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What is a proposal?

According to SSWM, a proposal is “a detailed description of a series of activities aimed at solving a certain problem”.

That problem  could be anything, from:

  • process improvement
  • cost reduction
  • A new marketing strategy

A business proposal is a document that’s designed to persuade an organization to buy a product or service. Shopify

What’s the difference between a business proposal and a business plan?

People often get confused between these two documents, but they’re actually very different.

A business plan is all about you. It’s a document that provides details about your company’s strategy and demonstrates how you intend to grow.

A business proposal is all about them. A business proposal is a document designed to sell your services to someone else

Why are proposals important?

When done right, a successful proposal can unlock new and exciting work, help an organization grow, and make a positive contribution to culture and morale. Whether you work for a startup, a small business, or a massive enterprise

Types of business proposals :

There are three distinct categories of business proposals:

  • Formally solicited
  • Informally solicited
  • Unsolicited

Solicited proposals:

Proposals submitted in response to a specific call issued by a sponsor. Such solicitations, typically called Request for Proposals (RFP), or Request for Quotations (RFQ), are usually have specific requirements for format and technical content, and may specify certain award terms and conditions. Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) are not considered formal solicitations

Informally solicited proposal:

Informally solicited proposals are typically the result of conversations held between a vendor and a prospective customer.

Unsolicited proposals:

Proposals submitted to a sponsor that has not issued a specific solicitation but is believed by the investigator to have an interest in the subject.

before writing a proposal

there is a lot to do before jumping right into proposal writing. Writing your proposal should be part of your fundraising strategy and is only one step of the process. If you want to be successful, there are three essential steps that you have to do :

1/Have a project plan

If you do not precisely know what you want to do, it is impossible to find a suitable donor match or write a cohesive proposal. You need to know precisely in which area you want to work and which strategies you wish to use.

2/Conduct research

Before you start writing a proposal, it is important to do some research. Research is essential to make sure you understand the problem to be addressed.


Networking is an essential step in preparing for the writing of the proposal, networking can also be necessary for building ties in the community, with other NGOs, etc.

By conducting these three steps, you will have the majority of information you need ready to go even before you begin writing the proposal.

What should you include in a business proposal?

A business proposal usually aims to answer the following questions:

  • A business proposal usually aims to answer the following questions:
  • The problem your buyer is facing
  • The solution your company offers to alleviate the problem
  • How your company will implement this solution effectively
  • An estimate of resources (time, money, etc) required to implement the solution

How do you write a business proposal?

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

  1. Title
  2. table of content
  3. Executive summary
  4. The problem statement
  5. The proposed solution
  6. deliverable
  7. The timeline
  8. Pricing, billing, and legal
  9. terms and condition
  10. CTA.

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
  • the name of the client or individual you’re submitting the proposal to.

2/table of content :

A table of contents will let your potential client know exactly what will be covered in the business proposal.

3/Executive summary:

the main goal of the executive summary is not to provide a basic overview of the whole project, but rather to highlight why your proposed solution is the right one.

A good executive summary needs to be persuasive and benefit focussed.

4/Problem statement

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.

5/The proposed solution

You need to go through your entire process, detailing exactly how you intend to approach the problem and what results the client can expect.


t’s important to have an itemized list of everything that’s included in the price and a detailed description for each item on your list.


A proposal timeline documents each step involved in your proposal process.

Outline the key events and deliverables involved with each stage. Give a realistic time frame for each part of the project, and say who is responsible for each deliverable.

8/Pricing, billing, and legal:

outline your fees, payment schedule, payment terms, as well as legal aspects involved in this deal.

9/Terms and conditions:

Summarize everything you have promised to deliver so far. Include what you expect from your prospective buyer in return.

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.


Your call to action might be an invitation to visit your website for example.

How to submit your proposal:

Most of the time you’ll probably be sending your business proposals as an email attachment.

However, some businesses have a preferred submission process, so you should check whether that’s the case before you hit send.



  • https://venngage.com/blog/business-proposal/
  • https://www.pandadoc.com/blog/how-to-write-a-proposal/
  • https://guides.library.illinois.edu/c.php?g=504643&p=3454880
  • https://appinstitute.com/how-to-write-a-business-proposal/