There are several steps to how to write a business proposal and the first one is to determine what type of proposal you want to write. There are typically three types of proposals, planning, research or sales proposals. A proposal can have all of these elements within it so it may fall under its own classification. Proposals are either external or internal and solicited or unsolicited. It is easier to get attention with a solicited proposal than it is with an unsolicited proposal.
Before you write your proposal, you need to prepare an outline. The outline will help you to prepare your thoughts and put them in an order that makes sense. It will also help you to see where (or if) you are missing any important information.
Your outline should be broken down into three sections, the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The introduction should include information about who you are and what you have to offer the company. If it is an internal proposal, you should introduce yourself and the department you work for. The body needs to address the problem or need and then provide the solution. The conclusion will readdress the key points and then reiterate the benefit of using your company (or idea) for the problem/need.
Once your outline is complete, you need to write the actual proposal. Unless you are writing a research proposal, your proposal will take on the format of a formal letter. Your title needs to be clear and concise, but, it also needs to be attention grabbing as well, especially if the proposal is a solicited one. An engaging title can actually put your proposal at the top of the stack in terms of interest.
Your actual proposal needs to be easy to read while addressing all of the concerns of the company in question. If you are responding to a solicited proposal then you need to read the instructions that they provide completely and follow them to the tee. If you miss even one element, your proposal will not be successful. Many companies miss out because they omit a tiny element or format their proposal differently than requested, so keep that in mind.
Writing a proposal doesn’t have to complex, in fact, often simple and easy to read proposal get more responses than proposals that are highly technical and extremly long. By following the request for proposal (RFP) instructions explicitely with an appealing title, you will create a business proposal that gets attention.