Business Basics: The Do’s and Don’ts When Writing a Business Proposal

Olivia Barredo
June 05, 2023

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Writing a business proposal is a crucial skill for aspiring entrepreneurs as it allows you to showcase expertise, demonstrate value, and increase opportunities.One obvious benefit of knowing how to craft a successful proposal is that it can help your business gain more clients, win contracts, and generally to get people on board with your business.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to write a strong business proposal that convinces your prospects, as well as the do’s and dont’s of writing a business proposal. So with all that said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of writing a business proposal.



What is a Business Proposal?


A business proposal is a written document that presents a proposed business idea, project, or solution to a problem. It aims to persuade the recipient to take a specific action, such as entering into a partnership or providing financial support. The proposal outlines the objectives, methodology, timeline, budget, and anticipated outcomes of the venture, while also establishing the proposer's credibility and expertise.

A business proposal is important because it allows the proposer to present their ideas clearly and professionally, build trust with the recipient, align expectations, and increase the chances of securing the desired outcome. It serves as a strategic tool for communication and decision-making, helping both parties understand the proposed venture and its potential benefits.



How to write a Business Proposal


Writing a business proposal requires careful planning and attention to detail to effectively convey your ideas and persuade the recipient. To assist you in this process, we present a step-by-step guide that will enhance your ability to effectively convey ideas and persuade your prospects and generally your intended recipients.



Research and Analysis

Before writing your business proposal, it’s ideal that you start by researching your target audience and understanding their goals and specific needs. Knowing this helps you identify your audience’s priorities so that you can better communicate to them and address how you can help them with your offer.

Start by analyzing the problem or opportunity you're addressing and gather relevant data to support your proposal.



Executive Summary


Begin with an engaging executive summary that provides a concise overview of your proposal. Summarize the key points, objectives, and anticipated outcomes to capture the reader's attention from the start.




In the introduction, provide background information about your company, its expertise, and how it relates to the proposal. Clearly state the problem or opportunity you're addressing and explain why it is important.



Problem Statement

Clearly define the problem or opportunity you're addressing. Explain the current situation, highlighting the pain points and challenges faced by the recipient.

Example: "As per our research, we identified that ABC Company's current IT infrastructure lacks scalability and poses a significant risk to its data security. Moreover, frequent network outages and slow response times have resulted in operational disruptions and decreased employee productivity which greatly impacts the business’s bottom line."



Proposed Solution

Present your solution in detail, demonstrating how it addresses the problem or capitalizes on the opportunity. Explain your approach, methodology, and the benefits it offers.

Example: "Our proposed solution includes a comprehensive network upgrade, implementation of advanced security protocols, and regular maintenance to ensure uninterrupted network availability. By adopting cloud-based solutions and implementing robust firewall systems, ABC Company will experience enhanced data security and improved system performance."



Implementation Plan

Outline the timeline, resources, and milestones involved in implementing the proposed solution. Provide a clear and realistic roadmap to demonstrate that you have a well-structured plan in place.



Budget and Pricing

Provide a detailed breakdown of the costs associated with your proposal. Be transparent about pricing, including any recurring expenses or additional services. Justify the costs by explaining the value and return on investment your solution offers.

Example: "Breaking down the expenses and costs, this service encompasses:

Equipment Procurement ≈ ₱200,000,
Software Licenses ≈ ₱100,000 (annually),
and Professional Services ≈ ₱200,000
Yielding an approximate total of ₱500,000 in estimated cost. The value and return on investment lie in the potential for streamlined operations, decreased maintenance costs, and fortified data protection, substantiating the pricing structure."




Summarize the key points of your proposal, reiterate the benefits, and emphasize why your solution is the right choice. Encourage the reader to take action by providing clear next steps.

Remember, tailoring your business proposal to the recipient's needs, providing clear and compelling information, and showcasing the value of your solution are crucial elements of writing an effective business proposal.



Important Things to Remember


Before proceeding, it’s important to know the things to consider that you should and should not do while writing your business proposal.




Let’s begin with the important things to keep in mind. Here are some things you should consider when writing your business proposal:



Outline a Detailed Plan: Lay out a detailed plan of action that outlines the steps, timelines, and resources required to implement your proposal successfully. Break down the project into manageable phases and provide a clear roadmap for achieving the desired outcomes. Be realistic about the costs and potential challenges involved, and offer contingency plans if necessary.


Clearly Define the Problem and Solution: Clearly articulate the problem your proposal aims to solve and present your solution in a concise and compelling manner. Explain why your solution is unique, effective, and beneficial for the potential client or investor. Use data, case studies, and relevant examples to support your claims.


Emphasize the Benefits and Return on Investment (ROI): Clearly communicate the benefits and value that the potential client or investor can expect from your proposal. Quantify the potential return on investment (ROI) and emphasize the positive impact it will have on their business. Use data, projections, and concrete examples to demonstrate the financial or operational benefits of implementing your proposal.


Highlight Your Expertise and Credibility: Establish your credibility and showcase your expertise in the field related to your proposal. Highlight relevant qualifications, previous successful projects, and any unique advantages or certifications your team possesses. Including testimonials, client references, or industry awards can also bolster your credibility.




Now, for the things you should avoid. To ensure the effectiveness of your business proposal, it is important to steer clear of certain actions. Here are three crucial things to avoid when writing a business proposal:



Overcomplicate or Use Jargon: Avoid using complex language, technical jargon, or excessive industry-specific terms that may confuse or alienate your readers. Keep your proposal clear, concise, and accessible to a wide audience. Use simple and straightforward language to ensure that your message is easily understood.


Neglect Proofreading and Editing: Neglecting proofreading and editing undermines professionalism and credibility. Errors in grammar, spelling, and formatting create a negative impression. Thoroughly review your proposal or seek help from someone to catch any missed errors.


Lack Focus or Structure: Ensure a focused and structured business proposal. Avoid rambling or straying off-topic, which hampers clarity and weakens your argument. Maintain a logical flow, addressing relevant points and supporting your proposal. Utilize headings, subheadings, and bullet points for organization and emphasis.


Mastering the art of writing a business proposal is essential for success in the competitive business landscape. By following the guidelines as well as the do's and don'ts outlined in this article, you can significantly increase your chances of creating a compelling proposal that captures the attention of potential clients or investors.