Which personal pronoun would you use in a business proposal?

Most people either go with first or third person, e.g.,

We propose this marketing plan.


Company x proposes this marketing plan.

Which person do you feel is most appropriate, and why? Does it matter?

  • I've edited your question: you use the word "tense" where you meant "person".
    – msanford
    Apr 19, 2011 at 3:50
  • @Billare: Even better!
    – msanford
    Apr 19, 2011 at 3:59

2 Answers 2


Most business proposals I've seen have employed the company name throughout, like

Corporation, Inc is in need of a…; Corporation, Inc proposes…

The reason? Mostly convention.

I would use, Company, Inc. and replace it, for the sake of not repeating yourself every sentence, with the company or another third-person synonym, but not with the second person.

  • More than convention, I would say it is done to avoid any potential confusion over specific details. In order to remove any potential ambiguity over who "you", "me", "we" is/are. For brevity, often the full company name is mentioned at the top with something saying "hereafter referred to as" and a shorter version of the company name.
    – Sam
    Apr 19, 2011 at 4:15
  • Sam, I agree. I had considered mentioning that but for some reason decided not to.
    – msanford
    Apr 19, 2011 at 4:18

I understand that while convention demands the use of third person in a business proposal, in some cases I imagine it would pay to use the first person to better connect with your proposal's target audience.

I can think of various scenarios where this might apply: when the investor is close in one way or another to the author of the proposal, or when it is the team or individual that is being sold much more than their idea.

Consistency is the key, pick a person and stick to it.

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