example of a business proposal title


17 Business Proposal Examples to Inspire You 


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Table of contents.

Sales generation and winning more businesses are a core part of business success. To get more leads and sales, every company must know how to draft an effective business proposal to persuade the clients to buy from you. 

With a good proposal, you can sell more. The way you write the business proposal can determine your company’s fate- either you win a new business or lose a potential client. The business proposal targets a specific audience for your business and offers them an effective solution to their problem. The purpose of a proposal is to convince your client that you stand ahead of your competitors with unique deliverables. Give them a reason to buy from you.

The structure and format of a business proposal contain a compelling introduction with a project overview. After that, you can state the client’s problems and your unique solutions. Your proposal writing must also include all the standard information such as pricing estimates, work timelines, and testimonials. It is essential that you offer transparency and trust to your target audience alongside the solutions to retain long-term clients. 

If you are struggling with writing a persuasive yet informative business proposal, you can leverage the business proposal examples in this article. 

Best Business Proposal Examples to Inspire You

We have written down the 17 best business proposal examples that will help you create client-winning proposals. Change the structure, headings, and content according to your services and client’s needs.

1. Business Proposal Example

In this proposal document, it is vital to incorporate the standard information for a great sales pitch and win potential clients. This document complies with the needs and demands of the target client and suggests actionable solutions- beneficial for both the client and the company. 

You can be a freelance writing company or a digital marketing firm, the basic framework for a proposal remains constant, with the same purpose of increasing sales conversions and maximizing ROI (return on investment).

A good business proposal includes a thorough project overview, addresses the client’s problems, offers solutions, gives pricing estimates, and a working timeline. Adding client testimonials and the success story (brief) of the past projects is also a plus. 

2. Digital Marketing Proposal Example

This business proposal effectively engages clients with your goods or services and convinces them to consider buying from you. In addition, this proposal document addresses the client’s problems and provides them with solutions.

You can use the first paragraph or the introduction to talk about “what you have to offer” or “why the client needs you.” Then, you can include the key information about increasing organic traffic, generating more leads, better sales conversions, and user engagement.

In this proposal example, it is important to include the payment terms and timeline for the project plan. In addition, you need to include all your services, such as social media marketing, SEO or search engine optimization, PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns, digital content, email marketing, and more.

The marketing proposal will spread your business ideas amongst the clients like a wildfire in the forest- you have to kindle it.

3. Web Design Proposal Example

The web design business proposal addresses the client’s problem by understanding their needs. Whether you are designing the website for a new business, a private company, or a non-profit organization, your proposal must include explicit details.

This proposal template contains the development process of executing the proposed services for the client. Thereby includes a problem overview, solution statement, project timeline, pricing packages (hourly, weekly, yearly), call-to-action, and an “About Us” section.

After the introductory paragraph, you can write the “About Us” and “About the team” sections.

4. Engineering Services Proposal Example

In this business proposal example, you can leverage the client specifications to create a user-friendly proposal. The proposal writing highlights the work process and project plan. This proposal document ensures the client that your proposed solutions are competent to solve their problems directly.

The proposal contains the problem with their solutions, the cost breakdown, timeline, and schedule in the project description.

The “About Us” and “Team” sections come after the proposal’s explicit details, especially the solution. You can further include certifications about your legal team, client testimonials, social proof, and call-to-action to build trust and authenticity.

5. Research Proposal Example

This type of proposal is a coherent yet concise summary of your research study. It specifies the intent of research- the central questions and issues. In this document, you must include the general idea of study and the current state of recent debate or knowledge as per the area of research. 

You must state the pricing estimate for the relevant research project. Include the information that demonstrates your ability to cater to challenging ideas in a clear, critical, and concise way,

You can write the research proposal as a supplier to the client, or as a student to your supervisor. In any case, you must talk about the title, abstract, research context, research questions and methods, the significance of your research, and the bibliography. 

6. Grant Proposal Example

The grant or asking-for-funds proposal t is written in distinct sections. The sections consist of different titles that target the specific guidelines of the granting organization. The main elements of any grant proposal remain the same. It must include a short overview of the executive summary, the statement of your company’s need or problem, a project overview, and your budget to specify the reason why you need the funds. 

To strengthen your proposal, you can also include a cover letter, organizational qualifications, client testimonials, and supporting documents. Ensure that you do not miss any of the funding agency’s guidelines or else the grant will slip out of your hands.

7. Budget Proposal Example

The project completion or grant approval depends on the budget proposal. If this proposal states a high budget, the grant or funding agency will reject your “grant proposal”. As the grant proposal states the budget is to inform the company that you do not have enough funds to complete the project. 

This proposal must include all the basic information about the project and the costs of everything that you can or cannot cover in a given time limit.  

8. IT Consulting Proposal Example

The proposal provides the prospective client with a clear picture of your work intent. Starting from the research to the final sign-off. The proposal must offer answers to the anticipated problems or questions. Ensure the writing format and content are excellent and that the reader says “Yes” to your services before they even finish reading.

Even though the proposal is about IT, you need to avoid the technology-related jargon- keep the content simple and easy to understand. For example, include all the following components such as project overview, estimated pricing, work timeline, scope, business goals, and a case study.

After the solution, you can add the “About Us” sections, CTA (call-to-action), and legal terms. Adding client testimonials and their feedback on your recent work can gain the client’s trust and turn them into a buyer from a reader.

9. Freelance Writing Proposal Example

It is a web-based, well-crafted proposal sample with tempting offers and value clarifications. Even though this type of business proposal must be short and to the point, it is vital to study the client and understand what they want from you.

Write the introduction and executive summary in a composed yet persuasive tone to convince the client that you are the best choice for them.

“About Me (or Us)” sections need to come after discussing the solution.

10. Construction Bid Proposal Example

This business proposal must be accurate, precise, personalized, showcase your company’s potential, and include details.

The proposal must include the scope of work, solution statement, payment schedule, project timeline, approach to unforeseeable conditions like weather and other hidden defects, and your warranty.

While the project proposal must also explain the work schedule and the extra charges applicable for additional work, the introduction needs to target the client’s needs.

11. CRM Implementation Proposal Example

It is essential to use bullet points and a convincing writing tone to deliver a value proposition to write this proposal.

This document must contain details about the focused user adoption plan, incremental delivery, domain knowledge, industrial references, client testimonials, history of past projects, and more.

12. Insurance Services Proposal Example

This proposal is concise and contains various offerings to the client. After an attention-grabbing introduction and executive summary, you can pitch your solutions to the clients.

The proposal must discuss the business plan, scope of work, timelines, and payment schedules. Keep the proposal brief, but do not miss out on the main points.

13. Graphic Design Proposal Example

An illustrative business proposal, written to put forward your skills and offerings to the potential client. The proposal, specifically the introductory and executive summary section, must focus highly on the customer needs and problems.

After highlighting the solutions and deliverables, close your proposal by incorporating credentials, client testimonials, and CTA.

14. Project Proposal Example

This project proposal highlights the company’s understanding and knowledge of the client’s requirements. Although it is challenging to cover all the aspects, the content must be specific yet persuasive and define the value proposition.

You can add details from your past successful project and the criteria for management that led to customer satisfaction. This enables the reader to sense your expertise and experience.

15. Interior Design Proposal Example

A proposal writing that incorporates visually attractive content to persuade the client. It can contain graphics, videos, and an online demo (if the proposal is online) to showcase the business’s strengths and achievements to the client.

16. Sales Proposal Example

This proposal is essential to outline the features of the products and services your company is selling. It is a detailed proposal with all the information about the project overview, solutions, deliverables, price, benefits, work schedule, and more.

To sell and generate revenues for your business, you must create awareness about your offerings. To convert your proposal writing into sales and deal closures, give them a reason to trust you, convince them you are better than your competitors and can resolve their issues.

A poorly written sales proposal means no selling.

17. Social Media Marketing Proposal

A brief discussion about the design layout, color coding, and use of social media icons can turn this business proposal into a great sales pitch.

The proposal must include an easy-to-follow and understand the timeframe for project goals and objectives while ensuring the prospect is abreast of the mode of payment and other relevant details.

Critique/ Analysis : These business proposals follow a particular format structured in a certain way. However, most of them follow the same suit by covering the essential information. The important point to note is that it is advisable to add the “About Us,” “Team,” “Certifications,” and “Testimonial” sections after you have given the project overview with potential solutions.

Write Better Proposals to Win More Business

With empowering proposal writing, let your business proposals do the talking.

The business proposals vary depending on the type and size of the company, and you have to search your target audience to offer them potential solutions. If you are an IT company, you cannot send out business proposals written for freelance writing.

Any proposal aims to target the client’s needs and demands. Above all, to convince them to buy your products and services. Once you analyze and understand what your client wants from you, you can build a solid business proposal that nobody will turn down. If you get stuck, you can talk to your client and understand what they want in a more specific way. You can ask your questions and then narrow down the solutions.

Filling up the proposal with fluff and redundant content decreases its value and risks losing the client- that can be a massive blow to your business.

Leverage any business proposal template that fits your requirements and makes your business successful.

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10 Best Professional Business Proposal Examples

Updated January 2023

A business proposal has the power to make or break your chances of landing a new or top client. If you write a great proposal and contract , you are likely to get them signed up.

Creating a well-crafted proposal will get you more business prospects. The vital question is how can you ensure you include the essential information? 

However, if you write a poor business proposal, you’ll definitely lose out to someone who put in the work – even if the service you offer is the best out there. 

With this in mind, what is a business proposal? How do you write a great business proposal? What information do you need to include, and what is the appropriate business proposal template?

The fact is that this depends on your industry and if you offer a service or product. Luckily, writing a business proposal is relatively straightforward, so you shouldn’t lose sleep over it. This article will answer the above questions, show you several business proposal samples, and more.

Do you need to convert a Word, PPT or other kind of document to PDF? Use Sizle’s free PDF Converter for fast and free file conversion.

What Is a Business Proposal?

Here’s an easy-to-remember definition of a business proposal. It is a written document sent by a supplier to a prospective client to win a project. Basically, it’s a sales document that comes with the regular information found in documents like quotes, estimates, and bids.

A proposal is commonly unsolicited or solicited. This means that the purchasing company is either reacting to an offer or is actively looking for proposals that meet a particular need – in most cases, from a salesperson to appraise a proposal.

How to Write a Business Proposal?

Now, let’s see a step-by-step guide on how to write your business proposal. An ideal business proposal should contain a: 

Title page: This should include your name, the company’s name, the person’s name you are submitting the proposal to, and the date submitted.

Table of contents: this depends on the length of the business proposal. It should come after your title page before you go into details. 

Executive summary:   See example here . Start your proposal with a well-written executive summary. It has to sell your business, the services or products you offer, and the reason you are the ideal candidate for the job. 

Statement of problem: here, you discuss the job or issue at hand. Show your prospective client that you understand what they need, and you grasp the problem they’re trying to solve. 

Approach and methodology: this section shows how you intend to tackle your prospective client’s problem. List the steps you’ll take to actualize your plan.

Qualifications: You’re allowed to brag a little here. In this section, try to convince your prospective client that you’re the most qualified company for the job. Mention relevant education, industry-specific certifications or training(s) you have, similar successful projects done in the past, years of experience, etc.

Schedule and benchmarks: Let your potential client know how long the proposed project will take.

Cost, payment, and other legal matters: The structure of this section depends on the particular service or project you are offering. Disclose how much it’ll cost, and if necessary, a payment schedule. If there are legal issues like licensing or permits, ensure you include it too. 

Benefits: Let your prospective client know everything they have to gain if they choose you to handle the project. Let them know the reasons that make you the best choice and the ways their business will benefit if they choose you as their solution.

Proposals , contracts and other sensitive documents should always be shared securely.

1. Free Business Proposal Template

A business proposal is an ideal way to go If you want to get funds for your business venture. However, drafting a complex business proposal can be a tad difficult. You can fully customize this template, add your company’s logo, change colors and fonts, and upload images, so your proposal stands out. 

2. Free Project Proposal Template

Preparing a research project entails a comprehensive project proposal that describes the tasks and objectives that will be accomplished to attain a specific goal. It is just like a product you’re selling to your customers but through an in-depth written proposal. 

The Free Project Proposal template contains every information clients often look out for in a proposal. Details like the project’s overview, goals, description, anticipated outcomes, and more. You can change layouts, edit the information, and add more details if need be.

3. Consulting Proposal Template

Professionalism is vital with consulting proposals — after all, you are presenting yourself as a specialist in your industry. Use this Consulting Proposal Template to set yourself apart by quickly drafting up sophisticated PDF proposals. 

If you have multiple clients you want to send the proposal to, this template will work perfectly for it. You don’t have to design the proposals from scratch, all you have to do is fill in some important form fields like the project description, scope of work, objectives, company background, and payment terms with the user-friendly PDF Editor. You can also sign off the proposal with an e-signature, and you’re good to go. 

4. Bid Proposal Template

A bid proposal describes what your business can offer the client by describing both the financial means and the action plans to achieve the proposal. Convince a prospective client that you are the perfect fit by including information like project details, estimated cost, and scope of work. Don’t forget to sign off the document with your e-signature. 

5. Sponsorship Proposal Template

If you are wondering how to get funding for your big event, this is the perfect proposal template for you. All you need to do is fill in the form with the event and sponsorship details, and the template creates elegant PDF proposals instantly. You can choose to print, download, or email the proposal to prospective sponsors. 

Keep in mind that your sponsor may also be getting several proposals weekly, so you have to stand out. Talk about your organization’s story, core values, and purpose and describe how your sponsor’s support will benefit you and them as well. The template comes with a drag-and-drop PDF Editor that allows you to add your logo, update colors, and add e-signatures to get a unique look. A sponsor’s support can make or break your fundraising event, so you need to stand out from the crowd. 

6. One Page Proposal Template

This type of document is commonly given to prospective clients for fast and relatively small projects. For it to be approved, you have to show all the essential information on one page. This business proposal should show the problem and also give the solution.

This One Page Proposal Template shows the project details, client information, project duration, estimated budget, objectives, labor, parts, and the approver’s signature. Also, it uses the e-signature widget to show the approver’s digital signature.

7. Grant Proposal

This formal document is used to request funding, a financial budget, or investment from investors. This document must be straightforward and accurate because it will go a long way in convincing the investors to grant the request.  This Grant Proposal looks professional, and you can find the company’s information, the project, goals and objectives, timeline, budget, and approver’s signature. Also, this grant proposal template has a cover letter and a cover page together with the company’s mission and vision. 

With the Configurable List widget, you can display the project timeline, which shows the activity, start, and end date of the project, and you can dynamically add fields as needed. 

8. Marketing Proposal Template

This document is often provided by marketers to prospective clients as they use a letter to communicate their strategy and ideas to help achieve the business goals of the potential client. The marketing proposal document gives information about the latest market trends, their challenges, and the proposal’s purpose is to encourage the client to be part of the project.

It starts with introducing the marketing firm and their methods in planning their marketing approach. The template is customizable, and you can modify it with the PDF builder of JotForm. 

9. Proposal Letter Template

This is a formal letter, and its aim is to bid and close an agreement with another business. A proposal can be either be for a short-term or long-term engagement. It can also be to offer your services for an event or for a continuous business agreement. Whatever the case may be, the letter intends to encourage the recipient to enter into an engagement with the letter’s sender.

10. Non-profit Business Proposal Template

A non-profit business proposal proposes a business plan to an investor that wishes to fund the non-profit organization for a business engagement. It describes the non-profit organization, short or long-term plans, how to attain these goals or a project plan that the organization plans to address.

This proposal offers info on problems the non-profit organization sees and how to address them as a project or business.

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Business proposal sample

summarize in the best of fashion all the finest practices for businesses in their dealings with customers, mostly because they remain focused on the client's solution, giving back to the customer the control over his project."

Sample Business Proposals

Business proposal samples range from short to very long. A simple business proposal example may only be a few pages long while a complex business proposal topics example outline for a government RFP may be 80 pages long. The business proposal format may be very similar across many types of proposals by design while the content of a business project proposal example will vary dramatically. You will see by looking at a wide variety of business proposal sample documents how a similar system and format can be used to create any type of proposal and the topics listed in the samples can be used as guides to get you started faster.

The various Proposal Packs include both sample proposals and the original editable templates used to create the sample proposals. Use them to create your own unique business proposals. In addition to the hundreds of completed samples the Proposal Pack Wizard software includes hundreds of additional ready-made layouts to generate many more documents from lists already used by other companies for their proposals and business documents.

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Create winning business proposals & contracts with minimal effort and cost. Proposal software, proposal templates, legal contracts and sample proposals.

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How to Write a Business Proposal (Examples & Templates)

By Aditya Sheth , Nov 21, 2022

how to write a business proposal

The great Mark Cuban once said, “Sales cure all.” If a business doesn’t sell, it doesn’t make money and by extension the business fails. That’s why you need to write business proposals.

A well-written business proposal can often mean the difference between winning or losing a prospective client.

In this in-depth guide to creating business proposals, we show you how to close more deals, make more sales and crush your business goals — all by using easy-to-edit professional business proposal templates.

Here’s what this guide will cover (click to jump ahead):

What is a business proposal, what should you include in a business proposal, business proposal format, what are the types of business proposals.

More business proposal examples + writing and design tips

Looking for a shortcut? Watch this quick video for an overview of everything to include in your business proposal:

An effective business proposal is a document used by a B2B or business-facing company (this may not always be the case) where a seller aims to persuade a prospective buyer into buying their goods or services.

A business proposal outlines what your business does and what you can do for your client. It can be general like this business proposal example:

general business proposal template

Or it can be more specific, like this business proposal template which focuses on proposing a project for the Newton Center Rail:

simple business proposal project proposal template

Or this business proposal sample, which presents a plan for a social media strategy and campaign:

social media marketing business proposal template

To design a business proposal that holds the client’s attention, identify their pain points . Then provide your buyer with the right solution to alleviate those frustrations.

Return to Table of Contents

A business proposal usually aims to answer the following questions: 

You can see how this sample business proposal template covers the above points.

business project proposal template

Notice how this proposal template addresses the same project like in one of the previous templates, but uses a completely different design style (more retro, while the previous business proposal template is more modern and minimalistic).

You can remove or add more sections depending on the goal of your business proposal. Essential, your business proposal can follow this format:

Table of contents

Executive summary, the problem statement, the proposed solution, qualifications, the timeline, pricing, billing and legal, terms and conditions, the acceptance.

We go into detail on how you can write a business proposal (plus different business proposal templates you can apply the tips to) in the next section . But you can also click on the format items above to learn how you can best write them!

If you aim to create a holistic business proposal, feel free to just edit from the two templates right above. You can also add your brand colors and logo to your design, using My Brand Kit :

Here’s another example of a business proposal template that you can edit:

simple b2c business growth proposal template

Generally, there are three types of business proposals:

1. Formally solicited 

A formally solicited business proposal is made when you respond to an official request to write a business proposal.

In this scenario, you know all the requirements and have more (if not all) information about a prospective buyer. You simply need to write the business proposal for your buyer to evaluate so you can begin the sales process.

2. Informally solicited 

Informally solicited business proposals are written when there isn’t an official request for a proposal. A prospective buyer is interested in your services and asks for a proposal so they can evaluate it.

An informally solicited proposal requires a lot more research from your end. These types of proposals are usually created out of informal conversations. They are not based on official requests which often contain more detail.

3. Unsolicited 

Think of this as a marketing brochure or a cold email . Unsolicited business proposals will often take a generic, one-size-fits-all approach to business proposals. Unsolicited proposals lack any understanding of the buyer or their requirements.

But with additional  market research , personalization and identifying customer pain points , you can propose a customized solution based on your buyer’s needs. This can be a very persuasive approach, such as in this business proposal example:

corporate business proposal example

How do you write a business proposal? Business proposal templates

Before you start creating your business proposal template, you need to know what it comprises. At a high level your effective business proposal should include the following:

Below, you can see business proposal examples that demonstrate how to include these 10 sections.

Business proposal title

A compelling title could mean the difference between someone reading your proposal or ignoring it in favor of a competitor’s. 

What makes a good title page? Here are the essential elements to include: 

Gray Business Consulting Proposal Template Cover Page_Venngage

The gray business consulting proposal template above contains all the details a prospect would want to know. The title also offers a strong tangible benefit to the prospective buyer. Honestly, “Who doesn’t want to grow their business?”

Return to business proposal content sections

The table of contents is a fundamental part of every winning business proposal template. It makes your proposal scannable and easy to read.

The people you will be pitching to are usually C-level executives. These are busy people who don’t have time to read your entire proposal in one go.

That’s why most of the business proposal examples in this list include a table of contents.

Adding a table of contents to your document makes it easy for them to go through it at their own pace. They can also skim through parts of the proposal that they deem more important. You can see how this abstract business proposal template uses the table of contents:

Creative Social Media Business Proposal Template Table of Contents

You can also make your business proposal template easier to navigate by adding hyperlinks to the document, particularly in the table of contents. This way your clients can jump to specific sections without having to scroll through the entire document. 

It’s easy to add hyperlinks in the Venngage editor. Select the text you’d like to turn into a link, then click the link icon in the top bar. From there, select the page you want to link to! Then download your completed design as an Interactive PDF .


The executive summary is a staple in all kinds of annual reports , project plans and even marketing plans . It is a concise summary of the entire contents of your document. In other words, write a business proposal outline that is easy to glance over and that highlights your value proposition.

The goals of your executive summary are:

This gray business proposal example has a detailed yet short executive summary including some social proof in the form of clients they’ve worked with:

Gray Business Consulting Proposal Template About Us

Take note of how precise this business proposal example is. You want to keep your executive summary concise and clear from the get-go. This sets the right tone for the rest of your proposal. It also gives your buyer a reason to continue reading your proposal.

Pro Tip: Try to write an executive summary such that, even if your prospective client doesn’t read the entire proposal (with a good executive summary, they most likely will), they should have a clear idea about what your company does and how you can help them.

The point of writing a business proposal is to solve a buyer’s problem. Your goal is to outline the problem statement as clearly as possible. This develops a sense of urgency in your prospect. They will want to find a solution to the problem. And you have that solution.

 A well-defined problem statement does two things: 

Texture Business Proposal Template

This bold business proposal template above clearly outlines the problem at hand and also offers a ray of hope i.e. how you can solve your prospect’s problem. This brings me to… 

The good stuff. In the proposed solution section, you show how you can alleviate your prospective buyer’s pain points. This can fit onto the problem statement section but if you have a comprehensive solution or prefer to elaborate on the details, a separate section is a good idea.

Spare no details regarding the solution you will provide. When you write a business proposal, explain how you plan to deliver the solution. Include an estimated timeline of when they can expect your solution and other relevant details.

For inspiration, look at how this business proposal template quickly and succinctly outlines the project plan, deliverables and metrics :

Sales Plan Proposal Table Template_Venngage

At this point, the prospect you’re pitching your solution to likes what they’re reading. But they may not trust you to deliver on your promises. Why is this?

It’s because they don’t know you. Your job is to convince them that you can fix their problem. This section is important because it acts as social proof. You can highlight what your company does best and how qualified your team is when you write a business proposal for a potential client.

business proposal qualifications section

This free business proposal template showcases the company’s accolades, client testimonials, relevant case studies, and industry awards. You can also include other forms of social proof to establish yourself as a credible business. This makes it that much more likely that they will say yes!

Pro Tip: Attaching in-depth case studies of your work is a great way to build trust with a potential client by showcasing how you’ve solved similar problems for other clients in the past. Our case study examples post can show you how to do just that.

To further demonstrate just how prepared you are, it’s important to outline the next steps you will take should your buyer decide to work with you.

Provide a timeline of how and when you will complete all your deliverables. You can do this by designing a  flow chart . Or add a  roadmap  with deadlines. Pitching a long-term project? A timeline infographic would be a better fit.

If you look at this abstract business proposal template below, even something as simple as a table can do the trick.

Abstract Business Consulting Proposal Template Timeline_Venngage

The timeline is not always set in stone, rather it’s an estimation. The goal is to clarify any questions your potential client might have about how you will deliver for the underlying B2B sales process.

On this page, you can outline your fees, payment schedule, invoice payment terms , as well as legal aspects involved in this deal.

The key to good pricing is to provide your buyer with options. A  pricing comparison table can help with this. You want to give your client some room to work with. Make sure you’re not scaring off your client with a high price, nor undervaluing yourself. 

Breaking up your pricing in stages is another great way to make sure your potential client knows what he’s paying for. Look at how this simple business proposal template does this:

Bold Business Proposal Template Pricing Page_Venngage

The legal aspects can slot right into the terms and conditions section. Alternatively, you can add them in the signature section of the proposal to keep things simple.

Summarize everything you have promised to deliver so far. Include what you expect from your prospective buyer in return.  Add the overall project timeline from start to end, as well as payment methods and payment schedule. This way, both of you will be clear on what is being agreed on.

This step is very important as it outlines all the legal aspects of the deal. That is why the terms and conditions section of your proposal needs to be as clear as possible.

Modern Business Proposal

I recommend consulting a lawyer or your legal team when working on this section of the business proposal. If you’re a business veteran and understand the legalities of your business, you can use the same terms and conditions across all your proposals.

The final step of this whole process. Your client has read your business proposal and they want to buy what you have to offer.

Add a small section at the end of your proposal to get the necessary signatures. This way, you and your client can sign the proposal and the partnership becomes official.

Be sure to also include your contact information in your business proposal template. It acts as a gentle prompt to your client to contact you in case they have any questions.


Now that you know how to write a business proposal, let’s look at how you can optimize your proposal to deliver results!

Below you’ll find some winning business proposal templates and examples to get you started. I’ve also included some design tips to keep in mind when you’re creating your next business proposal: 

1. Know your audience 

If you have some clarity on who your ideal buyer is — their pain points, their budget, deadlines, among other things — you’ve already won half the battle.

If you are a business that helps clients with everything from running giveaways or helping grow their blog , identify which customers to pitch. This is a sure-shot way to close the deal.

Mapping user personas  for your ideal buyer can help bring some clarity. It will also help you position your business proposal correctly. This improves the chance of your buyer moving your business proposal to the “Yes!” pile.

2. Put your brand front and center

If your company follows certain brand guidelines, incorporate them in your business proposal templates. Consider how business proposal examples like the one below highlight brand identity:

content marketing plan business proposal example

From the color palettes to the company logos , everything follows their brand guidelines. The result: a business proposal that’s consistent across the board.

Pro Tip: Switching this template to match your brand assets is actually pretty easy. Venngage’s My Brand Kit feature allows you to import your color palettes, logos as well as font choices. Any Venngage template can now be your template.

You can also consider this sample business proposal template:

Example of a Business Proposal

Design companies sure do know their design. They did a phenomenal job keeping their brand colors consistent while opting for a black design. This unique color scheme also makes their white logo prominent throughout the proposal.

3. Try less text, more visuals

Have you ever read a proposal and thought to yourself, “Wow, this is all text and has no images, I love it!”? Yeah, me neither.

The free business proposal template below is a perfect example of the “less is more” principle. It does a phenomenal job of communicating what it needs to. By substituting some of the text with icons and visuals, you get a clean business proposal that’s much more scannable.

Social Media Plan Proposal Template

Want to keep things strictly professional? Instead of icons, you can always add your team’s headshots. This shows your buyer exactly who they’ll be working with.  

Check out this formal business proposal format for some inspiration:

Red Human Resources Consulting Proposal Template Team

4. Switch up your business proposal designs

It doesn’t hurt to go above and beyond once in a while. Jazz up your business proposal template with some extra colors. This helps make your business proposal more engaging. It also helps your buyers retain information faster.

Simple Business Proposal Example

The business proposal example alternates between black, white and grey backgrounds. It still manages to maintain consistency in its branding . Just switching up your backgrounds once in a while can also bring in some variety to an otherwise standard business proposal.

This SEO business proposal sample proves that it’s possible to switch up the colors in every other page. But it still maintains the same color scheme across the entire proposal just like a professionally designed website : 

SEO Marketing Proposal

Pro Tip: Not a color expert? Our guide on picking colors can help you pick the right color scheme for your proposals.

FAQ about business proposals

What is the purpose of a business proposal.

Essentially, a business proposal aims to streamline the B2B sales process (which is often complex) between you as a seller and a buyer.

It does this by serving the dual purpose of acting as a source of information. The proposal also acts as a sales pitch aimed at convincing your buyer why they should buy what you have to offer.

What are the best practices for business proposal design?

How long should your business proposal be? 

The length depends on the scope of the work as well as the complexity of the project. Here is a one-page business proposal template:

one page business proposal template

Can your business proposal template really be one page? Yes, as long as you understand who your buyer is and their pain points. You should also have the ability to communicate everything your ideal buyer needs to know about your business in a succinct manner.

Or if you’re feeling adventurous how about just two pages? Often, clients prefer if you go straight to the point and avoid all the fluff.

For example, this green modern marketing proposal template wastes no time in getting down to brass tacks:

Project Business Proposal

There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to deciding how many pages you should include in your business proposal template. And at the end of the day, “the only rules are the ones you set for yourself”.

At the end of the day, writing winning business proposals that sell is all about you understanding your buyer, their potential pain points and positioning yourself as someone who can alleviate those pain points. 

Now that you know how to write compelling business proposals, what are you waiting for?

Take action and start creating your own business proposals to close more deals and grow your business today!

More business communications templates + writing tips you might be interested in…

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How to Write a Business Proposal [Examples + Template]

Meredith Hart

Published: December 12, 2022

It's finally happened. You've started a new business, and your customer base is starting to expand. But even though you're making progress, you still feel like you could be doing better.

Sales rep begins writing down business proposal

There's a whole world of untapped potential around you — prospects you know would benefit from your product or service. And the issues you're running into are less about your solution's soundness and more about how you can reach your potential base.

→ Download Now: Free Business Proposal Template

That's where business proposals come in. They can bridge the gap between you and potential clients. A solid proposal can outline your value proposition and persuade a company or organization to do business with you.

Here, we'll take a look at the various kinds of business proposals and go over how to write one. We’ll also see some ideas and examples to help guide yours.

Know exactly what you need? Jump to one of the following sections:

What is a business proposal?

Types of business proposals, how to write a business proposal, business proposal ideas, business proposal templates, business proposal example.

A business proposal is a formal document that’s created by a company and provided to a prospect to secure a business agreement.

It's a common misconception that business proposals and business plans are the same. The proposal aims to sell your product or service rather than your business itself. Instead of assisting your search for investors to fund your business, a proposal helps you seek new customers.

Follow Along With HubSpot's Business Proposal Template


Download the Template for Free

There are two types of business proposals: unsolicited and solicited.

In a solicited business proposal, the other organization asks for a request for proposal (RFP). When a company needs a problem solved, they invite other businesses to submit a proposal that details how they'd solve it.

Whether the proposal is solicited or unsolicited, the steps to create your proposal are similar. Ensure it includes three main points: a statement of the organization's problem, proposed solution, and pricing information.

Before writing your business proposal, it's crucial you understand the company. If they've sent you an RFP, make sure you read it carefully, so you know exactly what they want. It can also be helpful to have an initial call or meeting with the new client to ensure you fully understand the problem they're trying to solve and their objectives.

Once you've done your research, it's time to begin writing your business proposal. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to writing a business proposal, but let's take a look at some elements proposals often include. (I designed this example business proposal using Canva .)

Free Business Proposal Template

Fill out the form to get your template., 1. begin with a title page..

You have to convey some basic information here. Introduce yourself and your business. Be sure to include your name, your company's name, the date you submitted the proposal, and the name of the client or individual you're submitting the proposal to.

Your title page should reconcile engagement with professionalism. It's a tone-setter, so you need to make sure yours is sleek, aesthetically appealing, and not too "out there."

Here's an example of what a business proposal template looks like when done right:

How to Write a Business Proposal: Business Proposal Example Title Page

The executive summary details exactly why you're sending the proposal and why your solution is the best for the prospective client. Specificity is key here. Why are you the best option for them?

Similar to a value proposition, your executive summary outlines the benefits of your company's products or services and how they can solve your potential client's problem. After reading your executive summary, the prospect should have a clear idea of how you can help them, even if they don't read the entire proposal. Here's what one should look like:

How to Write a Business Proposal: Sample Executive Summary

4. State the problem or need.

This is where you provide a summary of the issue impacting the potential client. It provides you with the opportunity to show them you clearly understand their needs and the problem they need help solving.

Research, critical thinking, and extra thought are key here. You have to do your homework. Take a holistic look at the specific issues your client faces that you can help solve. Then, compellingly frame them in a way that sets you up for the next step.

How to Write a Business Proposal: Example Event Overview

7. Include pricing options.

Pricing is where things can get a bit tricky, as you don't want to under or over-price your product. If you'd like to provide the prospect with a few pricing options for their budget, include an optional fee table . Some proposal software offer responsive pricing tables which allow clients to check the products or services they're interested in, and the price will automatically adjust.

How to write a business proposal: Include Pricing Options

8. Summarize with a conclusion.

After providing the above information, it’s necessary to simplify it into one final section. Briefly summarize the proposal. Touch on your qualifications and why you’d serve as the best choice. To prompt further conversation, confirm your availability. At the end of the proposal, the goal is to have the client ready to work with you. Provide your contact information to allow them to follow up easily.

9. Clarify your terms and conditions.

This is where you go into detail about the project timeline, pricing, and payment schedules. It's essentially a summary of what you and the client agree to if they accept your proposal. Make sure you clear the terms and conditions with your own legal team before sending the proposal to the client.

How to write a business proposal: Example Terms and Conditions

Image Source

We know how crucial a great business proposal is to your and your clients' success. That's why we've compiled  2 Free Business Proposal Templates for you to use and customize for any of your projects. You'll gain access to a concise, one-page template (pictured above), as well as a longer template for you to embellish on your plan and proposal. Download the templates now to get started on building your proposal. 

2. Web Design Proposal

Business Proposal Templates: Web Design

6. Business Consulting Proposal

If your company offers consulting services, this business consulting proposal template is easy to tailor to your business and your prospective client's needs. This template will include a project summary, project activities (including deliverables), a timeline, and more.

Business Proposal Templates: Business Consulting

Companies, big and small, dedicate resources to establishing a noticeable social media presence. With advertising on social networks projected to reach $56.85 billion dollars in 2022 , it's in your business's best interest to have a plan for growing your client's social media presence.

To help you in that effort, the information in this social media marketing proposal includes an executive summary to help introduce your high-level ideas, an assessment of the client’s company to demonstrate your diligence, and a breakdown of billing to show how your company charges for posting, content creation, and analytics.

8. Content Marketing Proposal

Business Proposal Templates: Content Marketing

When pitching your content marketing services to clients, this template can help you organize your ideas. While it walks you through initial objectives and how to communicate your prospected results, one of the most helpful parts of this template is the pricing ideas it gives you when charging for your services.

Business proposal templates are helpful places to get started, but what should your business proposal look like when it's complete? Below, we share an example of a business proposal template that will inspire you.

Business Proposal Example: Social Media

In the business template example above, Social Portal Consulting (SPC) pitches a marketing proposal to Graphic Bean. At first sight, this proposal appeals to the creative. A nice touch would include designing the layout in your or your client’s brand colors. In addition to the design, the use of social media icons quickly tells the prospect what platforms Social Portal is pitching. Because we see Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest icons, the client instantly knows that this proposal does not include LinkedIn, YouTube, or other platforms.

While maintaining its design, this example outlines Social Portal Consulting’s plans efficiently. It begins by providing insight into Graphic Bean and its goals before elaborating on how SPC can leverage its expertise to help them achieve it. This business proposal template includes an easy-to-follow timeframe for goals and objectives while keeping the client abreast of how payment will happen across the project.

Overall, this is an excellent example of how to combine the elements of social media marketing into a creative and concise business proposal. Finally, we'll leave you with some business proposal ideas to get you started on your own.

  • Start with an outline.
  • Include data and visuals.
  • Add social proof.
  • Incorporate video into your proposal.
  • Use a call-to-action.
  • Include up-sell and add-on opportunities.
  • Create a sense of urgency.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Make the decision for them.
  • Stay on brand.
  • Quality control.

There's a lot to keep in mind when writing a business proposal. Here are a few tips to help you out:

1. Start with an outline.

If you want to produce a thoughtful, effective business proposal, you need to have some idea of what you're hoping to achieve with it. So before you dive into writing, outline the major sections of your business proposal and the pertinent information you want to include. This will ensure you stay focused and your message stays intact as you write.

2. Include data and visuals.

You want your business proposal to capture your prospect's attention and help set you apart from any other ones they might have received. One of the best ways to do that is to include hard, quantitative data that helps stress the value of your business.

If you can find some relevant, compelling figures that highlight what you have to offer, you can establish authority and make yourself that much more convincing. It also helps to include visuals such as charts and graphs to enhance your proposal.

3. Add social proof.

Like the previous point, adding social proof lends your proposal another degree of credibility. You can only be so convincing when you're personally talking up how great your business is.

Prospects are skeptical. In many — if not most — cases, they probably won't take you at your word. They'll likely trust peers and fellow customers more than someone trying to win their business. That's why including elements like customer quotes and testimonials can go a long way.

4. Incorporate video into your proposal.

If you're creating an online proposal using document file formats like PDF, you can include multimedia elements to enhance the proposal experience. They can make your document richer and more engaging.

Whether you add video at the beginning as an intro to your proposal or in the project breakdown to verbally discuss some of the more confusing parts, extras like this can make an impression. This works especially on prospects who are visual or auditory communicators.

5. Use a call-to-action.

Prospects need direction. The best proposal in the world can only take you so far if you don't clearly define the next steps. That's why you have to make sure the reader knows what to do next after reading your proposal.

A clear-cut call-to-action is the best way to get there. Define and highlight exactly what they should do to act on the interest your proposal has generated. Without that guidance, you might leave your reader in limbo.

6. Include up-sell and add-on opportunities.

They say you won't receive unless you ask. Readers won't explore the upper tiers of your solutions if you don't give them the opportunity. If you want to use your business proposal as a chance to get the most out of a reader's interest, you need to include some additional information about your business for them to act on. They need to know what else you have to offer.

7. Create a sense of urgency.

No one wants to feel as if they missed out on a great opportunity. A lack of urgency tends to cause people to drag their feet and take time when making a decision. As you create your business proposal, your goal should be to create a sense of urgency.

Prospective clients should read your business proposal and feel that now is the best time to sign up for your service. A way you can accomplish this is by stating your short and long-term goals for their business. While they will have to wait for the long-term goals, make the short-term goals so enticing that they are instantly ready to begin a collaboration.

8. Keep it simple.

There's no definitive blueprint for how long a business proposal has to be. Yours should be however long it takes to convey the information you want to get across.

That said, you're best off focusing on quality over quantity. Keep your sentences short and simple, and avoid including too much business jargon. You want your proposal to be straightforward enough for anyone who picks it up to make sense of it. So don't get carried away with being too fancy.

9. Make the decision for them.

Craft your copy in a way that seems like saying "no" to the proposal would be stepping over dollars to pick up pennies. Your offer should go above and beyond their expectations, and you should do everything in your power to eliminate friction and objections along the way.

10. Stay on brand.

Don't be afraid to let your company's personality shine through in your proposal. Stay true to your brand and show the client what sets you apart from your competitors.

11. Quality control.

Your proposal needs to be clean and airtight. You don't want to undermine your messaging by coming off as sloppy and unprofessional. Before you send the proposal out, make sure to read and reread it for any typos or grammatical errors.

Let your business proposal do the talking.

Depending on the type of business you're in, your business proposal elements will vary based on the prospect's needs. After reading through your plan, prospective clients should have very few questions about your company and what it can do for them. With the tips and examples in this article, you have all the tools to guide you through the process. With a professional, customized business proposal, you're sure to delight your client and potentially gain their business.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in February 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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The importance of sending a business proposal

How to title a business proposal, business proposal subject line examples, how to write a business proposal, what to include in a business proposal, business proposal examples and templates, business proposal good practices, frequently asked question ..

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Business proposal templates

A business proposal may seem easy, but the process can be challenging, especially if you’re new to it. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered – here is how to write a business proposal that gets results. Plus, we’ll provide you with free business proposal templates to help get you started.

When you’re running a business, it’s important to always be on the lookout for new opportunities. After all, you never know when a potential client or customer might come knocking. And when they do, you’ll want to be prepared with a well-crafted business proposal.

A business proposal is essentially a sales pitch. It’s an opportunity to sell your products or services to prospective clients or customers. And just like any other sales pitch, you’ll need to put your best foot forward if you want to stand out from the competition with your unsolicited proposal.

In fact, you may not be the only person sending business proposals to this potential client or customer, so an effective business proposal must stand out from the rest. One way to make a perfect proposal amazing is to choose an attention-grabbing title.

Your title should give the reader a general idea of your proposal without giving too much away, so keep it short and to the point. It’s also important that your title is relevant to your proposal. Otherwise, you risk confusing or frustrating your reader and not sealing the deal you wanted.

[Company Name] – New Business Proposal

  • [Your Name] – Follow Up Business Proposal

Re: [Name of Potential Client] – Business Proposal

Attention: [Name of Decision Maker] – Business Proposal Regarding [Topic of Project]

Action Required: Review Business Proposal for [Name of Project]

  • Time-Sensitive: Read This Business Proposal
  • [Company Name] – Urgent Business Proposal

[Your Name] – [Company Name]’s Business Proposal for [Topic of Project]

  • Business Proposal – Please Read

Collaboration [Your Company] x [Name of Potential Client] | Business Proposal

  • [Your Name] x [Name of Potential Client] | Business Proposal
  • Briefing Paper – [Your Company] & [Name of Potential Client] | Business Proposal
  • Strategic Partnership Proposal – [Your Company] & [Name of Potential Client]

To successfully write and deliver a business proposal, keep in mind the communication plans you have in place. Before you start contacting businesses with proposals, make sure that this aspect is taken care of.

When writing a sales proposal, you need to understand that decision-makers often don’t have time to read through long, drawn-out documents. It’s therefore important to write a proposal that is clear, concise, and to the point, especially if you want to speed up the sales process.

The best way to do this is by using a creative business proposal template to help organize your thoughts and professionally present your proposal. Plus, it’ll save you time in the long run.

Determine if the business proposal is cold outreach, or if the potential customer has already shown some interest. For cold outreach, your proposal should be more professional and include an executive summary. For the latter, you can focus on the project itself and be less formal in tone. Remember to refer to any previous conversations that you’ve had with the prospect in your project proposals.

Email template with business proposal

Keep in mind that the goal of a professional proposal is to persuade the reader to see things from your perspective and take action accordingly. Therefore, make a strong case for why they should choose your products or services over those of your competitors.

The more you personalize your proposal, the better. Tailor it to the specific needs of your potential client or customer. Research and find out as much as possible before you even start writing. The more information you have, the better equipped you’ll be to include project details and write a relevant proposal to their needs.

  • executive summary
  • introduction
  • problem statement
  • proposed solution
  • project timeline
  • detailed budget
  • about your company
  • examples of previous work
  • call to action

Executive Summary:

In light of your specific needs, we believe that our [products/services] are the best solution for your company. Our team is highly experienced and qualified to provide you with the [type of service] you require. We have a proven track record of success and would be honored to put forward our skills and experience to work for you.

Company Introduction:

Over the years, we have been able to help our clients by providing them with high-quality [services/products]. We are proud of the long-standing relationships we have built with our clients and we work hard to maintain that trust.

The Problem:

We understand that you are currently facing the problem of [describe the client’s problem]. This can be a difficult and time-consuming task, which is why we are proposing our [products/services] as a solution.

The Solution:

Our team has the necessary skills and experience to provide you with a comprehensive solution that will address your needs. We believe that our [products/services] are the best option for you, as they have already helped our other clients achieve their desired results.

Project Timeline and Budget:

We have attached a detailed project timeline and budget to this proposal so that you can gain a clear understanding of the work that will be done and the associated costs from it.

[Company Name] – Previous Work Examples:

As requested, we have included examples of our previous work with similar clients. We have also included a list of references so that you can speak to our past clients directly.

Call to Action:

We would be honored to put our skills and experience to work for you. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this proposal further, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, [Your Name] [Your Title] [Company Name] [Phone Number] [Email Address]

Executive summary:

As a team of experienced professionals, we believe that collaboration is key to success. We would be honored to put our skills and experience to work for you and contribute to the success of your company.

Company introduction:

We are a [type of company] that has been in business for [X] years. We have worked with clients in a variety of sectors, including [list of industries].

The challenge:

We are fully aware of the challenge you are currently facing with [describe the client’s problem]. Since challenges like this can be difficult and time-consuming, we are proposing our [products/services] as a solution.

The solution:

We decided to put together a comprehensive solution that will address all of your needs. Our team has the necessary skills and experience to provide you with a [type of solution] that will help you achieve your desired results.

Project timeline and budget:

We believe that the work can be completed within [number of weeks/months]. The budget for this project is $[total amount].

Relevant examples of our previous work:

Our past collaborations with clients in similar situations should give you a better idea of what to expect from us.

What’s next?

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this proposal further, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Dear [Name of Potential Client]

On behalf of [Company Name], I’d like to submit this business proposal for your review.

As a [type of company], we have worked with clients in a variety of sectors, including [list of industries]. We are confident that we have the necessary skills and experience to provide you with a comprehensive solution that will address your needs.

Since we’ve been operating for [X] years, we have the relevant experience to put together a [type of solution] and make [Name of Project] successful.

Your challenges, [describe the client’s problem], are ours too. We believe you need a team of experienced experts who can provide you with a [type of solution] that will help you achieve your desired results.

In this proposal, we have included a detailed project timeline and budget to give you a clear understanding of the work that will be done and the associated costs. Our estimation is that the work can be completed within [number of weeks/months].

Furthermore, we have included relevant examples of our previous work with clients in similar situations. These should give you a better idea of what to expect from us.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this proposal further, please do not hesitate to contact us.

[Company Name] is delighted to submit this business proposal for your review. Our team of experienced professionals are confident that we have the necessary skills and experience to provide you with a comprehensive solution that will address all of your needs.

As a [type of company], we have worked with clients in a variety of industries, including [list of industries]. Our team members have extensive experience in [type of solution] and are confident that we can provide you with a successful solution.

Problem Statement:

[describe the client’s problem] this may be a bottleneck for your company and our team can help you overcome it.

We are proposing a [type of solution] to help you achieve your desired results. This comprehensive solution includes [key features of solution].

We have included a detailed project timeline and budget for your review. Our estimation is that the work can be completed within [number of weeks/months]. As for the budget, we have estimated a total cost of $[total amount], which could be divided into [X] payments.

Examples of previous projects delivered by [Company Name]:

To give you a better idea of what to expect, we have included relevant examples of our previous work with clients in similar situations.

If you have questions or would like to discuss this proposal further, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit a proposal for [Name of Project]. We understand that you are looking for a [type of service] and our team is confident that we can provide you with the solution you need.

Company Overview:

We at [Company Name] are a [type of company] with extensive experience working with clients in [list of industries]. Our team members have excellent skills in [type of solution] and are confident that the solutions and methods we use are the most effective.

Collaboration Scope:

The scope of our collaboration with you will be as follows: [key features of solution].

We believe that this is the most comprehensive solution to your problem and we are confident in our ability to deliver results. If required, we can also provide you with [type of solution] for the project.

Project timeline:

The estimated time required to complete marketing plans for the project is [number of weeks/months].

Pricing and payment terms:

The total cost of the project is $[total amount], or we can offer you a [pricing plan]. Payment would be upfront and cover the entire project.

If you have questions or would like to discuss this proposal further, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Bearing in mind that you are looking for a [type of service], we believe that [Company Name] is the best solution for your needs. Our team stands out for its experience with [type of solution] and by always providing the most effective solutions to our clients. We have put together a comprehensive proposal that includes an executive summary, introduction, problem statement, proposed solution, project timeline, detailed budget, and information about our company. We have also included examples of our previous work and a list of references.

About [Company Name]

[Company Name] is a [type of company] that has worked with clients in various industries, including [list of industries]. What sets us apart from other companies is our dedication to providing the best possible service and always finding the most effective solutions for our clients.

We understand that everyone is different, and so we tailor our services to each individual client’s needs. Our team members have extensive experience in [type of solution] and are confident that the solutions and methods we will use are the most effective.

Brief Introduction:

[Company Name] would like to offer you a comprehensive solution to your problem, which includes [key features of solution]. We believe that this is the most comprehensive solution to your problem and we are confident in our ability to deliver results. If required, we can also provide you with [type of solution] for the project.

The estimated time required to complete the project is [number of weeks/months].

Upon our estimation, the total cost of the project will be $[total amount]. The payment schedules will be divided into [X] payments, each of which will be due upfront. A detailed breakdown of the costs associated with the project is included in the attached budget.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this proposal further, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you soon and thanks for considering [Company Name]


[Company Name] has worked with clients in various industries, including [list of industries]. We have put together a comprehensive proposal and included examples of our previous work and a list of references.

Thank you for your time, [Company Name]

Here are a few tips to help you send a polished proposal to people who may be interested in your offer.

  • Start by doing your research. This will give you a better understanding of your audience and what they’re looking for.
  • Stress the unique selling points of your products or services. What makes them different from what your competition is offering?
  • What is your company background? Even a single USP can boost your B2B sales process.
  • Be clear and concise. If you want to send an excellent business proposal that brings results, make sure you get to the point quickly.
  • Double-check that you have included all relevant details. Describe your development process, project overview, or related business consulting services. If it’s a long document, group business proposal content sections into a table of contents.
  • End with a call to action . Tell your clients what you want them to do next and make it easy for them to take that step.
  • Emphasize the benefits that your potential client or customer will enjoy. What’s in it for them? Why should they choose your offer? If your entire proposal doesn’t speak volume to their needs, they’re not going to bother reading it.
  • Use simple language and avoid technical jargon. A business proposal is considered a formal document, keep in mind that not everyone will be familiar with industry-specific terms.
  • Make sure your proposal is error-free by proofreading it carefully before you send it out. Nothing will sink your chances faster than a typo or grammatical errors.
  • If applicable, outline the steps that you’ll take to complete the project as well as future plans you may want to offer. Even if it’s a basic proposal for now, listing essential elements will show a potential client that you have a plan and you’re organized.
  • Include information about your company: your experience, qualifications, and any relevant awards or certifications. This will help build trust and confidence in your ability to deliver on what you’re proposing.
  • Don’t forget about attaching case studies or client testimonials. These can be very helpful for convincing your reader that you’re the right company to onboard. Since opinions from external clients serve as social proof, they can bring you closer to success.
  • Use an attention-grabbing proposal template. Leveraging an editable proposal template can help you customize your message to each prospect’s needs.

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Business proposals can be make-or-break opportunities for your company. Sending the right business proposal template can be the difference for landing a new client.

By following the best practices above, you can increase your chances of writing a proposal that is not only read but also accepted. And with professional proposal templates, you’ll be well on your way to success.

Youtube video: How to create Email templates in LiveAgent | www.liveagent.com

How often should I send business proposals?

The answer to this question depends on your business and your relationship with the potential client. If you’re just starting out, you may want to send a marketing proposal for every project that comes your way. As you build up a client base, you can be more selective about which projects you submit proposals for.

What should I include in a business proposal?

The contents of a business proposal varies depending on the project and the client’s needs. In general though, you’ll want to include an executive summary, introduction, problem statement, proposed solution, project timeline, detailed budget, and information about your company.

How long should a business proposal be?

The lengths vary depending on the project and the client. In general, a one-pager will do in many cases, but for more complex projects you may need to include additional information in your project proposal templates.

What is the difference between a business proposal and a business plan?

An unsolicited business proposal is typically used to pitch a new idea or project to a potential client, while a business plan is more focused on long-term strategy and growth.

Should I follow up after sending a business proposal?

Yes, you should always follow up after sending a business proposal to show that you’re interested in the project and that you’re willing to put in the effort to seal the deal. A simple email or phone call can go a long way, but you can also get creative with your follow-ups.

What are the most popular types of proposals?

There are different business proposal format templates that you can use for an event proposal template, a bid proposal, SEO proposal template, video production proposal template, funding proposal template, or a business consulting proposal template. With many modern proposal templates, you can quickly customize your message to any type of proposal.

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Business Proposal Tips, Templates, and Examples (2023)

  • by Evan Ferguson
  • Starting Up
  • Feb 10, 2023
  • 17 minute read

Business proposal featured image.

Writing a business proposal is something that few new business owners know how to do when  starting a business . In the early stages, you’re focused on your product, your  business plan , and getting everything up and running⁠, which often makes creating a business proposal one of the last things on your mind.

But a business proposal is actually more important than you might realize. Even if you don’t have an immediate use for your business proposal, it can help create a plan of action for your business, secure funding, identify the strengths and weaknesses of your brand, and act as a reference point for the direction of your business.

Whether you’re looking to do business with another company or just want to create a business proposal for prospective clients, here’s our guide on how to create a well-written business proposal that can help you generate revenue for your business.

Table of Contents

What is a business proposal?

What are the types of business proposals, how to write a business proposal, after sending: tips on how to follow up, where to find business proposal templates, business proposal faq.

A business proposal is a document sent to prospective clients in the hopes of working with them on a project⁠—whether it be a partnership or wanting to be the company who helps with a specific project. A business proposal can range from something smaller in scope (providing an SEO strategy document for example) or something large like running a company’s marketing efforts for them.

Business proposals can range in the topics they cover, depending on the nature of the involved businesses and your proposed solution.

At the most basic level, business proposals are about addressing the needs of prospective clients and showing them why your company is the best to fit those needs. For businesses focused on B2B services especially, knowing how to write an effective business proposal is crucial to growth.

Business proposals can vary depending on the service and nature of the project proposal, but they typically fall into three distinct categories.

  • Formally solicited proposals. This describes proposals where the business you’re hoping to work with has formally asked you to submit a proposal. They’re usually written in response to published requirements from the business looking for proposals. Typically, this is the result of a publicly posted request for proposals, where a prospective client is going through many proposals and finding the best one. Your job here would then be to create a proposed solution based on the specific needs of a potential client or customer.
  • Informally solicited business proposals. Informally solicited proposals typically occur following conversations between a prospective client and a vendor. Usually, the customer in this case is not asking for competing proposals and there tends to be fewer formal requirements. 
  • Unsolicited business proposals. These proposals tend to be more generic in nature, acting as a sort of marketing brochure. Unsolicited proposals are typically used at trade shows or other public venues, where a business is shopping around for prospective clients. While they can generate business to some extent, unsolicited business proposals can sometimes be seen as spammy or, worse, unprofessional.

Not all proposals will fit neatly into these categories. There are proposals that might start off formally solicited but then be adapted into unsolicited proposals. But having a high-level understanding of each of the three common types will help you adjust where needed.

Business proposals can vary slightly in how they’re formatted, but there are a couple of crucial elements that all business proposals should have. You can always compare your proposals with a free business proposal template to ensure you’re on the right track.

In general you’ll want to follow these steps.

1. Create your title page

The title page acts as your proposal’s “cover,” so it’s especially important in terms of aesthetics. Your title page should convey a couple of pieces of basic information about your business and the proposal, such as the title of the proposal, your business’ name, contact information, and the date you’re submitting the proposal (or the date the proposal is crafted, in the case of unsolicited proposals).

Your title page should be professional, but should still seek to grab the reader’s attention and draw them in. It’s pivotal in setting the tone of your proposal, so, like any advertisement, it should convey your brand’s aesthetics and character. It’s usually a good idea to include your company logo somewhere too. If you’re putting together a social media marketing proposal for example, try and incorporate your social media marketing skill set when creating your proposal.

This is the first thing your client will see, so it’s important to convey your brand and proposal in a way that’s succinct, yet specific. Think of it like any visual content: viewers will only glance at it for a brief moment, so it must convey a lot of information very quickly.

Avoid complicated graphics that may distract from the central message of the proposal. Stylistically, it should be neat and clean. Here’s an example of what a well-designed business proposal might look like.


2. Compile a table of contents

A person types on a laptop computer

A table of contents will make it easier to navigate the contents of the document. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the first page (occasionally, it follows the cover letter), but it definitely should be one of the first pages.

Your contents page should be chronological. Avoid getting too granular with items on the list, because this will come off as noisy and overwhelming.

A good strategy is to have the items on your list reflect specific pain points or questions the reader may have so that it’s easy for them to use the table of contents as a reference point for all their questions.

3. Write a cover letter

Not to be confused with your title page, your cover letter serves as an introduction of yourself. Some proposals might even include the cover letter before the table of contents as a way of setting up the entire proposal.

Your cover letter should be short and no more than one page. In a few paragraphs, briefly describe your company’s background,  mission statement , and unique selling proposition .

A screenshot of Yeti's mission statement from its website

Your cover letter should be friendly and polite⁠—don’t forget your pleases and thank yous. Leave your contact information and encourage your readers to reach out to you with any questions.

Unlike a résumé cover letter, visual graphics are encouraged, especially if they illustrate an important aspect of your brand’s accomplishments or mission.

4. Write the executive summary

The  executive summary may be the most important part of your proposal. An executive summary provides details about why you’re sending the proposal and your methodology for why you’re the best option for the client to choose from.

Your executive summary acts similarly to a  value proposition that makes your company different and how your prospective client will benefit from working with you.

Executive summaries summarize, but they should still be specific. Identify the client’s exact issues, explain what your company does, and outline your proposed solutions to the client’s problems.

More detailed information will follow in the rest of the proposal, so while it shouldn’t be too detailed, it should still be specific. There’s no need to cover logistics or strategies here, but it should still offer a specific solution to a specific problem.

Your executive summary should be finely tuned to the client’s needs. Even if you’re passing the proposal document on to many potential clients, it should read as though it was written for one client specifically . If potential customers have different problems, you’ll want to make adjustments to your summary for each of them.

Be mindful of your tone here as well. A company that rents out party buses for college students will expect a very different tone from a company offering financial advice to seniors. 

Your summary should give the reader a clear idea of how your company can help them, and invite them to continue reading for more details. The summary should be specific enough to act as a standalone document but brief enough that it will inspire additional questions. 

Your executive summary should be about two to four pages, but try to keep it short if your overall proposal isn’t very long. Remember that the details will come later.


5. Outline your customers’ problem and your company’s solution

In this section, you’ll want to go into more detail about the solutions you offered in your executive summary. Your summary explained what you can do and why you’re the ideal client to do it. In the proposal pages, you’ll cover how you plan on doing it and when it can be done (a time frame).

When writing your proposal pages, it helps to consider what questions your client will have and provide them with detailed answers. 

Many writers of business proposals think of their proposal pages in terms of problems and solutions . With each proposal, start by outlining the potential issues the client might face. In doing this, you’ll show your potential clients that you have a deep understanding of their needs.


Problem and solution pages require a lot of research. You want to show potential clients that you’ve done your homework: you understand the client’s needs and know exactly what they’re setting out to do. 

How you choose to break down the client’s problems and solutions is up to you. Some proposal document writers will list a number of problem statements alongside detailed deliverables. Other proposals might focus on one or two larger problems and provide a list of solutions to them. 

Timetables are also important here. Potential clients will want to know how quickly you’ll be able to enact your solution and when they can expect to see results. Timetables answer these questions and, as a bonus, they’re also a handy visual tool that break-up text while conveying important information.

Your own proposal will need to break down problems and solutions in a way that’s appealing to your prospective client and makes sense for your industry, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this section.


That being said, it’s generally a good idea to break up your proposal content into sections that specifically identify each problem and propose a solution. Here are some key points to address for each section:

  • The problem. Use data to back up your claims, and be specific about where your client may be falling short of their goals. 
  • Implementation. Explain in detail what changes you plan on making, how long it will take to make these changes, and the purpose of making these changes. 
  • Goals. Explain how you will evaluate the success of your solution and when your client can expect to see results from the changes you’ve implemented. 
  • Benefits. Draw upon the assessment of the problem and explain the nature of the impact these changes will make.

Your proposal pages should cover all of the details of the plans you will implement. It’s best to break down the text into bite-sized chunks so it’s easier to read. Decorative graphics should be avoided here, but visual tools like charts and graphs are great for illustrating your points.

6. Create a pricing table

Your pricing table should follow your problem and solution pages. It will include all of your products and services, paired with their pricing information.

>How you structure your  pricing strategy is largely dependent on the type of service you’re offering. That said, it’s usually a good idea to provide prospective clients with options . A single flat fee makes your proposal a yes or no question, which is easy to reject.

Adding pricing options provides clients with a more negotiable starting point, opening up the conversation about their particular needs, rather than acting as an end point.


Your pricing structure should be formatted in a table that’s easy to read. Offer recurring payment options, both monthly and yearly. Give discounted rates for long-term commitments. Offer add-ons, upgrades, and options. Transparency is crucial in this section. Make sure it’s easy for your clients to understand what they’re paying for and what options they have for customizing your service. Nobody likes hidden fees or fine-print stipulations. Include all the details of your pricing options in a way that’s clear and concise.

Depending on the type of business you’re in, you may not want to include your pricing upfront before serious discussions have been had, but it’s important to get into the habit of effectively communicating your pricing regardless.

PROPOSAL TIP: Some proposal software tools offer responsive pricing tables that allow your clients to adjust their plan to fit their needs and automatically recalculates their total.

Learn more: Psychological Pricing: What Your Prices Really Say to Customers

7. Share more information about your company 

Like an About Us page on your website, your business proposal’s About Us page should share the story of your business, with you, the founder, as that story’s main character. A good About Us page should be brief, but still contain all the elements of a compelling narrative:

  • Setting. Set the scene: introduce the story’s protagonist(s), yourself, and your co-founders, and describe how you came together to form your business.
  • Conflict. What problem inspired you to start your business? Describe the issue your business identified and set out to solve.
  • Plot. How did you and your team set out to find the solution to your problem? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
  • Resolution. What was your solution? How has it changed your industry? What milestones have you hit and how did your business set out to solve the problem?
  • Characters. Introduce the rest of your team. Offer brief bios of your team members and introduce your clients to the people they’ll be working with on your project. 
  • Denouement. What comes next? Describe what you see in your company’s future. Talk about how you intend to continue pursuing your goals. Make sure to set yourself up for a good sequel.


8. Summarize your qualifications

In your cover letter, you touched on what makes your company uniquely qualified to solve your customers’ problems. In the qualifications summary, you’ll be going into detail about why your business is best qualified to help potential customers achieve their goals.

The best qualifications summaries rely on  social proof to make their case. Include case studies of previous clients, customer testimonials, praise on social media, endorsements from trusted experts in your field, and anything else that might showcase the value you provide your clients.

For example,  Omsom , a shop that sells delicious Asian sauce starters that help people make speedy restaurant-quality dinners, includes endorsements from Vice , CNN, and Vogue on its homepage.

A screenshot of the social proof from CNN, Vogue, and Vice that Omsom shares on its website

9. Lay out the terms of the agreement

At the end of your marketing proposal, you’ll want to clarify the offer you’re making to your clients by outlining the terms and conditions of your proposal. Proposals may be considered legally binding contracts in some jurisdictions, so it’s best to work with a legal expert in crafting this section.

Not all business proposals include a legally binding contract, so if your proposal is meant to draw your client into further negotiations, you might just include a simple call to action that provides instructions on following up with you for further negotiation.

A woman shakes hands with another person

If you do include a legally binding contract, make sure to provide clients with a space for signing the agreement, or indicating their preferred method of moving forward.

It can be a little nerve-wracking waiting to hear back from clients during the sales process, but it’s important to remain patient. Give potential decision makers some time⁠—remember that they still need to tend to the day-to-day functions of their business.

If you haven’t heard back and want to give potential clients a little nudge, here are some tips for following up on your proposal:

  • Give them time. Wait at least a week before sending a follow-up. If they’ve confirmed receipt of your proposal, give them a week from the date of confirmation. Keep in mind that they may want to discuss it with their team before reaching back out to you.
  • Grab their attention with a good subject line. As with other types of email marketing , a compelling subject line will increase the likelihood that they’ll open your email.
  • Be brief. No need to go into finer details here⁠—let your proposal do most of the talking. Use your follow-up to emphasize that you’re available for any questions, and make it easy for them to reach back out to you.
  • Avoid high-pressure, salesy language. Your goal here is securing a partner , not a customer. Hacky advertising cliches like “Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity!” will come off as alienating to potential clients.
  • Be friendly, approachable, and authentic. Your follow-up is a good opportunity to preview what it will be like working with you. Be polite, but casual⁠—as though you’re reaching out to your favorite work colleague. 
  • Know when to quit. It’s easy to overlook one or two emails, but much harder to overlook three or four. If your client hasn’t responded to the three follow-ups, it’s time to move on.

If you’re just  starting a business and have never written a business proposal before, it’s a good idea to take a look at a few of them to get an idea how they’re composed for different types of businesses . Here are some good places to find examples of templates and layouts to help you in business proposal writing.

  • PandaDoc . PandaDoc boasts a wide library of over 167 free business proposal templates. Other features include interactive quote pages, contract templates, and e-signature capabilities. 
  • Canva . Among Canva’s wide variety of free design templates are a ton of free business proposal examples. Canva allows you to filter different proposal templates by style and theme, making it easy to find a template that matches your branding.
  • Proposify/a>. Proposify offers a ton of templates for business proposals and business contracts that include features like electronic signatures, interactive client previews, language translation, and data metrics that help you track open rates⁠—which is especially useful if you’re sending your proposal to multiple clients. 
  • Jotform . Jotform includes a wide collection of free and paid PDF templates for proposals in all kinds of industries, for all kinds of projects. Templates are converted into PDFs for easy printing, and even include a digital signature feature that allows your clients to sign your agreement digitally. 
  • Better Proposals . Better Proposals has a ton of free resources for business owners looking to learn more about how to write proposals. Along with business proposal templates, they also offer templates for quotes, contracts, and online brochures.

Learn more:

  • Business Plan Template: A Practical Framework for Creating Your Business Plan
  • The Road to Success: Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own

Don’t miss the opportunity to grow your small business

Working with clients is an incredible opportunity to grow your business. Not only because of the financial gains, but because building strong, working relationships in your industry will open up new avenues for growth and help build your reputation among your peers. 

A lot of work goes into creating a business proposal, but learning how to compose an effective business proposal will set you up for years of success. No matter what industry you’re in, there will likely come a time when you’ll need to write a business proposal.

The more satisfied customers you have, the easier it will be to attract new clients. Each new opportunity at a partnership is a stepping stone toward continued success. Give some of these business proposal ideas a try today.

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How long should a business proposal be.

A business proposal should ideally be less than 10 pages where possible, but it’s largely dependent on the type of proposal you’re making and how far your services stretch. Things like your cover letter, summary, and pricing page should be kept short⁠—no more than two pages for each. The majority of your proposal should be your proposal pages, which go into detail about each aspect of your proposal.

What are the different sections of a business proposal?

A basic business proposal consists of a titles page, tables of contents, cover letter, executive summary, proposal pages, pricing page, additional info about your business, and the agreement you’re proposing.

What is a basic business proposal?

A basic business proposal includes all of the elements listed above. Different industries may include unique features (for example, an app developer may include interactive elements to illustrate how their product works), but these aspects are considered standard features to business proposals.

How do you write a business proposal?

Start by choosing a template and considering what makes your business different from the competition, and why you’re in the best position to assist potential clients with their needs. Be specific about what you can help your potential clients with, and make it easy for them to find out how to get in contact with you if they have questions.

About the author

Evan Ferguson

Evan Ferguson is a writer, digital artist, and content creator at Shopify. He is best-known for once being retweeted by Ice T.

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Proposal Title Pages: Title, Subtitle, & Design

Mary Cullen

First impressions matter. To put your best foot forward, you need to make sure your proposal has a killer cover page. Title pages can often be overlooked because it comes as an afterthought once all the hard work of proposal writing has been completed. Yet, this page should be as engaging as the rest of the document.

While each proposal is unique, there are key elements and considerations that apply to all title pages. This article will share the key title page components with examples to help you put the finishing touches on your persuasive proposal. 

An informative and intriguing title

Allow me to present the worst proposal title:

Business Proposal to ABC Company

It’s surprisingly common but terrible nonetheless. This title is the business equivalent of labeling a book, “Book.”

Instead, your title should be both informative and intriguing. Imagine the reader sifting through a tall stack of proposals (or an inbox filled with proposal emails). Your title should catch their eye and want them to turn the page. 

Effective writing

Win More Proposals

Learn how to write better proposals in less time that win more business.

An informative title summarizes the entire document in one phrase. It’s a big job, but a vital one. The reader should understand, at a high level, the actual benefit the proposal offers once they read it.  

An intriguing title pulls the reader in. This briefest summary must also appeal to the audience. Take the time to consider your audience. Contextualizing the reader will help you draft a title that would appeal to their interests. The title should answer ultimately answer the question: “why should I care?”. 

Proposal title examples:

Instead of: “Social Media Proposal” Try: “Brand Awareness Strategy to Support North-Eastern Sales”
Instead of: “Safety Program Offer” Try: “Employee-centric Workplace Injury Reduction Training”
Instead of “IT Services Proposal” Consider: “Safeguarding Your Customer’s Data with Cloud Services”

A supportive subtitle 

The title must do a lot of heavy lifting for your proposal. It can be supported by its sidekick: the subtitle. Like any good sidekick, the subtitle should be clever and creative. This additional line allows you to expand on the relevance of the proposal while also adding specificity. 

Proposal subtitle examples:

Pair title: Brand Awareness Strategy to Support North-Eastern Sales With subtitle: Engaging Top Demographics with Targeted Instagram and Facebook Campaigns
Pair title: Employee-centric Workplace Injury Reduction Training With subtitle: Implementing a Factory Floor Hazard Identification System
Pair title: Safeguarding Your Customer’s Information with Cloud Services With subtitle: A Six-Month Transition Plan for Data Security

Proposal cover page

Proposal cover page also must play its role in informing the reader of background information. All proposals should have some core details, which can be referred to as ‘housekeeping’ information. The details allow the reader to have context and allow follow-up. Cover pages should include the client’s name, your company’s full name, and the submission date.

Additional details may be required based on the type of proposal. Certain corporations or government agencies require the request for proposal number to be specified. Certain proposals require the summary or abstract to be placed on the title page. Double-check the client communication or request for proposal documents to verify that your title page ticks all the boxes.

Proposal title page design

An appealing title page design can set your proposal apart in a sea of competitors. You can be as creative as you’d like with your proposal cover page as long as it is professional and industry-appropriate. The design should be appealing to the audience, while also being functional by building on the proposal’s theme. 

To ensure your title page is attractive, follow general design principles and proposal formatting rules. Use lots of white space to draw attention to the key information of the title and housekeeping information. Some proposal tools come with templated designs. The text on the page should always be easy to find and easy to read. Use color schemes that are attractive but not distracting, looking to the industry or the client for preferred color choices. Ensure your design follows your organization’s branding.

When your title page is complete, print a physical copy to see if the design translates well off the screen. Your cover page should look great in digital and hard copy. A print version can also be helpful in the ever-important proofreading process . 

Keep the title page persuasive

The title page is how you acquaint your client with the valuable business opportunity inside your proposal. This space offers an often-missed opportunity to kick off the proposal with a persuasive introduction. A strong title page allows your proposal to stand out, while also highlighting your attention to detail and strength in communication. Integrate these tips into your proposal title page and it will become a competitive advantage.

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How to Write a Business Proposal — 2022 Guide and Template

example of a business proposal title

A business proposal can make or break your chances of securing a new client. Write a great one, and you’ll likely snag their business.

Write a poor one, and you might lose out—even if you’re offering the best service out there. So, how do you write a business proposal? What is the proper format? What do you need to include?

While it all depends on your industry, and whether or not you’re offering a product or service, writing a business proposal is pretty straightforward. We’ll answer all those questions and more throughout the course of this guide. 

What to expect with this business proposal guide

Whether you’re starting fresh or need to look at a specific section, here’s what we’ll be covering in this guide. 

  • What a business proposal is
  • The differences between a business proposal and a business plan
  • The format of a business proposal
  • How long to make your business proposal

How to write a business proposal

You can download a free business proposal template here to start writing up your own proposal as you work through this article. By the end, you’ll be prepared to develop a well-written business proposal that can explain your business clearly and win more clients. Let’s get started.

What is a business proposal ?

A business proposal is a document you’d send to a prospective client, outlining the service you’re offering, and explaining why you’re the best person for the job. 

It’s a pitch by a business or individual to complete a specific job or project, to supply a service, or, in some instances, to be the vendor of a certain product.

What are the different types of business proposals?

A business proposal can be either solicited or unsolicited. With a solicited proposal, the prospective client will put out a request for proposals; with an unsolicited business proposal, you are approaching a client in hopes of attracting their business, even though they did not explicitly request a proposal.  

While both are commonplace, a solicited proposal is an easier sell, as your prospective client has already decided that they want to make a purchase or use a service, and they’re evaluating possible vendors or businesses.

With a solicited proposal, your prospective client might have issued an RFP, or “request for proposal.” This is exactly what it sounds like—they want you to send over a business proposal so they can take a look at it.

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Differences between a business proposal and a business plan

A business proposal is not the same as a business plan . This is the most common misconception, but while there are areas of overlap (like your executive summary ) the two are different.

That being said, you can certainly pull information from your business plan while writing your business proposal—in fact, that’s a great way to start.

But don’t confuse the two; they are distinct and separate. In short, a business plan represents the cohesive strategy of how your business operates and makes money. A business proposal is an official pitch to clients selling your products or services. 

A business proposal outlines a particular product or service offered by an established business to a prospective client.

You’re trying to sell your prospective client on your product or service, not on your business itself. You’re not after funding, as you are with a business plan, you’re trying to make a sale.

A business proposal is also not an estimate; although you’ll likely touch on costs and pricing in your business proposal, an estimate is much more informal and just a quick look at the costs, not the whole picture.

What goes into a business proposal?

Your business proposal should address the three Ps:

  • Problem statement: What your customer’s current problem is
  • Proposed solution: How your business solves that problem better than other solutions
  • Pricing: How much that solution costs compared to alternatives

If you’re stuck on how to start, maybe try brainstorming first; start with these three points, and you’ll have a rough, bare-bones version of your business proposal.

Once you’ve done that if you’re ready to go more in-depth, here is a step-by-step look at how to format your business proposal.

Your business proposal should start with a title page, which should include your name, the name of your company, the name of the person to whom you’re submitting your proposal, and the date submitted.

Table of contents

Depending on how long your business proposal is, a table of contents is a nice touch. Include it after your title page, and before you launch into any details. If you’re delivering it as a PDF, including anchor links down to each section, so it’s easy to get to specific areas. 

Executive summary

Introduce your proposal with a great executive summary, one that really sells your business and the products or services you provide—it’s about why you’re the right company for the job. You can draw from your business plan’s executive summary here, too.

Statement of problem, issue, or job at hand

Following your executive summary, go on to discuss the problem that the client is currently facing. Think of “problem” or “issue” loosely; after all, their main problem may just be finding the right person to complete their project. But be sure you understand why they want the product or service they’re seeking. If the proposal is for developing a brand new website, make sure you understand what they want to get out of the site—better sales, more content management flexibility. 

This is the place to show your new client that you understand their needs , and fully grasp the issue they are trying to solve. Take this opportunity to restate the issue they are facing in your own words so that they know you understand what they are looking for.

Approach and methodology

This section shows how you plan to tackle your potential client’s problem, and the steps you’ll take to carry out your plan.

This is where you’ll get into the nitty-gritty of how you actually plan to fulfill your client’s needs. While earlier sections might have been a bit surface-level, this section of the business proposal is where you’ll go into detail about what steps you’ll take to solve their problem.

Be careful of going into too much detail, though—keep the jargon to a minimum. Your client should be able to follow along and get a clear sense of your plan, but you don’t want to drown them in minutiae.


Go ahead, brag a little—this is the section of your business proposal where you get to convince your potential client why you are the most qualified person to take on the job.

You can mention any relevant education, industry-specific training, or certifications you have, your past successful projects of a similar nature, years of experience, and so on.

Schedule and benchmarks

Be clear with your potential client: How long will your proposed project take?

Making sure you and your prospective client are on the same page from the outset will help make sure that the relationship stays positive for both of you, and that you don’t set your client up with unrealistic expectations.

While you might be tempted to underestimate how long it will take you to complete the project, don’t. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver!

If you’re offering a product, this section might not be applicable to you, so feel free to omit it. The business proposal format is flexible, so tailor it to suit your business and industry.

Cost, payment, and any legal matters

Here is where you get down to brass tacks and state the cost, and payment schedule if necessary.

How you structure this section will largely depend on the particular project or service you are offering. A section entitled “Fee Summary” may be sufficient if one-time payment is required; otherwise, a “Fee Schedule” list or pricing table might be more appropriate. Always refer back to the client’s RFP whenever possible, to make sure you’re supplying them with all the information they need to help make their decision.

If there are any legal issues to attend to, such as permits or licensing, include this information here. Feel free to add a section entirely devoted to handling the legal side of the project if need be.

This is your final sell—don’t be afraid to detail for your prospective client all they have to gain by choosing you to complete the project.

Impress upon your clients why you are the best choice, and all the ways in which their business will benefit from choosing you and your business as their solution.

How long should a business proposal be?

When it comes to the format of a business proposal, this is the million-dollar question without an answer. Remember in school, when you’d ask your teacher how long an essay should be, and they’d reply, “as long as it takes to answer the question.”

The same applies to your business proposal. It ultimately depends on your industry, the scope of the project, and the client’s specifications in terms of detail and elements included.

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That being said, the tighter your initial proposal can be and the more directly you can make your point, the easier it will be to pitch it to clients. Start by following the business proposal format above as a guide, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a winning business proposal—and securing new clients.

Editor’s note: This article was originally written in 2018 and updated for 2021.

AvatarBriana Morgaine

Briana Morgaine


Briana is a content and digital marketing specialist, editor, and writer. She enjoys discussing business, marketing, and social media, and is a big fan of the Oxford comma. Bri is a resident of Portland, Oregon, and she can be found, infrequently, on Twitter.

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