Journey of a Serial Entrepreneur

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How to get from where you are to where you want to be

5 steps to write winning business proposals

“You can never quit. Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” Ted Turner

Proposals are a critical component of business. They are the medium for promoting  your company with the objective of convincing clients to buy your product/service. To achieve higher levels of success in writing winning business proposals you need to put in substantial work. This will not only refine your own thought processes, it will help your client to better understand your proposal and make a more informed choice. I have listed five basic components which should be covered by every proposal. I will be doing a week on advanced components for proposals in the near future as well:

1. Focus & Clarity: When a client requests a proposals they require a document which clearly identifies a plan to help them reach their goals. They do not want flowery complicated writings and diagrams to complicate their decision further. Understand your audience , their requirement and the purpose for the proposal and write clearly.To learn more on how to plan this, click here.

2. Business Case: Understanding the client’s current position and where they want to be is more than 50% of the challenge. You need to correctly identify the client’s need , then create steps and action points to achieve those goals and highlight the benefits it will accrue. To learn more please click here.

3. Methodology: When creating a proposal you need to keep things simple and clear. You need to develop a methodology to guide the client through a clearly understandable process which defines your plan and implementation process. Identify major objectives, create detailed action items, set time frames and clear deliverables. To read more please click here.

4. Competitive Analysis: Clearly identify how your offering is superior and more beneficial to the client as compared to others in a fair, ethical and passionate manner. Help solidify your position in the clients memory so he is able to identify where you will be able to add the most value. To learn more please click here.

5. Establish Credibility: The customer will always ask him/herself why they should choose your firm over others. You have to use this section to highlight your team, customer testimonials, industry experience and value proposition. You have to do your best to help your firm stand out from the rest and prove that your firm will be the most apt and beneficial choice for the contract.To learn more please click here.

Proposals are more often than not, deal makers or breakers in the business world. It is hence, a responsibility to continue to strive to improve the processes so that when the next proposal goes out it is a clear reflection of who the company is, what it stands for, how it will cater to a need and why the client should choose them. The extra work goes a long way. I strongly suggest spending more time on evaluating the next proposal you send out.

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4 Responses

  1. Henry Edozie says:

    I want to write a proposal for entrepreneurial teaching to those in secondary schools.

  2. Usman Sheikh says:

    Hi Henry, if you would like I could go over your draft if you have one, to provide you with some comments or suggestions. You can reach me at blog(at)usmansheikh(dot)net.

  3. Steve Price says:

    When you are onto business proposal writing, there are things that need to be consider before getting yourself on the battlefield. As you have elaborated, those 5 tips are great when writing a business proposal. We should also keep in mind that the goal of writing a proposal is to capture the attention on the client, build the relationship.

    • Usman Sheikh says:

      I completely agree that we need to ensure that we understand the macro situation before diving into writing a proposal for a client. This makes all the difference as one becomes keenly aware as to what will work and will will not. Thanks for the tip Steve.

      p.s My blog has shifted over to http://www.usmansheikh.com/. You may want to repost your comment there. I apologize for the inconvenience.

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