How to Write a Successful Business Proposal? (Example and Template Included)

The Guide Includes: The 10 Sections of a Business Propsal • An Example • Sample Email • Free Word Template

Business proposals play a critical role in the corporate world. They serve as a key communication tool to convey your organization's capabilities and vision to potential clients or partners.

Business proposals are important because they outline your enterprise's solution to a specific problem. They demonstrate your understanding of your client's needs, your company's ability to meet them, and your commitment to delivering high-quality service or products.

The document should have the following sections: Title page, Table of contents, Executive summary, Problem statement, Pricing details, Company overview, Timeline, Terms, Acceptance, and Annexes. Learn the essential details for each one of them by reading on.

What is a Business Proposal?

A business proposal is a document that describes a specific service, product, or solution that you're offering to a potential client or partner. It details the cost, timeline, and method of execution and is generally written in response to a client's Request for Proposal (RFP). 

Business proposals are also known as bids or pitches highlighting your product or service to a prospective customer.

Types of Business Proposals:

There are practically three types of business proposals depending on the relationship between the prospective client and the solution that is offered:

  1. Formally Solicited: Written in response to an official request for proposal.
  2. Informally Solicited: Less formal and typically results from casual conversation or meetings.
  3. Unsolicited: Sent to potential clients who have not requested a proposal, similar to a marketing document.

How to Write a Business Proposal?

You have a prospective client asking for a business proposal for a certain service, product, or solution. You want to provide as many details as possible; however, you must follow a certain structure that ensures that the customer can understand exactly what this collaboration implies, what he has to win, and why this collaboration is good without overwhelming your counterpart.

If you're planning to create a business proposal template, it's essential to understand its components. A winning business proposal should include the following at a high level:

  1. Title Page
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Executive Summary
  4. Problem Statement
  5. Proposed Solution
  6. Pricing Information
  7. Company Overview and Qualifications
  8. Timeline and Milestones
  9. Terms and Conditions
  10. Acceptance

To help you get started, let's take a closer look at each of these sections.

1. Title Page

The title page is the first page of your business proposal and serves as a formal introduction. It includes essential information about your proposal, such as the proposal title, your company name/logo, the date, and contact information.

Here are the top elements that you should not miss:

  • Proposal title: A concise and descriptive title that captures the essence of your proposal.
  • Company name/logo: Clearly display your company's name or logo for brand recognition.
  • Date: The date on which the proposal is submitted.
  • Contact information: Provide your company's contact details, including phone number, email address, and website.

2. Table of Contents

The table of contents provides an organized outline of the sections and subsections within your proposal, allowing readers to navigate easily. Word processors will automatically generate the table of contents, with the chapters and page numbers; however, if you're using a design tool like Canva, you will have to write them manually. Consider not missing the following elements:

  • List all major sections and subsections of the proposal.
  • Use clear and descriptive headings to guide readers.
  • Include page numbers for each section to facilitate quick reference.

3. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a concise overview of your entire business proposal. It provides a high-level summary of the most important points and aims to captivate the reader's interest. New founders are often blocked when they have to write the executive summary. What we do recommend is to write it after you have the other sections detailed, and you will be able to summarize the key details that matter for the prospective buyer:

  • Briefly introduce your company and its expertise.
  • Clearly state the purpose and objectives of the proposal.
  • Summarize the problem statement, proposed solution, and key benefits.
  • Highlight the unique selling points or competitive advantages of your solution.
  • Include a call to action, encouraging the buyer to continue reading and consider your proposal.

4. Problem Statement

The problem statement section identifies and articulates the specific issue or challenge that your proposal aims to address. It establishes the context and importance of your proposed solution. The easiest way to write the problem statement is to list the issues that the client provided and develop around them in the following way:

  • Clearly define the problem or challenge faced by the client or industry.
  • Provide relevant data, statistics, or examples to support the existence and impact of the problem.
  • Discuss the implications of the problem on the client's goals, performance, or bottom line.
  • Demonstrate your understanding of the problem and its complexity.
  • Conclude the problem statement by emphasizing the need for a solution.

5. Proposed Solution

The proposed solution section outlines your approach and strategies for solving the identified problem. It highlights the value and benefits that your solution will bring to the client. As a recommendation for your business proposal, we do recommend tackling the following checkboxes:

  • Present your solution as a direct response to the problem statement.
  • Outline the key features and components of your solution.
  • Explain how your solution addresses the client's specific needs and objectives.
  • Highlight the unique aspects or innovative elements of your solution.
  • Clearly articulate the benefits and advantages the client will gain from implementing your solution.
  • Support your proposal with case studies, success stories, or testimonials, if available.

6. Pricing Information

Provide a detailed breakdown of costs associated with your solution. This should be clear and transparent.

Specify your costs, fees, billing, payment terms, and contract length. Be transparent and break out all expenses.

Some extra details that could be added within the pricing, estimates, and billing section include:

  • Clearly state the pricing model, whether it's fixed, hourly, or based on deliverables.
  • Provide a breakdown of costs, including labor, materials, equipment, and any additional expenses.
  • Present estimates for each project component, including a total cost estimate.
  • Specify the billing cycle, payment terms, and accepted methods of payment.
  • Highlight any terms related to deposits, milestones, or invoicing.

7. Company Overview and Qualifications

Within this essential section of the business proposal, it's recommended that you highlight the following aspects:

  • Introduce your company, including its name, mission, and core values.
  • Highlight your company's relevant experience, expertise, and track record in similar projects or industries.
  • Showcase relevant certifications, awards, or affiliations that enhance your credibility.
  • Mention key team members and their qualifications, emphasizing their expertise and roles in the project.
  • Provide case studies, testimonials, or references supporting your company's capabilities.

8. Timeline and Milestones

The timeline section outlines the proposed schedule or timeline for the project's completion, indicating key milestones and deliverables.

In this section, you should focus on the following elements:

  • Present a detailed timeline, breaking down the project into phases or stages.
  • Specify start and end dates for each phase, along with key milestones and deliverables.
  • Include dependencies or critical path items that may impact the overall timeline.
  • Indicate any contingencies or buffers for potential delays or unforeseen circumstances.
  • Communicate the project's overall duration and highlight any time-sensitive aspects.

9. Terms and Conditions

This section outlines the legal and contractual terms under which the proposed project will be executed.

When speaking about terms, they are important, especially regarding legal aspects. This is why we recommend addressing the following aspects:

  • Specify the scope of work, clearly defining what is included and excluded from the proposal.
  • Include any warranties or guarantees related to the project or deliverables.
  • Address intellectual property rights and ownership of work produced under the project.
  • Outline any limitations of liability or indemnification clauses to protect both parties.
  • Include any termination or dispute resolution procedures.

10. Acceptance

The acceptance section indicates how the client can accept the proposal, solidifying the commitment to move forward.

The acceptance is usually a page where contractual aspects get validated as follows:

  • Clearly state the acceptance process, whether it's through written confirmation, signing a contract, or other means.
  • Specify any deadlines or expiration dates for accepting the proposal.
  • Provide contact information for the responsible party to facilitate acceptance.
  • Include any specific instructions or requirements for acceptance.

Appendix (optional):

The appendix section serves as a supplementary section where additional supporting documents or information can be included. As a good practice, you can organize the appendix with clear headings or tabs for easy reference.

Within the appendix, the proposers usually add:

  • Attach any relevant documents, such as resumes, project samples, licenses, permits, or legal agreements.
  • Include financial statements, market or SWOT analysis, references, or other supporting materials that enhance your proposal's credibility.

The goal is to convince the client you understand their needs and have an effective, profitable solution. Write in an honest, professional tone rather than an overly salesy pitch. Prioritize clear communication tailored to the client.

You might have seen some sample proposals with fancy images with colors that look good. They are great; however, consider that you're not selling your graphic design skills but your ability to execute the client's problem. The key is to make the format easy to follow, with the correct set of insights and the right price, so that your client feels confident that it is making the right decision by working with you.

Business Proposal Template

If you would like to download a ready-to-use template covering your business proposal's essential details, we have prepared the following template. It is in Word, is free of charge, and can be customized according to your needs. If you need to add additional sections, do so. 

Remember that it is important to personalize each section with your details so that it is specific to the customers you plan to sell your services. The first time it might be a bit more complicated, and you may have some difficulties writing the executive summary or the problem statement; however, with time, experience comes, and a new proposal will become easier. You will be able to reuse previous proposals; however, just by changing, let's say, the pricing information or customizing the proposed solution, things will advance faster. More significant businesses operate in this way. 

Download The Business Proposal Template

Business Proposal Example

The example provided follow the template format covering the main headings: Title page, Table of contents, Executive summary, Problem statement, Pricing details, Company overview, and a Summary. This busines proposal example is from an advertising agency towards an energy company to help drive more leads and generate more visibility. The basic example covers the essentials. Use it a draft version one for your proposal to give you an idea where you should aim at.

John Marconi
ABC Advertising
700 3rd Ave, New York, 
NY 10017, USA 

December 10, 20XX

Fabio Castruci
VP Marketing
DEC Energy
555 Fulton St, Brooklyn, 
NY 11238, USA

Business Proposal

Tailored Advertising Solutions to Power Your Business Forward

1. Executive Summary

ABC Advertising proposes an integrated marketing campaign for DEC Energy to increase brand awareness and customer acquisitions in the northeast region. By leveraging our industry expertise and proven marketing methodologies, we aim to position your company as a leader in the energy sector and help you achieve your business goals. Our data-driven approach will deliver an estimated 15% increase in leads and a 10% increase in sales within the first year.

2. Company Overview

ABC Advertising is an award-winning agency with 15 years of experience designing results-driven marketing campaigns for energy companies, including GHI Power and JKL Solar. Our team of 50 marketing experts has the skills and expertise to execute this campaign.

3. Problem Statement

DEC Energy needs to expand its market share in the competitive northeast region. Research shows brand awareness is low compared to competitors at just 30%. Current lead generation efforts produce only 100 leads per month with a 15% conversion rate. DEC needs an effective strategy and expert execution to strengthen branding, generate more leads, and increase conversions.

4. Proposed Solution

ABC will design an integrated marketing campaign focused on digital marketing, social media marketing, and traditional media in the northeast region. Tactics will include:

  • Search engine optimization and pay-per-click ads
  • Targeted social media advertising on Facebook and Instagram
  • Print and radio ads in CT, NY, and NJ
  • Direct mail campaign
  • Email marketing nurturing program
  • Comprehensive tracking and optimization

Scope of work

The 12-month campaign will kick off on January 1, 20XX, with research and planning. Execution of digital, print, and radio tactics will ramp up in Q2 and analyze results through the end of Q4 20XX. ABC will provide strategic guidance and the creation of all assets. DEC is responsible for campaign approvals.

5. Payment Information

ABC proposes a fixed budget of $450,000 to cover all campaign execution, production, and labor costs. Monthly installments of $37,500 will be billed to DEC. Media buying fees will be billed at a pre-approved rate.

Expected Outcomes

We estimate this integrated campaign can deliver:

  • 15% increase in qualified leads per month (115 leads)
  • 10% increase in conversions (16 sales per month)
  • Double website visitors and 5x social media engagement.

This campaign will strengthen DEC Energy's brand and lead generation in key northeast markets. We look forward to the opportunity to drive results. Please contact me with any questions.

Measurement and Reporting

Our agency believes in transparency and accountability. We will track the performance of each marketing initiative meticulously and provide you with regular progress reports. These reports will offer valuable insights into campaign effectiveness, audience engagement, and lead conversion rates.

6. Timeline and Milestones

We understand the importance of timely execution in meeting DEF Energy's marketing objectives. The proposed timeline for the marketing campaign is as follows:

  • Phase 1: Campaign Planning and Strategy Development (Month 1)
  • Phase 2: Content Creation and Design (Months 2-3)
  • Phase 3: Campaign Launch and Execution (Months 4-6)
  • Phase 4: Performance Monitoring and Optimization (Ongoing)

Milestones will be established for each phase to ensure progress and alignment with the overall campaign timeline. Detailed timelines and specific milestones are provided in the attached Timeline document.

7. Terms and Conditions

To establish a clear understanding between ABC Advertising and DEF Energy, the following terms and conditions govern our partnership:

  • Scope of Work: The scope of work includes the services and deliverables outlined in the attached Proposal document. Any additional services or changes to the scope will be addressed through a separate written agreement.
  • Intellectual Property: All intellectual property rights for creative materials developed by ABC Advertising during the campaign will be transferred to DEF Energy upon receipt of full payment.
  • Limitation of Liability: ABC Advertising's liability is limited to the fees paid for the services provided. We cannot be held responsible for any indirect, consequential, or incidental damages.
  • Termination: Either party may terminate the agreement in writing with a notice period of 30 days. Any fees due up until the termination date will be invoiced and payable.
  • Confidentiality: ABC Advertising will treat all information shared by DEF Energy as confidential and will not disclose it to third parties without prior consent.

8. Acceptance

To proceed with this marketing campaign, DEF Energy is kindly requested to provide written acceptance of this proposal. Upon acceptance, we will initiate the onboarding process and ensure a seamless transition to begin the campaign.

Please sign and return a copy of this proposal by [date] to confirm your acceptance of our terms and intentions to proceed.

9. Appendix

The appendix section includes supporting documents that provide additional information regarding ABC Advertising's capabilities and relevant materials, including:

  • Cost Estimate: Detailed breakdown of the costs associated with the marketing campaign.
  • Portfolio: Case studies and examples of successful campaigns.
  • Timeline: Detailed timeline and milestones for the proposed marketing campaign.
  • References: Contact information for client references and testimonials.

We believe that this comprehensive proposal addresses DEF Energy's marketing requirements effectively and demonstrates our commitment to delivering exceptional results. Should you require any further information or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What is the business proposal mail format?

When it comes to sending a proposal to a potential client, it's important to do it in a professional and personalized manner. One way to do this is by sending an email that introduces your company and includes a customized proposal that speaks to the specific needs and goals of the client.

If you're looking for a proposal template that you can easily personalize and send, we have one available for you. Simply copy and paste the content into your email platform, personalize it with your own company and client information, and send it along to your potential client. This will save you time and ensure that your proposal looks professional and polished.

Subject: Marketing Proposal for DEF Energy

Dear [Recipient's Name],

We analyzed DEF Energy's marketing needs and developed a customized marketing strategy to address your specific goals and challenges. Our proposed marketing campaign encompasses a comprehensive approach that includes strategic planning, content creation, digital advertising, social media management, and campaign analysis and optimization.

ABC Advertising is a leading marketing agency with over a decade of experience in the energy sector. Our skilled professionals specialize in digital marketing, content creation, SEO, social media management, and campaign analysis.

Please review the attached proposal, including a cost breakdown, a comprehensive timeline, and terms and conditions. We have also included a portfolio showcasing our successful campaigns and references from satisfied clients in the energy sector.

Thank you for considering ABC Advertising as your marketing partner. We are excited about the opportunity to work with DEF Energy and contribute to your marketing success.


John Marconi, CEO

ABC Advertising

10 Essential Business Proposal Tips

In this section, we expand a bit on key tips and best practices that will win more deals and get your offer faster to the decision-makers. The elements listed below might sound easy. However, they add great value to any proposal: 

  1. Understand your client's needs.
  2. Be clear and concise.
  3. Use persuasive language.
  4. Be transparent about costs.
  5. Highlight your unique value proposition.
  6. Include testimonials or case studies.
  7. Include data and visuals.
  8. Proofread for errors.
  9. Use professional formatting.
  10. Include a call to action.
  11. Follow up after sending the proposal.

Tips on Following Up with a Business Proposal

Ok, it happens that you sent a good proposal and had a call with your partner, and the initial engagement was positive. However, two weeks have passed, and you didn't get any feedback whatsoever. 

  1. Wait for a reasonable period before following up.
  2. Be professional and courteous in your follow-up communication.
  3. Reinforce your value proposition.
  4. Be ready to respond to queries or provide extra information.

FAQ Business Proposals

What is the Goal of a Business Proposal?

A business proposal aims to convince potential clients or partners to do business with you. It outlines your capabilities, approach, and how you can add value to their operation.

What Should You Include in a Business Proposal?

The key parts of a business proposal structure include:

  1. Title Page: Includes your company name, logo, proposal title, client's name, and date.
  2. Table of Contents: Lists all the headings of the proposal.
  3. Executive Summary: A synopsis of the proposal.
  4. Problem Statement: Detailed explanation of the problem.
  5. Proposed Solution: Description of your solution.
  6. Pricing Information: Breakdown of costs.
  7. Company Overview: Introduction to your company.
  8. Conclusion: Summary and next steps.

How Long Should a Business Proposal Be?

Here are some general guidelines for the length of a business proposal:

  • 1-10 pages - A short proposal covering a simple project or request. Includes brief overview, timeline, and pricing.
  • 10-15 pages - A medium proposal for a more complex project. Includes executive summary, scope, timelines, pricing, etc.
  • 15-30 pages - A detailed proposal for a major project or partnership. Includes full background, project details, timelines, pricing, terms, etc.
  • 30+ pages - An extremely comprehensive proposal for a large, multi-year project partnership.

The length will depend on the complexity of the project, the relationship with the client, and the amount of detail required. A good rule of thumb is to be as concise as possible while still including all relevant information the client needs to make a decision.

It's often better to be shorter and avoid unnecessary content that dilutes your main points. Focus on the value you will provide, the problems you will solve, and relevant facts that back up your recommendation. Quality over quantity.

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