Whether you have a good project idea or you need to raise money for your business, you need to know how to write proposals. Business partners frequently collaborate with potential clients to help them get mutual benefits. If you want to gain that cooperation, you need to explain to the business how they will benefit from working with you.
An efficient way to do that is by sending a well-written proposal. This article will teach you how to write proposals, give you several tips, and provide some proposals examples you can use to get your career off the ground.
Find Your Bootcamp Match
- Career Karma matches you with top tech bootcamps
- Access exclusive scholarships and prep courses
What Is a Proposal?
A proposal is an act of suggesting or putting something forward for consideration. A proposal letter, also called a proposal document, is a written document that attempts to persuade the reader to accept a proposed plan or project. Writing sales or academic proposals require experience in writing content and proposal letters.
It is important to know what type of proposal you need to attract prospective clients. In the next section, we will go over the seven elements of business proposal templates.
What Are the 7 Elements of a Proposal?
- Problem Statement. A problem statement should explain to the business how your project solves your organization’s problems. It needs to be clear what problems your project can fix. Give specific examples of missed opportunities that your project could have prevented.
- Vision Statement. The vision statement is tied to the company’s long-range strategy and goals. Your project and vision statement should directly link to the organization you are proposing, or else they might be considered unimportant and less urgent. You also risk your project not being funded.
- Benefits. After stating how your project benefits your organization, you should tell the company how they would benefit from working with you. These benefits should further explain your objectives of what the project will deliver. Be specific and be sure to include realistically attainable long-term goals.
- Deliverables. Deliverables are more specific and tangible than objectives because they explain the project scope and help you measure progress in a certain timeframe. It is important to include them in any proposal document.
- Success Criteria. Success criteria are your definitions of what success looks like for this project. To measure the success of your deliverables you need success criteria. It is a quantitative criterion that you can measure.
- State your plan or approach. This is where you explain how you will achieve the success criteria. You should provide a detailed description of your plan, project details, deadlines, and methodology. You can also explain the procedures, timeline, and detailed qualifications of the key project staff working on the project.
- Budget. Cost is a major factor for decision-makers, so you need to discuss your budget. When it comes to the budget, you need to provide as much detail as possible. It’s a good idea to break your budget down into categories, list all the things you need, and explain how the funds will be used for each item.
How to Write a Proposal: Beginning and Ending
To write persuasive proposals, you need to have a good beginning and ending. It’s important to always keep in mind who your ideal clients are. The first impression is important, and the beginning of the proposal should leave a huge impact. Successful proposals also know how to wrap things up with a good, succinct ending.
How to Begin a Proposal
It is a good idea to provide an executive summary, so readers can find all of the important information in one place. You will need to introduce yourself and provide background information. It is crucial to leave a huge and positive impact right at the start of your proposal.
In the first five minutes, decision-makers usually decide whether to approve or kill your business project. So start your proposal by writing a clear problem statement. You should know exactly what problems the organization faces and how you can solve them.
How to End a Proposal
If you’ve succeeded in getting the reader’s attention right from the start, you should know how to finish a proposal letter. You could have a clear and informational proposal, but if you do not provide contact details at the end, decision-makers may not be able to contact you, and your project will be rejected.
It is important to provide a call-to-action (CTA) when closing a proposal. Closing a proposal letter with a meaningful sentence shows the possible investors that you are grateful for their time investment and serious about your project. Proofread and edit the content as needed before sending your proposal.
How to Write a Proposal: 5 More Useful Tips
Lobby and Actively Seek Feedback From Decision Makers
A key thing to remember is that people buy from people, not organizations. Without a sense of personal investment or people interaction, you will have a slim chance of getting your project funded. You want to appeal to the decision makers’ natural human tendencies, and you can achieve that through the pathetic, the ethical, or the logical appeal.
If you propose a project in isolation without sufficient communication with the decision-makers, they will not allocate funds and resources for your project. By scheduling one-on-one sessions, you can gain valuable feedback about your proposal regarding problem-solving and project benefits.
Use Action Words
When creating your proposal, use action words like support, demonstrate, offer, lead, test, and research. An action verb is a powerful and persuasive word that indicates a completed or upcoming action. You want to use active voice, not passive.
It is a smart move to use action words in a business copy. If you are interested in grant proposal writing, there are many lists you can find online with action words you can use when writing grant proposals.
Include Social Proof
Clients look for proof that you can do what you say you can achieve. One of the best ways to give your business credibility is by providing factual proof of what you have done for other clients. It is a good idea to add statistics, case studies, or client testimonials to showcase that you are qualified for the job. This will also make your proposal letter more compelling.
Call to Action
Providing a call to action in your proposal is important if you want to attract a potential customer or business. In this case, a CTA can be an onboarding call, an appointment, or a simple request for a response to your proposal. You should explain all the steps the recipient will follow if they move forward with the decision.
Explain What Sets You Apart
What makes you different from other businesses? How does your service or solution add value to their business? If you want proposal managers to take notice of your proposal, you need to have these answers to the questions.
Be sure to list some of your unique skills that are relevant to the project and explain why you are the ideal candidate for this project. Emphasize some of the few features that set your proposal apart from others and keep the audience in mind.
Proposal Examples to Help You Communicate Your Project’s Value
The best way to learn how to create a proposal is by analyzing proposal examples. Using preexisting proposals as templates will help you understand the structure and start on the right foot. Proposal writing will help you better convey the value of your project to clients, investors, or potential employers.
Proposal Example 1: Investor Business Proposal
Dear Mr. Johnson,
Our firm has embarked on a bold initiative to raise brand recognition, and the results have already been encouraging. Here are some of our most recent achievements:
- Increased number of new retail markets in the northwestern region.
- Increased sales by more than $500,000 in the first quarter.
- Increase in online sales by 17 percent in the first quarter.
We are thrilled about our successes, and we have attained an important achievement in our advancement. We hope that it shows our loyal investors, such as yourself, that we are serious about completing the mission.
We now have an interesting investment opportunity available for Grand Invest. We suggest an $800,000 investment, which would allow us to continue our present rapid expansion while giving great returns to your organization. We can provide you with a 23 percent return on your investment over the next five years.
We do not doubt that we will be capable of accomplishing our expansion plan, as client feedback on the quality of our products and customer service has been overwhelmingly favorable.
We appreciate you and your firm being a part of our success story and we continue to think that the key to success is cultivating and sustaining mutually beneficial business connections. I appreciate your taking the time to read this proposal and would be pleased to work out any further specifics.
Please do not hesitate to contact me at (123) 456-7890 if you have any questions. We are grateful for your help.
Dave McCormack, CEO
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
Proposal Example 2: Social Media Marketing Proposal
Dear Mr. Jordan,
I am William A. Roberts of Roberts Social Media Marketing. Having worked in this field for more than a decade, I understand the issues you may be encountering. If you’re like most marketing directors, you’re probably always attempting to discover the ideal solution to meet your social media marketing requirements.
Lucky for you, Roberts Inc., a renowned social media marketing agency, has been offering social media services to organizations like yours for more than 13 years. We have a complete understanding of the demands of the marketing industry and provide the greatest services to marketing organizations.
With a top-rated 24/7 customer service and a dedicated marketing team, we offer a multitude of data research and digital marketing choices from which you can choose.
- Market Research
- Competitor Analysis
- Quantitative Analyses
- Qualitative Analyses
- Segmentation & Targeting
- Industry Research
- Media Analysis
- B2B & B2C
- Digital Consulting Services
- Omni-channel Strategy
- Brand Communication Strategy
- Content Strategy
I look forward to speaking with you at our meeting on January 15 to explain our project. If you have any prior questions, contact me at (123) 456-7890.
William A. Roberts
Head of Marketing
How to Use Proposal Examples to Write Your Own
Now that you’ve learned how to write proposals and been provided with two proposals examples, it’s your turn to write an effective proposal. Once you feel comfortable with the structure, enhance your proposals by including visual content. Statistics and graphs make the information easier to access and leave a lasting impact on the audience.
Keep in mind the basic elements of a proposal when you write, but make sure to make it your own by incorporating some of the tips we mentioned. According to Purdue Online Writing Lab, grantmakers will not read past the point of your departure from the application rules. Be sure to read any instructions carefully.
How to Write a Proposal FAQ
To write a proposal that converts potential clients, you must have a tone suited for the audience. Successful proposals understand the problem the clients are facing. You need to know more about their business than they do if you want to solve their problems.
Include all the heeded steps layout a concisely detailed plan. The content needs to appeal to the client’s problems specifically tell them how your product or service solves them. Explain to the client how you are different and what you can offer that others can’t.
Including a table of contents in a business proposal is optional. There is no universally accepted framework for an effective business proposal. It is a good idea to include a table of contents if you have a long written proposal.
There are six main types of business proposals. They are renewal, continuation, supplemental, solicited, unsolicited, and formal or informal proposals. You could also categorize these proposal types into formally solicited, informally solicited, and unsolicited. If you’re writing a business proposal, some great business sales blogs provide resources and tips on this type of pitch.
Yes, there is a difference between business proposals and business plans. A business plan details your growth strategy, while a business proposal is a precise request for someone to execute a specific action you wish. Having a business plan is necessary to learn how to build your own business from scratch.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.