how do you start a business proposal letter

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How to Write a Business Proposal Letter (+ Template)

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how do you start a business proposal letter

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A business proposal letter is a one-page document that serves as the persuasive summary or cover letter for a comprehensive business proposal. Its goal is to briefly highlight the most important aspects of your full proposal. While not required, it’s good to use if you want to convey a higher level of professionalism, to build trust or credibility, to provide added context, or to deliver a short pitch. You can then send the letter in an email or as a physical copy.

Make sure your proposal letter introduces a professional and memorable business proposal for the best results. Hire a design expert on Fiverr to custom-design a business proposal for as little as five dollars. Fiverr is a gig-based marketplace with experts offering editable proposal designs you can customize for each prospect and send as a PDF. Check out the top gigs below:

How Business Proposal Letters Work

A good proposal letter is formatted as a single page containing 3-4 paragraphs and fewer than 400 words, with five key elements. To write a formal business proposal letter that encourages your prospect to continue reading to your full proposal follow these steps:

  • Start with Business Headings: Identify who the letter is intended for and who it’s from, listing all parties' contact information.
  • Write an Introduction: Use a professional greeting to introduce yourself and your company then remind your prospect of why they're receiving this proposal.
  • State Your Purpose: Explain the purpose of your proposal, including the problem, solution, and key benefits.
  • Have a Call-to-Action: Clearly tell your prospect what is expected of them to move forward from this point.
  • Finish with an Outro and Signature: End the letter with a friendly and personal thanks to the prospect and reiterate your contact information.

Once you draft your business proposal letter, send it to your prospect along with your full proposal. You can mail a hardcopy with the letter on top and the proposal underneath, or more commonly, you can email it. If your contact is the decision maker, paste the letter into the body of an email and attach the proposal. If your contact might forward your email to others, also make the letter the first page of the proposal.

Remember that just like your full business proposal, your proposal letter should be customized for your unique prospect. It should also accurately summarize and tease your proposal, so make sure the information between the two documents are aligned and build off each other. For information on writing a full-blown proposal and how it ties into your proposal letter, read our article on how to create a business proposal .

In some cases, people use the terms “business proposal letter” and “business proposal” interchangeably. This refers specifically to a  one-page business proposal . Businesses selling smaller projects or drafting a proposal to companies they have a good relationship with often use a one-page proposal containing both the letter and details.

Free Business Proposal Letter Template

We’ve created a free business proposal letter template that incorporates the crucial elements listed above, as well as examples of what to write for each. Personalize it to your specific sales situation by simply replacing the words in parentheses (aka, the fields) with your own writing. We’ll show you how to do this throughout the article, incorporating screenshots of each section.

Free Business Proposal Letter Template

Standard Business Proposal Letter Format

Check out each of the major components of an effective business proposal letter below, starting with business headings, continuing on with an introduction, statement of purpose, and call-to-action, and wrapping up with a strong outro.


Statement of purpose, call-to-action.

Business headings provide a formal touch for your business proposal letter and include contact information for your business as well as the recipients, such as the business name, address, and points of contact. For more informal business proposal letters or proposal letters you send via email, you can consider omitting this portion of your letter.

business proposal letter template business headings

Your introduction is an opportunity to re-introduce yourself and remind your lead, prospect, or recipient why you're sending the associated proposal. This also gives you a chance to provide any relevant social proof to prime them before reading your full proposal, as well as tease the overall purpose.

business proposal letter template introduction

This acts as a summary of the most important contents of your business proposal: their problem, your solution, and the benefits the prospect will receive. This gives you a chance to highlight the most important points of your proposal and accurately communicate your elevator pitch or USP for the scanning reader.

business proposal letter template statement of purpose

Conclude with a sentence that tells the reader what to do next. Usually, this next step will be to read your attached proposal, but it can also be to request a call or meeting to review the proposal together or to ask and answer any questions that may have arisen after reviewing. If this is the case, use concrete language with a specific ask, such as "use my Calendly link to book a time to connect this week."

business proposal letter template call-to-action

End with a polite outro stating how excited you are about the opportunity to work together. Then, sign the document if it's a physical copy, or use a professional email signature if you're sending it via email. Include your contact information in the signature so they can reach you.

business proposal letter template outro and signature

Now that you understand the purpose of each section of the letter, follow our step-by-step instructions to write your own business proposal letter.

How to Write a Business Proposal Letter

To write a letter that effectively introduces and summarizes the proposal, draft each of the five elements in order. Below, we'll show examples of each element from our free template. Be brief and to the point, including only the most crucial information and using clear, simple language to help the reader remain engaged. Personalize the letter so the prospect feels that you’ve listened to and truly understood their specific needs — this can inspire them to work with you over your competitors.

1. Fill Out Your Business Headings

Add business headings to the top left-hand side of your letter, listing standard information about both your business and your prospect’s. List full names, job titles, companies, addresses, and contact information, as shown below. This helps the reader know this letter is for them and which business it’s from, which can be helpful if they’re assessing multiple vendors.

business proposal letter business headings template example

Some business proposals also include the date at the top, above the business headings. Some make their business information a header across the top of the page and paste their logo onto it. Do what you think looks best, and combine rows to save space if needed. This element is essentially a formality. As long as it looks organized and professional, it won’t impact the success rate of your proposal. If it looks sloppy, it might hurt it.

Since including business headers is more appropriate for letters that appear as the first page of a full business proposal, if I was writing a proposal letter in the body of the email, I would skip this step.

2. Craft a Compelling Introduction

The introduction element is the beginning of the body of your proposal letter, starting with a greeting like “Dear {Prospect Name} ” and ending with a segue into the statement of purpose. Personalize the introduction to the prospect’s unique situation to make them feel understood; do this by beginning with background information that you’ve uncovered through conversations with them, like the agreed-upon value proposition. Keep it under 100 words, if possible.

Let’s go over the bolded fields in our template using the screenshot below. Include individual and business names, plus the following:

  • First or Last Name:  Whether you choose Frank or Mr. Underwood depends on your relationship with the prospect. If uncertain, it’s best to stick with the formal Mr./Mrs. Also keep in mind that they might go by  other pronouns or honorifics  like Mx.
  • Date of Last Conversation:  The last time you spoke with them, they should have asked for a proposal or shown interest in moving into the next stage. Bring this meeting back into their memory by including the date it occurred. This makes it personal.
  • Agreed Value Proposition:  At the prior meeting, you and the prospect should have agreed on the value proposition: why the prospect should choose your solution. Write it here, mirroring how they said it out loud or in their email so they remember it easily.
  • Number of Years in the Industry:  Write how long you’ve been serving customers like them. This harmless brag builds your credibility as an expert.
  • Their Business Type:  Business type could be “enterprise martech brands,” “freelance writers,” or “property management companies managing over 1,000 units.” Tell them that you’ve served companies just like theirs.
  • Eye-Catching Benefit:  Before segueing into the statement of purpose, hook them in with another benefit of your solution. Ideally, this is one they’ve expressed excitement about in your past meetings.

Here's how these prompts fit into our free template:

business proposal letter introduction template example

3. Clearly State the Purpose of Your Proposal

Now it’s time to write the statement of purpose element of your business proposal letter. This is arguably the most critical portion of the letter, so it receives the greatest length: about 175 words. It summarizes what the prospect will learn in the attached proposal and the proposal’s purpose: to show them how you’ll help them solve a problem or achieve a goal. This element should also highlight some key benefits or your unique selling proposition (USP) to increase their curiosity.

Below are the statement of purpose fields and how to complete them:

  • Prospect’s Main Problem:  This grabs their attention since it’s what they want solved. Also, include any associated costs caused by the issue. Dedicate 1-2 sentences to this.
  • Your Product or Service:  Explain the solution you’re offering. In one sentence, describe what your solution is and how it works.
  • Benefits List:  List the three benefits they’ll receive from your solution. This gets them excited about the proposal. Consider making benefit #3 a key differentiator (aka, a unique selling proposition) that paints you as separate from and above the competition.
  • Any Other Crucial Proposal Elements You Want to Mention:  Your proposal often includes more than just the three fields above. List with commas what else they’ll find inside, whether it’s case studies or a full analysis of their situation.

We've included these elements in our free template using paragraphs and bullets:

business proposal letter statement of purpose template example

You may be wondering if cost should get a spot in the letter. It’s generally best practice to exclude cost. There’s a reason the pricing comes at the end of the full proposal — by then, the prospect will fully understand the value you offer, which makes the cost more digestible. The only time you’d include your cost is if it were a main selling point (perhaps your cost is far below the competition’s), in which case you’d include it in the paragraph after the bulleted list.

4. Make Your Call-to-Action

Your call-to-action (CTA) is where you tell the prospect what you want them to do next. This is typically to open and read the attached business proposal. You can also ask them to call or email you when they’ve finished reading it or as questions arise, or to set up a meeting in advance so they’ll finish reading it by the time you connect again. Sometimes, it'll be appropriate to include a contract and ask the prospect to sign it if they have no concerns.

Here are four potential CTAs to use:

  • “You can find the proposal below, attached to this email. Please give it a read, and feel free to book a meeting using my Calendly link if any questions arise or you'd like to go over the business proposal in detail."
  • “Please read the proposal below and give us a call or send us an email when you’ve finished to set up time to talk about the proposal, answer any of your questions, and discuss the possibility of working together.”
  • “Please read the enclosed proposal. To make sure you have all the information you need, let’s put some time on the calendar for me to answer any questions and hear your thoughts. Are you available next week at {Three Date/Time Options} ?”
  • "The proposal is attached and includes all of the details we discussed on {Day of Last Conversation} . Please let me know if any questions come up. If all looks good, you can sign the contract on the final page."

As you can see, each CTA tells the recipient to read the proposal and lays out next steps for what the prospect should do after they’ve finished reading. This tactic is effective because it solidifies next steps. We recommend going with an option that politely nudges the prospect to commit to a future meeting during which you can discuss the proposal and move the sale to a close. This accelerates the sales cycle velocity.

If you prefer a gentler approach, use the CTA in our template:

business proposal letter call-to-action template example

5. End With a Friendly Outro & Signature

Your outro should be 1-2 sentences expressing confidence in your proposal while also thanking the prospect for considering you as a potential partner, supplier, or vendor. This ends the letter on a friendly note and also gives one last reason why reading the proposal will be beneficial. Below the final line of the body, sign off using “sincerely” and your full name or email signature.

business proposal letter outro and signature template example

A handwritten signature adds a personal touch. If you don’t already have an esignature, you can easily include one by signing a piece of paper, taking a photo, then pasting that image into the Word, Google Docs, or PDF document of your letter.

In addition to the template we’ve given you above, it can also be helpful to review and learn from real-world examples of proposal letters. Check out the specific examples below for guidance in creating your own.

Top 4 Business Proposal Letter Examples & Samples

Take a look at these four business proposal letter examples from around the web by scrolling left and right below. You can learn new techniques, formats, and phrasing from each of them. The more you study other businesses’ proposal letters, the better you’ll be at crafting your own.

Product Business Proposal Letter Example

business proposal letter product business proposal letter example

This letter focuses on and flatters the recipient and then talks about their company and product. While it's ideal to build a relationship with your prospect before sending them a proposal, this letter's first paragraph is a solid option if you haven't had much of a chance to speak with your prospect but you want to get their guard down immediately so they'll read the rest of the letter and open your proposal.

Marketing Agency Business Proposal Letter Example

marketing agency business proposal letter example

Because the letter makes a few claims (e.g., a 30% acquisition cost reduction), the full proposal should explain how the seller arrived at each number. This is a great example, but keep in mind that it lacks two key elements: an adequate CTA and a signature. We recommend including both.

Accounting Services Business Proposal Letter Example

accounting services business proposal letter example

The attached proposal seems to focus mainly on the costs of the service, so this letter is shorter than usual. This is okay — different selling scenarios call for different-sized letters. If you have a long-term client who wants another product delivery but doesn’t want the whole “dog and pony show,” you may just introduce the cost summary in the letter.

Web Developer Business Proposal Letter Example

business proposal letter web developer business proposal letter example

Some businesses do this to save time. If you’re pitching a current client on a product or service upgrade, they might tell you they don’t need the full proposal. Smaller businesses like freelance writers or web designers might not have the bandwidth to craft a long proposal. We have an article on a  one-page proposal that goes in depth on this concept and how/when to use one.

Oftentimes, it's best to start with a template and then modify it to best fit your business and to incorporate ideas from examples you see online. Then, you can simply tweak your new template for each unique prospect.

Benefits of a Business Proposal Letter

A business proposal letter isn’t required when sending a full proposal. However, it has many benefits, and you should strongly consider it. Salespeople write business proposal letters for these reasons:

Build Trust

Professionalism still plays a key role in most business transactions. Prospects trust those who put in the extra effort throughout the sales process.

Hook the Prospect

The letter sparks curiosity in the reader and motivates them to read the full proposal by outlining the beneficial information they’ll find within.

Give Your Prospect Context

The letter outlines the content of the proposal, which can improve reading comprehension rates by telling the reader what to look for.

Communicate With Other Readers

Oftentimes, your business proposal will be circulated internally. If this is the case, use your letter to communicate your benefits to other readers.

Overall, use business proposal letters on a case by case basis, rather than trying a one size fits all solution. Your prospects will appreciate the time and effort that personalized business proposal letter will reflect.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do business proposal letters & business proposals differ.

An official business proposal is a multipage document or presentation that outlines all terms of a deal between you and a prospect. This includes a cover page, table of contents, executive and problem summary, proposed solution, qualifications, timeline, pricing, and terms and conditions. Proposals can act as a legitimate contract if you wish to include a signature field. Proposal letters act as an introduction to this entire presentation by explaining its purpose to the prospect.

How Do Business Proposal Letters & One-Page Proposals Differ?

One-page proposals are a single-page document that clearly defines the solution, benefits, and terms of a deal between you and your prospect. They’re an alternative to a full blown proposal and typically work best for smaller deals or more intimate relationships. Business proposal letters aren’t meant to stand alone as one-pagers can. Instead, proposal letters work to introduce the purpose and goal of an official business proposal that you then present to your prospects.

Bottom Line: Business Proposal Letter

Your business proposal letter is an effective  lead nurturing  tool and is your business proposal’s first impression. It sets the tone for what’s to come and gets the prospect excited about reading your plan to help them achieve their goals. To do this effectively, it must focus on the prospect. Accolades and rewards aside, your business must take the backseat here. Use this single page to show the prospect you know exactly how to help and get them to read your full business proposal .

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How to write a proposal letter

Writing a proposal letter might seem simple. You need to introduce yourself, write a few details about the project, and provide a price for your services, right?

If you’re taking an approach similar to the one just described, you’re likely losing out on sales and customers. Most salespeople make a handful of conversion-killing mistakes when it comes to writing proposals. And the simple reality is that most can be rectified quickly and easily.

In this article, we’ll show you how to write a compelling proposal letter. We’ll give you a proven structure, cover some easily-implementable tips for improving your chances of success, and show you a practical example of a letter that can be used today.

What is a proposal letter?

Most commonly, a “proposal letter” (a term which has a number of overlapping meanings) is a document that acts as a full proposal for small projects, where an in-depth proposal, with a table of contents and extensive project details, is not required.

Alternatively, a proposal letter is sent either as a precursor to a comprehensive and more detailed business proposal or included as part of an actual proposal, used as a cover letter to engage potential prospects.

The first definition will be the focus of this article. Proposal letters are shorter, abbreviated forms of complete proposals. Nonetheless, they follow a similar, albeit more concise, structure.

There’s also one more point worth noting. Sometimes, the terms “proposal” and “proposal letter” are used interchangeably. In such cases, a “proposal letter” is meant to be a full proposal, and you should structure and write your document accordingly.

How do you write a proposal letter?

You should always follow any specific guidelines given by the recipient, especially if you are responding to an RFP (request for proposal). Generally speaking, you can use the following structure when crafting a proposal letter:

Introduction and background

Set the context for the letter by providing a little background information in the first paragraph. If you have already interacted with the recipient, mention this in the opening statements. You may have discussed the prospective client’s problem and agreed to a rough set of objectives. Allude to this conversation and briefly reiterate (in a few sentences or so) why you are well-suited to provide a solution.

Statement of the problem

You can include this as part of the section above, or you may want to dedicate a few paragraphs to it, depending on the extent of the problem.

Goals and objectives

It’s best to be as specific as possible when describing goals and objectives. Objectives should be outlined in list form, preferably with figures attached. It is better to say something like, “We will increase productivity by 30% over three months,” rather than, “We will significantly boost productivity.” You may also want to provide details about the methods you will utilize to achieve these objectives.

How will customers be aware of progress? Will you send a monthly report? Will they have access to a real-time analytics dashboard? Who will the main point of contact be? Which metrics will you use to measure success? Paint a clear picture of how you will ensure that your recipients know the project is moving forward in the right direction.

It’s not usually appropriate to give a full breakdown of costs in your cover letter, but you should give an idea of the budget. The cost of a project is a major factor in the decision-making process, so it’s important to include this information.

Contact information

Providing a full set of contact details at the end of the letter, including a phone number and email address, can be incredibly helpful if clients want to call or email you directly.

Proposal letter example

The proposal template below is written to show you what a generic proposal business letter might look like. Depending on your understanding of your prospect, you may wish to make it longer or shorter, or add greater detail to certain sections.

The letter should follow a traditional format and include the names and addresses of both you and your recipient in the letterhead.

Dear Sir/Madam,

It was a pleasure talking to you on Friday about the issues you are facing in regards to staff recruitment and training. You described your desire to improve recruitment practices and establish tested results-oriented staff onboarding practices.

At Generic Recruitment Company, we have over twenty years of experience providing recruitment services to enterprises like the one you represent. Our team has specific experience in your particular field, having worked with Company A and Company B.

In this letter, I’d like to briefly describe how Generic Recruitment Company will provide a comprehensive solution for your problem, and the objectives we would achieve.

O ur overall goal will be to reduce the total amount of resources – staff time and overall expenditure – spent on recruitment by XX% while maintaining current results. We will boost new staff productivity over the first XX months of employment by XX% by improving staff training processes.

There are a number of intermediary objectives we would meet to achieve this:

  • A review of current hiring and training practices.
  • Creation of testing infrastructure and formulation of viable KPIs.
  • A testing and implementation period to identify possible positive changes.
  • Longer-term analysis and optimization of new processes over several months.

Evaluation and reporting

You will receive a monthly report which will cover all of the important KPIs. Your main point-of-contact will be the team leader. Every quarter, you will be invited to attend a presentation explaining testing outcomes, positive changes, and general progress towards the project’s objectives.

As previously discussed, the approximate cost of the project is $10,000 paid in quarterly installments over the course of 12 months. This payment plan is, of course, flexible and open to discussion.

If you would like to go ahead with the project, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I have included my contact details below. If you are happy to get going straight away, simply sign below.

Sincerely, X

Have you considered a proposal software?

One of the easiest ways to streamline your proposal creation workflow , whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, is to use software like PandaDoc.

Not only can you work from a template based on the structure outlined above, but you can also take advantage of collaboration tools, automation features , and drag-and-drop proposal elements like electronic signatures and payment options .

If you would like to give PandaDoc a test-drive and see exactly what it can do for your proposal letters, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial.

How to Start a Business Proposal Introduction + Free Template

Posted by: Cinthya Soto

In the business world, making a great first impression can make all the difference in landing a client. And when it comes to proposals, the first impression starts with the introduction. 

But, how do you write an introduction that captivates from the get-go? In this blog, we unravel the art of writing a compelling business proposal introduction, and we also include a free template to set you on the path to success. 

Learn the essential tips to grabbing the client’s attention to help you feel confident about your proposal writing process. Are you ready to win more clients? Let’s begin! 

What Is the Introduction of a Business Proposal? 

The introduction of a business proposal offers a broad overview showing you understand the objectives and goals of the client. As the initial point of reference for readers to grasp your solution, it’s important to invest time and care into crafting the introduction. An impactful and captivating business proposal introduction sets a clear picture of the objectives and the strategies you intend to use. 

To create a winning proposal , the proposal introduction should captivate the reader and offer a concise overview without too many specifics. It sets the stage for the main content of your business proposal by highlighting the main themes and introducing the focus points that will be discussed. 

The introduction to your business plan is not the same as the executive summary . The executive summary provides more detail and specifics. The business proposal introduction comes right after the executive summary and it helps create the tone for your proposal.

The summary provided in the introduction serves as a guide for what to include when writing each section of your business proposal. After completing the proposal, check the introduction to confirm that all essential points have been properly addressed.

What Is the Difference Between an Executive Summary and a Proposal Cover Letter? 

If you’ve been requested by a potential client to submit a proposal or you’re responding to an official RFP , you’re probably familiar with both cover letters and executive summaries. However, which one should you include in your proposal? And how do they differ? 

Both an executive summary and a proposal cover letter are integral parts of a business or project proposal, but they serve different purposes and have unique content structures. Although there are several similarities between these two parts of a proposal, cover letters, and executive summaries have distinct differences, especially when it comes to when and how they are used. 

Both the cover letter and the executive summary are placed at the start of your proposal, and each should be brief and straight to the point. However, a proposal cover letter offers a brief introduction to a project, whereas an executive summary provides a more comprehensive overview of proposal reports and materials. 

Here’s a brief overview of how cover letters and executive summaries differ from each other: 

Cover Letters 

  • The first written section of the proposal
  • Make the first impression
  • Focus more on the personal relationship with the client 
  • Connect with buyers on a more human level 
  • The perfect place to show you truly understand the client’s challenges and how your firm will help 
  • On company letterhead 
  • Signed by a high-ranking member of the team/company  
  • Placed directly after the proposal cover page and before the table of contents (unless instructed otherwise in the RFP) 
  • 3–5 paragraphs 
  • 1 page 

The goal is to make the cover letter feel personal and catch the reader’s attention, so they are more likely to read the entire proposal. 

Executive Summaries  

  • A summary of the entire proposal 
  • Focused on the details of the project and less on your relationship (or possible relationship) with the client 
  • Starts with a summary of the client’s challenge 
  • Details a quick overview of the solution proposed
  • Highlights the unique components you’re offering 
  • Placed right after the table of contents and before the rest of your proposal. 
  • The executive summary is optional, and not a requirement of an RFP 
  • If your proposal is less than 20 pages, you probably won’t need one  
  • 5 paragraphs 
  • 1–2 pages 

When compared to cover letters, executive summaries often include more data and serve as condensed versions of a proposal, allowing readers to quickly familiarize themselves with extensive content without reading the entire document. 

How Do You Start an Introduction for a Proposal? 

Starting the writing of your introduction for a proposal can sometimes feel like the most difficult step. When staring at a blank page, you may experience “ blank page syndrome ” or “ writer’s block .” This makes writing seem impossible to overcome. 

Finding the right idea, the first few words, and completing the first sentence seem like a difficult task. Whether you’re writing a book or a proposal, finding the first few words can often be challenging. 

However, doing research and creating an outline can help you craft a compelling introduction that sets the tone for your proposal. Here’s how: 

Do Your Research 

To help you get started, make sure to do your research on the project and the client. You should understand the problem or opportunity you’re addressing. Research the specific needs of the client to make the proposal more personalized. 

Dedicating time to understanding a client’s needs shows your commitment to going above and beyond for their project. This effort will also allow you to create a more customized plan, streamlining the process when it’s time to execute it. 

Create an Outline 

Next, organize your thoughts by creating an outline. Going back to writer’s block, one of the main reasons writers experience blocks is because they are unsure of what to write next. An outline provides a clear path, helping reduce the chances of getting stuck. 

Moreover, this doesn’t just pertain to the entire proposal, but also to the introduction itself. Make sure to highlight any elements you think are essential to include in your introduction. The purpose of an outline is to establish a framework for the business proposal. This not only facilitates a smoother writing experience but also helps in structuring the content for the introduction.

Simply put, an outline helps in ensuring you don’t miss out on any crucial point and provides a structure to flow with. 

Business Proposal Introduction Tips 

To start with a strong proposal introduction, here are some foolproof tips: 

Keep It Short 

The business proposal introduction aims to capture the reader’s attention and present a concise overview. Therefore, begin by creating the introduction to your proposal, offering a brief overview of all the sections within the business plan. Your business proposal introduction should provide an overview of the proposal as a whole while keeping it brief and straight to the point. 

By highlighting the central themes, it sets the stage for the main content, letting the reader know what will be discussed in the next sections of your proposal.

Address the Problem 

Because it’s the introduction, you don’t have to mention every detail, but it’s best if you at least provide a summary of how you’ll address the problem. You can do this in just a couple of sentences. It’s crucial to offer companies an attainable and realistic solution to avoid getting your proposal pushed to the side. Highlighting this in the introduction will catch their attention, allowing you to explain further in the rest of your proposal. 

Focus on the Solution 

The introduction should center on the proposed solution and the measures you intend to take to achieve results. After all, the main goal of a business proposal is to offer a solution to the client’s problem. 

To do this, an effective method is to identify the problem and then highlight the solution. Focus on the proposed solutions you will address in the complete proposal to demonstrate how you are uniquely qualified and perfectly positioned to address the challenge. 

Frame your introduction in the following way to create a flow that helps the reader follow your story and connect with it: 

  • Problem 
  • Solution 
  • Opportunity 

Include a Maximum of 3–5 Points 

While you may want to pack in all the details in the introduction, the most effective proposal introductions are concise and 1–3 pages. Therefore, you should focus only on the 3-5 key points that will deeply connect with the prospect and highlight those in the introduction. If this proves challenging, come up with larger categories to fit multiple key points under each category. 

Put the Prospect First 

A great and effective tip to an outstanding business proposal is focusing on the prospect and the value you offer—rather than what they can offer you. 

Rather than talking about yourself and your firm, make your business proposal to focus entirely on the prospect. It’s easy to forget this focus when we’re trying to promote our own accomplishments at the same time. However, speaking directly to the potential client in the introduction demonstrates that you’re eager and prepared to work with them. 

Remember to Edit Your Introduction for Your Business Proposal 

Don’t forget, that the proposal introduction is your first impression. This means you don’t get a re-do, so it should be error-free and well-written with a professional tone. Even with an amazing and compelling proposal, a grammatical error in the introduction can start you off on the wrong foot, causing you to lose the client. 

Simply running a brief spelling and grammar check before submitting isn’t enough for a business proposal. You should provide a high-quality proposal free of mistakes. Therefore, while drafting and after ensuring everything is correct, continuously review your document until it meets perfection. 

Implement a DAM 

A Digital Asset Management (DAM) system , like OpenAsset , can significantly help in the process of creating RFP responses, including proposal introductions in several ways. If you have specific templates for different types of proposals, you can create documents in seconds . A good DAM will store these templates for easy access and application, ensuring consistency and quality across different proposals.

Moreover, a DAM system can streamline the process of creating proposal introductions by ensuring easy access to quality, brand-consistent assets, fostering collaboration, and maintaining efficiency throughout the process.

Example of Introduction in Business Proposal

Now that we know how to create a foolproof business proposal introduction, let’s take a look at what a business proposal introduction sample would look like in the AEC industry.

Business Proposal Introduction

Free Proposal Introduction Template for Your Proposal Response 

Below, you can download a FREE proposal introduction template made for the AEC industry. This will provide a straightforward starting point for your next proposal.

How to Write an Effective Proposal Introduction 

Creating quality proposal introductions over and over again isn’t a simple job. However, as the #1 DAM for AEC and Real Estate, OpenAsset can help you find, share, and use the digital assets you need to create high-quality AEC proposals quickly and easily. 

With dozens of integrations and useful features, OpenAsset makes it easy to share and manage the heavy amounts of digital assets needed to create winning proposals . 

Get your free downloadable proposal introduction template today. And if you’d like to learn more about our DAM technology, you can reach out to one of our digital asset experts today to schedule a demo . 

Get OpenAsset DAM Insights

how do you start a business proposal letter

How to Create Winning Proposals

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How to Write a Business Proposal [Examples + Template]

Meredith Hart

Published: August 09, 2023

Free Business Proposal Template

how do you start a business proposal letter

Propose your business as the ideal solution using our Free Business Proposal Templates.

Thank you for downloading the offer.

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.

how to write a business proposal: image shows a person holding a pen and another person typing on a laptop

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 templates, business proposal example, tips for writing a business proposal, business proposal ideas.

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

It's a common misconception that business proposals and business plans are the same. The proposal helps you 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.

  • Unsolicited Business Proposals : With unsolicited business proposals, you approach a potential customer with a proposal, even if they don't request one, to gain their business.
  • Solicited Business Proposals : Solicited business proposals are requested by prospective clients so that they can decide whether to do business with your company.

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.

how do you start a business proposal letter

Propose your business as the ideal solution using our Free Business Proposal Templates

  • Problem summary
  • Proposed solution
  • Pricing information
  • Project timeline

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Fill out the form to get your template.

Whether the proposal is solicited or unsolicited, the steps to create your proposal are similar. Make sure it includes three main points:

  • A statement of the organization's problem
  • Begin with a title page.
  • Explain your why with an executive summary.
  • State the problem or need.
  • Propose a solution.
  • Share your qualifications.
  • Include pricing options.
  • Summarize with a conclusion.

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 .)

1. Begin with a title page.

You have to convey some basic information here. Introduce yourself and your business. Be sure to include:

  • Your company's name
  • The date you submitted the proposal
  • 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 choice for them?

Like 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 offer 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

3. State the problem or need.

This is where you share a summary of the issue impacting the potential client. This is your opportunity to show them you understand their needs and the problem they need help solving.

How to Write a Business Proposal: Example Event Overview

5. Share your qualifications.

You know you're qualified to solve this prospect's problem, but how do they know they can trust you?

Use this section of your business proposal template to communicate why you're best for the job.

How to write a business proposal: share your qualifications

This section should show your authority in your industry. With this in mind, be sure to include:

  • Case studies
  • Client testimonials
  • Relevant awards
  • Industry accreditations

6. Include pricing options.

Pricing is where things can get a bit tricky, as you don't want to under or over-price your product.

How to write a business proposal: Include Pricing Options

The pricing section of your proposal could include:

  • A detailed pricing breakdown, including packages, tiers, and add-ons or optional services
  • How product features and benefits align with pricing choices
  • Pricing for different needs and budgets
  • How your pricing compares with competitors
  • An FAQ section to respond to anticipated objections and explain your pricing strategy

7. Summarize with a conclusion.

After sharing the above information, simplify it all into one final section.

  • First, briefly summarize the proposal. Be sure to share your qualifications and why you’d serve as the best choice.
  • Then, to prompt further conversation, confirm your availability to go over the next steps.
  • At the end of the proposal, the goal is to have the client ready to work with you. So, be sure to offer your contact information for easy follow-up.

In need of some inspiration before you begin writing? Here are example business proposal templates from popular business proposal software companies you can use to help create your proposal.

1. HubSpot's Free Business Plan Templates

HubSpot Business Proposal Template

Download these Templates

We know how crucial a great business proposal is to your and your client’s 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 refine your plan and proposal.

Download the templates now to get started on building your proposal.

2. Web Design Proposal

Business Proposal Templates: Web Design

Companies, big and small, dedicate resources to establishing a noticeable social media presence. With advertising on social networks projected to reach $82.23 billion dollars in 2025 , 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 show 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.

In the business template example below, 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.

Business Proposal Example: Social Media

Besides the design, the social media icons quickly tell the prospect what platforms Social Portal is pitching. Because we see Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest icons, the client instantly knows that this proposal doesn’t 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 them.

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.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Stay on brand.
  • Quality control.
  • Include data and visuals.
  • Add social proof.
  • Use a call-to-action.
  • Create a sense of urgency.
  • Make the decision for them.
  • Incorporate video into your proposal.
  • Include up-sell and add-on opportunities.
  • Clarify your terms and conditions.
  • Include a space for signatures to document agreement.
  • Create a table of contents.

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 help you stay focused and make sure your message stays intact as you write.

Use these free business proposal templates to make sure that your outline includes everything you need.

2. 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 anyone who picks up your proposal to make sense of it. So, be straightforward and don't get too fancy. Aim for substance over flash.

3. 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.

4. Quality control.

A quick spelling and grammar check before you hit send isn't enough for a business proposal.

Your proposal needs to be clean and airtight. So, as you draft your proposal, and after checking for the basics, keep scanning this document until it's just right.

Check to make sure your proposal:

  • Meets client needs and expectations
  • Highlights your value proposition
  • Is well-structured and easy to read or skim
  • Complies with legal, ethical, and regulatory requirements
  • Looks professional and engaging

5. 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.

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

6. Add social proof.

You can only be so convincing when you're personally talking up how great your business is. Adding social proof lends your proposal another degree of credibility.

Prospects are skeptical. They may not take you at your word. But they'll likely trust peers and fellow customers. That's why including elements like customer quotes and testimonials can go a long way.

7. 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 after reading your proposal.

A clear 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.

HubSpot customers : Use this CTA builder to create powerful customized CTAs.

8. Create a sense of urgency.

No one wants to feel as if they missed out on a great opportunity. Without urgency, your prospect might drag their feet and put off making a decision.

So, as you create your business proposal, your goal should be to create a sense of urgency.

When prospective clients read your business proposal they should feel that the best time to sign up for your service is now.

One way you can accomplish this is by stating your short and long-term goals for their business. They'll have to wait for the long-term goals, but you can make the short-term goals so enticing that they'll be ready to begin a collaboration.

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. Do everything in your power to remove friction and objections along the way.

10. Incorporate video into your proposal.

If you're creating an online proposal using document file formats like PDF, add multimedia elements. This will enhance the proposal experience, make your document richer, and keep them engaged.

Try adding a video at the beginning as an intro to your proposal. Or, put a video in the project breakdown to verbally discuss some of the more confusing parts.

Extras like this can make an impression. This tip works especially well with prospects who are visual or auditory communicators.

Pro tip : HubSpot Video makes it easy to record and embed video into a website or email for a big proposal boost.

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

They say you won't receive unless you ask. And readers won't explore the upper tiers of your solutions if you don't give them the opportunity.

So, share some upsells and add-ons about your business that they can act on. Call out a specific pain point and how this extra can add value.

With this step, balance is important. Show them everything your business has to offer without overwhelming your recipient.

12. Clarify your terms and conditions.

Your business proposal should include details on your project timeline and payment schedule. This summary is basically what you and the client agree to if they accept your proposal.

How to write a business proposal: Example Terms and Conditions

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Propose your business as the ideal solution using this free template.

Example Proposal Letters

As a college instructor and communication expert with extensive nonfiction and educational writing experience, Mary shares tips and advice related to a wide variety of topics.

Learn about our Editorial Policy .

Anna is a multitalented writer and copywriter with a Bacehlor's in Finance. When not keeping up with her online blog, she's writing books like "Creating Content That Gets Results" and contributing to publications like Real Estate Marketing Magazine.

A proposal letter is a type of business letter that would be used to introduce someone to your ideas. For example, it could be a sales letter promoting products or services to a prospective customer, a letter suggesting a new company program to your boss, or another type of proposal. To access these sample letters, just click the image to download, then place your cursor anywhere in the PDF to make changes. If you need help with the file, these tips may be helpful.

Example Sales Proposal Letter for Products

When you're ready to write your next product sales proposal letter, this example will help get you started. Simply change the details to match your particular offerings!

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Make sure your sales letter is addressed to a specific person (or job title if a name isn't possible). It should also include these elements:

  • An introduction that focuses on the core problem the customer is facing, which your product solves
  • A description of why you understand their concern and are in the perfect position to solve the problem
  • Benefits of your product
  • Three options to allow for comparison shopping and to decrease the chance your prospect will shop around for other deals
  • A specific date you plan to call to follow-up

Example Sales Proposal Letter for Services

When you are pitching a service, you will follow many of the same rules as a product letter, but there are a few key differences. Use this example letter for inspiration.

When writing a letter offering your services, be sure to:

  • Write a professional letter addressed to the individual or job title
  • Express that you know how hard it is to find good service and that you can help
  • Explain why your organization is uniquely qualified to fit the prospect's need
  • Three options (to give the prospect a feeling of 'buying' rather than 'being sold')
  • A specific date you will follow up

Proposal Letter for an Internal Project

Writing an internal proposal can seem just as intimidating as writing a sales letter to a client. Not only are you proposing something you think will be really impactful for your company, you also need to put your best foot forward for your boss. Update this example internal proposal with your project's details.

Make sure your internal proposal includes:

  • The problem the company is having
  • How severe the problem is, preferably in terms of financial cost
  • The solution you are proposing
  • The resources required for your solution
  • The benefits of your solution

Example Sponsorship Proposal

For a sponsorship proposal, be sure to start from a place of gratitude. If the recipient has helped you in the past, say thank you. If not, make a general statement about how grateful you are for the community's strong support of your project to provide social proof that can help make your prospect more likely to commit. Use this sample sponsorship proposal letter as a guide.

A sponsorship proposal letter should include:

  • A statement of thanks for past support (if applicable)
  • A few facts that outline the positive impact of your event
  • Two or three options for sponsorship, with the benefits of each one
  • An assumptive statement thanking the recipient for his or her support
  • A day and time you will call them to answer any questions

Business Proposal for a Partnership

If you're looking to partner with another business that offers products or services that are complementary to your firm's offerings without being competitive, consider sending a letter like this one to begin discussions. Such a partnership can provide a great opportunity for both organizations.

A partnership proposal letter should include:

  • A general overview of why you are seeking to partner with the recipient
  • Information about how the potential partner could benefit from the partnership opportunity
  • A request to initiate an initial discussion with the potential partner
  • A call to action with a specific timeframe

Proposal Letters are a Powerful Sales Tool

Getting an actual letter in the mail is a rare experience these days because social media and email marketing have taken over. A properly written and formatted proposal letter can really stand out. Still, writing an effective sales letter is not an easy task. With these example proposal letters, you'll have a head start on persuasively making your case as a precursor to drafting a full, formal business proposal for consideration.

How to Write an Effective Business Proposal/Letter

  • Small Business
  • Business Communications & Etiquette
  • Business Writing
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Characteristics of the Parts of a Business Letter

How to stop outlook from capitalizing every line, business letter etiquette for closing options.

  • Proper Closings for Business Letters
  • What Is the Appropriate Way to End a Business Letter?

Good communication in business can make a huge difference in how you're perceived. Whether you're writing a formal proposal in letter form or just a business letter, using proper formatting and explaining your ideas clearly and succinctly will ensure that your audience understands your ideas and increase their likelihood of viewing them favorably.

Format the Letter

Format the letter correctly. Write on letterhead with your name, address and other contact information centered at the top. If you do not have letterhead, type your name and address in the upper right corner of the letter. The recipient's name and address should be two lines down from your address and in the left corner. Place the date either centered beneath the recipient's address or on the right side on the line below the recipient's address.

Then put a "Re:" line on the left side below the date. This line should contain clear, succinct information about the topic of the letter. For example, if you are discussing a proposal, write something like: "Re: Proposal to expand partnership."

Address the Recipient

Begin your letter with a formal greeting using the proper title of the recipient. Proper titles include Mr., Ms. and Dr. Do not address a woman as Mrs. or Miss unless she has explicitly told you to do so. The greeting should be followed by a colon so that your greeting looks like this: "Dear Dr. Smith:"

Provide Background Details

Provide any background information in the first paragraph. For example, if you're following up on a meeting, briefly discuss the topic of the meeting. If you're submitting a proposal, give a brief summation of the proposal in the first paragraph. This can help your audience understand complex proposals.

State Your Purpose

State clearly and succinctly the goal of your letter and your requested next action. When writing a proposal, provide clear details that do not add extraneous information. A proposal for a business arrangement, for example, should give the basic terms of the proposal. You should also incorporate any relevant statistics or facts into your proposal. Proposals are stronger and more compelling when they are grounded in research or real-world experience.

Request a Followup from the Recipient 

If you're asking for specific action from the recipient – such as a refund or an extension of a deadline – state this in the final paragraph. If the proposal confers any potential benefits to the recipient, be sure to state this. A person requesting a refund from a business might emphasize that this refund would encourage her to patronize the business in the future.

Close the Letter 

Close the letter by thanking the person for his consideration and encouraging him to contact you if he has any questions. The letter should close with a valediction such as "Sincerely" or "Yours truly" followed by a comma. Type your name a few lines below the valediction and sign your name above your typed name.

Attach Documentation

Include any supporting documentation in your letter. Denote these enclosures by typing "enclosures:" on the left side beneath your signature. List the enclosures included after this word. Proofread your letter for any typos, spelling errors or grammatical mistakes.

  • Plain Writing Effective Letters
  • Xerox: Writing an Effective Business Letter
  • Proofread your letter for any typos, spelling errors or grammatical mistakes.
  • Incorporate any relevant statistics or facts into your proposal. Proposals are stronger and more compelling when they are grounded in research or real-world experience.

Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.

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How to write a business proposal in 7 steps.

Create a well-structured proposal to win new clients and business.

Explore Adobe Acrobat

Three coworkers in a modern-looking office go review and discuss a business proposal that has been constructed using Adobe Acrobat.


1. Research and outline the parts of your business proposal

2. Build the title and table of contents

3. Write your executive summary

4. Get into the project details

5. List deliverables, milestones, and budgets

6. Craft the conclusion and appendix

7. Edit and professionally polish your proposal

What is a business proposal?

A business proposal is a written offer of a product or service to a prospective customer. Winning business proposals help secure funding, expand projects, and grow your business.

What should be included in a business proposal?

There are a few key questions that should be answered in your business proposal:

  • Who are you? What does your company do?
  • What problems are your buyers facing?
  • What solution does your company offer to solve the problem?
  • How will your company successfully implement the solution?
  • How much money, time, and other resources do you estimate will be required to implement the solution?

A person researching and outlining a business proposal on a tablet with Adobe Acrobat

Types of business proposals.

Before you can decide how to structure your proposal, it’s important to understand what type of proposal is most appropriate for the situation. While there are different types of proposals in different industries, they usually fall into one of these three categories:

Informally solicited business proposal.

This type of business proposal is for when no official request has been made for a proposal. Informally solicited proposals stem from spontaneous, informal conversations with a client or vendor — unlike official requests that contain much more detail. You might write one if a prospective buyer is interested in your products or services and asks for a business proposal so that they can analyze it. With these types of requests, prospective buyers will not normally ask for competing proposals. This type of proposal will require a decent amount of additional research on your end.

Unsolicited business proposal.

An unsolicited business proposal is for when you wish to approach prospective customers with a proposal, although they didn’t request one, in hopes of securing them as customers. These proposals are more generic and act like a cold email or marketing brochure. This type of business proposal is created without the understanding of the potential customer and their requirements. By conducting market research and identifying customer pain points, you can create a personalized solution based on each individual buyer’s needs.

Formally solicited business proposal.

Formally solicited business proposals are created upon official request for a business proposal to be written. With this type of proposal, you will have most (if not all) the information required to understand a prospective buyer’s needs. All you have to do is write the proposal for the buyer so that they can analyze it and you can start the sales process. Formally solicited proposals are typically written as a response to published requirements from the business that is searching for proposals. These will be created because of a public posting asking for proposals. These clients are likely looking through multiple proposals to try and find the best fit.

Why write a business proposal?

Business proposals are huge for new businesses looking to expand. Whether you’re an established small business or one looking to grow, a business proposal can help you with everything from securing funding to growing an existing project.

A business proposal is a document that helps you:

  • Document realistic plans and projections
  • Attract new clients and new business
  • Bring in investors for funding
  • Outline additional structure for growth
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of your current business model
  • Showcase new pricing models and other relevant metrics

Sound like something that might be useful? Here’s how you create one.

The introduction page of a business proposal being mocked up on a red tablet

How to write a business proposal.

Business proposals can vary in formatting, but there are some key elements that any business proposal should have. Some of the most essential elements include a title page, table of contents, details on your company’s “why” in the executive summary, a problem or need statement, a proposed solution, qualifications, a timeline, pricing, billing, legal information, clarification of terms and conditions, and the acceptance section where your potential buyer can sign the document.

You will want to make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of the business before composing your proposal. It can be helpful to set up an initial meeting or call to gain insight into what the client wants from your business. If the business has shared an RFP with you, be sure to give it a thorough read-through. After your research is complete, you can create your business proposal. Detailed below are the key elements to begin.

1. Research and outline the parts of your business proposal.

You likely know what you want to do to expand your business already, so you have probably done plenty of research. If you haven’t, it’s important to come into the process well prepared and informed before you outline. Make sure that you have case studies, pertinent data, and compelling examples of how your proposal will lead to benefits for your client before you begin.

Building a business proposal is a highly structured process, which means that an outline is essential. An outline can be as simple as a one- or two-page document, with bullet points breaking key areas down into quick summaries that you can then expand into full sections.

For a basic outline, writing a small section for each step that follows in this guide is a great way to organize and set up your proposal. You can use steps 2–6 here as the framework for your outline. You can even build out the entire document in a PDF editor . You’ll be able to drop pages in and comment to your proposal on the fly.

2. Build the title and table of contents.

The introduction to your business proposal is always the title. Creating a strong, solid title page gives a prospective client an idea of the value proposition, as well as what is going to follow within the proposal. This is the first step in getting eyes on your work. Especially if the proposal is unsolicited, you have to make sure to excite your audience, assuring them that your proposal is going to solve their pain points.

The table of contents summarizes the remainder of the proposal and helps readers reference where different sections start and end, but it can also be a way of providing additional small summaries of each section — it’s up to you. There are many types of proposals — from sales proposals to marketing proposals — and the table of contents can give clues to your audience about what you’re selling and how it benefits them.

3. Write your executive summary.

The executive summary functions as an introduction to your reader. In some ways, it’s like a cover letter — a concise introduction and summary of your proposal. You’ll want to introduce your company (especially if the proposal is unsolicited), give an overview of your business goals and objectives, show off some milestones you’ve already hit, lay out what the future path is, and explain how the proposal you’re writing is the first step of that path.

You’re talking to decision makers and potential customers, so you want to make sure that you’re reeling your audience in as much as possible with snappy writing that outlines what they can expect in the following sections of the proposal.

Pages of a business proposal highlighting a brand studio's portfolio, including a flamingo in pink ice cream

4. Get into the project details.

Problem, solution, qualifications. These three words are the mantra of this section. Your proposal needs to identify the client’s problem and immediately follow up with a proposed solution. Problem statement plus solution equals a happy client who is excited about coming to work with you.

And, during all of this, you must demonstrate your expertise through qualifications. If your company or business is certified and has a track record of success solving this particular problem, showcase it. If you need additional capabilities to achieve what you need, identify that as well. At the end of this section, your target audience should walk away confident you can meet any client’s needs.

5. List deliverables, milestones, and budgets.

After you outline project details, identify specific deliverables this proposal will produce. For instance, if your proposal is to open a new branch of your business in a new region, identify all the steps that will happen in that process, what they’ll cost, and what the timeline is. Striving for accuracy and professionalism in this section is key, as it demonstrates that you’re serious about what you’re trying to do. Coming in with examples of previous successes can also demonstrate proof that your process works.

While a proposal can be a formal document, it doesn’t have to be stodgy. A winning proposal has eye-catching headings, is free of typos, and outlines the time frames, scope of work, and payment schedules that a client can expect if they accept.

6. Craft the conclusion and appendix.

End with a strong call to action that lets the reader know what they should do next. That can be a salesperson’s number or a contact form online to discover more. An appendix that contains reference materials, definitions, methodology, and other relevant items can also be effective.

7. Edit and professionally polish your proposal.

A business proposal is bolstered by two things: solid writing and elegant design. If you are writing a Request for Proposal (RFP), you will want to include the following elements:

  • An introduction to your company and background information on the project
  • The project goals and scope of services needed
  • A deadline for receiving bids
  • A timeline for when you expect to select a winning proposal
  • Which specific elements you would like included in the proposal
  • Any specific challenges you’d like the contractors to solve
  • Your estimated budget range for the project

Whether you’re creating a Request for Proposal (RFP) , a solicited proposal, or a series of case studies, Acrobat Pro gives you the tools to design beautiful and eye-catching proposals — and you don’t even have to start from scratch. There are dozens of free business proposal templates available to start working from, and Acrobat makes it easy to add graphics, images, and creative formatting to your proposal.

Plus, if you’re sharing your proposal digitally, you can easily add graphs, pricing tables, links, and attachments to enhance the overall experience for readers. Your table of contents can be hyperlinked throughout the document, and you can send readers to supplementary documents elsewhere.

Creating a compelling proposal and tidy cover page with Acrobat Pro is only a few more steps away . You can start learning how with helpful guides and tutorials, and soon you’ll have a business proposal that will grow and enhance your business.

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