Your business proposal doesn't simply need to sell your idea -- it also needs to sell you as the right person to succeed with it. That's why you'll want to present your proposal in the best possible light with an well-written cover letter. Much like a personal introduction, a good cover letter introduces your business proposal by highlighting its strengths and creating interest in its recipient.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Research the company and the individual you're submitting your proposal to. Get to know the problems that they face, the industry challenges and opportunities and anything that makes them stand out from their competitors. Company websites and newsletters are among the best sources of information, but don't neglect the sales materials the company prints or simply asking questions.
Create a rough draft of your letter, starting with the recipient's name and title on the first line, the name of their company (if any) on the second and their address printed below that. Skip one line and add the day's date. Then skip two lines and add a greeting: "Dear Mr. Jones" is always appropriate, though omitting "Dear" is also permissible.
Define the problem that you intend to solve for your recipient in the first paragraph of your cover letter. Demonstrate that you understand exactly what the problem is and that you've considered every aspect of the problem that may influence your solution for them. Show your recipient that you understand his business well enough to anticipate his needs and to intelligently meet them.
Describe your solution to the recipient's problem in the second paragraph of your letter. Point out how your solution will serve the recipient's needs in a way that saves him time, trouble or money. Provide enough details to demonstrate that you've considered every contingency that your solution might face, and focus on persuading the recipient that you have an informed, efficient solution to the problem you're addressing.
Answer the question, "Why you?" in the third paragraph of your letter. Educational credentials, past experience in the industry or past business experience are all powerful persuaders. If you can include testimonials to your past success in implementing your solutions, that may be the most persuasive evidence of all.
Tell the reader exactly what you'd like him to do in the final paragraph of the cover letter. Whether it's meeting with you again or calling you to discuss the proposal further, spell out exactly what next step you're asking your reader to take and when. Close your letter with a personal valediction such as "Sincerely" or "Yours truly" and sign your name to the bottom of the letter.
Review your letter, placing yourself in your recipient's shoes and asking, "Is this persuasive?" Rewrite any portions you think can be improved. Proofread the entire letter for grammatical or spelling errors. Finally, type your letter onto your personal or business letterhead and attach it to your business proposal.
Tips and warnings
- Don't try to summarise the entire proposal in the cover letter. Instead, focus on simply creating interest in the reader for the proposal.
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