A winning business proposal should start with a brief introduction, summarizing the problem and the proposed solution. Keep it short and free from jargon.
The project overview will go into more detail about the problem. Take this opportunity to show your understanding of the client’s needs.
- For context, it can help to reiterate how things are currently setup or done, and why.
- Cover off the questions and answers that have been addressed in your initial meetings/discussions.
- List your in-depth findings and discoveries, highlighting the current problem(s).
- Most importantly, show that you understand your clients needs and requirements.
- With an awareness of the problem you can now propose a thoughtful solution for the client, and establish some agreeable goals.
Some clients will already be clear about their problem and will have some idea of what’s needed, but it’s up to you to ensure everything is covered. Remember, you are the expert in your field here!
The solution is all about how you plan to solve the problem and fulfil the goals.
This is where you scope out the project, by listing step-by-step details of what’s involved and what you intend to do. It’s good to talk about the methods you’ll use here – in non-jargon, easy-to-read language. Don’t forget to say why these methods are the best choice.
- Identify who will be doing what. Specify any tasks that the client will be responsible for, along with any deadlines they’ll need to stick to.
- Work out a timeframe and link it to key project milestones.
- You can provide additional options, which will add value and enhance the solution. These would be things that the client hasn’t necessarily asked for, and it will show them that you care about the success of their project.
- It’s really important to be clear about what is and what isn’t included in the solution. If something is outside of this scope of work then talk about how it can be looked at and considered separately.
The project investment (or budget) should include a breakdown of all costs to deliver the solution.
These costs should be itemized at a broad level so that the client has some idea of what their investment is being spent on. But don’t get too detailed in the breakdown, as you don’t want the client to pick and choose based on price alone.
If there’s a setup or early stage cost involved, include it here. Breaking this down as a separate cost will make it easier to invoice sooner.
This is the bulk of the project costs. Broadly list the key tasks or milestones involved.
Ongoing (monthly) costs
The best business is recurring business! Here’s why...
- It’s good for your client, because it assures them you’re committed for the long term.
- It’s good for you, because it’s a guaranteed regular income.
So if there’s ongoing work or a retainer involved, you can specify these costs on a monthly (or weekly/yearly) basis. This keeps them separate from the upfront costs. Check out how this accounting quote sample presents ongoing costs.
(for 24 months)
(for 24 months)
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A simple time frame will help to keep any project on track.
It should start with the first steps, then include the various project milestones, and finish with the conclusion of the project. Be sure to highlight anything that is the client’s responsibility, to prevent them from causing any delays to the project.
Example time frame:
- Week 1: Proposal accepted. Meet to confirm project plan.
- Week 2: Setup new process.
- Week 3: Milestone A complete.
- Week 4: Milestone B complete.
- Week 5: Milestone C complete.
- Week 6: Final delivery, handover, and training.
Set out any project expectations you have for the client, i.e. information they’ll need to provide to you, and by when, so that you can do your work.
Specify your payment terms, including:
- When payments are due, including a payment plan if applicable.
- How the client can pay.
- What the penalties are for late payment.
Talk about ownership and copyright in respect of the work produced for the client. Will you own the copyright? Or is it released to the client upon project completion and receipt of full payment?
If there’s ongoing work involved in the project, you’ll need to include some cancellation terms.
List any relevant warranties or guarantees that you’ll be providing on this project.
Your work and your methods are so good that you can confidently back them up with a guarantee. For example, you promise your client that you can increase new leads by 50%+ in three months, and if not, you’ll refund them.
You could warrant against any errors or omissions in your work, and promise to make them right, for no extra charge, at anytime within the next 12 months.
Chances are, your competitors would be too afraid to offer anything like this.
Sell yourself and your company, but keep it relevant to your client. Explain why you’re qualified and the best choice for this project.
Make your availability known, and make it clear that your company has the resources ready to undertake this project within the required timeframe.
You may also like to take the opportunity to introduce any affiliate businesses your company works with, such as those featured on this Sales Price Quote Example.
Talk about the specialists on your team who will be integral in making this project a success. Highlight their relevant experience and qualifications.
Thank the client for everything they’ve shared with you so far, and for considering your company for this project.
Explain what happens next. Reduce any friction in getting the go ahead.
Point out that they can ask questions directly below and that they can accept this proposal when they’re ready to proceed.
It’s Business Time ;)