Writing Business Proposal
by Richard Hill, Ph.D.
Writing Your Business Proposal: Tips to
get you started
You have a business prospect and you need to do
some serious writing. A business proposal is the task. So you go to Google and type in "writing business proposal."
Hmmm. You immediately wish you'd typed in
"Writing business proposal free" because every page you get is
trying to sell you a program or book. None gives you any actual
"writing business proposal" information.
But here's the good news: This page will
provide some formal writing business proposal basics, and it won't
cost you anything. If you have incentive and sales sense, you can
take this information, click on a few other specific information
sites (model business letter, business proposal outline, etc), and
begin writing a business proposal that will sell.
Writing Business Proposal Components: The
ABC's (&D's) of Success:
A. Cover letter or "transmittal document." This
is an introduction to your writing business proposal package in
three short paragraphs. Use formal business letter format, with
letterhead, inside address, and "Dear Mr. (or Ms.). Sign it
-Paragraph 1 introduces you or reminds the
addressee that you've had previous contact.
-Paragraph 2 very briefly outlines what the
proposal addresses and that it will benefit the company. Be brief
and avoid going into detail.
-Paragraph 3 Thanks the reader and looks
forward to hearing from him or her once he or she has read the full
B. Executive Summary: This is a one-page
summary of your proposal. It appears in the writing business
proposal package BEFORE your complete proposal, but you should write
it AFTER you have all your ideas down. You expand on the ideas
introduced in your cover letter, but you're still going light on
detail---save that for your actual proposal.
C. Table of Contents. This looks like a regular
table of contents in books, with titles (from your proposal
subheadings) dots leading to page numbers, and page numbers. Even if
your proposal is only a few pages, you should have a contents page
which acts in conjunction with the executive summary to give an
outline and easy reference to the main points of your proposal. You
can also have a "List of Illustrations" (you should always include
some combination of charts, graphs, tables, and/or photos in your
D. The Proposal. All successful writing
business proposal plans do five things:
1. POINT out a need
2. DEMONSTRATE specifically how you
can meet the need
3. ANTICIPATE objections and
4. OFFER something extra
5. ASK for the order
It's important to note that although you use a
FORMAL FORMAT for your writing business proposal, using a neatly
typed, spell checked, proofread document that scrupulously follows
business writing rules, your actual language should be
INFORMAL---not slangy, but not using archaic "business" lingo like
"Please find herewith enclosed" and suchlike. Write as you would
talk, with CLARITY being top priority.
If you include all of the above in a
professional-looking document, you have a fighting chance of having
your writing business proposal seriously considered.
Next Step: You should be able to block out most
of what you want from the information provided. The web or your
local library can provide more tips on fine tuning.
Rick Hill teaches Business
writing at the college level. See his bio at the top of the page.