What is a business proposal?
A business proposal is an application in a business-related context. It is a partnership or joint venture of some sort. It is different from a business plan which is designed to raise money for starting up an enterprise. In a business proposal the aim is to earn money from all business transactions. Here, you answer your customer's queries and persuade them to select you. It should be more about the customer than you as a company.
Types of business proposals
There are two types of business proposals:
1) Solicited Proposal
2) Unsolicited Proposal
A Solicited Proposal refers to the one when the customer asks for a proposal. They are usually sent to customers who issue a "Request for Proposal" or RFP, Request for Quotation (RFQ), or an Invitation for Bids (IFB).
"Request for Proposal" (RFP) provides you with a description of what the customer wants. They might ask for an evaluation criterion to make a selection. You can also give suggestion to a potential customer who might ask you to submit a proposal so that he can consider your suggestion. This counts as a solicited proposal as a customer is expecting it. Customers issue RFQs when they want to buy large amounts of a commodity. The price is not the only issue. For example, when availability or delivering or service are considerations. RFQs can be very detailed. Therefore, proposals written to RFQs can be lengthy. IFBs are issued by the customers when they are buying some service, such as construction. The requirements are detailed. However, the primary consideration is price. For example, a customer provides architectural blueprints for contractors to bid on. These proposals are lengthy. The cost-estimating data and detailed schedules are also mentioned. An unsolicited proposal is marketing brochures. They are always generic.
Business proposals do not directly refer to customer needs or specific requirements. Vendors often use them to introduce a product or service to a prospective customer. They are often used as "leave-behinds" at the end of initial meetings with customers or "give-always" at trade shows or other public meetings. They are not designed to close a sale but to introduce the possibility of a sale. It contains a description of a seller's products, services or capabilities. It has a buyer's specifications or needs and how they will be met. The cost of the offering and schedule for delivery of the products or services are mentioned. A proof of prior experience i. e. Testimonials from previous customers or Project descriptions of previous projects are also specified to convince the customer about the products and services of the seller.