Writing a winning business proposal
The main purpose of your business proposal is to create a compelling proposition your potential clients simply can’t refuse. When you’ve mastered the technique of crafting your seductive offer and pinpoint the exact benefits of working with you… you’re laughing. Your potential clients will be able to visualise the advantages of choosing you instead of your competitor, and realise the prospective profits to be had as a result of your efforts.
A good business proposal is the difference between securing that deal or not, and this post will demonstrate the vital elements of a business proposal that won’t end up in the rubbish bin.
Understanding the client
To write a winning business proposal, firstly you need to understand your client’s business goals and what they hope to achieve through a business relationship with you. Evaluating your client’s problem is an important part of proposing a method to solve that problem. Conduct a thorough analysis of the entire business and ask a number of questions to explore their industry, financial situation, products and services. Only by speaking to the business owners, employees and decision makers will you be able to determine the best course of action.
You may even find that the requirements initially outlined are in fact not the solution to their problem at all, and after a thorough business analysis you may need to propose a more effective and suitable method. Don’t be afraid to suggest a different solution to those outlined in the original requirements; this may be a completely different method to your competitors’ and possibly even a perfect tool to help you stand out as an innovator.
In order for the client to feel completely confident you can provide them with the solution they desire, you firstly need to signify that you understand the problems they face as a business entity. Would you hire a company to solve a particular problem for your business if they didn’t understand the problem itself? Short answer… no. You need to describe the challenges they currently face and what their needs are in the most plain and clear manner. This should be the easy part!
The solution you propose will require the most work, and you will need to demonstrate and address the business needs you have encountered in as much detail as possible. Simple – outline what it is you intend to do and the benefits this will present for your prospective clients
This is your time to shine! Tell your client exactly why they should work with you. Remember that your proposal is essentially a sales document designed to persuade the client to hire you above all else, so focus on your strengths and diminish all doubts the client may have.
Give them a solid reason as to why you should be chosen over your competitors and reinforce your strengths. If your competitor is a larger organisation or better established than yours, flaunt your ability to devote more time and attention to detail than the rival company, or maybe you specialise in their industry. Help them think it would be utter madness if they didn’t hire you.
Time and pricing information
Clearly outline when they can expect the project to be completed. Take them through each stage of the process to ensure there won’t be any unexpected surprises further along the project lifecycle. Essential details such as how the client will be billed and when they will expect payment should be highlighted, along with any expected deposits or periods of payment, if you wish. However you reference it, make sure you address ever factor regarding time and pricing to be seen as entirely transparent.
Above all, ensure your business proposal reads and looks wholly professional. Let your document do the talking for you and make it easy for them to say yes! Then all you need to do is be ready to put your money where your mouth is and deliver the goods.
Now whether your business proposal is done in your freelancer voice bidding for a client job; or that of a small business owner creating one for funding, what exactly are the vital elements your proposal should cover? This is explained further in “How to Write a Business Proposal” in The Formations Company’s Help Centre.
Published Wednesday January 2, 2013