Thursday, November 20, 2008

Creating a business proposal template

One of the common questions I get asked and some of the commonest proposal related search queries are about proposal templates. Everyone wants a proposal template...preferably free! Well, I have some news there...soon I will be making a free simple proposal template available via the Learn to Write Proposals website. My other news is that I'm going to give you  the steps you need to make your own proposal template and use it effectively.

A good proposal template is useful because, even if it changes later, it gives you the initial structure that you need to insert your content. It's also useful because if your template really is good, then it will save you an awful lot of time and problems with formatting at a later date.

So here's what you need to do to create your proposal template. These are pretty much the same steps whether or not you use MS Word or OpenOffice Writer:

Open up a new document and name it straight away (as a template file, not a document file)
Set up the styles for each proposal element. How to do this? Simple go to the menu, select styles and formatting and edit the properties of the element that you need to change.

Here's an example. How do you want each section heading to look? Write some text (for example ("Executive Summary") in your word document, then adjust the Font, shading, border, indent - anything that you want to make the heading look like you would want it in your proposal. 

Then in the Styles and Formatting bar, click on the style (Use Heading 1) and click on "update to match selection". The style is then just like you have created it. 

Do this for again for heading 2, heading 3, normal, bulleted and numbered. I fact any other proposal element that you night need. Remember to set the numbering for the heading styles-  X for heading 1, X.X for heading 2 and X.X.X for heading 3.

Next think about front page look - and create an attractive layout.  Remember to use the headers and footer to use graphical and text elements that you want throughout the document.

Always save this file as a template, not a document.

Check back here soon and I'll have a link to an e-book showing the step by step process of creating a proposal template - including the basic sections you need in your proposal.