How to Write a One-Page Proposal [with Template] (2023)

Proposals are an essential tool for winning new business. Writing a persuasive pitch summarizes the value of your offering, how you can resolve your client’s challenges, and reflects the relationship between your organizations. Proposals can range in size and format, but a form that is growing in popularity is the one-page proposal. This brief bid is useful when a client requires the entire solution at a glance. It can be used as an overview before proceeding to a more in-depth proposal, or it may be a stand-alone document that enables sign-off on new work.

Summarizing a proposal in one page is far more complicated than it sounds. This article will outline how to prepare for the one-pager, the critical sections to include, writing and formatting guidance, and a template to support your proposal development.

Don’t skimp on preparation

Many people confuse a short document with one that’s easy to write. However, it is difficult to include all the necessary information in just one page. Thoughtful preparation is required to ensure the proposal uses every word and square inch effectively.

Collecting and organizing ideas is the first step, and this process is made easier through the use of mind-mapping software. Mind-mapping allows a freeform collection of all the elements that should be considered in the proposal. Once the ideas are collected, they can be organized and prioritized. This process is valuable both when preparing it on your own or with a team. I recommend Mindmeister for its accessible interface and collaboration options. Mind-mapping will result in a clear outline of your proposal that will clarify the writing process.

The preparation process requires a keen understanding of your potential client. Review the various elements you’ve collected in your mindmap for their relevancy and interest to your client. For example, certain clients want a vision of their company after your work is complete. Others prefer to see only specific deliverables without any fluff. This audience analysis is a valuable filter to identify the information and sections that appeal to your customer.

Are you interested in improving your proposal writing skills? Check out our proposal writing course.

Structuring a one-page proposal

Each proposal must be unique to your client. The following elements are items that are typically included in a one-page proposal. However, this framework should be modified to include what is relevant to your audience.

(Video) One Page Proposal

Selling starts with the title

Your proposal title should be a persuasive summary of an already short document. If you’re writing a one-page proposal, your audience is likely extremely busy. Your reader’s attention is in-demand, and the proposal title’s job is to pique their interest about your offer.

The Why: Overview

The overview provides a summary of the proposal. This section should outline the objectives and strategy of the business deal, the products or services you will render, and how they will solve your client’s problems. A persuasive pitch identifies your value proposition and how your work will make your customer’s business more productive, efficient, or otherwise improved. This section should make it obvious to your client why they should say ‘yes!’

The What: Scope

Each proposal promises a new vision for your client. This vision should be compelling and engaging, but it must also be realistic. Outlining the scope sets a clear boundary of what the client can expect within the contract.

This section may also lay out the roles and responsibilities of your company and your clients. The proposal may be contingent on receiving access to data, platforms, or personnel to enable the project.

The How: Deliverables

What will your client receive in exchange for their agreement? Items may be tangible products or intangible services. Product deliverables are typically straightforward to outline. Service deliverables can be more challenging to define. Therefore, it is even more important to clearly and succinctly describe services to avoid any confusion on contract fulfillment. For example, in a social media proposal, the number of posts or level of engagement could define a deliverable. In a safety training proposal, the number of students trained or the production of a tailored training manual could be the metrics.

The When: Timeline

Clarity on timing is essential to meet client needs and to ensure your ability to deliver. The timeline can be framed relative to contract signing, set by specific dates, or in phases based on client approval. Any format can be acceptable, so long as it’s specified. If appropriate, this section may be integrated with the deliverables.

(Video) How to Write A One Pager with Templates and Examples.

The How Much: Financials

Financials are the heart of any proposal. Clients want to know exactly what this offer will cost. Budgets can be presented in a diversity of formats, so choose one appropriate for your client and industry.

Some writers see one-page proposals as an opportunity to simplify the budget as a lump-sum amount. However, customers can balk at a sizeable total because they do not know the value of all individual elements — balance brevity with transparency in preparing this critical section.

The Fine Print: Contract

This section should explain how to accept the proposal. It may indicate how to request a more in-depth proposal or include an area to sign with approval. In addition, it should include any key legal or taxation information.

One-page proposals often require assumptions to maintain conciseness. These assumptions could cover access, the current status of the client’s business, your subcontractor availability, or any other item. Identifying these assumptions in this section enables these items to be reviewed and accepted by your client.

The Who: Contact

One-page proposals are typically provided to customers familiar with your company and therefore do not need an extensive company introduction. This section should include your client’s contact person, contact information, and a brief company overview or website link.

In any proposal, the ‘About Us’ section should take a back-seat because the core of the proposal is about the client, not yourself. Company information is relevant but should be brief. For example, direct links to your corporate website that includes a strong portfolio and compelling testimonials does not use valuable real estate and is always available.

(Video) One Page Proposal

Writing a one-page proposal

Once your mind-mapping has produced a clear structure and outline, the writing process should be relatively straightforward. In a one-page proposal, there is no room for fluff. The content must be included in a way that is both convincing and concise.

Business writers often find it more challenging to write brief documents compared to more extensive reports. The constraints of one page require each phrase to be carefully thought through, and each sentence to be actively supporting the pitch. It is easy to write a convincing document if all the information you could possibly want to include is included. Brevity is an art and a powerful one.

If your text continues beyond one page, review each section for content that is duplicative or extraneous. Look for opportunities to combine similar concepts into a singular sentence with more powerful phrasing. A helpful editing technique is to leave the document for a few hours or a day, and then read it from your client’s perspective. This fresh angle can quickly identify passages that need revision or deletion.

Formatting is your friend

Formatting is vital for an aesthetically pleasing one-page proposal. These documents include a lot of information, and careful formatting allows the reader to absorb it quickly.

For an accessible one-pager, consider these formatting tips:

  1. Use whitespace to separate sections, avoid the page from feeling busy, and guide the reader’s eye through the document.
  2. Use two or three columns in some areas to present relevant information in parallel.
  3. Graphics, photos, or icons can support your proposal’s message while also breaking up blocks of text.
  4. Tables or charts can be used to summarize text and emphasize key points.
  5. Test that your proposal is truly on one page with a preview by printing or saving it as a PDF document.

One-page proposal template

The following template puts the structure and formatting together for a framework for a one-page proposal. Feel free to use and refine this template to build your bid and attract new business.

The Title: The Most Important Phrase

Objective

Summary of the proposal that will get a ‘yes!’ from your client. Make sure to include a clear, short statement of how you will uniquely solve the client's problems.

(Video) How to Write a Project Proposal with Template | TeamGantt


Scope

Defining what the proposal will cover.


Deliverables
Timeline Investment

Deliverable #1 Description Delivery Date #1 Budget Item #1

Deliverable #2 Description Delivery Date #2 Budget Item #2

Deliverable #3 Description Delivery Date #3 Budget Item #3


Contract

Guidance on how to accept the contract and any assumptions or stipulations the client should consider.

We’re Here for You

Sales representatives name and direct contact information

(Video) ✍ How to Write a One Page Business Plan Template & Example 📃 | Business Model Canvas (Ep202)

A one-liner about your company and a link to the corporate website.

FAQs

How to Write a One-Page Proposal [with Template]? ›

How to Write a One-Page Proposal
  1. Compile Information for Your Proposal. ...
  2. Write an Intriguing Title. ...
  3. State the Scope of the Proposal. ...
  4. Give an Overview of the Project. ...
  5. Create a Deliverables / Timeline / Estimated Pricing Table. ...
  6. Outline Your Terms & Conditions. ...
  7. Include a Clear Call-to-Action. ...
  8. Include Contact Information.

How do you write a proposal template? ›

How to write a proposal letter
  1. Introduce yourself and provide background information.
  2. State your purpose for the proposal.
  3. Define your goals and objectives.
  4. Highlight what sets you apart.
  5. Briefly discuss the budget and how funds will be used.
  6. Finish with a call to action and request a follow-up.

Is there a proposal template on Word? ›

The Word proposal template contains placeholder content to help guide you as you write, with pre-formatted tables for specific details. Using a service proposal template ensures that all the relevant details of a project are combined in a single document.

What is a proposal template? ›

This is proposal template is a checklist that should be used alongside the proposal document you are planning to submit. Use it to make sure that all elements have been considered, that the proposal contains everything it needs to, and that it meets all set requirements.

How do you begin a proposal? ›

Steps to writing your own project proposal
  1. Step 1: Define the problem.
  2. Step 2: Present your solution.
  3. Step 3: Define your deliverables and success criteria.
  4. Step 4: State your plan or approach.
  5. Step 5: Outline your project schedule and budget.
  6. Step 6: Tie it all together.
  7. Step 7: Edit/proofread your proposal.
May 18, 2022

How does project proposal look like? ›

A project proposal will often include a gantt chart outlining the resources, tasks and timeline. Project Deliverables This is where you list out all the deliverables you expect to see after the project is closed. For example, this could be products, information, or reports that you plan to deliver to a client.

What should a proposal include? ›

  • Key Elements of a Complete Proposal. ...
  • Cover. ...
  • Table of Contents. ...
  • Abstract (also called Project Summary) ...
  • Project Description (also called Narrative or Research Plan) ...
  • Budget Explanation (also called Budget Justification) ...
  • Vita (also called Resume or Biographical Sketch) ...
  • Other Support (also called Current and Pending Support)

How many pages should a proposal be? ›

How long should my research proposal be? It should be 2,000–3,500 words (4-7 pages) long.

How do you write a mini proposal? ›

Writing an Informal Proposal
  1. State your purpose. Do this clearly and concisely so that the reader knows immediately why you are writing.
  2. Give some background information. ...
  3. State a solution to the problem. ...
  4. Show costs. ...
  5. Conclusion.

What are the 5 steps of writing a business proposal? ›

Our 5 Step Process for the Proposed Business Plan:
  • Step 1- Discovery. We schedule local meetings or conference calls to help define how your business will operate and make money. ...
  • Step 2- Business Assessment. ...
  • Step 3- Market Research and Regulations. ...
  • Step 4- The Numbers and the Team. ...
  • Step 5- Completion of the Business Plan.

What are the 3 main types of proposals? ›

There are three distinct categories of business proposals:
  • Formally solicited.
  • Informally solicited.
  • Unsolicited.

How do you end a proposal? ›

Summarize Key Points of the Proposal

Summarize the key points of your proposal (which in itself is a summary of prior conversations, according to Industrial Marketer) in the conclusion. Focus on why action is needed and emphasize the benefits the action will have for the company.

How do you write a project proposal outline? ›

The 6 most common project proposal outline items
  1. The introduction. What it is: Also known as the summary, overview, or abstract (and because of how difficult it is to write, it also goes by a few other, not-so-polite pseudonyms). ...
  2. The problem. ...
  3. The solution. ...
  4. The money. ...
  5. The management. ...
  6. The conclusion.
Aug 10, 2021

What is project proposal and example? ›

A project proposal will often include a gantt chart outlining the resources, tasks, and timeline. Project Deliverables This is where you list out all the deliverables you expect to see after the project is closed. For example, this could be products, information, or reports that you plan to deliver to a client.

What is the most important part of a proposal? ›

The abstract is the most important component of the proposal.

How long is a good proposal? ›

Proposals 10 to 20 pages in length are common, but some donors prefer to receive short concept notes, while others like USAID and the European Commission can request lengthy proposals that could run 50+ pages.

How do you write a one page research proposal? ›

Here's a quick look at a one-page proposal outline:
  1. Title. As with any document, a strong title is a must-have. ...
  2. Executive summary and description. ...
  3. Deliverables. ...
  4. Timeline. ...
  5. Pricing. ...
  6. Additional terms. ...
  7. Call to action. ...
  8. Contact information and signature.
Feb 18, 2022

How long is a proposal letter? ›

Letter Proposal

A letter of three to four pages usually is sufficient. The letter should describe your project, explain your organization, and include the actual monetary request or set out your sponsorship proposal.

What is a business proposal template? ›

A business proposal is a document that gives a roadmap that outlines about the specific project, product, or service. It helps pitch the business to a potential client or investor.

How a business proposal should look like? ›

This section includes basic information like your company's name and contact information, your company logo, your client's name, and contact information, the date, and a title. A strong title page makes the project proposal look neat, organized, and well put together.

What are the 8 steps to writing a proposal? ›

How to Write a Proposal in 8 Steps
  1. Step 1: Hold a Brainstorm Session. ...
  2. Step 2: Research. ...
  3. Step 3: Hook the Reader. ...
  4. Step 4: Present the Problem. ...
  5. Step 5: State Your Solution. ...
  6. Step 6: Outline the Project. ...
  7. Step 7: Bring It All Together. ...
  8. Step 8: Proofread Your Proposal.
Feb 1, 2018

What a proposal should include? ›

  • Key Elements of a Complete Proposal. ...
  • Cover. ...
  • Table of Contents. ...
  • Abstract (also called Project Summary) ...
  • Project Description (also called Narrative or Research Plan) ...
  • Budget Explanation (also called Budget Justification) ...
  • Vita (also called Resume or Biographical Sketch) ...
  • Other Support (also called Current and Pending Support)

Videos

1. How to Write a One Page Business Plan in 2021 + FREE TEMPLATE
(Natalie Sisson)
2. Proposal Template
(Hard Locker)
3. How to Write a Proposal in 10 Easy Steps
(Visme)
4. Write Sales Funnel Proposal FAST - How to Create a High-Ticket Proposal Under 20 minutes
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5. How to Create Sales Proposal in MS Word | Sales Proposal Example
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6. The Power of a One-Page Business Proposal
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