Damiap, Dennis Wapshik
Dozens of proposals go into that same industry/organization/company you are planning to take yours. Unless yours is unique, it is likely to fail like those of others.
How am I qualified to teach you how to write a professional proposal that doesn’t look like that of a beginner? Good question.
I have been a freelance writer on all niches and disciplines that humans are engaged with day after day; ranking from science and technology, Art and entertainment, economy and industry, sports and politics, and have written a number of proposals I cannot count since 2014 when I landed my first job (gig), and even though a few of them did not get through, most of them did got approval. For ethical purpose, I will not go in detail to state organizations and individuals I wrote proposals for; that’s another thing to note. Ethics and conducts, that is if you are going to be writing as a professional; but if you are a seasonal writer for personal usage, you don’t need to check out “the ethics of writing proposal as a professional”. Follow our next article post to learn the ethics and conducts. Now Let’s get started.
Follow these simple steps and you will be writing a wonderful proposal before you know. Do remember that the only way of becoming a writer is by writing; so, get started as the more you write, the more you become good for the job.
1. Proposal summary
Although this may appear first in the layout and ranking of your items, it is usually the last to be written as it captures and presents the whole idea of the proposal in the simplest form it can best do.
A proposal summary usually forms the preamble and consist of four to five paragraphs summarizing the key points or objectives of the project. When writing a proposal summary, try all possible best to include sufficient details and be specific. Avoid generalization, get to the point, and be pragmatic and factual as nothing kills a proposal faster than ambiguity.
2. Introduction or overview of your idea, business or organization
No business exist without someone running it. Except the person looking at your proposal believes in the people handling the company, the proposal is likely to get into the trash. Thus, at this stage, it is best you include status, competence and a little biography of the key staff. Include also your business track record (success story) if the business is up and running already. If it is not, you present it as a project to kick start by stating all available materials and resources on ground in order to convince your clients as no one will want to risk his time, resource and value on a poorly prepared plan. State categorically your company’s goals and philosophy; essentially, why your company should be selected. Client’s recommendation, letter of thanks, feedbacks from customers. For upcoming companies, you must attach a letter of dummy projects test run and guarantee of well-known members of the society. Bot for an existing company and an upcoming company, include all valid certifications, license and business and indemnity insurance details.
Proving that the company meets the required standard, it has the capacity and ability to meet all deliverables it will be saddled, not just of execution but also safety and legality.
3. Problem statement or needs analysis or statement.
Every Business or idea is aimed at solving an issue or scenario in the society. Being able to see the needs of the people and provide a solution is the reason why every good business exist. Same reason that made you want to go into business should be stated here. Your problem statement should explain who will benefit and how the solution will be implemented. Research on the history of the underlying problem, specifically, previous solutions that were implemented and potentially failed and why your solution will make a difference.
4. Objectify your Projects
The reward and return for every investment is profit. Every investor wants to know what is is in the game that is for him before he plays. Details of the desired outcome and how success will be measured. This stage provides information about the benefits that the investor or client will get for their investment.
Articulation of key Performing Indicators should be explained with specific measurements. These means details and dates of how and when they will be taken, how they will be measured and against what baselines will the results be taken.
5. The design of your project or company
The design of your project or company is simply the skills needed that will guarantee success. More to the skills are the additional facilities, transport and support services you need to deliver the project or company. Good know how and skills of project management discipline and methodologies with detailed requirements, specified project schedule and individual tasks that are articulated will keep a good focus on tasks, thus, deliverables and results.
6. SWOT analysis of your project.
No business plan gets approval without categorically presenting the SWOT analysis. If you do not know anything about the SWOT analysis, then it’s better you learn about it for better understanding of this lesson. The term SWOT is an initial for Strength Weakness Opportunity and Threat (SWOT).
Every one is susceptible to these factors. The only difference is, which do you have more? No investor would want to see that he’s dealing with an individual whose weakness and threat exceeds strength and opportunity. Read our article on the SWOT analysis for this discourse. At every point, posit your weakness and threat In a euphemism and as something you can actually control. Make a realistic projection of your SWOT analysis in a presentable manner.
7. Evaluation of project
Both for product and process, you make evaluation. At this point, you include the timeframe needed for evaluation and who will do the evaluation including the specific skills or products needed and the cost of the evaluation of the project. Evaluation stage can be expensive and need to have an entry and exit criteria specifically focused in scope activities. All out of scope evaluation activities need to be specified as this phase can easily blow out budget wise. Once again solid project management discipline and methodologies will keep a good focus on evaluation tasks and results.
8. Funding in the future
At this stage you discuss funding requirements that go beyond the project, total cost of ownership including ongoing maintenance, business, as usual, and operational support. It may require you to articulate and project the ongoing costs for existing companies and intended project cost for new business. An accurate cost model that includes all factors including inflation, specialist skills, ongoing training, potential future growth, decommissioning expenses when the project or the product reaches the end of life, all falls into this section.
9. Budgeting for the project
This stage is the question of how much money is required to be funded to deliver the results? Provide full justification for all expenses including a table of services (or service catalog) and product offered can be used to clearly and accurately specify the services.
Remember that the project budget section is the essence of your proposal. Make a realistic proposal and avoid overcharging. Have a miscellaneous for contingency but not luxurious surplus. This can make you loose your client. Avoid Underquoting of charges also as it might win you the business but you may not be able to deliver the project on which your proposal stated to your client. So many companies and organisations underquote in charges with the hope of hooking in the client and then making additional funding proposal at a later stage. This is not ideal as it could affect you as an individual or a company’s brand or industry’s reputation.