What is a Sample Proposal?

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  • Written By: Amy Dyslex
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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A business proposal is a document that is submitted by individuals or organizations interested in providing a commodity or service in reply to a request for proposal (RFP). When a company decides to outsource some internal work, like setting up a local area network, it invites interested suppliers for a bid by releasing an RFP. The RFP may invite the interested suppliers to submit a draft proposal, also known as a sample proposal, describing in short the manner in which the supplier would complete the project or achieve the desired objectives. Typically, it includes an estimate of cost, personnel required, and the time frame needed for the completion of the project.

If a sample proposal submitted by a supplier grabs the interest of the buyer, then he would want to know more details regarding the completion of the project. This requires the submission of a detailed proposal. Generally, it is done after the buyer releases additional details about the project.

A sample proposal can also be defined as the exemplary draft, which explains the basics about proposal writing. Sample proposal templates are widely available over the Internet and can be viewed online or downloaded in MS Word or PDF format. As it is with other niches of writing, proposal writing is an independent discipline, requiring particular expertise and skill. Sample proposal templates are, therefore, available so that anyone new to the discipline can have the idea on how to correctly format a proposal.


Sample proposal templates also help experienced proposal writers when they are working in a relatively new niche. If a person has experience in drafting proposals for coffee shop businesses, for example, and then acquires a project for a boutique, then he or she can get the basic idea from a sample proposal. This sample can help the person to accurately handle the new area.

A sample proposal might be crafted in numerous ways, as often there is no standard style guide or proposal template serving as a benchmark. Generally, proposals vary in content, style, and size, depending on the nature of the business that it is dealing with. Each sample proposal is typically unique in its structure and content. In case of approval of a sample proposal, the detailed proposal normally follows the similar pattern.

A standard sample proposal typically consists of the four basic sections. It begins with the statement of the problem, a section that deals with the tasks and objectives that need to be achieved, along with their related importance. Next is the plan of activities, a section that breaks down all the tasks in a chronological order in a sample proposal. A cost analysis follows, which provides the budget estimates for each task. A time frame is also usually included, in which deadlines are provided for the completion of each task or a group of tasks.


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