How to Write a Killer Partnership Proposal

August 11, 2021

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5 Min Read

You know you need a partnership proposal to formally engage your prospective partner, but where do you start?

Everyone loves a good partnership: the Wright brothers, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Bonnie and Clyde—okay, maybe not that last pair. The fact remains: a business partnership can be a catalyst for tremendous growth in your company. 

But before you kick off a joint venture with your potential business partner, it’s essential that you first present them with a partnership proposal. Failing to do so can come across as lazy and unprofessional—but you don’t have to worry about that.

In this post, we’re going to delve into what a partnership proposal is, when you need one, and how to write one that can’t be turned down!

Partnership Business Handshake

What is a partnership proposal?

A business partnership proposal is a long-form document or letter that describes the viability of a partnership between you and a potential business partner. It is addressed to the individual or company and indicates your interest in pursuing a joint venture. You can think of it as an invitation to collaborate and do business together.

When do you need a partnership proposal?

You’ll need a business partnership proposal in several different situations.

  • You’re expanding into a new market, and you need this partner’s domain expertise and market access. Whether you’re developing new distribution channels or simply beta testing a new product line, one thing remains constant: an industry veteran’s input can be invaluable. Tapping into an experienced partner’s knowledge and resources can open doors for your business that you didn’t even know existed.
  • You’re scaling your business, and you need more significant investments. Your network is your net worth, and when you onboard a new business partner, that web expands exponentially. With you and your potential partner both leveraging your connections and credibility to raise capital, you have a better chance of obtaining the investments you need to take your business to the next level.
  • Your business is growing, and you need to build out the leadership team. Every business owner knows that entrepreneurship is a rocky road—and maps are hard to find. As you scale and grow your business, you’ll encounter challenges well beyond your purview. In many cases, it’s more beneficial in the long run to join forces with an experienced partner: when your strengths and weaknesses complement each other, you’ll see the business results for yourself.

These also work in reverse! If you know someone whose business is expanding and you have the industry expertise to help, you should consider fleshing out a proposal. 

There’s a common denominator in all of these cases: if you’ve been in serious talks to join forces with a potential partner, you need to formalize it with a business partnership proposal.

Business Partnership Proposal Template Cover

What should you include in your partnership proposal?

Like any great piece of writing, a business proposal should tell a story. To that end, proposals for all new business partnerships should include the following components:

  • The hook, or an overview of key benefits to both parties
  • The problem/benefit
  • Highlight shared values
  • Clear goals and expected outcomes

Let’s dive deeper into all of these sections:

The hook—an overview of key mutual benefits

Hooks are supposed to grab the reader’s attention and elicit curiosity, so provide details on your work experience and business accomplishments. But don’t make it all about you—to engage the potential partner, you need to highlight what’s in it for them. Whether it’s a broader customer base, new distribution channels, or brand synergy, it’s crucial that you allude to the mutual benefits of a new business partnership.

The problem/benefit

After hooking your reader, you need to tell them the story of your new business partnership:

  • The problem. Very few people write partnership proposals just for fun. If you’re a business reaching out to potential partners, you likely have a problem that they can help solve (or vice versa). Expansion, tapping into new markets, raising more money—whatever it may be, elaborate on the issue and describe how they can help. Bonus points if it’s a problem both businesses are facing!
  • The benefits. Paint a picture for your potential partners: what kinds of improved outcomes could they expect to see through this joint venture? How do your resources align with their business objectives? Also, make a point to detail the kinds of benefits you expect on your end—partnerships are a two-way street.

Pro-tip for this section: use numbers. Charts, statistics, and graphs will all add to the professionalism and weight of your business proposal, and ground your ideas in reality.

Highlight shared values

You must explain how the brands and cultures of the businesses align. Creating a shared context and common ground is how you bridge the gap between your operations. Failure to do this is one of the biggest reasons that around 70% of business partnerships fail. As always, honesty is the best policy—it can save you a massive headache in the future.

For example, let’s say your company prioritizes highly personalized service for all of your customers. Your potential partner prioritizes seamless and rapid delivery. 

Since you value in-depth customer service and they value quick turnaround times, there may be conflicts in your future. Alternatively, if the prospective partner emphasizes their ability to overdeliver on every order, your values are better aligned.

Clear goals and expected outcomes

Your business partnership proposal should lay out a concrete plan for moving forward, where you indicate the specific objectives and outcomes you’re seeking. This can take many forms:

  • A timeline. Establishing dates and timeframes for your joint venture illustrates a level of preparation and commitment your professional partners will appreciate.
  • Milestones. If you cannot produce a strict timeline, opt for a set of milestones you’d like to achieve together.
  • KPIs and OKRs. Highlighting your objectives and the key results you’ll measure them against will contextualize the partnership in real business terms.

Include things like expected ROI, the proposed division of tasks, and protocols for handling conflicts or dissolving the partnership if needed. By incorporating this section, you can ensure that all parties are on the same page.

Final Tips On How To Write a Partnership Proposal

Writing a partnership proposal may seem daunting at first—but by including the key components we’ve covered, you’ll have no need to worry. Here are some final tips for constructing your business proposal:

  • Approach the primary decision-makers. Going through other employees could cost you valuable time, so save some by talking to the decision-makers.
  • Do your research. Studying the company’s history, values, and performance over time will help you learn more about it. Tailor your partnership proposal accordingly. Furthermore, this shows the other company how serious you are about the partnership.
  • Keep it succinct. Of course, don’t skimp out on the most crucial details, but you know how important time can be as a business owner. Limiting your business partnership proposal to the essentials shows respect for the partnering company’s time.

To take your business to the next step, get in touch with Pure Proposals today and find out how easy it is to utilise Proposal Software to create your own unique Partnership Proposal!

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