Business Planning Series, Startup series

The Ultimate Guide To Writing A Business Proposal In Nigeria


What is a business proposal?

A business proposal is a professional business document that contains an offer of services adapted to a client’s needs.

Perhaps not every definition uses the word ‘adapted’. It is a key word for our definition because it is a crucial characteristic of a successful proposal.

A business proposal is usually created for specific opportunities. A business proposal doesn’t need to be complicated, but for it to serve its purpose and set you up for success, it must be clear to whomever is reading your proposal that you have a realistic handle on their needs and how your business will successfully assist in solving them.

What is the difference between a proposal and a business plan?

A business plan and a business proposal are two different documents that serve varying purposes. A lot of people mistake them for each other, and a lot of articles on the internet claim to offer how to write a business proposal are actually explaining the process of writing a business plan instead.

A proposal is not a business plan. Business plans contain a company’s operational and financial objectives. It is very different from a proposal.

While a business proposal focuses how a certain project would be achieved, stating quotes,  terms & conditions, and several other key pointers, a business plan on the other hand focuses on the businesses goals and financial objectives, the problems and solutions it’s facing, its potential market size, game plans, products and services, market execution, and more etc.

How to format a good business proposal

Often, the proposal will be given a first quick review. If it meets certain guidelines, then it will be read more thoroughly in the next phase of evaluation. Breaking your proposal into clear sections and guides would help your proposed client or investor navigate your document a lot easily.

Here is a sample of the basic structure or format of a professional business proposal:

  • Introduction
  • Executive Summary
  • Table of Contents
  • The Body of The Proposal
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix

The final product depends on your industry, the scope of the project, and the client’s specifications in terms of detail and elements included. Each of these sections should convey verbosely the information required by the potential client, enough for them to believe and sign their agreement.

Examples of good business proposals:

Major mistakes when writing a business proposal

As we said earlier, the major mistake that people make when they are writing a proposal is to focus on the wrong priorities. You need to ensure that you are writing a proposal that would fit snugly into another situation or opportunity that exists. That is how you ensure your proposals get recognized and accepted.

Also, people majorly stumble unto wrong websites and blogs that confuse business plans with proposals. This rather popular misconception has caused a lot of entrepreneurs some embarrassing proposals drafted in ignorance of this.

Finally, a popular mistake people use is that they do not use enough graphics and design styles.

Here are some ways graphics can make your proposal better:

  • More legible data tables
  • Clearer charts and data visualizations
  • Easier to skim by using typographic hierarchy
  • Using whitespace liberally
  • Choose legible fonts

How to write a cover letter for a business proposal

A cover letter is a friendly official introduction that comes next after the title page. It’s a pretty important piece of a proposal because it pays to be as polite and informative as you can. That means a bit of introduction before delving into the real specifics of the actual proposal.

Talk a little about your business and share a bit of history on how the company came to be. Talk about what your company has that is better than its competition. End this letter formally with a thank you and a signature.

How to design a business proposal

To design a perfect proposal, you will need to detail the scope of the work, materials needed, cost estimates, project timeline, previous clients, team members, achievements, and a whole lot more in the body of the proposal. It’s a marketing tool, and its goal is to convince the target customer to do business with you. That means following a structure that carries these information section by section.

In your business proposal, you should always remember your goal. This is the most important factor. The problem. Your proposed solution should be effective, efficient, and valuable. And, each of these qualities need to be clarified before finishing the document.

How to write a business proposal for Business Funding or Investor Funding

A lot of entrepreneurs believe that if they don’t have a business degree, writing a winning business proposal is beyond them. However, they often forget that their potential investors are not know-it-alls, they just want to see that you will be able to make them money.

Your business plan does not have to be super complicated to get an investor to invest. In order to create that wining proposal that will answer the questions of investors, you must do your homework first. Research your competitors and the market. Research the investor you are writing it for.

The proposal should be tailored towards the needs of a specific investor, because different investors concentrate on different parts of a business plan.

To receive funding for your startup, you need to convince investors that your idea is worth investing in and that your team has all the qualifications and motivation to bring the concept to life. Make it well-thought out and structured professionally. Insert information at the right places and you are good to go.

How to write a business proposal for sponsorship

One of the fundamental keys to getting sponsored is your ability to create a winning sponsorship proposal. It’s an important document in the process of going from sponsorship seeker to marketing partner. It can literally make or break the deal.

The general structure of a sponsorship proposal will always be the same. Inexperienced proposal writers often make the mistake of writing too much about themselves and not focusing enough on the company they are asking for support from. To be successful, you must gain the trust of the decision makers and make them understand that you can effectively showcase their products or services in a way that will provide them as much value as they are providing you in sponsorship support.

In today’s competitive environment, you have to do more than just show you have a worthy endeavor, you need to put yourself in the sponsor’s shoes, and think in terms of sponsorship support as a marketing strategy for the sponsor. Your proposal will be more persuasive that way, you’ll say all the right things.

How to write a business proposal for a loan/grant

Applying for a grant and loans is a competitive process. The grant money is supplied for specific types of businesses, and those responsible for dispensing the money must review a lot of applications to select the business or businesses that will receive the money.

The best way to raise your chances of success in applying for a grant is to write a great proposal. Your proposal should detail the business’ mission and activities, future goals, reasons for requesting the grant money and plans for using the grant money.

Writing a proposal for a loan or grant will take some preparation and time, but it will be worth the effort when the proposal succeeds in the end.

Here are some tips to assist you in the process;

  • Effectively shed more light on your business and its objectives. Describe your business activities, and snag every opportunity to indicate what sets your business apart from others.
  • Talk about your target market and how you plan on reaching that market. The proposal committee needs to see how you will put the money to good use in expanding your business by gaining new customers.
  • Share your proposed budget for the grant money. Be as specific as possible. Explain how the money will be used and why. Offer data charts and pictorial data to show allocation and expected growth.
  • The document should contain all of the required information and be easy to follow from start to finish.


How to write a proposal for restaurant business

Writing a restaurant business proposal that would certainly distinguish you from your competition is as good a sales pitch that anyone can have. The truth is proposals do a lot of work for a business. They avail the business with options and opportunities.

A proper restaurant business proposal must be built on solutions, credibility, samples and should focus on the target language. Show clearly in your proposal how you will benefit the other party, quote your existing investors or partners to gain their trust, include case studies and testimonials.

A simple format for a restaurant business proposal includes an Introduction, Executive Summary, Table of Contents, Body, Conclusion and Appendix.

Ensure that your proposal uses the business terms and technical vocabulary associated with a restaurant and food business. An effective business proposal should enlist the specific problem of the client or reader and talk in detail about how it would be solved.

How to write a business proposal for catering business

A catering business proposal is a document that is pitched to a client and provides all the information needed about a catering company’s services. It outlines the services, terms of payment, the products for sale, if any, etc for the reader of the proposal.

When there is so much stiff competition, slapping a price quite together may not be enough. You need to show your potential client that you can be trusted to deliver the catering services they need.

The goals for any business proposal are to introduce yourself, highlight your products and/or services, describe your pricing, and convince the client that you are the best choice for the job. You can use pre-designed templates and get ideas from sample proposals on the internet to speed up your proposal writing process.

For a catering business, you will also need to include some detailed information about your services, menus, or products that are of interest to the specific client. Always keep in mind that the reason of a proposal is to win over your potential clients or probable investors. Your proposal needs to tell the whole story.

How to write a business proposal to supply goods

Writing a proposal is a crucial step in gaining a new client, or selling to a current one. There are quite a number of sales proposal techniques that will effectively demonstrate your firm’s capabilities. However, with proposals It’s also quite easy to focus on the wrong things as well.

A great sales and supply proposal is a big investment that if done right can mean additional business and, therefore, added revenues for your firm. It will educate the client about the full nature of his need and convince him that you have the required competence to deliver his needs better than he currently does. Then provide justification of your prospect’s investment in terms that are understandable to the client.

Try very much to differentiate your services from the competition, show case your organizations values and goals as they pertain to deal you are offering. Your proposed methodology should be self-explanatory and concise enough to be understood at a glance.

How to write a palm oil business proposal

Presently, the global palm oil market is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and it only keeps growing. With the right proposal you can be several steps ahead of your competition in every bid.

To draft the best proposal however, firstly ensure that you have researched the market and the potential investors or buyers you’ll be sending your proposal to.

State all the benefits of your products and attach good images showing your products; for example, High quality healthy and unadulterated hygienically produced oil of international market standards.

A comprehensive business proposal will contain all the needed ideas and plans to efficiently meet your client’s needs. Whether that be the supply of pure and high-quality prepared palm oil produce or the processing, packing and wholesale distribution of the oil across the country you have to propose a plan that is financially viable for the client and desirably amendable to their own goals.

How to write a real estate business proposal

In the real estate and housing industry, knowing how to write a business proposal will help you compete and close more deals. To be successful at any of the jobs in the industry, you’re going to need to write a proposal.

In your search for viable clients to pitch your ideas and services, you may be tempted to send out a batch of form letters along with some brochures or fliers. This may seem the easier route but it is not as likely to succeed as creating customized proposals.

To get started in any sort of proposal writing, your first step should be to gather information about the individual or parties that will judge your proposal. Be apprised of the exact things they need that you can offer them before you start writing at all.

Real estate proposals come in different forms from property management to commercial land development or real estate sales. A proposal for any project, product or service that is real estate related can be created and tailored to exacting clients. These proposals are utilized by a lot people in the industry such as architects, builders, contractors, managers and real estate agents.

How to write a business proposal on poultry farming

With the recent global increase in population and a worldwide demand for food, people are now beginning to realize the potential of providing the most important basic need of man. In Nigeria, poultry farming is an endeavor that has seen a lot of popularity with the constant increase in demand for food.

Writing a proposal as a poultry farmer is a very expansive endeavor. Poultry farming is a very wide business with different aspects some of them being; Egg production (Layers breeding), Meat production (Broilers breeding), Chicken breeding (Hatchery), Poultry feed production, Egg and meat processing, packaging and marketing etc.

You could be writing a proposal for any one of the above services. Regardless of the which one of these services you provide you’ll need to send out proposal to market these services professionally.

How do you start off a proposal for your poultry farm? You can start by writing a simple Cover Letter. Just introduce yourself and your proposal, tell the recipient what you’d like them to do after reading the proposal, and provide all your contact information.

After that then the generic plan structure, the title page, the executive overview of your plan, a description of what your readers (potential customers or funders) need and want, the solution you are proposing – providing all the details about what you propose to do, and finally an overview of your company sharing any special Training or Credentials you have.

Looking to create a business plan for your poultry business? Click here to check out our poultry farm business template.

How to write a business proposal for a consulting service

When that time comes that you have almost snagged a client and things seem to be going well but then they ask for a proposal – do not fret in the least! In a lot of ways, a consulting proposal may seem like a mere formality. But the truth is, it can make or break your relationship with this potential client.

The proposal outlines everything you’re going to deliver so they can be rest assured they’re getting exactly what they’re paying for. Even if the client has given you the verbal agreement that is no reason to do a botched job in your proposal. As they say, delivery is everything.

The basic winning consulting proposal has the same basic elements and structure as any proposal. Before you write a word of your proposal, you need to ensure that you know your prospect’s true desires. It’s not just about what they tell you they want (e.g., a new online platform or website).

You need to search deeper to find the motivation behind the project (e.g., a new platform to showcase and sell their services more efficiently). You should try as much as you can to reflect the exact words you keep hearing from your client when they discuss what they want.

Do not stuff your proposals with accolades and inconsequential data that make your work sound important, instead just tell the client what you’ll do for them streamlining your process.

If you’re new to consulting or freelancing, you probably will make mistakes due to lack of experience. That’s okay! The more you write proposals and gather more data about your workflow, you’ll improve and get faster and more accurate each time. Be open to making mistakes because you’ll learn from them and be better for it.

How to write engineering business proposal letter

The engineering term ranges across a lot of business types these days. Nevertheless, like every other business whatever the technical service or products your engineering company is dallying in, you constantly need to find new customers, line up new partners, secure new contracts, and get projects approved.

Start with a title page and a cover letter like every other proposal. The trick is to customize each proposal for the reader. That means keeping them in mind when you present your information. focus on explaining the benefits of your proposal to the reader. Have a general idea of the reader’s knowledge level and expertise. Find out if you can what they understand about your organization or your project? What questions and concerns they might have? Try to answer them as best as you can early on – you don’t want to confuse these people.

It’s important that a professional and persuasive engineering proposal be adequately stocked with all the right vocabulary and terminologies.

To secure new contracts you need to show the client that you have a technical competence for the task at hand. It’s a balance between being concise and not getting too in the weeds with the description of the process and showing the client your technical prowess, with relevant images boosting and assisting your concept. Show clients that you did your homework and your proposal is sure to be a winning one.

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