Tips for Writing Business Proposals

Knowledge of writing business proposals is always an added advantage. No matter in what field you are, at some point of time, you are sure to come across business proposals. A business proposal is a formal written document from a seller to a potential buyer or client, which includes the products or services offered by them. It is a key aspect to boost the sales of a company.

In the current competitive business world, there are people who spend considerable time in submitting business proposals, but do not get any positive results. On the other hand, there are also people who are able to take their business to new levels after submitting just one business proposal. Based on the way it is written, a business proposal can potentially prove to be beneficial to your company or spell doom for it.

Writing business proposals may seem to be an uphill task, especially for people who have no idea whatsoever how to go about it. Let us discuss a few things that will hopefully make the task of writing business proposals much easier for you.

Things to Remember while Writing Business Proposals

  • Do extensive research about the exact requirements of potential clients, what is offered by the industry presently, loopholes, etc. Also, make note of what your competitors are offering. This will help your business proposal to be as much descriptive and comprehensive as possible.
  • State the business problem in clear terms and what solution you have in order to tackle that problem. Also, mention how your solutions are different from your competitors.
  • Always think from the client’s perspective. Take into account the potential questions they would ask you regarding your services. This will help you to get an idea of their doubts and expectations. Based on that, you can decide what additional services you will provide so as to attract their attention towards your company.
  • Think, amongst a host of similar companies, why would the client choose you? Your business proposal should list your expertise, achievements, and what all extra things you have on offer that will convince your clients to choose you, and not others. You should convince the client that you are the right person to serve them. You can list past testimonials to support your claims.
  • Provide a basic idea about your working process to the client. It will help give confidence to the client that you are capable of handling his job from A to Z.
  • The ideas in your business proposal must be presented in a simple and organized manner. The target audience should be able to understand it easily. The language should be simple, yet compelling enough to attract and convince the reader.

Remember, a good business proposal is instrumental for the success of your business. It is the window through which potential clients get a glimpse of what products and services you have on offer for them. And, whether they come to your door or not completely depends upon what they see in your business proposal. Writing business proposals might be time-consuming, but at the end of the day, they prove to be beneficial for you and your company.

APA Style Citation

APA style citation follows the official guidelines set by the American Psychological Association for listing the sources used in a research paper. It has found widespread use in various disciplines, especially papers of social and behavioral sciences.

A paper with APA style citation should include in-text citations with a corresponding reference list, commonly known as the Reference section. In a research paper, the in-text citations are used in the main body of the paper when you refer to other studies relevant to your topic. The Reference section at the end of your paper should include all the in-text citations that you have used in your main paper. You need to keep in mind that, if you have cited a source in text, it must be included in the reference list.

Advantages of APA Style Citation

  • Its format is standardized in such way that the reader can understand it easily. The in-text citations help the reader to identify the source while reading the sentence/paragraph itself.
  • It does not use footnotes and endnotes. Therefore, the reader does not get distracted while going through the paper.
  • Its format undergoes periodic updations keeping in mind the current research trends.

Guidelines for Using APA Style Citation

Citing references in APA format may seem to be complex for beginners. So, we will discuss a few of the most commonly used APA style citations, which will help to form a basic understanding of this format.

APA Style Citation – In-text

Direct quotes

Example 1: Freud (1927) stated that “religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis” (p. 78).

Example 2: “Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis” (Freud, 1927, p.78).

Note: In case the quote is longer than 40 words, it should be set as a separate block of text with an indent of half inch from the left margin. Do not use quotation marks.

Two authors

Example 1: Optimization of anticoagulation therapy along with the platelet antiaggregation therapy is necessary for the effective management of stroke in TAH patients (Hart & Sherman, 1987).

Example 2: Hart and Sherman (1987) reported that optimization of anticoagulation therapy along with the platelet anti-aggregation therapy is necessary for the effective management of stroke in TAH patients.

Note: ‘and’ is used when the author names are part of the paragraph; ‘&’ is used when the author names are given in parenthesis.

Two to five authors

In first citation, all the names are listed. In subsequent citations, ‘et al.’ is used.

Example: …suffered from serious infection and sepsis (Rose, Moskowitz, & Packer, 1999).

In subsequent citations of the same source, use (Rose et al., 1999).

Six or more authors

In this case, cite the first author’s name followed by et al. for all occurrences.

Example: … for treatment of several diseases (Williams et al., 2002).

Multiple studies cited together

They should be sorted alphabetically with first author name.

Example: Numerous studies (Freud, 1927; Kamil, 1988; Rose et al., 1999; Williams et al., 2002)…

APA Style Citation – References

Two to six authors

Maliranta, M., Mohnen, P., & Rouvinen, P. (2009). Is inter-firm labor mobility a channel of knowledge spillovers? Evidence from a linked employer–employee panel. Industrial and Corporate Change18(6), 1161-1191.

More than six authors

Wolchik, S. A., West, S. G., Sandler, I. N., Tein, J., Coatsworth, D., Lengua, L., et al. (2000). An experimental evaluation of theory-based mother and mother-child programs for children of divorce. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 843-856.


Alchian, A. A. (1950). Uncertainty, evolution, and economic theory. Journal of Political Economy58(3), 211-221.

Note: The issue number should be used only if each issue of that particular journal starts with page one.


Fraenkel, J. R., & Wallen, N. E. (1996). How to design and evaluate research in education. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Book chapter

Stinchcombe, A. L. (1965). Social structure and organizations. In J. G. March (Ed.), Handbook of organizations (pp. 142-193). Chicago, IL: Rand McNally.

Edited book

Brown, J. E., & Stephens, E. C. (Eds.). (1998). United in diversity: Using multicultural young adult literature in the classroom. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

We have listed a few of the most commonly used APA style citations. For more examples and additional information, you can refer the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Writing Literature Reviews in APA Format

Literature reviews are writing assignments that investigate the research conducted on a particular topic. It summarizes what scientific literature has to say about your particular topic. APA format helps us to organize the references in a standardized form. As such, it is most commonly used while writing literature reviews. Knowledge of writing literature reviews in APA format is very essential, especially for students. Students are often assigned the task of writing literature reviews to get them prepared before they take on primary research assignments. Generally, writing literature reviews in APA format is considered to be a complex process. However, you must remember that though writing it might be a complicated task, it is easy for the reader to understand. A few useful tips for writing literature reviews in APA format are discussed below.

Tips for Writing Literature Reviews in APA Format

  • As far as possible, avoid using direct quotes. You can summarize the basic idea in your own words, and give proper author citation for it. In case you have to use a direct quotation, enclose the quoted text in quotation marks, and provide the author name, year of publication, and page number in parentheses.
  • Mention the most fundamental studies first. In other words, the most recent studies should be mentioned at last. In that way, the studies will be listed in a sequence. Therefore, the reader can easily understand the research conducted on a particular topic and what conclusions were put forth. Reading about a research and knowing how and why it leads to another research helps you to get a clear understanding of a particular topic.
  • Based on your topic, try to include as many relevant references in your literature review as possible. That will help in preventing repetitive research. If some significant studies are omitted, readers might assume that research has not been conducted in that particular area and might take up the same. There is no point in people conducting the same type of research again and again. It is just a waste of time and effort.
  • Avoid citing secondary sources as far as possible. It is always advisable to go through the original source yourself and decide whether it is relevant enough to be cited in your literature review.
  • While presenting the sources, make it a point to evaluate them in the context of the topic. Present comparisons, point out flaws or loopholes that help in deciding the course of future research.

These are just a few general tips. For knowing more about the technical specifications of writing literature reviews in APA format, you can refer the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition.


APA Style of Formatting

The APA style of formatting refers to the style guidelines documented by the American Psychological Association. This comprehensive guideline makes us familiar about the structure of an APA paper and its overall writing style. Using APA format is very helpful when most of the sources in the paper are from published journals and frequently published works. Though APA style of formatting was basically developed to standardize scientific writing, it has found widespread acceptance in social and behavioral sciences, education, and business fields also.

APA style is the key for properly formatting various research and academic publications. Beginners might face some difficulties in understanding the APA style of formatting. But, with gradual use, you become familiar with this style. A few basic rules of APA style are discussed below.

Basic Rules of APA Style of Formatting

  • Set one inch margin on all sides.
  • The font of your text should be a serif font that is clearly readable, most preferably Times New Roman, and the font size should be 12 pt.
  • Text alignment should be flush left (i.e., the right side should look ragged).
  • Line spacing should be set as double-spaced throughout the document including title page, abstract, main body, references, tables, figures, etc.
  • There should be a running head (short title of your paper) at the top of every page. It should be set flush left, and the page numbers should be set flush right. Ensure that the running head does not exceed 50 characters (including spacing and punctuation).
  • The first line indent of every paragraph should be half inch.
  • APA paper consists of four main sections: title page, abstract, main body and references.
  • Title page should consist of the title of your paper, author name(s), institutional affiliation(s), author note. The title should not contain any abbreviations.
  • The Abstract should begin on a new page. The word limit for the Abstract is 150-250 words (may vary as per specific publications).
  • The main body of your paper should begin on a new page. It includes Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion and References section. Appendix can also be included if applicable.
  • References should begin on a new page. It should include all the sources, which have been cited in the paper. The entries should be sorted alphabetically by the surname of the first author. First line should be flush left, and additional lines should have a hanging indent.
  • Each Table should begin on a new page after the Reference section.
  • Each Figure should begin on a new page after the Tables.

 The basic guidelines presented here provide you with just an outline of the APA style of formatting for a research paper. Every aspect of APA style has much more detailed specifications that we will discuss elaborately in our following posts.