How do I write and present a business proposal?


According to the Encyclopedia of Small Business "Business proposals are documents that attempt to persuade targeted clients to buy a particular service or product. These documents, which are used in academia and government as well as business and industry, may range from relatively short (a few pages) proposals to "formal" documents of 50 or more pages" ("Business Proposals," 2002, para. 1).

Furthermore, the basic elements of a proposal are described by Hillstrom & Hillstrom ("Business Proposals," 2002) as follows:

  • Cover letter
    • Provides a brief overview of your proposal, your company, and your qualifications.
  • Title page
    • Includes your name, the name of the company, the name of the person or company the proposal is being submitted to, the data of submission, and title.
  • Table of contents
    • Not always necessary if it is a shorter or informal proposal.
  • Executive summary
    • Provide key pieces of information in order to state your case or business argument. It will be read by key decision-makers, so be clear, concise, and convincing. 
  • Body/procedures section
    • Provide detailed and technical information here. Areas sometimes included are: price, training, implementation approaches, and support options. Legal experts advise scaling back some of these areas if your proposal is unsolicited, since proposals can become binding contracts.

Consult the following resources to learn more about writing and presenting a business proposal.

Cover art for Proposals: Getting Started, Getting Better          Cover art for How to Write Reports & Proposals     


Business proposals. (2002). In L. C. Hillstrom & K. Hillstrom (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Small Business (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 151-152). Gale.

  • Last Updated Aug 02, 2022
  • Views 5551
  • Answered By Kate Anderson, Librarian

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