Writing a business proposal could be overwhelming and sometimes you don’t know how long it should be or even where to start. But getting it right is very important.
First, you need to know what type of business proposal you are writing, if it’s solicited or unsolicited. A solicited proposal is when a company or an individual writes a proposal based on the request of a client; the client may ask verbally or may issue a written request for proposal (RFP). An unsolicited proposal is when a company or an individual sends a proposal to a client without getting a request based on a hunch or to introduce a product or service to a prospective client.
Either way, you still need to put your best in writing the proposal.
Here are steps to take:
- Make sure you have all the information you need: Gathering all the information you need is the first step to creating a good proposal, you don’t want to spend precious time in putting together a proposal only to realise that you have forgotten a vital detail, so relax, take your time and ask yourself this questions:
- Have I spoken to the client?
- Do I fully understand the requirements?
- Can I deliver what they are asking for?
- Is this the first attempt to solve the issue?
- Do I have any questions?
- Do I need to do more research?
- What are the budgets and timeline expectations?
If you have successfully answered these questions, then you have conquered the first step to writing a good proposal.
- Sketch out the scope of the project: As long as you have gathered all the information you need, you should have all you need to outline the scope of the project.
The scope of a project involves determining and documenting a list of specific project goals deliverables, features, functions tasks, deadline and ultimately the cost of execution. It’s simply what needs to be put in place and work that need to be done to deliver a project.
First assess how long the project is likely to take and then take costs and accounts. In order not to get overwhelmed and make mistakes, first treat it as a rough draft and once you have your outline you can flesh it out by filling the details later. Also, jot down questions like:
- Who would carry out and ensures the quality of the work?
- What needs to be done and what materials will you need. Also what resources do you already have and what does the customer expect?
- How long would the task take and how would you divide it?
These would help in always putting you in the right path while writing the proposal.
- Estimate the cost: At this point you have all the information you need and you have sketched out the scope of the project, it’s now time to do the pricing.
First you need to know how much it would take to finish the work, inclusive of equipment, materials, labour and miscellaneous.
Since you know how long it would take, you would be able to accurately calculate the labour cost.
Therefore, putting in consideration the unexpected twists and turns in the project, it is always advisable to multiply your estimated labour cost by 1.5. In some situations, the amount of time spent on a job is likely to be uncertain. In cases like this, do ensure to include a caveat in your proposal that covers you for this.
Once you have put all these in place, it’s time to decide on your profit margin. This varies with different businesses, so doing some research and checking the industry standard is your best bet.
- Start writing your business proposal: Now you are at the point when you have to put everything you have gathered together.
First you need to make your proposal attractive by designing the cover page. An attractive cover page gives an impression that would go a long way.
Then your layout should be well placed, be particular about your alignment, spacing and the text size, also use lots of headings, bullet points and images where necessary.
Lastly your executive summary should tend more to marketing your brand and highlighting why your solution is the right one than just presenting the project like lots of people do.
- Edit and proofread: Finally, this is the point where you have to be extra careful. You would need to go through the whole proposal, checking for grammatical errors, punctuation’s, spellings, misused words etc. You are advised to get two or more fresh pair of eyes on it.
Go ace that proposal and make that money. All the best!
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