Now you may be thinking: Uh-oh, I've written business letters, but I've never written a business proposal. Don't fret! Proposal writing is simpler than you think. Basically, you need to introduce yourself, explain what you're proposing and why, describe any costs involved, and convince that boss or prospective client that you can be trusted to fulfill the promises you make. You can find lots of advice on the Internet and in special proposal writing packages like Proposal Kit. Starting with a proposal product like this can speed up the process by giving you pre-designed templates and lots of samples you can learn from to create your own winning proposal.
If you are pitching your idea or services to multiple parties, the one thing you do not want to do is send out a general form letter along with a standard brochure or stack of resumes. That sort of 'one size fits all' approach cannot substitute for a real proposal. The goal of a proposal is to persuade the client or boss to endorse your idea and let you do the job. To succeed at convincing them, you need to focus your message to a specific situation, gain their trust and show them that you know what you're talking about and can deliver what they need.
In proposal writing, your first step should always be to gather information about the party who will judge your proposal. That's because you want to present a proposal tailored to that party's specific needs and knowledge level. In other words, you need to put yourself in the other party's shoes and look at the situation from that party's point of view. If you are pitching to your boss or your company executives, you might already understand their positions and their concerns. But if you are pitching to people at another company, then you will need to do a bit of work researching who they are, what they do, and what their needs are. Yes, that research can take a bit of effort, but putting in that effort makes your proposal much more likely to succeed.
After you collect the basic facts about the party you are pitching to, writing the proposal will be a fairly straightforward process. All proposals follow a similar four-section structure: 1) introduction, 2) summary of the situation and needs, followed by 3) descriptions of the idea or the goods, personnel, or services you are offering, including relevant details and costs. Then you conclude with 4) all the information you need to persuade the proposal reader to trust you, such as your experience, credentials, and capabilities.
The introduction section is the shortest. Start out with a Cover Letter and a Title Page. Keep the Cover Letter brief: simply write a personal introduction to explain who you are and provide your contact information. The Title Page should be exactly what it sounds like: a title that introduces your proposal and provides a clear message about the ideas and/or services you are pitching. Some examples might be "Proposal to Create a New Executive Assistant Position", "Proposed Temporary Services to Benefit the Stuart Corporation", "Executive Search Services Proposed for Jameson Company", or "Suggested Candidates for the Vice President Position".
After the Cover Letter and Title Page, add topic pages to show that you understand the position and needs of your boss or prospective client. If your proposal is complex, you might need to begin this section with a brief summary-a page or two that states the most important points you will describe in detail in the following pages. This sort of summary is called an Executive Summary for corporate clients or a Client Summary in a less formal proposal. Your goal in this section is to describe the needs, goals, and desires of your client (i.e., the person who will make the decision about whether or not to accept your proposal). This is not yet the place to talk about what you want to offer. In this section, you must demonstrate that you understand the other party's position and requirements.
Following the client-centered section, it's your turn to describe your ideas and what you are offering. You might need to add pages with titles like Resume, Compensation Package, Salary, Bonuses, Services Provided, Human Resources, Job Description, Cost Summary, Job Creation, Personnel, Key Positions, Competitiveness-the topics you select for this section will depend on what you are proposing. Include everything you need to describe your ideas and/or services and any associated costs and benefits. Finally, at the end of this all-about-your-ideas section, you must convince your proposal readers that you can deliver everything you've promised. To do this, you can add pages like Experience, Testimonials, References, Company History or About Us, Our Clients, Awards, References, Credentials, and so forth. Your goal here is to wrap up your proposal by persuading your readers that you have absolute credibility and are trustworthy.
Okay, now you've written the proposal. The finish line is in sight, but you're still not quite done. Take some time to make your proposal visually appealing. You might want to incorporate your company logo, use colored borders, or employ special bullet points and fonts. Just make sure that any added graphic touches match your style and the tone of your proposal.
Don't forget to spell-check and proofread every page. For the final check, it's a good idea to recruit a proofreader who hasn't read your proposal before. It's way too easy to miss errors in your own work.
Then, deliver your polished proposal. Save it in a PDF file or print it out, or both. The best delivery method for you depends on your relationship with the party who will receive your proposal. It's common to attach PDF files to email these days, but for your situation, it might be most impressive to hand-deliver a nicely printed and signed proposal.
In summary, you can see that the specialized topics in an employment-related proposal will vary depending on the situation, your goal, and the needs of your boss or prospective client. But now you know that all proposals follow a similar format and structure. And remember that you don't have to start from scratch: you can find all the templates you need in Proposal Kit. The templates contain explanations and examples of the information specific pages should contain; they will guide you in writing and formatting your proposal sections.
In addition to hundreds of templates, Proposal Kit includes a wide variety of sample proposals, many of which are employment-related. For example, there's a sample proposal for temporary services, a sample that pitches the idea of opening a new sales office with new staff, and a sample proposing a job-share situation, just to name a few. The sample proposals in Proposal Kit will spark your imagination and help you efficiently create your own winning proposal.