June 13, 2024
10 min read

Everything You Need To Know About A Project Proposal Outline

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An effective and well-curated proposal gives your business a competitive edge and helps you close 27% more deals. A project proposal helps you convey your project’s objectives and requirements to the client. It includes the who, what, when, where, why, and how much of your plan. 

The primary goal of a project proposal is to gain approval from decision-makers. That is why a project proposal explains the primary value proposition of your project; it sells value to both internal and external project stakeholders. 

But how do you create a proposal that piques the interest and facilitates the agreement of stakeholders and project sponsors? Let’s find out!

What Is a Project Proposal?

Project proposals explain why one should carry out a project idea and why the other party should support it. They are generally used for the following:

  • Get finance or buy-in
  • Acquire new clients
  • Prolong an existing client’s contract, or 
  • Persuade someone to contribute resources to a new endeavor.

So, it should clearly explain your project’s value proposition to internal and external project stakeholders.

While the proposal is important to pique the interest of stakeholders and sponsors, you shouldn’t just write it for the sake of it. Your proposal should be convincing, with a clear, confident, and consistent message.

Types of Project Proposals

Now that you know what a project proposal is, let’s talk about the different types of project proposals. This will help you understand which one you should write, depending on who your audience is.

There are six types of project proposals:

  • Formally Solicited: These proposals are submitted in response to an RFP. A request for proposal (RFP) is a document sent to a qualified organization announcing a project, describing it, and requesting bids. 
  • Informally Solicited: It’s the same as a formally solicited proposal but is usually requested through an informal communication channel or verbally. This means the proposal needs more context, and you will have to conduct extensive research to get the idea approved.
  • Unsolicited: An unsolicited project proposal is like a cold pitch — there is no RFP involved. For instance, you have identified a problem and solution; you now need resources to execute your idea. This is when you should consider submitting an unsolicited project proposal.
  • Renewal: A renewal project plan is used to restart a project that has run its course. It is often based on the previous project’s success data. The purpose of this project proposal is to highlight the project’s past results.
  • Supplemental: You need a supplemental proposal in situations where you have gone over budget or require more resources than anticipated. It aims to persuade stakeholders to invest more resources by highlighting the benefit of the modified scope.

Things to Consider Before Writing a Project Proposal

To write a comprehensive project proposal, consider the following factors:

  • Team’s Capabilities: Consider your team’s current workload to determine whether you will need any additional hires to complete the project.
  • Timeline: Establish the project’s deadline according to the client and convey it to all the team members. Also, make sure to keep room for reworks and unforeseen problems. 
  • Legal Compliances: Ensure your project proposal adheres to all legal and regulatory requirements, including contracts, permits, licenses, and industry standards. 

Project Proposal Outline Writing Guide

A project or business proposal is not only extensively valuable, but it is also frequently a pre-project necessity for work in all industries. 

The structure provided in a project proposal outline is what ensures the success of a new objective. 

Therefore, creating a proper outline is one of the main aspects of a project proposal. The outline should essentially include the following elements:


This is the elevator pitch for the proposed enterprise and why it makes business sense. It clearly explains the problem, addresses how your proposed project seeks to tackle the problem, and discusses what constitutes a successful project.

Begin with a surprising piece of statistics, your unique problem-solving approach, or a thoughtful hook that directly addresses the needs of your target audience.  

However, the executive summary should be brief and to the point.​​

Project Background

After your introduction, explain why your project is required. This is where you’ll go into additional detail about your problem(s) and/or prospects. 

Some details to add to a project background are:

  • A deeper look at the issue that your project is addressing
  • What is already known about the issue?
  • Who has already addressed the issue?
  • What research is already available (if any)?
  • Why have previous studies been insufficient in resolving the problem?


Once you have briefed your client on the problem, highlight how you plan to solve it.

Let your prospect know how you plan to approach the project and what methods and tactics you will follow.

Also, this is usually the longest piece of your project proposal, so you could go into more detail and discuss the following:

  • Any risks you think there might be and how you plan to deal with them.
  • How will you keep stakeholders informed during the project?
  • The set criteria to judge the success of the project.


Once your team has determined the most appropriate project approach, it is time to define your project’s goals. This includes selecting project phases, defining deliverables, and fleshing out the specifics. 

A few key points that you can try to include are:

  • The final output of your project.
  • A project timetable indicating when deliverables will be available.
  • Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based (SMART) goals that align with your deliverables.


Summarise your resource allocation plan in this section. For example, you can mention how you intend to use your funds, labor, and equipment.


Some other details that you can include are:

  • Everything from the materials needed to complete the project to ad prices and team compensation.
  • A cost breakdown to provide stakeholders with an idea of how their investment is being used.

Authorization And Conclusion

It's time to identify and explicitly state the decision-makers who will sign off on the project. You can include the time range that these individuals will have to approve each stage of the project. 

Finally, finish things off nicely; emphasize the advantages your proposal will bring to the firm/client.

Example of A Project Proposal

Here is an example of a project proposal that you can customize and use to encourage your prospects to sponsor your project:


ABC CO. is a reputable accounting firm specializing in serving small and medium-sized businesses. 

Our proposal outlines a comprehensive accounting solution that includes financial statements, tax planning, and strategic financial guidance. 

By implementing our services, you can expect to improve your financial efficiency, reduce risks, and increase your profitability by at least 15% within the next fiscal year.

Project Background

Our team of certified accountants has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities businesses face.

We believe that effective accounting should serve as a cornerstone for your business’s growth rather than a mere compliance task.


We propose a range of accounting services tailored to meet your specific needs:

  • Financial statement preparation
  • Tax planning and compliance
  • Strategic financial guidance
  • Audit and review services


Within the first year of onboarding, we plan to deliver the following:

  • Reduce tax liabilities by 10%
  • Increase profit margins by 15%
  • Create a detailed financial roadmap for the upcoming fiscal year.
  • Perform an audit review.


Our services come at a competitive price of $X per month, which includes a dedicated team of accountants, access to our financial software, and comprehensive financial reports. We are committed to transparency and have no hidden fees.


At ABC CO., we will work collaboratively with your team to provide the highest quality accounting services tailored to your unique needs. 

If you’re still not sure, several solutions, such as Cone, provide you with customizable proposal templates that you can leverage to impress your clients. 

Strengthen Your Project Proposal with Cone

Project proposals are used to get finance or buy-in. It could help you acquire new clients, prolong an existing client’s contract, or persuade someone to contribute resources to a new endeavor. Cone makes it easier to achieve any of these with its free creative and bespoke proposal templates.

Cone is an all-in-one solution that offers interactive web proposals to help you win more clients — sign up now! For more tips on how to get more clients for your business, check out our blog.