winning proposals how to write them and get results

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Winning proposals how to write them and get results free format of resume for fresher download

Winning proposals how to write them and get results

This is what your client gets upon completion of each step. The deliverable signals the end of one step and the beginning of the next. However, all steps do not need a deliverable, just the key ones. Providing deliverables is an effective method for gauging progress on a project. Deliverables provide evidence that work is being completed and is a valuable mechanism to use when managing large projects for both the customer and supplier. Deliverables can be either goods or services.

For instance, if you are a consultant, you may provide a progress report, either orally or written, upon the conclusion of key steps in a project. On the other hand, if you are a building contractor building a home, an appropriate deliverable may be completion of a room or system plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, etc.

Think about your proposal. Take each of the basic steps and develop the details of your approach. Where appropriate, include deliverables. Next, describe the benefits the prospect can expect from your products or services. This is a critical part of your sales proposal. When creating your list of benefits, always keep in mind what you can do to make your prospect successful, how you can make him look good.

Pay special attention to his role, responsibilities, and level in the organization when developing your list. For example, if you are selling a manager on an upgraded telephone system, make sure you know what his key challenges are maybe reliability and cost and stress how your system overcomes them high consumer confidence ratings, modular features, etc. You may have to do a little research. If the company has an active advertising campaign, find magazines or trade journals that the company may be advertising in.

What are their claims? Who are they targeting? If they are a public company, get a copy of their annual report. Your library may have a copy of one, or you can call the company directly. A reference librarian can also help you with a search of magazines and newspapers for current articles written about the company. For example, if you are a new travel agency looking for commercial accounts, your proposals should be full of how you might save money for your clients — getting the best deals on air fare, hotels, rental cars; offering value-added services that your clients currently must do; suggesting scheduling alternatives that cut travel costs, etc.

When properly done, your benefits will implicitly justify why your goods or services should be used by the prospect. This may be stated as a final product or proposed outcome of the project. This is a very effective method for conveying the extent of the value that you bring to the prospect. A Word About Features and Benefits — People buy a product or service because they either need or want to. In order to create a need or a want, you must promote the benefits of using your product or service.

Many business owners promote the features of their business and neglect to point out how the product or service will benefit the customer. Features enable the product or service to perform its function. Benefits are the results a person receives from using the product or service. For example, a feature for a local printer may be 24 hour service. The benefit to the customer may be increased flexibility and faster turnaround.

The customer is more interested in how you can help him the benefits , not necessarily the details of your service the features. List the key benefits of your product or service. Where you place this information in your proposal is extremely important. Any good fisherman knows the importance of the initial stages in luring a prize catch. If you include the costs too early in the proposal, it may immediately put off your prospect and cause him to reject the proposal before he has a chance to understand its impact fully.

Your estimate of charges for goods or services should be as detailed as possible so there will be no misunderstanding when the goods or services are delivered. Your prospect does not want to be surprised with hidden costs once he has accepted your proposal.

Remember, you want to turn this prospect into a long-term customer. There will be costs over which you have no control. Plan for them and let your prospect know what they are. Most likely, your client will have a limited budget that he is operating within. Be assured this does not free you from properly managing those costs; it communicates, however, that there are additional costs that must be budgeted for. Keep in mind that surprises have a knack of eroding even the best of relationships.

Here, you want to remind the prospect why you are the best choice for the job. This is a good time to do some of your own PR. Make sure you have a qualifications statement in which you say why you are qualified to do the job for the prospect. Include a corporate history, background of principals in your company and describe your facilities. A starting date or delivery date may also be helpful and could make the difference in getting the order or not.

The best advice is to use your best judgment along with the information you already know about your prospect. End your proposal with a closing paragraph which contains a statement of interest in doing the work for the prospective client.

This paragraph can also be used to restate the benefits of doing business with your company. Close your proposal. Promote why your company is the best selection. Repeat the significant benefits that your prospect will receive. If your proposal is in a report format, always include a cover letter. Keep your cover letter short and friendly, no more than one page long. Close the letter with a quick summary of why your company is qualified for the job.

Then end with your proposed follow-up actions i. The cover letter not only sets the tone for the rest of the proposal, but it also provides the prospect with a contact he can call for further information. You may want to refer to the cover letter in Section III as an example. When possible use graphics or charts. Making the proposal look more like a report can aid the prospect in his reading and understanding of the information presented. Use friendly, uncluttered charts to aid the reader.

One well-constructed chart is worth a thousand words. Make use of sidebars and descriptive headlines. Since your goal is to have it read, making it inviting is a definite plus. Review the language you have used and be sure your proposal contains a majority of active verbs as opposed to passive verbs. This is what the prospect is going to see and quite often not in your presence. If your proposal is in a report format, bind it.

You can do this yourself if you have the proper materials and equipment, or get your local printer to do it for you. If your proposal is a letter, type it on your stationery. In any case, make sure there are no typos. Typos are an indication of sloppiness and a disregard for details, neither of which a client wants to experience in a project. If you can, have a colleague read your proposal for content, typos, and proper grammar.

Use a checklist for your proposal. Once your proposal is completed, subject it to the following to insure that you have included all of the key items:. Make adjustments in your copy accordingly. When this is completed, you are ready to send off your proposal. One option is to mail it. You may choose to send it via standard delivery or overnight it. Although an overnight courier service may be more expensive, the receiver takes special note when he receives such packages.

Either way, once the final document is delivered and the prospect has had a sufficient time to review it, follow-up with a phone call or visit to ask if you can clarify any aspects of the proposal. Be assertive, not a nuisance. If it was not, try to find out why and learn from the feedback so that you can incorporate it into your next proposal. Sample Sales Proposal [ top ] A sample sales proposal follows. This short proposal demonstrates the key items usually present in a successful sales proposal.

It is written by a marketing company to a prospective client with the objective to increase market share for that client, a small company in the retail fishing industry. The development of an effective sales proposal must have measurable objectives. Four specific areas were given consideration, and they are:. However, the primary audience for advertising activity is the 25 to 54 year range and comprises This market includes both men and women with two-thirds of the participants in sport fishing being male.

Geographically, the South and North Central regions of the country have the largest and most frequent fresh water sport fishing activity followed by the Western and Northeastern areas of the country. The objectives are to select the media which prove to be the most cost efficient and to design hard-hitting advertising to assure the message will reach the target audiences with sufficient frequency to provide memorability.

Further objectives include selecting media which will synergistically support the creative strategy and create a media mix which will allow each medium to exercise its full potential to generate sales and deliver the sales message in a stimulating manner. According to our experience and thorough research, we will evaluate radio as a primary medium. It is a semi-intrusive medium offering very distinct advantages, one of which is to sharply define a demographic target without excessive spillover.

By carefully researching station formats and audience analysis figures, we can reach predetermined age and income levels of potential purchasers. We will also evaluate print because this medium will strategically support radio and can offer the opportunity to effectively segment the market both demographically and psycho-graphically at reasonable costs. The use of magazines that focus on trade and consumer, and local newspapers will maximize the print effort. Television, too, will be considered as it is a medium that works effectively at the highest level of intrusion and emotional stimulation.

This medium has an enviable track record for launching new products and is universally used to introduce broad consumption products and services. Weekly progress reports will be submitted to the individual appointed as our key contact, and a final presentation given to senior management at the conclusion of the project.

A thorough analysis of your market and of the media to reach that market will help to properly allocate your promotional budget to get the fullest utilization of your marketing dollars. This planned marketing approach will synergistically result in the fullest coverage and deepest penetration possible with your current budget.

Also, since we are one of the largest and oldest marketing firms specializing in the fishing industry, we have contracts with some of the popular magazines, radio and television stations. This enables us to negotiate the best media rates for our customers. We are pleased to offer the following quotations for the necessary work to be done. The costs for running on radio and television will be supplied once frequency and choice of broadcast stations is finalized. These spots can be completed within six days of final script approval.

The costs to produce two full-color, full-page ads to run in Fisherman Today and Sports Fishing magazine, a combined circulation of over 2. The time to complete the production of the print ads will be 4 weeks from approval of layout, copy and photography.

We will produce a series of six 30 second spots for television. Production can be started within seven days after receiving a signed purchase order and a check for payment of one third of the costs for each item included. We have been in the marketing and advertising industry for sixty-one years.

We know the industry as well as the market and are ready to help you get your market share. If you have any questions, whatsoever, please feel free to call me at It is in these situations that a concept paper can be used. Concept papers are an excellent marketing tool since they are relatively easy to prepare, inexpensive and well received by prospective clients.

If it is favorably received, it could lead to either an order or a request for a more formal proposal. This paper is usually between three and five pages in length, preceded by a one-page cover letter. It should convey that these are your initial thoughts after spending some time on the problem.

Unlike the proposal, the concept paper does not go into the full details for each of the key sections — concept papers utilize a significant amount of bulleted lists while proposals contain tables and lots of explanation text. But make no mistake.

The concept paper is an end-product in itself and is not intended to be modified, reworked or revised. When prepared correctly, a concept paper can get you the business you are going after without the cost and intense work of preparing a full blown proposal. As you know, we have been in the sports fishing and marine industry for over sixty years.

The company was started by my grandfather in in Australia. He moved the business to the United States in We know the industry, and we appreciate your problems and the need to garner more of a market share. The purpose of this paper is to provide an opportunity for us to examine closely our perception of your needs and present recommendations which can be easily implemented. I would like to thank you for giving J.

On the basis of the problems you have identified and your proposed methodology, you can describe what results can be expected from your research. But you can define the overall outcome that can be expected from your research. It is not mandatory to have a discussion section in your research proposal. However, if your institute prescribes it, you will of course have to include this section. In the discussion of your research proposal, you can connect data analysis and possible outcomes to the theory and questions that you have raised.

This will also be a good place to briefly explain the significance of your work. You will also find these articles useful:. Answered by Editage Insights on 04 Jun, This content belongs to the Conducting Research Stage. Confirm that you would also like to sign up for free personalized email coaching for this stage.

Recommended Courses. Planning to Write. Q: How to write the expected results and discussion in a research proposal? Answer Follow this Question. Answer: It is difficult for me to give specific inputs on your topic as I am not familiar with your area of research. You will also find these articles useful: How can I include a section about expected results while writing my proposal?

Avoiding rejection of grant proposals 9 Core parts every grant proposal must contain 10 Tips to write an effective research grant proposal. Answered by Editage Insights on 04 Jun, Resources for authors and journals.


It encapsulates the entire project so that the client can make an informed decision to choose you. Business proposals:. Regardless of how the prospect found you, you should have an introductory phone call to better acquaint yourself with them and understand what they are looking to achieve from paid advertising prior to drafting the proposal. You need to gather all of the information available to you so you can make accurate estimates, identify the context for presenting the scope of work, and be sure that you address the challenges, goals, and desired results of the project.

Here is a list of what kinds of information you should gather from an introductory phone call or meeting:. This may seem like common sense, but there are tons of folks out there who want to run paid marketing programs without a clearly defined goal. I try to ask this question in a number of ways in order to really get to what the prospect is looking for. Having a clear understanding between you and the prospect about what they want will help you manage expectations as well as define goals and benchmarks with them down the road.

This can also help you disqualify potentially risky clients. You will want to understand how much they are willing to spend on ads and whether that figure is scalable over time. Some agencies have fixed pricing models, whereas many independent contractors will be flexible in their pricing.

When I conduct introductory phone calls with prospects, I take into consideration what type of industry they are operating within. This plays a huge factor in which channels I will decide to build my strategy on as well as the level of difficulty the audience will be to market to.

If the offer has a complicated conversion path or high level of friction, this may cause issues down the road for you. Personally, I like to gather insight into the sophistication of their marketing operations. This includes everything from web development, automation, lead scoring, and inevitably how many members they have on the team.

Many of these can be put together over time, but I typically want some type of structure to be in place before I get started. Additional details in this regard are design and landing page support, as well as access to analytics. For many B2B prospects, the product or service that they offer inevitably has to be sold by an account representative or someone internally via a phone call or meeting.

A strong sales team is your best friend. Here are the six steps to producing a proposal that wins over your prospects. To start my proposals, I begin with a section that outlines the primary objectives that the prospect and myself are looking to achieve. I will typically include three overarching objectives for this section with short and long-term cadences. For example:. This section acts as somewhat of a summary of my strategy that will be included in more detail in the subsequent parts of the proposal.

These objectives are the end result of my determination on what the general strategy will be and how the clients goals will be achieved. I will include short and long-term objectives in this section as success over time will provide more opportunities.

In this section, I break down the details of my strategy into their respective parts. There are several steps to getting a prospect started with paid advertising that need to be addressed early on. Outside of these tasks, I will include more information on what we plan to do after the initial setup. This will include targeting strategies, promotional strategies, and the baseline costs.

I will go into detail about how I plan to pace the proposed budget number and what that will entail. In some cases, additional keyword research or other documents may be linked within here to give more transparency on the details of the strategy.

I also make it clear how performance will be reported and the cadence of check-in meetings. Overall, the structure of this section appears similar to this:. This page includes all of the access and additional reports or support design, etc. This makes it clear what the client has to do in order for us to begin working together.

This section is important because being straightforward about what you will need access to and why will prevent many future headaches you may face. I generally include three major requirements in this section:. This ensures that I have the tools I need in order to set up conversion tracking and place any pixels necessary. With Google Analytics access, this allows me to create goals related directly to the channel-specific conversions and, therefore, have an additional layer data and truth in my reporting.

In some instances, I will include a section that outlines the timeline of events in order to launch proposed campaigns. Generic proposals do not provide a clear or persuasive document. To ensure your proposal is as effective as possible, prepare, plan, write, and review with the audience in mind. Time spent understanding the reader will save time during the later proposal development stages.

A winning business proposal generally begins with an in-depth findings discussion call or meeting. If possible, the writer should directly engage with the client in a thoughtful and strategic conversation to understand their needs. This critical intelligence is collected through targeted questions asked with an open mind.

This broad discussion gathers concerns from the key stakeholders across the company. Client stakeholders may include an executive, a sales representative, or an office manager. You may have an established relationship with your client or it may require thoughtful outreach to a new potential client.

Your proposal is a response to their problem. Therefore, your writer or team must have a deep understanding of their concerns, needs, and wants. With a strong awareness of the problem, you can then propose a solution. This is the heart of the document. Your company has to pitch an offer that better suits the requirements of the client than any of your competitors. Your proposed solution should be effective, efficient, and valuable. And, each of these qualities has to be clarified within the discussion so that they can be communicated within the document.

What is the overall strategy? Which features make it more cost-effective? A proposal does not highlight how great your business is. This is one of the first things we teach in our proposal writing course. Incorporating the audience and the results of the findings discussion, you should critically analyze your solution.

Where do you add value? How do you uniquely resolve problems? Which aspects verify your trustworthiness? What impact will your solution have on their business? Have you worked and proven yourself before? Familiarity allows the proposal to be more refined and narrow, whereas a new client requires more detail as to your capacity to solve their problem. Your proposal will likely be reviewed with a series of competitors. Therefore, understanding what your competitors may offer will improve your own submission.

Some RFPs provide a list of all those companies who downloaded the proposal documents. Other times, your own understanding of your industry will indicate the likely competitors who will also be submitting. Refine your proposal plan so that it is more appealing than your competitors. It has to be organized to make a coherent and compelling document. We recommend using a mind map tool. It allows you to capture all of the ideas, and their relationships, that need to be incorporated into one visual layout.

There are lots of online programs that facilitate capturing these ideas through a digital platform. FreeMind is a free, open-source Mind Map tool that takes only ten minutes to learn. Another favorite tool is MindMeister , which offers a freemium model and an easy to understand interface. Best of all, MindMeister allows collaboration between team members in real-time, for free. Using a mind map will ensure you collect all the vital concepts. Then, you can organize them into the core structure of a proposal document.

This organization is especially valuable when collaborating with a team in proposal development. There is a range of formats and styles for preparing a proposal. The outline below is the content order that we have tested as most effective. Remember how important the audience is? Imagine what sort of title they would like to read. The title is the first line of your document, so it should make a strong first impression. It should be client appropriate and persuasive.

It can be composed at the end of the writing stage. That may even be a better time to title the document as the writing process may inspire the perfect title. The executive summary should be exactly that: a summary for a busy executive.

It should synthesize all of the key information of the proposal. This information is presented in a compelling and digestible way so that an executive can quickly understand the entire proposal. The summary should be persuasive, clear, and include only concepts from the proposal. No new information introduced here! We have an entire course see other courses here dedicated to how to write an executive summary. You can view the executive summary writing course here.

This section dives into the client's problem and your solution. It may or may not take the shape of a full analysis. The depth of analysis depends on the specific proposal. Some clients may have already clarified their exact problem. Others may simply have a goal or KPI Key Performance Indicator they want to meet and are unsure of their current barrier. Whether brief or in-depth, the first goal is to indicate your knowledge of the problem. The client needs to feel their issues are understood to trust that a proposed solution will be successful.

Your bid should then neatly and effectively resolve their problem. Clarify how each facet or stage of your proposed strategy will add to the overall solution. The reader should be able to draw a straight line from your solution to their problem. Use specific and jargon-free terminology to outline your offer. No matter how technical the solution is, the writing must be accessible and audience-focused.

In the engineer services example, the document would be written differently if the reader, i. This section also defines the scope of the solution. For example, a website revamp may include the site design, graphics, and hosting, but does not include developing the copy or images. A proposal can offer additional services beyond requested ones if your experience deems it valuable to the client.

It is an opportunity to show your knowledge of successful implementation and the potential to increase the budget. Most importantly though, clarifying the scope will ensure both parties are on the same page, alleviating future misunderstandings. The deliverables should be clearly identified as to what the client will expect to receive or have accomplished.

These should be specific. Never over- or under-promise. The timeline indicates the client when the deliverables will be completed. The timeline may be strict, based on client specifications. It may be flexible, based on your anticipated timeline or contingent on the offer acceptance date.

Each deliverable should have a timeline associated with it. This information will give context to the client on time requirements of each item and how quickly the proposed work can be completed. Having a clearly defined and realistic timeline is key. Often projects take longer than expected. Make sure to identify potential weaknesses of the timeline and address them directly. A detailed timeline will show a clear understanding of the project scope and implementation.

Clarity is critical because timely deliverables typically delineate the contract and your payment. Your client should have a clear expectation of the end product s so that they know when the agreement has been fulfilled and they can happily send payment.

Confusion over deliverables can result in awkward conversations or even strained relationships, which are better avoided entirely through specificity at the proposal stage. The all-important budget. Some readers will skip through the document and read the budget first, then return to the rest.

Therefore, it should be accurate, competitive, and easy to understand. While both project and hourly budgets are common, we recommend using a fixed-price quote where feasible. Hourly projects can be difficult for a client to estimate for overruns. No matter which type of budget, the total bid value should be broken down into smaller items.

This one number may seem reasonable to some clients and shocking to others. To ensure all clients understand the number, break down the costs. The additional details allow the client to understand your solution and your value. Separating the costs also allows clients to understand higher investment areas. Your overall proposal should support each budget item by a clear client benefit.

This order keeps the audience in mind. The proposal tells the story of why your solution is the best, and the About Us section is the compelling last line, not the opener. You can be creative in this section. It should provide contact information, background on your company, the key personnel on the project.

It can also include previous statistics, case studies, or sample work that would provide convincing evidence of past success stories in similar projects. Graphics can make it easier for the reader to understand your proposal. They can also be so poorly designed or flashy that they detract from the project proposal. Graphics can help make a positive first impression. If there is a graphic designer at your company, you should ask them for advice before you start writing.

They may have a template or guidelines to follow. Understanding the difference between good and bad graphics can be challenging. Tufte, a statistician and professor emeritus of political science, statistics, and computer science at Yale University, has spent his career studying the most effective way to communicate data. Graciously, he has condensed his knowledge into four guidelines for visual information representation :.

Graphical Excellence To produce a document that employs graphic excellence, it must be useful. Tufte emphasizes the transformation of data and information into a form that is most accessible to the audience. Your proposal should be aesthetically pleasing to the reader, while allowing the reader to quickly interpret its contents. Examples: Employ a font that is both beautiful and legible. Never use a font that looks sleek but obscures the text, making the proposal more difficult to read.

Beautiful visuals tell a great story. Tufte reminds us that this story must still be true. This removal may or may not be intentional, but it results in an inaccurate document. Ensure you maintain the integrity of your work through the entire proposal development process, including in the graphical representation. Examples: Select graphics photographs, images, charts, etc. Do not use a photograph or stock image of a deliverable that is not your own or that you cannot reproduce.

Great graphics do more with less. Tufte highlights this concept through a unique ratio of data-to-ink. His guidance is to incorporate as much data as possible in the least amount of ink. By maximizing the ratio, more information can be conveyed to the reader in less space. This level of graphic communication requires additional effort on the part of the writer.

However, the payoff can be significant when your client instantly understands the value you provide through your graphics. Examples: Transform data in a paragraph of text or a data table into a graphic representation. Analyze the data to include vital data and remove the extraneous. Tufte is not calling for the most beautiful graphics.

Tufte is calling for the most effectively simple graphics. As a writer, you have to digest a lot of information and present it most effectively. Text, graphs, tables, photographs, and icons are all tools to communicate your message. Use the most persuasive tool to ensure your client is captivated and excited to work with you.

Example: Replace a lengthy explanatory paragraph with a graphic or photograph of your previous work. The fine print falls at the end. Many companies have standard proposal terms and conditions to insert. Other companies may not require this information as the details will be negotiated upon selection.

The client and the industry will define the content included in this section. You can read a critique of our favorite proposal templates in this blog post. Online proposal software is growing in availability and popularity. There is a range of providers who bring the in-house template into the online space. This format allows for cloud-based proposal editing, pre-designed templates, and interactive proposals. We reviewed and tested many proposal software tools.

After deep reviews, we preferred Qwilr and Proposify. We use and recommend Proposify for our proposals and it has reduced our time on each proposal, creates a very attractive proposal, and the reporting metrics help sales enormously. Qwilr is a good product but geared toward visual presentation, so this is the ideal tool if your services would benefit from a more visual presentation — real estate management, architecture, retail, food service, etc. The formatting of the downloaded PDF distorts so this tool is best only if your clients will be fully viewing the proposal online, not as a PDF file.

Proposify contains a document library of sections that can be updated and reused, saving much time while still creating a truly custom, tailored proposal. Proposify supports videos, formatting enhancements, and variable pricing. Additionally, reports indicate the number of times and the duration that proposal sections were viewed, which provides invaluable sales insight. In addition to a web view, Proposify downloads a clean PDF version of the proposal.

This is the proposal software tool we use. Here is a video that shows the reporting functions of Proposify:.

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Image Caption. Technology upgrades and new solutions Operating and capital budget requests New ventures, products, programs, projects, operations and services Reorganizations as a result of mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, etc. Make Your Idea the Centerpiece The content of your business proposal is the most important feature of the document. Here are the six steps for writing a business proposal that engages readers and drives positive action: Title your proposal with words that clearly communicate what it is.

Readers should have no questions about the idea you are conveying. Begin with a brief summary —a few short bullet points—that outline what your proposal is for and the problem it will solve, the justification for why it's needed, the requisite financial and business resources, and the projected hopefully positive impact on the organization.

This section will allow someone to quickly learn about your proposal, so be certain that you give plenty of thought to every word you write. This is your primary opportunity to capture your reader's attention. Write a comprehensive narrative about your proposal, focusing on the current situation, the problem or issue that you want to solve or the opportunity you want to take advantage of, and your proposed actions and recommendations. Note that comprehensive does not mean pages of content as you'll read further in this article.

Yes, you want to be complete, but do not overload your readers with information they don't need. Give detailed information about the impact of your proposal on the department, organization, division, company, workforce or other entity. Some of these impacts may be quantifiable e. A clear outline of each impact is an essential component of your proposal and what will often be the determining factor in whether or not your proposal is approved.

Be honest about resource requirements. Just about any proposal is going to have resource requirements—money, technology or personnel. State all of your requirements as you anticipate them now so that you lessen the potential for surprises during the initiative. Rarely are surprises of that nature good. Sell yourself. With just a short paragraph or two, or a few bullet points, be certain to tell your reader why you're the best person to launch and manage what you've proposed.

It might be that your proposal is great and everyone is on board, but they select someone else to handle it. Share information about your qualifications, achievements, knowledge of the company, and connections with the company that positions you as the person to take the helm.

Don't assume they know; tell them! Keep It Succinct and Write It Tight Whether you're writing a two-page proposal to justify a new hire or a page proposal for a large investment in HRIS technology, you want to write tight, lean and clean to enhance readability. Here are a few recommendations for how to write tight, lean and clean.

Use: Short paragraphs that are no longer than three to four lines each. If longer, split into two paragraphs so that readers more easily capture the information. Short lists of bullet points with no more than four to six bullets in each section. Short content within your bullet points, working to keep each bullet to one to three lines. If the content in the bullet points is longer than that, be sure to double space between each of the bullet, again for a visual break for your readers.

If it makes your proposal a page longer, let it be long and readable versus uninviting and unreadable. Be certain to include the name of the proposal or a shortened title and a page number along with the logo to create a professional presentation. Enhance your headings and titles so they look great and make the proposal easy to scan. Use a larger, bold font than what you use for the text—maybe even in color as we discuss below.

If sections are long, consider using an attractive line to visually separate each section. Word gives you lots of line choices, so pick something distinctive. Use color for the corporate logo and, conservatively, throughout the rest of the proposal for headings, titles, images, lines, boxes and any other graphics you might integrate. Page endings are important since you don't want a new heading and only two lines of text at the bottom of one page and the rest of that section on the next page.

It doesn't look professional and interrupts the flow. If that happens, insert a hard page break so that the new section will start at the top of a new page. If all of your sections happen to be three-quarters to a full page, then you might want to consider starting each section on a new page.

Otherwise, let it run as a continuous document, except in instances where hard breaks are recommended. Save your proposal as a PDF file. Even though you're most likely sending your proposals to someone in the same company with the same computer software and version of Word, you never know how pages are going to display on the recipient's end.

Easy solution: Save the final file as a PDF, and then you're certain to have pages break display as you intend. Integrate Essential Keywords You may be keenly aware of the importance of keywords in resumes and job search , but have you ever thought about their value to other business documents? Communication Business Acumen. You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.

OK My Bookmarks. Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark. Done correctly, project proposals provide a way to get your ideas noticed, funded, and approved. They take on many forms, but are often a document that helps you sell a potential project to a boss or outside entity that has the power to deny or approve a project. Project proposals can be either internal or external, long or short, formal or informal. However, all project proposals have two things in common: They take time to write and require attention to detail.

In this article, you will learn about the different types of project proposals, what makes a good project proposal, and the basics of how to write one. A project proposal is a way to present a detailed description of how you or your organization plan to solve a certain problem.

It includes a list of activities that should be implemented and the associated costs. Project proposals also highlight why your solution to the problem is the best and why the approver should choose it. Project proposals provide an outline of what a project will accomplish, what it will deliver, how long it will take, the resources it will use, and the budget it will require. All project proposals are unique, but use a similar format. They all highlight a problem, a solution, a timetable, and a budget.

The science is what you must include in a proposal, and the art is putting your own stamp on it by including the items that will help you win, Harris explains. Smartsheet is a cloud-based platform that allows teams and organizations to plan, manage, and report on projects, helping you move faster and achieve more. See Smartsheet in action.

Watch a free demo. Project proposals are a way to begin formal communication between a person or company and a stakeholder who wants to accomplish something. Often, they lead to the development of a contract or a plan to complete certain tasks. The proposal highlights a solution to a specific need and is a preliminary blueprint to coordinate all of the elements of a project.

It provides the structure for what the project will look like and aligns the necessary resources. Most business that comes into a company comes through a proposal. Usually, companies do not just offer new work to other companies. They also need to prove themselves, and that requirement is generally achieved through a proposal process, Harris explains. There are many different types of project solicitations: from within companies, from non-governmental organizations NGOs , for government grants, from private companies, from foundations, and many others.

Each type differs in how they are solicited, accepted, reviewed, and awarded. Some are formal solicitations outlining what a customer or funder wants. With these kinds of requests, there is usually a request for proposal RFP , which formalizes the application process and outlines the format of the proposal. For these types of proposals, the submission process is often highly structured. More informal solicitations for proposals can result from a conversation or some contact between two parties.

Sometimes, the process for submitting this type of proposal can be as simple as sending an email attachment. Other proposals are unsolicited, kind of like making a cold call. Since nobody has asked for them, unsolicited proposals are often difficult to write because there are no specific guidelines for convincing a funder or approver that they need what you provide.

No matter the type of solicitation, it should accomplish the same basic things. Is it a good value? Can they actually deliver? He has more than 35 years of experience writing many kinds of proposals, has written several books, and trains others in proposal writing.

Just as there are different types of solicitations for proposals, there are also different types of project proposals, and they vary by industry. Below are the major categories of proposals:. Download Template in Word. Try Smartsheet Template. Here are some additional statement of work templates to ensure you include the necessary information and use the correct format.

For more details about writing a statement of work, see this article. No matter what type of project proposal you are writing, there are some basics to keep in mind: Know your audience and who will be reviewing the proposal. Different people understand different things, and the language and terms you use could impact the approval of your proposal. If someone does not understand the project and what it will accomplish, they are unlikely to approve it.

Everything in the proposal needs a reason to be there. It should be relevant, organized, and stated succinctly and precisely. The RFP or other solicitation should outline requirements and guidelines for proposals. The level of detail varies. For instance, some government grant applications specify the number of pages, the font, the font size, and the size of the margins.

Sant has some general guidelines about how to structure a project proposal. Structuring your document this way shows the reader that you understand the project and know how to execute. Keep in mind that different people might be reviewing different sections. Depending on the type of proposal or the RFP, the corresponding sections might have different names, but their functions are similar.

Basically, the proposal needs to identify a problem, outline a solution for that problem, show why the solution is necessary, provide a budget, and profile who will do the work within a specific time frame. Here are the basic sections of a proposal as well as several possible titles for each section :.

He suggests using the section headings listed in the RFP or creating a standard for your company. The executive summary section is like an elevator pitch, generally mentioning the problem, solution, and timeline. The purpose of the section is to get the attention of the reader. The statement of the problem section puts the project and problem into context and shows why the project you are proposing is necessary.

In the solution section, you explain how you will solve the problem. The remaining sections explain the budget and evaluation methods. In the rationale section of a project proposal, you show why you have the best solution to a particular problem. The rationale section is sometimes called the project background because it is where you explain why the project you are proposing is necessary. The section often includes evidence, data, and examples.

This section analyzes the problem, illustrates why your organization understands the problem, and demonstrates why your organization is the best choice for addressing that problem. Sometimes, the rationale even mentions other work being done in the area. Writing project proposals is not something to take lightly. Your future might depend on whether or not someone approves or funds your project. Plan ahead for writing a project proposal.

Clear your schedule and focus. Know who will be writing the proposal. Will it be one person or several people? Who will edit the final proposal, so it has one voice and a consistent message? Is someone gathering all of the information and data you need? Gather your resources and know what you need.

Set timelines and assign tasks. Be realistic about what you can accomplish and in what time frame. Make sure you know and respect the specific requirements for the proposal, especially deadlines. Often, if a proposal is due at pm EST on a Friday, some people turn it in on Monday morning, thinking the deadline is not important. Being late disqualifies the proposal. If you miss the deadline for turning in a proposal, why should I think you will meet the deadlines in the proposal?

When you are almost ready to write, outline the proposal and get peer feedback during this and other stages of writing the project proposal. Use headers for the sections of the proposal, since some people pan and scan it. If there are charts, images, or graphs, make sure they look good.

Gruff words are the confusing and large words often used in academic and legal documents, and they do not impress a reader. Sentences should be 15 to 18 words. Sant says weasel words are the ones writers often use to camouflage uncertainty. That uncertainty comes across to the reader, leaving them to wonder if the project will work or not.

Examples of weasel phrases are may, could, and might. In case different people review different sections of the proposal, make sure each section can stand alone. Harris suggests looking for ways to make the proposal visually appealing, like using charts, graphics, timelines, and diagrams. Think about what success will look like after the project is finished and make sure that positivity gets into the proposal itself.

A project plan, also known as a project management plan , is similar to a project proposal. It contains both the scope of a project and the objectives it will achieve. It is not meant to be a day-to-day calendar of tasks, but rather an overall planning tool to keep you and your team on track to achieve the stated end results.

The overall advice for writing a project proposal is similar to that for writing a project plan:. Often, a Gantt chart will make it simple for anyone interested in the plan to understand what it will accomplish and how. Each section has a specific purpose.

Keep in mind that there are many possible names for the sections. The RFP or industry standards should tell you which ones to use for your proposal. You might not use all of them, you might combine them, or you might even add additional sections. Here is an overview of the sections in a proposal:.

Writing a project plan is similar to writing a project proposal in the sense that it has several sections outlining what will happen, how it will happen, how long it will take, how much it will cost, and how it will be evaluated. It provides a type of roadmap for a project. Some organizations use the terms project plan and project proposal interchangeably. However, there can be some key differences.

A major difference is that a project plan can change over the course of the project. It is a plan and sets the course, but it can go off-script. Focused on the need to convince approvers to take action can include emotional appeal.

Sometimes, a manager or potential client just wants a brief proposal outlining what you want to do and how you want to do it. Often, this type of proposal comes after a conversation or discussion where one party asks the other for more detailed information about an idea.

These kinds of proposals include the same information as the longer ones, but are presented in a much more succinct format. No matter what kind of proposal you write, it is important to get feedback. Look for weaknesses in your arguments and address them before submitting your proposal.

Have someone else read it to make sure that it makes sense and that the key points come across. If you have questions, some funders allow them before submission. Do what you can to separate yourself from your competitors. With some government grants, submitting involves uploading files to a database and waiting. Sometimes, you just email a proposal to a potential client. Other times, you will need to formally present your proposal. In general, a proposal should never surprise a client.

The submission should come after some initial contact or a request for proposal. In a sense, the document is a summary of your previous contact and conversations. No matter how you present your proposal, make sure you reinforce that you are delivering a value to them, not just selling them a product or service. You have a identified a problem that you think needs a solution, and you are the one to provide that solution. Many medium-sized and large companies have proposal writers on staff who write proposals full-time.

Some smaller companies do not have that luxury. But, he needed to learn.