How To Write A Compelling Business Proposal

By Chris Kolmar
Dec. 7, 2022
Articles In Life At Work Guide

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Summary. To write a compelling business proposal you should research the clients needs and tailor the problem and solution statement to fit their needs. To make your proposal credible, you should include your qualifications with examples of your work and satisfied customer testimonials.

Understanding how to write a persuasive business proposal is critical if you want to launch your business to new heights and create profitable relationships with clients that last for years.

In this article, we’ll discuss the general structure and components that most effective business proposals follow, as well as show you how to construct each section in a way that’s sure to impress.

Key Takeaways:

  • Your title page should include your company name, company contact information, and the title of the proposal.

  • The executive summary is a quick and easy reference that summarizes the entire proposal’s content to help the client understand what your company is offering.

  • Be confident in your writing and have a direct tone because it will show your confidence and show the reader you know what you are doing.

How To Write A Compelling Business Proposal

What Makes a Business Proposal Effective

Including the proper information in your proposal is great, but making it compelling will ensure that it gets implemented. To do that, a compelling business proposal should:

  • Be tailored to the reader. Your proposal should be tailored to the audience that you are speaking to. The focus of it should be on your readers needs, and the solution to the problem. The reader will toss your proposal aside if it is generic and won’t solve their problems.

  • Be written in a direct tone. Being confident and having a direct tone in your proposal is a great way to show the reader you know what you are doing. If you aren’t convinced of your own argument, the reader won’t be either.

  • Be professional. Having mistakes can be distracting to the reader. Your proposal should be printed and error free. This will show the reader that you are professional in your work.

  • Be easy to read. You should have your reader in mind when you are writing the proposal. It should be easy to read, so stay away from the small fonts and make sure the format is easy to follow. The content of the proposal should also be easy to understand, so keep any irrelevant details out of it.

How to Write a Business Proposal

Not all business proposals need to be written in the same exact format, but most compelling ones will include the same core components and follow a certain logical structure.

Here’s a brief outline of that structure:

  1. Title/Cover page. The title page plays a much larger role in determining the effectiveness of your business proposal than just the basic information it contains. It’s the foremost page of a document that’s meant to be persuasive, so you need to make sure that it leaves the right impression.

    A business proposal’s title page includes key information about the company, such as the:

    • Company name

    • Company logo

    • Company address

    • Title of the proposal

    • Other brief, relevant information

    In designing the title page, consider what it says about your business. Make sure that your design elements are eye-catching and convey your business’ expertise and unique value while remaining simple and professional.

  2. Table of contents. This can be optional for shorter documents. This should be a short list of the topics that are covered in the proposal. For physical documents, include the titles of each section, as well as the page numbers. For electronic documents, make sure to link each item to the corresponding page.

  3. Executive summary. The executive summary of a business proposal summarizes the entire proposal’s contents in just one to two pages and outlines its most important points. Its purpose is to be a quick-and-easy reference to help your prospective clients understand the gist of what your company is offering.

    More specifically, the executive summary of your business proposal should:

    • Discuss your company. Provide an introduction of who you are as a company with details such as:

      • The company history

      • Your industry

      • Where your corporate headquarters are located

      • Number of employees

    • Discuss your specialties and expertise. The purpose of this section is to gain the prospective client’s respect and explain why your company is qualified to tackle their challenges. Provide key information such as:

      • Your company’s industry expertise

      • Similar projects you’ve successfully completed

      • Any industry awards

      • List of notable existing clients that would recommend you

    • Discuss what benefits your products or services provide. After demonstrating your credibility as an organization, you now want to discuss the actual product or service you’re trying to sell to the prospective client.

      Explain details such as the benefits the client could gain, the potential return on investment involved, and whether there are any associated risks.

      You also want to mention some existing partners and customers to your product or service, as well as explain why it’s specifically suited to the potential client’s challenges.

    • Discuss the implementation plan. Devote this section to one to two paragraphs that explain exactly how you’re going to deliver the solution you’re offering to the client. Include key details such as:

      • Timeframe of when you’ll deliver the product of service

      • The team and technologies involved in the project

      • From whom and to whom the project will be delivered

  4. Problem and solution statement. The problem and solution statement are one of the most important sections of any business proposal. A well-researched problem statement achieves the following:

    • Shows the client that you’ve done your homework on their company and aren’t just offering them a generic pitch.

    • Point out a problem that the client may not have even been aware of.

    Once you’ve convinced the client that they have a problem that requires solving, you now have an opportunity to step in as the ray of hope that can help them.

    You’re trying to accomplish is create a strong first impression and make the client feel as if you’re offering something truly unique and valuable. Achieve this effect when stating your solution by:

    • Keeping it brief. Summarize your solution in just a paragraph.

    • Mentioning your competitive advantages. If your solution uses proprietary technology or methods, then mention it here.

    • Focus on value. Tie your solution back to the problem. Confidently state how your proposed solution will eliminate the aforementioned challenges of the client and provide a return on investment.

  5. Your qualifications. List relevant, impressive details such as your length of time in the industry and successful track record in tackling similar problems for other clients.

    Other details you might want to include are:

    • The expertise of your workers

    • Industry awards and accolades

    • Satisfied customer testimonials

  6. Outline of the approach. To demonstrate how prepared your company is and explain to the potential client exactly how you’ll solve their challenges, you now want to outline your solution.

    There are various ways you can do this, such as using a flow chart or table or perhaps a roadmap if you want to provide more nuance. For longer-term projects, you could also consider a timeline infographic. Your solution outline should describe the:

    • Timeline. Break up your outline using time, whether that be by weeks or months.

    • Milestones. Explain what you plan to deliver by certain deadlines throughout the timeline.

    • Process. Provide more detail about each milestone and how you’re going to achieve them.

    Make sure to also explain the client’s role throughout the project, such as whether they’ll interact directly with your designers or engineers and how their input and feedback will impact the process.

  7. Deliverables. Explain as exactly as you can what you’re going to deliver and how you plan to do it. This includes details such as:

    • Who will deliver the product, service, and to whom.

    • The exact end product the client will receive.

    • Quantify the deliverable if applicable.

  8. Timeline. The timeline should be just as specific as the deliverables section.

    Break down the timeframe and milestones as much as possible, even down to specific days if you’re able to provide that information. You should also note which milestones and estimations may be prone to future changes.

  9. Pricing. In addition to serving as a detailed reference, your pricing section may also offer different options to the client.

    Using a pricing comparison table is a great way to break down the prices for varying quantities or packages of products you’re offering.

    You don’t want to scare away potential clients with excessively high prices, so if your proposed solution is expensive, then you may want to consider using a stage-pricing model that breaks down each part of your proposal to show the customer exactly what they’re paying for.

  10. Terms and conditions. Use this section to describe exactly what you promise to deliver and what the potential client will pay you in return.

    This includes everything from the project deadline from start to finish, payment schedule, and whether they’ll receive a letter of transmittal to mark delivery.

    You want both parties to know what they agree on, as your terms and conditions will essentially serve as a legal document if confusion or disagreements arise in the future.

    For these reasons, it’s recommended that you consult a lawyer or legal team for this section rather than just relying on our general advice.

  11. Agreement. The agreement is the last section of any business proposal, as well as the simplest.

    Include a small section to receive approval signatures from all necessary parties and individuals.

    You may also repeat your contact information here as a gentle prompt in case the client has any questions in the future.

Additional Tips for Writing a Business Proposal

Writing compelling business proposals is absolutely critical for obtaining clients and establishing business relationships that continue for years.

Here are some additional important tips to consider when drafting your copy:

  • Research your audience. You can’t offer a solution without identifying a problem, and you can’t identify a problem without knowing the audience.

    Before writing your proposal, study the client and learn their:

    • Pain points

    • Budget

    • Deadlines

    • Organizational structure

    This will help you understand how you should present your solution in order to maximize the chances that the prospective client will accept.

  • Pay attention to design. When it comes to persuading others, unconscious cues are just as important as concrete details.

    Make sure that your cover page is clean and professional yet stands out and conveys what’s unique and impressive about your company.

    Pay attention to even subtle points such as the font and colors you use throughout the document. They communicate important things such as how innovative and professional your company is.

  • Reread, then reread again. Studies show that as many as 60% of business proposals that contain typos are rejected for that reason alone.

    Regardless of your proposal’s contents, any noticeable spelling and grammar mistakes will instantly make your company seem unprofessional to your prospective clients.

  • Break up long paragraphs. Make it easier to read for your reader, and break up long paragraphs. Use bullet points, numbered lists, or tables to break up some of the information. If you are unable to break it up in those, use smaller paragraphs with shorter sentences. This helps keep the readers attention.

Writing a Compelling Business Proposal FAQ

  1. What are keywords in a proposal?

    Keywords in a proposal are important words or concepts that are found in your research or writing. To create keywords, make a list of the important and relevant topics and fill those topics with keywords that match the description.

  2. What is the purpose of a business proposal?

    The purpose of a business proposal is to describe in detail how your product will meet the clients needs. Writing a compelling business proposal that is tailored to specific clients can help win new projects and gain new clients that may not have worked with you in the past.

  3. How do you write a good proposal?

    To write a good proposal you need to remember that the proposal is not about you and should benefit the person reading it. You should include make sure your proposal is compelling by tailoring it to the reader and have a confident and direct tone in your writing. The reader won’t be confident in you, if you are not confident in yourself.

  4. What should be included in a business proposal?

    You should include any relevant information that you need to sell the product or service that you are offering. The following information should be included:

    • Company contact information

    • A problem solution statement

    • Pricing tables with a timeline

    • Your qualifications with client testimonials


  1. Scholar Hangout – Tips for Writing Business Proposals

  2. Better Proposals – How to Write A Business Proposal in 2022

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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