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Business Proposal (Example PDF)

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Business Proposal (Example PDF)

A big part of running a successful freelance business is writing effective business proposals.

You might be responding to a request for proposals (RFP); perhaps you’ve had a productive meeting with a prospective client and want to follow up; or maybe a client has contacted you and asked you to submit a proposal.

Whatever the need for a proposal, being able to put one together quickly, while still making it clear, comprehensive and effective, is one of the challenges of being a freelancer. That’s when having access to a business proposal example can be helpful, whether you’re just starting out or you’re a successful freelancer always looking for new clients to build your business.

A business proposal example PDF is one way to have the basis of a document that can be reused time and again. Some platforms even allow you to make changes to PDF documents, and then save them as a PDF. You can also convert a proposal from a Word or Excel document to a PDF.

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So whether you use a service that will provide you with a business proposal example PDF or you want to build your own, there are 6 keys to an effective business proposal. Let’s look at them. 

1. Build an outline

Every proposal you send to a client will be different, based on the client’s needs, services you’re offering, pricing and more. But there will be many things that will be the same, or at least similar. So you can create a business proposal example PDF that will include these components. 

With some sections of a business proposal example, the section will simply be a placeholder. For instance, specific client requirements outlined in an RFP can only be written for that RFP. But other sections can be done in advance, like your company profile. 

Then, when you need to pull an actual proposal together, you’ll have many of the big pieces of work done, and placeholders to remind you where to complete the client-specific work.

2. Create a profile of your business

Build a document that describes your freelance business, including your education, your work history, freelance history, your products and/or services, your resources and more.

This section can also include any special qualifications, certifications, training or professional development that you have completed. It should outline the competitive strengths of your business. 

Once you have a great profile document, you can use it in other places, such as your website, or in a business plan when applying for funding, for instance. But you need it as an essential component of any business proposal. 

In fact, spend a fair bit of time on this section, as it’s vital to success. Once your profile is complete, proposals can be done a lot quicker, even if slight modifications are needed based on the client or the RFP.

3. Describe your services

As part of the profile, or as a separate section, write a description of each of your services or products. If you offer different services, describe each one. Describe work you did on previous projects, and include client testimonials if available.

This section can also include actual examples, such as designs if you’re a graphic designer. For instance, you can walk through an actual project from beginning to end, with the end result being the final design. 

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4. Know what the client wants

This section would be a placeholder in a business proposal example PDF, but there are some reminders you can include for inclusion in the final document.

 Here are some examples of “notes to self” you can have in this section:

  • Requirements of an RFP.
  • Any questions you’ve posed and answers to those questions.
  • Review notes from a client meeting.
  • Put yourself in the client’s shoes - what is their main problem and how will you provide a solution? Why did the client contact you or issue an RFP? 
  • What are the goals of your proposal?
  • What methodology will you use or what steps will you take to solve the client’s issue?

When it comes time to write a specific business proposal, you will be prepared to write the section that defines your solution, services and milestones.

5. Outshine potential competitors

Depending on your market, you may be aware of competitors that will be vying for the same work as you. Even if you don’t know your competition directly, put yourself in the shoes of potential clients, and consider the following questions when writing your business proposal example PDF:

  • What sets you apart from the competition?
  • What unique services do you offer that other freelancers don't?
  • What are the unique strengths of your business?
  • What are your specialties that fit perfectly with the client’s needs?
  • What benefits will the client enjoy by choosing your company?
  • Are there opportunities for a long-term relationship with the client, either on a retainer basis or for ongoing work?

These are all important questions to keep in mind as you prepare material for any business proposal. You can have some of this material ready in advance and included in a business proposal example PDF. You can then supplement the information based on what you know of the client and the proposed work.

6. Costs, milestones and payment schedule

This section will be another placeholder, but once again there is some work you can do in advance.

If you do similar services for multiple clients, you could have a document ready that explains the time and cost requirements for those services. You can have details about hourly rates, payment terms, how you bill clients, how you accept payment, any late payment fees and more.

Then depending on the client and the work you’ll be doing, you can add specific milestones, costs and a payment schedule.

Create your own
Business Proposal (Example PDF)

Create your own

Business Proposal (Example PDF)

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