Business ProposalsAn effective business proposal informs and persuades efficiently. It features many of the common elements of a report, but its emphasis on persuasion guides the overall presentation. Business proposalsare documents designed to make a persuasive appeal to the audience to achieve a defined outcome, often proposing a solution to a problem. A business proposal includes – Idea - Effective business proposals are built around a great idea or solution. While you may be able to present your normal product, service, or solution in an interesting way, you want your document and its solution to stand out against the background of competing proposals. What makes your idea different or unique? How can you better meet their needs than other vendors? What makes you so special? Business proposals need to have an attractive idea or solution in order to be effective.Traditional Categories - You can be creative in many aspects of the business proposal, but follow the traditional categories. Businesses expect to see information in a specific order, much like a résumé or even a letter. Cover PageTitle page with name, title, date, and specific reference to request for proposal if applicable.Executive SummaryLike an abstract in a report, this is a one- or two-paragraph summary of the product or service and how it meets the requirements and exceeds expectations.BackgroundDiscuss the history of your product, service, and/or company and consider focusing on the relationship between you and the potential buyer and/or similar companies.ProposalThe idea. Who, what, where, when, why, and how. Make it clear and concise. Don’t wastewords, and don’t exaggerate. Use clear, well-supported reasoning to demonstrate your product or service.Market AnalysisWhat currently exists in the marketplace, including competing products or services, and how does your solution compare?BenefitsHow will the potential buyer benefit from the product or service? Be clear, concise, specific, and provide a comprehensive list of immediate, short, and long-term benefits to the company.TimelineA clear presentation, often with visual aids, of the process, from start to finish, with specific, dated benchmarks noted.Marketing PlanDelivery is often the greatest challenge for Web-based services—how will people learn about you? If you are bidding on a gross lot of food service supplies, this may not apply to
you, but if an audience is required for success, you will need a marketing plan.FinanceWhat are the initial costs, when can revenue be anticipated, when will there be a return on investment (if applicable)? Again, the proposal may involve a one-time fixed cost, but if the product or service is to be delivered more than once, and extended financial plan noting costs across time is required.