What to include in a business proposal outline.

A businessman creates a successful business proposal outline for a client.

A well-structured business proposal outline is the foundation for winning over clients and securing new partnerships. Here’s how to do it effectively.

A business proposal is a document sent to potential clients to try and earn their business. It can be requested or unsolicited, but either way, it needs to be well-written and contain all of the essential information.

What is a business proposal outline?

A business proposal outline is a structured framework that guides the creation of a comprehensive and persuasive proposal. It helps organize thoughts, ideas, and key information in a logical and systematic manner. The outline ensures all necessary components are included for effective communication. By following a well-designed outline, proposals become organized, comprehensive, and compelling, increasing the chances of success.

Why is it important to create the structure of a business proposal?

Creating a well-structured business proposal is essential for effectively communicating your ideas and maximizing your chances of success. A structured document offers several advantages and benefits that enhance its impact:

What to include in a business proposal.

If you want to inspire clients to purchase your products or services, your business proposal needs to contain enough information to give them a well-rounded idea of your proposition. Here’s a basic business proposal outline to follow:

  1. Title page
  2. Table of contents
  3. Executive summary
  4. Problem statement
  5. Proposed solution
  6. Qualifications
  7. Timeline
  8. Pricing, billing, and legal information
  9. Terms and conditions
  10. Acceptance

With all these sections included, potential clients shouldn’t have any questions about what you have to offer. Businesses don’t like to take unnecessary risks. If you’re thorough in your proposal and don’t leave any loose ends, potential clients will be more likely to accept your business.

Business proposal structure — step by step.

To create an effective business proposal, follow these steps to establish a structured framework:

  1. Executive summary. Begin with a concise overview highlighting your proposal’s key objectives, benefits, and value proposition. This section provides a brief snapshot of your proposal’s most compelling aspects.
  2. Introduction. Provide background information about your business, including its mission, values, and relevant experience. Clearly state the problem or opportunity your proposal aims to address, setting the context for the rest of the document.
  3. Objectives. Define your goals and objectives clearly. Specify what you aim to achieve through your proposal, outlining the desired outcomes and the measurable results you expect.
  4. Methodology. Explain the approach, strategies, and methods you will employ to accomplish the proposed objectives. Detail the steps you will take, the resources required, and the timeline for implementation.
  5. Scope of work. Outline the specific tasks, deliverables, and responsibilities involved in executing your proposal. Provide a clear understanding of the work to be performed, including any limitations or exclusions.
  6. Timeline and milestones. Create a timeline or schedule that identifies key milestones, deliverables, and project duration. This helps stakeholders visualize the proposed timeline and understand the project’s progress over time.
  7. Budget and financials. Present a comprehensive breakdown of the costs associated with your proposal. Include resources, materials, labor, and any other relevant expenses. Ensure that your budget aligns with the objectives and demonstrates financial feasibility.
  8. Evaluation and measurement. Describe the methods you will use to evaluate the success or effectiveness of your proposal. Identify the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to measure progress and demonstrate the achievement of objectives.
  9. Conclusion. Summarize your proposal’s key points, emphasizing its benefits and expected outcomes. Reiterate your value proposition and leave the reader with a compelling call to action.
  10. Supporting documents. Include any supplementary materials, such as charts, graphs, case studies, or testimonials, that provide additional evidence or support for your proposal.

Tips for making a business proposal outline that’s effective.

To ensure your proposal leaves a lasting impression, consider these five tips:

  1. Know your audience. Tailor your proposal to address your target audience’s specific needs and interests. Understand their pain points and goals to cater to their requirements effectively.
  2. Highlight your unique value. Clearly articulate the distinct advantages and benefits your proposal offers. Showcase what sets you apart from competitors and why your proposition is compelling.
  3. Keep it concise and focused. Be succinct and avoid overwhelming your readers. Keep the proposal focused on essential information, avoiding unnecessary jargon or excessive details.
  4. Use visual appeal. Employ an engaging format, incorporating visuals and formatting techniques to enhance readability and organization. Catch the reader’s eye with a visually appealing layout.
  5. Address concerns proactively. Anticipate and address potential concerns or objections your audience may have. Demonstrate your proactive problem-solving approach to build trust and credibility.

Benefits of saving business proposals as PDFs.

Because business proposals are large, multi-page documents, it’s best to save them as PDFs. Saving your proposal as a PDF will ensure the formatting remains the same.

Working in a Word document? Use our tool to convert Word to PDF easily. No matter what device the receiver uses, they’ll be viewing your proposal exactly as it was meant to be seen.

If you need to make last-minute changes to your proposal, it’s easy to edit your PDF online with Adobe Acrobat online services. You can edit, add comments, insert drawings, and more right from your web browser to perfect your proposal before sending it. Your recipient can also use a free PDF reader app to open and view your proposal, formatted exactly as you intended.

Discover what more you can do with Acrobat to create and present the perfect business proposal.