22 Mar

As the business landscape grows increasingly competitive, crafting a professional and effective proposal has become essential for success in securing new clients. While I specialize in government RFP responses, I've recently ventured into designing private proposals and am excited to share some valuable insights for creating proposals that win clients beyond the government.Here are some tips for your proposals:

  1. Be customer focused: Make sure that your proposal addresses the client's needs rather than simply focusing on your own capabilities. Think about what the client is looking for and how you can help them achieve their goals. Make sure you address all the things they are looking for instead of focusing on your company.
  2. Showcase your experience: Provide examples of similar projects that you have completed in the past, highlighting your experience and expertise in the area. If possible, highlight past work experience that is similar to the scope of work you are applying for. Use customer quotes as a way to provide social proof.
  3. Prioritize readability: In order to create an effective proposal, it is crucial to strike a balance between providing detail and being concise. Using clear, straightforward language and avoiding overly technical jargon can help ensure that your proposal is easily readable. Utilizing the Editor function in Microsoft Word can be a useful tool, as it provides a readability score on the Flesch-Kincaid Scale. While some may be tempted to aim for a higher grade level, experts suggest that a score between 7 and 9 is ideal for most proposals, similar to the reading level of newspapers and magazines. Ultimately, the proposal should aim to communicate ideas effectively and comprehensibly, without overwhelming or confusing the reader.
  4. Use graphics: Incorporating carefully selected and well-designed graphics in proposals can significantly enhance their effectiveness and visual appeal, providing greater clarity and depth of understanding.
  5. Use an editor / proofreader: To ensure effective communication, it is important to remember that writing and speaking are two distinct modes of expression. I used to wonder why certain writing styles strongly displeased me, but as I learned more about writing and editing, I came to realize that it was often the absence of proper grammar, syntax, and awful sentence structures that hindered my understanding and enjoyment of the text. Editors do much more than just spellcheck, and employing a real human or making use of online resources (e.g., quillbot) ensures that your message is received.
  6. Be timely: Respecting deadlines is critical in the world of government contracting. From a private client perspective, timeliness shows that you value and respect your future clients time. 

The purpose of this article is to provide readers with the necessary tools to develop effective, aesthetically pleasing proposals that are both comprehensible and engaging. In my experience working on private proposals, I have observed that a well designed proposal can be a significant driver of new business and revenue. If you are looking for help with your own proposals, please reach out to me at allison@jametec.com

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