April 28, 2024
10 min read

How to Write a Business Proposal - Templates & Examples

Master the art of writing compelling business proposals with our comprehensive guide! From step-by-step writing tips, what should be included in a business proposal, format of business proposal, examples and free business proposal templates, it covers all so that you can elevate your first impression and win clients effortlessly.
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Introduction To Business Proposal 

Your business proposal is the first document that your client will see from your side. It is the one document that creates the first impression. And like people say, - “First impression is the best impression”. That's why you need to make the first impression THE BEST. 

Crafting a killer business proposal is about a compelling narrative that leaves a lasting impact. But when it comes to creating that narrative, most business owners struggle.  They find it hard to put together what should be included in a business proposal and how to present it.

What is a Business Proposal?

A business proposal is a written document that a firm creates to offer its goods or services. It is an outline of a project, with details of what the company will provide. It includes the details of when, and how much it will cost. It also clarifies why the business is a suitable match for the customer's demands.

Types of Business Proposals

Business proposals come in various types. There can be different types of proposals, each tailored to specific needs.

Some common types are:
1. Formal Solicited Proposals: This is developed in response to a specific request by the client.
2. Unsolicited Proposals: This is developed by the proposing party without a request from the client.
3. Sales Proposals: This proposal type is for clients to pursuade them to buy a service or product.
4. Business Plan Proposals: Used to outline company's strategy and operations.

Business Proposal Example

Below is a sample reference for a business proposal format and the things to be covered in a business proposal. It looks something like below.

Business proposal sample

More examples of business proposals depending on the business type: 

Digital Marketing Proposal sample
Accounting services Proposal sample

You can access more FREE Cone’s templates and use them depending on your business.

What should be included in a business proposal?

A business proposal should include your company and services, about the team, the challenge and solution offered, testimonials, timeline, pricing , terms and deliverables.

Format of business proposal:

  • Cover Page
  • Executive Summary
  • Table of contents
  • Client Information and Signing Authority
  • Engagement letter
  • Scope of work and deliverables
  • Services offered with pricing
  • Terms and conditions
Components of a business proposal

Creating a proposal from scratch and putting together what should be included in a business proposal might feel like a hassle. That’s where Cone’s proposal to payment software comes in. Instead of wasting precious minutes on routine business chores, You can now focus on providing high value for your clients. Click here to check out the free business proposal templates of Cone.

How to write a Business Proposal?

Let us understand in detail how to write a business proposal, format of business proposal and what should be included in the business proposal in more details based on the above elements:

1. Create a Robust Outline

Research your customer's needs to craft a compelling proposal. Include case studies, examples, and data to prove how the products and services offered by your business solved similar problems in the past. It is vital to create a brief outline that summarizes the contents of your proposal in bullet points. You can expand these in different sections to provide additional information.

2. Create a Title and Table of Contents

An engaging title captures attention. If the proposal is unsolicited, ensure that the title entices the target audience, promising to solve their problems. The table of contents summarizes the proposal and helps readers with a quick overview and easy navigation.

Explore the sample free bookkeeping contract template here.

3. Write an Executive Summary

The executive summary states the brief outline of the proposal. State the mission and vision statements of your business, short-term and long-term goals, and showcase your benchmarks.

An executive summary in a small business proposal example for a fashion brand can be stated as follows:

This proposal outlines a plan to offer stylish, sustainable, and affordable fashion for consumers. We offer a diverse range of products from casual wear to office attire to cater to the needs of all ages. Key features of our products include affordability, high-quality materials, and exquisite designs.

Mission: We aim to inspire confidence, foster inclusivity, and make a positive impact on the fashion industry and the environment with our unique offerings.

Vision: Our vision is to become a globally recognized clothing brand known for its commitment to sustainability, innovation, and style.

Our short-term goals include,

Product Expansion: Launch new collections, including eco-friendly casual wear and seasonal fashion lines

Market Penetration: Establish a strong online presence, reach a minimum of 100,000 social media followers, and achieve month-over-month sales growth of 15%

Our long-term goals include,

Global Expansion: Expand our market presence beyond domestic borders, targeting vital international markets in Europe and Asia

Retail Presence: Open retail stores in major fashion capitals while maintaining a robust online presence

4. State the problem

Identify the problems your clients are facing and propose to them effective solutions. Gauge specific issues of your customers, analyze causes, and frame them in such a way that they can consider your proposed solution as the optimal choice.

For example, state the problems your customers face while filing taxes in a small business proposal.

Common challenges include:

Complex Tax Code: The tax codes are convoluted for the customers to comprehend. Customers may struggle to interpret tax laws, deductions, credits, and exemptions correctly, leading to errors while filing returns.

Form Confusion: Tax forms come in various formats and can be overwhelming for customers. Choosing the right forms and correctly filling them out can be frustrating.

5. Propose a solution

Propose a robust solution that is tailored to your client's specific needs. Make sure you include:

  • The deliverables you need to provide
  • The processes you will use and
  • The timelines for the solution
  • Pricing options

For example:

A tailored solution to help clients streamline their tax filing process, ensure compliance, and reduce the risk of errors and audits.

Solution: TaxStreamline Pro-Corporate Tax Filing Solution

[fs-toc-omit]Client Needs:

Streamlined tax filing process

Compliance assurance

Error reduction and audit risk mitigation


Custom Tax Filing System: We will provide a customized corporate tax filing system designed specifically for your business. This system will automate data collection, calculations, and filing processes, ensuring accuracy and efficiency.

Compliance Audit: Our experts will conduct a thorough audit of your tax records to ensure compliance with current tax laws and regulations. We will provide a detailed report highlighting any issues and recommendations for correction.

Training and Implementation: We will provide training for your tax department on how to use the TaxStreamline Pro system effectively. Additionally, we will assist in the implementation of the system within your organization.

Ongoing Support: Our team will offer lifetime support for any questions, issues, or updates related to the system and tax compliance.

Services in business proposal


Initial Consultation (Week 1): We will meet with your tax department to understand your current tax filing process, pain points, and specific compliance needs.

System Development (Weeks 2-6): Our development team will customize the TaxStreamline Pro system to align with your unique tax requirements.

Training and Onboarding (Weeks 7-8): We will conduct training sessions for your tax team to ensure they are proficient in using the new system.

Compliance Audit (Weeks 9-10): Our experts will perform an in-depth audit of your tax records and systems to ensure compliance.

Recommendation Presentation (Week 11): We will present a detailed compliance audit report and provide recommendations for correction.

Implementation (Weeks 12-14): With your approval, we will assist in implementing the recommended changes to ensure compliance.

Ongoing Support (Ongoing): We will provide continuous support for system usage, compliance, and any questions or issues that arise.


System development and onboarding: 5 weeks

Compliance audit: 2 weeks

Recommendation presentation: 1 week

Implementation: 3 weeks (based on approved recommendations)

[fs-toc-omit]Pricing Options:

We offer flexible pricing options tailored to your needs:

Basic Package: $15,000 (one-time fee)

Includes system development, initial training, and compliance audit

Standard Package: $20,000 (one-time fee)

Includes all features in the Basic Package plus implementation support

Premium Package: Custom Pricing

Tailored to your specific needs, including ongoing support, extensive compliance audit, and full implementation of recommended changes.

6. Testimonials

Incorporate client testimonials in your business proposal to help build credibility and trust. It helps highlight positive feedback which reinforces your expertise, showcases successful outcomes, and assures prospective clients of your reliability and quality of service.

Testimonials in business proposal

6. Summarize the Proposal

Summarize the proposal in brief with a robust call to action to take the next steps like say signing the proposal. Offer contact information to the clients so that they can reach out to you for further discussions.

For example, 

In conclusion, TaxEase Pro is a comprehensive software solution that addresses clients' tax return filing problems by simplifying the process, ensuring accuracy, and offering tax planning support. Its deployment options and pricing plans cater to a range of organizations, making it a versatile and cost-effective solution for individuals, freelancers, small businesses, and enterprises alike.

Business Proposal Templates

Do you need a little inspiration before you begin a detailed proposal outlining?

Use Cone's free proposal software to assist you in the format of business proposal, what to be included in the business proposal and writing your own proposal. You can easily select the most suitable business proposal template out of the various Cone templates for your business. 

Below are few of our popular proposal templates:

  1. Accounting services proposal template in UK
  2. CFO services proposal
  3. Bookkeeping contract template
  4. Marketing consulting proposal
  5. Social media proposal template
  6. SEO proposal template
  7. Freelance graphic design proposal template
  8. Graphic design proposal template
  9. Logo design proposal template
  10. Web design proposal template
  11. Video production contract template
  12. Adwords proposal template

Tips For Writing A Business Proposal

A great business proposal is not written hastily. It follows a series of steps. To create a successful business proposal you need to keep the following in mind:

  • Get to Know Your Audience:

Before you start writing, you want to know your client's likes and dislikes. Do some research on the people you're sending the proposal to. What are their problems? What do they care about? Tailor your proposal to their needs.

  • Start with a Catchy Introduction:

Think of it as your elevator pitch. The beginning of your proposal should be like a quick "Hey, here's what we're all about." Sum up the most important points in a friendly and engaging way.

  • Problem-Solution Combo:

Just like in a good chat, you don't want to talk about problems for too long. Define the problem clearly and explain how it's affecting your potential client. Then, jump into your solution - what you're going to do to make things better.

  • Show Off Your Expertise:

Let them know why you're the perfect fit for the job. Share your success stories, customer reviews, or any impressive achievements. This builds trust.

  • Money Talk and Schedules:

When you're discussing plans for business, you might talk about budgets and timelines. Similarly, in your proposal, lay out the costs and payment schedules clearly. Create a timeline with milestones so they can see what to expect and when.

Use these additional tips to take your proposal to the next level: 7 steps to write a stellar business proposal.

Bonus Tips

Use Templates

Using templates for proposal creation is a time-saving strategy that offers consistency, efficiency, and a professional edge. It's like having a handy starting point for the format of business proposal, what to be included that can save you loads of time. You get consistency and professionalism without breaking a sweat. With templates, you avoid the headache of starting from scratch. 

The pre-designed structure keeps things organized and looking sharp. Plus, they're super adaptable. You can tweak them to match the unique needs of each proposal, adding that personal touch. As a bonus, they make team collaboration and keeping track of different versions a breeze. 

Use Images

Adding images makes your proposal more appealing. Visuals can clarify complex ideas, engage the reader, and leave a lasting impression. Think of it as a visual storytelling tool, helping you convey your message with impact. It's a game-changer when presenting data or showcasing your work. So, don't hesitate to include relevant images, whether it's product shots, infographics, or charts. They'll make your proposal not just informative but visually appetizing!

Use Visual Timeline

When you're putting together a business proposal, it's important to create a timeline that really catches the eye. Start with a chart that lays out all the key milestones and tasks. To make it even clearer, use different colors to show different phases and how things depend on each other. Don't forget to put in realistic estimates for how long things will take, so you can be sure your plan is doable.

And you also need to highlight important dates and deadlines with milestone markers. This isn't just about making it look nice; it's about showing that you've got your act together and that you've thought everything through. 

With these tactics, people who see your proposal will feel more confident about supporting your business idea.

Best Practices For Business Proposal Writing

Business proposal writing is no less than an art. Writing the best proposal is a practice. While practicing this art, you can keep the following in mind. 

  • Use graphics, charts, and a professional layout to make your proposal visually appealing. Visual elements can help convey complex information more effectively.
  • Eliminate typos, grammatical errors, and formatting issues by thoroughly proofreading your proposal. A well-edited document conveys professionalism.
  • Clearly state what you want the client to do next. Whether it's to sign a contract, schedule a meeting, or provide feedback, make the next steps explicit.
  • Don't assume your proposal will win the deal immediately. A well-timed follow-up can demonstrate your commitment and keep the conversation going.
  • Avoid sending a generic proposal. Customize each proposal to the specific client and project, addressing their unique requirements.
  • Utilize proposal templates to streamline the writing process, maintain consistency, and save time.

Tips On Follow-Up

Okay, so let's say now you have sent your proposal. What’s next if the client does not reply? We know many of you have faced the same situation. So here is what you can do. 

1. Polite Persistence Pays Off

After sending your proposal, don't be shy about gently following up. It's a friendly reminder that shows your commitment. A polite email or call, saying something like, "Just wanted to check if you had a chance to review our proposal," can do wonders.

2. Offer Further Clarity

The follow-up is a great chance to address any queries or worries the client may have. Saying something like "I am available for more details or to answer any questions you might have" will help them make a decision more easily.

3. Propose Next Steps

Put a clear call to action at the end of your follow-up. Make it clear what you want to happen next—whether you want to set a deadline or arrange a meeting to discuss the plan in more detail.

What Are The Tools And Products That Can Help With Business Proposals?

Business proposal creation tools and products can streamline the process, enhance quality, and streamline the proposal process.

If you are creating proposals from scratch, then you can do so with the help of Google Docs. Canva or Adobe can help you create visually appealing graphics, charts, and infographics to enhance your proposals.

There are dedicated proposal software solutions like Cone’s proposal to payment. This free business proposal software is designed to create, customize, and track proposals. This tool includes features for e-signatures, and analytics.

Further, this is one of the best business proposal software with a wide variety of templates. With Cone's business proposal templates, you can Save an additional 40+ hours per month and achieve a 27% boost in revenue. And the best part? It is completely FREE. Try it out now.


As your first point of contact with your clients, your proposal must show your professionalism, attention to detail, and comprehension of the demands of your client. A strong proposal can pave the way for a fruitful collaboration. Proposal software and templates are just a couple of the tools and resources you may use to speed up the process and save time, as well as improve your chances of landing worthwhile prospects.

Writing a strong business proposal is a talent that may advance your company, win business, and open doors. Make that first impression count, and watch your business thrive.