Thursday, July 9, 2009

How to write a business proposal when you are an individual

A recent article looked at how to approach writing a business proposal as a small business and the techniques that you can use to manage proposal development that are similar to those used by larger businesses that have a dedicated proposal development team or strategic proposal centre.

But what if you are an individual consultant pitching for new business, or perhaps a start-up that has a handful of people working for it, all trying to do everything they can to make the business a success? In these situations the people involved have to use a range of skills that probably aren't what they are in business for. And sales, marketing and especially proposal writing is a skill that many people will need for all their business life, yet they will always consider it a chore that takes them away from their "real" job.

Yet without a good sales strategy, without a good proposal there may be no real job.

One of the benefits about being an individual is that you can keep proposals short. There is usually no requirement to submit corporate accounts and policies - you can concentrate on the client requirement. And it's often the case that you have a relationship with that client, so you will know and understand the requirement well.

What you want to get across in your proposal is a demonstrable benefit to the client, your credibility and suitability for the job and pricing - including a simple return on investment calculation. It's based on my simple formula for persuasion:

Benefits + Credibility + Value (ROI) = Persuasion

Keeping your proposals straightforward using testimonials from your other clients, making it clear not only what you will do, but what positive impact it will have and why it is money well spent will get you business. And as long as you have the ability to demonstrate these things, then it shouldn't take long to put them together.

Sometimes though you may still want to get professional help, but can't afford daily rates of a consultant. That's why Learn to Write Proposals offers a service that lowers the upfront cost of proposal development substantially and then rewards us if the proposal is successful - that is when you have more business and have the cash available. It's a risk reward for us - we believe in our proposals so we are prepared to back this up by asking for a small upfront fee and take a win bonus only if the proposal is successful.

Everyone wins - we get clients that we previously wouldn't work with, you get a better proposal and the client gets an improved presentation of the solution and benefits.

It's how an individual, start-up or micro-business can benefit from professional proposal development techniques and writing just like any other business.

If you would like more information, then please get in touch with us here.