Join Judy Steiner-Williams for an in-depth discussion in this video What you should know before watching this course, part of Writing Proposals.
- You're probably aware that it's very unlikely for any two randomly selected snowflakes to appear exactly alike. And that is also true of proposals. Look at a hundred proposals and chances are, no two will be identical. So, before we delve into discussion of how to write business proposals, you should know that we are looking at guidelines and general requirements. One of the most important elements for a successful proposal is to be able to adjust and adapt to your recipient's requirements.
Some standard commonalities exist, such as focusing on your reader's needs, including the precise description of your company and the product or service it can provide. What makes your company and product or service different. A market analysis, experience of your key players, and financials. Other areas are sometimes requiring the formats differ from industry to industry, and even company to company. Also, before watching this course, understand that a business proposal and a business plan are not the same.
The two have different purposes and goals, even though the same information may be included in both. A business plan's primary purpose is to present information facts, and is used by investors, for example. A business proposal's primary purpose, on the other hand, is to persuade to sell. To get that business opportunity. The scope is limited to a specific project with a specific audience. Also, before beginning, let's look at the term that is frequently associated with business proposals, and that's the request for proposal, usually shortened to just RFP.
Solicited proposals are in response to that RFP, in other words, a company has asked you to submit a proposal and has told you in the RFP exactly what is necessary to meet its needs. Other terms you encounter connected to proposal writing may be RFI, a request for information. Or, RFQ, a request for quotation. The RFI and the RFQ are generally used as a preliminary stage, to collect information before the RFP is sent. One lesson will examine that RFP in more depth.
And finally, a proposal is a specific type of business report. Some of the information in another one of my lynda.com courses, Writing Business Reports, will also be discussed in this course, but as it applies directly to proposals, research, adapt to your audience, and write clearly. So, that's the last thing to keep in mind, before you begin your proposal writing journey. If I had to list the three major determinants of a successful proposal, that's what they would be.
Keep all of these in mind as we get started on how to make your proposals stand out from the rest.
- Reading the RFP and asking questions
- Understanding different proposal types
- Following the writing process
- Connecting the dots
- Researching the company
- Using the client's jargon
- Understanding what parts to include
- Following up on a proposal