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Writing Business Proposal

This page will provide some formal writing business proposal basics, and it won't cost you anything.

























Rick Hill, Ph.D. writes articles, fiction, and poetry and teaches writing at the college level. His new book of poems, No Hands, can be ordered here.



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 "Sincerely."

-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 proposal.

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 proposal.

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 deflect them

            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.

Happy Writing! 

Rick Hill teaches Business writing at the college level. See his bio at the top of the page.

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