In general, there are two types of business proposal formats: the full proposal (formal proposal) and the letter proposal. The full proposal is a longer more complete business proposal that often spans 15 to 100 pages. This is the type of proposal that is often used for public/federal grants. The letter proposal is a shorter, two to five page business proposal, that is primarily used for private sponsors. The focus of this article is on the letter proposal
Essential Requirements Of The “Letter” Business Proposal Format
At the very minimum, the letter proposal must include 2 basic components: the problem to be solved and the solution that you are offering. This is a bit of an oversimplification, as a complete proposal template should include seven basic parts: a summary paragraph, your sponsor appeal, the problem to be solved, your solution, your capabilities or credentials, your budget, and a closing/concluding paragraph. It is important to understand, that the format or template for this proposal is literally a “letter.” Including standard letter components like the date, address of recipient, a salutation (“Dear Mr. Smith”), and a letter closing (“Sincerely,”). Most of these seven parts are self explanatory, so I will focus just two of these components: the problem to be solved and the solution that you are offering.
The Problem to be Solved
The most fundamental component of the “letter” business proposal format is the “problem.” When writing about the problem that you are solving, make sure to express it from the perspective of the sponsor. Remember, their main goal is not funding your project, but rather to solve a problem that they perceive. Show them that you understand their mission and you are “on their side.” Focus on the difference between the current state of affairs and a future where the problem is solved. Focus on the “need” for the improvement from a financial, productivity, or efficiency standpoint.
Your job here is to convince the sponsor that you have a solution to their problem and you are confident that your solution will help them. Note: this is the most important component of any business proposal format. Give an overall description of your methodology, but don’t go into too much detail. Make sure you tie the steps and details of your solution to the sponsors needs. Use strong statements that convey confidence like, “I strongly urge you to move forward…” Differentiate yourself from the competition by describing the weaknesses of your competitors approach.
In this article about the “letter” business proposal format, I have stressed examples of content that will make your business proposal standout. You should be able to write your proposal using a standard word processor and a letter template. Following these guidelines will greatly increase your chances of success. If you choose to outsource this task to save yourself time, you may want to consider proposal software that can shorten the process for you. Good luck and I wish you success!