Presentation on theme: "Crafting Business Proposals Writing for the Workplace Week 4."— Presentation transcript:
Crafting Business Proposals Writing for the Workplace Week 4
What is a proposal? A proposal is a written offer to perform a service for a client. Think of it as a pitch to a specific person or organization. Companies usually solicite many proposals from different firms, hoping to be impressed by the best offer. For this reason, drafting a proposals need to be given serious attention to detail. You will need to engage your client to win out over the other potential contractors.
The Executive Summary This first page of the proposal is the most important section. Specifically, it summarizes all of the key information and is a sales document designed to convince the reader that this project should be considered for support. Be certain to include: Problem: A brief statement of the problem or need your agency has recognized and is prepared to address (one or two paragraphs). Solution: A short description of the project, including what will take place and how many people will benefit from the program, how and where it will operate, for how long, and who will staff it (one or two paragraphs). Funding requirements: An explanation of the budget and total cost. Organization and its expertise: A brief statement of the history, purpose, and activities of your agency, emphasizing its capacity to carry out this proposal (one paragraph).
Tell clients what they can expect. Quantify the results that the client can expect from engaging you. Some consultants create proposals that overemphasize their consulting process and methodologies. Clients buy results, not tools or methodologies. Be generous with your ideas. You may fear that revealing your ideas about how to solve a problem during the proposal process could result in clients taking those ideas and completing the project themselves. In rare cases, that may happen. But you'll have more success if you don't hoard your ideas. Use them to show clients that your team thinks and approaches problems in creative and innovative ways. Size does matter. Keep your proposals as short as possible, while meeting the client's request. Think quality, not quantity.
Be client-centered. Focus on the client. Many proposals begin with a long discussion of the consulting firm, describing its qualifications and history. Focus your proposal on the client's needs first, and then describe your firm's capabilities. Remember, clients care only about how you'll address their issues, so show them how you'll do that. Beware of best practices. The client may view your liberal use of "best practices" as a convenient crutch. Instead of relying on answers that worked for a previous client, find a blend of outstanding practices and innovative solutions that fit your client's particular needs. Be accurate. If you are using client data to support aspects of your proposal, double-check and triple-check that information. It's easy for facts to be misunderstood and misused in a proposal. You'll risk turning a winning proposal into a loser if you present inaccurate data to the client.
Sweat the small stuff. Sweat every detail. Watch for typos, use high-quality materials, and make sure that the right people receive the proposal on time. Finish early. Let your proposal sit for a day after you've completed the final draft, and then reread it completely before sending it to the client. You're likely to come up with some new ideas that enhance your work, and you may find errors that you missed earlier. Let your personality shine through. Give clients a sense of your firm's culture and its style of working. The traditional, stilted language of many consulting proposals doesn't help clients answer the all-important question: What will it be like to work with these consultants?
Be personable, but realistic. Let your personality shine through. Give clients a sense of your firm's culture and its style of working. The traditional, stilted language of many consulting proposals doesn't help clients answer the all-important question: What will it be like to work with these consultants? Don't let your claims outdistance your true capabilities. Some proposals tout the expertise of the consulting firm by referring to past successes with similar projects. These testaments to past achievements are important, but be sure that the capabilities of the proposed consulting team can live up to your firm's claims.
Resources: Proposal Writing Short Course components.html components.html writing-a-winning-proposal-HA aspx