The goal of a business proposal is to answer your client’s question as well as to persuade them to select you. The only thing that matters in business proposal writing is that of your client. It should be more about your client than it is about you. You wouldn’t have to waste your time in following a business template. No, it won’t help you. It is not going to be a proposal that speaks directly to the client. Your business proposal should answer any question the client has and you must be able to explain the benefits of your approach. If you want to perfect your proposal, you need to first perfect your understanding of your client. Only then can you write a proposal that is most effective.
Secondly, your goal will define the content of your proposal. People sometimes write proposals to persuade the reader to take an action, make a selection, reach a decision, spend money or offer a job. One person proposal often does not have a written request for proposal to provide guidance. You must anticipate the information that will be required by the reader to take the action you desire and then design a document that will achieve your goal. You must be clear about your goal and turn that into a clear call to action in writing. Make sure that you have a personal follow-up plan that will be crucial for supplying additional information and validating what you put on paper. You don’t have to be pushy to follow. Just to be helpful and remind them that you can be even more helpful if they accept the proposal.
Let your proposal be able to persuade the reader. It must be easy to evaluate. You must picture the evaluator with a checklist in hand going through your proposal. You must be able to state conclusions that reflect the evaluation criteria and then explain how or why. Never save the best for last. Give them what they want in a firm, positive statements. Remember, the goal is not to deprive them of the necessary detail, but to give them what they want and in the order they want it. You have got to give them a reason to bother reading the detail.
There is no universal standard for the layout or composition of proposals. A proposal is intended to persuade someone. What is required to do is up to the person being persuaded. If you want your proposal to succeed, you must know what your client wants. Never load the client up with a bunch of paper just because they might want something. Give them what they want. No more, no less.
If you are writing as an individual or as a consultant, your product is often the services that you will perform yourself. Sooner or later you will need to give your client a proposal either because they ask for it or because it can help you persuade them to approve the project. Your proposal should be more than your resume and a work plan. As an individual, your proposal will be partly an introduction, a statement of qualifications, partly a work plan, partly pricing and partly an articulation of the reasons why the client should approve your recommendations.
There are some things that tend to be similar across business proposals. These are tendencies and not rules. The only time there are rules is when the customer issues a Request for Proposal (RFP). Should an RFP have sufficient detail; it will tell you what should go into your proposal and how it should be presented. Sometimes the nature of a product or service being offered or industry practices provide guidelines for proposal composition or layout.
A typical business proposal might include: 1) An Executive Summary, 2) A Work Statement or Technical Approach 3) A Management Plan 4) Your qualification and 5) A Staffing Plan.
And for some tips in helping you write a good business proposal I offer you the below as it will help you cover the entire basis in your proposal. For each section/requirement that you must address, make sure you answer who, what, where, how, and why. Who will do the work, who will manage the work? What needs to be done/delivered, what will it cost? Where will the work be done, where will it be delivered? How will the work be done, how will it be managed? When will you start, when will the project be completed, when is payment due? Why have you chosen the approach and alternative you have selected? This simple approach can help you ensure that your proposal says everything that is needed to answer the mail.
An important aspect in your business proposal is your resume, but of course it only addresses your qualification and even then, a resume tends to address only in a generic way. You should customize your resume every time you use it to emphasize the qualifications that are most relevant to the person you are trying to persuade. You must be able to customize your resume to make the relevance clear, to prove that you have the qualification required to do what you propose and to support your rationale for why the client should accept your recommendations.
In addition to your resume, you have some explaining to do. What will you accomplish? How long will it take? What resources will be required? How will they benefit from the project? How much will it cost? Who are you to be making these recommendations? Why do they need you? Why should they have confidence in your ability to do the work correctly? Why should they accept your recommendations?
In order to answer the above questions your proposal should start with an introduction to what you plan to accomplish and how they will benefit. Then provide your work plan including methodologies, resources and schedule. Once you have laid the foundation, provide your pricing and rationale emphasis on the return on investment and value. Whether your goal is the signing of a contract or something else, and whether your proposal is delivered in the form of a one page memo or a three inch binder, the entire proposal should revolve around persuading them to take the action you desire.
(Chealy Brown Dennis is a marketing and business development consultant. He is also a much sought after motivational speaker and offers training in leadership, creative sales and marketing, strategic planning and team building. He also offers on-location and train-the-trainer formats for leaders, managers, businesses and organizations. He can be contacted through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: 0886-264-611 or 0776545394)