If your company serves businesses in Nigeria, your route to getting and converting sales probably includes a proposal. Your business proposals play a role in whether you make sales or not. Therefore, you must understand the art of writing business proposals. This article explains how to write a perfect business proposal in Nigeria.
What is a business proposal?
A proposal is a document you (a service provider) prepare and send to a lead with the hope that it helps you convert them to a client.
Your proposal must speak to the needs of the company that gets it. Also, it should state how your company can help sort out said needs.
A business proposal is vital to the growth of your business, especially when you are starting. Therefore, you need to write it perfectly.
What are the different types of proposals?
You can choose to send out proposals to people who did not request them – unsolicited proposals.
Unsolicited proposals could be your company profile document detailing what you do, who you are, your strategies etc.
You can choose to send this to prospective clients immediately after you start your company.
However, some companies or people contact you regarding a proposal for a service you offer – solicited proposals.
The solicited proposal could be an invitation to bid on a project, a request for quotation etc.
Such a proposal helps the soliciting company determine whether you are the best fit for their needs.
What should a business proposal include?
Whether solicited or unsolicited, your proposal needs to contain certain elements.
These elements help you deliver your message comprehensively to the potential client.
The steps in writing a perfect proposal include most of the elements listed below.
- A title or cover page
- Table of contents
- Executive summary
- Exposure of the problem
- Your proposed solution
- Company details
- Testimonials or case studies
- Terms and conditions
- Next steps
What are the steps in writing a business proposal?
Step 1: Get to know your target company
Companies have unique needs.
Before writing your proposal, research your target company.
- What exactly do they need?
- Can you deliver if they hire you?
- What kind of language should you use in your proposal?
You can answer these questions with proper research of the target company.
For a solicited proposal, you have an opportunity to ask questions. So, ask questions like;
- What is their budget for the service they need from you?
- What is their history with your kind of service?
- When would they like to start and finish the project?
- What are their criteria for selecting who to work with?
Get all the information you need to create a comprehensive proposal.
Look into the information and present your brand as the best solution provider.
Step 2: Create an overview of what you bring to the table
Write down everything your potential client needs to know about your company and your services.
Answer questions like;
- Who works on what?
- Who responds to the client?
- What is required of the client?
- What should the client expect?
- What do you need to work with the client?
- What will the results come in?
- What metrics will be used to measure results?
- When will the work start?
- When does the client have to pay?
- How long does it take to complete the job?
- How does project management work?
- How do your services benefit the client?
- Why should the client choose you?
- Why do you work the way you do?
Research, write down and answer these questions and more. These are answers potential clients will search for in your business proposal.
Step 3: Write your proposal
You know the company you are writing to and the questions they will probably have for you.
Now you can write your proposals.
Arrange your write according to the steps listed above, and your proposal is good to go.
Where do I find proposal templates?
If you have never done something before, a great way to get your feet wet is viewing what others have done before.
For business proposals, these are templates you can find across the internet.
Download and review templates to structure your proposal.
Templates make your life easy and here are some great websites to find business proposal templates.
- Canva is a platform where you can design awesome assets for your business for free. To facilitate this Canva uses templates of ready-made designs for everything you need. You can view proposal templates on Canva and use one that matches your business.
- Jotform is known for its customizable forms that drive profitable actions for businesses. However, they also provide a collection of templates for all types of documents. This includes Jotform proposal templates which you can modify and download as a PDF.
- PandaDoc has a broad library of free business proposal templates.
- Better Proposals provide comprehensive help to people trying to create perfect proposals. In addition to this, Better Proposals have several resources that can help you create a perfect proposal.
- Proposify is another platform to get free proposal templates for your business. You can use Proposify templates on the platform itself. The platform includes features that help you send and track your proposals.
What are some tips for writing a perfect proposal?
1. Be reasonable with your price.
Yes, you are in business to make money. However, a poorly set price for your services could put you at a disadvantage. Overcharge and you could lose the client, undercharge and you could overwork yourself and employees for an unworthy payday. Either way, poor pricing wastes your business proposal. Ensure you quote a price that is reasonable to your potential client yet works for your business.
2. Research what the clients need.
Business proposals (especially solicited) are supposed to be subjective. One size does not fit all. Therefore, in order to draft a proposal that gets you the job, you need to thoroughly look at every prospect. Find their unique problems and propose solutions that solve these problems. Prospects are more likely to choose you when they see the efforts you make in detecting their problems and proferring unique solutions.
3. Attach social proof.
How do you get people to work with you? Simple, show them the work you have done before. The best way to showcase work you have done before is through the voice of your past clients. Gather recommendations from your past clients, add these as quotes in your business proposal. This tells your potential clients that they can trust you to do a great job for them too.
4. Avoid grammatical errors.
Nothing speaks incompetence better than grammatical errors in your proposal. Ensure you proofread your document before sending it to the prospects. For better measure, get other people to evaluate your proposal as well. A well-written proposal is easy to understand and gives you a better chance of landing the job.
5. Be persuasive.
Your proposal is meant to position your company as the best solution provider for a specified problem of the potential client. Write with authority, write to persuade. Include what the prospect stands to gain by hiring your services as soon as possible. Yes, make sure your proposal is time-bound, let the prospect know they need to act quickly to solve whatever problem you uncovered. Nobody cares about the features of your services, they want to know what it does for them, the expected results for their business. Sell them on the benefits of hiring your solution.
How do I write a perfect business proposal In Nigeria?
In order to write a proposal that gets you the job, there are some elements that must feature. These are features anybody reading a proposal expects to see in order to understand your proposal quickly and make a decision.
Find the elements are that your proposal should contain arranged accordingly below. Here’s how to write a business proposal that lands you the gig in Nigeria.
1. Write a cover letter
Your cover letter is a one-pager that introduces your company to the reader. It is a letter, hence it should be addressed as such.
The cover letter gives a brief background of your company (your mission, vision and core values). The letter should be well-written and contain your contact information.
2. Create a title page
Your title or cover page is the prospects first exposure to your brand. It should include information about your business and the proposal, such as;
- The title of the proposal
- Your company name
- Submission date of the proposal
- Contact details
- Receiver’s company name
Your title page needs to capture attention and entice the viewer to read on. However, this does not mean you should create a cryptic design that is unprofessional and off-brand.
Your title page should portray your company’s personality and include your logo.
3. Arrange your table of contents
This serves to help your prospect find their way through the content of your business proposal easily. Your table of content should be arranged in chronological order.
4. Draft the executive summary
The function of the executive summary is to tell your potential client why you’re sending the proposal. Your executive summary should convince the prospect to read on.
You should not bear it all in the summary, state the problem and your solution in a few sentences. Highlight those things that distinguish your company from others.
Usually, the length of your executive summary depends on the length of your proposal itself. For instance, a one-page executive summary should work fine for a ten-page proposal.
5. Highlight the problem(s)
You need to state the problems your potential client faces. If the proposal is unsolicited, you need to back up your claims with data.
“From our research, we found out XX% of metal fabrication companies in Nigeria …”
Potential clients see you as thorough if you do this.
6. Explain your solution
This is the most important section of your proposal where you delight your prospect.
Be detailed about how you plan to solve the problems you uncovered above for your client. Let them know the results you’re likely going to deliver to them.
Also, tell them the benefits of your solution for the long term of their business.
7. Draw up a schedule
Your prospects need to know how long it takes for you to complete the tasks you list in the solution.
Create a schedule and timeline for the job.
This creates a sense of reasonable expectations in your prospects’ minds and grants you a positive atmosphere to work together on said project.
8. Name your price
Let your potential client know how much you charge for your services.
In addition to the cost of hiring your services, you need to state how you wish to be paid. Let them know if you have payment options that make their life easy – a one-time prepaid flat fee, 50% upfront etc.
State how much of your time each payment buys them.
Be fair in your pricing and give discounts on long-term projects. Make payments easy with upsells and options that give more value to your clients.
Nobody will pay for something they don’t understand, make your pricing comprehensive and brief. Use a table to make it digestible for the reader.
8. Close with details about you
You have sold your solution to your prospect’s problem. This is where you sell your potential to provide such a solution.
Get as personal as possible, give details about your company.
- Years of experience
- Clients you have worked with
- Projects you have worked on
- Notable members of your company
- Client testimonials
In addition, close your ‘about us’ with your contact information and tell the potential client to contact you for further enquiries.
Before you go …
Yes, you know you can do the job. In fact, you are more qualified than the other companies proposing the same solution to your clients.
However, quality is not enough to land a contract, your company needs to stand firm when prospects do their due diligence.
I offer you result-oriented digital marketing services to display your company in the best light online.
Also, a convincing proposal should include custom graphic designs that set it apart from the competition.
Contact me for eye-catching designs for your business proposal.