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How to Write a Project Proposal that Works

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Every organization wants to expand its business, decrease its liabilities, and iron out any deficiencies that may be causing them to lose out to the competition. To advance their business to the next level, companies need to plan and think of solutions that can make their processes robust and effective. However, an idea alone is not enough, whether you’re working for an internal or external client. The real challenge lies in documenting these ideas, defining the implementation strategy, and proposing them to management for approval. 

No matter how brilliant an idea is, it will be hard to convince your clients without a proposal document to back it up. Whether you are making sales or generating new leads, a well-written and polished proposal copy can help you win a deal. In addition to focusing on the client’s pain points, an enterprise project proposal also needs to understand the client’s business before offering the right solution. Given the complexity involved, it is essential to understand every element of writing a project proposal and how it can be better constructed to capture your client’s attention. 

What is a project proposal?

A document that outlays a business problem and its possible solution is termed a project proposal. The primary purpose of the project proposal is to get the client to sell the idea and buy your services. The proposal document should contain a header, dates and timelines, budget estimates, a list of resources, requirements, goals, and the proposed solution. 

Writing a successful enterprise project proposal requires you to be somewhat clairvoyant and figure out exactly what your client wants to achieve from this project. Essentially, you need to ascertain your client’s needs before them to formulate a project proposal that suits them best. Transparency is the key in every business, and this is true when it comes to bidding for projects as well. 

Why is Project Proposal Important?

The project proposal is essential as it sets out the outlook for budget, timelines, resources needed, etc., to ensure everyone from upper to bottom management is clear on how the project will go. This acts as a source of truth to solve any doubts, worries, or disputes that may come up while working on a project. If either of the parties has any questions, they can refer to the proposal. As stakeholders already understand the scope of the project and expected timelines, the proposal builds credibility and sets expectations which will be helpful for future collaboration as well.

In short, project proposals enhance project planning, execution, professionalism, and understanding. This is why your enterprise project proposal needs to be strong and clear in communicating the scope and target of your service. Now, let’s know about the different types of project proposals. 

Types of Project Proposals

Different types of project proposals have different objectives, requirements, and purposes. Here are the six types of project proposals:

Formally Solicited Proposal

In this proposal, a client defines what they are looking for beforehand. This is a somewhat straightforward type of proposal as you are well aware of your client’s requirements. Clients may also offer an outline about what they want you to cover in the proposal making it easy to bid for the project.

Informally Solicited Proposal

Unlike Formally Solicited Proposal, this is one of the trickiest types of project proposals to write. In this case, the client is interested in your service but doesn’t explain exactly what they are aiming for. This requires you to analyze and research more about your client’s business to find out any existing issues and vulnerabilities and provide a proposal to address them in a better way.

Unsolicited Proposal

This is one of the most challenging proposals to write as no one has requested the proposal. An unsolicited proposal can be considered an outreach program where you write a proposal and send it to your prospective clients to address their existing issues. In this case, you need to do a lot of research, from identifying the clients and the drawbacks in their systems to writing the project proposal and convincing them to use your product or service to manage such problems.

Continuation Proposal

You send a continuation project proposal as an updated document when a proposal has already been approved. This is more like giving an update on the project and seeking approvals to further work on the project. This type of proposal is also sent in when a client asks for a significant change within the project that may change the previous expectations.

Renewal Proposal

A renewal project proposal is sent when you want to continue your work on any project after your contract has ended or is about to end. You need to make it very effective by explaining why the clients should continue with you and what value it will generate for them.

Supplemental Proposal

This type of proposal is written when you need additional resources for the project to complete, including personnel, time, funds, etc. However, you must provide strong reasoning and make sure the client understands the benefits of deploying these extra resources.


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How to Write a Project Proposal that Works?

Before you start writing your project proposal, there are a few things that you should know and be concerned about:

  • Target Audience: You should know the key decision-makers and their businesses as each stakeholder may have their objectives and perspectives.
  • Triple Constraint: It is very important to address and have complete knowledge about the project management triangle – time, scope, and cost – throughout every step of your project.
  • Using the 5 W’s:  WHAT, WHY, WHO, WHERE, WHEN – use them while you are explaining something within your project proposal.
  • Possible Drawbacks: There are many reasons why the project can fail to get approved, but one of the first and major ones is that the project proposal lacked precision and persuasion. The proposal should be documented and described clearly, aligned with the company’s goals, and presented effectively with the benefits.
  • Research and Data: It is crucial to collect proper research and data for successful and unsuccessful past projects. This will help you craft a clear and convincing project proposal. Research and data will help you understand the difficulties, the financial plan, delivery timelines, and required specifications. With this kind of information, you can ensure that your proposal has the best possible solution that the prospect needs.
  • Readability: Use simple and commonly used terms in sentences in an easy-to-follow format to make your proposal strong and clear.

Remember, every project is different, so is the project proposal. Therefore, you need to have clear and deep knowledge about your project and client. Performing primary research will help you write a detailed and client-specific document, but the information must be presented in a consumable and confident manner. Here is the outline of how to write a winning project proposal:

Step 1: Start with Introduction

Make your reader visualize the problem as you do it. Summarize the project in the introduction section with an excellent executive summary. Use data and statistics from your research to back up your claims, get the reader’s attention and convince them to keep reading. It should significantly detail out:

  • The problem that your project will address.
  • Why is it a problem, and why should it be solved – what are the ramifications of not solving the problem.

Step 2: Showcase the Planned Solution

Next, leap into how you will solve the problem – this is the essence of a project proposal. Write about how your solution will have a more significant impact as decision-makers and stakeholders are more interested in a solution that is easily configurable than a solution with limited use. You can make your case with some data-minded and researched-supported examples.

Step 3: Layout your Approach, Deliverables, and Rollout Plan

Your solution should be measurable, realistic, achievable, and time-oriented, as this will communicate whether and how your project will be successful. It should also contain the details of the risk involved, if any. Outline your project in greater detail by explaining your solution to the problem and how you will deliver it:

  • Your objectives and ideas for the project.
  • What will you deliver and the expected timelines?

Describe how you will achieve the desired result – write about the approach and strategies you will use and how they will be relevant for the project. It is also essential to write a comprehensive and complete timeline for the project – you can try breaking down the project into phases and a timeline along the way. The stakeholders should get an idea of when they can expect to see the project in action, including deadlines.

Step 4: Cover the budget

Detailing the cost of the project is extremely important. The price should consist of the pre-and post-implementation costs. Remember not to do guesswork in this step. The stakeholders and decision-makers should have as accurate knowledge as possible of the cost they need to spend and how it will be spent. Therefore, provide as much detail as possible – including all overhead and indirect costs. A comprehensive financial analysis will show stakeholders that you will not waste their money.

Step 5: Clearly Summarize 

Complete your project proposal by adding a conclusion and summarizing the points you have already emphasized. Include the critical information that will help your proposal to stand out from the rest and receive approval. Structure your proposal like a book – it should be like telling a story. All the sections and elements should be tied together and ensure all the necessary points are addressed.

Step 6: Get a Second Pair of Eyes

Ask for feedback to ensure that the project proposal is well written and is appealing. Make sure that the writing used throughout the proposal suits the audience. Proofread your document for grammar and spelling mistakes.  

As decision-makers don’t give much time to every proposal, ensure that you highlight the pain points concisely in a simple, short, and engaging manner that resonates precisely with their needs. You need to justify why your solution is most suitable over other similar options available in the market. You can also turn around your game using a smart, professional services automation (PSA) system.  

A self-driving PSA, like Polaris PSA, will bring together all tools in one place to work seamlessly together. Polaris is advancing the game of project management, time tracking, billing, budgeting, resource planning, etc., to precisely estimate how much a project will cost to complete. 

Write a Proposal with Accurate Bids and Estimates

Polaris PSA helps managers make bids and estimates that will end up profitable for the company, with benefits that include:

  • Real-time Insights: For making a good project proposal you need to have real-time visibility into all the metrics. As with a real-time view of the business, you will command your business and can make improvements even before the problem arises. Polaris’ MissionControl feature does exactly the same; it helps you gain access to all the data in real-time that you require to do your work. It will also keep your resourcing, financials, and project information in one place. You can also leverage historical data to immediately alter and adjust to any changes and make decisions on the go.

In addition, you can also define your framework and approach for managing any projects, resources, and financials with Polaris PSA. You will also be able to quickly implement standard processes, formats, data, and workflow throughout your entire organization. The software is easy to configure as per everyone’s needs.

  • Enhanced Revenue and Pricing: When it comes to projects, the most important aspect is budget involved. You will be considered about how much and how will be the revenue generated.  

With Polaris’ SmartBudget, you will be able to enhance revenue and craft rate cards for the most rewarding bidding scenarios. SmartBudget will automatically consolidate all project-related costs to evaluate and estimate the optimal amount to provide profitability.

  • Management of Client, Projects, and Resources: In a project proposal, you need to include the data that is accurate, transparent, and managed well.  With Polaris’ SmartBeats feature, you will automatically get updated information on your projects, resources, and business. Desktop and mobile apps will make data entry faster and even more convenient. You will get a combined view of all client-specific projects and activities with which you can easily manage customers, vendors, fund sources, service partners, and internal departments in one place.

You can also provide transparency to clients into the status and progress of tasks, projects, and costs. With SmartMatch, you will know exactly what your resources are doing and their skills so that you can do correct allocation without doing endless back-and-forth. This will also help you write a proposal as you will have resource information at your disposal. It will also provide intelligent recommendations and enable workflows collaboration between resource and project managers.

  • Track Accurate Time and Expense: You can bid accurately when you will have the correct historical data related to time and expense. It is also very essential to have accurate project costs and billing information for revenue identification.

Polaris PSA makes sure that all time and expense details are captured correctly. It makes timesheet submission and approval processes error-free. It also helps accurately account for every piece of work done and invoice correctly. You will be able to model your contract terms into rates and bill plans and control cash flow with a transparent picture of WIP, billed, available-to-bill, and outstanding cost. 

You can share and sync project, resource, time, costs, and billing information with your ecosystem. Polaris PSA supports plug-and-play integration with leading CRM, ERP, Project Management, Collaboration, Accounting, Incident Management, and other software.

Polaris PSA is a wide-ranging professional services automation solution that has met unique business needs – from biding, project management, resourcing to complete billing and revenue workflow.

You need a professional when it comes to writing. Any document will not be approved if it is not well written, accurate, and has typos. And as a business leader, Polaris PSA has helped several businesses like yours to manage projects, capture all billable information and workflows, estimate applicable rates, and invoice and bid for distributed client projects accurately. To know more about a PSA – take a deep dive into the world’s first self-driving PSA. Download the datasheet to learn more.



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Surbhi Bharati


Surbhi Bharati

Surbhi has a passion for advanced technologies and their impact on the modern world. As a Content Marketing Manager at Replicon, she decodes digital transformation intricacies into engaging narratives, empowering business leaders, decision-makers, and tech enthusiasts to embrace change and stay ahead in the evolving digital landscape. In addition to this, she likes to embark on adventures to uncharted territories and bring her unique perspective to life through the strokes of her artistic creations.


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