Business Proposal Forms

Written by Helen Glenn Court
Bookmark and Share

With a business plan, you sort out how to run a company and raise revenue. A business proposal comes one step back in the process. That is, you're looking for business, whether a specific job, contract, project, or enterprise. Proposals for business are one of two types.

The first is the solicited proposal. These are the ones we're most familiar with, certainly in the nation's capital. A large organization--whether a government department, a nonprofit organization, or a corporate entity--has a specific project to outsource. Contractors or small firms bid in a solicited proposal for the work.

The second type is the unsolicited proposal. A good example of these is when one company suggests a joint venture to another. The process and documentation for both types are quite similar. Only the circumstances vary. An effective proposal, no matter what sort, has several identifying characteristics.

Business Proposal Form and Content

The first is identifying the solution or solutions to the need or problem. The second is outlining the benefits to working with the proposer. The third is a showing solid portfolio of related work. The fourth is having professional credibility--whether awards, accreditation, or other documentation. The fifth is targeting the language of the proposal to the audience who will be reading it.

If you're writing the proposal in response to an RFP (request for proposal), the first critical set of specifications to meet are those itemized in the RFP itself. If you miss those, you don't stand a chance of winning the bid. If you're writing up your own proposal from scratch on a one-time, one-target basis, you're well advised to look at several generic proposal forms and templates, ideally those in the same line of business as you're proposing. This is true even when responding to RFPs. Finally, once you've got the content of the proposal squared away, don't forget presentation--the look and feel of the document!

Bookmark and Share