Business Proposal

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What is a Business Proposal?

A written business proposal is a legal document that a business owner or salesperson sends to a prospective client to win a job. Customers often request business proposals from companies to get an idea of what work is needed, how much it will cost, how long it will take, and what qualifications the company has to complete the job.

What's Included in a Business Proposal?

Successful business proposals are all-inclusive of all the information a customer needs to decide whether to do business with a particular company. Business contract lawyers specialize in ensuring that each detail of a business proposal is accurate and reflects all the information needed for such a decision.

Here is a rundown of what a business proposal includes:

  • Cover letter
  • Title page
  • Table of contents
  • Statement of issue
  • Approach and methodology
  • Qualifications
  • Schedule and milestones
  • Cost
  • Payment schedules
  • Legal measures

Check out this article to learn more about what's included in a business proposal.

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How to Write a Business Proposal – Step by Step

Writing a business proposal might sound intimidating, but it's not as difficult as you might expect. Business contract lawyers typically complete the work in nine simple steps.

Here's a description of each step in the process:

Step One: Decide How to Format Your Proposal

The way you format your proposal significantly impacts how well it will convince the requestor to hire you. You must make sure the document is easy to read, broken up into the right sections and is not overwhelming to look at.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is by using a contract template to guide you. This takes the format work out of it and leaves you to focus on the meat of your proposal.

Step Two: Create a Cover Letter

The cover letter includes high-level information about the job, how the issue will be solved, and what qualifications the bidder possesses that makes them suited to complete the work. It can also include a summary of pricing, schedules, and legal matters regarding the job.

Step Three: Craft Your Title Page

The title page identifies the parties to the business agreement. It contains this information:

  • Name of the bidder and the bidder's company
  • Name of the person requesting the proposal
  • Date

Step Four: Write a Table of Contents

The table of contents helps define words used throughout the proposal to ensure that anyone that reads it thoroughly comprehends what the document says. This portion of the proposal should always be placed after the title page and before the body of the proposal.

Step Five: Draft a Statement of Issue

This section of a proposal is intended to identify the needs of the requestor. It gives the bidder a platform where they can demonstrate that they understand the issue.

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Step Six: Describe Your Approach and Methodology

The approach section of a business proposal describes how the bidder plans to solve the problem or complete the job. While each of the previous areas of a business proposal are high-level overviews, this is the first portion of the document that should be very detailed. It should contain an in-depth look at how the bidder intends to fix the problem.

While this section is designed to be as detailed as possible, everything should be explained in layman's terms. This ensures that the requestor doesn't get lost in confusing jargon, discouraging them from choosing the bidder to complete the work.

Step Seven: Describe Your Qualifications

The qualifications section of a business proposal is where businesses describe the skills and qualifications they have to complete the job. This section is significant because it sets bidders apart from the competition, making it easier for requestors to choose the right bidder.

Step Eight: Outline Project Schedule and Milestones

The schedule and milestones section of a business proposal describes how long the job will take and what actions will be taken in which timeframes to get to the finish line. Many bidders find it helpful to break jobs down into sections, also called milestones, to best communicate how they plan to tackle the job.

Step Nine: Quote Cost, Payment Schedules, and Legal Measures

Business proposals exist to allow businesses to win jobs to make money. The last section of a business proposal outlines how much the job will cost and the payments. It should also describe what actions can be taken if payments are late or missed altogether.

This portion also includes details about legal measures that govern the business proposal and relationship. If any special licensing, permits, or other formal documents are needed, they will be outlined here.

This section might also include details about these:

Here is an article about how to create a winning business proposal.

Types of Business Proposals

There are two different types of business proposals: unsolicited and solicited .

Unsolicited business proposals are sent out to potential customers even despite not being requested. These proposals are helpful for companies that see an opportunity to provide a service to a client who may not know how to benefit from the services.

Unsolicited business proposals are especially valuable to companies who are new to their platform. It allows them to market their services to gain their first clients and build their reputation as an authority in their field.

On the other hand, solicited business proposals are requested by an entity searching for someone to complete a job or project. Requestors can send requests for proposals directly to specific clients or place the project as "out for bid," which alerts qualified business owners about the opportunity to decide if they want to place a bid.

Solicited business proposals are significant for clients who want to make sure they hire the perfect person for the job. Since the submission contains all the information they need to make a hiring decision, requesting a proposal is the best way to organize a pool of applicants.

Learn more about the types of business proposals by checking out this article .

Business Proposal Examples

Business proposals are legal documents that exist to tell potential clients about services a business has to offer. Here are some examples of the types of business proposals out there:

Solicited Business Proposal Example

Teyana decides that she wants to hire a website designer to recreate her company's website. She asks around and gets referrals to three separate web design companies. She requests a proposal from each of them and compares the terms of each to help her decide which person to choose. In the end, she decided to hire a company that combined the most experience with the most competitive rate.

Unsolicited Business Proposal Example

When Kareem checked his morning emails, he came across a business proposal from a local landscaping company, which described the company's services to make his home office have better curb appeal. Even though he didn't request the proposal, he found that he was interested in the company's services. He contacted the company and decided to move forward with the proposed work.

Learn more about business proposals by reading this article .

Get Help with a Business Proposal

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Meet some of our Business Proposal Lawyers

Max M. on ContractsCounsel
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4.9 (17)
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Max M.

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Free Consultation
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Results oriented business attorney focusing on the health care sector. Formerly worked in Biglaw doing large multi-million dollar mergers and acquisitions, financing, and outside corporate counsel. I brought my skillset to the small firm market, provide the highest level of professionalism and sophistication to smaller and startup companies.

Jaroslaw P. on ContractsCounsel
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July 20, 2021

Jaroslaw P.

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Warsaw, Poland
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Wroclaw University - Law

Attorney - I graduated in Law from the University of Wroclaw and in Economics from the Scottish University of Aberdeen; My legal interests include, in particular: contracts, intellectual property, and corporate law, as well as transactional / regulatory advisory along with related risk management (M&A); The industries with which I have worked most often are: IT, real estate and construction, professional sport, industrial chemistry and medicine, oil & gas, energy, and financial services; I possess many years of experiences working with international entities for which I have prepared and negotiated contracts, as well as (due diligence) reports, analyses, litigation documents, and presentations; Apart from law firms, I have also worked for investment banks and big 4 - thanks to that I also gained financial, technological, and consulting experiences; I shall be described by: accuracy, openness, honesty, concreteness, a broad approach to the problem, and ... a lack of bad manners, along with a good sense of humour :)

Yaser M. on ContractsCounsel
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Member Since:
July 21, 2021

Yaser M.

Self Employed
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12 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
University of London

I have practiced law in foreign jurisdiction for more than 11 years and more than one year in Texas. I am Texas licensed attorney. Practice areas include Corporate: incorporation of business entities, drafting of operating agreements, by-laws, and business contracts; Commercial: business disputes, demand letters, cease and desist lettera, dealing with insurance companies, negotiations, settlements of disputes, commercial real estate, and business litigation Litigation: business disputes, personal injury, civil rights, cross-border matters, maritime matters, drafting of litigation pleadings, motion practice, legal research, white-collar defense.

Joseph L. on ContractsCounsel
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Joseph L.

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Mr. LaRocco's focus is business law, corporate structuring, and contracts. He has a depth of experience working with entrepreneurs and startups, including some small public companies. As a result of his business background, he has not only acted as general counsel to companies, but has also been on the board of directors of several and been a business advisor and strategist. Some clients and projects I have recently done work for include a hospitality consulting company, a web development/marketing agency, a modular home company, an e-commerce consumer goods company, an online ordering app for restaurants, a music file-sharing company, a company that licenses its photos and graphic images, a video editing company, several SaaS companies, a merchant processing/services company, a financial services software company that earned a licensing and marketing contract with Thomson Reuters, and a real estate software company.

Harry S. on ContractsCounsel
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5.0 (1)
Member Since:
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Harry S.

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Stirk Law is a law firm based in London that advises on dispute resolution, commercial and corporate arrangements, employment and private wealth. We are experts in our areas and experienced in advising on complex and high value matters in the UK and internationally. We have extensive onshore and offshore experience across a variety of areas such as the administration of trusts together with complex fraud and trust disputes. Our expertise includes the conduct of significant and high-value cases valued at up to in excess of £1 billion over a combined 40 years of legal practice in England, Jersey and Guernsey. As well as having a large international network, we work closely with a corporate investigations and risk advisory business based in London and Vienna. Together we can deliver a holistic service for cases involving fraud, dissipation of assets or other illegal activity.

Talin H. on ContractsCounsel
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Member Since:
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Talin H.

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Talin has over a decade of focused experience in business and international law. She is fiercely dedicated to her clients, thorough, detail-oriented, and gets the job done.

Stanley K. on ContractsCounsel
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Stanley K.

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Waltham, MA
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Stan provides legal services to small to medium-sized clients in the New England region, and throughout the U.S. and abroad. His clients are involved in a variety of business sectors, including software development, e-commerce, investment management and advising, health care, manufacturing, biotechnology, telecommunications, retailing, and consulting and other services. Stan focuses on the unique needs of each of his clients, and seeks to establish long term relationships with them by providing timely, highly professional services and practical business judgment. Each client's objectives, business and management styles are carefully considered to help him provide more focused and relevant services. Stan also acts as an outsourced general counsel for some of his clients for the general management of their legal function, including the establishment of budgets, creation of internal compliance procedures, and the oversight of litigation or other outside legal services.

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