A well-presented business proposal allows clients to quickly understand the value they’ll derive from your services.
Formulating this is the final stage of the process of creating your business proposal. Nevertheless, it remains central.
To present your services, you can:
Select a relevant and structured market approach strategy, to avoid being everywhere at once and creating confusion for your clients;
Structure your offer like a pro, using techniques to package your services in ways that will lend credibility to your business;
Draft a fluent, clear written proposal containing all the essential details for the prospect.
Choose your market approach strategy
You can have several ideas for services you want to provide and target client groups. Nevertheless, it’s best to start off small, with a single type of service and client, and then progressively expand your business.
Emily is a student in the first year of a maths degree and is freelancing to fund her studies. She could offer individual maths courses, do housework for individuals and businesses, and distribute leaflets at tube station entrances. However, she risks exhausting her energy by trying to launch several services at the same time.
Several strategies for developing your business are modelled in the Ansoff matrix:
Clientele / Service
The first service that you offer to your first client.
Development of your service offer for that initial client.
Enlarge your circle of prospects with a second target client (for the same service).
Diversify your target (new type of client) AND of your services (new provision).
Start with a single target and service offer. That offer can include several prices and services, keeping within the same goal and the same sector.
Emily could start by giving maths courses to middle school students. Then, she could grow her prospects by targeting adults preparing for competitive examinations that include maths tests. She could also offer support courses in sciences for middle school students. Finally, she could create a second branch of her business by offering businesses cleaning services for their premises (diversification).
Once you have clearly identified your initial service offer, the next step is to structure it in a professional way, using marketing techniques (packaging, pricing, etc.).
Structure your offer to increase your chances of success
There are strategies for structuring your services that can increase your credibility and your profitability.
This means structuring your offer in a very defined way, as you would do for product packaging.
Among these techniques, you could consider:
The technique of thirds (inspired by a marketing strategy called the “three-tier technique”): involves thinking of three services within the same field, with three different prices: a low, medium and a higher price. This technique allows you to anchor your offer in a price range that will enable the client to compare your services with each other, rather than with the competition.
For example, a web content editor could offer the following services to their clients: a blog article at £100 (entry level), a 10-page ebook at £1800 (middle of the range), and six months’ strategic and operational support at £7200 (top of the range).
Give names to your service offers: the names need to reflect the results obtained by the clients and make them want to work with you. Again, the goal is to make your proposal professional and to make you stand out from the competition.
For example, a financial engineer, who helps businesses raise funds, could propose a “starter pack”, a “development pack”, and an “expansion pack”, each of which would correspond to different services, linked to stages of the business.
Subscription: creating subscriptions or long-term formulae enables you to create customer loyalty and fix revenue over the year which is good for security. It’s also a way to create loyalty with your client once your assignment is complete (e.g. via a maintenance contract or update).
For example, a website developer can propose a maintenance contract for the websites they create.
Be a consultant: a consultant is a person who can identify obstacles to the development of a business or an individual person and propose changes. You are sure to know lots of things that your clients don’t know. In this case, offer them, within the framework of your services, studies of the current situation and areas for improvement. Integrate this service with your proposals, or propose it for free during your prospection (as a sales pitch) to make your prospects want to work with you.
For example, if you give individual courses, consider offering your clients an assessment test and showing them the skills needed to arrive at the desired level (for an exam or competition).
Have self-confidence. Be careful not to cast doubt on your skills during your presentation. Avoid sentences with negative phrasing (not …). Don’t cast doubt on your abilities.
For example, if you submit a bid, don’t say: “Perhaps I could try to do it, I’ve been interested in this sector for a long time,” or even “It’s really not up my street, but I can try.”
Get ideas from the businesses around you, from their financial models and how they present their service offers. Whether they are products or services, what is it you admire about these service offers? What makes you want to buy what they are offering?
Discover the essential components of presenting a business proposal
Presenting your service offer comes down to clearly defining your areas of expertise, with a clear list of services, a sort of freelancer job description.
Let’s start from what you shine at, and everything you have included there.
Starting from that list, complete the following items:
The title of your role – A few words to describe your role;
The assignments – A few sentences showing what you do, in concrete terms, through your services;
Your target clientele - so that your potential purchasers can recognise themselves;
Your skills – those that enable you to successfully complete your assignments, and that bring together your know-how, life skills and knowledge;
Your conditions – the framework within which you perform your services;
Your rates – the budget.
The presentation will usually be drafted in the first person (“I …”) and can include other components than those mentioned above, if they are important.
Example of a presentation by Vincent, on LinkedIn:
“Bicycle courier (role) for very small, small and medium-sized businesses in Lille (clientele), I do all sorts of courier work, especially delivering orders, collecting post-and distributing leaflets (assignments).
I know the city like the back of my hand, and I have a specially fitted bicycle to protect parcels in case of rain. My clients can count on my punctuality, the quality of client service and my courtesy (skills).
I am available from Monday to Saturday, in the mornings from 7 am to 12 pm. I operate in the city centre and inner suburbs. I am responsive, and I accept urgent assignments within 40 minutes (conditions).
I currently offer three types of service:
one-off deliveries (£20),
Don’t hesitate to test out new presentation texts and methods. Come back to this exercise as your needs develop.
You now have all the tools to prepare your business proposal. It’s time to develop your marketing action plan to find your next clients