Plutio - How to write a perfect work proposal?

How to write a perfect work proposal?

July 16, 2021

It all starts with that amazing idea for the project that’s been lurking in your head for a quite while now. You know you are onto something. Something truly innovative, something that you are sure would be worth funding. A revolutionary concept that will be a win-win situation for both you and your potential client.

But here comes the tricky part - what is the best way to convince your potential clients that this revolutionary concept will be a game-changer in your industry? Is there a way to convert that lucrative idea into something tangible, that is understandable to everyone and that showcases its full potential? This is especially important if you are an aspiring solopreneur or a freelancer because new ideas arise on the market in the blink of an eye. Some of them disappear even faster.

You need to prove yourself consistently to elevate your status on the freelance market because every day we are witnessing new and amazing ideas transforming our everyday life. 

Well, the secret lies in crafting a great work proposal. Yet not all work proposals are created equally. There are bad ones, good ones… but are you ready to make a winning business proposal? It is about getting a green or red light for your project or idea so let’s help you make it a success.

What is a work proposal and why work proposals matter?

Before you think that writing a proposal won’t make any difference, let us convince you otherwise. 

Work proposal definition is very broad - it is a document created to secure the job or project, it is also a sales pitch on paper. Also, it represents a sort of a written job interview. 

Work proposals are about creating an outline of your project, a roadmap to success, and explaining how your client can benefit from your unique solution. 

Try putting yourself in the client’s perspective for a brief moment. You need to earn their trust and assure them that you are the right expert for them, one that will bring them the value they are looking for. 

Work proposals are there to show the scope of the project, deliverables, and precise budgeting for every stage of your project. It is your instrument for negotiation and setting the stakes and tone of your project.

A great business proposal is there to set you apart from the others.  So, learning to write a great proposal is crucial in the business world today.

Which types of business proposals are out there?

There are two types of work proposals - solicited and unsolicited proposals.

Solicited work proposals are written when a company or individual is asked to submit their proposal to their potential client. Solicited work proposals are often easier to write because you are given all the important details. 

Unsolicited work proposals, on the other hand, are when you are trying to get the clients without getting the request or proposal. You don’t have clear guidelines, but what sets it apart is that you have the opportunity to be more creative. Work proposal needs to have a balanced dose of information and persuasion. With an unsolicited work proposal - you need to get extra persuasive.

What does a business proposal need to have covered?

The work proposal format that can make things work needs to have a few important elements. You need to combine project management skills with copyright skills but the format that works the best goes like this:

  • Table of contents - it is important to give your work proposal a great structure, especially if you are writing a longer proposal.
  • Executive summary of your project - this summarizes all important things about your project. It needs to describe the problem, how you approached it, and the solution as simple as possible.
  • Background and previous projects - you want to show gradual progress. Compare your previous works and show your positive results. It will inspire trust among your potential investors. 
  • Project roadmap, milestones, and needed tools and resources
  • Your proposed solution, how you plan to tackle this problem.
  • Determining the authority - this stage is there to explain who will be in charge of the decision-making and who are the major stakeholders. 
  • Additional details - if you want to include more details about different team members included, this is the right moment.

Some things you also need to consider before you present your proposal. 

The first step is identifying your target audience and your decision-makers. You need to know your potential buyers. What is your aim? If you are not sure, maybe your work proposal won’t be clear enough. Or even more complex - maybe you will need to work on a few versions of your proposals. 

Make sure what your audience expects to hear and how much knowledge they possess about the project. You need to be on the same page and to speak the same language. 

Also, try your best to be precise about your project and your expectations. If your proposal is not defined precisely enough - it is most likely to be rejected. Try finding the right data to back up your claims. Don’t try copy-pasting successful work proposals. You will need to do a ton of research and back it up with reliable data and a piece of real evidence that your project will be a success. 

Explaining the difference between a work proposal and a business plan

Although these two sound very similar, they are pretty much different types of documents. 

A business plan is about your company, your strategy, and your goals. It is about achieving your own business goals.

A business proposal is about a sales pitch, about selling your idea to other companies. To put it simply, a business plan is for your internal growth and the business proposal is about your external growth. 

How to write an effective work proposal in six easy steps

After we’ve defined the format and elements of work proposals, it is time to write your own.

Step one: Make sure that you have the right information 

Do your research and make sure that you own the right information and data to back you up. This initial stage is about defining the problem you want to solve. Make sure that your audience can understand the importance of finding a solution to that problem. 

Make sure that you are showing the facts. Avoid exaggerations and stick to facts, not opinions, and back it up with data.

Step two: Break down every stage of your project

Be objective about this part, write exactly how much time and resources will this project take. Enter as many details as possible. Make sure to define the scope of this project, stages, and precise budgeting for each milestone. 

Step three: Present your ideas

Presenting your ideas is one of the most important parts of this process. How will your solution solve this problem? Why is your solution better compared to solutions from your fellow competitors? Also, in this stage, it is important to be open-minded and to be ready for objections and other people’s opinions. Don’t feel discouraged, know your facts - you got this.

Step four: Deliverables and determining if your project is a success

What and when do you want to deliver? What will determine that the project is a success? You need to set these expectations after you present your ideas. What do you expect at the end of each stage? 

Step five: Summarize

Tie everything together and make a detailed summary of all steps that will get you there, all facts and strategies. Don’t forget to highlight just how important finding the right solution is. Show delivery date to create a sense of urgency, that the perfect solution is almost there, just within your grasp.

Step six: Don’t forget to do a proofreading

If you want to leave a lasting impression, make sure that you did your research about your target audience. The language and tone should be suitable for your audience. Leaving typos will leave the impression that you are maybe not professional enough. Always double-check everything.


We covered the basics of writing a winning work proposal. You need to gather all your strengths, the right information, and accurate facts. You need to be persuasive enough and to remain professional and open to all potential questions. Of course, you need to be detailed in order to earn the trust of your audience.

With Plutio you are always on the winning team. Let’s help you make a proposal that your clients will find difficult to refuse. An eye-catching proposal that has both style and substance. Intuitive interface that will help you find the right elements. Make the approval process faster and more efficient, one sound investment can help you open many doors of various opportunities. Feel free to browse through our work proposal templates!

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