Since the advent of emails and texts, the world has moved on from letters. They are now a thing of the past, something which you might just hear about. But don’t be mistaken. There are some forms that are still very common and used for business nonetheless. Yes, you guessed correctly: business letters, or more commonly, proposal letters.
What Are These Things?
They are letters that are used as a form of communication between two companies or between the organization and its employees and customers. They can be of many kinds, but mainly people use them when they have a business proposal, or to lodge a complaint to lodge, although it’s usually the previous. Why? Because proposals pave the way for the future projects of a company.
So, making an impression on your proposal is crucial. And what would be a better impression than a handwritten note? The fact that someone took out their time and put their thoughts on pen and paper, instead of just sending an email, is enough to show the dedication and sincerity of the person towards the project. But don’t be mistaken. That is not all that is needed. Writing a business letter is no mean feat.
When you write one, you are making a proposal related to the business, so it is crucial that all the rules are followed, to the ‘r’. If written properly, it could help in establishing the reputation of your business.
So, in this article, we talk about all the things that need to be kept in mind while penning one down. For this article, by a business letter, we mean a proposal letter, because people find it one of the most intimidating documents that one needs to deal with. Read on further, if you want to know the tips and tricks to write a proposal letter that is effective.
What is the Impact of Writing A Proposal Letter?
The key to being good at this is clarity and persuasion. It should be able to communicate important information to the receiver, including stuff like why the business proposal is so crucial, and how your organization is the best for carrying out this proposal. Keep your statements crisp and to the point, and avoid meandering with words. Clearly state the reason, and start the letter. Don’t try to promise things that you would not be able to keep.
Remember, that it is a written record of your promises, and your failure to keep your word would not reflect well on your business and might affect your career development as well. A proposal letter from a business company is like a cover letter from a job seeker.
While cover letters are the introduction to your resume, proposal letters are an introduction to your business proposal (just an introduction, you are supposed to come up with a proposal separately, in detail). Just like a good cover letter might land you your dream job, a good proposal letter might get other businesses to notice you, and take your proposals seriously.
Formatting Guidelines To Follow When You Write a Business Letter
Since it is strictly related to business matters, it is essential that you maintain a professional approach when presenting your proposals to the readers. This is the reason business writing is so different from others. These are some of the guidelines that need to be followed:
- Paper Size: Always use A4 paper or legal paper. A4 paper comes with a dimension of 8.27″x11.69″, while a legal paper comes with a dimension of 8.5″x14″. If you think it is gonna be particularly lengthy, it is better to go for the legal size paper.
- Font: The font style and font size play a highly essential part. If the reader is unable to read it because the font is too fancy, or too small, it would be discarded, without a second thought. So, choose your font carefully. The most commonly preferred fonts for such letters are simple, basic font styles which include the likes of Arial, Bookman, Calibri, Constantia, Didot, Garamond, Georgia, Gill Sans, Helvetica, Tahoma, Times New Roman, Trebuchet, and Verdana. The preferred size is between 10 to 12. If you think it is going to be particularly lengthy, go for the smaller size.
- Layout: Usually, letters for proposals are written with a block layout, meaning everything is justified to the left. If you are using letterhead, then you can use the modified block, meaning everything, except the date and the closing are justified to the left. They appear in the center of the paper.
- Margins: Margins help your text to look more organized. For formal write-ups like this, leave 1-inch margins on all sides of the paper.
- Color: Don’t use any other color, except the black text on white.
Structure your proposal to be at its formal best, by using a formal format and content.
What Should The Format Be?
Now, let us take a look at the template that needs to be followed when composing a project proposal. Business Letter Format is very similar to any other formal letter layout. Below, we discuss it in detail:
1. Sender’s Address
Start off by mentioning the official address of your organization. Preferably, it should be written in 3 steps: the organization name in the first one, the building number and street name in the second, and the city name, state name, and Pincode in the last.
2. Contact Information
Below the address, mention details like phone numbers or email ID, using which the reader can get in touch with you. This step is optional, so it depends on you whether you want to incorporate this part or not. Generally, businesses in close contact don’t need to mention such info. If you are using letterhead for the proposal, then you can avoid this step.
It is crucial to mention this detail so that you have a written record. If you have taken several days to finish the letter, mention the day on which you finished it. It should be written in full, like, “1 January, 20xx” or “January 1, 20xx”.
4. Recipient’s Details
Next, mention the details of the person (name, title, and address) whom you expect to reply to the letter. It is best to mention the name of the person to whom you are referring your letter; it quickens the replying process.
This is because the letter would directly go to the recipient, instead of lying around in the department, waiting for someone to receive and reply to it. The information should be written across 5 steps. The first one should have the name of the recipient, the second one should have the title of the person, and the last three lines should have the address of the organization; the same type of format in which the sender’s address is written.
Choose a salutation for your recipient. It is best to use ‘dear’ along with the name of the person you are addressing. For example, Dear Human Resources Manager. If you don’t know whom you should be addressing, it is best to use ‘To whom it may concern. If you are talking to someone whom you are not very familiar with, the best salutation to use is ‘dear’.
This is the most essential part of the letter, and it is essential that you frame it well. It should consist of a few paragraphs, and the tone should be crisp and clear. Use short, to-the-point sentences, instead of using grand words and flowery language.
- Firstly, mention the reason behind the letter. If it is a proposal, state your proposal in a line. If the letter is in reference to some previous letter, refer to the letter, or the matter. Use personal pronouns throughout the text, to give a more warm vibe.
- Next, state the objective for your company to come up with the proposal. Talk about the company reviews of the proposal as well.
- Next, state why you think the proposal is a good idea. If there are multiple reasons, use bullet points to list the reasons in order.
- Next, talk about what sets your proposal apart from others. If there are examples and information that you can use to support your claim, talk about them in this paragraph.
- This is the closing paragraph, where you request your company and your proposal to be taken into consideration. Incorporate a call for action in this paragraph.
7. Closing Salutation
This indicates that your letter is closing. You can include salutations like, ‘Yours truly, ‘Sincerely’, ‘Respectfully’, Faithfully or Best regards.
8. Sender’s information
Mention your name and your job title.
Leave a few steps, and sign the letter if you are sending a hard copy.
If you have attached documents with your letter, include them here, at the end. Take care that you mention each document, and don’t miss out on anything. For example, you might have created a sample of a pamphlet or a poster, which you might want to showcase. So mention that here, and keep the poster with the letter. Missing out on something in here might paint you as a careless or absent-minded person, and that is definitely not the image you want to create.
Incorporate all of this to come up with a sample of your proposal on your own. If you are still having trouble applying all this information to actually writing business letters, here is an example to help you out. Keep in mind that the format of the letter-body is not rigid. It varies from person to person.
Here is a sample to set you going in the right direction:
Applied Accounting Company
Building No. 12, Central Avenue,
New York 10xxx.
Mob No.: 1xxx-xxxxxxx
email: [email protected]
December 7, 2021
Title Fitness, Inc.
17712 116th Way
New York, 10xxx
Dear Ms. Morgenthau
Thank you for taking out time from your busy schedule to talk to me last week. I know that you have been worried about your business office accounting, and it has been a high-priority problem for you. I am therefore pleased to come up with a proposal that might prove to be a cost-effective solution. I truly believe it will minimize your in-house burden.
As I explained to you when we met last, we are specialists in Accounting and Payroll services and have more than 30 years of experience in this field. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with a highly professional service. Our results come with guaranteed accuracy and have the highest level of confidentiality. You would not need to worry about your accounting issues if you leave it to us.
I have attached a cost summary for the proposal that is based upon your current needs and can be adjusted as we customize your services. Our topmost priority is your satisfaction, so feel free to communicate your needs to us.
I look forward to discussing this proposal with you in more detail in the near future. Please contact me directly anytime you have additional questions or requests. I would be happy to answer your queries and help you out.
Applied Accounting Services.
Here are a few more proposal examples to help you to understand all this better.
Some General Tips
It is always better to create a sample, and then fair it out. This way you can make all corrections in the draft, and then work on the final draft in one go. All you need to do is proofread your draft multiple times, and then ask someone else to do it for you as well. This is to ensure that all your mistakes get caught. Sometimes you might overlook some minor mistakes because your mind has got used to reading the same letter. But giving it to someone else ensures that even these minor mistakes are caught. Keep practicing, because your experience would also help you to improve your write-ups.
Coming up with a project proposal is stressful enough, so there is no need to panic about this type of letter too. These letters are way more impactful for a client than a mere email. Just keep in mind to incorporate all the guidelines that have been mentioned above, and you would be able to come up with a letter for a proposal that impresses the reader. The most basic thing is that you need to be polite and formal and get your message through. Remember to keep it short, because you are going to attach your proposal with it anyways. Proposals should include proper research and ideas so as to convince the reader that you are fully invested in the task at hand.
Do let us know how helpful this article was for you.