Ways on How to Write a Business Proposal for Clients in Nigeria
How to Write a Business Proposal in Nigeria – Many people that I have come across in my life who is either freelancer or those who own business of theirs usually don’t take the success of business plan so serious as they ought to do. Mind you, one of the factors that separate a successful business person from the unsuccessful one is how he is able to write a good business plan. In my life of running businesses and writing business proposal, I have come to realize that a business plan or business proposal is one of the most critical documents anyone should ever need to learn how to write. This actually does tell the difference between success and failure, whether you’re a freelancer or you have a business of your own to do.
Now it will be very imperative to understand some very key and important factors about what a business plan is. If you are ready, I am ready too.
What is a Business Proposal?
There might not be a universally accepted definition of what a business plan is but whatever be anyone’s definition, everyone would probably be saying the same thing. A business proposal is a written document written by a person, organization or an entity that is sent to a prospective client which could be individuals, banks, corporations etc in order to obtain a specific job. A business guru once added that this document (business proposal) can be solicited or unsolicited. Equally, this document called Business proposal are usually designed to persuade an organization or individual to buy a product or service.
Like i have mentioned before, we have two types of proposals and i will briefly talk about them now.
- Solicited Proposal: When we say a proposal can be solicited for it simply means that they are mostly requested for by the client. For examples, they are Request for Proposal (RFQ), Request for Quotation (RFQ), Invitation for Bid (IFB) etc.
- Unsolicited proposals are those proposals which are not requested for by the clients. A near perfect and typical example of an unsolicited proposal is a marketing brochure.
Business Proposal vs. Business Plan
I have seen many learned scholars who quite often use the terms “business proposal” and “business plan” interchangeably and this by contrast have giving many persons the impression that they are one and the same. But nothing can be further from the truth; they both are not the same.
When we refer to a business plan, we are referring to a “formal statement of a set of business goals” and how these set of goals will be accomplished. Though we have seen cases where some of these business plans or documents sometimes are included in a business proposal.
In addition to what a business proposal is, it refers to a focused sales document which is intended to explain how a company will approach a particular project, state the value of such a project to the client and solicit the client’s business. Am sure you are getting my explanations
Some Basic tips for writing a good business proposal
- Get the basics right.
Don’t just rush and write a proposal. No a thousand times no. Take your time and have your proposal well laid out and signposted. This must because failure to do this will be fatal regarding the project at hand. Doing this will it easier for reader to analyses your document. Also ensure that your Spellings and grammatical words are correctly spelt. Please give no rooms for errors.
People tend to forget that their document is selling them. It is a representation of you wherever it goes so if you are that type that might be quite relaxed about the odd typo or a forgotten semi-colon, please don’t think that your client will be and they could read into it that you are a sloppy worker and thereby disqualifying your proposal.
- Include client’s testimonials.
For those who where into marketing, you will agree with me that in that line of business, nothing will sell your business like credible customer testimonials. It is the hallmark of winning your client’s heart over. So ensure you try as much as possible as a matter of fact to include client quotes in your proposal and it will sure stand head and shoulders above your e competitors. I have seen many proposals in my lifetime and I can tell you that those who do this, are always on the advantage path but only few seems to actually do this but when you do this, it brings the proposal to life and provides a third-party endorsement. And with this, the reader now gets the feeling that you know exactly what you are doing.
- Understand the customer needs.
My mentor, Brian Tracy once said “understanding who your client is, is key to unlocking a potential deal of your life”. And this is so true. When you thoroughly diagnose your client’s problems and write your proposal around solving those problems, 90 percent of the job is already done dusted.
You ought to know what kind of challenges is your clients are facing. Once you identify these challenges or problems, then you need to figure out how your product or service can be the solution he or she needs. You must present your proposal that way4. Learn the art of sales persuasion.
Let me reveal this to you, if you must know, One of the main goals of a business proposal is to offer a solution to a problem that a potential maybe client is facing or will face in the near future. All you need to do is to en sure that you cover all the benefits that your prospective client can be able to get from your product or service which you do render. Another key factor to note is that you don’t bug your client down with what you can offer rather you should make the proposal be centered on the benefits that will be received by your potential client.
- Be fair in pricing.
Don’t chase away your potential clients by your price tag. But also be very business smart while you engage in pricing on your proposals. Ensure your begin your pricing least prices in your initial proposal. But on another thought, if you discount your products in the first proposal, sometimes it tells that even you don’t believe your products are worth paying least price for. Even as you are trying to have a good deal, in as much also, don’t make the mistake of selling yourself short. Prepare a very robust quote or invoice that is quite fair to your prospect, but you also ensure that you sell for what your product is worth.
How to write a business proposal – Contents & Structure
Via the development of a proposal checklist that contains the necessary standardized information that is typically contained in 80% of all of your proposals, you can be able to write a successful proposal
For Vendors who are responding to a proposal submission must always follow the buyer’s preferred, stated format with the proposal. There are some Common elements that are requested, which can also be used in unsolicited proposals. They are as follows:
- Cover letter
A cover letter is a brief introduction which usually Includes a one-liner about your company, brief background information about how your company came to be (history of your company), and also a short overview (summary) of what makes your company better than the rest. That is why they can trust your company and her product or service than others
- Cover page
For every standard business proposal, the first thing it should start with is a cover page. And this includes your name, the name of your company, the name of the person to whom you’re submitting your proposal and the date submitted.
- Table of contents
Don’t just write table of content because you feel it is necessary. Nope. The first thing to look out for before writing your table of content is how long your business proposal is. The best place to include your table of content is after your cover page, and before you launch into any details at all.
- Executive summary
A very good executive summary is the best sure way to introduce your proposal. This summary is going to be what will actually sell your business and the products or services you provide.
- Overview or summary of the problem or need
At this juncture, you are to discuss the challenges facing your potential clients. Don’t be too worried as to think of what his or problem may be. Just think of a problem or an issue by carefully diagnosing him loosely. It may even shock you to know that their main problem may just be finding the right person to complete their project. Yeah. I have seen such cases before.
- Strategy or approach to solving the problem
This is where your intelligence comes into fruition. Here you have to think of how you actually plan to fulfill your client’s needs by proffering solutions to his or her needs.
From my experience over the years, it quite true that earlier sections are usually a bit of the surface-level but this section of the business proposal is actually where you will be more detailed about what steps you’ll take to solve their problem.
Being true to your word is one of the key elements here. You must be very open and clear about how long your proposed project will take. This will altogether make you and your prospective client be on the same page on the matter. The goal of this is to ensure that the relationship between you and your prospective client stays positive and healthy for both of you and you also you don’t set your client up with unrealistic expectations.
At this point, this point is where you get to state the cost and payment schedule if need be. You can always refer back to the client’s RFP if you want to. The reason is because you want to make sure you’re supplying your prospective client with all the information they will need to help make their decision.
We have seen from experience that a business proposal can make or break your chances of securing a new client if due procedures or measures are not taking. Ensure you write a great business proposal and trust me, you would just be one step away from securing a deal of your lifetime. But when you do the opposite, trust me, its game over.
The truth is that even the best written and well documented business proposals and solutions can also get rejected due to a sub-par proposal. But the truth is that when writing a business proposal it requires that you convincingly articulate your understanding of the potential client’s problem, as well as give reasons why you think your company is the best choice among others.
How to Write a Business Proposal in Nigeria