What to include in a business proposal

You can use our free proposal templates to make sure your proposal includes everything it needs. Aside from the proposal itself, you’ll also need a cover and cover letter or executive summary.

Cover

Your cover needs to include the proposal date along with the names of the proposal, the client, and your company. Effective proposal covers are simple yet well designed. Select fonts and colors that match your company’s brand, and include a high-resolution image of your company logo. Your cover design should be consistent with the design for the rest of your proposal.

Cover letter/executive summary

This is your first and therefore your most important opportunity to engage with a potential client. The aim of your executive summary or cover letter isn’t to summarize your proposal, but to persuade the client to read the rest of your proposal. To do that, you need to focus solely on the client and their needs.

The body of your proposal should include:

Challenges

Reintroduce the issue the client is facing and the goals they’re trying to achieve. Define how your method is the most effective and necessary approach to solving their problem.

Plan

Outline your approach to tackling the client’s challenges. Provide a timeline for project deliverables and describe how each milestone will benefit the client. Be sure to detail your strategy as much as possible.

Budget

List project fees and any additional resources you might need. Give the client multiple pricing options to choose from. Describe what you can do within their budget and what more you can do beyond it.

Qualifications

Take the time to brag about yourself and your team. Explain what your company does and what your values are on an “About Us” page. List references or case studies to demonstrate just how successful your company has been.

Next steps

Tell the client how to proceed should they choose to accept your proposal. Have a lawyer review any legal language, such as terms and conditions, you might put in your conclusion.

Alannah is a copywriter at JotForm. When she's not writing about the easiest online form builder, she enjoys watching old movies, visiting art galleries, trying new beers, and petting as many cats as possible. You can get in touch with Alannah through her contact form.

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