What Is A Business Proposal?

what is business proposal

A business proposal is a business document that is usually designed and sent from a supplier to a potential client for making a deal or winning a project. It is in a written form and it can be sent in two forms, solicited and unsolicited business proposals.

It is in short, a sales document that includes detailed standard information similar to the documents of estimates, bids, and quotes.

The standard information for an effective business proposal includes:

  • Scope of the project (all the major and minor project details)
  • Business products or services for sale
  • Costs of products or services
  • Project completion date and project timeline

This article covers:

What are the different types of business proposals?

There are two types of proposals for a business deal, these are:

  • Solicited proposal is a formal proposal that is usually sent in a proper written form to the potential client for persuading them to buy your products. It is a formal request from a client.
  • Unsolicited proposal is not actually a proper request of proposal rather it starts with a casual talk during meeting where a seller tells the prospect that he has the solution to his problem.  

Requested vs. Unsolicited Proposals

RFP refers to the request for proposal, where a potential client may request for a proposal. They usually ask for it casually in conversation,  via email, or send a formal “request for proposal RFP document.

RFP document outlines the product or services the client wants and when they want the proposal back. They may request the business to offer solutions to complete the project.

On the other hand, the unsolicited proposal is the one where a business can send a proposal to a potential client without waiting for the request for a proposal. It is just like a sales presentation.

What  Are The Elements Of A Business Proposal?

A standard business proposal must have the following key elements:

  • Cover letter
  • Proposal document

The cover letter includes the context of a proposal stating why you are sending the attached proposal to your potential customer. It should be brief and must contain the main context of the proposal. According to the Houston Chronicle, one-page length is more than enough for a cover letter. A cover letter should be written in a standard business letter format (using “I”).

The proposal document is more important than the cover letter. It includes the main body of the proposal highlighting all the details of the proposal including, the scope of the project, costs, product details, and dates, etc. 

Business proposals are of different types and formats depending on the industry requirement. The service-based businesses usually follow a general proposal format with some exceptions.

These exceptions include:

  • Trades (like electric wiring)
  • Architecture and landscaping 
  • Advertising

What Is the Purpose of a Business Proposal?

A business proposal helps a business to win a project with a new potential client to establish a new business relationship. It allows you to stand high in comparison with other business competitors and differentiates you from your competitors on the basis of the proposal you are offering your customers.

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