Different types of proposals you may need.
Depending on your business or industry, there are two main types of proposals you may encounter: solicited, or formal, proposals and unsolicited, or informal, proposals.
Formal, solicited proposals are often created in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP). These requests usually come with clear instructions on what the client wants from a prospective vendor. This includes product and service requirements, qualifications, time frame, pricing, and examples of past work or success stories.
When you create a solicited proposal, the prospective client has already decided they need help for this project. They now must simply choose the best option available. This makes the proposal somewhat easier to write, since the client is already on board to agree.
Craft your solicited proposal as a more formal presentation, and include a slide deck with graphs, images, and case studies. A well-designed presentation will make your proposal stand out from the rest and help you present information in a clear, approachable manner.
When you run new ideas by your client, it’s considered an unsolicited, or informal, proposal. If your client, or potential client, expresses interest in the project, they may ask to see a full written proposal. An unsolicited proposal is more difficult to create, since you won’t receive specifications about deliverables from the client, and they may not have budgeted for a new line of work. Focus on the client’s needs and highlight concrete numbers to show key stakeholders how this project could benefit their bottom line.
An informal proposal can turn into a formal-looking deck, but you can also concisely convey your information in a clearly formatted Word document and a simple cover page. When you’re especially pressed for time, an informal proposal can even take the form of an email with key details highlighted in bullet points. Informal proposals can vary greatly based on the clients and the situation.
How to write a proposal.
Research your industry.
Before you begin, gather proposal examples from your industry or your competitors. This will help you identify and apply typical structures and variables, so your proposal reflects industry standards. You can also use business proposal templates from Adobe Stock or examples from Adobe Spark to guide your writing.
Present different options.
Don’t offer only one solution. Instead, present a variety of tiered responses to a client’s situation. Show them three options, including a best-case scenario, a medium project, and a less expensive option. Put these scenarios in context of timeline, budget, and deliverables. When you provide options, you give control to your client and show them you’ve considered their project parameters. Even if your client chooses the lowest level, there could be room to upgrade the work mid-project.
Polish your proposal.
Write your proposal in active voice, to keep your sentences concise. You want your points to be clear and your proposal easy to read, so don’t use excessive, overly descriptive language or too many adjectives. Additionally, be sure to proofread your entire proposal before you send it to your client. Little typos and errors show a lack of attention to detail, and you don’t want your client to lose faith in you before you’ve even begun.