What Should Be Included in an Effective Business Proposal?

A business proposal plays an important role in the success of any business agreement, highlighting the need for it to be done correctly.

How a business proposal is crafted can make or break any business agreement.

Most, if not all, business agreements start with a business proposal. This important document is written by a business seeking to secure a business agreement with a prospective customer. The customer is typically a business that is looking for solutions to its pain points. 

The definition above highlights the importance of getting the business proposal right. As it holds everything a prospective customer needs to know about a proposed agreement, the way it is crafted will affect the customer’s decision-making. If a business proposal lacks details and has an unclear statement and direction, this can be enough for an agreement to fail. 

A business proposal should, therefore, include certain key elements in order to properly outline and explain the proposed agreement. 

Title and Table of Contents

A business proposal begins with a title, which has its dedicated page. This is the first chance for a company to catch the attention of a prospective customer and should highlight the solution that is being offered. 

What goes on a title page varies depending on the nature and purpose of the business proposal and the agreement it seeks to be made. It can include the date the proposal is submitted, the names of the companies involved, and even a tagline representing what the business has to offer. However, Hubspot notes that any title page “should reconcile engagement with professionalism.” 

The table of contents follows the title and lists all the sections of the proposal. This should be easy to scan for the reader and not full of unnecessary information. Each section should also have a corresponding number so it is more convenient for the reader to locate particular sections to read. 

Executive Summary

Following the title and table of contents is the executive summary. This serves as an introduction and explains the purpose of the business proposal. This section should specifically state why the company sending the proposal is the best choice available on the market.

Among the information that should ideally be found in an executive summary are as follows:

  • An introduction of the company sending the proposal, including the company’s expertise
  • Overview of goals and objectives
  • Benefits of the products or services of the business and how it can address the customer’s needs

The executive summary should not go beyond one page in the proposal. In fact, Canva suggests that its content should be two to three paragraphs long only. 

Problem Statement and Solution

After the executive summary, the business proposal should begin to flesh out the details and specifics of what is being proposed. This begins with the public statement, which clearly indicates and explains the customer’s problem or challenge that the proposal seeks to address.

This is followed by stating the proposed solution to the problem. The proposed solution explains how a company’s products or services serve as the right solution the customer is looking for. The company can also opt to further explain and detail its expertise in order to establish credibility. 


It is important for a company to clearly explain and detail its expertise in order to establish credibility and a track record of success. Important information that should be included in this section are as follows:

  • Company credentials, including industry accreditations
  • Awards received
  • Client testimonials 


As with any business agreement, deliverables and pricing are two critical factors that can make or break the deal. This section should outline how much working with the company will cost a prospective customer. 

A detailed pricing breakdown should be included in this section, particularly all pricing options that a prospective customer can consider. Prices for add-ons and additional services should likewise be included. If possible, the company should provide pricing for different needs and budgets. 

Conclusion and Appendix 

A business proposal should end with a conclusion, which should summarize and simplify all that has been said into one section. It should briefly summarize the main points of the proposal and highlight why the company is the best choice for the customer. 

It should include contact information should the customer have any questions and clarifications. The customer may also want to go over the next steps, so it is important for the customer to be able to reach the business conveniently. 

The business sending the proposal can also opt to include additional reference materials, methodology, as well as a list of terms for the customer’s reference. 

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