7 Tips for Writing a Stellar Business Proposal


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7 Tips for Writing a Stellar Business Proposal

A business proposal is a document in which you lay out the proposition to go into business with someone else. You present this to executives — whether solicited or unsolicited — and highlight all the important points and benefits of them going into business with you. Based on your proposal, they’ll make the decision to take you on or not; so this is something you really want to nail. Here are a few tips for writing a stellar business proposal.

#1 – Hook Them With the Executive Summary

The executive summary is essentially the thesis statement of your business proposal. It sums up what you propose, the benefits of your proposed solution, and why you believe your business proposal is the right call. It is also the most important part of your business proposal, so much so that many decision makers will only read the executive summary and skim the rest.

That means you really want to hook those decision makers in your executive summary. Don’t waste time with flowery fluff. Get to the point and make each statement both powerful and clear. What is the problem, what do you propose, and how does your proposal make a difference? Do some research on the decision makers you’re proposing to, so you know the most effective ways to grab their attention.

#2 – Keep It Simple

As a general rule, the simpler your business proposal, the better. There’s no standardized page count for your business proposal, but keep in mind that the executives you’re making this proposal to are busy people. They don’t want to feel that their time has been wasted. They don’t care about your way with words or your favorite anecdotes. They do care about data, facts, and the bottom line of how this proposal will benefit them. Stick to these essentials and your proposal is likely to be much more effective.

#3 – Show Off Your Brand Voice

That doesn’t mean you have to be boring in your business proposal — in fact, a boring proposal is likely to find its way in the trash. Instead, focus on high quality information and take this time to show off your brand voice. Your brand voice is the personality and unique elements that make your brand your own. Consider your business proposal an introduction of your brand, and remember: first impressions are often the most important. So let that brand voice shine through and speak for itself.

#4 – Use Data To Lend Authority

Rather than making broad, sweeping statements about how your business proposal is the best business proposal the executives will see, prove it. Back your statements up with data and statistics. When you can show empirical evidence to the points you make in your business proposal, you’ll be much more persuasive. It will also show that you know what you’re talking about, and executives will be more likely to trust you as an authority.

#5 – Break Things Up With Visuals

Long blocks of text can be daunting to read. Consider breaking up your business proposal with visually pleasing charts, graphs, and infographics. These visuals will give the eyes a break, as well as provide an accessible way of showing the data that you present to the executives. It also gives your business proposal a more polished, professional look. This goes back to showing off your brand personality and making a first impression. No one needs you to go the Elle Woods route of scented paper and video proposals. But a few appropriate visuals will enhance your business proposal.

#6 – Include Testimonials and Customer Quotes

Don’t trust that executives will simply take your word for it. Everyone claims that their brand or business is the best, but you need to have something more substantial to actually win decision makers over. In addition to hard data, social proof is a great way to back up your claims of greatness. If your customers are satisfied with your work, and they talk about it, that’s going to make a statement. Include customer quotes and testimonials to back up your claims. Don’t go too in-depth, but a few quotes sprinkled throughout will really enhance your business proposal.

#7 – Conjure a Sense of Urgency

Don’t just tell the executives that your business proposal is good for them. Show them why this business proposal is the right call for their business right now. Make your proposal timely and hone in on that relevance. Convey a sense that if they don’t take you up on your business proposal, others will, and they’ll be missing out. You don’t want to do this by bragging or smug statements. Instead, paint a picture of the current market. Show them why this opportunity is so timely and urgent, and they’ll be more likely to jump at it.

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