One of the many perks of freelancing is being your own boss. That being said, being your own boss means taking on a number of responsibilities–one of those being bidding on and winning projects.
Creating a proposal for every new project wastes your precious time. A simple project proposal template makes creating and sending proposals so much easier. Let Bonsai help you create stunning business proposals with their professional templates for all your business needs.
What is a Simple Proposal?
A simple proposal is a written document sent by service providers to convince prospective clients to buy their services or products. A simple proposal is also known as a business proposal, and it’s used to communicate how you plan to approach a project.
A good business proposal focuses on solving the client’s problems with a solid plan. It should be compelling, well-structured, and concise in order to gain the approval of potential clients and increase your chances of winning the project.
A simple proposal is often your first interaction with prospective clients–you want to make a lasting impression.
Note: Sign up to Bonsai free to get access to this free business proposal template plus more templates for a variety of other business documents.
When to Use a Simple Project Proposal
You use a business proposal to show prospective clients how your experience and expertise put you in a unique position to help them reach their goals.
There are a number of situations that call for a proposal, such as:
- When a business has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a specific project. This type of proposal is called a solicited proposal, and it makes drafting the document a lot easier.
In this proposal request, the potential client will share all the info you need to create a comprehensive proposal, such as their problem, requirements, and deadlines.
- When you have an informal discussion with a client and the client expresses interest in your services. This is an informally solicited proposal.
In this case, the client doesn’t issue a formal request for the project, so you’ll need to do your own research when creating the proposal.
- When you know a company or client has a specific problem, and you provide what’s necessary to solve their problem. These are known as unsolicited business proposals, and they’re similar to cold pitching.
You'll need to find all the necessary details to create the business proposal by researching the client and their overall goals. It’s not as easy as having all the information in front of you, but if you can identify a problem and position yourself as a solution–you might just win prospects over.
You can choose to create a custom project proposal from scratch every time–but this takes time and effort. Alternatively, you could use a business proposal template, that provides a strong foundation and proposal outline from which you can create your project proposals.
Proposal writing is no simple task–whether it's a one page proposal template or multiple business proposal examples. Bonsai has ample business proposal templates on offer–from a construction proposal template to a research project proposal.
Whichever way you decide to draft your business proposal template, you need to know which section to include when it’s time to write a proposal–take a look.
What to Include in the Simple Proposal
You want your business proposal to provide clients with all the details on how you’re best equipped to handle their problems. A great business proposal includes the following elements:
Your cover page is the first thing prospects encounter, so aim to create an impressive title page. The cover page of your business proposal should include:
- Project info
- Your name, company, and contact information
- The client’s name, company, and contact information
- Date of proposal submission
There’s no need to make a flashy cover page, but you do want to encourage prospects to read on. Aim to make your cover page engaging, well-designed, and attractive–high-quality images are a must.
A visually appealing cover page sets the tone for the rest of your business proposal and pushes prospects to read on.
Table of contents
Add a table of contents to your business proposal to save your clients' time. This gives them an outline of the proposal and allows them to skip to the parts they consider most relevant.
An executive summary is an overview of your project proposal. It should summarize the key points you’ve made throughout your proposal and highlight your solution.
The professional proposal summary should be short and to the point–don’t overcrowd it with details. Give an overview of the main points here–you’ll be able to discuss them in detail later on.
This section introduces potential clients to you and–if you have one–your team. It’s a chance to share your company mission, story, and values.
Highlight the strength and experience of your team, and indicate their individual expertise when it comes to providing your services. Add pictures and bios of your team members to familiarize clients with your business.
This helps ensure your client feels confident that they are going to work with a strong and experienced team.
Goals and objectives
An effective business proposal describes the client’s problem in detail. This assures them you’ve understood the problem, and know how to approach the solution.
Explain the problem and needs–via a problem statement–in a way that communicates your thorough understanding of them. Then address the individual objectives involved in creating a solution, and how you’ll look to measure success throughout the project.
You want the client to feel understood and ready to discuss your value proposition and solutions–which brings us to our next section.
Scope of work
This section is a real game-changer–it’s where you tackle the problem and highlight what you’ll do to provide a solution.
Here’s where you create a customized solution for the project at hand. For example, if you are writing a construction proposal, you want to include details on the construction process. This includes aspects like sourcing materials and plans, building in line with regulations, and adding any finishing touches.
Describe the skills, techniques, resources, and tools you’ll use to deliver the solution. You want to aim to provide as much detail as possible, however, you’ll have the chance to make any changes when it comes to signing contracts.
You should add this section to a business proposal to provide clients with an idea of how long the project will take.
You can choose to separate the project into phases and write an estimated time with every phase. This allows prospects to see how quickly the project will advance, and what milestones the client can expect to reach by when.
Some project phases can end up taking more time than expected and unexpected bumps can come up and hinder project completion. On-time deliveries are always a plus point for credibility, so aim to set realistic deadlines for your project.
Adding testimonials and case studies to the proposal is a strong step towards winning a project. Both act as verification that you are experienced and trustworthy.
Aim to pick testimonials from similar projects to the one at hand. This proof validates your expertise and ultimately builds trust between you and your clients.
Pricing plays an important role in many customers' decisions to work with you, so including a comprehensive breakdown of costs is key to creating strong business proposals.
Calculate project costs carefully as it will give an idea about the overall cost of the proposed solution. You can then add a pricing section relating to every phase of the project–this helps the prospective buyer identify exactly what they’re paying for.
Transparency is key in setting the project cost–neither party wants to waste time or end up dissatisfied when it comes to project completion. You can also include payment terms and payment schedules in this section to provide further information on the expected fee structure and schedule.
This is the final page of your simple proposal, and it should inform prospects of the next steps. You’ve drafted a proposal with this next step for clients in mind–help them take it.
Your proposed solution should include details on project approval, such as a start date and first step. Outline how you expect to gain approval–this could be with a binding contract or formal document, or with a phone call or email.
How to Write a Simple Proposal
Now you know all the key points to include in a winning proposal, it’s time to start writing it. We’ve gathered some project proposal template tips to help you create impressive business proposals.
Find out exactly what the client wants
First, study your client. Understand what it is they’re looking for, and how the project proposal fits into their greater business plan.
You should aim to write a business proposal that speaks the language of your client. For example, a construction proposal and a graphic design proposal will look very different–despite them both being proposals.
Cater your proposals to the individual client’s needs and standards. Identify their pain points and position yourself as the best solution to their problem.
Highlight what sets you apart
Including the following will help set you apart from other proposals:
- In-depth research
- Dazzling testimonials
- Impressive credentials and qualifications
- Personal touches
Write a project proposal that expresses your personality and confidence. Highlight how qualified you are to take on the proposed project and include your unique approach to projects.
Call to action
It’s a good idea to add a call to action section to your business proposal. Your prospective client has read through the proposal–now it’s time to make a decision.
You can give them options such as:
- Video call
- Email address
- Phone number
Make communication steps as easy as possible–you want prospects to know exactly what’s next when it comes to working with you.
Proofread your proposal
Never send a business proposal without editing and proofreading. As a best practice, you should share your project proposal templates and any specific project proposal drafts with a colleague or friend–their eyes may catch mistakes you’ve missed.
Recheck the tone and language of the proposal–it should be simple and clear. Aim to avoid using the passive voice in the proposal–active voice ensures your writing is clear and crisp.
Proofread your project proposal a few days before submission. You want to avoid sending a proposal with grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or typos to ensure you’re perceived as professional and capable.
Right, that’s our project proposal tips covered. You’re well on your way to proposal success by now. Let’s get into creating a proposal with Bonsai, and how you can get access to unlimited free templates.
Creating a Business Proposal is Simple with Bonsai
Does writing a business proposal take up too much of your time and energy? If yes, then there is an easy solution for you. Bonsai’s archive of thousands of templates ensures you’re only ever a couple of clicks away from your perfect proposal, contract, template, and more.
Here is how to create a simple project proposal template on Bonsai:
- Sign up to Bonsai free
- Select your desired proposal template
- Edit project proposal template according to your requirements
In a couple of quick steps, you’ve created a great proposal template with minimal hassle. Bonsai’s legal team have covered the legalese so you can focus on the project details. From an event proposal template to a construction bid proposal–Bonsai’s got it all.
Join the 250,000+ freelancers and SMBs using Bonsai to create quick and easy business templates. There, you’ll find this simple business proposal template and more free proposal templates to help you win new business.
Simple Proposal FAQs
What is a business proposal?
A business proposal is a written document submitted by the seller to a prospective client with the aim of securing a project.
What’s included in a business proposal template?
These are key elements to include in a business proposal:
- Cover page
- Table of contents
- Executive Summary
- About us
- Goals and objectives
- Project scope
- Project timeline
- Testimonials and case studies
- Pricing details
- Closing statement
How many pages is a business proposal?
There’s no set length for a business proposal–it depends on the complexity of the project. Typically, we see proposal templates between 4-10 pages, but it’s truly down to your business, your potential client, and the industry you’re both in.