Perfecting a One-Page Business Proposal

Writing a proposal may seem daunting. They are essential to winning new business. There is pressure to create a persuasive pitch that summarizes the value of what you’re offering. The proposal should also show how you can resolve your client’s problems. And all of that information should only take up one page so that the client can see the entire solution very quickly.

A lot of strategy goes into writing proposals. We’ll show you how to prepare for writing a one-page proposal, the sections you need to include, guidance about writing and formatting, as well as a template to support your proposal development.

Prepare Well

The first step to writing a good one-page proposal is to prepare well. This involves collecting and organizing your ideas. Once you’ve collected all your ideas, you can organize and prioritize them. You might consider using mind-mapping software to help you with this. Mind-mapping helps you make a clear outline of your proposal.

During your preparation, you need a clear understanding of your potential client. Everything you include in your outline needs to be of interest to the client. So, you need to analyze your audience to identify what information and sections will appeal to your customer.

Structure for a one-page proposal 

These are the elements that are typically included in a one-page proposal. This is just a framework and should be modified for your audience.

A strong title

The title is like a summary of the proposal. Remember that your client’s attention is in-demand, and they are probably very busy. The title needs to grab their interest.

Overview 

The overview section summarizes the proposal. You should outline the objectives and strategy, the products or services, and make it clear how they will solve your client’s problems. This section should identify your value proposition and how you will make your customer’s business better.

Scope 

You are creating a new vision for your client. It needs to be compelling, engaging, and realistic. The scope shows the client what they can expect from the contract. In addition, you can lay out the roles and responsibilities of both your company and your clients.

Deliverables 

Make it clear what your client will receive from you. These could be tangible products or intangible services. Product deliverables are fairly easy to outline. Service deliverables can be more difficult to define. So, write it all out clearly in this section. For example, if you’re making a social media proposal, your deliverable could be the number of posts or level of engagement.

Timeline

Your client needs to know when you will complete each step of the project. You can give specific dates or more general time frames. You may want to integrate this section with the deliverables.

Financials

The client needs to know exactly what your offer will cost them. Some writers simplify the budget as a lump-sum amount. But, many clients will balk at a large cost because they don’t understand the value of all individual elements.

Contract

This section should tell the client how to accept the proposal. It should also include any important legal or taxation information.

Due to the limited amount of space in a one-page proposal, you may have had to make some assumptions. For example, will your subcontractor be available, or what is the current status of the client’s business? You should identify these assumptions in this section.

Contact 

This section should include a short company overview, website link, client’s contact person, and contact information.

Remember that the core of the proposal is about the client, not your company. So, any company information you include should be brief.

Writing your one-page proposal

You need to be both convincing and concise in a one-page proposal.

Think through each phrase carefully and make sure that each sentence actively supports the pitch. If your document continues beyond one page, review it for any duplicative or extraneous information. Combine similar concepts into a single sentence. Sometimes it helps to leave the document for a few hours or even a day and then try to read it from your client’s perspective. This can help you identify passages that need revision or deletion.

Formatting 

If you want an aesthetically pleasing one-page proposal, then you need to format it correctly.

Here are some formatting tips:

Whitespace can separate sections and guide the client through the document.

You can insert two or three columns to present relevant information in parallel.

Graphics can support your proposal’s message and break up blocks of text.

Charts or tables can summarize text and emphasize key points.

Save or print your document as a PDF to make sure it is on one page.

Proposal template

Use this template to create your own one-page proposal.

Title: The Most Important Phrase

Objective

Summarize the proposal, including a clear, short statement of how you will solve the client’s problems.

Scope

What will the proposal cover?

Deliverables, Timeline, and Investment

1) Deliverable, Description, Date, Budget

2) Deliverable, Description, Date, Budget

3) Deliverable, Description, Date, Budget

Contract

How can they accept the contract? What assumptions or stipulations should the client consider?

Name and contact information

Your company’s one-liner and link to your website

Related: How To Write a White Paper Document


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