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A well-written business proposal can lead to the difference between winning or losing a prospective client. Know the tips to keep on mind while writing a business proposal.
A project proposal is a key project management document. If you aren’t familiar with project proposals, they are concise but comprehensive documents describing a proposed project. If you browse through project proposal examples online, you’ll see that they encompass things like project background, project approach, key deliverables & benefits, a rough timeline, and budgetary information.
Whether solicited or unsolicited, the project proposal is one of the best tools to land the projects you want. Writing great project proposals takes practice, but you can do a few things to make it easier.
We’ve curated a list of the top five things you should never omit when writing a business project proposal. If you keep these criteria in mind, you’ll be sure to avoid some easy mistakes and put together a high-quality end document. Keep reading to find out what they are and get equipped to produce some truly excellent business project proposals in the near future.
1. Content that’s aligned with your reader
First things first, be sure to fill your project proposal with content that aligns with and will speak to your reader. After all, your project proposal’s reader will most likely be the person (or one of the people) who ultimately approves your team working on the project… or not. Owing to this, it’s important to remember that your project proposal can serve as a marketing and management tool.
The better you know your project proposal’s audience, the more successful your project proposal will be. To get to know the reader, integrate key questions and take note of their role and seniority in your communications before you deliver the project proposal. You can also ask if you have any professional connections in common or look them up on LinkedIn.
The most important things to consider when familiarizing yourself with your reader are their seniority and/or position in the company, the size of their company, their level of experience with your project’s subject matter, and their interests. That way, you can tailor the language and content in your project proposal to them, so they won’t feel bored or confused when presented with it.
Remember, your readers should feel informed, impressed, and excited about your project after reading their proposal, so give them the right tools to get there.
2. Proof that shows why you’re the right person for the project
When you’re writing your project proposal, it’s time to set yourself apart from the crowd. In all likelihood, several other people could do the job instead of you. Your task is to show your client why you and your team are perfect for the job and will ultimately make the project successful.
However, simply telling your client why they should choose to go with your project proposal won’t necessarily be enough. Especially if they haven’t worked with you before, you’ll need to prove that you’ll do a good job and instill confidence in your professional relationship.
It might sound silly to talk about proof, but here are some ways you can prove you’re the best person for the job in your project proposal:
● Show that you understand your client’s business and industry.
● Show that you’re familiar with your client’s company and are impressed with their success.
● Mention other similar projects you have led or worked on and how you played a part in their success.
● Mention your, your company’s, or your team’s qualifications and experience related to the project.
● Bring something new to the table. If your client is comparing multiple proposals, include something in yours that will make it stand out as a fresh perspective.
● Propose a budget that’s informed, realistic and fair.
● Make it clear that you’re willing to work with your client closely and care about the success of their project.
3. Persuasive, strong copy
Good writing skills go hand in hand with putting together an excellent project proposal. To leave a great impression on your reader, you’ll need to use strong, persuasive, and, most importantly, clear language.
Expressing yourself might seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked in writing project management documents. Make sure you write clearly and concisely. Don’t use any overcomplicated words or long sentences. If you’re using jargon or industry-specific terminology, ensure your reader is familiar with it.
However, copy clarity also extends to other areas. For example, you should ensure that your formatting is organized and easy to read. It’s also a great idea to use bullet points when you can. Keep a brief summary, contact information, key points, and other essential details towards the top of your document. That way, it can be referred to at a glance if necessary.
When discussing persuasion, we’re referring to more than just the language you use. Of course, this is important. However, you’re ultimately writing a project proposal to convince a client to choose you. To achieve this, persuade them to pick you by highlighting the benefits your project approach will bring to the table. Be specific in how you and your team will bring value to your client’s business and help enrich their brand.
4. Honest cost & budgetary information
Money is what makes the world go around. In all likelihood, the cost is one of the main factors your reader will look at when comparing project proposals. To make your client’s decision-making process easy, you must include honest cost and budgetary information in your project proposal.
There are many sections to a fully fleshed-out project budget, but at the proposal stage, you can keep things concise and simply cover the most important points. That is, how much the project will cost and why.
You should explain your project approach and all the steps that encompass it to your reader. Then, outline what the associated costs will be throughout the project stages and provide justification for them. No matter your project's budget, it’s key that your client understands what they’re paying for and why it’s important to make the project successful.
Additionally, avoid quoting too high or too low as much as possible. Don’t be tempted to send a low quote to get the job if you don’t think you can produce great work with that budget. Similarly, don’t throw out a high number without solid reasons to back up the cost.
5. An initial project timeline
Lastly, including a rough timeline in your business project proposal is a great idea. Although it’s not necessary to go overboard with details at this point, it’s helpful if you give your reader an idea of the following things:
● The different phases of your project and how long they will take
● An estimate of how long the project will take overall
● Their role in the different phases of your project
● Any resources that may be necessary to procure
This information is great for decision-makers because it helps them determine how your project approach will fit in with their plans. It also helps with scheduling because they’ll get a rough idea of when they can expect different deliverables and finished products. Timelines vary greatly from business to business, so this is yet another way to set yourself apart from the crowd.
As mentioned, if your client needs to do any specific organization or resource procurement before the project begins, it’s also good to communicate this before you get started to keep everything transparent and efficient from the get-go.
You’re ready to get your project proposal together
Business project proposals are essential tools for securing the projects you want, whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner or work for a larger organization. Writing great project proposals is a skill it takes time and experience to hone, but there are little things you can do when getting started to ensure that your project proposal will be a success.
When writing your project proposal, ensure that it includes content that aligns with your reader, proof that shows why you’re the right person for the job, persuasive copy, clear budgetary information, and a proposed project timeline. These are great tips that even seasoned professionals get wrong, so keep them in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to writing a great project management document.
Last but not least, if you’re just getting started and want guidance, various project proposal templates can help you with your first steps. Happy writing!
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