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Blog Business How to Write Business Proposal (Examples + Free Templates)

How to Write Business Proposal (Examples + Free Templates)

Written 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. Ensuring your business plan format follows a clear structure can greatly enhance readability and comprehension for potential investors or partners.

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 .

Proposal-ToC-Example

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 .

Orange-Simple-Project-Proposal-Template

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]

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How to Write a Business Proposal [Examples + Template]

Meredith Hart

Published: December 05, 2023

Here's what every new business owner needs: an extra 8 hours in the day, an endless supply of coffee, and, most importantly, a really strong business proposal.

how to write a business proposal: image shows a person holding a pen and another person typing on a laptop

A business proposal can bridge the gap between you and potential clients. Done correctly, and it will outline your value proposition and persuade a company or organization to do business with you.

Here, we'll take a look at the various kinds of business proposals and go over how to write one. We’ll also see some ideas and examples to help guide yours.

Know exactly what you need? Jump to one of the following sections:

What is a business proposal?

Types of business proposals, how to write a business proposal, business proposal templates, business proposal example, tips for writing a business proposal, business proposal ideas.

A business proposal is a formal document that’s created by a company and given to a prospect to secure a business agreement.

It's a common misconception that business proposals and business plans are the same. However, a proposal helps you sell your product or service — not your business itself.

Think of it this way: instead of assisting your search for investors to fund your business, a proposal helps you seek new customers.

Follow Along With HubSpot's Business Proposal Template

business-proposal

Download the Template for Free

There are two types of business proposals: unsolicited and solicited.

  • Unsolicited Business Proposals : With unsolicited business proposals, you approach a potential customer with a proposal, even if they don't request one, to gain their business.
  • Solicited Business Proposals : Solicited business proposals are requested by prospective clients so that they can decide whether to do business with your company.

In a solicited business proposal, the other organization asks for a request for proposal (RFP). When a company needs a problem solved, they invite other businesses to submit a proposal that details how they'd solve it.

why do business proposal

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!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Fill out the form to get your template.

Whether the proposal is solicited or unsolicited, the steps to create your proposal are similar. Make sure it includes three main points:

  • A statement of the organization's problem
  • Begin with a title page.
  • Explain your why with an executive summary.
  • State the problem or need.
  • Propose a solution.
  • Share your qualifications.
  • Include pricing options.
  • Summarize with a conclusion.

Before writing your business proposal, it's crucial you understand the company. If they've sent you an RFP, make sure you read it carefully, so you know exactly what they want.

I recommend having an initial call or meeting with any new clients to ensure you fully understand their objectives. Ask open-ended questions to understand not just what they want, but why they want it.

Once you've done your research, it's time to begin writing your business proposal. While there's no one-size-fits-all approach to writing a business proposal, there's several elements most proposals include. (I designed this example business proposal using Canva .)

1. Begin with a title page.

You have to convey some basic information here. Introduce yourself and your business. Be sure to include:

  • Your company's name
  • The date you submitted the proposal
  • The name of the client or individual you're submitting the proposal to

Your title page should reconcile engagement with professionalism. I think of it as your first tone-setter, so you need to make sure yours is sleek, aesthetically appealing, and not too "out there."

Here's an example of what a business proposal template looks like when done right:

How to Write a Business Proposal: Business Proposal Example Title Page

The executive summary details exactly why you're sending the proposal and why your solution is the best for the prospective client.

Specificity is key here. Why are you the best choice for them?

Like a value proposition, your executive summary outlines the benefits of your company's products or services and how they can solve your potential client's problem.

After reading your executive summary, the prospect should offer a clear idea of how you can help them, even if they don't read the entire proposal. Here's what one should look like:

How to Write a Business Proposal: Sample Executive Summary

3. State the problem or need.

This is where you share a summary of the issue impacting the potential client. This is your opportunity to show them you understand their needs and the problem they need help solving.

How to Write a Business Proposal: Example Event Overview

In the example above, I included several signals to showcase my expertise – that I've been in the photography biz for 10 years, that I've worked with over 500 clients, and that I've been featured a number of publications. 

As you approach this section, focus on presenting yourself as an authority. Consider leveraging tools like:

  • Case studies
  • Client testimonials
  • Relevant awards
  • Industry accreditations

6. Include pricing options.

Pricing is where things can get a bit tricky, as you don't want to under or over-price your product.

How to write a business proposal: Include Pricing Options

The pricing section of your proposal could include:

  • A detailed pricing breakdown, including packages, tiers, and add-ons or optional services
  • How product features and benefits align with pricing choices
  • Pricing for different needs and budgets
  • How your pricing compares with competitors
  • An FAQ section to respond to anticipated objections and explain your pricing strategy

7. Summarize with a conclusion.

After sharing the above information, simplify it all into one final section.

  • First, briefly summarize the proposal. Be sure to share your qualifications and why you’d serve as the best choice.
  • Then, to prompt further conversation, confirm your availability to go over the next steps.
  • At the end of the proposal, the goal is to have the client ready to work with you. So, be sure to offer your contact information for easy follow-up.

In need of some inspiration before you begin writing? Here are example business proposal templates from popular business proposal software companies you can use to help create your proposal.

1. HubSpot's Free Business Plan Templates

HubSpot Business Proposal Template

Download these Templates

We know how crucial a great business proposal is to your and your client’s success. That's why we've compiled 2 Free Business Proposal Templates for you to use and customize for any of your projects.

You'll gain access to a concise, one-page template (pictured above), as well as a longer template for you to refine your plan and proposal.

Download the templates now to get started on building your proposal.

What We Like

The one-page template is clear, straightforward, and easy to read — without skipping on the key elements of a business proposal. This format is especially useful for busy clients who appreciate brevity and clarity.

2. Web Design Proposal

Business Proposal Templates: Web Design

With advertising on social networks projected to reach $82.23 billion dollars in 2025 , it's in your business's best interest to have a plan for growing your client's social media presence.

To help you in that effort, the information in this social media marketing proposal includes an executive summary to help introduce your high-level ideas, an assessment of the client’s company to show your diligence, and a breakdown of billing to show how your company charges for posting, content creation, and analytics.

This template includes all the bells and whistles of a social media proposal packaged in a fun yet professional design. It also includes helpful writing instructions under each section.

8. Content Marketing Proposal

Business Proposal Templates: Content Marketing

Business proposal templates are helpful places to get started, but what should your business proposal look like when it's complete? This template should inspire you.

When pitching your content marketing services to clients, this template can help you organize your ideas. While it walks you through initial objectives and how to communicate your prospected results, one of the most helpful parts of this template is the pricing ideas it gives you when charging for your services.

In the business template example below, Social Portal Consulting (SPC) pitches a marketing proposal to Graphic Bean. At first sight, this proposal appeals to the creative. I recommend going a step forward and designing the layout in your or your client’s brand colors.

Business Proposal Example: Social Media

Besides the design, the social media icons quickly tell the prospect what platforms Social Portal is pitching. Because we see Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest icons, the client instantly knows that this proposal doesn’t include LinkedIn, YouTube, or other platforms.

While maintaining its design, this example outlines Social Portal Consulting’s plans efficiently. It begins by providing insight into Graphic Bean and its goals before elaborating on how SPC can leverage its expertise to help them achieve them.

This business proposal template includes an easy-to-follow timeframe for goals and objectives while keeping the client abreast of how payment will happen across the project.

Overall, this is an excellent example of how to combine the elements of social media marketing into a creative and concise business proposal. Finally, we'll leave you with some business proposal ideas to get you started on your own.

  • Start with an outline.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Stay on brand.
  • Quality control.
  • Include data and visuals.
  • Add social proof.
  • Use a call-to-action.
  • Create a sense of urgency.
  • Make the decision for them.
  • Incorporate video into your proposal.
  • Include up-sell and add-on opportunities.
  • Clarify your terms and conditions.
  • Include a space for signatures to document agreement.
  • Create a table of contents.

1. Start with an outline.

If you want to produce a thoughtful, effective business proposal, you need to have some idea of what you're hoping to achieve with it.

Before I dive into writing a proposal, I always outline the major sections of the proposal that I want to include. That way, I can stay focused and make sure my message stays intact as I write.

Use these free business proposal templates to make sure that your outline includes everything you need.

2. Keep it simple.

Ultimately, there's no definitive blueprint for how long a business proposal has to be. Yours should be however long it takes to convey the information you want to get across.

That said, I'm a firm believer in quality over quantity, especially when it comes to business proposals. Keep your sentences short and simple, and avoid including too much business jargon.

You want anyone who picks up your proposal to make sense of it. So, be straightforward and don't get too fancy. Aim for substance over flash.

3. Stay on brand.

Don't be afraid to let your company's personality shine through in your proposal. Stay true to your brand and show the client what sets you apart from your competitors.

4. Quality control.

I've made it a habit to add an editing/QA step in my writing process. During this step, I do a quick spelling and grammar check before hitting send.

So, as you draft your proposal, and after checking for the basics, keep scanning this document until it's just right.

Check to make sure your proposal:

  • Meets client needs and expectations
  • Highlights your value proposition
  • Is well-structured and easy to read or skim
  • Complies with legal, ethical, and regulatory requirements
  • Looks professional and engaging

5. Include data and visuals.

You want your business proposal to capture your prospect's attention and help set you apart from any other ones they might have received. One of the best ways to do that is to include hard, quantitative data that helps stress the value of your business.

Use relevant, compelling figures that highlight what you have to offer. This can establish authority and make your proposal more convincing. It also helps to include visuals such as charts and graphs to enhance your proposal.

6. Add social proof.

From my experience, you can only be so convincing when you're personally talking up how great your business is — which is why adding social proof is key to establishing credibility.

At the end of the day, prospects are skeptical. They may not take you at your word. But they'll likely trust peers and fellow customers. That's why including elements like customer quotes and testimonials can go a long way.

7. Use a call-to-action.

I've learned that the best proposal in the world can only take you so far if you don't clearly define the next steps. That's why you have to make sure the reader knows what to do after reading your proposal.

A clear call-to-action is the best way to get there.

Define and highlight exactly what they should do to act on the interest your proposal has generated. Without that guidance, you might leave your reader in limbo.

HubSpot customers : Use this CTA builder to create powerful customized CTAs.

8. Create a sense of urgency.

No one wants to feel as if they missed out on a great opportunity. From my experience, prospect tend to drag their feet and put off making a decision if there isn't a sense of urgency.

So, as you create your business proposal, your goal should be to add a degree of urgency. When prospective clients read your business proposal they should feel that the best time to sign up for your service is now .

One way I accomplish this is by stating short and long-term goals for their business. They'll have to wait for the long-term goals, but I make the short-term goals so enticing that they'll be ready to begin a collaboration.

9. Make the decision for them.

Craft your copy in a way that seems like saying "no" to the proposal would be stepping over dollars to pick up pennies. Your offer should go above and beyond their expectations. Do everything in your power to remove friction and objections along the way.

10. Incorporate video into your proposal.

If you're creating an online proposal using document file formats like PDF, add multimedia elements. This will enhance the proposal experience, make your document richer, and keep them engaged.

Try adding a video at the beginning as an intro to your proposal. Or, put a video in the project breakdown to verbally discuss some of the more confusing parts.

Extras like this can make an impression. This tip works especially well with prospects who are visual or auditory communicators.

Pro tip : HubSpot Video makes it easy to record and embed video into a website or email for a big proposal boost.

11. Include up-sell and add-on opportunities.

They say you won't receive unless you ask. And readers won't explore the upper tiers of your solutions if you don't give them the opportunity.

So, share some upsells and add-ons about your business that they can act on. Call out a specific pain point and how this extra can add value.

With this step, balance is important. Show them everything your business has to offer without overwhelming your recipient.

12. Clarify your terms and conditions.

Your business proposal should include details on your project timeline and payment schedule. This summary is basically what you and the client agree to if they accept your proposal.

How to write a business proposal: Example Terms and Conditions

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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.

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Free Sales Business Proposal Template

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

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💡 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 [Steps, Tips, & Templates]

You need to send a business proposal, and you want it to close. But how can you improve your chances?

Every year, we analyze the proposals sent with our software to discover what makes closing more likely. We used this research to craft this very guide .

To help you write better business proposals, we’ve curated the essential proposal format, a step-by-step process, plenty of templates to help you get started, and strategies for following up.

From images to esignatures, keep reading for data-backed insights into the most successful proposals.

Graphic showing a high quality business proposal

What’s in this guide:

What is a business proposal?

Basic proposal format, what to prepare before writing a business proposal, how to write a business proposal in 7 steps, 8 business proposal templates, 5 ideas to take your business proposal to the next level, what to do after you send a business proposal, using analytics for business proposal insights.

A business proposal is sent by a salesperson or account manager to a prospective client in order to pitch a product or service. A great proposal should include an executive summary or cover letter, details on the project timelines and deliverables, what makes the company the right choice for the job, and pricing and payment details.

Business proposals are typically sent from one business to another for all sorts of different services, such as enterprise software subscriptions, interior design, accounting, marketing, event catering, etc.

The purpose of a business proposal is to:

Sell your product or service with details, client results, testimonials, etc.

Clarify what is and isn’t included in the proposal to accurately manage expectations

Layout terms and conditions to protect both parties

Lock in the deal right away with esignatures built into the proposal

Large corporations and government agencies will typically send out a request for proposal to competing companies and then choose the best (or cheapest) one.

A business proposal is very different from a business plan, because it is typically written to clarify a paid engagement between two companies. This might be a short project or a long contract. A business plan, on the other hand, is typically an internal document crafted to chart a businesses path forward towards goals, such as market expansion, revenue growth, new product lines, etc.

Types of business proposals

There are many different types of business proposals. They are typically broken down by industry.

Here are some common types of business proposals, by industry :

Real estate and construction

Professional services

Proposals can also be categorized based on the type of offering :

One-off projects

Recurring subscription

Ongoing service

Package options

Later on in this guide, we include a variety of proposal templates. Depending on what you selling, you might find it easier to begin with a template designed for your industry or for the type of offer you’re selling (such as a one-off project). So be sure to peruse through the previews of each proposal so that you can see which template will save you the most time.

Business proposal example

An excellent business proposal addresses the client’s pain points and showcases the proposed solution.

Here’s an example business proposal to inspire you. The accounting proposal kicks things off with an attractive cover page.

why do business proposal

All in all, it includes the cover page, an executive summary letter, an about us section, team photos and bios, a project summary, a breakdown of the proposed services, a pricing section, onboarding steps, and a contract with esignatures.

The services breakdown offers a great example of how to categorize your services and provide hourly estimates.

why do business proposal

After researching over 1 million proposals, we found that winning proposals are most likely to include all of the following.

Here’s the idea proposal structure :

1. Cover page

The cover page, also called a title page, should be kept simple. It prominently features a photograph or graphic design that is on-brand, you can use graphic design templates as a starting point. It also usually includes the project name, or the client name, as well as your company name. Some companies might include contact information on the cover page, while others will save that for a separate page.

Check out this cover page , which is bright, bold, and on-brand.

why do business proposal

2. Executive summary

The executive summary is essentially your pitch.

It’s your shot at capturing the client’s attention and showing them that you have an approach that will exceed their expectations.

It’s typically written in paragraph form (1 to 3 paragraphs) but can also include a bulleted list for a more skimmable style.

Make sure that your executive summary includes:

A quick description of the client’s problem or starting point

How your company will serve the client and why you’re suggesting this unique approach

Why your company is the best choice (average results, unique selling propositions, differentiators, awards, etc.)

This content marketing proposal offers an excellent example of an executive summary. Though in this proposal, the section is instead titled “Focus and Objectives.” What makes it great is that it’s on brand, goal-oriented, personable, and skimmable.

why do business proposal

3. Approach or solution

In this section, you write about your process and why you approach things the way you do. For example, a Facebook marketing agency might say that they believe that creative work is essential to advertising success, and that’s why they devote 90% of their time to developing videos, images, and copy.

Some companies will craft a custom approach section for each client, while others will re-use the section again and again. It all comes down to the number of services you offer and how much or how little you customize your work.

In corporate training, it’s essential to clarify your approach so the client knows why your system will be effective. In this training template example , their process shows the essential steps in their proprietary approach.

why do business proposal

4. About the company

This is your chance to brag. In your company bio, be sure to mention all of the important things that set your company apart. That might include your management style, the talent you have on your team, your average client retention rate or contract length, and any accolades.

With their location, awards, and team structure, this About Us page is an excellent example of how to sell yourself with authority.

why do business proposal

5. Deliverables

Use the deliverables section to summarize exactly what the client will receive from the engagement.

A TikTok ads management firm might include 15 ad creatives per month in their deliverables, for example. While an accounting firm might list the reports that will be sent weekly or monthly, along with the bookkeeping service.

In a construction project, on the other hand, the company might showcase the different milestones that the project will hit, and when these milestones are expected to be completed.

In this proposal , the Deliverables section is titled “Scope of Services,” and it includes a list of all of the services that the prospective client will receive. Deliverables are mentioned within the scope, including a logo, brand colors, business cards, and brand guidelines.

why do business proposal

6. Social proof or work samples

No matter what you sell, prospective clients will want to know that you have the right experience for the job.

Social proof can come in the form of written testimonials and case studies, video testimonials and case studies, portfolio photographs, G2 and Capterra badges, and rating averages from Google, Trustpilot, or other review sites.

For an architecture firm, construction company, or website designer, work examples can prove more powerful than testimonials. Prospects want to see what you can do. This architecture proposal showcases the company’s work on a rehabilitation project.

why do business proposal

The pricing section is of course the one that your clients will read again and again and deliberate over. That’s why it’s so important to make it clear, simple, and well-formatted.

Tables are a great way to showcase what’s included in the total project cost or to provide package options.

Similar to interior design and construction services, event planning typically includes both hourly costs and hard costs (for products and venues). Here’s an example of an event management proposal that includes a breakdown of the hourly work and the hard costs.

why do business proposal

8. Terms and conditions

When you use modern proposal software , you can build a contract right into your proposal, eliminating the need for separate contract software.

Your proposal should include legal jargon that can protect both you and your client. You might have a statement of work and a master service agreement or terms and conditions.

In this website design proposal , there are 6 pages in total for the contract section. The potential client can easily click around to view all of these pages and share the proposal with their legal team if needed.

why do business proposal

For proposals that are longer than 8 pages, it’s wise to include a table of contents. If you use Proposify as your proposal software, then every proposal will automatically have the table of contents on the left-hand side, making it easier for the potential client to click around and review important sections multiple times.

A lot goes into writing a proposal. Before you can get to the writing part, you need to prepare.

This means talking with the client to figure out their needs, using your experience to pitch the best project, and talking with colleagues who will be involved in the project to see if they agree on the services you plan to propose.

You might also need to talk with your legal department and ask them for a contract template that you can include at the end of the proposal so that when the client signs off, it's legally binding.

Everything you need to prepare to write a business proposal:

An understanding of the client's needs

Your determination of the best approach

Details that will get the client to say yes

Agreement with internal colleagues

The pricing options you want to offer

Knowledge of who needs to sign off

Legal contract language or templates

To be a good writer , you must be concise, specific, and detailed. It really is that simple. The more examples and details you provide, the better.

That said, it does help to follow a process so that you can be sure you’re providing everything that the decision-makers expect and more.

Here are the 7 essential steps for writing a business proposal:

Step 1. Determine the client’s needs

The first step is to figure out what your client needs.

As mentioned in our section on preparation above, you’ll need to speak with your client. If this is a new client, it might take two to five sales calls to collect all of the information you need. For an existing client, you can probably figure out what to include in their renewal proposal with just one call.

But of course, asking your client what they need isn’t enough. You need to use your expertise to choose the best solution for them, even if it’s not what they want or expect.

Step 2. Kick off your proposal with a template

Once you’ve done your due diligence, the next step is to choose a proposal template so you’ll save time on both writing and designing.

You can use a template that matches your specific business or click around to find one with all the sections and a design style you like. Even if it’s not created for your specific industry, it’ll be easy to update the content to match your service or product.

Check out our full library of proposal templates.

why do business proposal

Step 3. Write the evergreen messaging about your company

It’s always smart to tackle writing section by section. This way, you don’t get overwhelmed.

We recommend starting with the sections that are relevant to your business and that can be reused again and again. Your value propositions should guide the content.

Tackle these sections:

The cover page

The approach section

The about us page and team bios

The social proof or portfolio pieces

By starting off with what makes your company special, you’ll break the ice during your writing process and also create your own custom template that you can use for further proposal writing.

why do business proposal

Step 4. Craft the meat of the proposal (executive summary, approach, deliverables, etc.)

By now, you should have chosen a template and written your core company messaging.

Now it’s time to write the meat of the proposal.

In this step, you’ll be catering your proposal to the new client. A startup will require a different proposal than a small business, and the same goes for an enterprise.

Here are some of the things you might need to write:

The unique methodology or approach you’ll offer this client (if it changes per client)

The problem statement or executive summary

The client’s goals

The scope of work

The project process and timelines

The deliverables

why do business proposal

You can fill in your template’s sections and take a peek at other templates to get inspiration and see if there are any additional sections or details you should add.

Step 5. Add in the project total or pricing options

Next, you should calculate your fees.

Depending on your business, you might add up flat rates, product costs, or hourly estimates to come up with a fixed project total. Or, you might present a price range that the project will likely fall between (making it clear that additional hourly costs could arise. Or perhaps, you’ll offer a pricing table with different options to choose from.

why do business proposal

Step 6. Add legal terms and conditions and esignatures

When you use proposal software (instead of just a PDF or Google slides), you can add a contract directly to your proposal.

If you already have approved contract language from your legal department, you can simply add it to the contract section of your proposal in Proposify. If not, you’ll need to chat with your legal team or business lawyer to ensure you’re adding all the right stipulations.

Proposals with esignatures close 35% faster and are 426% more likely to be accepted. So be sure to assign an esignature both to yourself and your client.

why do business proposal

Step 7. Finalize the design and review all of the content before sending

Now it’s time to review and finalize your proposal. Check for errors, places in the template you forgot to fill out, and wording that can be improved.

Make sure the graphic design is on point too. Switch out the template with your own brand colors and fonts. You can have a designer on your team handle this, or handle style customization yourself (with no design experience necessary).

The best way to write a business proposal? With a template of course.

We’ve rounded up 10 of the best templates for different types of businesses. And for each, we show you the proposal sections included to help you pick the right one for you.

Keep in mind that with any of these proposals, you can add and remove sections and also customize any page with text, headlines, images, videos, fee tables, and more.

1. Business consulting proposal template

why do business proposal

This consulting proposal template can be used by any type of consulting firm.

Proposal sections :

Project Summary

Project Activities

Your Investment

2. Advertising Proposal Template

With this advertising proposal template, you can showcase your digital or traditional advertising services. The template includes TV, web, radio, and magazine, but you can update it to reflect your pitch.

Cover Letter

Who Are We?

Testimonials

Your Advertising Media Mix

3. Branding Proposal Template

Perfect for branding consultants, logo designers, and messaging strategists, this branding proposal template includes the project scope and timeline to help you clarify your process to potential clients.

Overview & Goals

Scope of Services

Sample Case Study

4. Commercial Lease Proposal Template

This commercial lease proposal template can be used for leasing office buildings, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and event spaces.

Our Process

Meet Our Team

Terms and Conditions

5. Construction Bid Template

Use this construction bid template for new construction projects or renovations. It includes a detailed cost estimate table and a required deposit.

Cost Estimate

6. Catering Proposal Template

This catering proposal template is perfect for corporate projects but can work for weddings or personal events as well. You can use it for conferences, luncheons, retreats, or any other type of event.

Introduction

Event Details

7. Corporate Photography Proposal Template

With a beautifully designed portfolio section and a very detailed pricing table and print options, this is the perfect template for corporate photography . It also includes tips for success, so clients know how to make the most of their photoshoot time.

What We Offer

Photography Packages

Tips for Success

8. Financial Services Proposal Template

You can use this financial services proposal template to pitch financial services like risk management, budgeting, and investment management.

Services and Fees

Looking to kick up your proposals a notch?

Try one of these smart ideas:

1. Make your pricing dynamic

Dynamic pricing means that clients can choose what they want and that will automatically change the project total that they sign off on.

Proposals with options and add-ons have a 35.8% higher closing rate . Try giving package options and including add-ons such as ancillary services or maintenance work.

why do business proposal

2. Create graphic designs for timelines and processes

Winning business proposals often include informative visuals to help clients understand your process at a glance.

You could create a graphic for project phases, milestones, or big deliverables.

why do business proposal

3. Get creative with your social proof

Client testimonials are an easy starting point when it comes to social proof.

But can you do better? Can you get more creative and stand out from other consulting firms?

Here are some ways to improve your social proof game:

Include visuals for your average ratings (for example 4 and a half stars filled in).

Add any badges or graphics available from review sites like G2 and Trustpilot.

Film professional case study videos and embed them in your proposal.

Create a screenshare video where you talk through your digital portfolio samples.

Include an informal video testimonial from your client.

Add a video showing your team at work (ie, on the job site, running a workshop, speaking, etc.)

Write mini case studies with before and after transformations, result data, etc.

4. Have an “excludes” section

Is there something that is definitely not included in your proposal? Do clients often assume it’s included or do they get confused?

If so, try adding a section that describes everything that isn’t included in the proposal. You could mention that you don’t offer these services, or state that they’re available at an additional fee (if you want to upsell them).

why do business proposal

5. Include videos for introductions or complex concepts

When you add a video to your proposal, you increase its chances of closing by 41% .

Here are some video ideas to try:

Informal intros filmed with Loom

Professional videos of your team at work

Case study videos

Quick descriptions of complex deliverables, methodologies, etc.

why do business proposal

You sent the proposal. Now what?

Here’s what to do next.

Sign it yourself

Make sure you sign the proposal right away (before your client opens it). This offers a more professional presentation and makes it more likely that your new client will add their signature too.

why do business proposal

Be prepared to follow up

Project proposals don’t always close all by themselves. As any good salesperson knows, follow-up is essential.

With Proposify, you can set up automated reminders. When we analyzed over 1 million proposals sent with our software, we found that proposals with pre-scheduled reminders have a 35% higher closing rate than those without.

Make adjustments to the proposal to close the deal

It’s okay to make changes. In fact, proposals that get revised are actually more likely to close than ones that don’t. When a client asks for revisions, it means they’re interested.

why do business proposal

You might need to adjust your proposal document for its scope, deliverables, timeframe, or payment schedules.

Save different proposal templates

After you’ve created one proposal, you should save it as a template and give it a name. You might also want to duplicate it and adjust it to create a new proposal template. For example, if you offer SEO services , you might want to have one proposal for an SEO audit and another one for your monthly SEO retainer.

Create email templates

You can also create and store email templates that will save you time in the long run.

Try creating different templates for sending, reminders, and thank yous. If you offer different types of services, you can craft a unique sending template for each one.

why do business proposal

Get feedback from clients on both won and lost proposals

One of the best ways to improve is to take feedback. Whether you win or lose the proposal, find out why.

Here are some tips on how to do this:

Won - When you win a proposal, you might ask the client why they decided to move forward with you on their first strategy call. Or, have their account manager ask the same question and pass the info to you.

Lost - If a client doesn’t sign the proposal after 3 weeks, you can send a quick email with something like, “Just looking for some feedback. Can you let me know why you decided not to move forward? Thanks.”

In today’s digital world, a business proposal should be more than a formal document.

When you use the right tool to create and send your proposal, you should be able to gather important insights and trends.

Viewing metrics for a specific client

With Proposify, you can see the activity for every proposal. Know when clients are opening and viewing proposals so you can follow up in a way that matches their activity.

why do business proposal

Average viewing metrics

Proposify also offers average viewing metrics that help you benchmark your views:

Total viewed

Average time to view

Average length of viewing

Average views per proposal

This is great for gauging how a new client compares with past activity.

why do business proposal

Average closing metrics

You can also check your average closing rate and track it over time.

Check these closing metrics:

Closing rate

Try setting goals for improving your closing rate and then check your progress each month.

Insights by proposal type

Segment viewing and closing metrics by workspace, client name, or stream. A stream is a custom category that you can use for different service types, client industries, etc.

Growth trends

And lastly, you can check your growth trends to find out how much you’re earning in new contracts and existing contracts. This is great for seeing your past revenue growth and for forecasting.

Trends include:

New won proposals (chart)

Active income (chart)

why do business proposal

Start with a solid understanding of your client’s goals and needs. Use a template to save time creating messaging and tables that will seal the deal. Then, try advanced techniques like dynamic pricing and videos to improve your closing rates even further.

Sign up for Proposify free for 14 days or get started with one of our templates .

How to Create a Winning Business Proposal

How to Create a Business Proposal That Closes Deals

June 28, 2022

How to Create a Winning Proposal Structure (What The Research Says)

Winning Proposal Structure Tips (What The Research Says)

June 21, 2022

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How to Write a Business Proposal in 7 Steps

Meredith Turits

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

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.

why do business proposal

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:

Introduction

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.

How much do you need?

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

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...

One blue credit card on a flat surface with coins on both sides.

How to Write a Professional Business Proposal + 7 Example Templates

Business and success go hand in hand. For a business to thrive, it's crucial to seize opportunities and make the most of them.

A business proposal is a formal document that outlines your business idea, products, or services to a potential client or partner. This tool can be a game-changer, helping you secure new contracts, attract investment, and grow your business.

In fact, research shows that businesses with plans grow 30% faster than those without them.

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about business proposals, how to write them, and provide examples & templates you can use to get started with your next one today.

What Is a Business Proposal?

A business proposal is a document that you send to a potential client or partner. It outlines what you can do for them and why they should choose your company over others. It's like a job application , but for your business. You're trying to show that you're the best fit for their needs.

A business proposal usually includes details about the project you're proposing, the timeline, and the budget. It's a way to put all your cards on the table. You're showing what you can offer and how you plan to deliver on your promises.

Think of it as your business's resume. It's a way to showcase your skills, experience, and what makes you unique in the marketplace. A well-crafted business proposal can be the difference between landing a new client and missing out on a great opportunity .

When to Send a Business Proposal

Sending a business proposal at the right time can be just as important as what's inside it. Knowing when to send one can help you catch a potential client's attention when they're most receptive.

Responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP)

When a company wants to solve a problem or needs a service, they often send out a Request for Proposal. This is your cue to send a business proposal that addresses their specific needs.

After a Discovery Meeting

After an initial meeting where you learn about a potential client's needs, a business proposal can serve as a formal follow-up. It shows you were listening and have a plan to meet their requirements.

Expanding Services with Current Clients

If you're already working with a client and see an opportunity for additional services, a business proposal can make the case for expanding your role.

Entering a New Market

When you're planning to enter a new market or offer a new service, a business proposal can introduce your company to potential clients or partners in that sector.

Seeking Investment or Loans

If you're looking for investment or a loan to expand your business, a detailed business proposal can show lenders or investors that you have a well-thought-out plan.

Need to improve your business systems? Check out our article How to Set Up Systems for Your Business in 4 Simple Steps to learn more!

Different Types of Business Proposals

There are mainly two types of business proposals: solicited and unsolicited . Solicited proposals are those that are requested by a potential client, usually through an RFP. Unsolicited proposals are sent without a specific request, often to potential clients who may not be aware they need your services.

Solicited business proposals are sent in response to an explicit request from a potential client, often through a Request for Proposal (RFP). In contrast, unsolicited proposals are sent without a specific request , usually to potential clients who may not even be aware they need the services or solutions you're offering.

The content in these proposals can differ based on the type. Solicited proposals often have strict guidelines, requiring specific information and a certain format. Unsolicited proposals offer more creative freedom but must be particularly persuasive to catch the reader's attention.

How to Write a Business Proposal

If you're wondering, "how do I write a business proposal?" then keep the following tips in mind as you craft your next proposal:

Outline of a Business Proposal (Necessary Sections)

Following an outline ensures that you include all the essential information, making your proposal comprehensive and persuasive. It also helps you organize your thoughts clearly, making it easier for the reader to follow your argument and understand your offer.

Here's a basic outline you should consider following when writing a business proposal:

By adhering to this outline, you're more likely to create a business proposal that is both thorough and compelling, increasing your chances of winning the client's business.

Proposal Outlining Tips

Need help outlining your business proposal? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Start with a strong introduction

Use bullet points for easy reading

Include visuals like charts or graphs

Keep language simple and clear

Use headings and subheadings to organize content

Note: Following an outline is important, but keep in mind that personalization is okay! Read on to learn how to upgrade your business proposals.

How to Upgrade Your Business Proposals

Personalizing your business proposals helps show that you truly care about the proposal and that you put more effort in than just copying and pasting a previous proposal.

Here are some tips to help you upgrade your business proposals:

Personalize the proposal by using the client's name and tailor the content to their specific needs.

Include testimonials that show reviews or quotes from past clients.

Add a FAQ section that addresses common questions upfront.

Use high-quality images that make your proposal visually appealing.

Offer multiple options by giving the client choices in services or pricing.

Consider using online tools to personalize your business proposals.

Ultimately, you should find a way to make the business proposal unique to you, your company, and your brand. If your company incorporates humor into its brand, feel free to add humor to your business proposal. Find a way to make your proposal stand out and unique.

7 Business Proposal Templates and Examples

Templates can make the process of writing a business proposal easier and faster. Here are some types you might find useful:

Copy templates to use them anywhere:

Sample Business Proposal Template

Use this sample business proposal template when you need a quick and straightforward proposal. It's ideal for small projects or when you're in the early stages of discussion with a client. This template covers the basics and is easy to fill out.

Introduction

  • Company: {formtext: name=company;default=Text Blaze; cols=10}
  • Problem: {formtext: name=problem;default=improving site traffic; cols=20}

Proposed Solution

  • Plan: {formtext: name=plan;default=utilizing SEO; cols=12}
  • Timeline: {formmenu: 3; 2; default=1} months
  • Budget: ${formtext: name=budget;default=10,000; cols=10}

Qualifications

  • 5 years in {formtext: name=field;default=digital marketing; cols=15}
  • {formtext: name=number of clients;default=10+; cols=5} satisfied clients

Conclusion and Call to Action

  • Contact us to get started on {=problem}.

Detailed Proposal Outlining Template

This detailed proposal outlining template is best for complex projects that require a lot of detail, such as large-scale operations or technical projects. It allows you to go in-depth with your proposed solutions, methodologies, and qualifications.

Executive Summary

  • Comprehensive {formtext: name=field;default=digital marketing; cols=15} strategy for {formtext: name=company;default=Text Blaze; cols=10}.
  • Company: {=company}
  • Problem: {formtext: name=problem;default=improving sales; cols=15}

Needs Assessment {formparagraph: name=services; default=improve landing pages, redesign funnel; cols=30}

  • {formtext: name=plan;default=utilizing funnels; cols=15}
  • Timeline: {formmenu: 4; 3; default=2} months
  • Budget: ${formtext: name=budget;default=30,000; cols=10}

Methodology

  • Monthly reporting and strategy adjustments
  • {formtext: name=years;default=10; cols=5} years in {=field}
  • Certified experts
  • Let's schedule a meeting to discuss this proposal further.

Professional Proposal For Business Template

Choose this professional proposal for business template when you're dealing with high-stakes or large-scale proposals that require a polished and comprehensive presentation. It's designed to impress, including sections for an executive summary and detailed pricing terms.

  • Proposal for {formtext: name=company;default=Text Blaze; cols=10}
  • Date: {time: MM/DD/YYYY}
  • {formtext: name=problem1;default=customer support; cols=15} overhaul
  • Problem: {formtext: name=problem2;default=poor customer support; cols=20}
  • Comprehensive {=problem1} strategy
  • Budget: ${formtext: name=budget;default=20,000; cols=10}

Team and Qualifications

  • Team of {formtext: name=team;default=5; cols=5} experts
  • Combined {formtext: name=years;default=10; cols=5} years of experience

Pricing and Terms

  • Monthly payments
  • 1-year contract
  • Contact us to finalize the contract.

Business Offer Template

This business offer template is perfect for making a straightforward business offer, especially for retail or e-commerce. It's less about solving a problem and more about presenting an opportunity or deal to the client.

  • Special offer on our new {formtext: name=product;default=product line; cols=12}
  • {formtext: name=offer;default=BOGO; cols=8}
  • ${formtext: name=price;default=50; cols=5} per item

Terms and Conditions

  • Valid until {time: MMMM, YYYY; shift=+3M}
  • Visit our website to take advantage of this offer.

Proposal For Client Template

Use this proposal for client template when you want to focus on client-specific needs and solutions. It's tailored to address the client's unique situation, making it highly personalized and client-centric.

Client-Centric Introduction

  • Understanding {formtext: name=company;default=Text Blaze; cols=10}'s need for {formtext: name=problem;default=better accounting software; cols=25}

Understanding Your Needs

  • Outdated {formtext: name=problem2;default=accounting software; cols=18} causing inefficiencies

Tailored Solution

  • Custom {=problem2} development
  • Timeline: {formmenu: 6; 5; default=4} months
  • Budget: ${formtext: name=budget;default=50,000; cols=10}

Why Choose Us

  • {formtext: name=years;default=10; cols=5} years in {=problem2} development
  • Let's schedule a call to discuss your custom software needs.

Small Business Proposal Template

This small business proposal template is designed for small businesses and startups. It's simplified and easy to use, allowing you to quickly put together a proposal without getting bogged down in complexities.

Small Business Introduction

  • {formtext: name=company;default=OfficeClean; cols=10}, a wallet-friendly {formtext: name=business;default=cleaning service; cols=15}

The Problem

  • {formtext: name=problem;default=Office cleanliness; cols=15}

Our Solution

  • Highly recommended {formtext: name=solution;default=cleaning; cols=12} services
  • Budget: ${formtext: name=budget;default=250; cols=10}/week
  • Contact us to make your office a cleaner place.

Project Proposal Template

Opt for this project proposal template when you're proposing a specific project with defined objectives, methodologies, and timelines. It's ideal for project-based work and allows you to go into detail about how you plan to achieve the project's goals.

Project Overview

  • {formtext: name=problem;default=Site redesign; cols=15}
  • Improve {formtext: name=solution;default=improve user experience; cols=22}
  • Agile development with {formmenu: bi-weekly; weekly; default=monthly} sprints
  • {formmenu: 6; 5; default=4} months
  • ${formtext: name=budget;default=60,000; cols=10}
  • Let's kick off this project by the end of the month.

How to Automate Common Work Emails

If you find yourself typing the same emails over and over (such as business proposals), consider giving Text Blaze a try. Text Blaze helps you create smart text templates that you can insert anywhere online using keyboard shortcuts.

With Text Blaze, you can create templates to automate basic phrases, email signatures, and even common work emails . Using Text Blaze, you can quickly insert and customize common emails in a fraction of the time!

Benefits of Using Text Blaze:

It's free forever and works absolutely anywhere .

Text Blaze helps you personalize emails with fill-in-the-blank placeholders to upgrade your emails and business proposals.

Formulas, dynamic logic, and more help you create dynamic email templates for any situation.

Send Professional Business Proposals With Ease!

A well-crafted business proposal can be a powerful tool for success, helping you secure new contracts and grow your business. Remember to send it at the right time, tailor it to the client's needs, and make it as clear and compelling as possible. Templates can also be a helpful starting point, saving you time and effort.

Use Text Blaze to automate common emails, boost productivity, and personalize your emails with ease!

Hi there! You made it all the way down to the bottom of this article. Take a few seconds to share it.

Want to turbo charge your work with templates and snippets? Text Blaze is the fastest way to do that.

60+ Positive Review Response Templates: 4 Star, No Name Review Samples Inside

How to deal with difficult customers, the ultimate guide on how to write a request for proposal (rfp), how to foster employee accountability in the workplace, 16 best chrome extensions for entrepreneurs, 12 time-saving tips for business owners in 2023.

What Is a Business Proposal?

Read on to learn what a business proposal is, how to write one, and best practices that can help your organization stand out from the competition.

Writing an effective business proposal is key to winning clients, partners, and investors. Unfortunately, many small business owners don't understand how to write or use business proposals. A business proposal is your opportunity to grow your business, so it's an important document. Every small business plan should outline how you intend to get customers, clients, and partners, but your proposal is how you'll win their business.

Whether you're proposing new products and services or trying to secure funding, your proposal needs to answer your potential partner's questions about your business. This essential business document helps potential partners understand what resources are available and how you'll complete different tasks, setting the right expectations from the beginning.

Writing a business proposal may seem daunting, but anyone can do it with the right tips and tools. So whether you're just starting your small business plan or are learning how to start a business , begin with your business proposal, even if you're not looking for investors or partners yet.

why do business proposal

Business proposals explained

A business proposal is a document that helps you earn clients and partners by describing your business' service and product offerings. B2B businesses write proposals to other businesses, but they're not usually used in B2C companies. Moreover, a business plan proposal outlines your business, including its unique value proposition and how you can solve a problem for your intended audience.

What is a proposal in business? A proposal is how you'll win clients and partners. While they can be written or spoken, a business proposal is always written, allowing potential customers to review and sign it before receiving a contract. A proposal can also be part of a contract if you propose your services and allow clients to agree to the terms immediately.

Business proposals enable you to pitch to prospective clients and demonstrate your value by effectively telling them why they should choose your business over the competition.

Solicited vs. unsolicited business proposals

Business proposals demonstrate how a company can help another company, highlighting the customer's problems and showcasing how the business can help them. There are different types of business proposals, and the type you send to prospective partners will depend on whether or not they sent a request for proposal (RPF).

why do business proposal

Two examples of business proposals are:

When prospective customers request a proposal, you'll send them a solicited proposal. Solicited business proposals are either formal or informal, depending on the existing relationship with the prospect.

Existing clients can also request business proposals for different services. In this case, an example of a business proposal would be a customer asking their supplier for information regarding a different service or product than the one they already use. With formal proposals, the prospect must respond within a certain time frame, and if they agree to the proposal, it turns into a signed contract.

Unsolicited

If a prospective customer doesn't send a request for a proposal, but you want to try to win their business, you can send them an unsolicited proposal. Ultimately, you can send a proposal to anyone using a cold approach to convince them to partner with you. Unsolicited proposals are typically more general than solicited ones because you haven't yet spoken to the prospect about their needs. However, they can still explain what the business does and why someone should partner with you.

How to write a business proposal

Now that you understand the business proposal definition and the 2 types of business proposals, you can start drafting one. Of course, depending on the nature of your business, you might want to start with a general proposal that allows you to fill in the blanks based on the prospects' needs.

Here are some steps for how to write a business proposal:

Develop your cover page

Every proposal needs a cover page that acts as a letter of introduction. It should be brief and explain why you're sending the proposal. For example, if you're sending it because a prospect sent an RPF, you should state that in the letter. You can also refer to past conversations that led you to send the proposal if there wasn't a request, or if you're sending an unsolicited proposal, you can explain why you've decided to send it. Your cover page should be professional, but you can write it in the first person to form a more personal relationship with the prospect.

Make a table of contents

Because a proposal is more than a few pages long, it's always best to list the different pages included. If you're sending your proposal digitally, you can hyperlink your table of contents to make it easier for the prospect to use. Even if you don't hyperlink the proposal, a table of contents is still a common courtesy to help prospects navigate and understand the documents.

Provide an executive summary

An executive summary is a brief chapter in which you describe who you are and why you're sending the proposal. Your summary can cover the different types of services you offer, team members, and the benefits of your services for the prospect. Always focus on the problem you're trying to solve. For example, if you run a marketing agency and a prospect asks about your social media marketing services, you can discuss the different ways you can boost your prospects' engagement and visibility online.

Create the main body of your proposal

The main body of the proposal should have all the information a prospect has asked for, including:

  • A statement of the problem
  • Your proposed solution
  • Methodologies
  • Qualifications

If you have goals in mind for what you're trying to achieve for the client, you can list SMART goals in the body of the proposal to help clients understand how results will be measured. Try to be as specific as possible when addressing your solution to ensure the client understands what you plan to do for them. If you're responding to a customer's request for a proposal, it's a good idea to incorporate everything they discussed in their request.

Highlight pricing

Understanding your pricing is key for potential customers, so you'll need to highlight how much your services cost. If your business proposal is solicited, you may have all the information you need to form accurate pricing. However, if you're sending an unsolicited proposal, you might send more general pricing and ask to discuss pricing in depth after your initial conversation with the client.

Your pricing chapter can also contain payment terms, such as when you'll send invoices and how long customers have to pay them.

Determine your terms and conditions

Your terms and conditions are where you can state the project's expected duration, payment methods, scheduling, and other expectations for the client. Your contract may also outline milestones throughout the relationship.

Write a conclusion

The conclusion summarizes the business proposal, reiterating the customer's problem and your solution. You should also thank them for their time whether or not they choose to sign the contract.

Leave room for signatures

Depending on your agreement procedure with the client, they can either sign your proposal or send you a letter of acceptance. Not all proposals need room for signatures. For example, unsolicited proposals that are more general should not be expected to be signed by the prospect and may even put them off of speaking with you because it adds pressure.

However, solicited proposals should have a place for signatures since you've likely already had a conversation with the client or they've sent you an RPF.

Best practices for business proposals

Understanding all the elements of a business proposal is important, but you need to make yours stand out. Clients who send RPFs will likely send requests to multiple agencies or companies, so you can expect some competition.

why do business proposal

Here are the best practices for making your business proposal stand out from your competitors.

  • Make an outline . Outlining your proposal can help you get organized and understand all the pieces of information you need to share.
  • Leverage data . Using data to help you demonstrate why a company should work with you can help you win their business because it shows proof of your success. You can also use testimonials from previous clients and partners.
  • Include visuals . Visuals make it easier to understand the messages your proposal is trying to convey. It will also allow you to add color to the documents, making them stand out from any other company that writes a few pages of text for their proposal.
  • Use digital signatures . The easier you make signing your proposal, the more likely a client will sign it. If a client has to go out of their way to sign your document, they might forget about it or move on to a proposal that's easier to finalize.
  • Conduct thorough research . Before you write your proposal, you should understand your client's pain points. This may require you to do industry research or have multiple discussions with the prospect about their needs.
  • Proofread carefully . If you want your documents to be professional, it's good practice to proofread before you submit them to the client. Let multiple people within your organization review them for accuracy and grammar.
  • Be straightforward . Prospects want to know how you can help them. If your business proposal is confusing, you won't earn their business because they'll think working with you will be confusing. Your business proposal is one of the first impressions of your business, so it's always best to be as straightforward as possible.

Business Proposals: Key takeaways

You can find many business proposal examples online to help you understand how other companies in your industry win new business. However, you can also send competitors RPFs to see how they write their proposals and brainstorm ways to make yours stand out. Once you're ready to send your proposal, you can use Mailchimp's content tools and email marketing templates.

Mailchimp makes it easy to market your business by giving you all the CRM tools your business needs to manage prospects and proposals. Whether you're sending a new client a proposal for a service or you're cold-emailing companies you think would be a good match for your business, we've got you covered.

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What Is a Business Proposal and Why Should You Write One?

Alice Musyoka

Alice Musyoka

Business person Writing on Laptop

Writing a business proposal can seem daunting, but it is a vital step for any business looking to win new customers. A company that fails to win new business will not stand the test of time. The competition between companies for new customers has become fierce, and the most important skill a sales-oriented manager or leader can possess is the ability to win new business.

A business proposal can help you gain new customers in the challenging environment of modern business. Research has shown that business proposals are opened by prospects 20 times faster these days, so now is the best time to write one.

A good business proposal can help you to expand your customer base, grow your business, and become a market leader.

Here are four great reasons to write a business proposal .

Reason 1: It Helps Close the Sale

Reason 2: it shows you’re professional, reason 3: you can target different personality types, reason 4: it removes any ambiguity or misunderstanding, 5 tips for writing an awesome business proposal, use prowritingaid to write outstanding business proposals.

A persuasive business proposal is critical to the success of any business. It can help you close more deals and increase your revenue significantly. If you want your business proposal to convert, promise the client you’ll provide a brilliant solution. An effective business proposal doesn’t just promise to solve the client’s problem, it offers a great solution.

You have to present your company as a leader in your industry and believe in what you can do. If you don’t believe in yourself, the prospect will have a hard time believing in you. Explain to the client exactly what you’re offering and how it will help solve their needs. The proposal should have a clear aim and outline the steps you’ll follow to achieve the desired result.

Many business owners make the mistake of focusing on their products and services instead of the clients’ problems. The quickest way to win a prospect over is to show you care about their needs. Your business proposal should focus on each client’s needs and the solution you’re providing, not the features and benefits of the product. This is what matters to prospects.

Create a strong connection between the customer’s problem and the benefits your product offers.

Business owners have a different perspective on the world. They see the bigger picture: markets, future trends, and unfilled niches. Most importantly, they see opportunities. This can sometimes lead to problems, especially when they interact with customers.

The web is filled with faux pas comments made by owners of companies about their products or customers. In 2013, Adidas sent emails to its customers who had completed the Boston Marathon. The subject line was, "Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon." This is a good example of how not to do things.

Being unprofessional can affect a company’s reputation, and as a result, its revenue.

MeetingBetweenBusinessExecutives

A well-written business proposal shows you’re professional and that you take your business seriously. Many business owners have grown used to a very casual approach in their work lives. This is the wrong approach to take when crafting a business proposal. You must clean your writing. Reserve textspeak, slang, and emoticons for your family and friends—even if you own a modern business.

The business proposal should be clear, concise, and realistic. If you make it too long, or you focus on your product too much, it won’t be read fully or taken seriously. Write with your audience in mind and avoid business jargon if possible to be easily understood. Also, ensure the points you make are logical and backed up by evidence or explanation.

And before you send the proposal, go through it one final time. You should also let the client know you’re available in case they would like to ask any questions.

The best salespeople possess one vital skill: they can sell to different personality types. When you know the type of person you are selling to, you can tweak your business proposal accordingly. No two people are alike. For example, different decision makers in the client’s company may have different personality types. Those with short attention spans may just read the executive summary while those who love details may read the whole document.

If your business proposal targets these two different personality types, you may close the sale and also establish a relationship with the decision makers. There are four different personality types in sales:

Analytical people focus on the numbers. They make decisions based on facts, so state the key benefits of your product to win them over. Also, back up all the information with facts and statistics.

Amiable people value honesty, so building trust and rapport is crucial. They take time to make decisions and prefer a step-by-step approach. You can convince them you’re the best person for the job by providing testimonials and showing how your product has helped others.

Expressive people don’t like too many details. Sell to them by adding case studies that show your product’s track record of success.

Driver (Assertive)

Assertive people are focused on achieving certain goals and objectives. They need a lot of information and can sometimes come off as aggressive. So, get to the point and show what differentiates you from the competition.

Clearly defined terms and conditions (T&Cs) protect your business relationships and your business. T&Cs do three things:

  • They outline the length of the contract, the cost, the service being provided, and the service provider
  • They ensure each party knows their respective responsibilities and what will happen if one party changes their mind
  • They explain the liabilities and other legal points in detail

If you don’t include the terms and conditions, you risk ruining your business relationship with the client if something goes wrong. Write what’s going to happen, when it will happen, how long it will take, what will happen if there are changes, and who’s responsible for what.

Terms and conditions remove any misunderstandings about the execution of the project. Before the work starts, you and the client will be on the same page. They also decrease the risk of conflict over varying expectations.

Be as detailed as possible so you’re protected later on in case the client complains. For example, if the proposal clearly states that the budget is for four versions of a logo design, the client can’t complain later that they expected eight versions. They also can’t refuse to pay you because they feel the project isn’t completed yet.

PersonTypingonaLaptop

1. Work on Your Communication Skills

To write a great business proposal, you must be a salesperson and possess good communication skills. Like other business documents, proposals should be well-written, factual, logical, and objective. They must also be persuasive.

2. State Facts Honestly

Your business proposal should present facts honestly to justify the amount being paid by the customer to solve a problem or alter a procedure. Organize it in such a way that you highlight persuasive arguments at the beginning and at the end. These are the two sections of proposals most people remember.

3. Prioritize the Client’s Priorities

Take time to understand the priorities of the targeted firm or individual. Know their business objectives, circumstances, and requirements. For example, if the prospective client is experiencing a period of decline, you can give them a discount. If the company you’re creating the proposal for is well known for its attention to quality, make sure everything is as detailed as possible.

4. Do Your Homework

Creating a good proposal takes a lot of time and effort, so do your homework in order to make one that addresses the client’s needs directly. Meet with key decision makers before you start writing the proposal and ask probing questions to determine exactly what they are looking for. The client may require your service to meet a new business need or to change their current business operations. This invaluable information can help shape the proposal.

5. Proofread the Proposal

People judge you based on your appearance. So, when you’re trying to impress a potential client, don’t leave anything to chance. If your business proposal is filled with typos and grammatical mistakes, the prospect will think you’re careless about your work. No one wants to do business with a careless person.

As much as it’s important, good grammar won't automatically get you the deal. You need to go beyond spelling and grammar to edit the style of your writing.

Three Ways to Improve Your Proposal

Your writing should be:

In the active voice as much as possible: You are the one who will provide these solutions, so write that way! Instead of "You will be provided with four designs," write "We will provide you with four designs."

Jargon-free: Jargon slips into our writing because it’s familiar. But that makes it easy to skip over. If you’re using stale phrases that your reader has seen a hundred times before, they won’t stop to think about what you’re really saying. If you want to say something is your "core competency," try using the simpler "main strength" instead. Now you’re not just competent, but strong—an industry leader.

Readable: This doesn’t just mean that your writing makes sense. It means that your writing style doesn’t get in the way of what you’re trying to say. Unnecessary words, awkward sentence structures, and overly complex language don't make you look impressive—they make your reader stop reading. Look for places where you’ve used meaningless words like "that" unnecessarily. Removing them will tighten up your writing.

Here’s how you can fix these errors with a few clicks in ProWritingAid:

Some of the suggestions can be accepted right away, like the one for the business jargon "core competency." Other suggestions, like the one for omitting "that," require a bit of rewording on your part. This encourages you to think about each word you use and how your sentence structure affects clarity.

Quality and precision are critical skills for entrepreneurs. Communicate clearly, concisely, and flawlessly. The last thing you want is to lose an important client simply because you failed to pay attention to the details. To speed up the editing process, use ProWritingAid . It will significantly improve the way you write business proposals and other business documents.

Love them or hate them, business proposals play an important role in any successful deal. In fact, they can make the difference between closing a sale and losing one. If they are well written and formatted, they can help you gain new clients and establish long-term relationships with them.

Start using ProWritingAid today to write proposals that set you apart from the competition.

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Alice Musyoka is a versatile copywriter and content strategist who helps businesses see results from content marketing. Her goal is to make people pause, smile, and read. She's a previous contributor for [Stagetecture](https://stagetecture.com/author/ndanuaj123/). When she's not working, she usually goes for long walks with her son and reconnects with nature. She also loves watching funny movies.

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What is a Business Proposal? Definition, Types, and Examples

why do business proposal

There's nothing better than getting a request for a business proposal . It means that your marketing and sales efforts have paid off.

If this step makes you worried, or if you haven't sent a business proposal in a while, it may seem like harrowing work.

But don’t panic. We've got you covered . 

Let’s take a look at what makes a good business proposal, along with the most successful types used today.

What Is a Business Proposal?

A business proposal is a sales document that a supplier sends to a prospective client with the purpose of winning a specific project. It's an official document that outlines your proposed solution and value proposition.

Many service-based businesses and B2B Saas businesses depend on proposals to sell their services and bring in new business. The proposal can be either digital or printed . It explains the product or service features taking into consideration the potential client’s problem or needs. 

In other words, an effective business proposal shows how a company can solve the prospect's problem and help you win a new client.

Types of Business Proposals

Business proposals can be solicited or unsolicited. A solicited business proposal is sent when a client specifically requests one. A client can ask for a proposal casually in conversation, during a meeting, or send a formal request for proposal (RFP) document. 

The types of Business Proposal

Here’s how it works:

Formally Solicited Business Proposal

For example, a small boutique resort has been a regular client of your landscaping business . They have already hired you for a few one-time jobs and you know what they need. Now they want a regular service and need to double-check the terms before paying. 

They ask you to send a business proposal that contains service names, prices, timelines, payment options, etc. 

After receiving your offer, they are obliged to respond within an agreed period. In case the resort agrees to your terms, the proposal becomes a legally binding purchase agreement.

Informally Solicited Proposal 

In this scenario, the boutique resort has discovered your landscaping business and is interested in your services.

In an informal conversation between the two reps, they ask for a document outlining more details about the quality of your services, previous clients’ reviews and testimonies, pricing, etc. The difference is that they are not obliged to respond to the offer.

Unsolicited Proposal

Your landscaping business is running a lead generation campaign and wants to inform the local boutique resorts about the services it offers. In this campaign, you'll create multiple unsolicited business proposals containing an introduction to your company, your expertise, etc.

Unsolicited proposals need to be especially convincing since you're sending them to a cold audience.

Business Proposal vs. Business Proposal Letter

A business proposal letter or cover letter is a document that businesses sometimes send to their prospects alongside a business proposal. A shorter proposal may even combine these two in a single document.

A cover letter helps provide context on why you’re sending the accompanying business proposal. 

Keep your cover letter brief, no longer than one page . It definitely shouldn’t steal the show from the business proposal. 

  • Mention when the proposal was requested
  • Credit people who helped prepare the proposal
  • Offer an introduction (executive summary) of the proposal
  • Thank the potential client
  • Provide your contact information

You can mention the client’s RFP document or refer to a conversation where the potential client has expressed interest in seeing the business proposal. 

Proposals vs. Estimates

Business proposals and estimates are both sales documents that businesses use in attempts to win projects. 

However, a business proposal is much more detailed than an estimate and usually covers more complex projects and relevant details. 

Proposals also tend to explain the value the company will provide to a potential client, together with listing its past projects and including client testimonials. 

Some small businesses use estimates to detail the costs and tasks covered by the project. Then, they prove their value through other means, like during a call or a site visit. This way they avoid drawing a formal proposal altogether.

In some cases, the prospective client gets a referral from a trusted partner or they have read great online reviews. In both cases, the job is not overly complex and a project estimate will do.

However, in the majority of cases, the clients may need more proof to make sure your business is the right fit.

Then you need a proposal to prove that as a supplier or service provider, you are able to provide the right approach, design, timeline, etc. For example, if you are working with an executive coaching organization , they may require a long-form business proposal with plenty of client testimonials.

Key Parts of a Business Proposal

Let's take a look at how to create a well-written business proposal.

We recommend you start with a beautifully designed business proposal template. When using Better Proposals, you can rely on more than 100 business proposal templates that you can easily customize to your needs.

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They make your entire proposal process easier and quicker. You won't have to write a business proposal outline, since the templates already come with all the essential business proposal elements.

The Cover Page of your Business Proposal

The cover page is the first thing your potential client sees, so make sure to make the right impression from the beginning. Ask any graphic designer and they’ll tell you that here less is more . Keep it simple and focus the client’s attention to:

  • the project name
  • the name of the person the proposal is addressed to
  • your company name
  • your contact information
  • submission date

You also need to include your logo . Since this is the cover page, make sure you use a high-resolution version.

How to write a business proposal

If you’re thinking about whether you need the cover page at all, let me assure you that you do. We did our own research that shows that if you include a cover in your proposal, you’re 4.6% more likely to land the account.

The Introduction or Executive summary section of a business proposal

Before they sign off on the project, the clients need to like you. And they can’t like you if they don’t know you. 

Your intro needs to be tempting. After all:

  • The introduction is the part of your business proposal on which people spend 38.2% of the total time reading your proposal.

This is the part where you tell them what your company is all about and how you can bring value to their business.

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On the other hand, avoid the common misconception of making the intro all about you. Instead, you want to focus on the client’s pain point . This way, you’re holding their attention from the very start and raising your chances of sealing the deal. 

Easier said than done, eh?

Here are a few pro tips. 

Business Proposals should be short and sweet

The rule of thumb with introductions is to keep them short. For now, your goal is to hook your prospects and keep them reading.

Make it personal 

Your business may be sending a lot of business proposals, but you don’t want to copy-paste the same generic content over and over again. Generic content always loses to customized pitches, so you’re ruining your chances of closing a deal. 

Your potential client is likely entertaining other companies as well, so you need to stand out from the crowd. Use your executive summary to do just that.

This is fairly easy, especially if you’re using proposal software and AI writing tool . 

Draw from meeting notes to build your business proposal

If you had a call with your potential client and asked the right questions , you should have a pretty good idea of your prospect's pain points. Now you only need to show why you're the right choice to tackle those problems. 

You can mention the goals they shared with you, their current situation , and how you can help them achieve those goals.

Your Solution

When your prospect gets past the executive summary, they’ll be eager to know what’s in it for them. Here it’s important that you focus on the end result rather than the process that will get them there. Let’s say you’re selling landscaping services. 

As a professional, you know how much work goes into each project. You need to do the on-site assessment, improve the soil, create the drainage slopes, select plants for each layer, etc. Not to mention the actual manual work. 

Since you take pride in your expertise, you may be tempted to describe the entire process from start to finish. However, that’s not always the best idea.

Business Proposal Templates

The client is hiring you to get the results, not a crash course in gardening. At the end of the day, they are interested in the improved aesthetic appeal of the resort and the increase in traffic that goes along.  

I admit that finding the right balance between describing your solution and results can be difficult. The trick is to focus on benefits while allowing just enough technical specs to resolve any potential disputes.

The Project Timeline

Next Steps And Timeframes Section Of the Proposal

All clients want to know how long a project is going to take. Include a timeline to help your client get on board with the process and to set your own pace and milestones, suggests Ryan Zomorodi, co-founder of Real Estate Skills .

For example, a big project can have a six-month timeline, which may seem intimidating for the client. The best course is to break it up.

First, it helps the client distinguish between different phases. Second, it lets you set deadlines for yourself to keep you on track. 

The Social Proof

There’s hardly a better way to win a client who’s on the fence than showing them that you’ve done similar projects before. 

That’s why you absolutely must add a relevant case study to your business proposal.

Include A Case Study Section

Depending on the project, you can choose an industry- or project-centred case study. 

As you can see in our business proposal template, it can be in a short format. No need to include your entire portfolio.

Keep your prospective client in mind when creating your business proposal. The whole experience should be positive for them instead of feeling like doing homework.

The Pricing

You’ve shown that you understand your client’s needs and offered appropriate solutions. Now it's time to nail the pricing section.

How To Present Pricing In a Business Proposal

Help them choose you by making small adjustments:

  • Use “Investment” instead of “Pricing "

It sounds much better this way because it assures your client that they are investing in the future. 

  • Add a brief testimonial

After seeing the price, the client needs to see how your solution has helped someone else's business take off. It helps them realize the value you provide for the money. 

  • No optional services

You may be tempted to offer your clients upsells and package prices. However, our report shows that this can actually hurt your conversion rate. It’s much better not to give any choices. If you go with one price, you can ask for a 20.6% higher upfront fee and 33% higher monthly fees.

The Guarantee 

Some businesses embrace the idea of a guarantee. Others are less enthusiastic about giving guarantees, fearing abuse. 

Still, guarantees can be the last piece the client needs to convert. Instead of a typical money-back guarantee, consider guaranteeing a part of your service or a timescale.

For example, for smaller projects, you can offer a “curb appeal in a day” guarantee.

The Next Steps

At this point, you need to tell the client how they should proceed. Take some time to explain the steps they need to take to close the deal. You don’t have to go overboard here. Everything up to now should be clear. 

Adding E-Signatures To A Business Proposal

As you can see in our business proposal template, this section should be pretty straightforward.

By signing, the client agrees to the terms of the proposal and agrees that their typed name can be used as a digital signature.

Accepting Signatures

Terms and Conditions

Finally, it’s always better to include your terms and conditions in your proposal. That way, the new client only needs to sign one document. They know what to expect and you're legally covered.

All our business proposal templates come with proposed terms and conditions sections which you can adapt to your liking.

Once your proposal is done, read it and make sure that there are no grammatical errors.

Wrapping Up

A business proposal is a complex sales document that can be simplified if you're using the right proposal software. 

Instead of starting with a blank page, you'll be able to write an amazing business proposal that converts in less than an hour.

When you choose your business proposal template, you won’t have to figure out how to structure your offer. Our templates are always being updated with the latest marketing trends, as we hone the features that regularly make the most conversions. 

Sign up for our 14-day free trial and see for yourself why we're the best choice.

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14 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan

Female entrepreneur holding a pen and pointing to multiple sticky notes on the wall. Presenting the many ways having a business plan will benefit you as a business owner.

10 min. read

Updated May 10, 2024

There’s no question that starting and running a business is hard work. But it’s also incredibly rewarding. And, one of the most important things you can do to increase your chances of success is to have a business plan.

A business plan is a foundational document that is essential for any company, no matter the size or age. From attracting potential investors to keeping your business on track—a business plan helps you achieve important milestones and grow in the right direction.

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A business plan isn’t just a document you put together once when starting your business. It’s a living, breathing guide for existing businesses – one that business owners should revisit and update regularly.

Unfortunately, writing a business plan is often a daunting task for potential entrepreneurs. So, do you really need a business plan? Is it really worth the investment of time and resources? Can’t you just wing it and skip the whole planning process?

Good questions. Here’s every reason why you need a business plan.

  • 1. Business planning is proven to help you grow 30 percent faster

Writing a business plan isn’t about producing a document that accurately predicts the future of your company. The  process  of writing your plan is what’s important. Writing your plan and reviewing it regularly gives you a better window into what you need to do to achieve your goals and succeed. 

You don’t have to just take our word for it. Studies have  proven that companies that plan  and review their results regularly grow 30 percent faster. Beyond faster growth, research also shows that companies that plan actually perform better. They’re less likely to become one of those woeful failure statistics, or experience  cash flow crises  that threaten to close them down. 

  • 2. Planning is a necessary part of the fundraising process

One of the top reasons to have a business plan is to make it easier to raise money for your business. Without a business plan, it’s difficult to know how much money you need to raise, how you will spend the money once you raise it, and what your budget should be.

Investors want to know that you have a solid plan in place – that your business is headed in the right direction and that there is long-term potential in your venture. 

A business plan shows that your business is serious and that there are clearly defined steps on how it aims to become successful. It also demonstrates that you have the necessary competence to make that vision a reality. 

Investors, partners, and creditors will want to see detailed financial forecasts for your business that shows how you plan to grow and how you plan on spending their money. 

  • 3. Having a business plan minimizes your risk

When you’re just starting out, there’s so much you don’t know—about your customers, your competition, and even about operations. 

As a business owner, you signed up for some of that uncertainty when you started your business, but there’s a lot you can  do to reduce your risk . Creating and reviewing your business plan regularly is a great way to uncover your weak spots—the flaws, gaps, and assumptions you’ve made—and develop contingency plans. 

Your business plan will also help you define budgets and revenue goals. And, if you’re not meeting your goals, you can quickly adjust spending plans and create more realistic budgets to keep your business healthy.

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  • 4. Crafts a roadmap to achieve important milestones

A business plan is like a roadmap for your business. It helps you set, track and reach business milestones. 

For your plan to function in this way, your business plan should first outline your company’s short- and long-term goals. You can then fill in the specific steps necessary to reach those goals. This ensures that you measure your progress (or lack thereof) and make necessary adjustments along the way to stay on track while avoiding costly detours.

In fact, one of the top reasons why new businesses fail is due to bad business planning. Combine this with inflexibility and you have a recipe for disaster.

And planning is not just for startups. Established businesses benefit greatly from revisiting their business plan. It keeps them on track, even when the global market rapidly shifts as we’ve seen in recent years.

  • 5. A plan helps you figure out if your idea can become a business

To turn your idea into reality, you need to accurately assess the feasibility of your business idea.

You need to verify:

  • If there is a market for your product or service
  • Who your target audience is
  • How you will gain an edge over the current competition
  • If your business can run profitably

A business plan forces you to take a step back and look at your business objectively, which makes it far easier to make tough decisions down the road. Additionally, a business plan helps you to identify risks and opportunities early on, providing you with the necessary time to come up with strategies to address them properly.

Finally, a business plan helps you work through the nuts and bolts of how your business will work financially and if it can become sustainable over time.

6. You’ll make big spending decisions with confidence

As your business grows, you’ll have to figure out when to hire new employees, when to expand to a new location, or whether you can afford a major purchase. 

These are always major spending decisions, and if you’re regularly reviewing the forecasts you mapped out in your business plan, you’re going to have better information to use to make your decisions.

7. You’re more likely to catch critical cash flow challenges early

The other side of those major spending decisions is understanding and monitoring your business’s cash flow. Your  cash flow statement  is one of the three key financial statements you’ll put together for your business plan. (The other two are your  balance sheet  and your  income statement  (P&L). 

Reviewing your cash flow statement regularly as part of your regular business plan review will help you see potential cash flow challenges earlier so you can take action to avoid a cash crisis where you can’t pay your bills. 

  • 8. Position your brand against the competition

Competitors are one of the factors that you need to take into account when starting a business. Luckily, competitive research is an integral part of writing a business plan. It encourages you to ask questions like:

  • What is your competition doing well? What are they doing poorly?
  • What can you do to set yourself apart?
  • What can you learn from them?
  • How can you make your business stand out?
  • What key business areas can you outcompete?
  • How can you identify your target market?

Finding answers to these questions helps you solidify a strategic market position and identify ways to differentiate yourself. It also proves to potential investors that you’ve done your homework and understand how to compete. 

  • 9. Determines financial needs and revenue models

A vital part of starting a business is understanding what your expenses will be and how you will generate revenue to cover those expenses. Creating a business plan helps you do just that while also defining ongoing financial needs to keep in mind. 

Without a business model, it’s difficult to know whether your business idea will generate revenue. By detailing how you plan to make money, you can effectively assess the viability and scalability of your business. 

Understanding this early on can help you avoid unnecessary risks and start with the confidence that your business is set up to succeed.

  • 10. Helps you think through your marketing strategy

A business plan is a great way to document your marketing plan. This will ensure that all of your marketing activities are aligned with your overall goals. After all, a business can’t grow without customers and you’ll need a strategy for acquiring those customers. 

Your business plan should include information about your target market, your marketing strategy, and your marketing budget. Detail things like how you plan to attract and retain customers, acquire new leads, how the digital marketing funnel will work, etc. 

Having a documented marketing plan will help you to automate business operations, stay on track and ensure that you’re making the most of your marketing dollars.

  • 11. Clarifies your vision and ensures everyone is on the same page

In order to create a successful business, you need a clear vision and a plan for how you’re going to achieve it. This is all detailed with your mission statement, which defines the purpose of your business, and your personnel plan, which outlines the roles and responsibilities of current and future employees. Together, they establish the long-term vision you have in mind and who will need to be involved to get there. 

Additionally, your business plan is a great tool for getting your team in sync. Through consistent plan reviews, you can easily get everyone in your company on the same page and direct your workforce toward tasks that truly move the needle.

  • 12. Future-proof your business

A business plan helps you to evaluate your current situation and make realistic projections for the future.

This is an essential step in growing your business, and it’s one that’s often overlooked. When you have a business plan in place, it’s easier to identify opportunities and make informed decisions based on data.

Therefore, it requires you to outline goals, strategies, and tactics to help the organization stay focused on what’s important.

By regularly revisiting your business plan, especially when the global market changes, you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever challenges come your way, and pivot faster.

You’ll also be in a better position to seize opportunities as they arise.

Further Reading: 5 fundamental principles of business planning

  • 13. Tracks your progress and measures success

An often overlooked purpose of a business plan is as a tool to define success metrics. A key part of writing your plan involves pulling together a viable financial plan. This includes financial statements such as your profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet, and sales forecast.

By housing these financial metrics within your business plan, you suddenly have an easy way to relate your strategy to actual performance. You can track progress, measure results, and follow up on how the company is progressing. Without a plan, it’s almost impossible to gauge whether you’re on track or not.  

Additionally, by evaluating your successes and failures, you learn what works and what doesn’t and you can make necessary changes to your plan. In short, having a business plan gives you a framework for measuring your success. It also helps with building up a “lessons learned” knowledge database to avoid costly mistakes in the future.

  • 14. Your business plan is an asset if you ever want to sell

Down the road, you might decide that you want to sell your business or position yourself for acquisition. Having a solid business plan is going to help you make the case for a higher valuation. Your business is likely to be worth more to a buyer if it’s easy for them to understand your business model, your target market, and your overall potential to grow and scale. 

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  • Writing your business plan

By taking the time to create a business plan, you ensure that your business is heading in the right direction and that you have a roadmap to get there. We hope that this post has shown you just how important and valuable a business plan can be. While it may still seem daunting, the benefits far outweigh the time investment and learning curve for writing one. 

Luckily, you can write a plan in as little as 30 minutes. And there are plenty of excellent planning tools and business plan templates out there if you’re looking for more step-by-step guidance. Whatever it takes, write your plan and you’ll quickly see how useful it can be.

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Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.

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  • 6. You’ll make big spending decisions with confidence
  • 7. You’re more likely to catch critical cash flow challenges early

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Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

why do business proposal

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to both startups and well-established companies. For startups, a business plan can be essential for winning over potential lenders and investors. Established businesses can find one useful for staying on track and not losing sight of their goals. This article explains what an effective business plan needs to include and how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document describing a company's business activities and how it plans to achieve its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan can help keep the executive team focused on and working toward the company's short- and long-term objectives.
  • There is no single format that a business plan must follow, but there are certain key elements that most companies will want to include.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Understanding Business Plans

Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a business isn't looking to raise additional money, a business plan can help it focus on its goals. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article reported that, "Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs."

Ideally, a business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any goals that have been achieved or that may have changed. An established business that has decided to move in a new direction might create an entirely new business plan for itself.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and highlighting any potential obstacles to success. A company might also share its business plan with trusted outsiders to get their objective feedback. In addition, a business plan can help keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and priorities.

Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they often have some of the same basic elements, as we describe below.

While it's a good idea to provide as much detail as necessary, it's also important that a business plan be concise enough to hold a reader's attention to the end.

How to Write a Business Plan

While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.

Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.

Common Elements of a Business Plan

The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, it's best to fit the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and attached as appendices.

These are some of the most common elements in many business plans:

  • Executive summary: This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
  • Products and services: Here, the company should describe the products and services it offers or plans to introduce. That might include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other factors that could go into this section include production and manufacturing processes, any relevant patents the company may have, as well as proprietary technology . Information about research and development (R&D) can also be included here.
  • Market analysis: A company needs to have a good handle on the current state of its industry and the existing competition. This section should explain where the company fits in, what types of customers it plans to target, and how easy or difficult it may be to take market share from incumbents.
  • Marketing strategy: This section can describe how the company plans to attract and keep customers, including any anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. It should also describe the distribution channel or channels it will use to get its products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections: Established businesses can include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses can provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making.

The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should aim to entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its uniqueness and potential for success.

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can take many forms, but they are sometimes divided into two basic categories: traditional and lean startup. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These plans tend to be much longer than lean startup plans and contain considerably more detail. As a result they require more work on the part of the business, but they can also be more persuasive (and reassuring) to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans are short—as short as one page—and provide only the most basic detail. If a company wants to use this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or a lender requests it.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

A business plan is not a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections to begin with. Markets and the overall economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All of this calls for building some flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.

How Often Should a Business Plan Be Updated?

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on the nature of the business. A well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary. A new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers to give a quick explanation of its business. For example, a brand-new company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide yet.

Sections can include: a value proposition ; the company's major activities and advantages; resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital; a list of partnerships; customer segments; and revenue sources.

The Bottom Line

A business plan can be useful to companies of all kinds. But as a company grows and the world around it changes, so too should its business plan. So don't think of your business plan as carved in granite but as a living document designed to evolve with your business.

Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

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4 Common Types of Team Conflict — and How to Resolve Them

  • Randall S. Peterson,
  • Priti Pradhan Shah,
  • Amanda J. Ferguson,
  • Stephen L. Jones

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Advice backed by three decades of research into thousands of team conflicts around the world.

Managers spend 20% of their time on average managing team conflict. Over the past three decades, the authors have studied thousands of team conflicts around the world and have identified four common patterns of team conflict. The first occurs when conflict revolves around a single member of a team (20-25% of team conflicts). The second is when two members of a team disagree (the most common team conflict at 35%). The third is when two subgroups in a team are at odds (20-25%). The fourth is when all members of a team are disagreeing in a whole-team conflict (less than 15%). The authors suggest strategies to tailor a conflict resolution approach for each type, so that managers can address conflict as close to its origin as possible.

If you have ever managed a team or worked on one, you know that conflict within a team is as inevitable as it is distracting. Many managers avoid dealing with conflict in their team where possible, hoping reasonable people can work it out. Despite this, research shows that managers spend upwards of 20% of their time on average managing conflict.

why do business proposal

  • Randall S. Peterson is the academic director of the Leadership Institute and a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School. He teaches leadership on the School’s Senior Executive and Accelerated Development Program.
  • PS Priti Pradhan Shah is a professor in the Department of Work and Organization at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. She teaches negotiation in the School’s Executive Education and MBA Programs.
  • AF Amanda J. Ferguson  is an associate professor of Management at Northern Illinois University. She teaches Organizational Behavior and Leading Teams in the School’s MBA programs.
  • SJ Stephen L. Jones is an associate professor of Management at the University of Washington Bothell. He teaches Organizational and Strategic Management at the MBA level.

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IRA or 401(k)? 3 lesser-known perks to putting your retirement savings in a 401(k)

You could save for retirement in an ira. but here's why you may want to go with a 401(k) plan instead..

It's important to set money aside for retirement throughout your career so you have funds to access later in life. But in the context of retirement savings, you have choices.

Many people opt to save for retirement in an IRA because these plans commonly offer a wide range of investment choices. With a 401(k), on the other hand, you're generally limited to a bunch of different funds to invest in, but you can't hold stocks individually within your plan.

That said, 401(k) plans have their share of benefits. Not only do they offer higher annual contribution limits than IRAs, but many employers that sponsor 401(k)s also match worker contributions to some degree.

But while those may be pretty well-known advantages of 401(k)s, these plans also come with some less obvious perks. Here are three you should absolutely know about so you can make an informed decision on where to house your retirement savings.

1. Funds are more protected from creditors

Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), creditors are generally not allowed to go after funds from pensions and employer-sponsored retirement plans. An IRA is not an employer-sponsored plan and is therefore not protected under ERISA the same way a 401(k) is.

Now ideally, you won't land in a situation where creditors are coming after your assets to begin with. But in that unfortunate event, you may have a lot more protection with your money in a 401(k).

2. You can sometimes tap your savings penalty-free at age 55

Generally, you'll face a 10% early withdrawal penalty for taking money out of a traditional IRA or 401(k) plan prior to age 59 1/2 . But there can be an exception with 401(k)s known as the rule of 55. If you separate from the employer sponsoring your 401(k) during the calendar year of your 55th birthday (or later), you can often take withdrawals from that company's 401(k) without incurring a penalty.

Let's say you're downsized out of a job at age 57 and have enough money in savings to just retire at that point rather than start over again at a new employer. With a traditional IRA, you'd be looking at a 10% penalty for removing funds at 57. But with a 401(k), you may be able to take that money out penalty-free provided you're tapping the plan sponsored by the same employer that just laid you off at 57.

3. The way they're funded makes you more likely to meet your goals

It's definitely not an easy thing to consistently put money into savings, whether in the bank or an in IRA. The nice thing about 401(k) plans is that you're not writing your plan a check every month or transferring money over once you've paid your bills.

Rather, 401(k) plans are funded via automatic payroll deductions. If you sign up to have $300 a month put into your 401(k), that sum will be taken out of your paycheck each month so you don't even miss it. It's this very system that could be instrumental in helping you stay on track with retirement savings.

When it comes to saving for retirement, you clearly have plenty of options. But it certainly pays to consider these little-known 401(k) plan benefits when making your choice.

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What to know about Gov. Newsom’s plan to offset California’s $45-billion deficit

California Gov. Gavin Newsom stands next to a video display

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Faced with a $44.9-billion budget deficit, Gov. Gavin Newsom described a plan to shrink the size of state government and slow his progressive policy agenda by eliminating 10,000 vacant state jobs, pausing an expansion of subsidized childcare and cutting billions in funding for climate change programs.

Newsom’s revised $288-billion budget proposal, announced Friday, projected California’s deficit to be $7 billion more than the shortfall his administration expected in January. The grim forecast was driven by lower than projected state revenues, continuing a pendulum swing from the fiscal boom of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These are things we worked closely with the Legislature to advance,” Newsom said of the cuts. “None of this is the kind of work you enjoy doing, but you’ve got to do it. We have to be responsible. We have to be accountable.”

Newsom’s plan to close the deficit relies on $17.3 billion in savings from budget cuts he and lawmakers agreed to in April and using $4.2 billion from the state’s rainy day fund and budget reserves for the upcoming fiscal year.

The proposed spending reductions Newsom touched on Friday also reverse and slash an additional $8.2 billion in funding in 2024-25.

Newsom’s proposal includes $3.6 billion less for programs related to fighting climate change, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesperson for the Finance Department. The plan would also cut $2 billion over two years from a program to expand internet connectivity to underserved homes, businesses and community institutions.

The governor’s revised budget proposal, which includes updated revenue projections after the state income tax filing deadline, typically jump-starts negotiations with Democratic leaders in the Senate and Assembly over a final fiscal plan for the upcoming year. The state Constitution requires lawmakers to approve the state budget by June 15.

An ‘incomplete’ plan

The governor’s budget plan released Friday was incomplete compared to prior years. The administration provided only a 50-page summary of his proposal, compared to the more detailed, 260-page document Newsom released in January.

Newsom’s budget news conference was originally scheduled for next Tuesday, the deadline for the governor to share his revised budget with the state Legislature. But Newsom is flying to Rome that day to speak at a climate conference at the Vatican and bumped his presentation up to Friday.

The change left the state Department of Finance, the fiscal arm of his administration, short on time to finalize a full budget summary, and additional documents, Palmer said. More information, his aides said, will be made available when additional documents are made public on Tuesday.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveils his proposed $286 billion 2022-2023 state budget

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How bad is the budget problem?

Newsom cast California’s current financial situation as a return to normal after the federal government provided trillions of dollars in funding to individuals, families, businesses and state governments during the COVID-19 pandemic, payouts that resulted in a historic surplus in California.

But those flush times did not last, and poor revenue forecasts in recent years have also deepened the state’s fiscal troubles.

Newsom’s estimate of a $100-billion surplus two years ago ended up far too rosy, and revenue in subsequent years also fell short of projections. A decision by the federal government to delay the 2022 federal income tax deadline from April to November due to winter storms complicated California’s ability to project revenues last year.

Newsom’s plan seeks to solve the budget deficit for the next two budget years, including additional cuts, reductions and delays to solve an estimated $28.4-billion deficit in 2025-26.

State Sen. Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks) called out the difference between Newsom’s deficit estimates and much higher models from the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

“He continues to hang on to the unrealistically low deficit with the clear expertise of the LAO stating that the problem is significantly greater than that and that just means that his budget solutions are shooting too low,” Niello said. “We’ll get to the end of another fiscal year where we’re in trouble again, just like this one.”

Why does the deficit number keep changing?

In January, the Newsom administration predicted that California would have a $37.9-billion deficit to reckon with in the budget that lawmakers adopt in June.

Newsom and leaders of the Senate and Assembly reached an early agreement in April on $17.3 billion in reductions though most of those changes will not be passed into law until next month. Lawmakers passed a budget trailer bill that lowers unspent funding allocations in 2022-23 and 2023-24 by $1.6 billion last month.

The deficit number Newsom presented Friday subtracts the $17.3 billion in cuts agreed to earlier from the $37.9-billion deficit estimate from January.

Revenues have fallen short of expectations since January, deepening the budget problem by $7 billion.

Newsom is referring to the shortfall as $27.6 billion in 2024-25, but California is making cuts and reductions to solve a total budget deficit of $44.9 billion this year.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his proposed state budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, during a news conference in Sacramento,Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Newsom called it a ‘gimmick.’ Now he’s using the trick to lower California’s massive deficit

With a massive budget deficit in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom is adopting a ‘gimmick’ he previously reversed in an effort to push the problem forward into future years.

April 11, 2024

How will the governor’s cuts affect education?

Under Proposition 98, California has a minimum funding guarantee for schools and community colleges. Newsom is proposing an unusual maneuver to go back and lower the funding requirement for 2022-23 to reflect the lower-than-expected state revenues that came in late last year. The change could ultimately reduce funding for schools by tens of billions of dollars in future years and launch a monumental fight over education funding at the state Capitol.

Early childhood programs face cuts of more than $2 billion in the governor’s new budget proposal, including a 45% cut for the CalWORKS home visiting program , which provides supportive visits to about 3,000 low-income families following the birth of a baby.

He wants to reduce the Middle Class Scholarship program by $510 million and cut $550 million from a program that helps build and upgrade facilities for children in preschool and transitional kindergarten over the next two budget years.

Newsom called a decision to pause $1.4 billion planned to expand child-care availability over two years “difficult,” but a necessary trade-off in order to pay child-care workers higher wages.

“The state was finally making progress on childcare and early childhood initiatives which have been so ignored for so many years. To now cut back on that is disastrous for families and for our future,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now and a former California Assembly member.

What about healthcare?

Among proposed healthcare cuts is the elimination of more than $300 million in state and local public health funding — a move that “astounded” organizations like the County Health Executives Assn. of California, which pointed to COVID-19 pandemic woes that were worsened by underfunding and questioned if the state was backtracking.

Newsom also proposes eliminating hundreds of millions from programs meant to train and recruit health workers including nurses and social workers — both industries that have faced staffing shortages.

Healthcare providers who serve California’s low-income patients insured by Medi-Cal stand to lose extra pay meant to encourage healthcare facilities’ participation in the safety net program. The governor’s proposal takes more than $6 billion over multiple years meant for provider rate increases from a tax on managed healthcare organizations, known as the MCO tax, and uses it to support the Medi-Cal program in other ways.

Jodi Hicks, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said she was “deeply disappointed” by Friday’s budget plan, saying it will “jeopardize access to not just sexual and reproductive care but quality, affordable health care across the board for the nearly 15 million Californians who rely on Medi-Cal.”

Will prisons lose funding?

Newsom’s proposal includes savings from the newly announced deactivation of 46 housing units at 13 state prisons, which would save $80.6 million. This comes as California’s prison population has declined by nearly 25% since 2019 and as the state prepares for the closure of its third prison, which Newsom said is now planned to close as early as November, five months ahead of schedule.

The governor said that, while he is interested in further reducing “the larger footprint” of the prison system, “we want to be mindful of labor concerns, community concerns and trends.” He also expressed concern about the possibility of unanticipated increases in prison populations . A measure that could appear on the November ballot calls for rolling back some criminal justice reforms that have helped reduce incarceration.

SUSANVILLE, CA - JUNE 08: California Correctional Center, is a minimum-security state prison, in Northern California on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Susanville, CA. The town of Susanville and how they are dealing with the closure of the California Correctional Center, a state prison, that has become their economic lifeline. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Newsom has approved three California prison closures but resists pressure to shutter more

Gavin Newsom could save the state $1 billion annually by closing five more prisons, analysts say. The governor finds himself in a precarious political spot.

April 1, 2024

Will the plan hurt workers?

The April agreement between lawmakers and the governor included $762 million in savings by pausing hiring for vacant state jobs. Newsom’s updated proposal permanently deletes 10,000 open positions, which unions viewed as a potentially better option than furloughs or delaying planned salary increases to save money.

Details of a costly plan to hike pay for healthcare workers to at least $25 per hour are still to come, following months of negotiations between Newsom, unions and hospital leaders.

Newsom signed a bill last year that imposed a new industry minimum wage for California healthcare workers, but has voiced concerns about how fast the state can move on wages due to the deficit. His department estimated that the wage hikes could cost the state $2 billion in its first year of implementation — a figure that SEIU California, the union backing the measure, rushed to refute, urging hospitals to pay a bigger share of the costs.

Newsom was tight lipped on the details on Friday but said a deal is near.

“This budget will not be signed without that deal,” Newsom said Friday.

The budget proposal shared Friday does not include funding for a healthcare minimum wage increase, Palmer said.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom leaves the stage after delivering his budget proposal in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. California faces a projected budget deficit of $22.5 billion for the coming fiscal year, Newsom announced Tuesday, just days into his second term. It’s a sharp turnaround from last year’s $98 billion surplus. (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas)

As deficit estimate hits $68 billion, Newsom seeks ‘major changes’ to healthcare wage law

Gov. Gavin Newsom said his staff has been working with Democrats in the Legislature on the state’s healthcare minimum wage law in light of budget concerns.

Dec. 7, 2023

What else could be coming?

Negotiations are under way in the Legislature to place as many as three bonds on the November ballot that would ask voters to approve borrowing money to pay for low-income housing, school construction projects and climate-related infrastructure for adapting to floods, fires and droughts. Newsom declined to answer a question about how many of those he would like to go on the ballot.

Newsom said the close-call he experienced in March when his Proposition 1 bond for mental health facilities passed by barely more than 50% has “sobered” conversations about how much voters are willing to support borrowing measures.

“The public wants to see results. They’re not interested in inputs, they’re not interested to talk about how much money we’re spending,” he said. “They deserve results and they demand results. And so when we’re out there promoting these bonds, we need to be mindful of that.”

Times Sacramento bureau chief Laurel Rosenhall and staff writer Jenny Gold contributed to this report.

More to Read

California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveils his revised 2024-25 state budget during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, May 10, 2024. California has a budget deficit of $27.6 billion, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday — a gap so wide that he's proposing eliminating 10,000 vacant state jobs and cutting spending across 260 state programs. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Column: Lots of complaining about California’s tax system. Time to fix it

May 13, 2024

Governor Newsom joined state officials at a battery storage and solar facility in Winters to celebrate the milestone on Thursday during Earth Week, in an undated photo from the governor's website.

Newsom touts billions in climate spending through California’s cap-and-trade program

May 9, 2024

From left, Gov. Gavin Newsom; Sen. Mike McGuire; and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas

Newsom and Democratic lawmakers detail first California budget cuts totaling $17 billion

April 4, 2024

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Deeply reported insights into legislation, politics and policy from Sacramento, Washington and beyond. In your inbox three times per week.

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why do business proposal

Taryn Luna covers Gov. Gavin Newsom and California politics in Sacramento for the Los Angeles Times.

why do business proposal

Mackenzie Mays covers state government and politics in the Los Angeles Times’ Sacramento bureau. Previously, she worked as an investigative reporter for Politico, the Fresno Bee and the Charleston Gazette-Mail. In 2019, she received the National Press Club Press Freedom Award for her political watchdog reporting. She is a graduate of West Virginia University and proud Appalachian.

why do business proposal

Anabel Sosa is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times’ Sacramento bureau, covering legislation and politics. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism and a California Local News fellow.

More From the Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles, CA, Friday, March 22, 2024 - California Governor Gavin Newsom mingles with demonstrators at news conference organized by the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy California in Ladera Heights. He was there supporting the defense of SB 1137, a law that protects residents from the dangerous effects of oil wells. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Climate change is central to both Pope Francis and Newsom. But do Catholic voters care?

In this image from video, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.(Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via AP)

Gov. Kristi Noem, who wrote of shooting her dog, to speak at California GOP convention

PLAYA DEL REY, CA - AUGUST 04: One of the Final Clarifier tanks at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021 in Playa Del Rey, CA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. City Council backs plan to double sewer fees

May 14, 2024

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 03: Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed shock that the largest mental health institution is the county jail. Newsom kicked off his campaign for Proposition 1 at Los Angeles General Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. The Proposition is the only statewide initiative on the March 5 primary ballot and asks voters to approve bonds to fund more treatment for mental illness and drug addiction. The initiative is a component of his efforts to tackle homelessness in the state. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

$3.3 billion available for mental health beds as Newsom jump-starts Prop. 1 spending

Biden's new student-loan forgiveness plan has already received over 24,000 comments. There are 2 weeks left to give the administration input.

  • There are two weeks left for the public to comment on Biden's new student-debt relief plan.
  • Once the public comment period ends, the administration will move toward final implementation.
  • Still, legal challenges and the election pose threats to the debt cancellation.

Insider Today

The American people have just two weeks left to give President Joe Biden's administration input on its new student-loan forgiveness plan .

On April 17, the Education Department published its draft rules for a broader version of debt relief to the Federal Register. First unveiled in early April, the new plan is expected to benefit over 30 million borrowers through a range of provisions, including canceling unpaid interest for borrowers and providing debt relief to those who have made at least 20 years of payments.

This new plan is intended to replace Biden's first attempt at relief that the Supreme Court struck down last summer. In contrast to the first plan, this one requires the administration to undergo a process known as negotiated rulemaking, which entails a series of negotiations with stakeholders and an opportunity for the public to comment on the plans before final implementation.

Related stories

The plan is now in the public comment period, and there are two weeks left for anyone who wishes to provide input on the administration's proposals. So far, according to the Federal Register , the plan has received 24,532 comments as of Friday morning.

The comments are available to be viewed publicly, and some of them were supportive of Biden's plan. One stated:

"The more student loan debt that can be forgiven the better. My mom's loans were forgiven last month, and it has changed her life. The period of time when my loans were paused allowed me to buy a home. My loans are currently in repayment, and if that burden could be lifted it would be life-changing for me."

Meanwhile, others were more critical:

"No if you borrow money you need to pay it back. why should people who are hard working pay for a lazy person school. student loans needs to be payed back by the borrower not by people who are working for a living."

Once the public comment period ends on May 17, the Education Department can choose to adjust its proposals based on the feedback it received or move ahead toward final implementation. In the coming months, the department also plans to unveil a separate proposal to get relief to borrowers experiencing financial hardship, which will also have a public comment period.

The department has said it plans to move as quickly as possible with the relief this fall, but not only does the presidential election bring uncertainty to the fate of the relief — it's highly likely legal challenges will once again attempt to block it from carrying out.

For example, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey wrote on X that he would see Biden in court after the release of new details for the debt relief, and he already filed a lawsuit to block the SAVE income-driven repayment plan , arguing it was an overreach of the administration's authority.

Watch: Why student loans aren't canceled, and what Biden's going to do about it

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How Biden’s Trade War With China Differs From Trump’s

The president is trying a targeted approach, with allies, to beat Beijing in the race to own the clean energy future. Those weren’t his predecessor’s goals.

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Jim Tankersley

By Jim Tankersley

Jim Tankersley has covered tariffs and China policy across several presidential administrations.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. ran for the White House as a sharp critic of President Donald J. Trump’s crackdown on trade with China. In office, though, he has taken Mr. Trump’s trade war with Beijing and escalated it, albeit with a very different aim.

The two men, locked in a rematch election this fall, share a rhetorical fondness for beating up on China’s economic practices, including accusing the Chinese of cheating at global trade. They also share a building-block policy for countering Beijing: hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs, or taxes, on Chinese imports. Those tariffs were first imposed by Mr. Trump and have been maintained by President Biden.

On Tuesday, Mr. Biden announced that he is increasing some of those tariffs. That includes quadrupling electric vehicle tariffs to 100 percent, tripling certain levies on steel and aluminum products to 25 percent, and doubling the rate on semiconductors to 50 percent.

But Mr. Biden’s trade war differs from Mr. Trump’s in important ways. Mr. Trump was trying to bring back a broad swath of factory jobs outsourced to China. Mr. Biden is seeking to increase production and jobs in a select group of emerging high-tech industries — including clean energy sectors, like electric vehicles, that Mr. Trump shows little interest in cultivating.

Mr. Biden has pulled more policy levers, some of them created by Mr. Trump. He has imposed more restrictions on trade with China, including limiting sales of American technology to Beijing, while funneling federal subsidies to American manufacturers trying to compete with Chinese production.

And in a sharp break from Mr. Trump’s go-it-alone posture, Mr. Biden’s strategy relies on bringing international allies together to counter China through a mix of domestic incentives and, potentially, coordinated tariffs on Chinese goods.

As they compete for the White House again, Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump are both promising to further increase trade pressure on China, which both men accuse of unfair trade practices that disadvantage American workers. Here is how their plans overlap, and where they diverge sharply.

Mr. Trump’s plan includes more tariffs and less trade.

Mr. Trump broke decades of political consensus by pushing aggressive restrictions on trade with China as president. He imposed tariffs on more than $360 billion worth of Chinese products, including toys, electronics and household furnishings, drawing retaliatory tariffs from Beijing.

In 2020, he struck an agreement with Chinese officials that called for China to increase its purchases of exported goods from America, including agricultural products, and carry out a series of economic reforms. China came nowhere close to fulfilling those terms . Lael Brainard, the director of Mr. Biden’s National Economic Council, told reporters this week that the deal “did not deliver on its promises.”

Mr. Trump has pledged new efforts to sever the nations’ trading relationship if he is elected to a second term. Those include barriers to investment between the two countries, along with bans on imports of Chinese steel, electronics and pharmaceuticals. He has also proposed an additional 10 percent tariff on all imports to the United States, not just those from China. And he has criticized Mr. Biden.

Chinese officials were “petrified of me putting on additional tariffs,” Mr. Trump told CNBC in March. “And we don’t use that, China is right now our boss. They are the boss of the United States, almost like we’re a subsidiary of China, and that’s because the Biden administration has been so weak.”

Mr. Biden is building on his predecessor’s efforts.

Mr. Biden was once a critic of Mr. Trump’s tariffs. “President Trump may think he’s being tough on China,” Mr. Biden said in a 2019 speech , as a candidate for president, “but all he has delivered is more pain for American farmers, manufacturers and consumers.”

Early in Mr. Biden’s administration, his aides debated rolling back many of Mr. Trump’s taxes on Chinese imports to ease the pain of rapid price increases. They ultimately decided against it. Instead, Mr. Biden will announce on Tuesday that he is increasing tariffs on about $18 billion worth of Chinese imports, including solar cells, ship-to-shore cranes and certain medical technologies.

His administration has also imposed new restrictions on exports of American semiconductors and chip-making materials to China, and it has taken the first step to cracking down on imported Chinese smart-car technologies .

Administration officials offer economic rationale for all of those moves. But Mr. Biden is also responding to swing-state political pressures — and seeking to outflank Mr. Trump on the China issue. Last month, he called for higher taxes on Chinese heavy metal imports in a speech to steelworkers in Pennsylvania, a crucial state where polls show he is struggling to overcome voter anxiety about the economy.

And while Biden aides say his tariff approach is more targeted — and, by extension, more effective — than Mr. Trump’s, the president has notably decided not to roll back any of the original tariffs that Mr. Trump imposed on Chinese products.

A greener war, with allies this time.

Mr. Biden has tailored his policy, though. He has consciously coupled new restrictions on China trade with the strategic investments, in the form of government spending and tax credits, that he has used to entice new factory production in a handful of targeted sectors.

Perhaps no product better exemplifies the divergence between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump on trade policy than electric vehicles. Mr. Trump sees them as a scourge, and has said efforts to accelerate their adoption will result in an “assassination” of American jobs .

Mr. Biden has signed multiple laws meant to supercharge electric vehicle production and consumption in the United States, including an infrastructure bill with funding for 500,000 charging stations and a climate law with lucrative incentives to make and sell the vehicles in the United States. They are part of an ambitious industrial strategy to build up American factory capacity for a host of clean energy technologies meant to fight climate change and to dominate advanced manufacturing industries globally for decades to come.

Mr. Biden is increasingly worried that a flood of low-cost electric cars and other goods from China could undermine those efforts, and he is using trade policy to protect his industrial investments. His tariff increases planned for Tuesday include a quadrupling of the rate on imported electric vehicles, to 100 percent.

And while Mr. Trump antagonized allies by imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum from Japan, the European Union and elsewhere, the president has sought to bring together a coalition of wealthy democracies to battle China in clean energy. His administration led an effort at the Group of 7 summit last year to outline a harmonized strategy of subsidies to compete with China’s state funding for new technologies.

Many current and former administration officials hope that cooperation will now extend to tariffs as well, starting with Europe, which is conducting its own investigations of Chinese trade practices and appears poised to raise its existing tax rate on imported Chinese electric vehicles.

Jim Tankersley writes about economic policy at the White House and how it affects the country and the world. He has covered the topic for more than a dozen years in Washington, with a focus on the middle class. More about Jim Tankersley

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    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.

  10. How to Write a Business Proposal

    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 ...

  11. How to write a business proposal: Examples and Templates

    It's the most common type of business proposal in the B2B markets. Example: A construction company submits a formally solicited proposal to a government agency in response to an RFP for building a new community center. The proposal outlines the company's approach, timeline, costs, and qualifications for the project.

  12. How To Write a Business Proposal in 2024 (Examples + Tips)

    3. Write a cover letter. Not to be confused with your title page, your cover letter serves as an introduction to you and your business. Some proposals might even include the cover letter before the table of contents as a way of setting up the entire proposal. Your cover letter should be short and no more than one page.

  13. How to Write a Professional Business Proposal + 7 Example Templates

    Propose a Solution: Detail your plan, timeline, and budget. Add Qualifications: Show past work or experience that makes you the best choice. Write a Conclusion and Call to Action: Sum up your proposal and guide the reader on the next steps. Proofread: Check for errors and make sure it's easy to read.

  14. What Is a Business Proposal?

    A proposal is how you'll win clients and partners. While they can be written or spoken, a business proposal is always written, allowing potential customers to review and sign it before receiving a contract. A proposal can also be part of a contract if you propose your services and allow clients to agree to the terms immediately.

  15. Why You Should Write a Business Proposal

    A good business proposal can help you to expand your customer base, grow your business, and become a market leader. Here are four great reasons to write a business proposal. Contents: Reason 1: It Helps Close the Sale. Reason 2: It Shows You're Professional.

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

    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.

  17. How to Write a Business Proposal

    Provide a detailed budget and payment structure. Include quotes from satisfied clients or references and evidence of your track record. Write a conclusion and appendix. Visme's proposal templates come with pre-made sections to make the proposal creation process easier and more efficient.

  18. How To Write a Business Proposal: Components, Steps and Tips

    1. Read the request for proposal. If you are writing the business proposal in response to a request for a proposal, or an RFP, be sure to carefully and thoroughly read the RFP. Make sure that you understand what the client is asking for so that you can create a proposal they are likely to accept. 2.

  19. What is a Business Proposal? Definition, Types, and Examples

    A business proposal letter or cover letter is a document that businesses sometimes send to their prospects alongside a business proposal. A shorter proposal may even combine these two in a single document. A cover letter helps provide context on why you're sending the accompanying business proposal.

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    Here's every reason why you need a business plan. 1. Business planning is proven to help you grow 30 percent faster. Writing a business plan isn't about producing a document that accurately predicts the future of your company. The process of writing your plan is what's important. Writing your plan and reviewing it regularly gives you a ...

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