How To Write A Winning Business Proposal: The Complete Guide
Writing and submitting a winning business proposal is the most important step to securing any contract with an organisation. This document when prepared right, can either elevate your business or keep it in its position. And as such, just as knowing how to write a business plan is crucial for every entrepreneur, learning how to write a business proposal is equally one of the most important business writing skills you’ll have to learn.
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to write a winning business proposal that will hardly get rejected by any organisation, here is how to write a business proposal in Nigeria or anywhere else around the world:
Step 1: Carefully Study The Requirements Of The Request For Proposal
Sometimes you may be required to submit a proposal because of a contract bid that is ongoing. Other times, you may be requested to submit a business proposal because you’re trying to seek some form of sponsorship or the likes from an institution.
Whichever is the case, the first step is to carefully study the Request For Proposal (RFP) to ensure you completely understand what is requested of you, before you proceed to write your business proposal.
If for example, you don’t meet the minimum requirements or can’t deliver under a certain budget stipulated, you’re better off not submitting a proposal, as you most certainly will not get picked.
Step 2: Ask All The Questions You Need:
After meeting the requirements, get as much information as possible about the nature of the business proposal. Ask former companies that may have executed contracts or competed for a similar contract in the organisation. Check with an insider to know the best way to outline your business proposal for readership, and ensure you’re not going to be entirely off and unrealistic when stipulating what you intend to achieve for the organisation.
Some questions you should ask are:
- Why are they outsourcing the service?
- Is there a fixed budget for this project?
- What do they want to achieve with the project?
- How have they previously tried to execute this themselves and what results did they get?
- When do they want this project to be completed?
- What will be the criteria for evaluating the business proposals?
- Do they have any concerns?
Then ask yourself:
- Can I really solve this problem?
- How can my company execute this?
- How can I present my company as the real solution to their problems?
See Also: How to Choose A Business Plan Consultant
Step 3: Outline the Scope Of The Project:
Next, outline every step the project will take. Carefully study every angle it is going to come in from and what how you intend to execute it. At this stage, strong project management skills will come in handy. Some things you need to cover are the “who, what, where, how, when, and why.”
- Who: Who will manage the project? Who will do the required work? Who will answer to the customer if a problem arises?
- What: What is required to execute the project? What must be delivered? What are the customer’s expectations? How much will it cost? What will be needed to do it all?
- Where: Where should the job be done? Where should the completed projected be delivered?
- When: When do we start? When will key metrics be made known? When will the job be complete? When should the payment(s) be made?
- How: How will the project be executed? How will it be properly managed? How will the customer be satisfied? How will risks be controlled? How long will the project take? How does the customer benefit from the project?
- Why: Why are we using the approaches we’ve chosen? Why is the customer going with us?
Step 4: Prepare To Deliver The Most Value
After answering every valid question and mapping out the project outline, the next step is to prepare yourself, organisation, and team, to deliver the best value, and also show how it will be done. This stage is very important as the value added will determine if the client will go with you or choose the next party.
Step 5: Write Your Business Proposal
Now that you’ve understood the clients needs and are prepared to deliver more value that anyone else, you can now proceed to write your winning business proposal.
Here are the categories detailing how to write a business proposal:
Here you introduce your company in details. You should highlight your mission statement and what sets your company apart from the rest. You should also determine the length of this section based on the nature of the proposed contract. If it’s a very short-term contract of say, one day, the introduction could be short and precise, but if it’s a business relationship that is to last for many years, you should then put in your all and show how your brand will stand out from the competition.
2). Executive Summary
This highly important part of your business proposal must be treated with top importance. In this section, you should show why your business is the right one for the job and highlight key takeaway points that will not only show how valuable your brand is for their organisation, but also drives a message that will make them think twice about skipping your company.
3). Insert Table Of Contents
If your business proposal is going to be long and contain a lot of contents, creating a table of contents for it is a go. But it is generally advisable to always prepare short business proposals that hit the nail on the head by driving the points directly.
4). Write The body
After introducing your business and getting the readers hooked on your business proposal, the next step is to write the body of the proposal. Here, you’ll answer all the questions that were well answered earlier on in the scope of the project. You’ll also talk about deliverables, pricing, your clients, previously executed projects, and a lot more to show how the job can be carried out and delivered on time.
In this section, you should also state exactly what you can deliver based on the project specifications and what you will not. Ensure to highlight that some form of modifications or complete changes may incur extra charges for the client.
Here is the point you make your final sales pitch. You have to make the reader remember how much value your business is bringing to the table and why they must go with you. You should re-highlight the outstanding projects that you have previously executed and have a call-to-action that would make the client want to either learn more about your business or act immediately.
Although optional, in this section you can include certifications and awards your company has received, your resumés, customer testimonials, some graph projections, and other things that could not directly fit into the body of the business proposal.
Step 6: Submit Your Business Proposal And Follow Up
Your job never ends after submitting your business proposal. Rather, it is only just getting started. To get your proposal approved, you’d need to follow up with calls and also make yourself available to answer questions. You can also try to reach out to key employees in the organisations to know the status of your business proposal, so they may help you do follow ups, which could invariably increase your chances of being successful.
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What are your thoughts on this article about how to write a business proposal in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Africa, or everywhere else around the world? Let me know by leaving a comment below.