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Example of Business Proposals

A business proposal is part of a sales process. Business proposals are offered by sellers as part of creating a business relationship. These proposals always relate to ongoing business in some form. In many cases suppliers will target sellers with unsolicited business proposals as part of a marketing strategy.

Alternatively a business proposal may be generated in response to a proposition from a potential purchaser.

Business proposals in this form include:

  • A request for a proposal: This is a preliminary request, usually sent multiple possible suppliers.
  • A request for quotation: This generally relates to a specific transaction, but may also relate to a supply contract.
  • A request for information: A request for information is essentially an introductory process in which the seller has the opportunity to meet and introduce themselves to the purchaser as a potential supplier.
  • Invitation for a bid: This usually relates to a contract. Invitations are issued to selected businesses, and the business proposal forms part of the bidding process.
  • Business proposal format

Best practice in the formatting of business proposals is based on providing good quality information. Presentation is extremely important. In many cases and business proposals are specially prepared and printed documents

A business proposal should:

  • Be well organized and clearly laid out
  • Contain all specific information requested by the purchaser
  • Include a good 'snapshot' of the supplier's business, and its goals
  • Contain accurate, detailed figures and information in relation to the proposed business transaction or contract

The business proposal is, in effect, an advanced form of sales pitch, but contains a lot more information regarding the supplier.

The basic business proposal format contains:

  • An introduction summarizing the seller's business and facilities
  • Index
  • Executive summary
  • Itemized sections specifically addressing the purchaser's request
  • Description of goods and/or services (This is the sales pitch element, including features and specifications of contract services as required.)
  • A statement of purchasing options as applicable
  • A separate financial section detailing costs. (This section should be formally laid out, covering each aspect of the contract or business proposal.)
  • Reference section where appropriate

Note: A cover letter should be attached to the business proposal addressed to the manager responsible. Many business proposals are in fact major productions, constructed very much like annual reports, prospectuses or similar high-value documents.