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Blog Business

How to Write Winning Business Proposal: Examples & Free Templates (2024)

By Aditya Sheth , Jan 25, 2024

How to Write Winning Business Proposals

The great Mark Cuban once said, “Sales cure all.” If a business doesn’t sell, it doesn’t make money and by extension the business fails. That’s why you need to write business proposals .

A well-written business proposal can often mean the difference between winning or losing a prospective client.

In this in-depth guide to creating business proposals, we show you how to close more deals, make more sales and crush your business goals — all by using easy-to-edit professional business proposal templates .

Here’s what this guide will cover (click to jump ahead):

What is a business proposal.

  • How to write a business proposal step by step

What should you include in a business proposal?

What are the types of business proposals, more business proposal examples + writing and design tips.

  • FAQs about business proposals

Looking for a shortcut? Watch this quick video for an overview of everything to include in your business proposal:

An effective business proposal is a document used by a B2B or business-facing company (this may not always be the case, but most B2B SaaS companies do so) where a seller aims to persuade a prospective buyer into buying their goods or services.

A business proposal outlines what your business does and what you can do for your client . It can be general like this business proposal example:

general business proposal template

Or it can be more specific, like this business proposal template which focuses on proposing a project for the Newton Center Rail:

simple business proposal project proposal template

Or this business proposal sample, which presents a plan for a social media strategy and campaign:

social media marketing business proposal template

To design a business proposal that holds the client’s attention, identify their pain points . Then provide your buyer with the right solution to alleviate those frustrations.

How to write a business proposal step by step

Before you start creating your business proposal template, you need to understand the business proposal format. At a high level, your effective business proposal should include the following:

Table of contents

Executive summary, the problem statement, the proposed solution, qualifications, the timeline, pricing, billing, and legal, terms and conditions, the acceptance.

Below, you can see business proposal examples that demonstrate how to include these 10 sections.

Business proposal title

A compelling title could mean the difference between someone reading your proposal or ignoring it in favor of a competitor’s . 

What makes a good title page? Here are the essential elements to include: 

  • Your name along with your company’s name
  • The name of the prospect (or their business) 
  • The date you’re submitting the proposal

Gray Business Consulting Proposal Template Cover Page_Venngage

The gray business consulting proposal template above contains all the details a prospect would want to know. The title also offers a strong tangible benefit to the prospective buyer. Honestly, “Who doesn’t want to grow their business?”

The table of contents is a fundamental part of every winning business proposal template. It makes your proposal scannable and easy to read.

The people you will be pitching to are usually C-level executives. These are busy people who don’t have time to read your entire proposal in one go.

That’s why most of the business proposal examples in this list include a table of contents.

Adding a table of contents to your document makes it easy for them to go through it at their own pace. They can also skim through parts of the proposal that they deem more important. You can see how this abstract business proposal template uses the table of contents:

Creative Social Media Business Proposal Template Table of Contents

You can also make your business proposal template easier to navigate by adding hyperlinks to the document, particularly in the table of contents. This way your clients can jump to specific sections without having to scroll through the entire document. 

It’s easy to add hyperlinks in the Venngage editor. Select the text you’d like to turn into a link, then click the link icon in the top bar. From there, select the page you want to link to! Then download your completed design as an Interactive PDF .

Proposal-ToC-Example

The executive summary is a staple in all kinds of annual reports , leadership development plan , project plans and even marketing plans . It is a concise summary of the entire contents of your document. In other words, write a business proposal outline that is easy to glance over and that highlights your value proposition.

The goals of your executive summary are:

  • Introduce your company to your buyer
  • Provide an overview of your company goals
  • Showcase your company’s milestones, overall vision and future plans
  • Include any other relevant details

This gray business proposal example has a detailed yet short executive summary including some social proof in the form of clients they’ve worked with:

Gray Business Consulting Proposal Template About Us

Take note of how precise this business proposal example is. You want to keep your executive summary concise and clear from the get-go. This sets the right tone for the rest of your proposal. It also gives your buyer a reason to continue reading your proposal.

Pro Tip: Try to write an executive summary such that, even if your prospective client doesn’t read the entire proposal (with a good executive summary, they most likely will), they should have a clear idea about what your company does and how you can help them.

The point of writing a business proposal is to solve a buyer’s problem. Your goal is to outline the problem statement as clearly as possible. This develops a sense of urgency in your prospect. They will want to find a solution to the problem. And you have that solution.

 A well-defined problem statement does two things: 

  • It shows the prospect you have done your homework instead of sending a generic pitch
  • It creates an opportunity for you to point out a problem your prospect might not be aware they had in the first place. 

Texture Business Proposal Template

This bold business proposal template above clearly outlines the problem at hand and also offers a ray of hope i.e. how you can solve your prospect’s problem. This brings me to… 

The good stuff. In the proposed solution section, you show how you can alleviate your prospective buyer’s pain points. This can fit onto the problem statement section but if you have a comprehensive solution or prefer to elaborate on the details, a separate section is a good idea.

Spare no details regarding the solution you will provide. When you write a business proposal, explain how you plan to deliver the solution. Include an estimated timeline of when they can expect your solution and other relevant details.

For inspiration, look at how this business proposal template quickly and succinctly outlines the project plan, deliverables and metrics :

Sales Plan Proposal Table Template_Venngage

At this point, the prospect you’re pitching your solution to likes what they’re reading. But they may not trust you to deliver on your promises. Why is this?

It’s because they don’t know you. Your job is to convince them that you can fix their problem. This section is important because it acts as social proof. You can highlight what your company does best and how qualified your team is when you write a business proposal for a potential client.

business proposal qualifications section

This free business proposal template showcases the company’s accolades, client testimonials, relevant case studies, and industry awards. You can also include other forms of social proof to establish yourself as a credible business. This makes it that much more likely that they will say yes!

Pro Tip: Attaching in-depth case studies of your work is a great way to build trust with a potential client by showcasing how you’ve solved similar problems for other clients in the past. Our case study examples post can show you how to do just that.

To further demonstrate just how prepared you are, it’s important to outline the next steps you will take should your buyer decide to work with you.

Provide a timeline of how and when you will complete all your deliverables. You can do this by designing a  flow chart . Or add a  roadmap  with deadlines. Pitching a long-term project? A timeline infographic would be a better fit.

If you look at this abstract business proposal template below, even something as simple as a table can do the trick.

Abstract Business Consulting Proposal Template Timeline_Venngage

The timeline is not always set in stone, rather it’s an estimation. The goal is to clarify any questions your potential client might have about how you will deliver for the underlying B2B sales process.

On this page, you can outline your fees, payment schedule, invoice payment terms , as well as legal aspects involved in this deal. You can even use the  Excel Invoice Template  to create professional-looking invoices (including brand logo and other elements) and add them to this page.

The key to good pricing is to provide your buyer with options. A  pricing comparison table can help with this. You want to give your client some room to work with. Make sure you’re not scaring off your client with a high price, nor undervaluing yourself. 

Breaking up your pricing in stages is another great way to make sure your potential client knows what he’s paying for. Look at how this simple business proposal template does this:

Bold Business Proposal Template Pricing Page_Venngage

The legal aspects can slot right into the terms and conditions section. Alternatively, you can add them to the signature section of the proposal to keep things simple.

Summarize everything you have promised to deliver so far. Include what you expect from your prospective buyer in return.  Add the overall project timeline from start to end, as well as payment methods and payment schedule. This way, both of you will be clear on what is being agreed on.

This step is very important as it outlines all the legal aspects of the deal. That is why the terms and conditions section of your proposal needs to be as clear as possible.

Modern Business Proposal

I recommend consulting a lawyer or your legal team when working on this section of the business proposal. If you’re a business veteran and understand the legalities of your business, you can use the same terms and conditions across all your proposals.

The final step of this whole process. Your client has read your business proposal and they want to buy what you have to offer.

Add a small section at the end of your proposal to get the necessary signatures. This way, you and your client can sign the proposal and the partnership becomes official.

Be sure to also include your contact information in your business proposal template. It acts as a gentle prompt to your client to contact you in case they have any questions. A professional way of doig that would be to include an e-business card with your contact details, email i.d and any other social links you want to share. You can go through this article for the best digital business cards .

Orange-Simple-Project-Proposal-Template

A business proposal usually aims to answer the following questions: 

  • Who you are and what your company does
  • The problem your buyer is facing
  • The solution your company offers to alleviate the problem
  • How your company will implement this solution effectively
  • An estimate of resources (time, money, etc) required to implement the solution

You can see how this sample business proposal template covers the above points.

business project proposal template

Notice how this proposal template addresses the same project like in one of the previous templates, but uses a completely different design style (more retro, while the previous business proposal template is more modern and minimalistic).

Generally, there are three types of business proposals:

1. Formally solicited 

A formally solicited business proposal is made when you respond to an official request to write a business proposal.

In this scenario, you know all the requirements and have more (if not all) information about a prospective buyer. You simply need to write the business proposal for your buyer to evaluate so you can begin the sales process .

2. Informally solicited 

Informally solicited business proposals are written when there isn’t an official request for a proposal. A prospective buyer is interested in your services and asks for a proposal so they can evaluate it.

An informally solicited proposal requires a lot more research from your end. These types of proposals are usually created out of informal conversations. They are not based on official requests which often contain more detail.

3. Unsolicited 

Think of this as a marketing brochure or a cold email . Unsolicited business proposals will often take a generic, one-size-fits-all approach to business proposals. Unsolicited proposals lack any understanding of the buyer or their requirements.

But with additional  market research , personalization and identifying customer pain points , you can propose a customized solution based on your buyer’s needs. This can be a very persuasive approach, such as in this business proposal example:

corporate business proposal example

Now that you know how to write a business proposal, let’s look at how you can optimize your proposal to deliver results!

Below you’ll find some winning business proposal templates and examples to get you started. I’ve also included some design tips to keep in mind when you’re creating your next business proposal: 

1. Know your audience 

If you have some clarity on who your ideal buyer is — their pain points, their budget, deadlines, among other things — you’ve already won half the battle.

If you are a business that helps clients with everything from running giveaways or helping grow their blog , identify which customers to pitch. This is a sure-shot way to close the deal.

Mapping user personas  for your ideal buyer can help bring some clarity. It will also help you position your business proposal correctly. This improves the chance of your buyer moving your business proposal to the “Yes!” pile.

2. Put your brand front and center

If your company follows certain brand guidelines, incorporate them in your business proposal templates. Consider how business proposal examples like the one below highlight brand identity :

content marketing plan business proposal example

From the color palettes to the company logos , everything follows their brand guidelines. The result: a business proposal that’s consistent across the board.

Pro Tip: Switching this template to match your brand assets is actually pretty easy. Venngage’s My Brand Kit feature allows you to import your color palettes, logos as well as font choices. Any Venngage template can now be your template.

You can also consider this sample business proposal template:

Example of a Business Proposal

Design companies sure do know their design. They did a phenomenal job keeping their brand colors consistent while opting for a black design. This unique color scheme also makes their white logo prominent throughout the proposal.

3. Try less text, more visuals

Have you ever read a proposal and thought to yourself, “Wow, this is all text and has no images, I love it!”? Yeah, me neither.

The free business proposal template below is a perfect example of the “less is more” principle. It does a phenomenal job of communicating what it needs to. By substituting some of the text with icons and visuals, you get a clean business proposal that’s much more scannable.

Social Media Plan Proposal Template

Want to keep things strictly professional? Instead of icons, you can always add your team’s headshots. This shows your buyer exactly who they’ll be working with.  

Check out this formal business proposal format for some inspiration:

Red Human Resources Consulting Proposal Template Team

4. Switch up your business proposal designs

It doesn’t hurt to go above and beyond once in a while. Jazz up your business proposal template with some extra colors. This helps make your business proposal more engaging. It also helps your buyers retain information faster.

Simple Business Proposal Example

The business proposal example alternates between black, white and grey backgrounds. It still manages to maintain consistency in its branding . Just switching up your backgrounds once in a while can also bring in some variety to an otherwise standard business proposal.

This SEO business proposal sample proves that it’s possible to switch up the colors in every other page. But it still maintains the same color scheme across the entire proposal just like a professionally designed website : 

SEO Marketing Proposal

Pro Tip: Not a color expert? Our guide on picking colors can help you pick the right color scheme for your proposals.

FAQ about business proposals

What is the purpose of a business proposal.

A business proposal aims to streamline the B2B sales process (which is often complex ) between you as a seller and a buyer.

It does this by serving the dual purpose of acting as a source of information. The proposal also acts as a sales pitch aimed at convincing your buyer why they should buy what you have to offer.

What are the best practices for business proposal design?

  • Do a thorough spell-check. The goal of your business proposal is to convince your buyer why you’re the perfect person for the job. A proposal with typos or grammatical errors communicates the opposite. A thorough spell-check before you send your proposal is a must.
  • Keep things clear and readable: Clarity is an important aspect that you have to ensure in your business proposal. If you want your proposal to hit home and make an impact on the buyer, you have to write it in an understandable way. To keep things clear and readable, there are a couple of things that you can do. You can, for one, take care to use easy wording and segmented sentences from the get-go. You can also try paraphrasing the hard parts of your proposal once you are done writing it.
  • Let your brand shine. As discussed before, writing a business proposal is all about knowing your ideal buyer and focusing on their pain points. But that doesn’t mean your business proposal template has to be boring. Demonstrate how different you are compared to other companies. You can do this through your brand guidelines , by using more visuals, switching up your proposal design or showing off your personality in your writing . 
  • Create a business proposal PDF. Downloading your business proposal in PDF format allows you to attach other collaterals with your business proposal. These can include a company explainer video or case studies showcasing the work done with past clients. Also, who doesn’t love saving paper?

How long should your business proposal be? 

The length depends on the scope of the work as well as the complexity of the project. Here is a one-page business proposal template:

one page business proposal template

Can your business proposal template really be one page? Yes, as long as you understand who your buyer is and their pain points. You should also have the ability to communicate everything your ideal buyer needs to know about your business in a succinct manner.

Or if you’re feeling adventurous how about just two pages? Often, clients prefer if you go straight to the point and avoid all the fluff.

For example, this green modern marketing proposal template wastes no time in getting down to brass tacks:

Project Business Proposal

Need more inspiration? Check out this blog on the 5 marketing proposal examples that’ll help elevate your business.

There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to deciding how many pages you should include in your business proposal template. And at the end of the day, “the only rules are the ones you set for yourself”.

At the end of the day, writing winning business proposals that sell is all about you understanding your buyer, their potential pain points and positioning yourself as someone who can alleviate those pain points. 

Now that you know how to write compelling business proposals, what are you waiting for?

Take action and start creating your own business proposals to close more deals and grow your business today!

More business communications templates + writing tips you might be interested in…

  • 31 Consulting Proposal Templates to Close Deals
  • How to Write a Project Proposal [10+ Templates]
  • 20+ Professional Business Letterhead Templates + Branding Tips
  • How to Write a White Paper [Tips & Templates]
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  • Product updates
  • Document templates

How to write a business proposal (The modern way)

Yauhen Zaremba

Yauhen Zaremba Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc

  • Copy Link Link copied

Why should you learn how to write a business proposal?

It goes without saying that nothing speaks to a customer’s direct needs like a well-written proposal.

It is the key to unlocking new opportunities, securing lucrative deals, and watching your ideas flourish.

So, just how do you make sure that your proposal is engaging to every potential client?

We analyzed nearly 570,000 proposals sent in 2021 through the PandaDoc platform for insights on what works best and what doesn’t. This article is based on the results of this research.

Key takeaways

  • A business proposal outlines a product, service, or project a company offers potential clients or partners to convince them the business can meet their needs.
  • A well-crafted business proposal is essential as a business deal will often follow if successful. The components of a business proposal can vary based on industry, company size, and many other factors.
  • All business proposals should include three components: information about your company, demonstrated knowledge of the problem, and pricing and methodology.
  • Modern business proposals are sent electronically. Platforms like PandaDoc have tools to help you create a collaborative environment for negotiation, feedback, and electronic signature.
  • 65% of business proposals containing a signature block close within 24 hours. Don’t forget to follow up and ask your potential client if they have any questions.
  • A successful business proposal focuses on the client’s needs.

new ideas for business proposal

→DOWNLOAD NOW: FREE BUSINESS PROPOSAL TEMPLATE

What is a business proposal and why is it important?

In simple terms, a business proposal is a document that outlines a specific product, service, or project that a company offers to potential clients or partners, with the aim of persuading them that the business can meet their needs. A business deal follows if a proposal is successful. As they often present the benefits, features, and terms of a certain idea, business proposals are important in many industries for sales, marketing, project management, and other business endeavors.

Depending on the needs of the client and the industry that you occupy, the content included in a standard proposal will fluctuate.

For example, at PandaDoc, many of our business proposals are customized to fit the unique needs of enterprise-level organizations that are too big for our smaller plans.

If you were to compare our sales team to that of a construction company submitting a proposal to construct a building, the difference in requirements becomes clear. The proposal required for building construction is probably longer and may include far more business proposal topics than our sales representatives would include when closing a deal.

What should be included in a business proposal outline?

When thinking about how to create a business proposal, you should include everything you believe you need in order to sell your product or service.

This includes all of the basic headings and subheadings you’ll see in a traditional proposal, as well as any supplemental documentation to justify your costs and reinforce your proposed approach to solving the client’s problem.

In addition to basic information about your product, when planning how to write a business proposal you should also consider including the following:

  • Contact information
  • Value statements
  • Pricing tables
  • Client testimonials
  • Examples of past work (case studies)
  • Images, graphics, and related multimedia

If you’re sending your proposal electronically, you should also consider including an electronic signature block so that decisionmakers can quickly and easily seal the deal when they’re ready to proceed.

What types of business proposals are there?

All business proposals are essentially the same, but your submittal method may vary depending on the type of business proposal you need to send.

Solicited proposals are an example of a business proposal that a company has asked you to provide for their consideration. The potential customer has reached out to your business and requested a proposal. This usually falls into one of two categories:

Formally solicited proposals are typically competitive and follow a standardized (formal) process. The prospective client sends out an RFP detailing the scope of work and requests that your business formally submit a bid to complete that work.

Informally solicited proposals are typically created based on conversations between a prospective client and a vendor that they want to work with. There might not be any formal documentation, and there may be no competitive process. This work can often lead to a sole-source, non-competitive contract.

Unsolicited proposals are documents that your company sends to a prospective client who hasn’t asked for one. They are not submitted in response to an RFP or an information request. Such proposals are typically created based on a market opportunity — often one that the client is either unaware of or hasn’t yet acted upon.

What is the basic format of a business proposal?

The traditional format of a business proposal is as follows:

  • Cover letter
  • Table of contents
  • Executive summary
  • Proposal & solutions pages
  • Testimonials & social proof
  • Agreement & CTA

Based on our research into over 566,000 proposals created on PandaDoc platform, most business proposals are around nine pages in length.

To get a closer look at how to get started and bring your business proposal ideas to life using these steps, check out each section lower down in this article.

How to make a business proposal in 9 steps

Knowing how to write a business proposal is a bit like building a house. While there are certain elements that are always necessary — like the foundation — a house varies based on location and the architect or homeowner’s preferences.

In the same way, the components of a business proposal can vary based on industry, company size, and many other factors.

Just like writing anything else, a well-written proposal begins by gathering information and assessing the problems that your potential client is trying to solve.

When writing a business proposal, the following items are what readers are looking to glean from your proposal. Think of these as the roof, walls, and foundation of your document:

  • Information about your company. Your background, your qualifications, and why you’re a better fit than the rest of your competitors.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the problem. Proof that you’ve listened and done your research. You know what the client needs and you have a viable solution.
  • Pricing and methodology. How you plan to solve the client’s problem, information about your proposed solution, and how much it’s going to cost.

In the next section, we’ll take you through how to write a business proposal using our social media proposal template as an example.

If you’re not a social media company, don’t worry.

While the business proposal template we’re using is an example of a simple project proposal, the basic structure applies to nearly every business proposal — no matter how complex they might be.

You can download this business proposal example and business proposal templates on our website.

Here are the main elements of a business proposal.

Before you start making a business proposal, a quick note on length

Based on our analysis of proposals on our platform, we found that the average proposal length is about nine pages.

But, as several of our own account executives and sales team members were quick to point out, longer doesn’t always mean better.

“Short and sweet has a high conversion rate,” said Josh Gillespie, from Upmarket Sales . “Fewer pages and less fluff is better. Ideally, a proposal should be fewer than 10 pages for transactional proposals below $10,000, and never more than 50 pages.”

Artyom Voronetskiy, Account Executive with PandaDoc, agrees:

“Keep it short, on-point, and eye-catching. Do not write more than six to ten pages unless your product is extremely complicated.”

While you should make sure to include all relevant information that prospective clients will need in order to make a decision, take care to avoid overcrowding them with irrelevant details.

1. Create a cover page

This section of a business proposal includes basic information like your company’s name and contact information, your company logo, your client’s name, and contact information, the date, and a title.

new ideas for business proposal

A strong title page makes the project proposal look neat, organized, and well put together.

It’s also the very first thing that your prospective client will see when they open your proposal, and everyone knows how important that first impression can be.

Studies have shown that you have as little as 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression when designing visual content like websites.

The same holds true for the cover page of your business proposal.

Unlike the rest of your document, a cover page is a place where you can place graphics and visual content to set the tone before the reader dives into the meat of your proposal.

But don’t go overboard with complicated graphics and logos on this page. Users love simple and familiar designs , especially at a first glance.

This is also a great way for you to stand out. Based on our data, only about 13% of business proposals we see use cover pages . Take advantage of this missed opportunity and use it to stand out from your competitors.

2. Introduce yourself with a cover letter

You wouldn’t walk up to your potential client and dive into project specifics without introducing yourself, would you?

A cover letter is that introduction.

Include a one-liner about your company, short background information about how your business came to be, and a brief overview of what makes your company better than the rest.

Make it friendly and encourage your reader to reach out with any questions. Close it with a thank you and a signature.

new ideas for business proposal

Cover letters don’t have run on to the point of exhaustion. They can be simple, short, and sweet. In this example, the text is just over 100 words, but you could make it even easier to read by using bullet points.

Check this out:

Dear [Client.FirstName]

Thank you for considering [Sender.Company] for your social media marketing needs.

Enclosed, you’ll find a proposal based on our understanding of your social media expectations. Briefly, we propose:

  • An expanded social media strategy across currently unused platforms and channels
  • A comprehensive distribution strategy designed to generate original and unique content
  • Improved post automation for increased audience engagement during peak times

Our methods and procedures are based on extensive analysis, an intense study of social media trends, and the application of specifics unique to [Client.Company].

We are confident in delivering effective results within your social media channels.

Thanks again for considering us, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with questions.

My contact information is below.

Your cover letter can take on many forms, and you can use those formats to make your business proposal stand out from the crowd.

In our business proposal example, note that we’ve also used an image to keep things fun and interesting.

This is critical throughout your proposal. In our research, we found that a business proposal with media like photos and videos included is 34% more likely to close.

As you’re making your proposal, don’t be afraid to add graphics and images to keep readers engaged. A winning business proposal is more than just black text on a white page.

statistics on business proposal

3. Table of contents

Unless your business proposal is very brief, include a table of contents that outlines the basic structure of your document.

A table of contents is an important, but often overlooked, part of any longer document because it helps the reader know what they can expect to find in the proposal.

Most word processors generate a table of contents automatically using the headings in your document . As you’re writing a business proposal, take the time to set the formatting for your headings and then simply generate a table of contents from those headings.

A table of contents isn’t always necessary, but it can make a business proposal much easier to parse as your document is passed around to all appropriate parties.

Remember: Proposal documents may not be read chronologically. Different decision-makers will care about different things and will check your business proposal to see how it addresses their unique pain points.

Don’t lose a deal just because stakeholders couldn’t find what they were looking for!

4. Set the scene with an executive summary

Your executive summary sets the scene for the rest of your business proposal by providing a high-level overview that summarizes the contents of future pages.

If you provided a few of these details in your cover letter, this is your opportunity to go into greater detail and summarize your overall strategy.

Using our example of a business proposal, our potential clients are primarily realtors in the greater Chicago area looking to reach new clients through social media marketing, so your executive summary might read like this:

This proposal outlines a coordinated plan crafted with the intent of building John’s Real Estate social media presence, primarily including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, and Twitter.

By engaging an audience through social media channels, our team will demonstrate the ability to generate awareness, widen your company’s potential reach within your target market, and contribute to driving more website traffic, which will ultimately result in top-line growth.

We help realtors identify, target, and communicate with their ideal clients through each of the following:

  • Creating Engaging Social Content
  • Posting Company-Related Updates
  • Promotions & Social Campaigns
  • Integrating Social Media Activity into Other Marketing Plans
  • Monitoring

While our competitors work to serve multiple industries and target audiences, we specialize in the real estate industry. Our co-founder Tom Lancaster also has a background in both social media and real estate, giving him a unique perspective on the needs of the market.

Your own executive summary will shift depending on the duties you’re performing for the client, and what kind of industry they’re in.

Your tone might also change. If you’re targeting a young travel startup run by college graduates, you might use a more casual tone peppered with industry jargon and humor.

Jump Social Media Marketing offers full-service social media services for the real estate industry. Our team ensures area realtors are targeting their core market with an authentic message across the best channels possible.

Jump Social Media Marketing will work to identify, target and market to your ideal customer through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, and Twitter channels. Our team estimates we will grow your social media followers from your combined 214 followers to over 5,000 in the next six months and generate additional leads for your business.

We know that today’s realtors are also tasked with marketing homes and their own real estate firms. With a background in real estate and social media, Jump Social Media understands the unique needs of your industry.

While writing a business proposal, keep in mind that your executive summary isn’t designed to explain every detail or sell your entire RFP response by itself!

Don’t get lost describing deliverable logistics or strategic plans. Focus on the client’s needs and the outcomes they specifically wanted to address in their request for proposal.

Let your executive summary present a high-level overview and leave the other pages of the document to explain the details. This will prevent your summary from getting overcrowded or bogged down with specifics best handled elsewhere.

5. Proposal and solutions pages

The proposal section is a general overview of the custom-made solution your company has devised for your potential client.

This section gets into the specifics.

Anticipate their questions, and take them through the process so they know what they’re signing up for when they hire you.

Describe exactly what deliverables they can expect and when they can expect them.

A timetable that pairs deliverables with their expected date can make your document more visually appealing, and your information more digestible.

new ideas for business proposal

You might also break down your main objectives even further by describing how you plan to execute a given strategy.

In our example of a business proposal, we touched on six key goals during our executive summary. Let’s expand on those here.

1. Creating engaging social content

Beginning with quick and thorough planning/preparation, our team will plan out a dynamic, ongoing social content calendar to guide you to your goals.

We will grow an increasing social audience and follower base using each of the following techniques:

  • Hashtag campaigns
  • Strong use of keywords
  • Sharing/retweeting relevant news
  • “Liking” posts
  • Staying updated within the industry
  • Contributing our own unique content to broaden reach.

2. Posting company related updates

Our plan is to engage your social media audience by sharing company news, press releases, events, employee spotlights, and more.

We will also pay attention to industry trends, and share them. This will help to gain exposure to your target market.

3. Promotions and social campaigns

We will utilize social channels to connect with your follower base and engage them with promotions to get them excited about both current events and the brand itself.

These campaigns may be as short as a day or run up to six months. We’ll analyze the results from each campaign, and then we will provide a report of its success.

Results of campaigns can be compared so the most effective promotions, offers, or contests can be replicated.

4. Integrating social media activity into other marketing plans

With clear communication and monthly brainstorm meetings, we’ll be able to consolidate the marketing initiatives to fit your goals and promotional material.

Campaigns via social media are more important than just sharing about giveaways, sales, contests, and/or promotions. We will agree on a schedule for a series of posts to keep up the exciting momentum for all prospective customers.

5. Monitoring

It is important to regularly maintain marketing activity for maximum growth.

We will continually monitor each channel and will respond to any questions, comments, and posts within a two-hour time period. Two hours will allow us to confirm that accurate information is relayed back to the person asking.

6. Analytics

We will provide you with each of the following:

  • Daily and weekly analytics. Follower growth, reach, demographics, comments, “likes”, shares, retweets, and additional metrics as provided by each platform and our own internal tracking data.
  • Reporting. Summarizing various results and activities over each quarter.

We will also set up a monthly meeting to go over the results and then tweak our approach accordingly.

Your own content may look different than this depending on your business proposal writing skills and services, but you can still use the example as a framework. Add in more details as needed.

For example, a cybersecurity company would need to include information on penetration testing and how often it would be done to look for possible intrusions and hacks.

Breaking up this section

While writing business proposal content, keep in mind that this section is both the most important and the most flexible section of all.

Your entire proposal doesn’t need to be bundled into a single, long section. It can easily be broken down into smaller sections such as:

  • Strategic Assessment
  • Implementation
  • Goals & Outlook

There are other combinations you can try, depending on your business proposal and how your solution should be explained.

If you’re offering a complex solution to a client problem, breaking your proposal into bite-sized chunks is a great way to ensure that readers understand your solution.

The importance of good data

Leveraging good data is critical when creating an effective business proposal.

Use details surrounding impact and ROI around your products and services to prove your worth and add value to your proposal.

Consider these two phrases:

“Our customers love us!”

“To date, our products and methodologies have helped more than 700 companies increase their sales by 35%!”

Which sounds better? Which is more compelling? Numbers and figures catch the eye and help readers build trust. By demonstrating a proven record of success, with numbers and data, you’re adding tangible details that help to justify your costs.

This is especially useful when competing with other solicited proposals, especially if you can include these data points as visual representations (charts, graphs, etc.) of your success within your proposal document.

This is the section where clarity and specifics are key — and nearly every member of our sales team agreed.

Create a pricing table that clearly identifies each product or service, and pair it with the most accurate pricing information you can provide.

Jump Social Media Marketing operates on a monthly billing cycle. Here’s a layout of the pricing and services for John’s Real Estate.

new ideas for business proposal

While building the proposal, all you’d need to do is set the price for the item and the quantity of distribution.

If you were sending an hourly contract, the quantity becomes the estimated number of hours invested at a predetermined rate.

For recurring payment schedules, you’ll need to structure the document in a way that reflects your monthly workflow.

Transparency is critical in this section. Potential customers want to know how you’re charging them, what they’re being charged for, and over what period they should expect to pay.

Be sure to include all details in a clear and accurate way.

7. About us

While you already said hello with the cover letter, this section is where you get to explain what makes your company unique.

If you’re a small business or a new company, get personal and give your potential client a chance to get to know you and your team members. Include brief bios and photos of the people they’ll be working with.

If your company has a unique backstory, a mission, or a cause that your company stands for, share that with readers. For example:

Too often in social media , good things come at a price. At Jump, paying for followers or favorable reviews of products is tantamount to criminal activity.

Authenticity is important in today’s online world, and Jump Social Media Marketing makes this our No. 1 priority in your social media space.

The information included on this page doesn’t have to be a stodgy company boilerplate or a cleverly designed sales pitch.

As the old saying goes: People buy from people — so don’t be afraid to let your team’s personality shine through.

8. Testimonials and social proof

No sales proposal is complete without information about your past successes, awards, and jobs well done.

Often, this comes in the form of social proof, such as client testimonials and short case studies.

Why do you need this? Because social proof matters!

According to data, over half of customers are more likely to trust earned media, like recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.

By including recommendations from satisfied customers and industry awards that prove your expertise, you can earn additional trust from prospective clients.

Here’s a good example of how Jump Social Media Marketing might leverage the accolades they’ve received:

Jump Social Media Marketing has received major public recognition for our work.

We’ve been named as Chicago’s Best Social Media Agency for Small Businesses by the Chicago Tribune for the past three years and have been recognized as a recommended partner by the National Association of Realtors .

We also grew the Chicago Real Estate Solutions Facebook page from 0 to 5,000 in six months , secured 250 new leads in that time frame , with 25% converting to sales .

You can also provide testimonials from past clients who can speak to your approach and how it worked for them, like so:

new ideas for business proposal

Lively and humorous testimonials like these can add additional personality to your company while building trust and rapport with potential clients.

However, keep your industry in mind when compiling testimonials and do your best to find user feedback that fits the mood.

If your industry has serious clients, a humorous approach may not be appropriate. If you’re working with a 3D manufacturing company with B2B clients, the messaging and tone they take with their own clients — and what they expect from the businesses they work with — may follow different expectations.

Be sure to plan accordingly.

9. Agreement and CTA

Depending on your business proposal, you may include an agreement, a call to action, and terms and conditions at the end of your document.

Your signature below indicates acceptance of this social media marketing proposal and entrance into a contractual agreement with Jump Social Media Marketing beginning on the signature date below:

new ideas for business proposal

Depending on your goals and your sales process, you need to be very careful in this section. In many jurisdictions, proposals are considered legally binding contracts if they meet the criteria for a contract.

By adding legal language and/or an electronic signature request at the bottom of your document, you might be entering into a contract earlier than expected.

This may not be ideal if your proposal is only intended to provide a rough estimate of costs or bring the client into further negotiations.

If you don’t intend to create a legally binding contract from your proposal, be sure to note that in your document and prompt the reader to contact you to move the process forward.

On the other hand, well-built proposals can double as complete contracts with all the terms and conditions necessary to start work immediately.

If you’re confident in the scope of work and you’re ready to take on the additional work, let the client know by promoting them for a signature.

How does a business proposal look?

First things first: We’re well past the turn of the century. Nobody likes getting thick envelopes in the mail.

Modern business proposals are sent electronically, and this is more convenient for both you and your potential customers.

While it’s possible to email a proposal created with a word processor like Microsoft Word, platforms like PandaDoc are a better fit. Our tools help you create a collaborative environment for negotiation, feedback, and electronic signature .

Regardless of how you choose to send a business proposal, be sure to pay close attention to the look and feel of your document. Especially because your proposal may be your first impression with several key stakeholders, it’s essential that you follow expected formats and make a good impression.

If you search for business proposal examples online or take a look at our template library , you’ll find that most proposals rely on the structure described above to emphasize their value propositions.

Taking care to create a visually appealing business proposal will help you communicate your ideas more easily. It’s also something that your competitors are doing and something that many clients are beginning to expect.

In our research, we found that roughly 80% of proposals included an image and 20% included a video. We also saw higher close rates when these multimedia tools were used compared to when they weren’t.

Exactly how a business proposal is designed still has some flexibility, depending on your brand and what you’re trying to achieve, but keep in mind that it can have a big impact on success.

Business proposals with pages of blocky text are much harder to navigate than proposals with charts, graphs, images, and bullet points.

It’s important to spend time beautifying your proposal,” points out Jared from PandaDoc Sales .

“A proposal that are can draw the eye directly to relevant content and keep the reader engaged is a powerful tool when trying to close a deal.”

Rather than writing a 1000-word About Us section, consider including team member headshots and a brief bio.

Rather than adding highly technical language about operational processes and leaving stakeholders to figure it out, provide visual aids that summarize the information in a clear and easy fashion.

Clearly defining your milestones isn’t the only reason to pay careful attention to how your business proposal is written.

While there can be legal ramifications to poorly written proposal content, perhaps the most important consideration is the impression that your proposal leaves behind.

Your proposal introduces your client to the quality of work they can expect from your business. If it’s full of typos, spelling, and grammatical errors, or just seems sloppy, you’re unlikely to close the deal.

Read and re-read. Be sure to proofread every passage for errors before you send it to prospective clients or save it as a template.

You can also offset some of this tedium, especially on smaller deals, by focusing on creating a concise offering rather than a long-winded document.

A word about costs

When you’re creating proposals, it’s easy for costs to add up. Costs for customized professional business proposals can take hours of research, consultation, and preparation — all with no guarantee of success.

That’s why savvy companies do everything they can to lower the cost of proposal preparation. Typically this is done by generating a template for business proposals — an outline or skeleton that someone can fill out quickly to save time and expedites internal company processes.

It’s an effective way to keep overhead low. Based on our research, an average of 20 documents are generated from each template you create .

That’s a huge time saver for any business.

If these aren’t assets that you have on your staff, consider hiring that skillset onto your team or hiring a freelancer to assist with proofreading and correction.

While many clients will overlook a stray typo or a misplaced comma, too many errors will land your proposal in the discard pile.

When you’re creating business proposals, it’s easy for costs to add up. Costs for customized professional business proposals can take hours of research, consultation, and preparation — all with no guarantee of success.

After you hit ‘Send’ on your business proposal

Once you’ve sent your proposal, your next step will depend on the process. Based on our information, about 65% of business proposals containing a signature block close within 24 hours.

business proposal

However, your mileage may vary. RFPs tend to be competitive processes, so you may have to wait until the submission window closes before you hear a response.

Don’t forget to follow up and ask your potential client if they have any questions. Based on the business proposals we looked at, you are 30% more likely to close a deal if you send a series of reminders to keep your proposal top of mind.

how to close deals by 30%

PandaDoc and other proposal software tools can help you monitor your proposal using document analytics so that you know exactly when to reach out.

These tools let you know when your potential client viewed your proposal, how many times they opened it, and which sections they spent the most time on.

With these insights, you can anticipate their questions or objections and have your responses ready to go.

7 ideas to make your business proposal stand out

Just because you may have a perfect business proposal all ready to go, it doesn’t mean it will stand out from the crowd. Many startups fail due to competitors, so a unique proposal idea can make your readers sit up and take notice. Pizazz isn’t what matters here, rather any idea that adds value to your proposal and communicates quality. Here are a few ideas to put the spotlight on your business proposal:

  • Personalize your business proposal for each client: Ensure that your business proposal meets the exact challenges and interests of each recipient, as this will show you understand their specific needs.
  • Create a business proposal website: A professional business proposal website will always wow your potential clients. Not only will it showcase your company and highlight your industry expertise, but it will give your recipient simple access to relevant information and make your proposal interactive. This is a feature that will leave a lasting impression.
  • Add a VR or AR demo: If your business proposal includes a virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) demo, it will make for an immersive proposal experience as it adds interactivity to your proposal. Again, this idea offers a memorable experience with lasting impact.
  • Add sound to your proposal: A really clever way to make your message stay in the memory of your reader is to add music or sound to a business proposal. This could be a song or jingle, sound effects, or royalty-free music.
  • Try a direct mail element: Make your business proposal stand out among a sea of digital communication by going back to traditional methods and adding a personalized direct mail element. A handwritten note or small gift will make your business proposal memorable, highlighting your attention to detail and dedication to personalized communication.
  • Ask an influencer to present or vouch for your proposal: If you are already working with an influencer, their input can boost your proposal credibility. Show that respected figures in the industry support you, and this will add authority and appeal to your business proposal, upping your chances of success.
  • Hide a few Easter Eggs: A hidden message, cute animation, or a secret section are all little surprises add a touch of fun and intrigue to your busniess proposal. Easter eggs really encourage exploration and will encourage your readers to spend more time on your proposal. It won’t be one they’ll forget in a hurry!

Free business proposal templates and winning examples can make writing simple

Need to know how to write a business proposal but don’t know where to begin? PandaDoc can help with some great examples of business proposals.

In the proposals that we looked at, those created using our business proposal templates regularly created high-performing results for customers with minimal editing time.

Take a look at some of the metrics around the top professional business proposal templates currently in our template library .

Once you’ve fitted an existing business proposal template to your personal needs, you can save it as a fresh template in your content library for even faster reuse.

In doing so, you can slim the entire business proposal design process down from hours to minutes or spend more time refining your proposal for maximum appeal.

To see the true power of the PandaDoc editor, be sure to check out our community gallery for expertly designed templates from real PandaDoc customers.

If you’re a PandaDoc user, you can even swipe these business proposals and load them directly into your PandaDoc editor with a single click.

It’s just that easy.

new ideas for business proposal

Social Media Marketing Proposal Template

Used 13721 times

Legally reviewed by Yauhen Zaremba

A successful business proposal focuses on the client’s needs

Ultimately, your proposal should be focused on your client’s needs and how your business plans to fix them.

No matter how you choose to write a business proposal, never lose sight of that goal.

The RFP you receive will have most of the information you need to build a great proposal.

Take things step-by-step, and use the opportunity to show your client that your business is the right fit for the job.

But, why not sign up for a free 14-day trial with PandaDoc today?

PandDoc is not a law firm, or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. This page is not intended to and does not provide legal advice. Should you have legal questions on the validity of e-signatures or digital signatures and the enforceability thereof, please consult with an attorney or law firm. Use of PandaDocs services are governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Originally was published in October 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness in January 2024

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How to Write a Business Proposal — 2022 Guide and Template

new ideas for business proposal

A business proposal can make or break your chances of securing a new client. Write a great one, and you’ll likely snag their business.

Write a poor one, and you might lose out—even if you’re offering the best service out there. So, how do you write a business proposal? What is the proper format? What do you need to include?

While it all depends on your industry, and whether or not you’re offering a product or service, writing a business proposal is pretty straightforward. We’ll answer all those questions and more throughout the course of this guide. 

What to expect with this business proposal guide

Whether you’re starting fresh or need to look at a specific section, here’s what we’ll be covering in this guide. 

  • What a business proposal is
  • The differences between a business proposal and a business plan
  • The format of a business proposal
  • How long to make your business proposal

How to write a business proposal

You can download a free business proposal template here to start writing up your own proposal as you work through this article. By the end, you’ll be prepared to develop a well-written business proposal that can explain your business clearly and win more clients. Let’s get started.

What is a business proposal ?

A business proposal is a document you’d send to a prospective client, outlining the service you’re offering, and explaining why you’re the best person for the job. 

It’s a pitch by a business or individual to complete a specific job or project, to supply a service, or, in some instances, to be the vendor of a certain product.

What are the different types of business proposals?

A business proposal can be either solicited or unsolicited. With a solicited proposal, the prospective client will put out a request for proposals; with an unsolicited business proposal, you are approaching a client in hopes of attracting their business, even though they did not explicitly request a proposal.  

While both are commonplace, a solicited proposal is an easier sell, as your prospective client has already decided that they want to make a purchase or use a service, and they’re evaluating possible vendors or businesses.

With a solicited proposal, your prospective client might have issued an RFP, or “request for proposal.” This is exactly what it sounds like—they want you to send over a business proposal so they can take a look at it.

New Call-to-action

Differences between a business proposal and a business plan

A business proposal is not the same as a business plan . This is the most common misconception, but while there are areas of overlap (like your executive summary ) the two are different.

That being said, you can certainly pull information from your business plan while writing your business proposal—in fact, that’s a great way to start.

But don’t confuse the two; they are distinct and separate. In short, a business plan represents the cohesive strategy of how your business operates and makes money. A business proposal is an official pitch to clients selling your products or services. 

A business proposal outlines a particular product or service offered by an established business to a prospective client.

You’re trying to sell your prospective client on your product or service, not on your business itself. You’re not after funding, as you are with a business plan, you’re trying to make a sale.

A business proposal is also not an estimate; although you’ll likely touch on costs and pricing in your business proposal, an estimate is much more informal and just a quick look at the costs, not the whole picture.

What goes into a business proposal?

Your business proposal should address the three Ps:

  • Problem statement: What your customer’s current problem is
  • Proposed solution: How your business solves that problem better than other solutions
  • Pricing: How much that solution costs compared to alternatives

If you’re stuck on how to start, maybe try brainstorming first; start with these three points, and you’ll have a rough, bare-bones version of your business proposal.

Once you’ve done that if you’re ready to go more in-depth, here is a step-by-step look at how to format your business proposal.

Your business proposal should start with a title page, which should include your name, the name of your company, the name of the person to whom you’re submitting your proposal, and the date submitted.

Table of contents

Depending on how long your business proposal is, a table of contents is a nice touch. Include it after your title page, and before you launch into any details. If you’re delivering it as a PDF, including anchor links down to each section, so it’s easy to get to specific areas. 

Executive summary

Introduce your proposal with a great executive summary, one that really sells your business and the products or services you provide—it’s about why you’re the right company for the job. You can draw from your business plan’s executive summary here, too.

Statement of problem, issue, or job at hand

Following your executive summary, go on to discuss the problem that the client is currently facing. Think of “problem” or “issue” loosely; after all, their main problem may just be finding the right person to complete their project. But be sure you understand why they want the product or service they’re seeking. If the proposal is for developing a brand new website, make sure you understand what they want to get out of the site—better sales, more content management flexibility. 

This is the place to show your new client that you understand their needs , and fully grasp the issue they are trying to solve. Take this opportunity to restate the issue they are facing in your own words so that they know you understand what they are looking for.

Approach and methodology

This section shows how you plan to tackle your potential client’s problem, and the steps you’ll take to carry out your plan.

This is where you’ll get into the nitty-gritty of how you actually plan to fulfill your client’s needs. While earlier sections might have been a bit surface-level, this section of the business proposal is where you’ll go into detail about what steps you’ll take to solve their problem.

Be careful of going into too much detail, though—keep the jargon to a minimum. Your client should be able to follow along and get a clear sense of your plan, but you don’t want to drown them in minutiae.

Qualifications

Go ahead, brag a little—this is the section of your business proposal where you get to convince your potential client why you are the most qualified person to take on the job.

You can mention any relevant education, industry-specific training, or certifications you have, your past successful projects of a similar nature, years of experience, and so on.

Schedule and benchmarks

Be clear with your potential client: How long will your proposed project take?

Making sure you and your prospective client are on the same page from the outset will help make sure that the relationship stays positive for both of you, and that you don’t set your client up with unrealistic expectations.

While you might be tempted to underestimate how long it will take you to complete the project, don’t. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver!

If you’re offering a product, this section might not be applicable to you, so feel free to omit it. The business proposal format is flexible, so tailor it to suit your business and industry.

Cost, payment, and any legal matters

Here is where you get down to brass tacks and state the cost, and payment schedule if necessary.

How you structure this section will largely depend on the particular project or service you are offering. A section entitled “Fee Summary” may be sufficient if one-time payment is required; otherwise, a “Fee Schedule” list or pricing table might be more appropriate. Always refer back to the client’s RFP whenever possible, to make sure you’re supplying them with all the information they need to help make their decision.

If there are any legal issues to attend to, such as permits or licensing, include this information here. Feel free to add a section entirely devoted to handling the legal side of the project if need be.

This is your final sell—don’t be afraid to detail for your prospective client all they have to gain by choosing you to complete the project.

Impress upon your clients why you are the best choice, and all the ways in which their business will benefit from choosing you and your business as their solution.

How long should a business proposal be?

When it comes to the format of a business proposal, this is the million-dollar question without an answer. Remember in school, when you’d ask your teacher how long an essay should be, and they’d reply, “as long as it takes to answer the question.”

The same applies to your business proposal. It ultimately depends on your industry, the scope of the project, and the client’s specifications in terms of detail and elements included.

Make your pitch stand out with SBA-approved business plans. All the info investors and lenders need to evaluate your business. Get LivePlan.

That being said, the tighter your initial proposal can be and the more directly you can make your point, the easier it will be to pitch it to clients. Start by following the business proposal format above as a guide, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a winning business proposal—and securing new clients.

Editor’s note: This article was originally written in 2018 and updated for 2021.

AvatarBriana Morgaine

Briana Morgaine

BrianaMorgaine

Briana is a content and digital marketing specialist, editor, and writer. She enjoys discussing business, marketing, and social media, and is a big fan of the Oxford comma. Bri is a resident of Portland, Oregon, and she can be found, infrequently, on Twitter.

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How to Write a Business Proposal [Steps, Tips, & Templates]

You need to send a business proposal, and you want it to close. But how can you improve your chances?

Every year, we analyze the proposals sent with our software to discover what makes closing more likely. We used this research to craft this very guide .

To help you write better business proposals, we’ve curated the essential proposal format, a step-by-step process, plenty of templates to help you get started, and strategies for following up.

From images to esignatures, keep reading for data-backed insights into the most successful proposals.

Graphic showing a high quality business proposal

What’s in this guide:

What is a business proposal?

Basic proposal format, what to prepare before writing a business proposal, how to write a business proposal in 7 steps, 8 business proposal templates, 5 ideas to take your business proposal to the next level, what to do after you send a business proposal, using analytics for business proposal insights.

A business proposal is sent by a salesperson or account manager to a prospective client in order to pitch a product or service. A great proposal should include an executive summary or cover letter, details on the project timelines and deliverables, what makes the company the right choice for the job, and pricing and payment details.

Business proposals are typically sent from one business to another for all sorts of different services, such as enterprise software subscriptions, interior design, accounting, marketing, event catering, etc.

The purpose of a business proposal is to:

Sell your product or service with details, client results, testimonials, etc.

Clarify what is and isn’t included in the proposal to accurately manage expectations

Layout terms and conditions to protect both parties

Lock in the deal right away with esignatures built into the proposal

Large corporations and government agencies will typically send out a request for proposal to competing companies and then choose the best (or cheapest) one.

A business proposal is very different from a business plan, because it is typically written to clarify a paid engagement between two companies. This might be a short project or a long contract. A business plan, on the other hand, is typically an internal document crafted to chart a businesses path forward towards goals, such as market expansion, revenue growth, new product lines, etc.

Types of business proposals

There are many different types of business proposals. They are typically broken down by industry.

Here are some common types of business proposals, by industry :

Real estate and construction

Professional services

Proposals can also be categorized based on the type of offering :

One-off projects

Recurring subscription

Ongoing service

Package options

Later on in this guide, we include a variety of proposal templates. Depending on what you selling, you might find it easier to begin with a template designed for your industry or for the type of offer you’re selling (such as a one-off project). So be sure to peruse through the previews of each proposal so that you can see which template will save you the most time.

Business proposal example

An excellent business proposal addresses the client’s pain points and showcases the proposed solution.

Here’s an example business proposal to inspire you. The accounting proposal kicks things off with an attractive cover page.

new ideas for business proposal

All in all, it includes the cover page, an executive summary letter, an about us section, team photos and bios, a project summary, a breakdown of the proposed services, a pricing section, onboarding steps, and a contract with esignatures.

The services breakdown offers a great example of how to categorize your services and provide hourly estimates.

new ideas for business proposal

After researching over 1 million proposals, we found that winning proposals are most likely to include all of the following.

Here’s the idea proposal structure :

1. Cover page

The cover page, also called a title page, should be kept simple. It prominently features a photograph or graphic design that is on-brand, you can use graphic design templates as a starting point. It also usually includes the project name, or the client name, as well as your company name. Some companies might include contact information on the cover page, while others will save that for a separate page.

Check out this cover page , which is bright, bold, and on-brand.

new ideas for business proposal

2. Executive summary

The executive summary is essentially your pitch.

It’s your shot at capturing the client’s attention and showing them that you have an approach that will exceed their expectations.

It’s typically written in paragraph form (1 to 3 paragraphs) but can also include a bulleted list for a more skimmable style.

Make sure that your executive summary includes:

A quick description of the client’s problem or starting point

How your company will serve the client and why you’re suggesting this unique approach

Why your company is the best choice (average results, unique selling propositions, differentiators, awards, etc.)

This content marketing proposal offers an excellent example of an executive summary. Though in this proposal, the section is instead titled “Focus and Objectives.” What makes it great is that it’s on brand, goal-oriented, personable, and skimmable.

new ideas for business proposal

3. Approach or solution

In this section, you write about your process and why you approach things the way you do. For example, a Facebook marketing agency might say that they believe that creative work is essential to advertising success, and that’s why they devote 90% of their time to developing videos, images, and copy.

Some companies will craft a custom approach section for each client, while others will re-use the section again and again. It all comes down to the number of services you offer and how much or how little you customize your work.

In corporate training, it’s essential to clarify your approach so the client knows why your system will be effective. In this training template example , their process shows the essential steps in their proprietary approach.

new ideas for business proposal

4. About the company

This is your chance to brag. In your company bio, be sure to mention all of the important things that set your company apart. That might include your management style, the talent you have on your team, your average client retention rate or contract length, and any accolades.

With their location, awards, and team structure, this About Us page is an excellent example of how to sell yourself with authority.

new ideas for business proposal

5. Deliverables

Use the deliverables section to summarize exactly what the client will receive from the engagement.

A TikTok ads management firm might include 15 ad creatives per month in their deliverables, for example. While an accounting firm might list the reports that will be sent weekly or monthly, along with the bookkeeping service.

In a construction project, on the other hand, the company might showcase the different milestones that the project will hit, and when these milestones are expected to be completed.

In this proposal , the Deliverables section is titled “Scope of Services,” and it includes a list of all of the services that the prospective client will receive. Deliverables are mentioned within the scope, including a logo, brand colors, business cards, and brand guidelines.

new ideas for business proposal

6. Social proof or work samples

No matter what you sell, prospective clients will want to know that you have the right experience for the job.

Social proof can come in the form of written testimonials and case studies, video testimonials and case studies, portfolio photographs, G2 and Capterra badges, and rating averages from Google, Trustpilot, or other review sites.

For an architecture firm, construction company, or website designer, work examples can prove more powerful than testimonials. Prospects want to see what you can do. This architecture proposal showcases the company’s work on a rehabilitation project.

new ideas for business proposal

The pricing section is of course the one that your clients will read again and again and deliberate over. That’s why it’s so important to make it clear, simple, and well-formatted.

Tables are a great way to showcase what’s included in the total project cost or to provide package options.

Similar to interior design and construction services, event planning typically includes both hourly costs and hard costs (for products and venues). Here’s an example of an event management proposal that includes a breakdown of the hourly work and the hard costs.

new ideas for business proposal

8. Terms and conditions

When you use modern proposal software , you can build a contract right into your proposal, eliminating the need for separate contract software.

Your proposal should include legal jargon that can protect both you and your client. You might have a statement of work and a master service agreement or terms and conditions.

In this website design proposal , there are 6 pages in total for the contract section. The potential client can easily click around to view all of these pages and share the proposal with their legal team if needed.

new ideas for business proposal

For proposals that are longer than 8 pages, it’s wise to include a table of contents. If you use Proposify as your proposal software, then every proposal will automatically have the table of contents on the left-hand side, making it easier for the potential client to click around and review important sections multiple times.

A lot goes into writing a proposal. Before you can get to the writing part, you need to prepare.

This means talking with the client to figure out their needs, using your experience to pitch the best project, and talking with colleagues who will be involved in the project to see if they agree on the services you plan to propose.

You might also need to talk with your legal department and ask them for a contract template that you can include at the end of the proposal so that when the client signs off, it's legally binding.

Everything you need to prepare to write a business proposal:

An understanding of the client's needs

Your determination of the best approach

Details that will get the client to say yes

Agreement with internal colleagues

The pricing options you want to offer

Knowledge of who needs to sign off

Legal contract language or templates

To be a good writer , you must be concise, specific, and detailed. It really is that simple. The more examples and details you provide, the better.

That said, it does help to follow a process so that you can be sure you’re providing everything that the decision-makers expect and more.

Here are the 7 essential steps for writing a business proposal:

Step 1. Determine the client’s needs

The first step is to figure out what your client needs.

As mentioned in our section on preparation above, you’ll need to speak with your client. If this is a new client, it might take two to five sales calls to collect all of the information you need. For an existing client, you can probably figure out what to include in their renewal proposal with just one call.

But of course, asking your client what they need isn’t enough. You need to use your expertise to choose the best solution for them, even if it’s not what they want or expect.

Step 2. Kick off your proposal with a template

Once you’ve done your due diligence, the next step is to choose a proposal template so you’ll save time on both writing and designing.

You can use a template that matches your specific business or click around to find one with all the sections and a design style you like. Even if it’s not created for your specific industry, it’ll be easy to update the content to match your service or product.

Check out our full library of proposal templates.

new ideas for business proposal

Step 3. Write the evergreen messaging about your company

It’s always smart to tackle writing section by section. This way, you don’t get overwhelmed.

We recommend starting with the sections that are relevant to your business and that can be reused again and again. Your value propositions should guide the content.

Tackle these sections:

The cover page

The approach section

The about us page and team bios

The social proof or portfolio pieces

By starting off with what makes your company special, you’ll break the ice during your writing process and also create your own custom template that you can use for further proposal writing.

new ideas for business proposal

Step 4. Craft the meat of the proposal (executive summary, approach, deliverables, etc.)

By now, you should have chosen a template and written your core company messaging.

Now it’s time to write the meat of the proposal.

In this step, you’ll be catering your proposal to the new client. A startup will require a different proposal than a small business, and the same goes for an enterprise.

Here are some of the things you might need to write:

The unique methodology or approach you’ll offer this client (if it changes per client)

The problem statement or executive summary

The client’s goals

The scope of work

The project process and timelines

The deliverables

new ideas for business proposal

You can fill in your template’s sections and take a peek at other templates to get inspiration and see if there are any additional sections or details you should add.

Step 5. Add in the project total or pricing options

Next, you should calculate your fees.

Depending on your business, you might add up flat rates, product costs, or hourly estimates to come up with a fixed project total. Or, you might present a price range that the project will likely fall between (making it clear that additional hourly costs could arise. Or perhaps, you’ll offer a pricing table with different options to choose from.

new ideas for business proposal

Step 6. Add legal terms and conditions and esignatures

When you use proposal software (instead of just a PDF or Google slides), you can add a contract directly to your proposal.

If you already have approved contract language from your legal department, you can simply add it to the contract section of your proposal in Proposify. If not, you’ll need to chat with your legal team or business lawyer to ensure you’re adding all the right stipulations.

Proposals with esignatures close 35% faster and are 426% more likely to be accepted. So be sure to assign an esignature both to yourself and your client.

new ideas for business proposal

Step 7. Finalize the design and review all of the content before sending

Now it’s time to review and finalize your proposal. Check for errors, places in the template you forgot to fill out, and wording that can be improved.

Make sure the graphic design is on point too. Switch out the template with your own brand colors and fonts. You can have a designer on your team handle this, or handle style customization yourself (with no design experience necessary).

The best way to write a business proposal? With a template of course.

We’ve rounded up 10 of the best templates for different types of businesses. And for each, we show you the proposal sections included to help you pick the right one for you.

Keep in mind that with any of these proposals, you can add and remove sections and also customize any page with text, headlines, images, videos, fee tables, and more.

1. Business consulting proposal template

new ideas for business proposal

This consulting proposal template can be used by any type of consulting firm.

Proposal sections :

Project Summary

Project Activities

Your Investment

2. Advertising Proposal Template

With this advertising proposal template, you can showcase your digital or traditional advertising services. The template includes TV, web, radio, and magazine, but you can update it to reflect your pitch.

Cover Letter

Who Are We?

Testimonials

Your Advertising Media Mix

3. Branding Proposal Template

Perfect for branding consultants, logo designers, and messaging strategists, this branding proposal template includes the project scope and timeline to help you clarify your process to potential clients.

Overview & Goals

Scope of Services

Sample Case Study

4. Commercial Lease Proposal Template

This commercial lease proposal template can be used for leasing office buildings, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and event spaces.

Our Process

Meet Our Team

Terms and Conditions

5. Construction Bid Template

Use this construction bid template for new construction projects or renovations. It includes a detailed cost estimate table and a required deposit.

Cost Estimate

6. Catering Proposal Template

This catering proposal template is perfect for corporate projects but can work for weddings or personal events as well. You can use it for conferences, luncheons, retreats, or any other type of event.

Introduction

Event Details

7. Corporate Photography Proposal Template

With a beautifully designed portfolio section and a very detailed pricing table and print options, this is the perfect template for corporate photography . It also includes tips for success, so clients know how to make the most of their photoshoot time.

What We Offer

Photography Packages

Tips for Success

8. Financial Services Proposal Template

You can use this financial services proposal template to pitch financial services like risk management, budgeting, and investment management.

Services and Fees

Looking to kick up your proposals a notch?

Try one of these smart ideas:

1. Make your pricing dynamic

Dynamic pricing means that clients can choose what they want and that will automatically change the project total that they sign off on.

Proposals with options and add-ons have a 35.8% higher closing rate . Try giving package options and including add-ons such as ancillary services or maintenance work.

new ideas for business proposal

2. Create graphic designs for timelines and processes

Winning business proposals often include informative visuals to help clients understand your process at a glance.

You could create a graphic for project phases, milestones, or big deliverables.

new ideas for business proposal

3. Get creative with your social proof

Client testimonials are an easy starting point when it comes to social proof.

But can you do better? Can you get more creative and stand out from other consulting firms?

Here are some ways to improve your social proof game:

Include visuals for your average ratings (for example 4 and a half stars filled in).

Add any badges or graphics available from review sites like G2 and Trustpilot.

Film professional case study videos and embed them in your proposal.

Create a screenshare video where you talk through your digital portfolio samples.

Include an informal video testimonial from your client.

Add a video showing your team at work (ie, on the job site, running a workshop, speaking, etc.)

Write mini case studies with before and after transformations, result data, etc.

4. Have an “excludes” section

Is there something that is definitely not included in your proposal? Do clients often assume it’s included or do they get confused?

If so, try adding a section that describes everything that isn’t included in the proposal. You could mention that you don’t offer these services, or state that they’re available at an additional fee (if you want to upsell them).

new ideas for business proposal

5. Include videos for introductions or complex concepts

When you add a video to your proposal, you increase its chances of closing by 41% .

Here are some video ideas to try:

Informal intros filmed with Loom

Professional videos of your team at work

Case study videos

Quick descriptions of complex deliverables, methodologies, etc.

new ideas for business proposal

You sent the proposal. Now what?

Here’s what to do next.

Sign it yourself

Make sure you sign the proposal right away (before your client opens it). This offers a more professional presentation and makes it more likely that your new client will add their signature too.

new ideas for business proposal

Be prepared to follow up

Project proposals don’t always close all by themselves. As any good salesperson knows, follow-up is essential.

With Proposify, you can set up automated reminders. When we analyzed over 1 million proposals sent with our software, we found that proposals with pre-scheduled reminders have a 35% higher closing rate than those without.

Make adjustments to the proposal to close the deal

It’s okay to make changes. In fact, proposals that get revised are actually more likely to close than ones that don’t. When a client asks for revisions, it means they’re interested.

new ideas for business proposal

You might need to adjust your proposal document for its scope, deliverables, timeframe, or payment schedules.

Save different proposal templates

After you’ve created one proposal, you should save it as a template and give it a name. You might also want to duplicate it and adjust it to create a new proposal template. For example, if you offer SEO services , you might want to have one proposal for an SEO audit and another one for your monthly SEO retainer.

Create email templates

You can also create and store email templates that will save you time in the long run.

Try creating different templates for sending, reminders, and thank yous. If you offer different types of services, you can craft a unique sending template for each one.

new ideas for business proposal

Get feedback from clients on both won and lost proposals

One of the best ways to improve is to take feedback. Whether you win or lose the proposal, find out why.

Here are some tips on how to do this:

Won - When you win a proposal, you might ask the client why they decided to move forward with you on their first strategy call. Or, have their account manager ask the same question and pass the info to you.

Lost - If a client doesn’t sign the proposal after 3 weeks, you can send a quick email with something like, “Just looking for some feedback. Can you let me know why you decided not to move forward? Thanks.”

In today’s digital world, a business proposal should be more than a formal document.

When you use the right tool to create and send your proposal, you should be able to gather important insights and trends.

Viewing metrics for a specific client

With Proposify, you can see the activity for every proposal. Know when clients are opening and viewing proposals so you can follow up in a way that matches their activity.

new ideas for business proposal

Average viewing metrics

Proposify also offers average viewing metrics that help you benchmark your views:

Total viewed

Average time to view

Average length of viewing

Average views per proposal

This is great for gauging how a new client compares with past activity.

new ideas for business proposal

Average closing metrics

You can also check your average closing rate and track it over time.

Check these closing metrics:

Closing rate

Try setting goals for improving your closing rate and then check your progress each month.

Insights by proposal type

Segment viewing and closing metrics by workspace, client name, or stream. A stream is a custom category that you can use for different service types, client industries, etc.

Growth trends

And lastly, you can check your growth trends to find out how much you’re earning in new contracts and existing contracts. This is great for seeing your past revenue growth and for forecasting.

Trends include:

New won proposals (chart)

Active income (chart)

new ideas for business proposal

Start with a solid understanding of your client’s goals and needs. Use a template to save time creating messaging and tables that will seal the deal. Then, try advanced techniques like dynamic pricing and videos to improve your closing rates even further.

Sign up for Proposify free for 14 days or get started with one of our templates .

How to Create a Winning Business Proposal

How to Create a Business Proposal That Closes Deals

June 28, 2022

How to Create a Winning Proposal Structure (What The Research Says)

Winning Proposal Structure Tips (What The Research Says)

June 21, 2022

10 Game Changing Business Proposal Ideas from Creative Business Owners

new ideas for business proposal

We've collected ten of the most creative business proposal ideas from some of the best companies around.

T hese ideas will work no matter the types of business you're in. Use them to inspire you and improve your business proposals.

Whether you're a small business , a new business or running a big and successful team, a little bit of inspiration could go a long way.

Let's take a look at our favourite business proposal ideas that can help you improve your business plan.

The comparison checklist from Tony Isgrove

If there’s one industry you wouldn’t think would be at the forefront of proposal design and innovation, it’s probably the Painting and Decorating industry.

However, they understand the importance of visuals and creative expression. It's safe to say that their business proposals are beautiful and easy to get through.

Tony Isgrove and his team came up with something absolutely genius.

As part of his business proposal idea, he includes a helpful checklist so you can easily compare his painting service to that of anyone else. This is how it looked:

Tony isgrove business proposal checklist

Nothing revolutionary you might think, but this is where he’s so clever. He’s setting the frame.

Now not only is he plugging all the things they do, accreditations they’ve won etc but even if another painter ticks every single box, he would still only be just as good as Tony’s firm.

Absolutely masterful frame control there.

When you include something like this in your business proposal, it elevates your services to a new level.

Not only are you showing your professionalism and authority amongst the competition, but also that you have a great business plan. Make your small business stand out with this genius tip.

“Let's do this, mate” from Sampath

A simple thing with a deep psychological impact. Sampath, a growth consultant changed an otherwise normal piece of copy on the cover of his business proposal and created an awesome moment.

signup for a betterproposals trial account

On covers of documents created with Better Proposals , you can edit the copy of the button from “Read Proposal” to anything you like.

business proposal cover ideas

Usually, people just write things like “Open Proposal”, “View Quote” or “Start Reading”. A skilled content or essay writing service provider can help you to write better call-to-action lines.

Not Sampath.

He builds a fantastic relationship with his clients so this doesn’t seem weird and of course, in the wrong situation, this is terrible advice so tread with caution, but he changed his button name to “Let’s do this, mate”.

It creates a cool “Yeahhhhhhh!” moment and they are few and far between in proposals. Consider what you call the button on your proposal covers.

business proposal personalized cta ideas

We urge you to customize your proposals, from the content, down to the call to action.

Our free proposal templates are a great starting point, but you need to show your client that they're not just a number.

Make sure to use their words when describing the problem at hand. It will show them that you listened. The focus of the proposal should be on the client.

Your business idea is only interesting to them if you show the benefits their company can expect. Whether it's as simple as - more money or an easier way of attracting investors, or getting involved in the local market, make sure to outline it.

Don't be afraid to get creative with your business proposal. Do a little social media stalking to find out what your potential clients love and work in into the proposal.

Testimonial on the page with the quote on it from Jigawatt

Jigowatt are a digital agency in the UK that does something that can only be described as sheer brilliance. They aren’t a cheap design agency and their pricing reflects that.

What they do to “soften the blow” to people who might be expecting a lower price is add a testimonial which conveniently touts the ROI of Jigowatt’s services.

Absolute magic. It’s so good that we have completely stolen this business proposal idea for our proposal templates. Here’s how it looks: #SorryNotSorry

testimonial above quote idea

All of our free proposal templates come with a pre-designed pricing section. That means that all you have to do is find the best way to price your services. Here's a handy guide for that.

It's helpful no matter the type of business you have, whether you freelance, are looking to start a business, run a small business or something else.

Personalised video introduction from Kevin at Blinkered

Kevin at Blinkered does something brilliant with his proposals. He’s a digital strategist based near Glasgow, Scotland.

He’s committed to making each of his proposals as personal as he can so he records a personalised introduction video for each and every client and embeds the video on the executive summary page of his proposal.

Not only does this scream “I want the job” but it shows how ‘on the ball’ he is when it comes to winning new business. I wish more people adopted this approach.

What’s even better is he doesn’t use an iPhone in selfie mode. That wouldn’t be his style.

He gets his entire professional camera gear out in a mini-studio he’s created for himself and shoots it like a high-budget movie. This is all about using your strengths to your advantage.

He has awesome camera gear, and video editing tools, speaks amazingly well and has a studio.  He is as professional as he can be and that makes the entire business proposal document elevated, which is why this is such a good idea.

new ideas for business proposal

Personalising the cover from Tim

Tim Coe is a marketer and brand strategist from Lymington in Hampshire.

He’s the author of the book ‘Your Utterly Seductive Proposal’ and has been featured on Grant Cardone’s TV show, has done business with a who’s who of business people in the UK and has spoken at every conference worth speaking at.

He takes personalising each proposal seriously but does it in his own way. He personalises each cover depending on the client and project. I love this.

Think about it. It’s the first thing they see so making an amazing first impression is really important. He uses unsplash.com and finds an appropriate picture then uses that as the background cover.

An excellent touch and one you should employ.

It makes his business proposal engaging from the very start. The more you customize your proposals, the better the outcome will be.

tim coe personlised business proposal cover idea

Case study idea with a story from templates

Sometimes we get so boxed into pre-existing ideas we forget to step outside the box.

I was on a flight to Barcelona recently to watch the football game and the amazing 6-1 win over PSG, and on the flight, I wrote a new business proposal template .

Only, I was on the plane, and I had no internet so I wrote the content in Pages on my Mac which took me out of “ business proposal writing ” mode and more into a natural flow.

When it came to writing the case study part I for some reason wrote it as if it was a personal introduction.

This is a popular marketing strategy , since providing clients with examples showcases that you're the right person for the job.

It was a little story of a guy called Jamie, and Jamie oddly enough had the same goals as the imaginary prospect and it only made sense we’d share this story seeing as we helped Jamie achieve all his goals.

meet Jamie

Why is this effective? It’s different, it’s reading a success story without your “bullshit filter” on so it actually goes in your brain. Give this a try.

Remember, the trick is to make it super personal and creative. That's the only way to create a successful case study.

Big coloured block exclaiming the goal of the project

We launched feature blocks in January 2017 and they’ve been used in almost every business template and business proposal that’s been sent since. An absolutely massive hit.

Proposal templates

What they’ve been used for most commonly is making a big point of the opening statement on the Introduction page. The trick with this is less in the design and more in the copy.

If someone wants to double their revenue in the next 12 months and that is of paramount importance then something like this will give an epic first impression.

business proposal intro benefits

It grabs attention, forces them to take that piece of information in and sets the tone for the rest of the proposal.

When writing your business proposal, make sure to outline the benefits your clients can expect. It makes it more engaging for them.

Letting your client upsell themselves with the optional items in your business proposal ideas

Troy Dean from WP Elevation - they’re one of our Premium Partners, suggests in his WP Elevation Blueprint Course that you should always allow your client to upsell themselves with a few extra add-ons.

It could be a monthly report, extra support, VIP treatment or any number of things but allowing them the chance to increase the deal size by clicking one button is a brilliant touch.

Sometimes, we run into brilliant business proposal ideas and we build them into our templates.

You can see this example in our pricing tables. Here’s how it looks.

optional products

If you want to impress your clients with technological brilliance as well as increase the revenue you bring in from each client, look no further than this little beauty.

The fact that it’s web-based , to begin with.

How many times have you asked for a quote or a business proposal and received a tacky, badly designed PDF document with a brief description of the service and a price? Too often?

Sending a web-based business proposal that arrives with a beautiful full-screen cover, well-formatted text and is engaging to browse is far more interesting.

mobile view ms word vs better proposals

Our unofficial tagline here at Better Proposals is “Death of the PDF”. It’ll never die but we can try and make it obsolete with these amazing proposal ideas.

proposal university design cta

Benefits of web-based proposals

If you're wondering about the benefits of web-based proposals, here are just the most popular ones:

Proposal templates

Digital signatures, payment integrations, proposal analytics, a simplified follow-up process, integrations.

Writing a business proposal from scratch is harrowing work. Luckily, if you're using Better Proposals, you can rely on our prewritten templates.

They are free for all of our users and help you speed up the proposal-creating process since you don't have to worry about the proposal structure.

We offer a wide variety of proposal templates. You can easily find the right one for you, whether you're a:

  • small business
  • software company
  • digital marketing company
  • sales team etc.

All of our business proposals are web-based, meaning your clients can easily agree to your terms by typing in their names.

esignature block

The typed-in name will get turned into a legally binding digital signature.

Furthermore, your clients can pay using your business proposal payment gateways. You can choose between PayPal, Stripe or GoCardless.

payment integrations

The proposal analytics will show you the progress of your business proposal. You will be notified every time they are opened, forwarded, signed and paid.

business proposal analytics

Moreover, once your business proposal is opened, we'll notify you how much time the client spent on each of the sections, making your follow-up process easy.

proposal section time spent

However, if the spent time on your timescales and executive summary, you know how to structure your follow-up email.

When you have an online proposal tool, you can integrate all the other sales and marketing tools like CRMs and more.

better proposals integrations

It will help you speed up the whole sales process and create proposals that utilize all customer data you've collected so far.

When you're running a small business, every proposal counts.

You can't afford to lose any potential clients by sending bad proposals. You have to get creative and spend some time on the writing process.

Projections from Tim’s proposal “picture the dream”

Here’s another brilliant business proposal idea from Tim Coe.

If you’re creating a business proposal which contains future projections for your client then consider setting the stage nice and early with those projections.

I’m not suggesting replacing the introduction. You should always have that opening summary, but this could immediately follow.

When utilizing this business idea, you’re hitting them with the main benefit nice and early, and then painting this amazing picture for them sets the frame up perfectly.

Now, everything they read in the rest of the business proposal is understood through the lens of knowing what years 2 and 3 could look like.

A subtle tip here, getting people to “think big” before hitting them with the price is a great way of lowering the impact your price would have.

telling the story

We've collected ten amazing business proposal ideas for you to jazz up your proposals, and make them more engaging and fun to read.

business proposal templates

The process of sending your business proposal is of course about doing a good job for the agreed budget, but it’s also about making them feel like you’re the right company for the job.

A great way to do that is to give them an organised, well-formatted document summing everything up. If that is a complete mess, what does it say about your service?

Conversely, what does it say if it blows them away?

I’ll leave you to work out which one you want to be.

The only thing that's left to do is to sign up for a free trial and fall in love with Better Proposals.

Adam Hempenstall's profile image

Writing a Business Proposal Letter - How to knock it out the park every time

Writing the perfect business proposal letter is a science. Read our post and you will find the formula for the perfect proposal letter.

20 Brand New Proposal Templates

We’ve become the largest proposal template library in the world. Here’s a full list of every proposal currently in the Template Marketplace.

new ideas for business proposal

7 Creative Business Proposal Ideas

You are a business owner but you need more work and clients. One tried-and-true method of landing new business is to create business proposals (either responding to requests for them or trying to land unsolicited jobs).

Business and project proposals are a great tool, but you're not the only one producing them. To stand out as a small business, you not only have to be able to supply an excellent product or service but you also need to present it in a creative way. A proposal should make you stand out from the crowd and command the attention of your potential client.

This article presents several creative business proposal ideas to help you land new work. And when you're ready to get started, try our business proposal template .

What Is a Business Proposal?

A business proposal is a document sent by a business like yours to a prospective client looking for suppliers. It is, essentially, a sales process document that usually contains information about the scope of a project or job, details on the deliverables of products or services, and their costs, timelines, and completion dates.

There are different types of business proposals. They can be unsolicited — delivered to a potential client who hasn't asked for a proposal but whom you feel may benefit from what you have to offer — or solicited — requested by potential clients, often in a formal request for proposal (RFP). They need a specific business problem solved and will usually issue the RFP to a number of different potential suppliers, choosing the one that can best solve their problem in an effective and creative way and at an affordable price.

A business proposal is different from a business plan. A business proposal seeks to sell a specific product or service. A business plan is a roadmap describing how a company, often a startup, will achieve its goals from financial and operational points of view. The business plan might be used to sell the business to potential investors or to financial institutions for funding.

A traditional business proposal usually includes a:

  • Cover letter
  • Table of contents
  • Executive summary
  • Statement of the need or requirement
  • Proposed solution and methodology
  • List of qualifications, including past work and testimonials
  • Agreement and call to action (CTA)
  • Contact information

Why You Should Get Creative With Your Business Proposal

Business proposals are often created in response to an RFP. The person who judges who will be awarded the work often has to deal with a pile of responses, and each one can be quite hefty according to the nature of the RFP and the information requested.

To catch the eye of decision-makers inundated with business or marketing proposals, you need to stand out with a creative twist and a unique value proposition. Once you have their attention, you have a much better chance of convincing them that you are exactly the solution they need for their business problem.

Here are some examples of how to get creative with your business proposal, whether it's upping your visual appeal, personalizing the document, thinking outside the box, or being creative in your CTA. A winning sales proposal starts by developing a really good solution to a business problem and then presenting it in a way that makes the potential client realize it is exactly what they need.

Boost Your Visual Appeal With Graphic Design

To catch the eye, you need to be eye-catching. A splash of color and some pleasing typography are a great place to start. Skynova has a business proposal template which you can customize for your business.

Include a Case Study

A good case study can help you create a winning business proposal. It shows how you have solved similar problems for other clients and the benefits that they have received. The case study gives you a chance to show how you work and how you think, which can bring you closer to the new client and help land the job.

Personalize the Proposal Cover Page

Personalization is one of the keys to effective selling. The cover page is a good place to start. Of course, include the client's name here. But the personalization doesn't need to end there. You can also include graphics and images that relate to the client's brand or the nature of the job at hand.

Create a Roadmap With Goals

Helping a client visualize how you will lead them to success in a project helps them see that you understand their needs. Using flowcharts, timelines, graphs, infographics, or other devices, you can create a roadmap of a proposed job, showing the milestones you would achieve (e.g., profit targets, sales goals, or something else).

Use a Creative Call to Action

Your final CTA in the business proposal needs to stand out so that the proposal reader takes positive action. You could do this with a special type treatment and colors to make the CTA pop off the page. You can also do something more exciting than the usual "Call us today" or "Get in touch."

For example, a design firm might say, "There will be a lot of late nights on this job. We have a great coffee machine — let us know when we can start brewing."

Think Outside the Box

When preparing your business proposal, one way to stand out is to think outside the box, perhaps offering some options or services not covered in the RFP but that could be part of a company's larger marketing plans. For example, if a creative agency asked for a proposal for an advertising campaign, you might mention that you can also handle media buy, social media integration, and event planning as a way to make yourself even more valuable to the client. The client would save money by having all of these tasks managed by one agency and you would have a bigger project and rewards.

Add an Expiration Date to the Proposal

One great way to provoke a response in direct mail is to put an expiry date on an offer. The same tactic can be used with an unsolicited business proposal, creating a sense of urgency with an expiry date for the special services or price you are offering. The expiry date also gives you an excuse to do a follow-up, calling the client before the deadline.

Skynova Proposes Help for Your Business Finances

When you are involved in the excitement of landing new work with business proposals, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the day-to-day running of your operations and handling of your finances. Losing track of your invoicing and not properly tracking your expenses and income can be a recipe for disaster.

Fortunately, Skynova has a suite of online solutions for small businesses like yours, ranging from handling your invoicing and accounting to creating business proposals and estimates with easy-to-use templates that can be customized with your logo.

Skynova can help you get paid faster and manage your finances more efficiently — it's a proposal that's hard to refuse.

Notice to the Reader

The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines and may not apply to your specific situation. Always consult with the appropriate professional experts to ensure that your business proposals are effective and comply with industry standards.

How to Write a Business Proposal That Wins New Clients

Everything you need to know about how to write a business proposal that wins more business.

how to write a business proposal

Learn almost everything you need to know about how to write a business proposal that converts.

Imagine this scenario: Your dream client contacts you and asks you to write a business proposal. You’re ecstatic because you now have an opportunity to pitch for the business.

But you’re also worried about the possibility of rejection. Although you understand that factors out of your control may have led to rejection—maybe the prospect didn’t have the budget—you want to ensure you submit a strong proposal.

The good news is you can learn how to write a business proposal to avoid future rejections. We’ll go through:

  • What a business proposal is
  • Why proposals matter
  • Step 1 : Research and Collect Information
  • Step 2 : Follow a Business Proposal Outline
  • Step 3 : Use Persuasive Language
  • Step 4 : Employ Persuasive Pricing
  • Step 5 : Review and Edit Your Proposal

What Is a Business Proposal?

There is a lot of confusion around what a business proposal is, with some mistakenly confusing it with a business plan and others using it interchangeably when talking about a quote, bid, or estimate .

So before you learn how to write a business proposal, let’s put the confusion to bed by reviewing these documents, starting with an estimate.

Estimates and When to Use Them

An estimate is a trimmed version of a proposal, which provides an overview of cost, timelines, key deliverables, and services. You’ll create one before starting smaller projects with existing clients or when prospects contact you asking for an idea of what your services cost.

An estimate ensures that you don’t overwhelm existing clients with too much detail and shoot yourself in the foot by excluding information that’s critical to project success.

Quotes and When to Use Them

When quoting , you provide a fixed price for delivering a particular service. The price is usually only valid for a specific number of days to protect you from cost fluctuations. Builders, for example, know that material costs can vary daily and therefore limit the validity of the quote to “X” days.

Related Articles

What’s the Difference Between an Estimate, Quote, Bid and Proposal? cover image

Bids and When to Use Them

Bids are common when the scope of work is clear, especially in the construction industry . For example, a contractor may send a bid in response to a government agency looking for service providers for a particular project. The agency will usually make all of the project details available to the public.

While a bid is more detailed than a quote or estimate, it’s not as comprehensive as a proposal.

Business Plans and When to Use Them

Before opening a business, aspiring owners will sometimes create a business plan. This plan is a formal business document that explains the business idea, details financial goals and objectives, provides comprehensive financials, and specifies strategies to achieve these goals.

The business plan provides a roadmap for business success and is often used to get funding from investors and banks who usually look at the financials, core concept, and the business vision to determine whether it can provide an adequate return. Often a business plan is required when securing financing, like business loans.

Business Proposals and When to Use Them

Business proposals, however, are sales documents used to win a new prospect’s business. These documents contain all of the information found in estimates, quotes, and bids, but are more detailed and focus on the value your solution will provide. This value may include helping the client save or even make money (more on value later).

Unlike business plans that are created when starting a new business or to get funding, proposals are constructed by existing business owners to persuade potential clients to use their services.

At a high level, any proposal will generally include the following (discussed later on):

  • Your business background and testimonials to build trust
  • Examples of past work and case studies
  • Explanation of your client’s problem
  • The value of your solution
  • Details on the scope, timelines, deliverables, and costs

Regardless of what a proposal includes, there are 2 common types:

  • Unsolicited Proposals: A proposal you send to clients when they haven’t asked for one. For example, you want to pitch a new client and impress them with a detailed and personalized proposal, rather than your boilerplate sales deck.
  • Solicited Proposals: A proposal created in response to a client requesting one, either verbally or in writing. For example, you may send a solicited proposal when a client asks for a pitch after a meeting or mentions you’re on a shortlist and wants you to “compete” for the business. Larger companies will often create a Request for Proposal (RFP), which they make publicly available. These companies will specify a submission date and often include a window for questions service providers may have.

breaking the time barrier ebook

The Benefits of a Well-Written Business Proposal

By now, it should be fairly obvious that one of the main benefits of a well-written business proposal is that it helps you win more business. But, there are also less obvious benefits.

Firstly, well-crafted proposals prevent you from underestimating and doing more work than expected because they clarify project details like the scope of work, timelines, costs, and exclusions.

Secondly, well-thought-out proposals show foresight, which builds trust with your prospects and improves your chances of winning the business.

How to Write a Business Proposal: A 5-Step Process

With an understanding of what a business proposal is and why they matter, it’s now time to show you how to write a business proposal in 5 simple steps.

Part 1: Preparation Before Writing Your Proposal

Prepare by gathering the right information.

Step 1. Collect All Applicable Information

When asked to write a business proposal, you may be tempted to complete it quickly and send it to the client. Resist this urge.

Instead, collect information that will help you better understand the project and what your client wants—even if this takes time. Doing this enables you to craft a quality proposal that improves the chances of it being accepted.

How to write a business proposal

Gather information on the following:

1. Your customer’s problem: This is arguably the most critical piece of information because knowing your customer’s issue will help you devise the right solution. It’s so important, in fact, that you shouldn’t be afraid to say “no” to a prospect requesting one if you aren’t clear on what they want. Saying “no” builds trust with your prospects—it tells them you truly do want to help because you’re not afraid to lose their business.

2. Your client’s budget: Knowing their budget helps you understand if they have the money for your services in the first place.

3. Deadline: Some proposals are more urgent than others. Ensure you know when the deadline is so that you can plan accordingly and deliver on time.

4. The decision-maker: Sometimes the person asking for a proposal is not the decision-maker. Find out who are and what makes them tick.

To get the above information, set up a meeting with the prospect. And remember that if it’s an RFP, expect a detailed document that provides most, if not all, of the information you need to write the business proposal.

Just make sure you go over that document with a fine-tooth comb. And again, arrange a meeting if you have questions, making sure it’s within the window period for questions, of course.

Part 2: Writing Your Business Proposal

Once you’ve done the legwork, understand all of the project details and know exactly what your prospect wants, you can start writing. An excellent place to start is to use a business proposal outline.

Step 2: Follow a Business Proposal Outline

There’s no one-size-fits-all way to write a business proposal, but most quality proposals will include certain key elements. Use these as your skeleton when writing and fill in the details as they apply to your business.

As you work your way through the upcoming section, keep in mind that writing a proposal generally takes time. Although an outline will speed up the process because you’re not starting from scratch, you can speed it up even further by doing the following:

Choose a standard no-fail template. FreshBooks has one, but if you need a more advanced proposal tool, consider these handy proposal platforms that integrate with FreshBooks .

Use proposal software. Proposal templates have their shortcomings—it takes time to customize and format the document to your liking. The right proposal software , however, helps you:

  • Easily and quickly create proposals without having to worry about the layout and formatting (spacing, margins, fonts and colors)
  • Customize each proposal template according to your prospects’ needs
  • Portray yourself as a serious business owner with consistent and professional looking templates . You can include images to increase the visual appeal of your proposal
  • Quickly convert a proposal into an invoice to make sure you get paid on time. Why “silo” essential business areas like getting paid and project delivery when they’re inextricably linked?
  • Collaborate directly on proposals with prospects. The prospect can comment and ask questions, which ensures you inch ever closer to closing the deal

Right, with that out of the way, here are 15 common elements of any business proposal.

How to Write a Business Proposal: 15 Key Elements

1. Title Page Your title page presents an opportunity to introduce you and your business. Include an image of yourself to make it personable, your name, the company’s name, date of submission, the client name and the client job title.

2. Table of Contents The table of contents is your client’s roadmap as it details what your proposal covers. This element is recommended for longer proposals, but probably not necessary for shorter ones (1–2 pages).

3. The Perfect Introductory Statement Start your proposal by thanking the prospect for the opportunity to pitch your services; it’s courteous. Also, explicitly state your interest in tackling the project; it highlights your enthusiasm and commitment to working with them.

4. Executive Summary A prospect should know how you can help them simply by reading the executive summary. Summarize the critical aspects of the proposal, including your reasons for sending it, why you’re the best choice and what value you plan to provide.

eBook ad: Standing Out From the Crowd

5. Project Overview Acknowledge the prospect’s problems and show them you understand their pain points—this builds trust. Then, mention your proposed solution and sell them on the value.

6. Detailed Scope of Work Detail your proposed solution, including the services, timelines and project deliverables. Also, specify where you require client input to ensure the project keeps moving forward.

7. Value The value of your services may be obvious to you, but not your prospects. So, make sure you communicate that value clearly. Detail the benefits such as the monetary gain or cost savings and be specific (in Step 3, you’ll learn about language terms that will help you communicate value).

8. Social Proof Reinforce that you can deliver value by including testimonials and case studies from satisfied clients. These testimonials are your social proof and boost your credibility.

9. Detailed Caveats You need to explain your caveats, and terms and conditions to manage your client expectations from the start and protect you from doing extra work out of pocket.

A few examples of caveats include:

  • Detailing the number of revisions allowed
  • Defining what constitutes a revision to avoid confusion
  • Mentioning any exclusions to prevent disagreements and the relationship from souring

But remember, having too many caveats may chase clients away as they may perceive you as being difficult to work with.

10. Project Investment Detail the price of your services but ensure you frame it as an investment. Demonstrate the value so prospects don’t focus on cost (in Step 4, you’ll learn some persuasive pricing techniques).

Furthermore, create a fee summary for shorter projects and a fee schedule for longer ones that lists milestone payments.

11. Success Metrics Detail the success metrics you plan to track. For example, if you’re a copywriter, a success metric may be to achieve “X” amount of traffic by a specific date or to meet particular milestones.

12. Ensure Key Points Hit Home Include a conclusion with the main points from the proposal and reinforce what you said in the introductory paragraph to reaffirm your commitment toward delivering value. Finally, mention that prospects should contact you if they have questions and provide your contact details.

13. Details of Next Steps Detail the next steps to maintain momentum. These steps may include specifying how prospects can accept the proposal and who they should speak to if they want to set up a meeting.

Sometimes momentum is contingent on something the client has to do, like having an internal meeting first. If that’s the case, mention it as part of the next steps. In either case, include a note that you’ll follow up if you haven’t heard from them by a specific day.

14. Appendix An appendix is an optional extra, but useful for information that doesn’t easily fit into the body of the proposal (e.g. graphs and case studies), or if you want to clarify critical terms your prospect may not understand.

15. Professional Look How your proposal looks is just as important as the information you include. Here are a few pointers:

  • Lay out your proposal with your branding, and have a logo in your header and on the title page
  • Break text up, so it’s scannable and easy to read
  • Include visual elements like charts, images, and figures

Step 3: Use Persuasive Language

Understanding the basic proposal structure is essential. But just as important is using the right language to persuade prospects to go with you over the competition.

Here are 4 ways to make your proposals more persuasive, plus examples of persuasive terms to help you communicate value.

1. Appeal to Your Prospect’s Emotions

Research shows that the decisions we make are mostly emotional. So tap into your prospect’s feelings with emotional language to significantly improve the chances of your proposal getting accepted.

The ability to do this, though, starts with understanding your customers’ pain points and feelings (if you’re unsure, go back to Step 1). Maybe they’re frustrated with their existing service provider? Or, perhaps they’re struggling to drive sales?

Phrases for Creating Persuasive Proposals and Estimates That Win New Business cover image

Regardless of what those pain points and emotions are, it’s your job to appeal to them in a way that positions your service as the answer. Here are a few examples of emotional phrases you can use to help do that:

  • X [insert your service/solution] is proven to increase sales in a business like yours
  • Y will establish you as an authority in your niche
  • Z will remove the frustration involved in doing [insert task]

Take note: The exact phrases you use will depend on your client’s problems and your solution. To get the creative juices flowing, consult these 380 high-emotion words .

2. Sell the Time Savings We all respond well to time-based claims, especially if the exact time savings are specified (e.g. 15 minutes, 2 days, etc.), so consider including time-based claims in your proposal. Examples include:

  • X will save you [insert time]
  • By using Y, you can speed up the rate at which you do [insert task] by [insert percentage]

3. Use Percentages to Convince Prospects Percentages are proven to encourage people to take action, with large percentages more impactful than small ones. Just think about it: Would you be interested in saving 25 or 50% on a purchase? It’s a no-brainer. The same holds true for proposals. Several persuasive phrases using percentages include:

  • X allows you to do [insert work] [insert percentage] more efficiently
  • Y help your business boost sales [insert percentage] faster
  • Z lets you complete [insert task] [insert percentage] faster

4. Make the Offer Time-sensitive Finally, create a sense of urgency to encourage prospects to act by framing your offer as time-sensitive. A few common phrases may include:

  • Businesses that don’t [insert service—for example, create a professional logo] are losing customers rapidly
  • The service offering is only available for a short time. Act now

Step 4: Use Persuasive Pricing

Pricing tells prospects what they can expect to pay for your services. Persuasive pricing , however, is pricing that’s packaged, framed, or presented in a strategic way to encourage prospects to choose your services over someone else’s.

But how do you construct a persuasive price?

It starts with knowing what to avoid, followed by a focus on certain key elements. Let’s have a look.

Avoid the following:

  • Sending hasty email cost estimates when someone asks for one. You may feel like you’re saving yourself time, being efficient, and demonstrating to your prospect that “you’re on it,” but you’re not really doing yourself any favors
  • Encouraging price hunting, where a prospect simply compares your prices against competitors
  • Leading your prospect to become cost-focused to the point that they ignore the value of your offer
  • Providing detailed cost estimates. On the flip side, detailed estimates that list every deliverable and corresponding prices may cause price haggling, with the prospect questioning whether a deliverable is even necessary. That’s beside the fact that according to Bidsketch, “highly itemized proposals have a 30% lower acceptance rate”

The Key Elements of Persuasive Pricing Focus on these 4 elements to make your price more persuasive.

1. “Sell” the Outcomes You’ve probably noticed that concentrating on outcomes or value is a recurring theme in this post on how to write a business proposal—and with good reason.

Values are one of the most critical aspects that will help you close more deals as it shows prospects you can get results that will help them.

So, we cannot overemphasize it enough: Sell the outcomes—maybe your service helped a previous client get a certain amount of conversions, or perhaps it saved them time. Regardless of what those results were, make them known.

Pro Tip: Use the persuasive language mentioned earlier when “selling” your services. By doing this, you shift the conversation away from cost to value.

2. Provide One Total Price You can itemize your services, but just ensure you exclude the corresponding itemized cost—and instead list only one total price.

Providing one price protects you from all the problems mentioned earlier—the price haggling, price hunting, and being cost-focused—and ensures the focus remains on the outcomes.

3. Offer Different Pricing Options Bidsketch also mentions that proposals (and estimates) with multiple pricing options yield 32% more sales.

This means you should consider offering different packages at different price points—for example, bronze, silver, and gold. Each subsequent package usually improves on the next, provides more value, and is more expensive.

The benefits of offering multiple packages at different prices include:

  • More choice for customers
  • Options for prospects who have different budgets
  • Prospects refrain from comparing the price of your service to the competition because they’re so focused on comparing your package options to one another

4. Set a Clear Call to Action Make it easy for your clients to accept the price and do business with you by detailing the next steps—something already mentioned when listing the 15 critical elements of a business proposal.

Your business proposal is 31% more likely to win if it’s fewer than 5 pages.

Part 3: Packaging Your Business Proposal

By now your business proposal should just about be complete, with you likely itching to hit send. But before doing that, review it for accuracy and professionalism. Better yet: Have somebody else read it over with “cold eyes.”

Step 5: Review and Edit Your Proposal

Because first impressions count and your proposal is a reflection of your professionalism, do the following:

  • Read the document once first to check for flow and ensure it reads well
  • Check that all of your numbers are accurate and that you haven’t underestimated the cost
  • If it’s a solicited proposal, double-check that you’ve included everything your client has asked for
  • Proofread the document to check grammar and punctuation, ensure correct formatting and maintain consistency in the type and size of the font
  • Make sure you use plain English to communicate to your audience
  • Replace complex words with simpler alternatives
  • Be concise and get to the point. Cut fluff!
  • Avoid industry jargon. If you do use an industry-specific word, explain what it means in the body of the text or include it in the appendix
  • Replace passive voice with the active voice to strengthen your writing
  • Remove long phrases and replace them with shorter ones or one word. For example, use “now” instead of “at this point in time”
  • Review the length of your sentences. Long sentences can hinder understanding, so use them sparingly
  • Check the tone. Avoid being condescending and talking about yourself. Instead maintain an empathetic, friendly, and conversational tone. Liberal use of the words “you,” “your,” “you’re” instead of “I” or “one” often helps
  • Maintain enough white space, so the proposal is scannable and easy to read
  • Check that your proposal is broken into suitable sections with headings, subheadings, and lists
  • Include charts, images, and tables for visual appeal and to clarify your points
  • Review proposal length. Naturally, proposals differ in length depending on the industry, project scope, and client requirements. However, research by Bidsketch shows that your proposal is 31% more likely to win if it’s fewer than 5 pages
  • Ensure that, at first glance, your proposal looks goods by having a stunning title page, adhering to some of the recommendations above (proper formatting, white space and visual appeal), and using the right proposal software

Pro tip: Send your proposal to a friend to review or hire a freelance editor. You can even use a copywriter to write your entire proposal from the start to ensure it’s well-written and connects with your audience.

Sending Your Business Proposal and Beyond

Now that you’ve written your proposal, it’s finally time to send it. But remember, your work doesn’t stop here. Not only should you follow up with prospects to see if they have questions, but you may need to arrange a meeting to clarify certain aspects that will help them decide.

By following up, you remain top-of-mind and ensure you’re inching ever closer to closing the deal. During this crucial stage, don’t be afraid to lean on proposal software. You might also consider offering to “come in” to the client’s office and walk them through the proposal in person. This face-to-face contact can be a real difference-maker.

Proposal software will allow you to see when a client has viewed your proposal, and collaborate and comment within the proposal itself without constant back-and-forth emails. Not only is this convenient, but it moves your proposal through the sales pipeline much faster so that it can get accepted.

A Final Few Words on How to Write a Business Proposal

You no longer have to worry about prospects rejecting your proposals because you now know precisely how to write a business proposal that converts. You understand what proposals are and why they’re essential. But perhaps, most importantly, you have a 5-step process you can follow:

  • Collect the right information
  • Follow an outline, so you don’t have to start from scratch
  • Incorporate persuasive language to “sell” the value
  • Focus on persuasive pricing, so prospects aren’t cost-focused
  • Review and edit the final document before submission

We can’t promise that all of your future proposals will hit the mark. What we can promise you, though, is that if you follow these 5 steps, more clients will say “yes” and your proposal conversion rates will improve.

As these rates improve, you’ll just need to ensure you’re continually delivering fantastic work for your prospects. And to help with that here’s a fantastic eBook: Master Closing the Right Deals and Delivering Amazing Projects .

In it, you’ll not only learn how to deliver amazing projects in 4 simple steps but also how to:

  • Decide whether a project is even worth pursuing to begin with
  • Kickstart smaller projects with existing clients through killer estimates

This post was updated in July 2019.

Nick Darlington

Written by Nick Darlington , Freelance Contributor

Posted on May 13, 2013

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Business tips

20 free proposal templates to ace your pitch

A hero image of an orange document icon on a light yellow background.

In my vast experience of convincing people to do things they're initially sure they don't want to do, I've picked up a trick or two—namely, that no matter how exceptional and transformative your product may be, if your proposal doesn't articulate its value, you might as well fold it into a paper airplane and throw it out a window.

Impactful proposals require structure, which is where a proposal template comes in. It's the strategic framework that turns your pitch into the corporate equivalent of standing outside someone's house with a boombox over your head—except instead of blasting Peter Gabriel, you're serenading prospects with solutions to their pain points.

Here, in a burst of generosity characteristic of neither me nor most of the business industry, I'll share 20 free proposal templates and show you how to use them to showcase your unique offerings.

Table of contents:

How to choose the right proposal template for your needs

Free business proposal templates for any industry, tips for optimizing a proposal template for your business, proposal template next steps, what is a proposal.

A proposal is a persuasive document used to convince someone to buy into your project, idea, or business opportunity. It outlines what you plan to do, how you plan to do it, when you plan to do it, and how much it will cost.

A proposal is the first—and sometimes only—shot to make an impression. It's your opportunity to prove that you understand a potential client's underlying needs and showcase why you're the best choice for the job. A well-crafted proposal can mean the difference between popping Champagne and crying into your takeout.

There are two types of business proposals:

Solicited proposals are submitted in response to a formal client request for proposal (or RFP) and have specific requirements issued by the client.

Unsolicited proposals , sometimes called proactive proposals, are offered to a prospect independent of a request, usually following discussions about their business needs.

Proposals come in all shapes and sizes, from a quick email pitch to a 100-page grant proposal with a budget the size of a small country's GDP. The key is choosing the right level of detail for your audience and objectives. 

If responding to an RFP from a big company, you should roll out the red carpet with videos, case studies, client testimonials—the works. For a small business owner you've been nurturing for months, a short but compelling proposal focused on key benefits and next steps is likely all you'll need.

At the end of the day, a solid proposal should convince your reader that you understand their problems and have the solutions to fix them.

Choosing the right proposal template for your business needs is a strategic decision. 

Different objectives call for a different approach and, thus, a different template. The one you choose should align with your needs and requirements to fit your project like a glove (or at least like a comfortably loose mitten). 

Follow these steps to get started:

Ask yourself, "What is the core purpose of this proposal?" (Not in the existential sense—that's a spiral no one needs.) For example, a project proposal template should facilitate a clear outline of objectives, deliverables, and timelines, while a business proposal template might focus more on market analysis and competitive edge.

Next, consider who's sitting across the table from you. A contract proposal for legal professionals will differ vastly from a storyboard proposal aimed at creatives. The template should speak their language and cater to their expectations. 

Lastly, consider your desired outcome or what you're after. Are you looking to win a contract, forge a partnership, or charm the coins out of investors' pockets? Your template should have all the necessary details to prompt a reaction more positive than the one I get when I say I'm a writer at a family gathering.

Crafting polished proposals is key to winning new clients and growing your business. But who has the time to start from scratch every time? These business proposal example templates have got you covered. Clients and customers will be so impressed with your beautifully crafted proposal that they won't even realize how little effort it actually took.

Project proposal template

Orange and white project proposal template that outlines the details of a specific project, including an executive summary, objectives, scope, timeline, and costs, submitted for approval or funding

A project proposal outlines the details of a specific project, including an executive summary, objectives, scope, timeline, and costs, submitted for approval or funding. It's essentially a wishlist of how you plan to spend someone else's money.

Best used for: Securing funding or approval for a project

Who should use it: Project managers, business owners, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations

Business proposal template

Orange and white business proposal template including an executive summary, objective and proposed solution

A business proposal is a comprehensive offer from a business to a prospective client detailing how the business can meet the client's needs and the benefits of choosing its services or products.

Best used for: Securing funding from investors, attracting new clients, or partnering with other businesses

Who should use it: Business owners, entrepreneurs, sales professionals

Job proposal template

Orange and white job proposal template including an executive summary, understanding your needs and proposed services

A job proposal helps freelancers pitch their services effectively to potential clients. It emphasizes understanding client needs and providing a breakdown of project costs, which improves pitch quality and increases the chances of securing valuable client partnerships.

Best used for: Securing freelance work

Who should use it: Freelancers of all types, including writers, designers, developers, and more

Proposal letter template

Orange and white proposal letter template including an overview of the benefits and value proposition

A proposal letter is written to offer a solution or service to a potential client, providing an overview of the benefits and value proposition .

Best used for: Concisely presenting a proposal to a potential client or partner

Who should use it: Business owners, sales professionals, freelancers

Contract proposal template

White and orange contract proposal template including a section for the introduction, scope of work and schedule

A contract proposal is a formal offer detailing the terms and conditions under which a party will perform services or deliver goods to another party. It's the prenup of the business world.

Note: always run such contracts by your legal team to ensure they align with your interests and comply with relevant laws.

Best used for: Securing a contract with a client or partner

Who should use it: Business owners, sales professionals, lawyers

Event proposal template

White and orange event proposal template including sections for an event concept, program outline and logistics

An event proposal is a detailed plan submitted to stakeholders outlining the concept, logistics, budget, and expected outcomes of a proposed event. It's the party planner's battle strategy, where success is measured not in conquests but in compliments and clinking glasses.

Best used for: Securing funding or approval for an event

Who should use it: Event planners, non-profit organizations, businesses

Content marketing proposal template

White and orange content marketing proposal template including a section for the executive summary, business objectives and content marketing tactics

A content marketing proposal is a strategic plan presented to a client outlining how content marketing can be used to meet their business objectives , including tactics, content types, and measurement methods.

Best used for: Securing a content marketing contract with a client

Who should use it: Content marketers, freelancers, agencies

Proposal planning template

White and orange proposal planning template including a section for the project overview, approach, resources required and more

A proposal plan is a structured document that outlines the approach, resources, and timeline for accomplishing a specific goal or project. It's essentially admitting you need a plan to make your plan. It's plans all the way down.

Best used for: Ensuring that a proposal is well organized, persuasive, and complete

Who should use it: Anyone who writes proposals, including business owners, sales professionals, freelancers, and non-profit organizations

Research proposal template

White and orange research proposal template including a section for the executive summary, project overview, background and methodology

A research proposal is a systematic plan proposing a research project, typically including the research objectives, methodology, timeline, and estimated budget—the "hold my beer" for academics.

Best used for: Securing funding or approval for a research project

Who should use it: Researchers, academics, students

Budget proposal template

White and orange budget proposal template including a section for the introduction and projected income

A budget proposal is a financial plan that estimates the income and expenditures for a specific project or department over a set period—a bean counter's dream.

Best used for: Securing funding or approval for a budget

Who should use it: Project managers, event planners, business owners

SEO proposal template

White and orange contract proposal template including a section for the executive summary, current SEO status, and SEO objectives

An SEO proposal outlines a strategy for improving a client's search engine rankings , including tactics, tools, and expected outcomes. It basically says, "Follow me, and I'll show you how to be more sought-after than a parking spot at Trader Joe's on a Saturday."

Best used for: Securing an SEO contract with a client

Who should use it: SEO professionals, freelancers, agencies

Web design proposal template

White and orange web design proposal template including a section for the executive summary and current SEO status

A web design proposal outlines the scope, design, functionality, and cost of a website developed for a client. It essentially helps navigate the journey from "Hey, I need a website" to "Wow, this is exactly what I envisioned!"

Best used for: Securing a web design contract with a client

Who should use it: Web designers, freelancers, agencies

Sponsorship proposal template

White and orange sponsorship proposal template including a section for the introduction, sponsorship opportunity and sponsorship benefits

A sponsorship proposal seeks financial or in-kind support from a sponsor, detailing the benefits the sponsor will receive in return. It's like asking someone to pay for your party and, in return, they get their name on all the balloons. It's a win-win, especially if you like balloons.

Best used for: Securing sponsorships for an event or initiative

Who should use it: Event planners, business owners, and non-profits

Social media marketing proposal template

White and orange social media proposal template including a section for social media objectives and recommended platforms

A social media marketing proposal is a plan suggesting strategies for a client's social media presence , including goals, platforms, content, and metrics for success. It's a pitch to make a brand as clickable as a "Which potato are you?" quiz.

Best used for: Securing a social media marketing contract with a client

Who should use it: Social media marketers, freelancers, agencies

Consulting proposal template

White and orange consulting proposal template including a section for the executive summary, problem statement, objectives and scope of services

A consulting proposal is a document in which a consultant outlines the services they offer to solve a client's problems, including methodology, timeline, and pricing. It's for the Mary Poppins of the business world, swooping in with a bag of tricks to fix everything from their sales strategy to their coffee machine.

Best used for: Securing a consulting contract with a client

Who should use it: Consultants, freelancers, agencies

Service proposal template

White and orange service proposal template including a section for the introduction and scope of services

A service proposal is a formal offer of a service-based business to a client detailing the scope of services, deliverables, and terms of the agreement. It's like pinky promising you'll do the stuff you're really good at in exchange for cash.

Best used for: Securing a service contract with a client

Who should use it: Freelancers, agencies, businesses

Sales proposal template

White and orange sales proposal template including a section for the executive summary, company background and product/service details

​​A sales proposal helps sales professionals present their products effectively and establish credibility with potential clients by showcasing the company's background and client testimonials.

Best used for: Closing sales deals

Who should use it: Sales professionals

Grant proposal template

White and orange grant proposal template including a section for the executive summary, purpose of the project and project description

A grant proposal is a written request for funding submitted to an organization or government agency, detailing the purpose, plan, and budget of the project needing support. It's like Kickstarter but with more footnotes.

Best used for: Securing funding for a project from a grant-making organization

Who should use it: Non-profit organizations, researchers, academics

Storyboard proposal template

White and orange storyboard proposal template including a section for three steps in the board

A storyboard proposal is used to visualize and plan a project and is typically a visual representation of the project's key steps, milestones, and deliverables. It's like drawing a treasure map for your project, except the treasure is just meeting your deadlines and hopefully not walking the plank.

Best used for: Securing approval for a storyboard or selling a storyboard to a client

Who should use it: Project managers, business owners, designers

Partnership proposal template

White and orange partnership proposal template including a section for the introduction, executive summary, and partnership details

A partnership proposal is a formal document created by an individual or an organization to propose a collaborative relationship with another party. This proposal outlines how the partnership would work, the benefits it would bring to both parties, and the terms and conditions of the partnership. It's commonly used in business contexts where companies, non-profits, or other entities seek to join forces for mutual benefit .

Best used for: Establishing a mutually beneficial partnership

Who should use it: Business owners, sales professionals, non-profit organizations

When it comes to proposal templates, you need to make them work for you, not the other way around. The template is just a jumping-off point. To combat its genericness, it's essential to add your own razzle-dazzle. Here are a few tips to make any old template sizzle.

Tailor content to suit the specific project

When you begin to write a business proposal, the first thing to consider is your audience. Who are you trying to woo, and what will make them open their wallets?

Here's how to do some sleuthing to identify your target reader and customize your pitch to their needs:

Ask questions to get started: What are the client's pain points , and how will you solve them? What's your proposed scope of work and timeline? How much will your services cost? These are the questions a good proposal answers.

Do your research: Check out the client's website and social media profiles. See what they're posting about and what their customers are saying. Look for any public RFPs or project briefs. The more you understand their business and goals, the better you can position your proposal.

Focus on quantifying value using SMART goals: Once you've got a solid understanding of the work, focus on quantifying the value using SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound). For example, don't just say you'll increase web traffic—promise a 25% increase in organic traffic within six months. You want the client to think, "This company gets what we need, and they've promised real, measurable impact."

Tailoring your content isn't just about fitting in—it's about fitting so well they can't imagine going with anyone else.

Add visual elements and branding

Long before our brains got rewired to crave the instant gratification of flashy screens and endless scrolling, our ancestors were also suckers for a good visual. There's nothing quite like an eye-catching graph, chart, or image to break up blocks of text and drive a point home.

Photos: Throw in some photos of your smiling face, your product in action, stacks of money, or whatever is relevant and helps tell your story. Just be sure any visuals are high quality and actually add value. And please, no cheesy stock photos of overly enthusiastic business people engaging in unnatural acts of corporate glee.

Infographics: If you have data or statistics to share, turn them into slick infographics. Those colorful, bite-sized bits of visual information are like catnip for proposal readers. But keep your infographics clear and concise. Cramming too much text or too many numbers onto one can make people's eyes glaze over faster than a hot donut.

Company branding: Spice up your proposal format with your company's colors, logo, and fonts—whatever matches your branding. This helps build brand recognition and makes your proposal look more professional. But don't go overboard, or it'll seem like you're overcompensating.

Using visuals and branding in your proposal helps bring it to life, giving readers an instant visual understanding of your company and offer, all while flexing your expertise. And that can only help your chances of getting to yes.

Choose the right language and tone

When choosing the language and tone for your proposal, you have to walk a fine line. Aim for that sweet spot where you sound like a polished pro, but not so much that people think you're actually a robot in a skin suit.

Use balanced language: Avoid stiff, formal language as much as overly casual speak. Expressions like "enclosed herewith, please find" sound pompous, while "wanna" and "gonna" are too laid-back. Simple, straightforward language is the way to go.

Engage your reader: Talk to your reader like you would a colleague or client. Let your passion shine through in a genuine, unforced way. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the project without the aggressive, frantic energy of someone selling blenders on infomercials at 3 a.m.

Keep promises realistic: While you want to highlight the benefits and potential wins of choosing you, don't make promises you can't keep or claims you can't back up. Share relevant case studies, statistics, and data to build a persuasive yet realistic argument. Your readers will appreciate your honesty and see you as a trustworthy partner.

Meticulously proofread: With the language and tone set, be sure to proofread carefully. Double-check for any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors that can undermine your credibility and the professionalism of your proposal. Nothing screams "I wrote this in the parking lot" like a typo.

Highlight your unique selling proposition and social proof

You've got to convince your clients you're better than all the other yahoos vying for their business, and the best way to do that is by showing off what makes you uniquely qualified to solve their problems.

Framing your unique selling proposition (USP) in a way that benefits the customer is vital because it makes your offering more relatable and appealing, directly addressing the customer's needs or pain points.

For instance, a company might boast, "Our team has 103 years of collective experience." That's a hefty number, and one can't help but picture a team of Gandalfs shuffling papers and nodding sagely. Yet, without context, it's just a number, as emotionally stirring as announcing you've collected 103 pieces of lint from your dryer.

Instead of just humblebragging about your gazillion years of experience, tell prospects how it benefits them: "Our team's 103 years of collective experience means we spot problems before they arise, we don't waste time upskilling, and, like workplace MacGyvers, we're ready to turn a paperclip and a stick of gum into a solution."

Provide solid evidence that you've done this kind of work before. Share details of similar successful projects, along with social proof like testimonials or case studies from happy clients. Mention any awards or the time you got mentioned in the paper for something other than that misunderstanding about the "borrowed" traffic cone. The more you can demonstrate your experience and expertise, the more credibility you'll build.

Include a strong call to action

At the risk of stating the obvious, which I understand is a cherished tradition in the world of business proposals, one must not, under any circumstances, let a proposal fizzle out at the end without calling out next steps. It's like leaving a high-five hanging—it's awkward and, honestly, a little sad. Give your proposal the kind of finale that has confetti cannons and at least one person in the background slow-clapping until everyone joins in.

Stick the landing by issuing a clear call to action . State what happens next, such as scheduling a meeting to discuss next steps or providing a timeline for getting started. This gives the client confidence in moving forward with your company. Circle back to your key points and re-emphasize the benefits of working together, in case they skimmed the middle part because they were eating a sandwich or something.

Remember, ending a business proposal without a call to action is like forgetting to say "Bingo!" when you've got five in a row—it's a missed opportunity that could cost you more than just mild embarrassment at the senior center. Don't let a weak ending undermine an otherwise slam-dunk proposal. A strong finish could be the difference between a lost opportunity and your next big client.

While these proposal example templates are helpful, they're only the starting point. The real magic happens when you customize the template to match your unique voice and vision. And if you create lots of proposals, take it to the next level by trying out a dedicated proposal app or automating your workflow .

Related reading:

How to write a statement of work

How to craft your brand message

Business startup checklist: How to launch a startup step by step

How to write a proof of concept

The best apps for freelancers

21 project management templates to organize any workflow

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Allisa Boulette picture

Allisa Boulette

Based in New England, Allisa is a content marketer and small business owner who hopes to make the internet a more interesting place than she found it. When she’s not working, you can find her lying very still not doing anything.

  • Sales & business development
  • Small business

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Home › Writing › What is Proposal Writing? › 17 Business Proposal Examples to Inspire You 

17 Business Proposal Examples to Inspire You 

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Sales generation and winning more businesses are a core part of business success. To get more leads and sales, every company must know how to draft an effective business proposal to persuade the clients to buy from you. 

With a good proposal, you can sell more. The way you write the business proposal can determine your company’s fate- either you win a new business or lose a potential client. The business proposal targets a specific audience for your business and offers them an effective solution to their problem. The purpose of a proposal is to convince your client that you stand ahead of your competitors with unique deliverables. Give them a reason to buy from you.

The structure and format of a business proposal contain a compelling introduction with a project overview. After that, you can state the client’s problems and your unique solutions. Your proposal writing must also include all the standard information such as pricing estimates, work timelines, and testimonials. It is essential that you offer transparency and trust to your target audience alongside the solutions to retain long-term clients. 

If you are struggling with writing a persuasive yet informative business proposal, you can leverage the business proposal examples in this article. 

Best Business Proposal Examples to Inspire You

We have written down the 17 best business proposal examples that will help you create client-winning proposals. Change the structure, headings, and content according to your services and client’s needs.

1. Business Proposal Example

In this proposal document, it is vital to incorporate the standard information for a great sales pitch and win potential clients. This document complies with the needs and demands of the target client and suggests actionable solutions- beneficial for both the client and the company. 

You can be a freelance writing company or a digital marketing firm, the basic framework for a proposal remains constant, with the same purpose of increasing sales conversions and maximizing ROI (return on investment).

A good business proposal includes a thorough project overview, addresses the client’s problems, offers solutions, gives pricing estimates, and a working timeline. Adding client testimonials and the success story (brief) of the past projects is also a plus. 

2. Digital Marketing Proposal Example

This business proposal effectively engages clients with your goods or services and convinces them to consider buying from you. In addition, this proposal document addresses the client’s problems and provides them with solutions.

You can use the first paragraph or the introduction to talk about “what you have to offer” or “why the client needs you.” Then, you can include the key information about increasing organic traffic, generating more leads, better sales conversions, and user engagement.

In this proposal example, it is important to include the payment terms and timeline for the project plan. In addition, you need to include all your services, such as social media marketing, SEO or search engine optimization, PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns, digital content, email marketing, and more.

The marketing proposal will spread your business ideas amongst the clients like a wildfire in the forest- you have to kindle it.

3. Web Design Proposal Example

The web design business proposal addresses the client’s problem by understanding their needs. Whether you are designing the website for a new business, a private company, or a non-profit organization, your proposal must include explicit details.

This proposal template contains the development process of executing the proposed services for the client. Thereby includes a problem overview, solution statement, project timeline, pricing packages (hourly, weekly, yearly), call-to-action, and an “About Us” section.

After the introductory paragraph, you can write the “About Us” and “About the team” sections.

4. Engineering Services Proposal Example

In this business proposal example, you can leverage the client specifications to create a user-friendly proposal. The proposal writing highlights the work process and project plan. This proposal document ensures the client that your proposed solutions are competent to solve their problems directly.

The proposal contains the problem with their solutions, the cost breakdown, timeline, and schedule in the project description.

The “About Us” and “Team” sections come after the proposal’s explicit details, especially the solution. You can further include certifications about your legal team, client testimonials, social proof, and call-to-action to build trust and authenticity.

5. Research Proposal Example

This type of proposal is a coherent yet concise summary of your research study. It specifies the intent of research- the central questions and issues. In this document, you must include the general idea of study and the current state of recent debate or knowledge as per the area of research. 

You must state the pricing estimate for the relevant research project. Include the information that demonstrates your ability to cater to challenging ideas in a clear, critical, and concise way,

You can write the research proposal as a supplier to the client, or as a student to your supervisor. In any case, you must talk about the title, abstract, research context, research questions and methods, the significance of your research, and the bibliography. 

6. Grant Proposal Example

The grant or asking-for-funds proposal t is written in distinct sections. The sections consist of different titles that target the specific guidelines of the granting organization. The main elements of any grant proposal remain the same. It must include a short overview of the executive summary, the statement of your company’s need or problem, a project overview, and your budget to specify the reason why you need the funds. 

To strengthen your proposal, you can also include a cover letter, organizational qualifications, client testimonials, and supporting documents. Ensure that you do not miss any of the funding agency’s guidelines or else the grant will slip out of your hands.

7. Budget Proposal Example

The project completion or grant approval depends on the budget proposal. If this proposal states a high budget, the grant or funding agency will reject your “grant proposal”. As the grant proposal states the budget is to inform the company that you do not have enough funds to complete the project. 

This proposal must include all the basic information about the project and the costs of everything that you can or cannot cover in a given time limit.  

8. IT Consulting Proposal Example

The proposal provides the prospective client with a clear picture of your work intent. Starting from the research to the final sign-off. The proposal must offer answers to the anticipated problems or questions. Ensure the writing format and content are excellent and that the reader says “Yes” to your services before they even finish reading.

Even though the proposal is about IT, you need to avoid the technology-related jargon- keep the content simple and easy to understand. For example, include all the following components such as project overview, estimated pricing, work timeline, scope, business goals, and a case study.

After the solution, you can add the “About Us” sections, CTA (call-to-action), and legal terms. Adding client testimonials and their feedback on your recent work can gain the client’s trust and turn them into a buyer from a reader.

9. Freelance Writing Proposal Example

It is a web-based, well-crafted proposal sample with tempting offers and value clarifications. Even though this type of business proposal must be short and to the point, it is vital to study the client and understand what they want from you.

Write the introduction and executive summary in a composed yet persuasive tone to convince the client that you are the best choice for them.

“About Me (or Us)” sections need to come after discussing the solution.

10. Construction Bid Proposal Example

This business proposal must be accurate, precise, personalized, showcase your company’s potential, and include details.

The proposal must include the scope of work, solution statement, payment schedule, project timeline, approach to unforeseeable conditions like weather and other hidden defects, and your warranty.

While the project proposal must also explain the work schedule and the extra charges applicable for additional work, the introduction needs to target the client’s needs.

11. CRM Implementation Proposal Example

It is essential to use bullet points and a convincing writing tone to deliver a value proposition to write this proposal.

This document must contain details about the focused user adoption plan, incremental delivery, domain knowledge, industrial references, client testimonials, history of past projects, and more.

12. Insurance Services Proposal Example

This proposal is concise and contains various offerings to the client. After an attention-grabbing introduction and executive summary, you can pitch your solutions to the clients.

The proposal must discuss the business plan, scope of work, timelines, and payment schedules. Keep the proposal brief, but do not miss out on the main points.

13. Graphic Design Proposal Example

An illustrative business proposal, written to put forward your skills and offerings to the potential client. The proposal, specifically the introductory and executive summary section, must focus highly on the customer needs and problems.

After highlighting the solutions and deliverables, close your proposal by incorporating credentials, client testimonials, and CTA.

14. Project Proposal Example

This project proposal highlights the company’s understanding and knowledge of the client’s requirements. Although it is challenging to cover all the aspects, the content must be specific yet persuasive and define the value proposition.

You can add details from your past successful project and the criteria for management that led to customer satisfaction. This enables the reader to sense your expertise and experience.

15. Interior Design Proposal Example

A proposal writing that incorporates visually attractive content to persuade the client. It can contain graphics, videos, and an online demo (if the proposal is online) to showcase the business’s strengths and achievements to the client.

16. Sales Proposal Example

This proposal is essential to outline the features of the products and services your company is selling. It is a detailed proposal with all the information about the project overview, solutions, deliverables, price, benefits, work schedule, and more.

To sell and generate revenues for your business, you must create awareness about your offerings. To convert your proposal writing into sales and deal closures, give them a reason to trust you, convince them you are better than your competitors and can resolve their issues.

A poorly written sales proposal means no selling.

17. Social Media Marketing Proposal

A brief discussion about the design layout, color coding, and use of social media icons can turn this business proposal into a great sales pitch.

The proposal must include an easy-to-follow and understand the timeframe for project goals and objectives while ensuring the prospect is abreast of the mode of payment and other relevant details.

Critique/ Analysis : These business proposals follow a particular format structured in a certain way. However, most of them follow the same suit by covering the essential information. The important point to note is that it is advisable to add the “About Us,” “Team,” “Certifications,” and “Testimonial” sections after you have given the project overview with potential solutions.

Write Better Proposals to Win More Business

With empowering proposal writing, let your business proposals do the talking.

The business proposals vary depending on the type and size of the company, and you have to search your target audience to offer them potential solutions. If you are an IT company, you cannot send out business proposals written for freelance writing.

Any proposal aims to target the client’s needs and demands. Above all, to convince them to buy your products and services. Once you analyze and understand what your client wants from you, you can build a solid business proposal that nobody will turn down. If you get stuck, you can talk to your client and understand what they want in a more specific way. You can ask your questions and then narrow down the solutions.

Filling up the proposal with fluff and redundant content decreases its value and risks losing the client- that can be a massive blow to your business.

Leverage any business proposal template that fits your requirements and makes your business successful.

new ideas for business proposal

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How to Write a Great Business Proposal

Rachel Meltzer

You’ve finally started your business, selling a service or product to other businesses. How exciting! Perhaps you’ve received a request for a proposal, or maybe you’re ready to start doing cold outreach. Either way, you’ve realized you won’t be able to get clients to sign on to your services without a formal business proposal. You might be wondering what a business proposal is or how to write one.

A business proposal is a document sent by a business to a potential client. It’s a way for business-to-business companies to sell their services. While that might seem daunting, it’s actually pretty straightforward. 

Thankfully, once you’ve written your first business proposal, you can duplicate it with variations and customize it as much as you want to save time in the future. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to writing your business proposal, and we’ve outlined an example. Say goodbye to overwhelm! Let’s start with the basics. 

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What is a business proposal?

A business proposal is a document that presents one company’s products or services to another company in detail. Business proposals are often customized for the potential client. It’s a way for the company to market its product and get on the same page as its potential client before they agree to work together.  

With all of this business jargon flying around, you might be wondering, “Is a business proposal different from a business plan?” The answer is yes. A business plan is a structured document that outlines a company’s objectives and how it plans to achieve them. A business proposal is a document that companies use to pitch and sell their products or services to other businesses. 

Business-to-business companies (also called B2B) primarily use business proposals to sell their products to other businesses. Business-to-consumer, or B2C, companies use marketing to sell their products and services. 

When do you need a business proposal?

If you’re a business-to-business company, a business proposal is the best format for soliciting new customers. Business proposals can be unsolicited or solicited. An unsolicited proposal is one that’s uninvited, submitted out of the blue. Unsolicited proposals are sent to drum up interest in a product, similar to a marketing brochure or cold email.

A solicited proposal is sent in response to a request for proposal (RFP); solicited proposals are typically customized for a project or to fit parameters created by a potential client. 

Guidelines for writing a business proposal

A business proposal can be as short as a one-page letter or as long as you need to explain your product or service. However, your potential clients are likely busy, so keep it tight and focused.

A business proposal is typically formatted in a PDF document. You can add your brand’s colors, logos, figures, and more to the proposal to make it shine. The business proposal can be printed or delivered digitally in PDF form. 

It’s recommended that business proposals be customized for both your business’s brand and each potential client. This shows your clients that you care about them, which is typically more persuasive than a generic, cookie-cutter proposal. 

A business proposal should include the following information. 

  • Who you are and what your company offers
  • The problem your potential client is facing
  • The solution your company is offering
  • How your company will execute the solution
  • An estimate of the cost and time required to implement the solution

How to write a business proposal

Before you write your business proposal, you must get to know the potential client. You want to know what their pain points are so that you can speak to them throughout your proposal. 

If they’ve sent you a request for proposal (RFP), read it thoroughly so that you understand their expectations. Additionally, you may want to schedule a discovery meeting to get to know their problems and objectives in as much detail as possible. 

Once your research is complete, it’s time to create your business proposal. Every company and client is unique, so there’s no set way to write a business proposal. Despite that, there are some essential items you should include and a general format you may want to follow. Here’s a step-by-step approach to writing a business proposal.

1 Title Page

The first page of your business proposal will be a title page. This can include colors, images, and fonts that match your brand. The title page should include your business name, your name, the date you submitted the proposal, and the name of the potential client who will receive the proposal. 

2 Table of contents

​​Your potential clients will likely be in a rush. To help them save time and navigate your proposal, it’s courteous to include a clean table of contents. Format your table of contents in an enumerated list. If your proposal is electronic, make the table of contents clickable so that it’s easier for your clients to find what they’re looking for.  

3 Executive summary

An excellent executive summary will give the potential buyer a clear overview of what your company does and how you can serve them, even if they don’t go on to read the rest of the proposal. Aim to convey your executive summary in two to three thoughtful paragraphs. 

This section should be a succinct overview of what your company does, what sets you apart from your competitors, why it’s the best solution for your potential client, and your company’s qualifications. 

Less is more when it comes to the executive summary. Be clear, concise, and persuasive. You’ll know your summary is complete when you’ve answered the five W’ s—who, what, when, where, and why. 

While this section is about you and your company, you should always consider the customer. Show them that you understand them and their needs . Consider this portion as a combination of an elevator pitch and a cover letter for your business. 

4 Project details

The project details section is where you persuade the potential customer that you’re the right fit for them. You’ll outline the problem statement, propose a solution, and explain your qualifications. 

First, lay out the problem statement. Your product or service is designed to solve a problem they’re having. Describe that problem. Be as specific as possible. Use your previous research to customize this section for the potential client you’re creating the proposal for. 

Next, show them why you’re the perfect fit to solve their problems. How do you plan to deliver the solution? Detail the estimated timeline for your solution and any relevant details about deliverables, products, or services. 

Last, explain why your company is qualified to deliver these solutions. What makes your business stand out ? If you can convey to the client that you’re bringing a unique or custom offer to the table, it can be more persuasive than an off-the-shelf option. Why should they trust you? If possible, quantify this with numbers of customers, awards , qualifications, or other relevant success. 

5 Deliverables and milestones

This section is optional but can help as a visual aid for your potential client. Within the project details section, you can nest a chart that breaks down your deliverables and timeline. This will help set expectations for what you’re offering and when. 

While it may feel uncomfortable, pricing your project within your proposal is necessary. There’s no way around it: Your clients have budgets, and they will be comparing prices. Break down each aspect of the project into individual components within the budget. This can make the pricing feel more manageable to the customer.

You may also want to include optional additional costs. Consider these add-ons. If you recommend specific services or products that you know would benefit that client’s specific situation, including these can showcase your expertise. 

At the end of the budget portion, list the overall complete cost of the scope of work you’ve outlined. Include the payment schedule and payment terms as well. 

7 Conclusion

The conclusion is the last chance to make a brief, compelling case . Distill the information you presented in the rest of your proposal into one final section. Describe how your client will find value in your service or product. Briefly mention your qualifications again. Then, prompt the client to take action by confirming your availability. By now, your proposal should have the client ready to work with you. 

If this is a standardized proposal, make sure your contact information is easily available. If your proposal is customized, you can add the following few sections to encourage the client to accept your proposal and start working with you. 

8 Terms and conditions

This section is optional. If you wrote a custom proposal that you expect your client to accept, include a section where the client can sign and date the proposal, accepting the terms you’ve presented. If you didn’t include it in the conclusion, you should list a brief overview of the project, including the overall timeline, payment schedule, and terms, so that the client understands what they’re agreeing to. 

The appendix is a section for additional information. You don’t have to include an appendix, but if you have any supplemental information that doesn’t fit within the rest of the proposal, you can include it in the appendix. 

You can even reference the appendix within the rest of your proposal to avoid disrupting the flow of other written sections. This is useful for statistics, figures, illustrations, information about your team, or other reference materials you want to share. 

If you don’t have any additional information, omit the appendix.

Business proposal outline example

Below, you’ll find a succinct business proposal sample. This outline is designed so that each numbered point should fit on one page. But your business proposal can be as long or as short as you need it to be. You can put two items on one page for a short business proposal or use three pages for just one item; that’s up to you! 

Your name, your business name, the name of the potential client’s company, and the date you sent the proposal. 

2   Table of contents

An enumerated list of what’s inside your proposal.

3   Executive summary

A brief two to three paragraphs introducing your business and your proposed solution. 

4   Project details

A persuasive section outlining the potential client’s problem, what you offer to alleviate the problem, and what your business’s qualifications are to solve that problem.

a. Problem statement b. Proposed solution c. Qualifications

5   Deliverables and timeline

When you plan to deliver each aspect of your solution plan, at a glance. 

6   Budget 

How much each aspect of your proposed solution will cost, and when payment for each will be due.

7   Conclusion

A brief summary of your proposal. 

8   Terms and conditions

A clear and concise overview of your summary, payment structure, deliverables, and timeline that your potential client agrees to. 

9   Appendix

Any supporting items you want to include that didn’t fit within the body of the proposal, like facts, figures, testimonials, or case studies. 

Business proposal FAQs 

​ A business proposal is a document that presents a company’s products or services to another company, in detail. 

What is the purpose of a business proposal?

A business proposal is a way to market a product or service to acquire new customers. A proposal also allows the providing company to get on the same page as their potential client before the two businesses agree to work together.  

What should a business proposal include?

  • An estimate of the cost and time needed to implement the solution

new ideas for business proposal

8 Best Tips for Business Proposal Presentations [+Examples]

John Hall

Updated: May 24, 2022

Published: February 16, 2022

Business proposal presentations are the culmination of a long sales process between you and your clients. If you don’t structure it correctly or take the time to craft one with care, you risk losing the client’s buy-in for your solution. So getting it right is essential.

consultant creating a business proposal presentation

In this article, we’ll look at several ways to improve your business proposal presentation (and pitch) and increase the odds that you’ll walk away with a new customer.

→ Download Now: Free Business Proposal Template

Business Proposal Presentation

A business proposal presentation is a document that outlines a business solution for a customer after a lengthy consultation process. It is presented to the customer in either PDF or PowerPoint format, and can be paired with a contract for immediate signing.

Other formats that may be accepted include Google Docs or Google Slides, but PowerPoint is the industry standard. The presentation is then delivered in person or through a video conferencing tool such as Zoom.

Rarely, if ever, is a business proposal presentation sent to the customer for asynchronous perusal. Rather, it’s presented live in a customer meeting . That will give you the opportunity to sell them even more on the solutions you offer and persuade them to make a decision within a reasonable time frame.

new ideas for business proposal

Free Business Proposal Template

Propose your business as the ideal solution using our Free Business Proposal Templates

  • Problem summary
  • Proposed solution
  • Pricing information
  • Project timeline

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

If you let the customer review the presentation on their own, it’s likely that they’ll lengthen the sales process and even put off making a decision.

When crafting your proposal presentation, there are a few quick best practices to keep in mind.

  • Personalize the presentation . While it’s totally fine to reuse a PowerPoint presentation template , you don’t want to accidentally include another business’ name on the deck. So be sure to go through every slide and personalize it for the customer’s goals and pain points.
  • Send a pre-meeting email with an agenda. To prepare your customer for the presentation, it’d be wise to send a pre-meeting email with a quick, scannable sales agenda detailing how the meeting will go. That way, you can set the right expectations and keep you both on track.
  • Plan your in-person customer visit. If you’re meeting the customer in person, there will be a few more elements at play, such as an office tour and even a colleague introduction. That can quickly lead to lost time, so use this guide to plan a customer visit that stays on track and helps you effectively sell your solution.
  • Pay attention to the design of the deck . Your clothes and demeanor may be in tip-top shape, but if your deck is messy and poorly designed, then the effectiveness of your points will be diminished. Use a PowerPoint template and check out a few sales presentation examples to inspire you.
  • Keep the presentation short and precise. Keep your presentation as short as possible, about 15 to 20 minutes. The longer you speak to your clients, the less they’ll remember.

Now, it’s time for your presentation. Let’s go over how you can execute it flawlessly.

How to Present a Business Proposal

  • Optimize your meeting time from the start.
  • Have a clear agenda.
  • Open up with the customer’s problems and challenges.
  • Pause and ask questions.
  • Lead with stories, not data.
  • Don’t read off of your PowerPoint slides.
  • Present your solution — and sell them a vision.
  • Establish a clear follow-up timeline at the end of the meeting.

1. Optimize your meeting time from the start.

When presenting a proposal, it’s important to remember that your clients are busy. They have other meetings to attend, phone calls and emails to return, and problems to solve. Time is their most precious asset. Here are a few tips to optimize the time you spend with your customers:

  • Arrive early . This is a no-brainer, but arrive to the meeting with at least ten minutes to spare, especially if it’s in person. Use this buffer to use the bathroom, rehearse your introduction, and even set up the meeting space.
  • Rehearse setting up the projector or sharing your screen before the meeting . If you’re carrying out a meeting in person, you don’t want to waste ten minutes figuring out how to project your laptop’s screen. Carry several adapters with you and have a fail-safe plan, such as bringing a tablet with a copy of the presentation. If the meeting is over Zoom, practice sharing your screen so that your notes aren’t visible.
  • Keep your introduction short. Leave space for banter and rapport, but keep your personal introduction short. Small talk should be reduced as much as possible — you shouldn’t spend twenty minutes talking about the weather, unless you sell a weather-related solution.

2. Have a clear agenda.

Your presentation must have a clear and compelling agenda, which you can share right at the start (in addition to having shared it over email before the meeting).

The meeting should begin with compelling reasons to consider your proposal and culminate with a specific request for the business. Here’s an agenda template you can use to structure your meeting:

  • Challenge/Opportunity. Begin your presentation by illustrating the opportunity or challenge that your client is overlooking. Make sure it’s compelling enough to motivate your client to listen to the rest of your presentation.
  • Benefits . Discuss the benefits that your client will achieve by adopting your solution. Use a customer case study or testimonial to support your point.
  • Plan . Present your plan or options to resolve the client’s challenge/opportunity.
  • Company . Briefly share your company’s background, including who your company helps with these issues.
  • Recommend . Before closing your presentation, be sure to ask for the client’s business. You might close by asking the client, “Do you believe that the solution that I’ve presented will effectively help you overcome your challenges and achieve your goals?”

In the presentation, include a few bullet points that outline these parts of the meeting, so that the client knows what to expect.

3. Open up with the customer’s problems and challenges.

As mentioned, you’ll begin the meeting with a challenge or opportunity. Don’t walk into the meeting and immediately start talking about yourself or your company or your products. If you do this, your client will immediately focus on cost and product features, often ending the meeting before you’ve had a chance to finish.

Instead, focus on re-emphasizing the customer’s challenges and pain points. Your clients want to know how they can beat their competitors, reach new customers, retain existing customers, and increase profit margins. But before you can sell them your product, you have to emphasize the graveness of the issue they’re facing and illustrate how their challenges will prevent them from achieving these goals.

For instance, if 30% of their customers are churning, and you sell a business solution that can help reduce churn, you might open up your presentation with how their revenue will continue to be impacted by this loss. This will emphasize the urgency of the problem and help you create a stronger pitch later.

4. Pause and ask questions.

After you’ve spoken for a few minutes, stop and ask your client a question. This is a great way to stay in control of the meeting while allowing your client to interact with the sales presentation.

Here are some questions that you might ask:

  • Have I summarized your challenges correctly?
  • Is there anything I’ve missed that you’d like to add?
  • Am I right in saying that you want to solve this problem in the next quarter?

5. Lead with stories, not data.

While clients value data, they are also realistic about what data can — and cannot — tell them. They’ve seen many projects fail despite the glowing research results, and they’ve seen projects succeed despite the lack of any data to back it up.

So, introduce stories first, then the data to back it up. Come to the presentation armed with customer experiences and competitor moves. Your clients are far more interested in what other businesses like them have experienced and what their competitors are doing. They’re not all that interested in the latest research study, but you can use a study to support your points and lend credence to an anecdote.

6. Don’t read off of your PowerPoint slides.

Let the deck complement your points. If you read directly off the slides, you’ll quickly bore your customer, and the impact of what you’re saying won’t land.

Keep your slides simple, too, so that you’re not tempted to read off of them. Most slides are far too complex — too much text, distracting designs, and unrelated images.

You should only put one picture and one line of text on a slide. No more. Your clients can only absorb so much at once, and if they’re too busy trying to sort out paragraphs upon paragraphs on the screen, most of what you’ll say will be missed.

7. Present your solution — and sell them a vision.

After you’ve re-established the business challenge and spoken to the customer’s pain points, it’s time to present your product or service as a solution. But it’s important to not stop here — you have to also sell them a vision of what their business will look like after they take care of the problem.

Will they experience increased sales? Streamlined processes? Better customer retention? And what will that look like a few years from now? Don’t exaggerate, but don’t be afraid to show them how your product can create a much positive future for their business.

8. Establish a clear follow-up timeline at the end of the meeting.

This is maybe the most important part of your business proposal presentation. Tell your customer what will happen after the presentation, so that there’s no ambiguity regarding next steps.

We highly recommend establishing a clear follow-up date. Don’t say, “I’ll follow up in about a week.” Instead, try, “Is it okay if I call you on Friday, May 10th?”

We also recommend creating a timeline after the follow-up call. For instance, you might say you’ll call on a certain date, and then you’ll send the contract over using a tool such as PandaDoc , Qwilr , or Proposify . Your contract will be in your customer’s hand for a week, and then on the following Wednesday, you’ll follow-up once again to see if the customer has any questions.

Adjust this timeline depending on your customer, sales cycle length , and industry. Such a short timeline might not suit a product that costs thousands of dollars and requires a yearly commitment. However, it might suit a product that only costs a few hundred dollars a year.

Feeling stumped? No worries. Below, we share some business proposal examples you can glean inspiration from.

Business Proposal Presentation Examples

1. moving malta forward.

business proposal presentation example: moving malta forward

This compelling presentation proposes a metro system for the city of Malta. It opens with a “Case for Change” and uses graphics and visuals to argue for the creation of a metro in the city. While it is text heavy, it includes plenty of information for Malta’s government to make a decision. That’s why it’s important to know your audience. If you’re proposing to a gubernatorial entity, then being comprehensive is important.

2. The Big Picture

business proposal presentation example: the big picture

This is another presentation that argues for the urban development of a district. Its most notable feature is its “At a glance” spread, which shows an overview of the plan from top to bottom, down to the impact the proposed changes will have on the city. In the same way, you can include at an at-a-glance slide in your presentation.

3. AMW Tech

business proposal presentation example: amw tech

This deck presents a business as opposed to a product, but it does everything right: It opens with an agenda and closes with a call-to-action (“Keep in touch with us”). Even something as simple as providing your contact information can be enough to prompt your customer to continue the conversation.

4. Microsoft Advertising

business proposal presentation example: microsoft advertising

This deck by Microsoft Advertising takes a slightly different approach: It starts with a quote from the Microsoft CEO, and then provides details about how the brand helps its customers. This works for a major brand like this one because the client may be interested in Microsoft as a whole as opposed to just one service. It’s important to know your audience in this respect, as well.

Creating a Compelling Business Proposal Presentation

Being able to effectively present proposals is key to your success. To be effective, get to the point and focus on vision and stories. Use PowerPoint or Keynote as supporting material and be sure to keep it short. Finally, your presentation should begin with compelling reasons to consider your proposal and culminate with a specific request for the business.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Feb 1, 2022

How to write a proposal email

Want to learn how to write proposal emails? Our business proposal email samples and a proposal email template will help you to land that client, project, price change, or get your idea taken forward.

Blog writer

Lawrie Jones

Table of contents

Are you hesitant about how to write a business proposal email? Don't worry; you're not alone.

By the time you've read this article on how to write professional proposal emails, you know everything there's to know about sending sales, business partnerships, project, and price proposal emails to clients old and new.

We'll run you through a business proposal email format from subject lines to greetings and provide you with 10 business proposal email samples that will put the lesson into practice.

To top it off, we will introduce you to our proposal email template and show you how to write proposal emails with Flowrite , your new AI writing assistant, like this:

What is a proposal email?

In most cases, a proposal email is an official correspondence sent in the early-mid stages of the sales process. A formal proposal email is a significant step in the sales funnel, providing all the information a lead needs to choose whether to become a client or customer.

The basic sales funnel has four stages, including:

Proposal emails are typically actioned at stage 2 and provide the information a client needs to transition to stage 3.

An effective proposal email includes all the important information a client or customer needs. In addition, it summarises the main talking points of your offer, including supporting evidence, timeline, key terms, any conditions, and the all-important costs.

The bottom line is that a great proposal is essential for transforming a prospect into a customer.

Different types of proposal emails

Proposal emails sent to a potential client are known as solicited messages, which means they won't come as a surprise when they're delivered.

Proposal emails are critical to the sale process, but the same approach can also be used to communicate with people you don't have a relationship with. These are known as unsolicited proposals or cold emails and can include:

  • Presenting new services or solutions to a potential new client
  • Sharing ideas to your boss
  • Responding to opportunities such as grants

Both solicited and unsolicited emails should contain the same information and follow the same structure described below.

“A proposal email is a summary of the discussions and dialogues that you've had with a potential customer and a written, explicit statement of the business arrangements you've discussed,” says author and business expert Geoffrey James .

He describes a business proposal email as an essential email that every salesperson must master, but how’s the best way to do it?

In his expert opinion, every successful proposal email shares the following 7-step structure:

  • Statement of gratitude (one sentence)
  • Problem definition and financial impact (one or two sentences)
  • Desired outcome (one or two sentences)
  • Proposed solution (two to five sentences)
  • Proposed price (one sentence)
  • Risk reduction (one or two sentences)
  • Next step (one sentence)

Now, this may seem like a long-winded way to say what you want to, but it actually cuts out the irrelevant information and focuses effort and attention on what matters. Strip out the jargon, ditch the management speak and keep things simple is his advice, and we agree.

Sometimes you might want to create a more visual proposal or send a presentation. For doing so, you can find inspiration from this extensive gallery of business proposal templates.

In our examples below, we show how you can use this structure flexibly, combining sentences where appropriate to cut out pointless prose that could confuse the message. You can cut out elements such as price, or risk reduction if they’re not relevant. Effective emails are personalized and professional, so shape your communication to make it as clear as possible. 

Someone who agrees is email expert Matthew Brown , who helps to clarify exactly what you’re doing: “While your sales proposal email is technically a "sales document," it's not where you do the selling.”

It’s also not a contract either, so avoid legal jargon or attempting to write in an overly formal way. 

All sound clear? Let’s show you how this works in practice by outlining the correct proposal email format.

Business proposal email format

The email format for sending a business proposal is simple and includes just five essential parts:

  • Subject line
  • Opening line and body

It doesn't matter if you're emailing someone for the first time or the hundredth time; when sending a proposal email, stick to this format, and you won't go wrong. You can use the format outlined here to create all types of professional emails, so learn it once, and it's a skill that will stick with you for life. Once mastered, you'll be creating great emails in minutes.

professional emails, so learn it once, and it's a skill that will stick with you for life. Once mastered, you'll be creating great emails in minutes.

1. Business proposal email subject lines

Your email subject line for a business proposal is perhaps the most essential part of your proposal, with  69% of email recipients judging the contents of every message  by the subject line alone. Books have been written on writing effective subject lines, so we will only cover the basics of proposal email for informal and formal business proposals.

Subject line for a formal business proposal

Formal subject lines get straight to the point. They're all about explaining upfront what you're sending. So here are a few business proposal email subject line examples from the formal end of the spectrum.

  • Business proposal from <insert company>
  • 5 ways we can save you more money
  • I have a proposal for you
  • A new business proposal

Subject line for an informal business proposal

An informal subject line aims to grab attention in your message, creating just enough interest to get a click. Here are some examples of business proposal email subject lines that are informal:

  • Boost profits by partnering with our business
  • Are you happy with your current supplier?
  • Can we offer you a better deal on your <service>?
  • We can save you 50% on your costs…
  • I have a proposal for you…

2. How to start a business proposal email

When you decide how to start the proposal email, you should stop and think about the recipient and whether you are beginning to draft a formal business proposal or an informal one.

Email greetings for a formal business proposal

When you're writing to someone that you know, use a formal email greeting:

  • Dear <first name and surname>,

An excellent proposal is all about research, so hopefully, you'll have the name of the person you're messaging. 

If you don't, it's OK (but not ideal) to address them using their job title. Here's an example.

  • Dear Purchasing Manager,

Try to avoid using overly fussy greetings such as 'Dear Sir/Madam' and 'To whom it may concern. We also suggest not bothering with Mr, Mrs, or Ms either as these are outdated, too.

Email greetings for an informal business proposal

When writing to someone you know, a current client, customer, or colleague, then you can use a less formal approach if you want to.

  • Hi <First name>,

To learn more about the conventions and best practices regarding email greetings, read our article on how to start an email .

3. Email opening lines and body

Proposal emails are about informing, engaging, and inspiring someone with a great idea, concept, or product, so it's tempting to go into details but don't. 

Using James’ structure as a guide, we recommend your proposal emails follow this outline:

  • Next step (one sentence) 

Getting the right tone of voice in your emails is critical. You'll want to appear confident about your proposal but avoid boasting or being too overconfident.

In some cases, such as when you know the person, a friendly approach can work. If you don't know the person, then a formal approach is more likely to get a response.

Ultimately, it's up to you how you want to present yourself in proposal emails. Before putting pen to paper (or finger to key), check out our email proposal examples below for some guidance and inspiration.

To help you find the best possible email opening phrases, we've compiled a list of 100 best email opening sentences .

4. How to end a proposal email

The approach you take to end a business proposal email depends on whether you are writing a formal or informal business proposal.

Email sign-offs for a formal business proposal

If you're writing a formal proposal email, it's advisable to use a formal email ending, such as:

  • "Yours sincerely" if you know the person's name; and 
  • "Yours faithfully" if you don't (or are writing to a group)

Email sign-offs informal business proposal

If you're happy to be less formal, then feel free to select a professional email ending from the list below. 

  • Kind regards
  • With best wishes
  • I look forward to hearing from you

We've tackled the conventions and complexities of how to end an email in a previous article, so be sure to check it out if you need more information.

Professional email signature

A professional email signature for your proposal contains everything the recipient needs to know about you and how to contact you, including:

  • Company (if relevant)
  • Email address
  • Phone number

You can add more detail, such as social media account links, a logo, and product details if it's relevant. For example, if you're in a profession with recognized qualifications (such as law or accountancy), then include your qualifications if you want to.

10 proposal email samples

We've provided the basics of how to write professional proposal emails; now, it's time to put it into practice. Here you can find 10 proposal email samples that tackle slightly different types of proposals. These examples demonstrate all the essential elements you need to include, but always remember to personalize your pr

1. Business proposal email sample

This standards business proposal email provides a short and snappy template to follow, using James' outline.

2. Sample email for proposal submission

Sometimes you'll want to email your boss with a proposal. While you can afford to be a little less formal, the principle is still the same, so stick to the script.

3. Proposal email to your boss

Sometimes you'll want to email your boss with a proposal or idea. While you can afford to be a little less formal, the principle is still the same, so stick to the script.  This is a sample of how how to propose an idea to your boss via email.

4. Proposal email sample to an existing client

When messaging an existing client, you already have a relationship to dispense with some formalities. In this example of a proposal email to a client, we still stick to the format but introduce some elements of personality and focus on shared outcomes.

5. Sales partnership proposal email

A sales partnership is a collaboration that should bring you both profit, so our example of how to draft a sales partnership focuses on that. Here's how to draft a business proposal email that brings mutual benefit.

6. Business partnership proposal email sample 

In this example of how to send a proposal email to a client, we describe how to write an email proposing an idea that can benefit you both. This business partnership proposal focuses on the productivity benefits and profit you'll both enjoy.

7. Proposal email to offer services 

Businesspeople are busy, so we've stripped back this proposal email to offer services to the essential information they need.

8. Price proposal email sample

In business, it's the price that matters, so we've focused on cost savings in this price proposal email sample.

9. Project proposal email

Collaborating on a project involves establishing a partnership. In this example of how to write a project proposal email, we aim to establish a connection and create interest, and then request a meeting to discuss details further.

10. Email to propose an idea

Sometimes you won't have developed a project plan, but you may have an idea you want to run past a potential partner, boss, client, or customer. In this sample of how to propose an idea through an email, we keep it brief and aim to kickstart a conversation.

Proposal email template by Flowrite

Flowrite is an AI writing tool that turns your instructions into ready-to-send emails and messages. Our browser extension and web app take care of the email format, capitalization, grammar, spelling, punctuation – you name it.

You can focus on the message, and Flowrite will handle the delivery. We dare to claim that it's the fastest way to improve your business communications.

Our AI template collection features dozens of email templates to help you with proposal emails. To grasp how easy and fast it's to write a business proposal email with Flowrite , check out the example below.

Still hesitant about how to send a proposal via email? Didn't think so. If you found this blog post about how to write proposal emails helpful, we suggest that you bookmark it to access our business proposal email samples the next time you write one.

In case you feel that our business proposal email format lessons could benefit your team, why won't you share this article with them?

Lastly, if you ever need help on how to write professional proposal emails, Flowrite and our business proposal email template are ready to help.

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How to Write a Business Proposal in 2024

How to Write a Business Proposal in 2024

Your business proposal dives into the nitty-gritty of what you want to accomplish for clients and how you plan to make it happen. Freelancers can use this to show off their skills and expertise to potential employers. A nicely crafted proposal is key to making sure a project succeeds and sets the stage for its smooth implementation. In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • A proposal checklist
  • Things that you shouldn't include in a proposal
  • When to submit a bid
  • The techniques for creating winning proposals
  • Insights for independent contractors

Freelancers can improve their chances of gaining new clients and completing tasks successfully by sticking to these recommendations. So if you are looking for how to write a business proposal, this is definitely the article for you.

How to write a business proposal - most important facts

The most important things you need to keep in mind are that business proposals should be:

  • Compelling : Crafting a compelling business proposal is fundamental to getting your foot in the door. It serves as the first impression you make on a potential client, highlighting your capabilities, work plan, and value proposition.
  • Succinct : The executive summary section in your proposal should be succinct and impactful, encapsulating the essence of your proposal. It ought to convince the reader about the merits of your proposed solution and why you are the right freelancer for the job.
  • Creative : Let your creativity shine through here. Offer innovative solutions that not only solve the client's problem but also bring additional value such as increased efficiency, cost savings, or competitive advantage.
  • Consistent : Your entire proposal should be consistent, coherent, and persuasive. Make sure it addresses the client's needs comprehensively and convincingly and is devoid of any fluff or irrelevant information.
  • Helpful : When writing a business proposal, focus on the client's needs, how you plan to meet them, and why you're the best fit for the job. Don't forget to proofread and polish your proposal before sending it off.
  • Targeted : Keep your potential client at the forefront of your mind as you craft your proposal. Remember, your proposal is not about you, but about them and their needs. Address these needs effectively and you are well on your way to winning the job.
  • Easy to create : There are many free business proposal templates available online that can provide a solid starting point. You can adjust these templates to suit your specific needs and business style.
  • Fast to write : Leveraging AI tools can be a game-changer when creating business proposals. These tools can help you with everything from writing and editing to designing and formatting your proposal, leading to a professional and polished product.

We will discuss each of these points in more detail but before that let's get started by talking more about why proposals are so important.

Why business proposals are crucial for freelancers

Writing a winning business proposal is essential to your success as a freelancer. Not only can you differentiate yourself from the competition, but you can also showcase your worth and skills to prospective customers. In addition, a proposal may be used to establish goals and ensure the project is completed successfully. Let’s talk about three of the most compelling arguments for why freelancers should use proposals.

Get noticed in a crowded industry

If you're a freelancer, you need to set yourself out from the competition. That is exactly what a well-written company proposal can help you achieve. Show that you are the best candidate for the job by detailing your USP, relevant experience, and recommended solution. If you are a graphic designer competing for a branding project, for instance, incorporating your design portfolio and case studies in your proposal might help you stand out from the crowd.

new ideas for business proposal

Want to win more clients?

Win more clients with Indy’s Proposals tool. Easy-to-use proposal templates help you make the right pitch every time so you turn leads into customers.

Expressing your worth and area of expertise

A business proposal is your opportunity to impress prospective customers with your knowledge and abilities. You may show what you can bring to the table by adding relevant experience, case studies, and testimonials. Include samples of your prior work and the outcomes it has accomplished if you are a writer proposing a content marketing campaign.

Establishing goals and verifying progress on projects

A business proposal serves as more than simply an advertisement; it can also be used to establish realistic goals and guarantee positive results for any given endeavor. Establishing a clear picture of what the project entails and how it will be done is facilitated by incorporating a thorough scope of work, price and payment arrangements, and timetables and deadlines. This may save time and effort in the long run by reducing the likelihood of miscommunications and misunderstandings between you and the customer. 

If you're a virtual assistant offering social media management services, for instance, outlining the monthly duties you'll accomplish, your hourly fee, and the deadline by which you'll produce reports will help establish expectations and guarantee a positive end for all parties.

Freelancers need proposals because they help them stand out in a crowded marketplace, explain their value and experience effectively, and help them establish realistic goals for their projects. If you take the time to make sure your proposal has all it needs and is tailored to each potential customer, you'll have a far better chance of landing new work and completing successful projects.

new ideas for business proposal

What to include in an effective business proposal

It's crucial to include all relevant details while writing a business proposal. This will improve your chances of landing new customers by helping you articulate the value and expertise you bring to the table. An executive summary, issue description, suggested solution, the full scope of work, price and payment conditions, timetables and deadlines, and appendices are all essential parts of any proposal (if applicable). 

Further explanation of each of these components and why they should be included in a proposal will be provided below.

Executive summary

A business proposal isn't complete without the executive summary. In it, you should briefly describe the problem you're trying to solve for the customer, the benefits they'll reap from your solution, and why you're the ideal person for the job. If you want to create a good impression on a new client, this is the first thing they will read about you. Don't ramble; rather, get to the point quickly and clearly, and write in terms that anybody can grasp.

Problem statement

A company proposal isn't complete without a problem statement. The problem or difficulty that your customer is experiencing should be spelled out, and the advantages of your suggested solution should be outlined. Here is your chance to prove that you have heard and understood the client's demands and objectives, and that your proposed solution will help them achieve those objectives. Avoid employing jargon and speak in layman's terms.

Proposed solution

The core of each business proposal is the offered solution. Here, you'll describe how your proposed solution to the client's issue or difficulty would benefit them. Clearly define the task at hand, the means by which it will be accomplished, and the objectives you want to achieve. Make use of case studies and illustrations to emphasize your approach and solution.

Detailed scope of work

When putting out a business proposal, it's important to provide a thorough description of the job to be done. It should detail the project's scope, scope changes, and deliverables. Here is your chance to make sure you and the customer are on the same page regarding the scope and nature of the work to be done. Use as many specifics as you can while keeping the language simple.

Pricing and payment terms

Any credible business proposal has to contain pricing and payment conditions. The total price of the project, including any applicable special offers, should be shown here. Payment terms, such as whether they will be paid in full at the outset or following the achievement of certain benchmarks, should also be spelled out. Make your price completely apparent and open to the reader; a pricing table may help with this.

new ideas for business proposal

Timelines and deadlines

Project success relies heavily on meeting set timelines and deadlines. An extensive project timetable covering major milestones and a projected finish date should be included in your business proposal. Deadlines for deliverables should also be included, along with a clear plan for handling any inevitable adjustments or setbacks. In order to avoid confusion and misinterpretation later on, it's important to establish clear expectations from the get-go.

Appendices (if appropriate)

An appendix is a supplementary document that may be included in your business proposal if you so want. A full budget breakdown, case studies, or samples of your prior work are all good examples of what you may provide. Take care in what you choose to put in the appendices; they should only include data that is directly related to the proposal and will help the reader. Label and arrange the appendices properly so that the reader may quickly access the data they need.

Check out our step-by-step video tutorial showing you how to use a template to create a proposal!

What NOT to include in business proposals

It's not just about what you include in a business proposal – it's also about what you leave out. There are a few things that you should avoid including in a proposal, as they can weaken your case and decrease your chances of winning new business. Here are some things that might turn off a prospective client.

Too much detail

Although completeness is valued, brevity is a must. Don't go into exhaustive detail; instead, concentrate on the most crucial aspects of the project. If you're pitching a social media marketing campaign, for instance, you should describe the campaign's intended demographic, the platforms it will utilize, and its primary goals, but you don't have to list out every single post or ad you intend to make.

Vague or overly technical language

Don't make your proposal difficult to read by using jargon. Don't assume that your reader will know any particular jargon or technical phrases. Replace the phrase "use a strong content distribution strategy" with "publish our material on many channels to reach a bigger audience," for instance.

Unnecessary fluff or filler

Don't include unnecessary details only to make your proposal longer. Don't ramble; stick to the topic. The phrase "we've been in business for over 20 years and have a solid track record of success" is a synonym for "we've been in business for over 20 years and have an established track record," such as in the preceding example.

new ideas for business proposal

Irrelevant information

You should only provide material that is useful to the reader and pertinent to the proposal. Leave out everything that isn't essential to the completion of the task at hand. Focus on the project's requirements instead of the company's background and goals, for instance, while proposing a website overhaul.

Poorly designed layout or formatting

Any idea is more likely to be taken seriously if it is well-organized and simple to comprehend. Use a neat, business-like approach, and think about including design elements like headers, bullet points, and photos to help you organize your thoughts. It's common practice to utilize headers and bullet points to organize and draw attention to the most important parts of a lengthy piece of writing.

When to send proposals to a prospective client

In the freelancing world, proposals are your opportunity to sell yourself and your services to prospective customers. However, it is just as crucial to know when to submit a proposal as it is to know what to put in it. Here are four essential factors to think about:

When requested by a client

If a customer contacts you and requests a proposal for your services, it's safe to assume they're interested in what you have to offer. Here's your chance to impress them with your skills and get their contract. To add, if you are asked for a proposal, it is professional and attentive to react quickly.

When you have thoroughly researched and understood the client's needs and goals

Make sure you have a firm grasp of the client's wants and requirements before sending out a proposal. Your proposal will be more effective if you take the time to learn about the client's company, industry, and target market. Delivering a proposal that is tailored to the client's demands shows that you have a firm grasp on their company and can effectively address their concerns.

new ideas for business proposal

When you have a unique and valuable solution to offer

Now is the moment to provide your novel approach to the problem if you are certain that it will greatly help the customer. In your proposal, be sure to emphasize what makes you stand out from the competition, whether it's a novel method to tackling their issue, specialized knowledge or skills, or very low pricing. You can boost the likelihood that your freelancing proposal will be approved by standing out from the competition by providing a novel solution.

When you are confident in your ability to complete the work to the client's satisfaction

Avoid sending a proposal unless you are certain in your capacity to carry out the task to the client's satisfaction. If you aren't 100% certain of your ability to carry out your proposal, it's best to hold off. Submitting a proposal when you have doubts about your capacity to follow through might cause unnecessary confusion and disappointment.

By keeping these four criteria in mind, you may deliver proposals at optimal times, to the most relevant customers, and with complete and accurate information. As a result, you'll have a better opportunity to land new clients as a self-employed individual.

5 strategies for more successful proposals

Freelancers need to be able to talk to their customers and make sure they understand what they may anticipate from them. You may wow prospective customers with proposals that showcase your experience and value if you follow these five steps.

1. Don't undervalue your work

It is crucial to include precise pricing information in your bids. While it's tempting to undercut the competition in order to get business, doing so might backfire and cause anger and resentment down the road. Setting a fair price for your services is a great way to impress the customer with your expertise and professionalism. The more precise your service price is, the more likely it is that you will be paid a reasonable amount for your efforts.

new ideas for business proposal

2. Be proactive in addressing potential questions or concerns

To win over a customer, it's crucial to address their possible worries and issues head-on in your presentation. Doing so demonstrates that you have given the project careful consideration and are making an effort to prevent problems before they arise. If the customer feels more comfortable with you, they are more likely to accept your proposal.

3. Follow up after submitting the proposal

It's important to check in with the customer after submitting a proposal to address any issues or queries they may have. This shows that you're invested in the project, which is always appreciated. In addition to boosting the likelihood that your proposal will be approved, following up with the customer gives you a chance to answer any questions or address any issues they may have.

4. Keep track of your proposals and their status

It's crucial that you monitor the development of your suggestions. This will help you keep track of your customers and follow up with them at the appropriate times. In addition, it might help you see trends and patterns in your proposal writing that you can use to improve future efforts. Keeping a record of your proposals is also a great way to learn what methods are most successful in bringing in new business.

5. Use proposal software tools

A variety of programs exist to facilitate the speedy development of polished proposals. Time may be saved, and a unified appearance can be established for proposals with the aid of the templates and flexible formatting choices provided by several of these programs. The use of proposal software may also help you display your material in a style that is aesthetically attractive, which can pique the client's interest. Proposal software products allow you to simplify the proposal process and provide higher-quality results.

new ideas for business proposal

Indy is a powerful yet easy-to-use software for creating professional and engaging proposals and estimates. With Indy, freelancers can secure and begin projects faster than ever before. With a variety of templates and a drag-and-drop proposal builder, it's simple to customize proposals to fit your specific needs. Indy also allows you to keep track of each proposal's status, including draft, sent, read, and approved. When a proposal is accepted, you can easily convert the estimate into an invoice. Plus, with the ability for clients to leave feedback right on the proposal, communication is made simple. 

Indy’s Proposals tool is free to use, so get started today and experience the ease of winning new business.

new ideas for business proposal

10 tips for your business proposal format

Business proposals that exceed expectations have both solid substance and polished, attractive design. It's crucial to think about the structure of your paper to make sure your proposal stands out and is successful. If you want your proposals to stick out to prospective customers, here are some guidelines to follow while putting them together.

1. Use a clear and concise layout

If your proposal is well-organized, the client will be more inclined to read it in its entirety.

2. Create a bulleted list

It is much simpler for the prospective client to scan the proposal and pick up the important points if it is broken up into bullet points rather than long paragraphs of text.

3. Create headers and subheadings as needed

Including headers and subheadings in a proposal helps the prospective client quickly identify the information they need. This is a great way to draw attention to the most crucial aspects of your argument.

new ideas for business proposal

4. Add pictures

You may make your ideas more compelling and easy to comprehend for a prospective consumer by using charts, graphs, or other visuals to demonstrate them.

5. Always stick to the same typeface and point size

Using the same font and font size throughout the proposal gives it a polished appearance, which is more likely to win over the client.

6. Optimal use of white space

The proposal's aesthetic attractiveness and readability are greatly improved by the liberal use of white space, which in turn increases the likelihood that the prospective client will read and act upon the proposal.

7. Employ a tasteful color palette

If you want your proposal to seem more polished and professional, choose a color palette that reflects your industry.

8. Don't skimp on the picture quality

Better odds of getting your proposal reviewed in its entirety are achieved by using high-quality photos.

9. Condense your writing into short paragraphs

Customers are more likely to read your proposal if it is broken up into little paragraphs rather than large blocks of information.

new ideas for business proposal

10. Please use the active voice

If you want the prospective client to read and remember what you have to say in your proposal, use active voice to make your writing more direct and interesting.

How to send unsolicited business proposals

Unsolicited business proposals can be a great way to expand your client base, but it's important to approach them in the right way. In this section, we'll provide three tips for maximizing your chances of success when sending out unsolicited proposals.

  • Conduct in-depth research on the firm that will be your target: It is essential that you have a solid understanding of the requirements and objectives of the business you are aiming your unsolicited proposal towards. Because of this, you will be able to tailor your proposal to their particular requirements, which will raise the likelihood of it being approved.
  • Make use of a professionally designed and well-crafted template for your proposal: If the prospective client perceives that the proposal is both competent and aesthetically attractive, they are more inclined to take it seriously. Utilizing a template that has been thoughtfully created will help guarantee that your proposal has a polished and professional appearance.
  • After you have sent your unsolicited proposal, it is necessary to follow up to check that it was received and to address any questions the prospective client may have. It is also crucial to follow through with anything you have promised to do. This will help you create trust and establish a productive working relationship with the other party.

Now, let's get into some specific examples you can use for your proposals.

Business proposal ideas

We want you to have every success with your business proposals and your sales process. So, we want to point you to some specific resources you can use:

  • Business proposal template - This is a simple template you can use for almost any business.
  • Social media marketing proposal - Here is a free business proposal template you can use for social media marketing clients.
  • Photography proposal template - Photographers can use this template to ensure they have a well-written business proposal ready at all times.

Indy has many more business proposal templates you can use. Check out our full library of business proposal templates for free.

new ideas for business proposal

Business proposal examples

Let's start with some business proposal outlines. These are useful as starting points when you create a proposal document for a potential client.

Here is a quick outline a freelance web designer might use to create an entire proposal for a local business:

  • Title page: Include the title of the proposal, your name and contact information, and the name and contact information of the business.
  • Executive summary: Provide a brief overview of the proposal, including the main points, the proposed solution, and the benefits of the project to the business.
  • Problem statement: Clearly articulate the business's problem or need for a new website, including any challenges or opportunities.
  • Proposed solution: Describe the web design services you are offering, including the scope of work, the timeline, and the deliverables.
  • Company background: Provide a brief overview of your company and your qualifications as a web designer, including any relevant experience or achievements.
  • Value proposition: Highlight the benefits of your services to the business, including any unique features or added value.
  • Proposed budget and payment terms: Present your pricing and the payment schedule, including any discounts or incentives.
  • Next steps: Outline the steps for moving forward with the project, including any further negotiations or approvals needed.
  • Contact information: Include your contact information and a call to action for the business to get in touch with you to discuss the proposal further.
  • Appendices: Attach any supporting documents or materials, such as your portfolio or case studies.

Here is another business proposal example outline. This one was written as a graphic designer:

  • Introduction
  • Overview of design services
  • Description of project
  • Company Background
  • Description of business
  • Past design work
  • Client testimonials
  • Project Description
  • Target audience
  • Scope of work
  • Proposed Solution
  • Description of the design concept
  • Samples of previous similar work
  • Estimated timeline
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Pricing for each aspect of the project
  • Payment schedule
  • Inclusions and exclusions
  • Request for further discussions
  • Request for approval to proceed
  • Recap of design solution
  • Request for approval to proceed with project
  • Contact information for further inquiries

These examples follow a similar structure but include slightly different details. This is normal for everyone when it is time to write a business proposal.

new ideas for business proposal

Cover letter examples

A cover letter or introductory letter is one of the most essential elements of the proposal. Whether the proposal has been formally solicited or not, the cover letter helps introduce the sender and creates a better first impression.

Here is an example of a cover letter that could be used for unsolicited proposals:

Dear [Client],

I am writing to introduce myself and my company, [Company Name], as a potential partner for your business. As a [Industry] professional with [Number] years of experience, I am confident in my ability to provide top-quality [Service] for your company.

I was drawn to your business because [Reason for interest in client's business]. I believe that my skills and expertise in [Specific skill or service] would be a valuable asset to your team and could help bring fresh ideas to the table.

I have included a copy of my portfolio and a proposed project outline for your review. I would be happy to schedule a call to discuss the details further and answer any questions you may have.

Thank you for considering my proposal. I look forward to the opportunity to work with your company and help bring your vision to life.

[Your Name]

Here is another cover letter example that could be sent to prospective clients to go along with formally solicited proposals.

Thank you for considering me for your [project type]. As a freelance [skill set or job], I am excited to bring my skills and experience to your company.

I have attached my proposal for your review. In it, you will find a detailed scope of work, timeline, and pricing information. I have also included examples of my past work and client testimonials to give you an idea of the quality and attention to detail that I bring to every project.

I believe that my skills and approach align well with your project needs, and I am confident that I can deliver a [project goal] that meets your goals and exceeds your expectations.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is any additional information that you would like. I look forward to the opportunity to work with you.

In conclusion, writing a business proposal can be a crucial step for freelancers looking to win new clients and projects. It is important to understand the different types of proposals, such as formally solicited and unsolicited, and to use strategies that increase the chances of success. Paying attention to formatting, including using headings and subheadings, bullet points, and visuals can also help to make proposals more appealing and effective. Finally, it is essential to be responsive and follow up on proposals to increase the chances of winning new business.

If you’re looking to create a professional proposal for your next client, Indy’s Proposals tool is free to use forever. Get started now and prepare a winning proposal in minutes!

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  • Consumer Protection
  • Bureau of Consumer Protection
  • deceptive/misleading conduct
  • Artificial Intelligence

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking that would prohibit the impersonation of individuals. The proposed rule changes would extend protections of the new rule on government and business impersonation that is being finalized by the Commission today.

The agency is taking this action in light of surging complaints around impersonation fraud, as well as public outcry about the harms caused to consumers and to impersonated individuals. Emerging technology – including AI-generated deepfakes – threatens to turbocharge this scourge, and the FTC is committed to using all of its tools to detect, deter, and halt impersonation fraud.

The Commission is also seeking comment on whether the revised rule should declare it unlawful for a firm, such as an AI platform that creates images, video, or text, to provide goods or services that they know or have reason to know is being used to harm consumers through impersonation.

“Fraudsters are using AI tools to impersonate individuals with eerie precision and at a much wider scale. With voice cloning and other AI-driven scams on the rise, protecting Americans from impersonator fraud is more critical than ever,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “Our proposed expansions to the final impersonation rule would do just that, strengthening the FTC’s toolkit to address AI-enabled scams impersonating individuals.”

The supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking is being issued in response to comments received during the public comment period on the government and business impersonation rule that pointed to the additional threats and harms posed by impersonation of individuals. As scammers find new ways to defraud consumers, including through AI-generated deepfakes, this proposal will help the agency deter fraud and secure redress for harmed consumers.

Final Rule on Government and Business Impersonation

In addition to the supplemental notice, the FTC has finalized the Government and Business Impersonation Rule, which gives the agency stronger tools to combat scammers who impersonate businesses or government agencies, enabling the FTC to directly file federal court cases aimed at forcing scammers to return the money they made from government or business impersonation scams. This is particularly important given the Supreme Court’s April 2021 ruling in AMG Capital Management LLC v. FTC , which significantly limited the agency’s ability to require defendants to return money to injured consumers.

Government and business impersonation scams have cost consumers billions of dollars in recent years, and both categories saw significant increases in reports to the FTC in 2023. The rule authorizes the agency to fight these scams more effectively.

For example, the rule would enable the FTC to directly seek monetary relief in federal court from scammers that:

  • Use government seals or business logos  when communicating with consumers by mail or online.
  • Spoof government and business emails and web addresses , including spoofing “.gov” email addresses or using lookalike email addresses or websites that rely on misspellings of a company’s name.
  • Falsely imply government or business affiliation  by using terms that are known to be affiliated with a government agency or business (e.g., stating “I’m calling from the Clerk’s Office” to falsely imply affiliation with a court of law).   

The publication of the final rule comes after the two rounds of public comment in response to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking issued in December 2021, a notice of proposed rulemaking issued in September 2022, and an informal hearing in May 2023.

The Commission vote to issue the final rule and the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking and to publish them in the Federal Register was 3-0. Chair Lina M. Khan issued a separate statement that was joined by Commissioners Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Alvaro M. Bedoya.

Both items will appear in the Federal Register shortly. The final rule on government and business impersonation will become effective 30 days from the date it is published in the Federal Register. The public comment period for the SNPRM will be open for 60 days following the date it is published in the Federal Register, and instructions for how to comment will be included in the notice.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and protect and educate consumers . Learn more about consumer topics at consumer.ftc.gov , or report fraud, scams, and bad business practices at  ReportFraud.ftc.gov . Follow the FTC on social media , read consumer alerts and the business blog , and sign up to get the latest FTC news and alerts .

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'Big Pitch' Finalists Prepare for Friday's Event

Northern Michigan University's College of Business will present “The Big Pitch,” the culminating event of its annual New Business Venture Competition, at 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, as part of Innovation Week activities on campus. NMU students will present their proposals to a panel of judges, vying for thousands of dollars in funding to get their business ideas off the ground.

Innovation Week is hosted by SISU: The Innovation Institute at NMU and Innovate Marquette SmartZone. 

Students have prepared detailed plans on designing and creating new business enterprises, drawing on their own ideas and inventions or those of others. The competition provides a forum for these students to present their new venture plans to investors, receive meaningful feedback, have the opportunity to start a new business and apply classroom learning to real-world projects. The business plans must propose ventures that will be financially profitable, create new jobs and be lawful.

Students working individually or in teams of up to five can submit a plan to start a new business and compete for prizes. These submissions are screened by a faculty/staff committee, and the chosen finalists continue to the second part of the competition, after which finalists are chosen. 

This year, the six finalists, along with their academic majors and business ideas are:

Brecken Mills and Maggie Boburka, entrepreneurship and business management: Peninsula Pizookies.

Kylie Gustafson, entrepreneurship: Wildsteps.

Ryan Carmody, medicinal plant chemistry: Adult-use CEO Micro-business.

Heather Lindstrom, accounting: 906 Pet Treats, LLC.

Christopher Anderson, Sergiy Blackwood and Josie Beach, entrepreneurship: Snackage.

Morgan Johnson, entrepreneurship: Dan's Loft Kit Kart.  

Bridgette Bowser Student Writer 9062272720

Politics latest: Boost for Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle amid pressure over his future - as minister criticises 'real culprit' for Commons chaos

The safety of MPs remains in the spotlight as the Speaker defends his actions in the Commons. Listen to a teaser episode of Electoral Dysfunction, the new podcast from Sky News as you scroll.

Friday 23 February 2024 11:06, UK

  • Starmer the 'real culprit' for Commons chaos, minister claims
  • Gaza vote controversy explained - and why Speaker is facing anger from MPs
  • Home secretary backs Hoyle, saying he's been a 'breath of fresh air'
  • Rob Powell: Speaker's position seems more secure now
  • 68 MPs have signed no-confidence motion  |  How Speaker can be ejected
  • From bodyguards to death threats - the real impact of this week's events
  • Electoral Dysfunction podcast teaser: Could the next Tory leader actually be really obvious?
  • Live reporting by  Charlotte Chelsom-Pill

Former home secretary Suella Braverman has weighed in on the ongoing fallout over the Gaza ceasefire debate this week, which saw chaos in the Commons and calls for the Speaker to leave his post.

Writing in today's Daily Telegraph, she said the episode had "undermined the integrity of Parliament", claiming: "The truth is that the Islamists, the extremists and the antisemites are in charge now".

Sir Lindsay sparked outrage among SNP and some Tory MPs on Wednesday when he selected a Labour amendment to the SNP's ceasefire motion.

Convention dictates that only the government can amend an opposition motion, but Sir Lindsay opted to choose Labour's amendment as well as the government's.

Sir Lindsay said he wanted all sides to have a say, given the importance of the topic, and the fact MPs are facing increasing levels of abuse over their views on the war.

Asked Ms Braverman was right, Home Secretary James Cleverly told Times Radio: "We have a high functioning democracy. We live by the rule of law. And I don't think it is right or appropriate to imply anything other than that". 

Speaking to Sky News earlier, Mr Cleverly warned the Speaker against changing Commons conventions due to intimidation from outside parliament, telling Sky News: "The only thing MPs should fear is the ballot box" (see post at 07.48).

However, he said the Speaker continued to have his support.

By Tim Baker , political reporter

Liz Truss has said the world "needs a Republican back in the White House", adding that "we've seen Joe Biden asleep at the wheel".

In a speech near Washington, DC, the former prime minister did not mention Donald Trump, the former president who is the front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination.

Speaking to GB News, Ms Truss also said Mr Biden "needs to be kicked out" of the White House.

Ms Truss was speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual conference which aligns with the right of US politics.

Read more of her comments here:

The prime minister has once again branded the actions of Sir Lindsay Hoyle in the House of Commons on Wednesday "concerning".

However, he has indicted he is willing to draw a line under the issue following the Speaker's apology. 

Rishi Sunak was asked to comment again on the fallout of chaos in the Commons over a Gaza ceasefire debate, which has led to calls for the Speaker to leave his post. 

The prime minister, who is on a visit to north Wales, told reporters: "What happened in Parliament earlier this week was concerning.

"The usual ways in which Parliament works, the usual processes which govern how Parliament works, were changed.

"Now, the Speaker subsequently apologised for that and said that he made the wrong decision."

Sir Lindsay sparked outrage among SNP and Tory MPs when he selected a Labour amendment to a SNP ceasefire motion.

A total of 68 MPs have now signed a motion of no-confidence in the Speaker (see post at 09.40am).

Speaking to Sky News earlier, Home Secretary James Cleverly warned the Speaker against changing Commons conventions due to intimidation from outside parliament, telling Sky News: "The only thing MPs should fear is the ballot box" (see post at 07.48).

However, he said the Speaker continued to have his support. 

Jennifer Scott , political reporter

The home secretary has warned the Speaker against changing Commons conventions due to intimidation from outside parliament, telling Sky News: "The only thing MPs should fear is the ballot box."

James Cleverly offered his support to Sir Lindsay Hoyle to stay in post - despite 67 MPs having now signed a no-confidence petition against him after Wednesday's chaotic scenes in the Commons  - calling him "a breath of fresh air".

But he added: "We should not be changing our procedures in response to threats or intimidation. That would indicate that the threats and the intimidation is working - that is the opposite of the message that we want to send.

"If people think that they can target members of parliament, they are wrong. The full force of the law will be brought down."

His position was echoed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who told reporters on Friday that it was "unacceptable for intimidation or aggressive behaviour to threaten our parliamentary democracy and our freedom of expression".

And he vowed to give police "more powers to clamp down on protests" amid growing concerns over demonstrations outside MPs' homes and offices.

A huge row erupted on Wednesday as parliament held an opposition day debate over the Israel-Hamas conflict, with the SNP calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Read more here:

After a dicey Thursday for the Commons Speaker, his position seems more secure this morning - if Sir Lindsay Hoyle wants to keep it of course.

Downing Street and the Tory machine appear to be throwing their weight behind Sir Lindsay, with cabinet ministers sent onto the media to praise him as a "decent man" who has brought a "breath of fresh air" to the job.

Part of this seems to be about trying to turn attention back onto Labour for Wednesday night's chaotic scenes in parliament.

The Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho was the most critical, telling reporters: "The real culprit here is Keir Starmer. I think he's put the Speaker in an intolerable position by saying that we should bow to intimidation and external influences."

The argument being made in the Tory camp is that by pressuring the Speaker to include a Labour ceasefire amendment, Sir Keir has shown that threats and intimidation from external players are worth pursuing, because on this occasion the proceedings in parliament were indeed influenced.

As on Tory source put it: "Starmer's undermined parliament, bullied the Speaker into doing something he admitted was 'wrong', and it sadly won't be long before more antisemitic views emerge from Labour".

Labour denies this, saying that it pushed for its amendment to be included so that the "right range of debates" took place.

Whatever the real reason, it's undeniable that Sir Keir benefited politically from the Speaker's actions by avoiding an embarrassing and painful rebellion.

This is all somewhat irrelevant to the issues of substance here, though.

In much the same way the discussion around the war in Gaza was overrun by point scoring on Wednesday night, the conversation about how to keep MPs safe while preserving space for valid debate is now also being blotted out by party politics.

Cooler and wiser Westminster heads will argue that, on both these issues, what is needed is more consensus and less combat.

But in an election year that seems unlikely - as the events of the last three days have proven.

There are now 68 MPs who have signed a motion of no confidence in Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (see previous post).

Here's the full list of Conservatives:

  • William Wragg
  • Gary Sambrook
  • Jill Mortimer
  • John Stevenson
  • Kieran Mullan
  • Anthony Mangnall
  • James Duddridge
  • Chris Green
  • Bob Blackman
  • Tom Randall
  • Jonathan Lord
  • Karl McCartney
  • Derek Thomas
  • Jack Brereton
  • James Grundy
  • Brendan Clarke-Smith
  • Lee Anderson
  • Graham Brady
  • Eddie Hughes
  • Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
  • Marco Longhi
  • Simon Baynes
  • Shaun Bailey
  • Matt Warman
  • Steve Double
  • Danny Kruger
  • Miriam Cates
  • Robert Goodwill
  • Jonathan Gullis
  • Kelly Tolhurst
  • Paul Howell
  • Andrew Lewer
  • Mark Eastwood

And from the SNP:

  • David Linden
  • Stewart Malcolm McDonald
  • John McNally
  • Gavin Newlands
  • Pete Wishart
  • Patricia Gibson
  • Joanna Cherry
  • Alison Thewliss
  • Anum Qaisar
  • Douglas Chapman
  • Carol Monaghan
  • Drew Hendry
  • Anne McLaughlin
  • John Nicolson
  • Kirsty Blackman
  • Ronnie Cowan
  • Dave Doogan
  • Amy Callaghan
  • Brendan O'Hara
  • Stephen Flynn
  • Mhairi Black
  • Richard Thomson
  • Kirsten Oswald
  • Allan Dorans

Independent:

  • Rob Roberts

There is also one withdrawn signature, from Conservative MP Philip Dunne.

The Speaker has been facing pressure this week after Wednesday's chaos in the Commons over the Gaza ceasefire votes.

A total of 68 MPs have now signed a motion of no-confidence in Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

However, it should be noted that the motion has been losing momentum since yesterday afternoon and the initial danger to the Speaker's position appears to have subsided.

It's also important to note this early day motion won't necessarily force Sir Lindsay out.

He is not bound to resign if a certain number of MPs back it - and there is unlikely to be a debate on it.

Rather, the EDM is being used as a mechanism by his critics to show the strength of feeling in parliament after what happened with the Gaza ceasefire votes.

Sir Lindsay sparked outrage among SNP and Tory MPs when he selected a Labour amendment to the SNP's motion.

The Home Secretary was asked earlier whether the CEO of the Post Office should continue in his position after writing a letter saying he would stand by the prosecution of more than 350 of the sub-postmasters convicted in the Horizon scandal (see previous post). 

While not answering the question directly, James Cleverly said the letter was "not going to divert us from what we know to be the right course of action". 

"We should do the right thing by hard-working people who found themselves - through no fault of their - own being targeted for criminal actions," Mr Cleverly told Sky News. 

Post Office chief executive Nick Read sent the letter to Justice Secretary Alex Chalk last month, informing him that the Post Office would be "bound to oppose" appeals against at least 369 prosecutions.

The document was dated 9 January - the day before the government announced plans for a new law to exonerate and compensate sub-postmasters who had been wrongly convicted in the Horizon scandal.

Mr Cleverly said the government has worked "quickly" on compensation and ensuring "we can strip those convictions of the people who have been unfairly convicted".

He said the government is "relentlessly focused on that" and the letter exchange "won't change that at all".

The Post Office scandal saw hundreds of sub-postmasters convicted after faulty software recorded massive shortfalls in what is considered the widest miscarriage of justice in British history.

The boss of the Post Office wrote a letter to ministers saying he would stand by the prosecution of more than 350 of the sub-postmasters convicted in the Horizon scandal.

Chief executive Nick Read sent the letter to Justice Secretary Alex Chalk last month, informing him that the Post Office would be "bound to oppose" appeals against at least 369 prosecutions.

Mr Read's letter was published by the Post Office on Thursday, as the government confirmed it was pressing ahead with the legislation to automatically quash convictions by July. 

In response, the government said it would introduce "safeguards" to avoid "anyone who was rightly convicted" attempting to "take advantage" of the compensation scheme.

"Innocent post-masters have suffered an intolerable and unprecedented miscarriage of justice at the hands of the Post Office, which is why we are introducing legislation to swiftly exonerate all those convicted as a result of the Horizon scandal," a government spokesperson said.

The prime minister has said it is "unacceptable" for intimidation to threaten democracy.

Rishi Sunak, who is on a tour of north Wales, was responding to questions about protests outside MPs' homes.

He told reporters: "I think MPs' safety is incredibly important. And it's right that in our society, democracy needs to be able to function smoothly. 

"People need to be able to raise their views and debate things without the fear of being intimidated or indeed attacked.

"It's simply unacceptable for intimidation or aggressive behaviour to threaten our parliamentary democracy and our freedom of expression.

"And some of the scenes we've been seeing in recent months, particularly antisemitic behaviour, are appalling and unacceptable."

Mr Sunak said the police have been given more power to "clamp down on protests," saying "I expect them to use them".

The issue of MPs' safety sits firmly in the spotlight at the moment after pro-Palestinian protesters held a demonstration outside the home of Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood last week.

It has also been a key focus of the fallout over chaos in the Commons on Wednesday, which resulted in dozens of MPs signing a motion of no confidence in the Speaker. 

Sir Lindsay Hoyle broke from convention and selected a Labour amendment to an SNP motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. 

Speaking to Sky News earlier, Home Secretary James Cleverly said "the only thing that MPs should fear is the ballot box" (see post at 07.48).

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    Published: December 05, 2023 Here's what every new business owner needs: an extra 8 hours in the day, an endless supply of coffee, and, most importantly, a really strong business proposal. A business proposal can bridge the gap between you and potential clients.

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    What information and tools do you need? What should be in a business proposal? This article has everything you need to know about writing a business proposal. We've included valuable tips and ready-made templates to help you get started. Here's a short selection of 8 easy-to-edit job proposal templates you can edit, share and download with Visme.

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    6 Min. Read Marketing and Sales By: Briana Morgaine A business proposal can make or break your chances of securing a new client. Write a great one, and you'll likely snag their business. Write a poor one, and you might lose out—even if you're offering the best service out there. So, how do you write a business proposal? What is the proper format?

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    Jan 19, 2024 Writing a business proposal that wins clients over is tough work. It gets even tougher when you're competing against multiple vendors for the same contract. According to a recent report by Loopio, teams on average win only 44% of their Request for Proposals (RFPs) Here's the silver lining.

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    17 minutes•By Canva Team Creating a business proposal: How-tos, templates, and tips Find out what a business proposal is, what its sections are, and how to write one. Browse our examples, tips, and best practices to create a business proposal that will close the deal. Create a business proposal Jump to: Overview How-to Templates Best Practices FAQ

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    The business plan might be used to sell the business to potential investors or to financial institutions for funding. A traditional business proposal usually includes a: Cover letter. Title page. Table of contents. Executive summary. Statement of the need or requirement. Proposed solution and methodology.

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    We'll go through: What a business proposal is. Why proposals matter. The 5-step process across 3 phases that will help you write a business proposal. Part 1: Preparation. Step 1: Research and Collect Information. Part 2: Writing. Step 2: Follow a Business Proposal Outline. Step 3: Use Persuasive Language.

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  21. 8 Best Tips for Business Proposal Presentations [+Examples]

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    1. Business proposal email subject lines. Your email subject line for a business proposal is perhaps the most essential part of your proposal, with 69% of email recipients judging the contents of every message by the subject line alone. Books have been written on writing effective subject lines, so we will only cover the basics of proposal email for informal and formal business proposals.

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  25. FTC Proposes New Protections to Combat AI Impersonation of Individuals

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  26. 15 Tips for a Great Business Proposal Presentation

    3 Plot your presentation with an audience journey map. An audience journey map helps you structure your business proposal presentation. It works very much like creating your buyer's journey in that it takes your prospects—in this case, your audience —down your marketing funnel.

  27. 'Big Pitch' Finalists Prepare for Friday's Event

    Northern Michigan University's College of Business will present "The Big Pitch," the culminating event of its annual New Business Venture Competition, at 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, as part of Innovation Week activities on campus. NMU students will present their proposals to a panel of judges, vying for thousands of dollars in funding to get their business ideas off the ground.

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  29. Politics latest: Boost for Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle amid questions

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