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What Does It Mean to Draft a Business Proposal?

Business proposals help B2B companies secure new clients. A business proposal is a written document in hopes of acquiring a sales agreement or project contract.

Proposals often confuse business plans, but these two have substantial differences. A business proposal is designed to sell a product or service to new clients. In contrast, a business plan promotes the company, usually to investors.

Here is an article about business proposals and how they help small companies.

Types of Business Proposals

There are three primary types of business proposals:

Formally Solicited

A potential client requests a formally solicited business proposal. They submit a request to your company, and you submit a business proposal based on their needs and any information you gathered about them beforehand.

Formally solicited business proposals are the most custom type of proposal. Because a customer submits a formal request to learn more about your services, you can adjust the proposal to speak directly to their needs.

Informally Solicited

An informally solicited business proposal is not requested by the customer beforehand, but the desire to hear about a product or service arises through engagement. For example, a potential client might engage with someone from a company, learn about what they do, and then decide to ask more questions on the spot.

Informally solicited proposals are more spontaneous, but they still involve gathering information from a client and writing a document for them.


Unsolicited proposals are submitted to clients without any prompt. They can be considered a form of cold calling in sales where businesses directly approach people they feel would be ideal clients without any prior interaction. It’s important to note that unsolicited proposals need to be presented in a way that’s not offensive or intrusive.

Here is an article with 5 elements of significant business proposals of all types.

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How Do You Write a Business Proposal?

To write a business proposal, you’ll have to understand the critical elements of this sales document and its purpose. Unfortunately, there are some mistakes you can make in writing a business plan instead of a business proposal. They focus too heavily on their company rather than the potential client’s needs.

A business proposal aims to provide solutions for the client to consider. At the end of the proposal, they should feel confident in their options and be enticed to take further action. In addition, they should understand their options and be able to differentiate offerings within the proposal.

A business proposal can be written from scratch or done using a template online. It can include elements such as:

Here is an article by Growthink that compares business plans and business proposals.

What is the Purpose of a Business Proposal?

A business proposal pitches your product or service to potential clients. It helps B2B businesses secure new clientele by offering them a comprehensive understanding of what they stand to receive if they convert.

Business proposals can be detailed and customized to suit each client, which is usually the case with solicited submissions.

In B2B sales, proposals are a key part of customer conversion. Potential clients can inquire about a company’s services, then receive a personalized document outlining their potential costs, benefits, and solutions.

Here is an article about how to write a business proposal correctly.

What Should Be Included in a Business Proposal?

You can customize each business proposal to respect each potential client’s needs. However, it’s helpful always to make sure you include some distinct features that make proposals beneficial to their audience:

  • Include a title page and table of contents. Every good business proposal has a professional title page and table of contents outlining different sections of the document. You should use your company’s branding regarding color scheme, fonts, and graphics on these documents. Include your logo and ensure the document’s design is consistent with existing branding elements.
  • Create an executive summary. Outline the purpose of the proposal with a brief description of your business and the proposal's intent in the executive summary.
  • State the client’s problem. Next, identify the problem your audience has and hopes to resolve. Not only does this set the stage for your proposal, but it also demonstrates that you understand and know your recipient’s needs.
  • Propose a solution. Write one to three ways your company could help resolve the recipient’s problem, including pros and cons when necessary.
  • Discuss price options. You can include price points for each one or estimates based on the average cost of these services.
  • List any terms and conditions. If there are any requirements to keep and maintain a service, such as signing a payment terms agreement or project agreement, make sure to include these details in the proposal.

Here is an article with ContractsCounsel’s guide to writing a business proposal in 9 easy steps.

Example of a Business Proposal

Here are 20 business proposal templates that can help you write your own. Reviewing other companies’ proposals can make it easier for you to develop your structure. Remember that there is always flexibility in your proposals based on your brand and audience.

For example, although professional, some companies have an extraordinarily informal and casual brand tone. As a result, their proposals come off as much more laid back than a corporation or enterprise’s typical branding.

You can always contact a lawyer to help draft a strong business proposal. Experienced business lawyers know precisely what to include to help companies present the most articulate, well-formatted documents.

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ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.

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