As what the term implies, a business proposal is where the business is proposed. According to an article published on Wikipedia, “a business proposal is written offer from a seller to a prospective buyer. Business proposals are often a key step in the complex sales process —i.e., whenever a buyer considers more than the price in a purchase“. While a business proposal is one of essential business documents an entrepreneur should have, business people, especially newbie entrepreneurs, have found it challenging to write a good business proposal samples.
Business Proposal Format
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Keep in mind an effective business proposal can potentially make or break the success of your business because it is a powerful tool to introduce your business to prospective clients and at the same time, allure them into purchasing the product and/or services you are offering. What makes writing a business proposal even more difficult is that the burden of convincing prospective clients into buying from you lies on your ability to convey your sales message to your audience.
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In this article, we will discuss the different challenges that are often encountered and experienced by both newbie and seasoned entrepreneur or marketer.
7 Challenges You Need to Overcome When Writing a Good Business Proposal
Writing a business proposal is never an easy task. As mentioned earlier, a good and effective business proposal should have an alluring to prospective clients. Imagine presenting something that is sexy and at the same time is oozing with charisma that clients will have a hard time say no to your proposal. That is how every business proposal should be.
In real life, there will always be challenges that you need to overcome if you want to write an effective proposal. Since it can be considered as a marketing strategy, your business proposal should exude with wow factor, but to be able to overcome all the challenges to realize your marketing goals. Instead of just skipping the challenges, business experts recommend that every entrepreneur should face them because these challenges will eventually help in harnessing your business proposal writing skills.
1. Complying with the RFP Requirements
Before you begin writing your business proposal, it is extremely critical to read and understand carefully the content of the Request for Proposal (RFP), especially its requirements. For starters, cross-referencing the RFP can be a tricky process which needs a proper and accurate interpretation of data. As smart entrepreneur or marketer should thoroughly and carefully evaluate all the requirements found in various sections. If you want to successfully accomplish the RFP compliance, part of it requires understanding the terminology and keywords used by customers, and elaborating and understand the evaluation process.
2. Customizing the Business Proposal
It is important to understand that a business proposal is not a one-size-fits-all document. As an entrepreneur, it is your responsibility to know that every client has different needs and requirements. You cannot just copy and paste your old business proposal and submit it to clients. When you customize your business proposal according to the requirements set by the client, it should clearly state how you are able to address their problems and satisfy their needs.
3. Knowing What to Write About
Everybody knows how to write, but the problem is, not everyone knows what to write about, especially on a business proposal. If this is your first time, it is advisable to read some useful tips on how to write a business proposal to guide you through the process of writing. Once you have an idea on what should be included in your proposal, the process of writing will become smooth and straightforward.
4. Document Format Issue
Not following the appropriate business proposal format can be a fatal mistake that an entrepreneur or marketer can make. Although its content is well-researched and written, it can immediately lose its aesthetic appeal if it fails to match the proper formatting. Oftentimes, the RFP sent by the client to the bidders requires a specific answer format for particular questions. Let us take for example, some RFP would require the bidders to provide a graphical representation of your entire implementation team instead of just listing down their names on the document. If you failed to follow their instruction, you can potentially lose a large percentage of winning the bid. Additionally, you must pay extra attention of the wordings that you will use when writing proposals.
5. Shortage of Experts
If you are not confident with your business proposal writing skills, it is always a good idea to seek the help of a seasoned and professional writer who has a lot of experience writing proposals. Having an expert can effectively explain and convince a prospective client that you will be able to provide a methodology and solution to their problems. Keep in mind that writing a vague and jargon-filled business proposal would not help you push your sales strategies.
6. Meeting Deadlines
In the world of business, meeting deadlines are always a big deal. That is why when writing a proposal, it is not only important to gather brilliant ideas and solutions, but also make sure that you put them into writing as soon as they are finalized. Getting all the information on paper before the deadline can be a common challenge for most bidders. If you do not want to stress yourself over the deadline, make sure that you have figured out and understood all the information to write based on the customer’s perspective, or have an expert to do the job for you.
7. Passing the Review
Just like undergoing an examination, you will need to review your proposal before you finish them. If you want to have a proposal that will win you business contracts, make sure to focus your energy on winning before you start writing one. This will help you get motivated and it will be easier for you to figure out what bid strategies and offerings should be included in the document.
Key Components of a Winning Business Proposal
Now that you are familiar with the challenges, it is time to get to know all the important components that make a good and effective business proposal. Whether you are writing it yourself or not, your business proposal should focus on two purposes: to make the prospective client feel comfortable with you and your offerings and to understand the effectiveness of your solution. Make sure to incorporate these 4 essential components for a winning business proposal:
1. Show Clients that You Understand Their Needs
Your proposal should clearly show the prospective client that you have clearly understood not only the issues and challenges stated in the RFP, but also demonstrates the effects of not able to deliver the proper solution to their problems. That is why it is highly crucial to allocate enough time and effort to show them new and important reasons why these issues require an immediate solution.
2. Use Evidence on How You Have Solved Similar Issues
If you are looking for a surefire way to convince prospective clients that you will be able to solve their problem, you can use some evidence on how you were able to solve similar problems experienced by their company. If it is your first time to encounter such issues, make sure not to make any unsupported claims because the client will eventually find out and it will affect your company’s reputation. Always keep in mind that honestly helps build trust, and trust is an important factor in establishing a solid relationship with your clients.
3. Focus Less on Yourself and More on Your Competitors
One of the most important things you need to remember when writing a business proposal is to never talk too much about yourself. If you are looking to impress a client, make sure to use your customer’s remarks about you. A great way to do it is to demonstrate is how you customers describe your company as innovative, responsive, and trustworthy. By adding your customer’s voice can effectively make a huge and positive effect on the overall credibility of your bid proposal.
4. Proper Pricing
Although one of your purpose of writing a business proposal to the prospective client is to increase your revenue by convincing them that your company is the best entity to provide solution to their problems, it is highly crucial that you are able to give them a reasonable pricing to the value of the solution that you will provide to the client.
Sample Business Proposal Templates that You Can Download and Use as Reference
Simple InDesign Business Proposal Template
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Even if we know that a business proposal is tough to write, a clear and effective business proposal can bring so many benefits in your company. That is why it is very important to give full attention when gathering and presenting the information of your business plan and make sure that it is perfectly tailored to the needs of your clients. You may also want to check out our guide on how to write a business proposal for a loan.