How to Write a Business Proposal in 7 Steps + Free Template

Cody Cromwell
Written by
Last update:

Free Business Proposal Template

Writing a business proposal is rarely fun. It’s a full time job and usually requires months of research and planning, followed by hours of writing and editing. However, there’s one business proposal template that makes it easy to write and easy to read. It’s one of the best business proposals templates available on the market.

In this article, I’ll provide 7 steps to help you write your business proposal. If you have the time, energy, and passion for writing business proposals, you’ll find that the Template for Success is a game changer.

Step One: Define Your Numbers

Your business proposal will need the following numbers in order for it to make sense. And it’s best to have each number estimated, rather than have the number be unknown.

Gather the Information You Need

Define Project Objectives & Scope

How to Define the Objective of Your Business Proposal

One of the most important steps in building a good business proposal is defining your objective. You need to understand who your ideal customer is, who you’re targeting, and what problem you’re solving for them. Keep in mind the difference between a broad, general business proposal and a narrow, focused business proposal. You’ll need to decide what your objectives are before you can present a proper business proposal that does, in fact, target a specific niche.

How to Outline the Project’s Scope

The Scope definition is broader than "the project’s boundaries." The scope definition is really the process of relating the work to the project’s objectives.

Organizing the project’s scope also provides a structure for the business proposal and a way to determine if the project’s activities align and support the project’s objectives.

The first step in well outlining the project’s scope and objectives is to ask "What are our primary objectives and how will this project contribute to reaching them?"

Take a look at these questions:

  • Are our primary objectives to build a website, to sell products, or to provide services?
  • Are our objectives to increase sales or to attract new clients?
  • Are our objectives to employ people or to grow the business?
  • Are our objectives to reduce costs or to increase cash flow?

Calculate Your Labor & Costs

Before getting started on your business proposal, you need to factor in your labor costs and your expenses. It’s best to calculate even a rough estimate of your cost to get a general idea of the price range. This will be helpful to you when you get into the meat and potatoes of your proposal and give your client a sense of your market price for your product or service.

You can use PayScale to get an estimate of how much you and your employees will earn for your services. A good business proposal from a motivated entrepreneur will include a profitability analysis, which will help your potential clients determine whether you are a good investment or not.

Begin Drafting Your Business Proposal

In 7 simple steps.

Step 1. Think about your business

The first step to writing a business proposal is to know what kind of business you want to apply for, and what it is you are going to offer.

Before you start writing, think about whom you will be targeting, and what exact needs or problems you will be solving. In other words, what is it you are going to offer to the world?

For example, when pitching a startup to investors, you are probably going to offer a solution to an existing problem, such as helping people to buy and sell second-hand cars online.

Just remember that the problem you are offering to solve does not need to be complicated – that’s what makes it an existing problem. So before you even begin, you should have a clear idea of what problem you want to solve for your customers.

You don’t need to have all the answers (or even any) at this point, as you will hone the business idea down in Step 6, when you write the full business plan and business proposal. And you can always refer to your broader vision and mission while writing this proposal.

Step 2. Identify your customer

After outlining the problem that you are solving, consider who exactly you are solving it for.

There are a couple of ways to do this.

Edit Your Business Proposal

So you’ve decided to start a business proposal. We love entrepreneurs over at BizArts and so if you are one of them, you are in the right place to learn how to write a business proposal.

Before you actually write a business proposal, you should figure out how you are going to communicate your idea to the point where the lender understands it and agrees to it. Then, you need to get in touch with a group of lenders that may be interested in buying your idea.

Whether you want to do your own approach or you want to hire business proposal expert, you need to write a business proposal. The first step in that process is to build your business proposal structure. You can divide your business proposal into the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Problem Statement
  • Solution Information
  • Product Specifications
  • Financial Analysis

When you have a plan, it is easier for you to write your business proposal. If you want to know what should be in your business proposal, check these topics out:

  • How to write the brand/business name
  • Business Plan
  • Introduction

The business proposal introduction should include a short statement that serves as the introduction for your business proposal. The introduction section should include information that answers these questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What are you proposing?

Make Use of the Appendix

Whether it’s an independent study, a capstone project or a piece of the portfolio, every piece of writing should have an Appendix. When you’re studying in college, the Appendix is commonly used to detail what the project’s purpose was, any equipment used during the process, formulas used, whether a journal was used and any other important details.

The Appendix is also useful for small business proposals and professional resumes. It’s used to define the purpose of the business; show the results of an investigation or survey; indicate how the purpose of the business was reached, or provide any other useful details that are relevant to the proposal.

Let’s say, for example, you are writing a proposal to start your own restaurant. The Appendix to your proposal could be very useful in this scenario. It would let you share any background information you want to use as supporting materials for your proposal point. You could also use it to clarify what your recipe is and what type of restaurant you intend to open. These details might not get discussed or brought up in the proposal itself but will become more apparent when the Appendix is shared.

Watch for Business Proposal Tone & Language

Make sure the proposal is structured as a "differentiate, develop, demonstrate and support" sales approach. Differentiate: To win the business proposal pitch, you need to show the potential client(s) that you are best qualified to solve their problem or fill their needs.

Develop: To develop your case for the business pitch, use a step-by-step approach that contains the Five Ws (who, what, where, when, why) and the Three Bs (how, what, when). Demonstrate & Support: To support your pitch, you need both testimonials from your past clients, who you've met with face to face, and endorsements from peers.

Another word of caution: Flaws in the proposal's tone and language will immediately turn off your potential client. Make sure your proposal voice and language are compelling.

Send Out Your Business Proposal

A business proposal is a written business plan that’s sent to potential clients to demonstrate your expertise and enthusiasm for a specific business project.

A business proposal should be customized to suit your specific needs and signal to potential clients that you are prepared to meet their needs.

Here are the 7 steps to writing a business proposal that will enable you to successfully present your proposal to your potential client:

Outline your project

You need to produce a written document that clearly outlines the project’s goals and objectives.

As you write, keep the following in mind:

Describe your proposer’s expertise and experience in delivering the project, as you will be competing with other companies for the opportunity to take on this work.

Describe the key tenants of the project’s expected results.

Describe the best-practice methodology for delivering the project.

Be sure to mention potential risks that may affect the project’s success.

Highlight your company’s strengths

Employ your proposal to highlight the best aspects of your company.

You’ll likely be competing with other companies to provide the best service. But if you can do it better than your competitors, mention that.

Now is also a good time to get creative.

Follow Up

Before you dive into the actual writing of your proposal, you need to know about the company you hope to propose to. Now it’s time to get in touch with the company you are hoping to do business with.

While you could do this by calling up the company and making an appointment, it is much more efficient to send them an email first. You can do this by writing an email to the company, send it to yourself , then right a new draft and send it again.

This gives them a chance to review the email, given that it’s someone’s job to filter out the spam. As a business owner, you need to let them know that you understand how busy they are and how fast they need to answer emails.

In order to decide whether or not you should reach out to the company, you need to understand what they are selling and how it can help your company or business grow.

After You Win the Contract

Learn How to Write a Proposal That Lays Out Your Plan and Credibility.

Business Proposal Tips

Business proposals help you to structure your thoughts when writing your business plan, and help to make it concise and clear. Essential to an effective proposal are the company details, including the background of your business, its goals and mission statement, a financial overview, a marketing plan, a summary of your services and products, and a timetable for the business. Some business proposals also include the latest fiscal information and facts, such as a company balance sheet and profit forecast. However, getting clear about the information and structure of your business proposal will take you a few efforts, and it is not easy. But the problem is that it is easier said than done.

Here are simple steps to help you in writing down your business proposal.

Before you write your business proposal, always keep a note-taking system.

This will help you to easily organize your thoughts and to draft your proposal with the right flow and appropriate content.

Create a company list to identify your organization’s key people and roles.

This will help you to stay focused and to keep the right people and roles in your mind throughout the entire proposal writing process.

Set your goals and define your mission of the company.

It should be written in a way that inspires you.

Structure your document and outline the sections.

Bottom Line

Writing a Business Proposal for a Major Contract

If you’re preparing to pitch your business idea or venture to any of the business entities, here are the steps you need to go through:

Step 1: Take a Note from Angel Investors: Today, more investors are willing to provide their fund to entrepreneurs who are looking forward in making their entrepreneurial dream come true.

In case you have been trying to approach a popular angel investor or venture capitalist for funding, do not forget to present the complete business proposal or business briefing before gaining the approval. This will help you to let the investor know if your venture will generate profits for both the parties involved (through profit sharing and investment protection).

Following are the steps you need to take while developing a business briefing for angel investors or venture capitalists:

Step 2: The Idea Description: The next step is to analyze your business idea and tell more about it. This is the most important step and you must follow this step trust the idea as you are planning to propose to another business entity. Keeping this point in mind, make the business briefing as well detailed and informative.

Step 3: The Management Team: Your business idea may be the best, but the business briefing also needs to give enough detail about the management team behind the idea.