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How to Write a Business Proposal That Wins

You've been given the task and now you're wondering how to write a proposal. What is a proposal, anyway? At its core, there's a need. And there's a solution. That's the basis of a proposal, which can be as short as a one-page letter or over a hundred pages long.

As a proposal writer, sometimes you're the party with the need, like when you write a proposal seeking a loan, a grant or some other form of support. At other times, you're the one with the solution, like when you write a proposal offering products, services, or ideas that the other party needs or wants.

So obviously, statements of needs and descriptions of the solutions are major parts of all proposals. Sometimes the needs are stated in detail in a Request for Proposal (RFP), in which case you as the proposal writer will respond to each item in the RFP, in the format requested. At other times, you'll need to convince the proposal reader that there is a need and that you have the solution, and the format of the information will be completely up to you.

How to Write a Proposal - Phase One: Plan It

Creating a complex proposal can seem a bit overwhelming, but using a pre-designed proposal kit with a number of checklists to help you stay on track is useful. You can print these out and check off the steps as you work your way through the proposal writing process.

The first step is to get organized and do your research. Who will read this proposal? Get all the data you can on your prospective client or donor. Who are your competitors? You want to beat their presentations. Gather all the data you need for your pitch, too--any important history, contact information, schedules, website links, photos, product descriptions, and so forth.

The second step is to decide what you want to say in your proposal. You need to introduce yourself and describe your capabilities, products, or plans. Be specific, and if possible, mention awards or recommendations from others to add credibility.

How to Write a Proposal - Phase Two: Get All the Data in There and Make It Perfect

Next, decide on chapters for your proposal that cover the topics you've decided to include. A wizard type of assembly program will help you assemble all the needed chapters into a single proposal document.

Now that you have the structure in place, take all your gathered content and flesh out the pages of your proposal, filling in the blanks, generating estimates, describing financial information, and so forth. Each template has instructional information to guide you, and you can use the included financial calculator spreadsheets to help figure costs, budgets and other numerical information.

Next comes the review stage. Use spell check, but don't assume it can catch all errors. Have others check your proposal for grammar and spelling errors or for missing or misplaced information. This is particularly important if you copy content from samples or past proposals for a discussion of the risks of copying).

How to Write a Proposal - Phase Three: Send It and Then Follow Up

Now that you've perfected your masterpiece, create the final distribution copy. Print it out or convert it to PDF for delivery. Do one last final check and then send it on its way.

Whew! You're done, right? Not quite. If you don't hear back from your prospective client or funder, you need to follow up. If you receive a negative response, analyze what went wrong and ask for an opportunity to resubmit an improved proposal.

If you landed the job or won the grant, odds are that you'll need to complete other documents such as contracts, work orders, non-disclosure agreements, change orders, development milestone sign-offs, just to name a few.

Now you know the basics of how to write a proposal. That means you know the basics of how to write a business proposal, how to write a grant proposal, and how to write a sales proposal. Each proposal type simply includes different information to establish credibility and provide the data that the client or donor needs.

No matter what type of proposal or business document you need to produce, using a pre-designed proposal kit package including the templates, samples, and instructions you need will help you succeed.

About Author Ian Lauder :

Ian Lauder has been helping small businesses and freelancers write their proposals and contracts for over a decade. => For more tips and best practices when writing your business proposals and legal contracts visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

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Article Added on Saturday, May 17, 2014
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