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How to Start a Business Proposal – Part – I

So you’re writing a business proposal for a client RFP? In this 03-part series, you will learn how to start a business proposal, how to write a business proposal effectively, and how to write a business proposal conclusion.

Learning how to start a business proposal is critical. It is the primary section of the proposal that will gain reader attention. Think about it – if something is instantly confusing or irrelevant to read, you stop reading. Now let’s add on the potential to lose a long-term million-dollar contract to help you understand the importance of creating a well-crafted document from the start to the conclusion.

That is why it is ok (and recommended) to draft a business proposal and have multiple reviewers prior to submission. We need to write a proposal in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP), which companies or government organizations send out when they have a problem which they need assistance with. Hence a business proposal should identify the Problem Statement, Proposed Solution and explain why you are the best vendor to solve the problem. A business proposal is never a business plan, which is a different document.

Our current blog is classified into three segments. The first part covers the concepts of how to start a business proposal, and the latter part covers making our Proposal, and the final section covers how to conclude the Business Proposal. Let us discuss Part-I in detail.


Starting the Business Proposal

  • Starting the Business Proposal
    • Go through the given Request for Proposal (RFP) carefully. We need to submit a response to a business proposal to receive an RFP. Large businesses and public sector agencies send out RFPs when they require, for instance, an industry that is being charged may send out RFPs to different companies related to law asking for a business proposal. In turn, the public agency may also send out RFP if they need to buy supplies of a product. The proposed RFP should contain the required information which we must understand carefully before writing our business proposal.
      • Ensure that we can meet the Customer’s requirements as mentioned in the given RFP. For instance, if we cannot come in under the detailed budget or given a timeline, then we should not submit the proposal. Instead, we can reach out to a business which we think could use our services.
    • Ask proper questions. We need our business proposal to respond to the Customer’s actual needs. Which means we need to understand the Customer clearly and clearing up all the confusions in the RFP by asking proper questions. We always need to step into the Customer’s shoes and try to analyze the problems from their perspective. To help this process, you need to talk to the Customers and get answers to the following questions
      • If there were any prior attempts made to address the issue. If yes, why did they fail?
      • What are the criteria that the Customer will use while evaluating a business proposal?
      • If there are any concerns about the current vendor.
      • If the Customer wants to make sure whether their proposal is consistent with existing operating policies.
    • Format the document properly. We need our business proposal readable. The font that we follow should be in a size and style that the reader is comfortable with consistency throughout. For this, we have to use the font that is asked by the Customer, if not mentioned, we ideally use Times New Roman 12 point.
      • We can also go through sample proposals used in the industry. We can also find business proposal templates online. Using one of these templates can make our business proposal look professional.
    • Add a suitable title page. We need to have a title page as the cover page to our business proposal. The title page should comprise of the following information such as our name, our company’s name, the name of the person we are submitting the proposal to, and finally the date we are providing the proposal.
    • Introduce the problem carefully. A business proposal recognizes the problem and recommends a solution. Hence, we should start by identifying the problem in simple and clear language and try to explicate why the present situation is a problem for the Customer.
    • Provide the context if required. We need to explain the background so that the reader understands the proposal.
    • Define critical terms if any. Though our proposal should be simple and clear, there may be some terminology that we need to define for the reader. Note that we might submit our business proposal to an industry that understands industry jargon. However, the person who makes the final decision might not be familiar with industry terms.
    • Suggest a roadmap for the proposal. If we have a lengthy business proposal, then we need to offer an overview of what follows the introduction. For instance, we could write, “This business proposal has four parts. Part I covers Introduction, Part II, we offer the proposed solution, timetable, and an explanation of benefits in detail. We offer an itemized budget and a set of standard contract terms in Part III. Finally, in Part IV, we summarize our experiences and approve that our proposed solution is the correct course of conduct.”

Zbizlink is such Proposal Software and RFP management solution that enables sales, proposal and bid teams to generate, collaborate on and share all opportunity related content without leaving the familiar world of Microsoft Office and CRM. Bid, Sales and Marketing Teams globally, use Zbizlink.

Zbizlink helps you be more productive when locating, creating, collaborating on and managing business-critical documents like pitches, proposals, contracts, RFP responses and more. Let’s take a Demo and explore more about ZBL.

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