Do you need to craft new proposals for your company? Do you find it difficult to find the time or resources? You are not alone. There are many different ways of crafting proposals, but this article will be focusing on one of the most common ways that companies tackle this process.
It is important to remember that there are many different types of proposals that can be written, so it is vital to identify which type of proposal you will be writing before getting started. Many people are asked to write proposals for their organization, whether for a grant, an event, or a project. However few people are taught how to do it.
A proposal can be a daunting task that’s difficult to complete if one doesn’t know what to do. This page will provide you with the steps on how to write a proposal and some helpful tips for getting through this process.
Is a proposal necessary for a new project?
Yes, it is!!!!
Many businesses are tempted to start a new project without first taking the time to have a formal meeting. Many times, they do not even have an idea of what their budget is for this project. Neglecting these steps may lead to a lack of motivation and other issues down the line.
Before any new project is started, there should be a team meeting with an outline of the project’s goal, importance, timeline, available funds, and other related matters. And that’s when a business proposal comes into the picture.
A well-written proposal provides the opportunity for the recipient to read about you, your company, and why they should invest in partnering with you now.
The purpose of a proposal is to convince the reader that your service/product will be successful and would be profitable for them.
When do you need a proposal?
In the business world, a proposal is a formal approach to requesting a client’s interest in purchasing a product or service. A proposal can be as simple as a description of the company and its services, but it typically contains much more detailed information to help persuade the client.
It’s important to know when you need a business proposal. For instance, the need for proposals is more likely if you are selling to companies that have never heard of your company before or if the company wants to buy more than one product.
Types of proposals
There are 6 main types of proposals.
1. RFP/RFI response proposal
Formally solicited project proposals are created when the client notifies you and other competitors by preparing a request for information (RFQ), which specifies the exact type of work that needs to be done, along with the deadline and the guidelines on how. All you need to do is write a proposal for an evaluation.
2. Non-RFP/RFI, formally/informally solicited proposal
In this case, prospective clients are interested in your services and request a proposal to examine. These proposals typically need a lot more investigation since they are based on personal interactions rather than formal requests which often contain all the necessary information
3. Unsolicited proposal
With an unsolicited proposal, well, you- and not the reader makes the first move.
These are the kind of proposals that are not requested but are delivered to prospective clients. sponsor or investors as an introduction or a marketing piece
4. Non-competing proposals
These proposals affirm the original contract/proposal/plan and the financial requirements of a multi-yeared project for which the sponsor has already granted the early funds. The continuation of assistance is typically based on the successful work progress and availability of funds
5. Renewal proposals
These proposals are delivered to the prospective clients in order to continue the support for an existing project that is about to end. Such proposals are similar to the new proposals and must be processed and approved in the same manner
6. Extension/ add-on proposals
An extension proposal is a document that you send in support of a project proposal that has recently been funded. This type of project proposal is written when the funders ask for a variety of materials along with the proposal itself.
Checklist for writing a proposal
Here’s a step-by-step checklist for writing a proposal
|Checklist for proposal writing|
|Details of the applying organization|
|Name of the client you’re applying to|
|Proposal activities before drafting|
|Schedule a brief meeting with the client|
|Identify their score in your ideal client profile|
|Research what they need and what results they are expecting to get|
|Ask them about their decision-makers|
|Discuss and develop the budget|
|Create an outline of your project proposal|
|Cover letter/executive summary|
|Project goals and overview|
|Scope of services|
|Project deliverables and timeline|
|Terms of services|
|Activities before the submission|
|Send your proposal for proofreading|
|Review it up to three times|
|Make changes as per the feedbacks|
|Begin internal routine like approval and signature|
|Congratulate yourself and your proposal development team on a successful project proposal development process|
|Submit the project proposal|
How to write a proposal: a proposal outline breakdown
When a business needs a product or service to strategically grow their company, they must develop a plan for how to move forward. A formal proposal provides a way for entrepreneurs to make clear what they need and to convince investors of the merits of going forward with it.
We’ve laid out an outline of a winning business proposal
Proposal cover page
You only get one chance to make a first impression. The cover page of your proposal is the first thing your prospect/sales lead is going to see hence you better make it impressive. A cover page of your business proposal should look visually appealing, neat, and should be easy to read.
The cover letter section is the first thing your prospect will go through before they read your proposal. That’s why you need to make sure that you set your expectations from the start.
The goal of a letter for your proposal is to establish a partnership with the client. In other words, its purpose is to give the teaser of your services, convince them to read the rest of the proposal and hire you as a service provider.
A proposed problem and a solution
Before your prospect decides whether to buy your services or not, you must explain precisely what exactly you’re offering. And there is a dedicated section to help you set out all the necessary information – Scope of Services.
The services section of your proposal is not just about clarifying what you can do for your prospect but it’s also about outlining how your company stands out from your competition. This section should include the details about your approach. You should be ultra-careful about not going into detail.
A realistic timeline
You must break down all the key steps and the timeline for your client. Providing an accurate timeline with deliverables allows you to set the client’s expectations early. That means how and when you will be able to implement your solution.
You should always refer to this section as an “investment” instead of pricing because with your services/product your prospects are going to generate revenue and grow their business. And it’s important to remind the client of that. The fees you charge should be considered as an investment in their business.
Keep things short and to the point and use a pricing table with a range of options that let your prospect or customer edit the quantities, select the services that best fit their needs, and allow them to customize your solution.
Present your expertise
You can fill out this section with the expertise you have, who will be working with him/her, are you a known vendor in the market, whether for all good reasons, etc., the awards you won, the big list of your happy clients.
Do not forget to add vision and values because these two aspects have a long-lasting impact beyond the proposal. Clients would pay extra for the reliability factor once they realize you have principles, values, vision; and you stick to those values in all weathers.
It is one of the brilliant ways to promote your business. Because people love reading stories about other people and when you tell them how you’ve helped your previous clients solve a problem, they tend to quickly relate to it because they’ve got the same problems.
A great case study in your proposal gives prospective clients a real insight into the benefits of your services and also an idea of what it’s like to work with you.
Always keep the contract and your terms and conditions part of your proposal and get them signed together to avoid future conflict.
Thumb rules of proposal writing
When it comes to proposal writing, there are a few thumb rules to keep in mind.
1. Proposal is not about you
People nowadays don’t want to or have time to read a 10-page description about how amazing your company is. Keep telling yourself that “It’s not about me but it’s about them” in the process of proposal creation. Write about them and how your resources, skills, and approach may help their business.
2. Sell the benefits
Often proposal writers fall into the trap of singing the praises of their company while failing to define how it affects or connects with the reader.
To highlight the benefits of your services ask yourself, “Why should your prospect invest in your services?” and then showcase the benefits of your services.
3. Be extremely specific and get to the point directly
Don’t start with a descriptive introduction instead get straight to the point, and focus on outlining how your services will work for their pain points.
Start by asking a question to help bring your services/product into the next scene.
Clear why you’re the right fit by talking about how you’ve helped other companies achieve similar results.