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Business Proposal vs Business Plan: What's the Difference?

One of the most searched queries on Google is "business proposal vs business plan", and we are here to break the confusion.

August 14, 2022

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Decktopus Content Team
Business Proposal vs Business Plan by Decktopus content team

What's Inside?

Business Proposal vs Business Plan: Which One Do You Need?

You are starting a new business, and you aren't sure what you need to do. You heard that you needed a business proposal and a business plan, but you weren't sure what's the difference between them.

You did some research and couldn't find what you are looking for... You decided to create both of them, but you need weeks to write and refine them.

business proposal vs business plan 2

Don't worry, we are here to remove this confusing process. Let's see what's the difference between them. You may, and probably do need both of them. But which one should be your priority?

The Difference Between a Business Plan and a Business Proposal

When you're starting a business, one of the most important things you'll need to do is create a business plan. This document will outline your company's goals and strategies for achieving them over the next five years.

business proposal vs business plan 3

A business proposal, on the other hand, is a sales document that you put together to pitch potential projects to clients. It's not the same as a business plan, and it usually includes cost quotes for potential projects.

The main difference between a business proposal and a business plan is that, while a business plan is informative, a business proposal is intended to showcase operations, goals, and potential.

Executive Summary

The executive summary of a business plan will include information about the company leadership structure or the introduction of management. Generally, business plans include an executive summary part while business plans don't.

We have seen some samples that use executive summaries but since the main goal is to close a deal. We suggest keeping them short and clean.

The business proposal format depends on whether the business is solicited or unsolicited. Details of products and services offered, the scope of work and responses to specific questions in an RFP are included in a business proposal.

business proposal vs business plan 4

A business plan documents the vision of a business and how it will be achieved. A business proposal offers comprehensive information for potential investors, suppliers, accountants, etc.

A proposal shows the external player what the company is all about and how it intends to carry out its project. Keep these differences in mind when you're putting together your next business presentation--you'll need to tailor your content accordingly!

What Are Business Plans?

A business plan is a document that outlines the business goals, strategies, and tactics a company will use to achieve those goals. The business plan also includes an overview of the company, its management team, the target market, and the products and services the company plans to offer.

It usually includes information about the company's products and services, target market, marketing plans, financial forecasts, and management team bios.

Here's a sample template to use while creating a detailed business plan.

What Is The Purpose of a Business Plan?

A business plan is a key document for any business. It lays out the goals and strategy of the business and helps to ensure that everyone involved in the business is on the same page. It can also be used as a tool to help secure funding from investors or banks.

A business plan is a document that outlines the strategy and goals of a company. It can be used as a planning tool, to track progress, or as a basis for making decisions. A well-written business plan provides a roadmap for the business, and it can help attract investors or partners.

There are many reasons to create a business plan. Some of the most common reasons include:

  1. To track progress - A business plan can help you track your progress and ensure that you are on track to achieve your goals.
  2. To make decisions - A business plan can provide guidance when making decisions about the future of your company.
  3. As a planning tool - A business plan can help you identify potential problems and solutions, and it can be used to forecast future growth.
  4. To attract investors or partners - A well-written business plan can help you attract investors or partners who share your vision for the company.

What is a business proposal?

A business proposal is a written document that offers a solution to a problem or a way to achieve a goal. It is often used to sell products or services to a potential customer. A business proposal must be well-written, clear, and concise in order to convince the reader to take the desired action.

business proposal vs business plan 5

A business proposal is a formal response sent to an RFP (request for proposals). It is a way for the seller to convince the buyer that their proposed solution is the right one in order to win business. Business proposals are meant to persuade a prospective client.

A business proposal typically consists of four main points: what are the challenges, how your solution solves the problems, why they should choose you over others, and the best pricing options available. The price is typically stated in the document. If a business is requesting proposals, they should be sent in their format. An RFP response should include specific details about the scope of work and the cost estimate.

Here's a sample template to use while creating a detailed business proposal.

Why do you need a business proposal?

A business proposal is a key part of the business development process. It is a document that outlines the business goals, strategies, and tactics that will be used to achieve those goals. A proposal is used to convince potential clients or partners that your business is the best option for them.

It's typically used to pitch an idea to a potential client or customer. A well-crafted proposal can help you win new business and close deals.

business proposal vs business plan 6

Your company might be expanding into a new market and need to propose a new product or service. Or, you might be approached by another company with an opportunity you'd like to explore. Maybe you've identified a gap in the market and want to propose a new product or service to fill it.

How To Prepare For a Business Proposal?

Well, we do have a comprehensive guide to business proposal creation with templates and examples, but if you need a more brief explanation, keep reading!

When preparing for a business proposal, it is important to do your research and understand the client's needs. You should also have a clear understanding of your own company's capabilities and what you can offer the client. Additionally, it is important to be well-organized and to have a strong pitch.

business plan for project teams

You should have a clear understanding of your target audience and what will appeal to them. You also need to have a good grasp of the competition and what they are offering. In addition, you should be familiar with the terms and conditions of any potential contracts that may be involved.

Your proposal should be neatly formatted and easy to read. It should also be free of grammatical errors and typos. Be sure to proofread your work carefully before submitting it.

Make sure you provide complete contact information, as well as an outline of your proposed solution or service. If possible, include testimonials from past clients who have been satisfied with your work.

Remember that you are offering a valuable service that can help the reader achieve their goals. Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed, and you will be able to deliver a winning proposal every time

How To Write a Business Proposal?

When writing a business proposal, make sure to follow this brief outline:

- Introduce yourself and your company

- Outline the proposal's purpose

- Explain the problem that you're trying to solve

- Describe your solution

- Explain the benefits of your solution

- List your qualifications

- Request a meeting

It should include an overview of the product or service, information about the company proposing it, financial projections, and terms and conditions. A well-crafted proposal can help your company win new contracts and increase sales.

Here's another sample template you can use while creating a business proposal:

Business Proposal Template Checklist

Here's a story of our customer John who joined the Decktopus community 2 years ago.

John had been working in sales for years, but he had never worked in a company that sold products. When he was hired by a new startup, he was excited about starting making sales and increasing profits. However, he soon realized that there was no one in the company who knew how to sell. The founder of the company told him that he would need to create a presentation template to share with the other reps.

business plan for marketing consulting

John wasn't sure where to start. He read article after article, trying to gather information about what made a good business proposal. After weeks of research, he finally created a template that he felt confident in sharing with his fellow reps. He was excited to see how it would help them increase sales and profits.

This is the outline we gathered while our support team helped him along the way:

-Executive Summary

-Problem/Opportunity Statement


-Business Plan

-Marketing Plan

-Financial Plan

Types Of Business Proposals

An unsolicited proposal is one in which the company offers a product or service to a potential customer who has not solicited it. Here's an unsolicited proposal template.

unsolicited business proposal cover

A solicited proposal is one in which the company responds to a request for proposal (RFP) from a potential customer. Here's a solicited proposal template.

simple solicited business proposal

A proposal to bid is a document that a company submits to a potential customer in response to an RFP.

The purpose of the proposal to bid is to persuade the potential customer that the bidder's product or service is the best option among those being considered.

Here's a proposal to bid template.

business bid proposal example

Business Plan Structure

A business plan has three main sections: the executive summary, a description of the business model, and financial projections.

The first section is an introduction that should be no more than one or two pages long. It should include a brief overview of your company, its products and services, and how you plan to make money.

The second section, a description of the business model, provides details about your company's competitive landscape, industry trends, and how you plan to reach your target market.

The marketing model is an informative section that should include detailed information about the industry competition and build-out plan. This part of the document can be several pages long and will help investors understand your company's place in the market.

business proposal templates

While all three sections are important, remember that potential investors will likely focus on the financial projections most closely when deciding whether to invest in your company. The financial projections section is important because it shows potential investors how you expect your business to grow over time.

A well-crafted business plan can help convince potential investors to put their money into your company.

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100,000+ Ready-Made Designs, Docs & Templates to Start, Run and Grow your Business

Starting and running a business can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be alone. In fact, you're not alone--over 100,000 companies use our design templates, documents, and tools to start, run, and grow their businesses.

business proposal template

From creating a logo and branding your company to writing a business plan and pitching your idea to investors, we have everything you need to get started. And if you need more help along the way, our team of experts is here to support you every step of the way.

Simply select the template or document that's right for you, fill in the blanks, and hit print. It's that easy!

We understand that starting a business can be difficult--but with our help, it doesn't have to be alone. Over 100000+ companies use our design templates & tools every day to start & grow their businesses successfully. You can too!

Other Resources:

Business Plan and Proposal Software Solution

Business Proposal Templates

Business Plan Templates

Basic Business Proposal Writing Guide

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