Business Proposal Writing: Your Guidelines For 2020

Yes. You have been postponing this moment. But now you have to do it: writing a proposal. No matter if it’s your first one and you are excited because it means your first business client or if this is just another document with the same solution you are sending within your company.

You have to follow some guidelines as proposals are sent as a solution to a problem. And they need to be informational, easy to understand and as an executive summary of a plan.

So, let’s move forward and dig into the work of writing proposals that win more clients.

What is a proposal and what is not?

We can define a proposal as a document for a some other person or organization that showcases some information to be contracted. Think of it as the first step of a sales process. You will show who you are, a timeline of the project, the outcome you will get and the costs of all. We suggest you to include also terms and conditions that apply so it can even be converted to a contract.

A proposal is not a presentation of your company nor a contract or a CV. A proposal is a sales document, no matter what you want: sell furniture or investing on a project. It’s sales. Period.

Questions? Doubts?

Take a look to your meeting notes or your client briefing and read it carefully. And take again notes, write all your questions and send them to your client even before doing anythign. If you think you are missing the objectives of the project, then it is better to stop and ask.

You want to do this project, so it means you need all the answers.


First things first. If you want to sell your fantastic project to your client first thing you have to do even before start writing a single line is research your client.

Yes, we are telling you to know about who your client is. Reads books? Goes to football with the family? Does your client go to events?

Finding references of your audience is mandatory if you don’t want to mess things up with a lead. This research will allow you to find points in common that you can stress but also to avoid some potential issues (Knicks fan? Well, don’t use the word Playoffs).

And, of course, don’t forget to take a look at potential clients and online reviews. LinkedIn recommendations can be a good way to know if your client is better. Or the best.

Time to write. Keyword, time.

Well, a proposal must be short enough to be read carefully but you need some time to write a proposal. No distractions, clear concepts and explanations and be empathetic to your reader.

You need focus on the proposal itself, you will need to review it over and over again. Maybe you don’t like that section and change it after a few reviews. Maybe you need to provide some more data about you and the project. There are a lot of maybes that demonstrate that the perfect and successful proposal has yet to be written. But you can make a better approach if you get some free-of-distraction time so you can explain better the most relevant parts of your proposal.

Time for some art.

Well, forget about becoming Picasso or Michelangelo, but you need to write something. And now you will master the art of writing. Here are some recommendations to create the best business proposal:

  1. Be specific: try to fit your proposal on 3 pages at most. We know it is difficult, but you don’t need to overwhelm your client with data about you. The idea. Timeline. Price. That’s it.
  2. Do not value deliverables. Use a price table instead. Your document is short and clear enough to not mess things up.
  3. Your language must be clear and simple. Remember your audience is looking for a solution and maybe they don’t know all your jargon.
  4. Include some testimonials or companies that can recommend you.
  5. Remember your client can be commuting home when you press the send button. Make it accessible. And a 20mb document full of data and graphics is not.
  6. Clear enough? Sign! Quoters has e-signature packed on Ninja plan. So if everything is clear, let your client accept and sign your proposal.

Of course, there are some tasks you have to do always before sending your propposal:

  • You can avoid typos. Review the spell and grammar. And do it again. If you have any doubts on a word, use a sinonym synonninm another one.
  • Is everything in place? No pain points lost on the proposal? If so, let’s move forward.
  • Images? Videos? Can you read it on your mobile? If so, send. Now.

Hooray! Your proposal is on its way to win the 1st place.

Do you have a checklist? Do you use some other tricks? Let us know on the comments.