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How Solicited Business Proposals Differ from Unsolicited Ones

Any business proposal aims to propose an idea for a product or service and effectively spread it among potential customers. In all situations, business proposal writing is aimed at responding to or solving a particular problem. In most organizations, they represent a critical ingredient of successful development and marketing.

A business plan usually begins with a restatement of the company's goals, with a detailed description of the proposed solution and how it aligns with them. However, an external specialist may also need to send a business plan or proposal to the company or the client as part of an ongoing grant competition.

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In other words, companies or customers may be looking for freelance specialists to develop some products and services, and a thoroughly developed business proposal can become a new stage in developing productive relationships with specialists. Here, a difference should be made between solicited and unsolicited business proposals.

Business Proposals – Solicited and Unsolicited Ones

Solicited business proposals are written in response to customers' issues or requests. For example, an organization may publish a written proposal for a product or service, and freelance specialists will send their proposals to this organization.

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A solicited business proposal contains a detailed description of the product, service, or solution the client needs to solve his or her problems. The customer may also specify how the proposal should be formatted or the information it must contain.

In contrast, unsolicited business proposals are forwarded to those who have never asked for any. The purpose of unsolicited business proposals is to advertise some products and services and attract customers' attention to the benefits and potential usefulness of the proposed solution. Unsolicited business proposals contain relevant information about a product or service and how it can satisfy customers' needs.

Therefore, this kind of business proposal will always contain a thorough description of the problem so that the customer can see it and realize it needs a thorough solution. Unsolicited business proposals are particularly popular regarding new products and services. They motivate customers to make the first move and establish new quality relationships with product and service manufacturers.

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Solicited Business Proposals – How It Works

The customer is facing some problems, and a proposal has been developed to address and solve this problem. Solicited business proposals come in three different forms:

solicited business proposals

  • Invitation for Bid (IFB)

An invitation for a bid is written as part of a competition for a contract or the provision of services. Customers have explicit specifications for their desired products and services in this situation. They know how much effort and money it will take to create a product or service they need.

Because such products and services are usually identical, the only difference is in how much money it will take to produce and finalize them. As a result, businesses compete to propose the most cost-effective solution. The task is to prove that a business or a freelance specialist can do the job on time and within the budget constraints set by the client. 

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  • Request for Proposal (RFP)

This is the second type of solicited business proposal when customers have a problem but do not know how to solve it. As a result, they expect businesses and freelance specialists to propose their ideas or solutions. Proposal requests should also include a cost component so clients can choose the most cost-effective solution. However, there are no specific requirements for information to be included in these proposals or the type of information organizations must provide to win the bid.

  • Request for Quote (RFQ)

Request for the quote is the third type of solicited business proposal designed to evaluate and analyze the average market rates for products and services.

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How to Write a Great Solicited Business Proposal

When it comes to solicited business proposals, three areas deserve particular attention. First, it is a problem statement where you describe what the customer needs, what problem he or she is facing, and how this problem affects his or her organizational and business capability. Second, it proposes a promising solution that will most affordably eradicate the problem. A description of the solution should be thorough and detailed. Third, it is a thorough analysis of the organizational capabilities and resources. Any organization that writes a solicited business proposal must prove that it has the expertise and resources to do the job.

Unsolicited Business Proposals Can Also Be Effective

An unsolicited business proposal aims to outline the advantages of a new product and service to the customer. This task is particularly challenging, given that the customer did not ask for any proposal. Thus, the purpose of an unsolicited business proposal is twofold: to persuade the client that he or she has a problem and, second, to propose a solution to solve this problem.

A distinctive feature of an unsolicited business proposal is that it does not take part in any competition. It is simply an instrument for organizations to improve their image and make their products and services more visible to potential customers.

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For example, government organizations and agencies may ask businesses to forward their proposals for technological innovations to help reduce database management costs in public service. When writing unsolicited business proposals, companies should not follow any strict requirements.

However, this does not save them from presenting a brief and concise proposal. 

Before you submit the finished unsolicited business proposal, you must decide if the customer is ready to admit the problem and accept your proposal. In most cases, organizations review unsolicited proposals to find something interesting. If your proposal stands out, they will contact you.

How to Create an Outstanding Unsolicited Business Proposal

You should begin with the guidelines or instructions provided by the client. Quite often, you will find these instructions on companies' websites. In any case, ensure that your proposal includes the fullest information about your company and your achievements and capabilities so that the customer can see how well you can cope with the proposed task.




Do not forget about contact details. Include the names of the key personnel. Specify the recipient and show your structured understanding of the problem the customer is currently facing.

See if the customer provides any formatting and style requirements. If there are none, format your unsolicited business proposal in ways that capture your readers' attention. Remember that businesses receive dozens of proposals daily, and your task is to stand out and be noticed by the recipient. You must be particularly creative in outlining the problem and proposing your solution.

Present your proposal as an attractive alternative to everything the customer has seen in the market. It should be something new and cheaper than everything else! 

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FAQ about Types of Proposals

  • How do solicit business proposals differ from unsolicited ones?

Solicited business proposals are written in response to specific issues or requests from customers, while unsolicited business proposals are sent to individuals or organizations who have not explicitly requested them. Solicited proposals address the client's stated problem and adhere to any formatting or information requirements provided. Unsolicited proposals aim to advertise products or services, highlighting their benefits and potential usefulness to attract customer attention.

  • What are the three forms of solicited business proposals?

The three forms of solicited business proposals are:

  1. Invitation for Bid (IFB): Written as part of a contract or service provision competition, where customers have specific product/service specifications and seek the most cost-effective solution.
  2. Request for Proposal (RFP): Customers have a problem but need ideas or solutions from businesses or specialists. RFPs may include cost components without specific information requirements.
  3. Request for Quote (RFQ): Designed to evaluate and analyze average market rates for products and services.
  • How can I create an outstanding unsolicited business proposal?

Follow the client's guidelines or instructions to create an unsolicited business proposal. Include comprehensive information about your company, achievements, and capabilities, demonstrating your expertise. Provide contact details and address the recipient's problem specifically. If formatting requirements are not specified, capture the reader's attention creatively. Present your proposal as a unique and cost-effective solution, differentiating it from existing options in the market.