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Writing a proposal seems rather frightening at first. However, I promise that after the first time, writing proposals is super simple and even — sort of — fun.

Here is my step by step guide to creating your first proposal.

1. Use a nice format and design:

To do this, you can use Word, Adobe, Pages, or whatever software you feel comfortable with. There are plenty of free (and paid) templates online as well.

I use a great website tool called Proposify. Here is the front-page of the current proposal we use at SeedX.

 

The top half of the proposal cover should contain the following: your company name, the name of your client’s company, organization or start-up, and the contact at the company’s name.

It’s also a good idea to put a date, contact info, and your name as well. 

 

Here is the bottom half.

Make sure to include your logo/branding and your company’s signature colors. Don’t have any? Choose them today! Ours are black, white, and the yellow you see above.

2. Include a Personalized Introduction

Here is a rule of thumb for the content you should include in this part:

1. A greeting to the organization and/or contact, whatever seems most appropriate.

2. Thank them for their time and considering you.

3. Discuss the opportunity at hand and how you are excited about the chance to work on said project.

4. Restate their mission in your own words and how your service is specifically tailored towards helping them reach their goals/further their mission.

5. Close by reminding them to reach out to you with any concerns at all and include a nice farewell and your name and contact info again.

Keep coloring/fonts/etc. consistent throughout!

3. Provide and explain your solution. 

Recommend a solution to the problem you identified in the overview. Break it down into as many specific details as possible. It might seem obvious to you that the site you make will be optimized for mobile and tablet, but your clients want to make sure of it!

4. Provide a clear timeframe expectation. 

After you present the work you recommend, break it into milestones and a more digestible timetable for your client.

They probably have no idea how long it’ll take to complete these steps, help them feel educated in your craft by being as detailed as possible!

5. Let them know what their total investment will be.

Notice that I said investment? You want to hint to clients that your service is not just a cost — it is an investment that will return in the future.

Again, be as detailed as possible. Break the costs into steps and provide a description and overall number.

6. Why your company? Tell them!

 

Explain why the client should go with you, what other services you offer that they might be interested in ;-), and link to your website!

7. Why your team? (Or you if you’re a freelancer.) 

Discuss your work experience, schooling, passion for this service, and your skills!

8. Next Steps & CONTACT INFO!

Include a conclusion page in which you provide next steps — how they can accept or decline your offer and what would be next should they accept.

Make sure you reiterate that you are there to help them work through any concerns. More importantly, make sure you make your contact information easily accessible once more so that you do not miss the chance to address these concerns.

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