Writing a Business Proposal
When you consider writing a business proposal, you need to understand a few basics.
First of all, you may have to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP). If that is the case, then you must follow all the parameters set forth in that RFP.
According to Wikipedia, “The RFP process brings structure to the procurement decision and is meant to allow the risks and benefits to be identified clearly up front.”
With that understanding, your proposal would have to be prepared within the guidelines established by the RFP.
The difficulty with a bidding process and the RFP is that the preparation of a detailed and thorough proposal for bid might take a great deal of time and money.
As someone writing a detailed formal proposal, you may have to think twice about such an investment if it has a chance of not "winning the bid." Perhaps a conscientious business will provide an up-front stipend for each bidder to ease that financial burden, especially if the project being considered is a very large and costly one.
However, if you are going to be involved in that kind of proposal writing, you are not likely going to be looking for help in this website. There is such a thing, however, as an informal proposal.
When you consider a proposal, you will be considering a change in some current situation - a change to a new, and better, situation.
you are the only one right now who considers that a change is
necessary, then your first job is to convince your reader that the
change is necessary. If your reader does not feel that there is need
for a change, then the proposal will fall upon deaf ears.
Always write for your reader.
It is the same thing if you are trying to convince your friend of something.
You must be sincere, however, in order to do a good job of changing your reader’s mind.
Consider the benefits for your reader.
Present those benefits initially in the short opening paragraph. The introduction to the proposal, itself, should have, perhaps, three short paragraphs.
The short opening paragraph. Once you have captured your reader’s interest and attention in that short opening, the document can be read and understood easily. The reader will approach your proposal with a positive and open frame of mind.
If the opening sounds too much like a “canned” sales letter, the reader may not ever get past the first paragraph.
So, try to individualize the letter.
Depending on the type of proposal, you will write either a memo format – for a change you are suggesting within your company – or a letter format – for a change you are proposing to another company.
you want to gain clients for your company. (Similar in many ways to a
sales letter.) Many young entrepreneurs would be quite successful with
personalized and individual proposals sent out to potential clients – or
to their current clients for a change.
The Informal proposal from one company to another will be similar in many ways to the sales letter. It should be a formal letter from your company to the prospective client.
(a) Writing a Business Proposal from one company to another
Some of the information you’ll need will be the following:
my letters and memos, I like to provide a short closing paragraph that
is totally separate from the main body of the letter. You'll write a
proper letter format for this type of proposal.
The short closing paragraph. Include two sentences – one to ask for action and the second to provide a closing goodwill comment that highlights benefits to the reader.
The closing can be much the same for each letter, but will differ only as it must be relevant to the particular situation.
Please contact me at ... if I can assist you with...
(b) Writing a business proposal within the company
you are proposing a change within your company, you will use a memo
format. Memos are what you write from one department to another within
the company. The letter is written outside the company.
The sections and information will be much the same as for the company-to-company proposal, but of course will be relevant within your company.
Consider these sections:
The difference in the two proposals – company-to-company OR within-the-company – is what is being presented.
Since these documents will contain more than one page, you’ll have to
ensure that all pages after the first one have an appropriate header –
in case the pages get separated. The header must be added to all pages
after the first one. It should contain the following information:
As with all writing, when you are writing a business proposal, prepare a rough draft, putting down all your ideas. Consider clearly the benefits to your reader, and highlight those benefits.
Read, reread, revise, and reorder your paragraphs. Check the order of your sections, and make sure that you have convinced your reader of the benefits. Change your reader's point of view with your proposal.
Your proposal will be successful if you can convince the reader
Sincerity - Professionalism - Simplicity
Focus on success as you are writing a business proposal!
Finally, ask yourself these questions:
Getting someone else to review your proposal before you send it out can be helpful. ...and good luck!
Focus on success!