Proposal Structure

Youngling Research
6 min readNov 18, 2021

This document is part of The YR Membership. If it doesn’t make sense to you, that’s why.
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How do you write a proposal?

Page 1: Cover letter

  • Intro + intro of options
  • Quote, not estimate
  • Scope
  • Excuse to follow up

Page 2/3: Appraisal + Options

  • Appraisal
  • Where are they now? A
  • Where do they wanna be? B
  • Why do they believe only you can help them go from A to B?
  • Options
  • Headline
  • 1 paragraph explaining option
  • Features
  • Benefits

Page 4: Risks & Assumptions

  • What risks do you see based on the options? (E.g. option 1 is cheaper but has risk X. Option 2 is more expensive but mitigates risk X.)
  • What assumptions are you making? (E.g. Youngling Research assumes you have your shit together and will implement the advice. When I work with firms, I assume they have the resources to execute or outsource advice such as, for example, market research.)
  • List 3–5 risks and assumptions
  • Optional: Why us?
  • 3 qualifications. E.g. Youngling Research has been in the field of entrepreneurial science for over a decade and has worked shoulder to shoulder with some of the biggest names in the field.

Page 5: Terms & Conditions

  • All the info they need to pay you RIGHT NOW.
  • 100% upfront. (Gives you something to negotiate aside from pricing.
  • Prices of each option
  • Expiration date of this proposal
  • Guarantees
  • Option checklist + signature


Set your timer for 15 minutes. Grab an old proposal and do your best to fit this format. Remember… DONE is better than PERFECT!
Some of you guys have been struggling with doing the homework and it’s cuz your minds are refusing to scale back the behaviors. I told you, behavior design is a sneaky sumbitch… it looks easy when you learn it but it’s super hard in practice because your mind knows all the tricks in order to get you to not do smth / do the wrong things. If you’re struggling to get going… hmu.


Write it in a tone of voice that makes sense for your company and the relationship that you have with the client. I generally do suggest making it more informal as opposed to formal. People have a tendency to morph into a different person when they’re doing business. Remember… you’re just having a normal conversation. Hey, you got a problem and money, I got a solution… do you wanna exchange the money for the solution?

Page 1

Hey [client],

Appreciate the meeting the other day. Had fun thinking about this problem.

On the following pages, you’ll see three options for this project. Each one includes the one before it as they increase in complexity. I hope that this’ll allow you to pick the one that’s most suited to your budget/urgency/needs.

Please note; this is not an estimate

This is a quote!

The price you agree to is EXACTLY how much you’ll pay. If I’ve screwed up the scope of the project, that’ll be my problem, not yours. Because of this, I’m strict about what is and isn’t included. Please don’t assume anything. If there is anything you’d like to be included that you don’t see explicitly listed, lmk and I’ll send a revised quote.

When you get a chance, please review and hit me up if you have any questions or comments. I’ll reach out [Date in 3 days], if I haven’t heard back by then.

Talk soon,


Page 2/3


Current state: I’m leaving this blank because this shouldn’t be based on a template. Instead, ask and LISTEN to your client during the meeting. This should be nearly verbatim, their words. E.g. At Oral-b, you’re facing a downward trajectory in revenue. The product line feels complicated and consumers can’t see the forest for the trees. You want to convince consumers to upgrade their brush heads as well as their toothbrush faster. After having tried [X], [Y], and [Z], this remains an unsolved problem.

Desired state: Where does the client want to end up? What’s a home run? Again, verbatim.

Why did [Company] reach out?

Oral-b has tried solving this by improving the engineering and working with various marketing and advertising agencies. [Person] who worked at [Company] a former client of Youngling Research recommended us. You believe we can help by solving this issue through the lens of human behavior.

Project options

Option 1: Headline

One paragraph explaining this option.




Option 1: Entrepreneurial Science Consultation

I’ll teach your marketing team (10 attendees max.) the framework you can use to solve this problem yourself. We’ll have one consultation where I’ll help you diagnose, get clarity on the problem, and teach you the process you should use to solve this problem as well as future ones. And we’ll have two follow-up consultations where we’ll discuss how it’s going and what you can improve.

- Three consultations.
- An understanding of how to perform an audit correctly and
implement solutions using an evidence-based process.
- Up to one month implementation guidance.

- Go from being confused and overwhelmed to having a game plan on how to fix this issue yourself.
- Learn how to do things with a scientific approach vs. guesses and opinions.
- Good if you’re on a budget but don’t want to waste money on something that won’t work.

Option 2: Headline

This includes everything from option 1, plus you will get….



Option 3: Headline

This includes everything from options 1 and 2, plus you will get….



Page 4

Risks & Assumptions

List of risks per option and assumptions you’re making. 3–5.


The following risks and assumptions apply to some or all of the options above. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, additions, or changes before accepting the proposal.

- I assume our recommendations are implemented as prescribed. Deviations are fine if we're both in agreement, however, we can't be held accountable if you, unilaterally, decide to deviate from the plan or refuse to follow instructions.

- Youngling Research doesn't operate like a regular company in the sense that you're not paying us for a deliverable. You're paying us to help you achieve an outcome. So should it become clear that we should be implementing another strategy, we'll have a discussion about whether we should create a new proposal or alter this one.

– There is a chance that [consequence] if the problem is located elsewhere. This isn't a problem if you've picked option 3, but if you've picked option 1 or 2, we should stop immediately to prevent wasting resources and allocate them more effectively.

Why [your company]?

There are a lot of excellent companies you could hire. So why work with [company]?

3 Reasons, preferably in your client's words, on why you are the one and only option.


  • You’ve already hired two cheap agencies and you’ve realized cheap is more expensive. They failed to do the work to a level that met your standards and you’re more concerned with getting it done well than getting it done as cheap as possible.

Page 5

Terms & Conditions

I never charge an hourly fee, since you should not have to make an investment decision every time my assistance may be needed. This is a unique feature of Youngling Research.

The pricing for each option is as follows: option 1 is $9,840; option 2 is $22,100; and option 3 is $52,320.

Please note that these are fixed prices, not estimates. You will not pay a dime more than your selected price. The fee can be paid in 2,4, and 10 monthly installments for options 1,2, and 3, respectively. The first installment must be paid in on acceptance to schedule the project. Each subsequent installment is due the 1st of each month.

I am available to start on [date]. This quote is good for 14 days.


As I stated above, nothing is more important to me than you loving the service I’ve provided. If you take the recommended actions, implement the advice, are actively working with me to ensure success, and yet aren’t fully satisfied with the service you receive, I will work with you to solve the problem. If we can’t resolve it, I will fully refund you minus the expenses we’ve made on your project. I will also assist you or your new partner to make sure the transition process is as smooth as possible and the business doesn’t suffer from it.

Please check the option you prefer and sign below:

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3