Simply put, a business proposal is a written description of the proposed relationship between two parties. It serves to outline the business terms and conditions between a buyer and seller, as well as outlines all the pertinent details that may be involved in such an agreement.
Business proposals are not only limited to sales or purchases, however. They can also be used for lease agreements, rental agreements, service agreements, loan agreements and many other types of contractual relationships.
In order for a business proposal to have any credibility and validity, both parties must agree on the terms and conditions outlined within it. Oftentimes, this will require negotiation between both parties in order to ensure that all concerns are met.
An often overlooked benefit of business proposals is that they can act as a “blueprint” for future dealings between two parties. Since every business proposal is different and unique to the individual parties involved, they provide a detailed description of what has been agreed upon previously and also serve as an outline of what future transactions may look like.
The best way to structure a business proposal is with an introduction that briefly states the purpose of the proposal. Then outline all pertinent details regarding the agreement at hand (i.e., what will happen if either party fails to uphold their end of the agreement).
Business proposals can be solicited or unsolicited, as long as the information is relevant to the prospect’s business and needs.
Solicited proposals are written in response to a company’s RFP (request for proposal), which is a formal statement that invites all interested vendors to compete for a project bid.
Solicited proposals are often easier to write because you are given clear guidelines. You know exactly what the client or customer wants with a solicited proposal, and you can adjust your responses accordingly.
Informal conversations at networking gatherings or trade shows can lead to unsolicited proposals. If a seller sees a business’s potential, they may request that the conversation be followed up with a proposal. Target market research is frequently used by businesses to offer unsolicited proposals to potential clients.
Since you don’t have any information to go on, writing unsolicited proposals can be a little more difficult. An unsolicited proposal must also be considerably more appealing, which means you must conduct research on the target audience and explain your value proposition.
What is the difference between a proposal and a business plan?
The terms “business plan” and “business proposal” are two different papers but the majority of people confuse the two, and many tutorials on the internet claiming to teach how to create a business proposal are actually describing how to develop a business plan.
While a business plan focuses on a company’s goals, the problems and solutions it’s trying to solve, its potential market size, keys to success, products and services, market execution, and more, a business proposal, on the other hand, usually focuses on how a specific project will be carried out, states a quote for the project, terms and conditions, and several other key pointers.
Your pipe dream is visualized in a business plan. It demonstrates how your company’s goals, objectives, philosophies, industry research, target market, products & services, market execution, competition analysis, financial predictions, and other factors will help it succeed.
It’s a detailed document that investors, banks, accountants, and other financially savvy persons can quickly analyze to learn more about your company, its prospects for success, and how you plan to scale.
There are significant differences between a business plan and a business proposal. They serve diverse audiences and are prepared for different reasons, as explained in this article.
If you want to raise money or get a bank loan, you’ll need a bankable and investor-ready business plan. A business proposal, on the other hand, is what you need to persuade a client to utilize your service, whether or not the client has requested a paper demonstrating the value you’d provide to them.
Business proposal format in Nigeria
Frequently, the business proposal will be subjected to a first quick examination. It will be read more thoroughly in the following level of examination if it fits certain criteria. Breaking down your proposal into clear parts and instructions will make it much easier for your potential client to explore your document.
Title or cover page.
Table of contents (optional but useful for longer proposals).
Acknowledgement of the problem.
Proposed solution / Outline of approach.
Case studies and/or testimonials (optional but recommended).
Terms and conditions.
CTA / how to proceed.
Business proposal template
1. Problem Being Addressed
2. Competition Analysis
3. Business Opportunity / Product or Service Description
4. Milestones and Deliverables Agreement
5. Initial Outlay and Ongoing Fee Schedule (if applicable)
6. Risk Mitigation and Contingency Plan in Case of Non-performance or Failure to Complete to the Terms of this Agreement (if applicable)
7. Due Diligence Process (if applicable for structure)
8. References and Contact Information
– who are you as a team, what do you bring to the table? -if applying for a job, include work experience/job responsibilities/accomplishments
who are you on a personal level, what makes this idea so special? -if applying for a job, include schooling, skills acquired, any previous work experience
what relevant work do you have in your portfolio? If no portfolio, explain how extensive the research study was? Ways to be interesting or intriguing
how will this proposal accomplish the target objective in detail? Include milestones / date of completion if possible or expected delivery date.
Basic Tips for Writing Business Proposals
Whether you are applying for a business loan or trying to land a new client, nothing can substitute for a good business proposal. For example, if you are applying for credit and do not have an existing relationship with the lender, consider using a professional proposal writing service. A good proposal is much more than just an application letter. It should emphasize your company’s strengths and downplay its weaknesses. It should also be tailored to the particular lender or client with whom you are dealing.
The following tips will help you create a high-quality business proposal:
Do your research before writing a business proposal. Know which financial institutions or individuals you are planning to approach before putting pen to paper. If possible, find out about the institution’s lending policies or particular interests by calling the institution or visiting its Web site. Try to anticipate any questions the reader might have about your company, product or services. Be sure that your research comes across in the proposal itself – avoid long-winded explanations of how well your firm works in favor of concise statements about what makes it work so well.
Prepare your business proposal with care and proofread it carefully before submitting it. A poorly written business proposal will usually do more harm than good in most situations, particularly when it comes to obtaining financing from investors.
Major mistakes when writing a business proposal
One of the most common mistakes made when writing a business proposal is to include too much information.
- Proposals should be as straight-forward and uncluttered as possible. If a client is interested in your services, they will seek out more information to fill in any blanks that may exist. As you write your proposal, think about how you would like to be approached by a prospective client. Would you want a document that is easy to read and has all of the pertinent details or a 10 page document with every single detail spelled out? Most likely you would want the former.
- Formatting issues are also commonly seen in proposals. Because formatting is such an important aspect of proposals, it’s best to have someone skilled with Microsoft Word complete this task for you. Your document will look professional and will present well.
- Finally, make sure that you include only essential information in your proposal. It’s best to leave out unnecessary details until after the contract has been signed. This will help ensure that there are no misunderstandings about what is expected and what has been promised.
How to write a business proposal for business or investor funding
Entrepreneurs who do not have a business degree often feel as though they can’t write a winning business proposal, but potential investors don’t expect a plan full of complicated jargon. They just want to see that you will be able to make them money.
When seeking funding for a business idea, take the time to research who your potential investor is and what motivates them. This will give you a better chance of crafting a winning proposal that addresses their priorities.
When you are pitching to an investor, it is important to tailor your business plan. Different investors will focus on different aspects of the business plan.
To get funding for a new startup, you need to convince potential investors that your idea is an exciting one, and that you have a team that is qualified to bring the concept to life. Your business plan should be well-thought out, and speak to the investor’s sense of business, with all the pertinent information inserted at the appropriate places.
How to write a business proposal for sponsorship
Today, there is more rivalry for event sponsorship funds than ever before. Event organizers are under a lot of pressure to come up with new and innovative sponsorship proposals. In today’s world, standard packages are no longer acceptable. So, here are some of our suggestions for genuinely unique sponsorship pitches.
1. Make your offer crystal clear.
What makes you so unique? With your proposal, you’re attempting to address that question. To build a well-rounded argument, experts recommend including at least one topic from each of the three sections below in your draft:
- Expected results: What tangible benefits can you provide the sponsor as a result of collaborating with your business? The most typical benefits that impact business sponsorship are increase in return on investment, gain valuable insights, build business relationships, e.t.c.
- Target audience: When writing your proposal, demographic data and surveys are extremely useful. These examples explain how a sponsorship can benefit both parties. Most sponsors participate in events to get exposure to similar markets or to reach out to new demographics.
- Marketing Strategy: How do you intend to maximize your business’s return on investment? Allow them access to your secrets. A well-thought-out strategy demonstrates your ability to succeed and gives them confidence in their decision.
Overall, your proposal should show that it is valuable to your possible funders. The concept “value” is a broad one. However, by viewing your proposal through their eyes, you can rapidly determine which parts are most appealing to their wants and objectives.
2. Draft your sponsorship proposal.
3. Create a sponsor wishlist
4. Contact the decision makers on your potential sponsor list.
5. Keep the following suggestions in mind when emailing a potential sponsor:
- Make an effort to get in touch with someone you’ve met in person.
If that isn’t possible, send a cold email to a marketing manager, director, or vice president. Contact the head of finance if they’re a small business with a small staff.
- Pick three critical compatibility criteria to emphasize.
You don’t have to tell them how you compared them to other candidates. But, based on your research, make sure you include the strongest, most compelling reasons why you’d be a good fit. Formulate them in a way that is actionable and demonstrates how you intend to add value (rather than just simply listing some benefits you think they might get from the deal).
- Keep in mind that the email is about them, not about you.
Plus, if you can link your value proposition to a recent initiative or piece of company news, you’ll get bonus points.
How to write a business proposal for a loan/grant
Grant and loan applications are a competitive process. The grant money is allocated to specific sorts of firms, and those in charge of disbursing the funds must sift through a large number of applications to choose which business or businesses will receive the funds.
The best method to increase your chances of getting a grant is to draft a fantastic proposal. Your submission should include information about the company’s mission and operations, as well as future goals, reasons for asking for the grant, and plans for using the funds.
Writing a loan or grant request will require some planning and time, but it will be well worth the effort if the project is approved.
Here are a few pointers to help you out.
- Increase the visibility of your firm and its goals. Describe your company’s activities and take advantage of any opportunity to point out what makes your company unique.
- Discuss your target market and how you intend to reach out to them. The proposal committee wants to know how you plan to use the funds to grow your business by attracting new clients.
- Provide a budget for the grant money that you’ve suggested. Make your statement as specific as possible. Explain why and how the funds will be used. To demonstrate allocation and planned growth, use data charts and graphical statistics.
- The paper should include all needed information and be simple to follow from beginning to end.
Sample catering business proposals
A catering business proposal is a document that is presented to a client and contains all of the necessary information regarding the catering company’s services. It informs the reader of the proposal about the services, payment arrangements, and products for sale, if any.
When there is so much competition, simply placing a price on something may not be enough. You must demonstrate to your potential client that you are capable of providing the catering services they require.
Any business proposal should aim to introduce yourself, highlight your products and/or services, describe your price, and persuade the client that you are the best candidate for the task. To speed up the proposal writing process, you can use pre-designed templates and acquire ideas from sample proposals on the internet.
You’ll also need to include some particular information about your services, menus, or items that are relevant to the specific client if you’re in the catering company. Always keep in mind that the purpose of a proposal is to persuade potential clients or investors to invest in your company. Your proposal must include the entire story.
Sample poultry business proposal
People are now beginning to recognize the possibilities of providing man’s most fundamental need, food, as a result of recent global population growth and a worldwide demand for food. Poultry farming has grown in popularity in Nigeria as the demand for food continues to rise.
As a chicken farmer, writing a proposal is a huge undertaking. Egg production (Layers breeding), Meat production (Broilers breeding), Chicken breeding (Hatchery), Poultry feed manufacturing, Egg and meat processing, packaging and marketing are just a few of the many facets of poultry farming.
You could be composing a proposal for any of the services listed above. Regardless of which of these services you supply, you’ll need to send out proposals to effectively advertise these services.
What’s the best way to start a proposal for your poultry farm? Begin by composing a simple cover letter. Simply introduce yourself and your proposal, highlight what you’d like the receiver to do after reading it, and provide all of your contact information.
Following this, you must consider the structure of your proposal, which will include an executive summary, detailed information of what your potential customers or funders need, a description of the solution you are proposing, information about your company and its special capabilities.
Sample supermarket business proposal
A well written proposal is a crucial step in attracting a sponsor for your supermarket business. There are a number of proposal techniques that firms should use in order to demonstrate their capabilities. However, proposals can be easily discounted for the wrong reasons; you should focus on the company’s strengths when pitching your business to a potential funder.
A well-crafted sales and supply proposal can result in a huge return on investment for your business and sponsor. To effectively write a sales and supply proposal, it is important to understand the customers’ needs, the market and then to convince the investor that your business has the necessary expertise to meet those needs by supplying the exact goods required by the customers.
To differentiate your services from the competition, emphasize your organization’s values and goals with regard to the deal in question. Your methodology should be simple and clear enough for the reader to grasp at a glance.
Sample real estate business proposals
Real estate and housing deals often involve multiple parties, contracts, and a lot of paperwork. Proposals are a major part of that paperwork, and understanding how to write them is essential to success in the industry.
Before you start writing a proposal, you need to gather information about your audience—the individuals or parties that will be judging your work. Know the exact things they need that you can offer so that you make a great impression from the start.
Real estate proposals are useful for various purposes, including property management, commercial land development, and real estate sales. Proposals can be customized to suit the exacting needs of clients. People in the real estate industry such as architects, builders, contractors, managers, and realtors find these documents useful.
Sample food stuff business proposals
Starting a food-related business is like starting any other business—difficult—but there are some unique advantages to running a food-related business. First, people can’t live without eating, so we’re all potential customers; second, even though most of us have the same basic dietary needs, we still have different taste preferences and desires that allow for very “niche” products to succeed.
To succeed in the consumer food industry, you need to make your passion practical. Passion, combined with good marketing, product positioning, and shelf strategy, will increase the likelihood of your consumer food business’s success.
When pitching your business to potential sponsors, you must show in your proposal that you have conducted a well-articulated market research, you have a clearly defined target market – local and international, state a clear budget, what’s in it for your sponsors, and the chances of your business’ success bearing in mind that no sponsor wants to put their money where the risk is high.
Sample car wash business proposals
Interest in the car wash market is expected to continue to increase over the next decade as a result of both demographic shifts and increased vehicle ownership. The service industry will be an increasingly important source of jobs for future generations.
The International Carwash Association (ICA) reports that the number of drivers who wash their vehicles at home has decreased by more than half in the past twenty years. In 2019, 77% of drivers reported that they frequently washed their vehicles at a professional car wash, up from 48% in 1994. The ICA estimates that total sales revenue from the car washing industry exceeds US$24 billion annually.
These stats prove that the car wash is a very lucrative business and has a great potential to attract high-value investors. In a bid to convince investors, it is important to state the statistics, showing how the industry has a potential for growth, and why it is a viable business with high return on investment. Using the facts and figures from industry research and how you will leverage the latest technology to achieve customer satisfaction is a great way to convince your potential investors to sponsor your business.
While drafting your proposal, remember that your sponsor is more interested in what’s in it for them and how their involvement translates to profit for him/her.
Sample palm oil business proposal
A globally traded commodity, palm oil is currently worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually. In order to tap into this vast market, you’ll have to submit a compelling proposal to potential investors or buyers. The market is highly competitive and lucrative. You can be several steps ahead of your competition in every bid if you put in the right foot forward.
Describe your product’s competitive advantage, stating all the benefits consumers get by using it , and possibly attach images of your production line showing a clean and hygienic environment.
Our products are of high quality, healthy and unadulterated. They comply with international market standards for food safety: These and many more could be stated in your proposal showing potential sponsors the benefit a customer gets by buying from you.
A comprehensive business proposal must contain the information your client needs to make sound financial decisions. This includes providing details about the products and services you will provide, an explanation of why you are the best choice for this client, and a financial analysis that shows whether it is likely that your business plan will be successful.
Sample social media management business proposal
A social media proposal is a formal document, tailored to a specific business interest and audience, that outlines how a writer’s creative ability will help establish the company’s online presence. A proposal should focus on how your expertise in the subject matter of social media marketing will help your clients achieve their business goals.
Explaining the social media management process can be difficult. You want to give your client enough information to understand the basics, but not so much detail that they feel overwhelmed.
Before drafting a social media strategy proposal, it is important to understand the client’s needs and goals. With that in mind, you can draft a proposal introducing yourself and offer to help the client reach his or her goals, discuss how you will accomplish this, and provide an outline of the cost, timeline and scope of the project.
Sample graphics design business proposal
When working as a freelancer, you should take time to remember the experience of putting together a well-researched project proposal in order to land new clients. You’ll be able to focus on providing value for your own business when you submit a professional and well-researched proposal.
When considering becoming involved in a project with a client, the first step is always consultation with your lead. As the designer of a solution to a client’s needs, it is your responsibility to know the problem you are trying to solve and work within the scope of that problem.
It’s important to research your client’s brand, product, or service so that you can develop strategies tailored to their specific needs. If possible, ask your prospect if there are any documents or materials that will help you better understand the situation. You want to arm yourself with as much information as possible in order to prepare a competitive proposal.
Your design proposal should begin with a summary of your prospect’s main business issue. Remember that your prospects are not interested in you or your business, they are interested in finding a quick solution to their problem. For this reason, it is very important to convince them that you are the perfect designer for the job.
Sample web design business proposal
When you make a purchase, you base your decision on trust. You believe that what you buy will make your life better in some way. Clients make purchase decisions based on the same principle: they want to know that the product or service they buy will improve their lives—or their business. You can demonstrate your value with a highly professional proposal that conveys how your firm’s services can help solve your client’s problems.
When a client hires you, they are not just buying your skills, but also a creative solution for their problem. The solution section of your proposal shows them how your skills can help solve their problem or achieve their goal. You must make the benefits clear to convince them to hire you.
If you expect your client to have questions about your proposal, provide the answers in the FAQ section of your proposal. This way, you’re not only helping your client come up with their questions in advance, you’re also addressing the fears they might have before they even get to that point.
Business proposal is all about conveying your idea and having it properly reviewed. The goal in the process of writing a business proposal is to have your insight and ideas going through the hands of key people who can approve them or veto them. The purpose of creating a business proposal is to make sure that the product/service you are offering will find an audience. Think about every single detail in your proposal, as each word can make or break it. Your business plan should have detailed information regarding start-up costs, management techniques, marketing strategies, etc.
With a solid business plan, you’ll become more efficient, able to make better, more informed business decisions and generally improve your chances of success. Working with a solid proposal template, you can ensure that you’re doing everything possible to help secure funding for your business.