you dig deeper into the project, you may be uncertain if that’s what they really want. Or there may be issues with the project that the RFP doesn’t account for and need to be included in the RFP and discussed with the potential client.

It’s also important to discover if another company already attempted the project and what didn’t work and why. Or if the client already received a round of proposals that they didn’t approve.

Ask the client:

  • What concerns do you have about the project?
  • Who makes the decisions?
  • What are your operating policies? These could include customer service policies.
  • Has the project already been attempted? What didn’t work?
  • How will you evaluate my proposal?
  • What do and don’t you like about working with contractors?
  • What is the project budget (if this hasn’t been discussed before)?

Your should also do some general research online about:

  • When the client’s company was founded
  • What products and/or services they provide
  • What are its competitors and are they doing better or worse than them
  • How the company is doing financially

You might also try asking anyone who’s worked with the company before about their experience.

At this point, you should have at least a ballpark idea of the client’s budget, according to Artists Network . Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.

  • What budget have you allocated for this job?
  • What are you thinking of spending?
  • What can you afford?

An answer like “I don’t know” could mean they want you to propose a number. If they respond with something like “We don’t have a lot to spend” or “There isn’t really a budget” then you should definitely get a budget number now . They probably can’t afford you.

4. Brainstorm Solutions

Now it’s time to figure out how you’ll deliver on the client’s needs. Gather your team (if you have one) and figure out the steps you’d require to reach the end goal and in what order they need to be done.

Analyze the costs and benefits of the solutions you propose as well as how long they’ll take and what resources you’ll need to complete them. This article on estimation techniques will help you with this process and eliminate proposed solutions that don’t work.

Use information gleaned from your call with the client: are the key decision maker more concerned about you cutting costs or going above and beyond on customer service? After all, no matter how brilliant your solution it’s not going to get approved if it doesn’t align with the client’s priorities.

And go back to the RFP and see what criteria are most important, such as timelines and price. If your solution is time-consuming and/or expensive, you need to go back to the drawing board.

Now it’s time to start writing that proposal. You may need to add more sections. You should have the following sections:

  • Overview: Explain why the client wants to go ahead with this project (they could be trying to fix a problem, like fixing a leaky roof). Include any context or background. Use your research. This section is also called an “executive summary.”
  • Goals: Outline the project goals based on the RFP. Tie this into your own business’s mission and goals. Be compelling so that the client wants to keep reading but be concise too.
  • Methodology: Outline the steps you plan to take to meet the project goals.
  • Time and Cost: Detail timelines and pricing for each of the above steps. These are usually plugged into line items with prices and quantities (if you’re selling a product). You should also be clear about when you’ll be submitting invoices and when payment will be due for each.

5. Sell Your Value

Your proposal overview should explain why your business is the best fit for the job. After all, a proposal is a sales document that’s intended to win a job and edge out your competitors.

Research your competitors—you can make an educated guess or the client may even tell you who you’re up against. If you feel comfortable, ask the client how they like working with these competitors (if they have done so) and what their strengths are. Then figure out what your company’s value is versus your competitors’.

  • For example, a website designer can sell themselves to a startup company by mentioning that they only focus on designing for startups. Then they can include samples from past startup projects plus testimonials from those clients.

You also need to address any potential weaknesses the client thinks you have.

  • For example, the website designer is competing for the startup project against big, established firms. They can discuss how they can devote all their time to this project, while the big firms will be juggling multiple projects.

Add the following sections to your proposal template:

  • Qualifications: Outline why your company is the best fit for this job based on your competitive strengths and what your proposal’s being evaluated on (see the RFP)
  • Benefits: Detail how the client will benefit by using your particular solutions.

Be sure to focus on the company’s goals and problems, not on your business. The prospective client want to know how you can solve their problems, not generally how great your business is.

6. Fill out the Details

You’ve written the most important sections. Now it’s time to fill out all the mundane details in your proposal template like the date and terms and conditions. Jump to the section below on what should elements should be included in a standard business proposal.

You may also want to write a business proposal letter (or “cover letter”) to provide context on why you’re submitting. Learn how to do so in this article .

7. Review and Revise

Now that your proposal’s complete, look it over.

  • Does it fulfill all the requirements laid out in the RFP?
  • Does it cover all the client’s concerns?
  • Is the structure clear and logical?
  • How’s the grammar and spelling?
  • Does it look professional and high quality?

Ask one of your team members to check the proposal for all the above criteria. Run your spelling and grammar checker as a backup. Especially review the executive summary (or overview) in detail as this is typically the first thing the potential client will read.

Make sure you attach include any relevant addendum like design plans, samples of past work, client testimonials etc. Or include a link to an online portfolio.

Most small businesses can send their proposals online but for big jobs, you might consider printing and professionally binding the proposal.

Now wait for the client to sign. or they can conveniently approve the proposal online using best proposal software . Either way, after following these steps its much more likely you’ve created a successful proposal that will win the job.

i have a business proposal for you

People also ask:

What Does a Business Proposal Look Like?

What should be included in a business proposal, how do you write a good business proposal.

Business proposals for service-based businesses tend to be alike, according to Inc. . There can be some differences in specific industries, like trades and home services, though.

Below is an  and what the outline typically looks like. Then jump to the section below to learn about what specific elements are usually included in a business proposal. A note: a business proposal is also known as a “project proposal.”

example of a general business proposal

Source: FreshBooks

Include the following elements in your business proposal:

  • Your contact information
  • Client contact information
  • Proposal date
  • Proposal number
  • Reference number (a PO number, for example)
  • Project overview
  • Scope of work
  • Services or product breakdown with quantities and prices
  • Sales tax, if applicable
  • Total project cost (include what currency it’s in)
  • Notes (including payment details)
  • Terms and conditions

You can also choose to include a cover letter ( this article shows you how to write one). But for smaller jobs, Inc. recommends combining the cover letter and proposal document into one document. You can also attach charts, graphs, photographs, maps, client testimonials, examples of past work etc.

To write a good business proposal (also known as a “project proposal”), Inc. suggests you consider the five following tips:

  • Sell your business. You must prove why your business is the right fit for the job and will provide the client the best value for the price. You must demonstrate that you understand the problem and provide a reasonable solution.
  • Understand the client. Talk to the client about exactly what they’re looking for in the project and from the proposal.
  • Establish your presence in the industry. This should be done ahead of time through sales and marketing techniques like advertising, having a social media presence, speaking at conferences and more. Also make sure you’re contacting the appropriate decisions makers at the company via email and phone to establish your presence.
  • Brainstorm solutions. Understand what promises you’re willing to make and how the client will evaluation your solutions (is cost most important?).
  • Edit. Customize any standard boilerplate text or content. Hire a copyeditor or in a pinch, use a grammer service like Grammarly .


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How to write a business proposal that wins you more clients (with tips and examples)

i have a business proposal for you

A business proposal is one of the most important documents you'll create in your firm. Done right, it enables you to showcase your services, impress potential clients, and win more business. But when your business proposal template isn't crafted correctly, it can fail to make an impression and send potential clients elsewhere, possibly never to return.

Needless to say, being thoughtful, thorough, and creative with your business proposals is a must. If you need help doing that, this article has you covered. We'll discuss the following:

  • Step 1. Gather information about your client.
  • Step 2. Prepare your business proposal outline.
  • Step 3. Craft your welcome message or introduction.
  • Step 4. Write a compelling summary.
  • Step 5. Explain your pricing.
  • Step 6. Ask for payment details.
  • Step 7. Review your client agreement or letter of engagement.

FAQs about business proposals – including 5 key tips for success

Get set to automate manual processes and free up admin time.

What is a business proposal?

7 steps for writing a winning business proposal.

Having defined what a business proposal is, let's discuss how to produce one in seven steps.

Step 1. Gather information about your client

The first step to creating a winning proposal starts before you start writing it. Ensure you have all the information you need to craft a thorough, well thought-out document.

This involves researching your potential clients' market and asking them for any information you might need to craft their proposal, such as details about their internal processes. For instance, if you're writing a digital marketing proposal, it would make sense to learn about their current channels, how much they're spending, and so on.

If you're a social media marketing agency, you'll want to learn about their top social platforms, follower counts, influencer partnerships, etc.

Whatever the case, make sure the key details are prepared before you start writing to ensure a smooth process when you're producing the proper content.

i have a business proposal for you

Step 2. Prepare your business proposal outline

Already have all the information you need? Great. The next step is to write your business proposal outline. At this stage, you'll want to lay out the key sections of the document. If you're using a business proposal template, it should provide the following essential elements:

A welcome message or introduction.

Scope of work and services.

Pricing or payment schedule.

Payment details.

A client agreement or engagement letter.

The specific information you'll include in each section will depend on the prospective client, but the list above should give you a clear idea of what your business proposal should contain.

Once you have all of the information you need, it's time to start populating the sections of your business proposal.

Step 3. Craft your welcome message or introduction

This section is the first thing your new client sees. Your message or introduction provides an opportunity to recap discussions you’ve already had with them and explain what needs to happen from here. Here’s an example:

Hi Pauline,

Thanks for taking the time to chat earlier today. Your business is at the perfect point to get a beautiful website designed.

As promised, here is our proposal. Check out our brochure on the left for more information.

When you're ready to start, just enter your payment details and sign this proposal.

Should you have any questions, you can reach us at {{ email address }} or using the chat function below.

We are excited by the prospect of working with you to expand your company’s image on the web. We hope we can begin collaborating soon!

Step 4. Write a compelling summary

How to get started: While the welcome message presents your proposal and outlines next steps, the opening paragraphs of your summary can be used to provide an overview of the entire proposal. It highlights the client's key points, goals, and the value you’ll provide. This opening paragraph is useful for decision-makers who may not have time to read the entire document. Use it to cover the proposal's main points and to capture the reader's attention.

Problem statements: Include problem statements to clearly articulate the issues or challenges your prospective client is facing. These statements also justify the need for your services.

Despite investing in high-quality content and providing an excellent user experience, your website is facing declining organic growth due to updates to the search engine algorithm. This has led to reduced visibility in search engine results, negatively impacting organic traffic, lead generation, and conversions.

We propose a holistic SEO management strategy that integrates targeted keyword usage, website and content optimization, link building, and local SEO enhancements to increase your website visibility, bolster organic traffic, and boost conversion rates.

Outline your scope of work and services: This is where you detail how you'll carry out your proposed solution. Below your opening paragraphs, create the scope-of-work section, describing the services you'll provide to the client in detail.

For example, if you're a full-service digital marketing agency, this part may include services such as:

An audit and analysis.

Website optimization.

Content marketing.

Social media management.

Paid advertising.

Email marketing.

Digital marketing reporting.

On the other hand, accountants can use this section to list services such as:


Tax planning.

Tax filing.

Setting expectations: Your scope of work should also outline the responsibilities of both parties. This could mean that you include specifics such as these:

You (the service provider) are expected to complete the project in 15 days.

The client is expected to send their documents in a timely manner.

Ironing out these expectations will help you manage out-of-scope work (also known as ‘scope creep’) effectively, and ensure a smoother client engagement. Having clear expectations also prevents disputes from escalating.

According to Joshua Lance, Head of Accounting (AMER) at Ignition, "If there's ever a disagreement down the line, we can always go back to that proposal and say, 'Okay, well, what do we agree upon? What's in there?'. Having the right scope and expectations sets the stage for mutual agreement between the parties," he says.

i have a business proposal for you

💡 Here's a pro tip when mapping out your scope: Be detailed about what each service entails and what it does not include. As you can see from this spreadsheet of sample services for an accounting firm – which is similar to an agency rate card – that you should aim to be fairly granular about this to ensure every aspect of what you do is itemized and described.

This helps to ensure you and your team are clear about services considered in-scope and those that are out of scope. It also means you can be crystal clear on your proposal about the services you’ll be providing.

"A good proposal needs to have a really detailed scope of what the work is going to be," says Joshua Lance. "We have to be very specific about what's in the scope and what's out of the scope, so it's clear what clients are actually buying, and we're all on the same page."

'We have to be very specific about what's in the scope and what's out of the scope, so it's clear what clients are actually buying, and we're all on the same page.' - Joshua Lance, Head of Accounting (AMER) at Ignition

He adds that being general or unclear with the scope can lead to inaccurate assumptions or mismatched expectations. For example, you and the client may define the term ‘accounting services’ differently. In your firm, ‘accounting services’ may mean simply doing bookkeeping, but your client may expect the service to include tax preparation.

Similarly, in digital marketing. The term ‘reporting’ is broad. Are you simply providing numbers around traffic and conversions? Will reports include data from all channels? Be sure to specify the information you provide to ensure prospective clients know exactly what's included in your services.

Aside from keeping you, your team and your client on the same page, being clear with your service scope and description helps to better communicate your value, says Michelle Timperley, Senior Key Account Manager (APAC) at Ignition .

"If you enhance your description and tell your clients what you are doing, it adds more value to the service that you're delivering," she says.

i have a business proposal for you

Follow the same format in your proposals to clearly communicate your offerings.

Step 5. Explain your pricing

No business proposal is complete without a section on pricing. This part should detail your fees and the schedule for when clients will be billed.

Similar to the ‘Scope of work and services’ section, the pricing part of the proposal needs to be crystal clear to avoid misunderstandings.

As Joshua Lance explains, "You need to be clear on pricing. If you're doing fixed fees, say what that fixed fee is. If you're doing hourly rates, put the hourly rate and give an expectation of how many hours you think it's going to be, so that person who's buying it knows what they're getting, and there are no surprises later on."

He continues, "I've seen too many accounting firms just say, 'Oh, it's between $150 and $300 an hour,' but they don't give any parameters around that. And then your client sees massive bills, and they'll think, 'Okay, I didn't expect it to be that much'."

These issues can be prevented by crafting a pricing section that's straightforward and unambiguous. Aim to put a fixed dollar amount or at least a close estimate whenever possible.

Pro tip: If you are charging fixed fees, be sure to include an ‘out of scope’ component to your engagement, says Michelle Timperley. Doing so gives you the ability to easily charge for additional work.

When you receive an out-of-scope request from a client, with Ignition’s Service Edits feature , you can adjust the price, quantity or billing details of your services – even after these have been accepted by your client. When you make any of these changes, the platform notifies your client of adjustments to the agreement without the hassle of signing a whole new proposal.

Step 6. Ask for payment details

i have a business proposal for you

Related article: The ultimate guide to automated invoicing

Step 7. A client agreement or letter of engagement

In Ignition, your proposal forms part of your client agreement or letter of engagement to save you time. Once a client signs and accepts your proposal, Ignition automatically converts it to a client agreement or engagement letter, so you’re always covered. The software keeps a history of legally binding e-signatures for your records.

If you’re an accounting and tax professional, you can get a head start using Ignition’s legally vetted, industry standard terms , and you can also upload your own terms. You can even access engagement letter templates from selected accounting industry bodies. This ensures there’s less errors, and less admin, while keeping you compliant.

Related article: The ultimate guide to contract automation

Frequently asked questions about business proposals

Now, you have your seven-step process in place for creating an effective proposal, you may have questions about how to get started quickly, so you start winning business.

Q. How can I create and send proposals and engagement letters in minutes?

By using a business proposal template. If the thought of producing a proposal feels daunting, don't worry. Ignition has a library of business proposal templates for various industries, covering the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Professional services providers have vetted each business proposal template so they're all optimized for success. These are just few of the business proposal templates on offer below:

Professional services proposal templates

Consulting proposal template.

Mobile app development proposal template.

Marketing proposal template.

Website design proposal template.

Software development proposal template.

Video production proposal template.

IT project proposal template.

Public relations proposal template.

Logo design proposal template.

Technology proposal template.

SEO proposal template.

PPC proposal template.

Social media proposal template.

Digital marketing proposal template.

Graphic design proposal template.

SaaS proposal template.

Business coaching proposal template.

US accounting proposal templates

Future Firm 3-tiered options.

Tax planning & advisory (individual).

Tax planning & advisory (business).

S-corp tax return with 3 options.

Recessionary service package.

QuickBooks services – 3 options.

Partnership tax return.

Bookkeeping services with 3 options.

Individual tax return with 3 options.

People advisory services with 3 options.

C-corp tax return with 3 options.

1099 preparation and filing.

NATP Engagement Letter Template (National Association of Tax Professionals).

US bookkeeping proposal templates

The perfect proposal template will depend on your specific needs, so explore the templates above and find one you can adapt for your business.

Q. Can I send proposals in bulk?

Yes, in Ignition if you have multiple proposals that you need to create and send, you can take advantage of the bulk proposal creation and send process.

Book a demo of the Ignition software

Q. Are there different types of business proposals?

Yes, business proposals come in many forms. And while most follow the same format and have similar sections, there are different types of business proposals you can use. The right type depends on the purpose or needs to be addressed.

Let's take a look.

  • Formal solicited business proposal: This type of proposal is in response to a formal request for proposals (RFP) or invitation to bid (ITB) from a client or organization. It follows a structured format and typically includes detailed information about the project requirements, scope of work, deliverables, timeline, and pricing.

The flow of your proposal will depend on what the prospective client outlined in their request or invitation.

  • Informal, unsolicited proposal: Unsolicited proposals are submitted to a potential client or organization without a prior request. It presents a business idea, product, or service that could address a need or opportunity. This type of proposal may have a relatively lower chance of being accepted, mainly because the client didn't request it.xtagstartz

Q. How many pages should my business proposal include?

There are no hard and fast rules regarding the number of pages a business proposal should have.

While it's not uncommon for a business proposal to have 10-20 pages, the length of your proposal will depend on the complexity of the client's challenges and the amount of work you'll be providing.

Some projects are straightforward, while others are more complicated, in that they have multiple milestones and dependencies.

Whatever the length of your proposal, make sure to strike a balance between providing sufficient information to convey your ideas and value proposition while keeping the proposal concise and focused.

Q. What if I want to give clients the option to choose from a range of proposals? Can I do that?

Yes, in Ignition you can take your sales process to the next level by allowing clients to choose from up to three proposal options . Packaging your services in this way makes it easy for you to guide clients to select the recommended option that best suits their needs.

i have a business proposal for you

Q. How can I make sure a client accepts my business proposal?

Below are best practice tips to follow that can maximize your chances of having your proposal accepted by a prospective client:

Tip 1. Make sure your business proposal looks professional and on-brand

One key tip for creating a proposal that stands out is ensuring that it looks polished and accurately reflects your brand.

"This is your way of setting yourself apart from other firms that the client may be talking to," Joshua Lance explains.

He adds, "It can't just look like a Word document, because that doesn't represent you at all. It doesn't show who you are. So, if you're a fun and tech-forward type of firm, your proposal and the things in it should reflect that."

With Ignition, you can include a digital brochure about your business inside your proposal. In addition to keeping your proposal on-brand, it creates a more seamless client experience. If your client sees that your proposal is consistent with your website, voice, and personality, they'll have a better brand perception overall.

Tip 2. Regularly update your business proposal

Michelle Timperley emphasizes the importance of keeping your proposal and accompanying brochure up to date. This includes using recent client testimonials and keeping your team page current.

It's also essential to regularly update your proposal's terms and conditions to reflect the current laws and regulations in your market.

Tip 3. Use video in your client proposal

Another great way to stand out is to incorporate videos into your proposal . This will make it more dynamic and personal, ultimately increasing the likelihood of clients saying ‘yes’ to your proposal.

"Videos are amazing and underutilized in so many ways," says Michelle Timperley. "When I started using videos [in] mine, my acceptance rate went from two days down to two hours."

Joshua Lance agrees: "Video comes across as more personal because they're seeing you talking to them and explaining things," he says. "It makes it feel more human," particularly compared to traditional text-only client proposals.

As for what content to include, Michelle Timperley says you can use video to explain the proposal, outline the terms and conditions, and give instructions on how to accept it.

i have a business proposal for you

Tip 4. Follow-up with your potential client

Following up may feel like an awkward task, but it's critical in the business proposal process. Research has shown that users who follow up on their messages get an average reply rate of 13% compared to nine percent for those who don't follow up.

If you're uncomfortable following up with prospects , you can make this step easier with the right business proposal software.

Ignition, for example, enables you to send automated proposal reminders. Simply indicate how many days to wait before following up, and the software will send reminder messages automatically. You can also specify how many reminders to send.

i have a business proposal for you

Subject: Got any questions about the proposal?

Last week I sent through the proposal doc you asked for as part of your website redesign project. I hadn’t heard back from you since and so I wanted to check in and ask if you have any questions?

In any case, I’d love to organize a quick call to talk it over in more detail. Would Tuesday at 3pm work for you? I’m really excited about the project and am keen to get it started as soon as possible!

Tip 5. Remove friction from the ‘acceptance’ process to get paid faster

So, you've sent a killer business proposal, and the client is eager to move forward. What's next?

The next logical step is for the client to inform you that they're ready to move forward. They'll sign an agreement, and the service provider collects the initial payment.

Traditionally, this process takes some time because it requires clients to email you back, sign documents, and send over their payment information. This results in an unnecessary back and forth between both parties.

Fortunately, in Ignition you can streamline the acceptance process by allowing clients to sign and provide their payment details from within the proposal. They can enter their payment details through an online portal without having to navigate away from the business proposals. There’s more information about payments in Step 6.

i have a business proposal for you

Related article: Use automation to reduce accounts receivable to improve cash flow

Automate manual processes to free up admin time

Your business proposal can make or break a potential client relationship, which is why it's critical that you put a lot of thought and effort into every proposal you send.

Need help doing just that? With Ignition, you can create and send proposals and engagement letters in minutes with custom templates you can use time and time again.

You can also automate billing and payment collection based on your billing and fee schedule, and ‘set and forget’ once a client signs your proposal. You’ll save hours of admin when you connect Ignition to your favorite business apps to automate workflows from the moment your client signs your proposal.

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Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio

Contributing Author 

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Payments currently unavailable in south africa.

Unfortunately, Ignition doesn't support payments in South Africa, but it's something we're working on in the future. You'll still be able to engage clients seamlessly with online proposals and automated engagement letters, and run your business on autopilot by connecting apps to Ignition.

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Business tips

20 free proposal templates to ace your pitch

A hero image of an orange document icon on a light yellow background.

In my vast experience of convincing people to do things they're initially sure they don't want to do, I've picked up a trick or two—namely, that no matter how exceptional and transformative your product may be, if your proposal doesn't articulate its value, you might as well fold it into a paper airplane and throw it out a window.

Impactful proposals require structure, which is where a proposal template comes in. It's the strategic framework that turns your pitch into the corporate equivalent of standing outside someone's house with a boombox over your head—except instead of blasting Peter Gabriel, you're serenading prospects with solutions to their pain points.

Here, in a burst of generosity characteristic of neither me nor most of the business industry, I'll share 20 free proposal templates and show you how to use them to showcase your unique offerings.

Table of contents:

How to choose the right proposal template for your needs

Free business proposal templates for any industry, tips for optimizing a proposal template for your business, proposal template next steps, what is a proposal.

A proposal is a persuasive document used to convince someone to buy into your project, idea, or business opportunity. It outlines what you plan to do, how you plan to do it, when you plan to do it, and how much it will cost.

A proposal is the first—and sometimes only—shot to make an impression. It's your opportunity to prove that you understand a potential client's underlying needs and showcase why you're the best choice for the job. A well-crafted proposal can mean the difference between popping Champagne and crying into your takeout.

There are two types of business proposals:

Solicited proposals are submitted in response to a formal client request for proposal (or RFP) and have specific requirements issued by the client.

Unsolicited proposals , sometimes called proactive proposals, are offered to a prospect independent of a request, usually following discussions about their business needs.

Proposals come in all shapes and sizes, from a quick email pitch to a 100-page grant proposal with a budget the size of a small country's GDP. The key is choosing the right level of detail for your audience and objectives. 

If responding to an RFP from a big company, you should roll out the red carpet with videos, case studies, client testimonials—the works. For a small business owner you've been nurturing for months, a short but compelling proposal focused on key benefits and next steps is likely all you'll need.

At the end of the day, a solid proposal should convince your reader that you understand their problems and have the solutions to fix them.

Choosing the right proposal template for your business needs is a strategic decision. 

Different objectives call for a different approach and, thus, a different template. The one you choose should align with your needs and requirements to fit your project like a glove (or at least like a comfortably loose mitten). 

Follow these steps to get started:

Ask yourself, "What is the core purpose of this proposal?" (Not in the existential sense—that's a spiral no one needs.) For example, a project proposal template should facilitate a clear outline of objectives, deliverables, and timelines, while a business proposal template might focus more on market analysis and competitive edge.

Next, consider who's sitting across the table from you. A contract proposal for legal professionals will differ vastly from a storyboard proposal aimed at creatives. The template should speak their language and cater to their expectations. 

Lastly, consider your desired outcome or what you're after. Are you looking to win a contract, forge a partnership, or charm the coins out of investors' pockets? Your template should have all the necessary details to prompt a reaction more positive than the one I get when I say I'm a writer at a family gathering.

Crafting polished proposals is key to winning new clients and growing your business. But who has the time to start from scratch every time? These business proposal example templates have got you covered. Clients and customers will be so impressed with your beautifully crafted proposal that they won't even realize how little effort it actually took.

Project proposal template

Orange and white project proposal template that outlines the details of a specific project, including an executive summary, objectives, scope, timeline, and costs, submitted for approval or funding

A project proposal outlines the details of a specific project, including an executive summary, objectives, scope, timeline, and costs, submitted for approval or funding. It's essentially a wishlist of how you plan to spend someone else's money.

Best used for: Securing funding or approval for a project

Who should use it: Project managers, business owners, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations

Business proposal template

Orange and white business proposal template including an executive summary, objective and proposed solution

A business proposal is a comprehensive offer from a business to a prospective client detailing how the business can meet the client's needs and the benefits of choosing its services or products.

Best used for: Securing funding from investors, attracting new clients, or partnering with other businesses

Who should use it: Business owners, entrepreneurs, sales professionals

Job proposal template

Orange and white job proposal template including an executive summary, understanding your needs and proposed services

A job proposal helps freelancers pitch their services effectively to potential clients. It emphasizes understanding client needs and providing a breakdown of project costs, which improves pitch quality and increases the chances of securing valuable client partnerships.

Best used for: Securing freelance work

Who should use it: Freelancers of all types, including writers, designers, developers, and more

Proposal letter template

Orange and white proposal letter template including an overview of the benefits and value proposition

A proposal letter is written to offer a solution or service to a potential client, providing an overview of the benefits and value proposition .

Best used for: Concisely presenting a proposal to a potential client or partner

Who should use it: Business owners, sales professionals, freelancers

Contract proposal template

White and orange contract proposal template including a section for the introduction, scope of work and schedule

A contract proposal is a formal offer detailing the terms and conditions under which a party will perform services or deliver goods to another party. It's the prenup of the business world.

Note: always run such contracts by your legal team to ensure they align with your interests and comply with relevant laws.

Best used for: Securing a contract with a client or partner

Who should use it: Business owners, sales professionals, lawyers

Event proposal template

White and orange event proposal template including sections for an event concept, program outline and logistics

An event proposal is a detailed plan submitted to stakeholders outlining the concept, logistics, budget, and expected outcomes of a proposed event. It's the party planner's battle strategy, where success is measured not in conquests but in compliments and clinking glasses.

Best used for: Securing funding or approval for an event

Who should use it: Event planners, non-profit organizations, businesses

Content marketing proposal template

White and orange content marketing proposal template including a section for the executive summary, business objectives and content marketing tactics

A content marketing proposal is a strategic plan presented to a client outlining how content marketing can be used to meet their business objectives , including tactics, content types, and measurement methods.

Best used for: Securing a content marketing contract with a client

Who should use it: Content marketers, freelancers, agencies

Proposal planning template

White and orange proposal planning template including a section for the project overview, approach, resources required and more

A proposal plan is a structured document that outlines the approach, resources, and timeline for accomplishing a specific goal or project. It's essentially admitting you need a plan to make your plan. It's plans all the way down.

Best used for: Ensuring that a proposal is well organized, persuasive, and complete

Who should use it: Anyone who writes proposals, including business owners, sales professionals, freelancers, and non-profit organizations

Research proposal template

White and orange research proposal template including a section for the executive summary, project overview, background and methodology

A research proposal is a systematic plan proposing a research project, typically including the research objectives, methodology, timeline, and estimated budget—the "hold my beer" for academics.

Best used for: Securing funding or approval for a research project

Who should use it: Researchers, academics, students

Budget proposal template

White and orange budget proposal template including a section for the introduction and projected income

A budget proposal is a financial plan that estimates the income and expenditures for a specific project or department over a set period—a bean counter's dream.

Best used for: Securing funding or approval for a budget

Who should use it: Project managers, event planners, business owners

SEO proposal template

White and orange contract proposal template including a section for the executive summary, current SEO status, and SEO objectives

An SEO proposal outlines a strategy for improving a client's search engine rankings , including tactics, tools, and expected outcomes. It basically says, "Follow me, and I'll show you how to be more sought-after than a parking spot at Trader Joe's on a Saturday."

Best used for: Securing an SEO contract with a client

Who should use it: SEO professionals, freelancers, agencies

Web design proposal template

White and orange web design proposal template including a section for the executive summary and current SEO status

A web design proposal outlines the scope, design, functionality, and cost of a website developed for a client. It essentially helps navigate the journey from "Hey, I need a website" to "Wow, this is exactly what I envisioned!"

Best used for: Securing a web design contract with a client

Who should use it: Web designers, freelancers, agencies

Sponsorship proposal template

White and orange sponsorship proposal template including a section for the introduction, sponsorship opportunity and sponsorship benefits

A sponsorship proposal seeks financial or in-kind support from a sponsor, detailing the benefits the sponsor will receive in return. It's like asking someone to pay for your party and, in return, they get their name on all the balloons. It's a win-win, especially if you like balloons.

Best used for: Securing sponsorships for an event or initiative

Who should use it: Event planners, business owners, and non-profits

Social media marketing proposal template

White and orange social media proposal template including a section for social media objectives and recommended platforms

A social media marketing proposal is a plan suggesting strategies for a client's social media presence , including goals, platforms, content, and metrics for success. It's a pitch to make a brand as clickable as a "Which potato are you?" quiz.

Best used for: Securing a social media marketing contract with a client

Who should use it: Social media marketers, freelancers, agencies

Consulting proposal template

White and orange consulting proposal template including a section for the executive summary, problem statement, objectives and scope of services

A consulting proposal is a document in which a consultant outlines the services they offer to solve a client's problems, including methodology, timeline, and pricing. It's for the Mary Poppins of the business world, swooping in with a bag of tricks to fix everything from their sales strategy to their coffee machine.

Best used for: Securing a consulting contract with a client

Who should use it: Consultants, freelancers, agencies

Service proposal template

White and orange service proposal template including a section for the introduction and scope of services

A service proposal is a formal offer of a service-based business to a client detailing the scope of services, deliverables, and terms of the agreement. It's like pinky promising you'll do the stuff you're really good at in exchange for cash.

Best used for: Securing a service contract with a client

Who should use it: Freelancers, agencies, businesses

Sales proposal template

White and orange sales proposal template including a section for the executive summary, company background and product/service details

​​A sales proposal helps sales professionals present their products effectively and establish credibility with potential clients by showcasing the company's background and client testimonials.

Best used for: Closing sales deals

Who should use it: Sales professionals

Grant proposal template

White and orange grant proposal template including a section for the executive summary, purpose of the project and project description

A grant proposal is a written request for funding submitted to an organization or government agency, detailing the purpose, plan, and budget of the project needing support. It's like Kickstarter but with more footnotes.

Best used for: Securing funding for a project from a grant-making organization

Who should use it: Non-profit organizations, researchers, academics

Storyboard proposal template

White and orange storyboard proposal template including a section for three steps in the board

A storyboard proposal is used to visualize and plan a project and is typically a visual representation of the project's key steps, milestones, and deliverables. It's like drawing a treasure map for your project, except the treasure is just meeting your deadlines and hopefully not walking the plank.

Best used for: Securing approval for a storyboard or selling a storyboard to a client

Who should use it: Project managers, business owners, designers

Partnership proposal template

White and orange partnership proposal template including a section for the introduction, executive summary, and partnership details

A partnership proposal is a formal document created by an individual or an organization to propose a collaborative relationship with another party. This proposal outlines how the partnership would work, the benefits it would bring to both parties, and the terms and conditions of the partnership. It's commonly used in business contexts where companies, non-profits, or other entities seek to join forces for mutual benefit .

Best used for: Establishing a mutually beneficial partnership

Who should use it: Business owners, sales professionals, non-profit organizations

When it comes to proposal templates, you need to make them work for you, not the other way around. The template is just a jumping-off point. To combat its genericness, it's essential to add your own razzle-dazzle. Here are a few tips to make any old template sizzle.

Tailor content to suit the specific project

When you begin to write a business proposal, the first thing to consider is your audience. Who are you trying to woo, and what will make them open their wallets?

Here's how to do some sleuthing to identify your target reader and customize your pitch to their needs:

Ask questions to get started: What are the client's pain points , and how will you solve them? What's your proposed scope of work and timeline? How much will your services cost? These are the questions a good proposal answers.

Do your research: Check out the client's website and social media profiles. See what they're posting about and what their customers are saying. Look for any public RFPs or project briefs. The more you understand their business and goals, the better you can position your proposal.

Focus on quantifying value using SMART goals: Once you've got a solid understanding of the work, focus on quantifying the value using SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound). For example, don't just say you'll increase web traffic—promise a 25% increase in organic traffic within six months. You want the client to think, "This company gets what we need, and they've promised real, measurable impact."

Tailoring your content isn't just about fitting in—it's about fitting so well they can't imagine going with anyone else.

Add visual elements and branding

Long before our brains got rewired to crave the instant gratification of flashy screens and endless scrolling, our ancestors were also suckers for a good visual. There's nothing quite like an eye-catching graph, chart, or image to break up blocks of text and drive a point home.

Photos: Throw in some photos of your smiling face, your product in action, stacks of money, or whatever is relevant and helps tell your story. Just be sure any visuals are high quality and actually add value. And please, no cheesy stock photos of overly enthusiastic business people engaging in unnatural acts of corporate glee.

Infographics: If you have data or statistics to share, turn them into slick infographics. Those colorful, bite-sized bits of visual information are like catnip for proposal readers. But keep your infographics clear and concise. Cramming too much text or too many numbers onto one can make people's eyes glaze over faster than a hot donut.

Company branding: Spice up your proposal format with your company's colors, logo, and fonts—whatever matches your branding. This helps build brand recognition and makes your proposal look more professional. But don't go overboard, or it'll seem like you're overcompensating.

Using visuals and branding in your proposal helps bring it to life, giving readers an instant visual understanding of your company and offer, all while flexing your expertise. And that can only help your chances of getting to yes.

Choose the right language and tone

When choosing the language and tone for your proposal, you have to walk a fine line. Aim for that sweet spot where you sound like a polished pro, but not so much that people think you're actually a robot in a skin suit.

Use balanced language: Avoid stiff, formal language as much as overly casual speak. Expressions like "enclosed herewith, please find" sound pompous, while "wanna" and "gonna" are too laid-back. Simple, straightforward language is the way to go.

Engage your reader: Talk to your reader like you would a colleague or client. Let your passion shine through in a genuine, unforced way. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the project without the aggressive, frantic energy of someone selling blenders on infomercials at 3 a.m.

Keep promises realistic: While you want to highlight the benefits and potential wins of choosing you, don't make promises you can't keep or claims you can't back up. Share relevant case studies, statistics, and data to build a persuasive yet realistic argument. Your readers will appreciate your honesty and see you as a trustworthy partner.

Meticulously proofread: With the language and tone set, be sure to proofread carefully. Double-check for any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors that can undermine your credibility and the professionalism of your proposal. Nothing screams "I wrote this in the parking lot" like a typo.

Highlight your unique selling proposition and social proof

You've got to convince your clients you're better than all the other yahoos vying for their business, and the best way to do that is by showing off what makes you uniquely qualified to solve their problems.

Framing your unique selling proposition (USP) in a way that benefits the customer is vital because it makes your offering more relatable and appealing, directly addressing the customer's needs or pain points.

For instance, a company might boast, "Our team has 103 years of collective experience." That's a hefty number, and one can't help but picture a team of Gandalfs shuffling papers and nodding sagely. Yet, without context, it's just a number, as emotionally stirring as announcing you've collected 103 pieces of lint from your dryer.

Instead of just humblebragging about your gazillion years of experience, tell prospects how it benefits them: "Our team's 103 years of collective experience means we spot problems before they arise, we don't waste time upskilling, and, like workplace MacGyvers, we're ready to turn a paperclip and a stick of gum into a solution."

Provide solid evidence that you've done this kind of work before. Share details of similar successful projects, along with social proof like testimonials or case studies from happy clients. Mention any awards or the time you got mentioned in the paper for something other than that misunderstanding about the "borrowed" traffic cone. The more you can demonstrate your experience and expertise, the more credibility you'll build.

Include a strong call to action

At the risk of stating the obvious, which I understand is a cherished tradition in the world of business proposals, one must not, under any circumstances, let a proposal fizzle out at the end without calling out next steps. It's like leaving a high-five hanging—it's awkward and, honestly, a little sad. Give your proposal the kind of finale that has confetti cannons and at least one person in the background slow-clapping until everyone joins in.

Stick the landing by issuing a clear call to action . State what happens next, such as scheduling a meeting to discuss next steps or providing a timeline for getting started. This gives the client confidence in moving forward with your company. Circle back to your key points and re-emphasize the benefits of working together, in case they skimmed the middle part because they were eating a sandwich or something.

Remember, ending a business proposal without a call to action is like forgetting to say "Bingo!" when you've got five in a row—it's a missed opportunity that could cost you more than just mild embarrassment at the senior center. Don't let a weak ending undermine an otherwise slam-dunk proposal. A strong finish could be the difference between a lost opportunity and your next big client.

While these proposal example templates are helpful, they're only the starting point. The real magic happens when you customize the template to match your unique voice and vision. And if you create lots of proposals, take it to the next level by trying out a dedicated proposal app or automating your workflow .

Related reading:

How to write a statement of work

How to craft your brand message

How to write a proof of concept

The best apps for freelancers

21 project management templates to organize any workflow

How to write a memo (and all the templates and examples you could need)

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Allisa Boulette picture

Allisa Boulette

Based in New England, Allisa is a content marketer and small business owner who hopes to make the internet a more interesting place than she found it. When she’s not working, you can find her lying very still not doing anything.

  • Sales & business development
  • Small business

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A yellow and orange tower of pipes at a power plant.

Plan to Stash Pollution Beneath the Sea Could Save Money and Jobs

The Italian energy giant Eni sees future profits from collecting carbon dioxide and pumping it into natural gas fields that have been exhausted.

This gas processing plant at Casalborsetti is the focus of the first phase of an ambitious plan to capture carbon dioxide and bury it under the sea. Credit... Maurizio Fiorino for The New York Times

Supported by

Stanley Reed

By Stanley Reed

Stanley Reed, who writes on energy and the environment, visited Milan and Ravenna to report this story.

  • April 4, 2024

Renowned for ancient churches and the tomb of Dante, the 14th-century poet, the city of Ravenna and its environs along Italy’s Adriatic coast are also home to old-line industries like steel and fertilizer. The manufacturing plants are of little interest to the many tourists who help sustain the area’s economy, but these sites employ tens of thousands of people.

The question is: For how long? The factories, like others in Europe, face increasing pressure from regulators to reduce the climate-altering gases that their operations produce. The worry is that rising costs from regulation will force them to close.

“We are very scared about the future of our industries,” said Michele De Pascale, the mayor of Ravenna. “We have to reach this goal to reduce CO2 emissions, but we want to do it without destroying our industries,” he said.

Italy’s energy giant, Eni, which has a large presence in Ravenna, is pushing a plan that the mayor says could help preserve the region’s heavy industries: create an industrial pollution collector.

The company is proposing to construct a network of pipelines to sweep up the carbon dioxide from the sites and store it away in old natural gas reservoirs. It sees this process, known as carbon capture and storage , as a promising new business line that would aid its shift to cleaner activities.

Michele De Pascale, standing in a suit, smiles for an outdoor portrait.

Eni is working on similar plans elsewhere in Europe, notably in Britain, where many mature oil and gas fields offer large volumes of storage potential. There are other carbon capture projects around the world, including in the United States, often aimed at reducing emissions from oil and natural gas production.

The company wants to diversify away from the oil and gas sales that have long been its mainstay, but it faces an uncertain future because of climate change concerns. Eni executives calculate they will have an edge because they can make use of the company’s existing infrastructure like wells and pipelines and redeploy employees.

“It is very easy to reskill or shift people,” said Claudio Descalzi, Eni’s chief executive.

Mr. Descalzi plans to turn carbon capture into a “satellite” company that could attract other investors seeking profits that he forecasts could be about 10 percent a year.

The transition to cleaner energy will succeed only if it spawns sustainable businesses, Mr. Descalzi said. “Otherwise, it will fail,” he added. “Because resources are limited and you can’t burn money.”

Eni has about 50 operating petroleum platforms in the Adriatic Sea off Ravenna, beyond lagoons dotted with flamingos. With production falling, Eni plans to pump carbon dioxide into the depleted gas reservoirs, which will act as giant sponges for the waste gas.

The company is spending about 100 million euros on modifications designed to remove about half the carbon dioxide emanating from a gas processing plant in nearby Casalborsetti. Work is largely complete, and Eni plans to begin sending the carbon dioxide through a new well into a gas field about 12 miles offshore and 10,000 feet below the seabed soon.

If this first phase goes smoothly, Eni will move to a much larger plan, initially costing as much as €1.5 billion, that will hook up factories and other large polluters in Italy and perhaps even France, to eventually draw as much as 16 million tons of carbon dioxide a year for burial.

Just as oil experts use powerful computers to crunch data into three-dimensional images to figure out how to efficiently extract gas from the ground, they are now using similar techniques to model how to safely inject carbon dioxide into porous rock.

Launching carbon capture projects, though, is proving a grind — an indication of how challenging the energy transition may be as countries shift from some of the easier areas to clean up, like electric power, to more difficult sectors like cement and steel.

Carbon capture needs to account for 8 percent of cumulative emissions reductions if the world is to achieve net zero by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization. Yet to be on track, the volume of stored carbon dioxide needs to jump twentyfold by 2030, to one billion tons a year — “a very ambitious undertaking” said Carl Greenfield, an analyst at the agency.

Polluters are struggling to evaluate whether it is worthwhile spending tens or even hundreds of millions to retrofit their plants. “They don’t have even the expertise to understand which is the best technology,” said Guido Brusco, Eni’s chief operating officer of natural resources.

i have a business proposal for you

But pressure from customers and taxes on carbon are pushing businesses to look seriously at carbon capture projects. Some analysts forecast that the European Union’s carbon tax will soar well above €100 a metric ton in future years, making proposals like Eni’s, which Mr. Brusco says will cost less than €80 a metric ton on average, an easier sell.

Andrea Ramonda, chief executive of Herambiente, which burns municipal waste to produce energy, is weighing the pros and cons. He figures that building what he calls a “washing machine of gases” at the plant could mean roughly doubling the €110 per metric ton that it now costs customers to to burn their garbage.

“We have to be very prudent” when managing the money of citizens, he said.

High costs and other obstacles mean that these proposals tend to require government backing, at least in the early stages.

“At the end of the day, you have to have some sort of government support,” said Bassam Fattouh, director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, a research organization. “Otherwise, many of these projects will not be realized.”

The British government has for years backed work by Eni, including a plan to clean up emissions around Liverpool and Manchester in northwest England. As part of the project, known as HyNet North West, Eni would build and manage a 40-mile pipeline for collecting carbon dioxide from factories and other polluters in the area and pump the gas into wells beneath Liverpool Bay. Eni says it has reached a preliminary agreement with the British government to receive a guaranteed profit.

“We’re backing this industry with £20 billion,” Martin Callanan, Britain’s minister for energy efficiency and green finance, said in an emailed statement.

Negotiations with the Italian government are less advanced, although Eni executives hope Italy will copy Britain’s approach. Vannia Gava, Italy’s deputy energy minister, recently visited the Ravenna project and said afterward, “This is an enormous opportunity for Italy.”

Eni and other operators of carbon capture systems are targeting large emitters like cement and fertilizer plants that analysts say lack options to clean up their operations.

Heidelberg Materials, for instance, operates a large cement plant at Padeswood in Wales that it wants to tie into the Hynet pipeline. Simon Willis, chief executive of the company’s British business, said about 60 percent of the plant’s substantial emissions came from a chemical reaction in the cement-making process.

“There is nothing we can do about that other than collect it and store it,” he said.

Even some environmental groups are inclined to give carbon capture at least a lukewarm pass as long as it is not a means of prolonging the use of fossil fuels.

“If CO2 release to the atmosphere is otherwise inevitable from an industrial installation, then it is better to capture it,” said Doug Parr, chief scientist of Greenpeace UK.

Stanley Reed reports on energy, the environment and the Middle East from London. He has been a journalist for more than four decades. More about Stanley Reed


Woburn-based battery maker raises $78 million

Woburn-based battery maker Alsym Energy, cofounded by veteran entrepreneur Mukesh Chatter (pictured here), has raised $78 million in Series C venture round.

Woburn company raises $78 million

Woburn-based battery maker Alsym Energy has raised $78 million in Series C venture round led by India’s Tata Limited, along with General Catalyst Thrive Capital and Thomvest. That brings total investment in the company to $110 million. Alsym, cofounded by veteran entrepreneur Mukesh Chatter and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Kripa Varanasi, is developing rechargeable batteries that won’t be based on lithium or cobalt. The company hasn’t revealed details of the design but has said that it will use manganese oxide for one of its two electrodes, as well as a water-based electrolyte solution. The founders said they expect to build batteries that match the performance of today’s lithium-ion cells but at about half the cost. Alsym says it’s signed a deal to produce electric vehicle batteries for a major automaker in India but would not reveal which one. — HIAWATHA BRAY


Wu’s commercial tax rate proposal sent to subcommittee

The City Council referred Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s proposal to increase commercial property tax rates to a subcommittee at its Wednesday meeting. Wu’s proposed legislation comes amid a decline in property values post-pandemic and ahead of an election year, though the incumbent has not announced her plans to run for a second term in 2025. The proposal, her office says, would protect residents from “sudden and dramatic tax increases” by temporarily shifting some of the tax burden to commercial properties. Real estate trade groups warn the move would increase the burden on an already struggling office market and could deter new investment. If the proposal is passed by the City Council, it will next head to the state Legislature and Governor Maura Healey for approval, where its fate also remains uncertain. The legislation could go into effect as soon as July, the start of the 2025 fiscal year, though the Wu administration could wait to implement it in either of the following two years. It would sunset after five years. Wu said the aim is not to increase the total amount of revenue that City Council collects from taxpayers but rather to ensure that the city can maintain current funding. “As Boston invests in revitalizing our downtown and commercial corridors in response to shifting market trends, we are working with all stakeholders to protect residents and homeowners against sudden and dramatic tax increases,” Wu said in a statement released by the city. “For our seniors on fixed incomes, for families with children, for frontline workers and all our community members, we must have the tools to address rising housing costs and keep residents in their homes.” The matter was referred to the council’s government operations committee with no discussion Wednesday. A hearing date has not yet been announced. — ESHA WALIA

Kiss sells catalog and name to Swedish company

It’s never really the end of the road for Kiss. The hard rock quartet has sold its catalog, brand name, and IP to Swedish company Pophouse Entertainment Group in a deal estimated to be over $300 million, it was announced Thursday. This isn’t the first time Kiss has partnered with Pophouse, which was cofounded by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus. When the band’s current members — founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons as well as guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer — took the stage on the final night of their farewell tour in December at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden, they ended by revealing digitized avatars of themselves. The cutting-edge technology was created by George Lucas’s special-effects company, Industrial Light & Magic, in partnership with Pophouse. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Baggy jeans and denim skirts a boon for Levi’s

Levi Strauss & Co. jumped after cost-cutting measures boosted profitability and a bet on baggy jeans and denim skirts drove higher-than-expected sales. The retailer, which announced a cost-cutting and productivity plan in January, said those measures are now paying off. Levi chief executive Michelle Gass, who took over as CEO in January, has also focused on introducing fresh merchandise. These products, including denim skirts and non-denim activewear pants, have helped drive demand and are beginning to support wholesale growth, she said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

Vanilla bean pods.


In wake of skyrocketing cocoa prices, vanilla may be next

Sweet-toothed consumers are facing double trouble with storms lashing the world’s top producer of vanilla — a beloved flavor for ice cream — even as surging cocoa prices bite into chocolate. Madagascar’s key vanilla-growing region has been slammed by Cyclone Gamane, whose rain and high winds have flooded fields and stripped vanilla pods from their vines. Georges Geeraerts, president of the Indian Ocean island’s union of vanilla exporters, said the deluge could halve the vanilla harvest. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

Gucci owner buys Milan building for more than $1 billion

Gucci owner Kering is spending $1.41 billion for a property on Milan’s toniest shopping street. The French luxury group said Thursday that it’s buying Via Monte Napoleone 8 from a unit of Blackstone Property Partners Europe. The 18th-century property covers five floors and boasts more than 5,000 square meters of retail space, making it one of the largest on the famed street, according to Kering. The building already hosts a location of Cova, the high-end Italian cafe brand owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, as well as fashion label Prada. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

Used-jet leases jump as airplane shortage persists

Boeing’s latest 737 Max crisis has worsened an airline shortage of popular narrowbody aircraft, sending the cost of used-jet rentals to the highest level in years. The US planemaker has slowed production of its bestselling model to address quality lapses tied to a near-disaster on a 737 Max 9 in January. With Airbus also struggling to lift output, available planes remain scarce. As a result, airlines are searching out leased ones — especially the largest single-aisle jets that carry more passengers. A 3-year-old 737 Max 9, the largest narrowbody in production at Boeing, now commands a higher monthly rent than before the pandemic, according to data from Ishka Global, which tracks aircraft prices. The price of an earlier 737-900ER is approaching January 2020 levels. A similar trend has boosted fees for the Airbus A321neo and the prior A321-200 variant. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Konica Minolta stock soars on news of large layoff

Shares of Konica Minolta Inc. jumped to a 10-month high on its plan to slash 2,400 jobs worldwide, part of an effort to boost profitability. The maker of photocopiers and medical diagnostic imaging equipment said it is reducing headcount around the world over the next twelve months by increasing productivity through the use of generative artificial intelligence. The cuts are set to increase profit by $130 million in the fiscal year starting April 2025, it said. Japan is crowded with the world’s biggest makers of office equipment, including Canon, Fujifilm, and Ricoh. Demand for printers and copiers has declined steadily as more offices go paperless, prompting many of these companies to shift their optics expertise into areas such as health care, semiconductor production, and space technologies. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

The 2024 solar eclipse is next week! Here's everything you need to know.

The april 8, 2024 total solar eclipse will cross the united states, with millions of americans witnessing the spectacle. here's info on the eclipse's time, path, how to find glasses and more..

We are exactly one week from the April 8, 2024 solar eclipse that'll cross a wide swath of the United States, with an expected 34 million Americans witnessing the celestial show.

The 2024 solar eclipse will last longer than the one viewed  by more than 20 million people in August 2017 , and according to NASA won’t happen again  for another 20 years . Fifteen total solar eclipses have been recorded in the U.S. in the last 150 years, with the next one expected in August 2044 .

Even if you're not in the path of totality, like most of Michigan, you can still watch the spectacle. You will need special eclipse glasses to be able to take in the experience so you don't risk eye damage . Thankfully, there is still time to get your hands on a pair — or create your own eclipse viewer at home .

Here's everything to know about the April 8, 2024 solar eclipse.

What is a solar eclipse?

Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes directly between the sun and Earth’s orbits , creating an eclipse of Earth’s view of the sun. The term "eclipse" traces its roots to the Latin  “eclipsis,” drawn from the Greek  “ekleipsis.”

The  path of totality  is the predicted path of the eclipse; in this case, from Mexico, through the U.S. across Texas and North America to the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. States  in the path of totality  for the 2024 solar eclipse include Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

What is the 2024 solar eclipse path?

Use the map below to see NASA's prediction of the April 8 solar eclipse's path of totality. Keep in mind that this is a prediction, and predictions can vary, but they may only affect you if you're on the very edge of the path .

More: What is the meaning of the word 'eclipse'? Here is its origin ahead of April 8 event

When is the solar eclipse 2024? When does the solar eclipse start near me?

The 2024 solar eclipse is Monday, April 8, 2024. Its path of totality will cross the United States from approximately 2:27 p.m. to 3:35 p.m. Eastern time. That's when, if you're in the path, the sky will darken for several minutes and the air will get colder.

Use the ZIP code locator below to find out when the eclipse begins and ends in your area — and what it will look like. (Can't see it? Hit refresh.)

What time is the solar eclipse in Michigan?

Only one small sliver of Michigan is in the 2024 eclipse's path of totality, in southeastern Monroe County. That includes Luna Pier, which sits along Lake Erie, just north of Toledo. Its residents are getting excited , albeit a little concerned about potential traffic snarls.

Most of the rest of Michigan will see somewhere between 90-99% coverage of the sun , though it won't be visible to the naked eye; you'll need special glasses or a viewer (more on that later).

When is the solar eclipse in Detroit?

In Detroit, where there will be 99.4% coverage of the sun, the 2024 solar eclipse will begin at 1:58 p.m. and reach maximum totality, or coverage, around 3:14 p.m. It will conclude with a final partial eclipse at 4:27 p.m.

What is the April 8, 2024 weather forecast in Michigan?

Clear skies will be essential to viewing the eclipse, especially since most of Michigan doesn't fall in the path of totality.

As of Friday, the latest weather forecast for southeast Michigan shows potential cloud cover, but encouraging signs that it'll be clear enough to view the eclipse .  AccuWeather  predicts a high of 63 degrees in Detroit on April 8, with "variable cloudiness" and a chance of a shower in the morning.  Weather.com  also predicts partly cloudy skies and a high of 66 degrees.

If these predictions hold up, that would give eclipse viewers in southeast Michigan  a chance to see the eclipse at least somewhere within the 2.5-hour window, as long as the clouds break at any point. (But remember, it's Michigan; the weather forecast changes fast. Stay tuned to Freep.com for the latest.)

How to find 2024 solar eclipse glasses

First of all, make sure the eclipse glasses you're searching for are safe. According to  NASA's eclipse safety website , the agency does not recommend specific eyewear for eclipse viewing but  does  recommend glasses that come with an IOS compliance label, or standard, of 12312-2, on the packaging. The eyewear may also be labeled IOS 12312-2:2015. According to NASA, torn, scratched, or otherwise damaged eyewear should be discarded.

While local hardware and big box retailers may have eclipse eyewear on their shelves, buyer beware, especially if they claim to be endorsed by NASA. NASA does not make specific recommendations.

Here's where to find eclipse glasses :

  • The American Astronomical Society  has a list of approved solar-eclipse glasses suppliers  here .  You'll be able to find eclipse glasses on  Amazon  in bulk; just ensure they are approved before you buy them. Here are more ideas on where to find free eclipse glasses .
  • Warby Parker , the eyewear company,  is giving away eclipse eyewear at its stores beginning Monday , but does not have details about the availability of the free glasses at its locations. According to its website, the chain has six stores in Michigan: Grand Rapids, Novi, Troy, Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Birmingham.
  • Check your local library: You also may be able to find free eclipse glasses at your local public library in Michigan, along with special programs. Check your library nearest you for details.
  • Check these retailers: The American Astronomical Society says some locations of these retailers may sell eclipse glasses: Walmart, Lowe's, Menards, Kroger, Meijer and Staples.

Here's more information on how to safely view the eclipse . Also try the the American Astronomical Society's website  or to  NASA .

More: Michigan Science Center offers eclipse glasses for $2, plans viewing event at Ford House

Watch for eclipse glasses scams!

Please don't forget the scams. Consumers should exercise caution when buying eclipse-related experiences or goods, according to Melanie Duquesnel, president and CEO of BBB Serving Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

So far, she said, the Michigan BBB has not received eclipse-related complaints or scam reports. Even so, you want to take extra care to avoid fake products, like counterfeit eclipse glasses, and rip-offs, like too good to be true deals for  special tickets  or deals on hotel rooms. Here's finance columnist Susan Tompor with more tips on avoiding eclipse glasses and hotel scams.

How to make your own eclipse viewer

Want to watch the eclipse without glasses? You don't necessarily need special glasses or filters, but it takes a little creativity and a handful to household supplies to make your own pinhole box or pinhole projector, also known as a pinhole camera.

Here's what to know, including step-by-step instructions , about building your own eclipse viewer.

Will the eclipse affect my pets? Will it affect other animals?

There are four things likely to happen to animal behavior during the April 8, 2024 eclipse, according to Erica Cartmill, professor of anthropology, animal behavior and cognitive science at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana:

  • Animals won't do anything unusual.
  • Animals will do evening behaviors. For example, if a dog is used to a bedtime treat, he may go to the kitchen to wait for it.
  • Animals will display signs of increased anxiety such as scratching, yawning, circling and pacing or if they are animals that typically flock together, they will start grouping.
  • Animals display unexpected behavior.

Here's more on what to know from reporter Jamie LaReau .

When is the next solar eclipse after 2024?

Not for another 20 years. According to NASA, after the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, the next total solar eclipse that can be seen from the contiguous U.S. will be on Aug. 23, 2044 . Here's how we're able to predict eclipses so far ahead of time.

It'll be much longer before another solar eclipse's path of totality crosses Michigan. The next solar eclipse to cross the state will be Sept. 14, 2099, when  the path of totality crosses the southwest Lower Peninsula .

Follow the Detroit Free Press on Instagram ( @detroitfreepress ), TikTok ( @detroitfreepress ), YouTube ( @DetroitFreePress ), Twitter/X ( @freep ), and LinkedIn , and like us on Facebook ( @detroitfreepress ).

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IRS reminder: 2024 first quarter estimated tax payment deadline is April 15

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  • Estimated tax payments |  ASL

IR-2024-95, April 5, 2024

WASHINGTON —The Internal Revenue Service today advised taxpayers, including self-employed individuals, retirees, investors, businesses and corporations about the April 15 deadline for first quarter estimated tax payments for tax year 2024.

Since income taxes are a pay-as-you go process, the law requires individuals who do not have taxes withheld to pay taxes as income is received or earned throughout the year. Most people meet their tax obligations by having their taxes deducted from their paychecks, pension payments, Social Security benefits or certain other government payments including unemployment compensation.

Generally, taxpayers who are self-employed or in the gig economy are required to make estimated tax payments . Likewise, retirees, investors and others frequently need to make these payments because a significant portion of their income is not subject to withholding.

When estimating quarterly tax payments, taxpayers should include all forms of earned income, including part-time work, side jobs or the sale of goods or services commonly reported on Form 1099-K .

Income such as interest, dividends, capital gains, alimony and rental income is normally not subject to withholding. By making quarterly estimated tax payments, taxpayers can avoid penalties and uphold their tax responsibilities.

Certain groups of taxpayers, including farmers and fishers, recent retirees, individuals with disabilities, those receiving irregular income and victims of disasters are eligible for exceptions to penalties and special regulations .

Following recent disasters, eligible taxpayers in Tennessee , Connecticut , West Virginia , Michigan , California and Washington have an extended deadline for 2024 estimated tax payments until June 17, 2024. Similarly, eligible taxpayers in Alaska , Maine and Rhode Island have until July 15, 2024, and eligible taxpayers in Hawaii have until Aug. 7, 2024. For more information, visit Tax relief in disaster situations .

In addition, taxpayers who live or have a business in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank, and certain other taxpayers affected by the terrorist attacks in the State of Israel , have until Oct. 7, 2024, to make estimated tax payments.

Paying estimated taxes

Taxpayers can rely on Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals , for comprehensive instructions on computing their estimated taxes.

Opting for the IRS Online Account streamlines the payment process, allowing taxpayers to view their payment history, monitor pending payments and access pertinent tax information. Taxpayers have several options to make an estimated tax payment, including IRS Direct Pay , debit card, credit card, digital wallet or the Treasury Department's Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) .

To pay electronically and for more information on other payment options, visit IRS.gov/payments . If paying by check, be sure to make the check payable to the "United States Treasury."

Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax , offers detailed information for individuals navigating dividend or capital gain income, alternative minimum tax or self-employment tax, or who have other special situations.

The IRS recommends taxpayers use the Tax Withholding Estimator tool to accurately determine the appropriate amount of tax withheld from paychecks.

Regularly monitoring withheld taxes helps mitigate the risk of underpayment, reducing the likelihood of unexpected tax bills or penalties during tax season. It also allows individuals to adjust withholding upfront, leading to larger paychecks during the year and potentially smaller refunds at tax time.

Filing Options

The IRS encourages people to file their tax returns electronically and choose direct deposit for faster refunds. Filing electronically reduces tax return errors because tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information.

The IRS offers free online and in-person tax preparation options for qualifying taxpayers through the IRS Free File program and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs .

In addition, the Direct File pilot program, a new option that allows eligible taxpayers to file their federal tax returns online directly with the IRS for free, is currently available in 12 participating states.

Assistance available 24/7 on IRS.gov

IRS.gov offers tax assistance 24/7. To address general tax concerns, taxpayers can access various online tools on the IRS website, to include the Interactive Tax Assistant , tax topics and frequently asked questions to get answers to common questions.

The IRS has also posted translated tax resources in 20 other languages on IRS.gov to communicate to taxpayers who prefer to get information in other languages. For more information, see the IRS Languages page on IRS.gov.

More information:

⦁     Topic no. 653, IRS notices and bills, penalties, and interest charges

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