Business Proposals Format, Style and Presentation Tips – Part 1

What’s the best way to format your Business Proposal? Should you use a Style Guide? I’ve been writing and reviewing Business Proposals for over fifteen years and, while there are exceptions, the following guidelines will help you improve the look and feel of your next Business Proposal.

Business Proposals Format, Style and Presentation Tips

Business Proposals Formatting Guidelines

Your Business Proposals should ‘look’ familiar to the reader. Don’t choose strange fonts, designs or paper that distracts the reader from the bid.

  • A familiar proposal is a friendly proposal.
  • Look at the materials issued by the sponsor.
  • Note their use of fonts, style, layout, white space, and headers.

Consider structuring your proposals to match their publication preferences; if appropriate, use the same type size, style, layout, and headers as they do in their publications.

Business Proposals Content Guidelines

You can improve the impression of your proposal by following these content guidelines.

Before Starting

  • Read the Request For Proposal before beginning any work – twice!
  • Get clarification on any points that are unclear
  • Submit questions back to Request For Proposal issuer.
  • Print the RFP out for review
  • Print your Proposal on A4 Paper
  • Print one copy in Color and Double Sided. Print the other support documents in black and white.
  • Check for smudging, paper-jams, blank pages, and color resolution issues.
  • Check that the page numbers are in the correct sequence.

Business Proposals Templates

Start every project with a clean template. Don’t modify previous Business Proposals or other business documents. Be very careful when you cut and Paste as references to previous tenders and other documents can creep through without being noticed.

Use the Reader’s Language

Write the document in the language of the client. Check that UK or US English is used in all Microsoft Office documents, including Microsoft Visio and other image files.

Avoid Trendy Fonts

Make sure you use the same font families across the document.

One suggestion is to choose Serif or San Serif and then stick with these across the Proposal.

For sure, if you chop and change, it will distract the reader and give the impression that you didn’t spend time formatting the final draft.

On Tuesday, we will look at other ways to make your proposal document sparkle!

Any ideas, please let me know.

About the Author: Ivan Walsh provides business proposal writing tips, tutorials, and templates on the Proposal Writing Course every week. Get his free proposal writing newsletter here.