The goal of a proposal is to provide Customer high-quality and robust solution that fulfill the needs of the Customer. Working closely with the Customer and becoming familiar with Customer’s needs, requirements, and expectations will help in preparing a successful proposal. Good proposal acts as a vehicle that carries the terms of an agreement between Customer and the Contractor and finally results for a business contract.
At the beginning of a proposal summary of two to three lines should be added and it should start with good ideas and suggestions. Start by putting your recommendations, and list the goals and objectives of your proposal. The proposal should be written keeping in mind the guidelines provided by the Customer and is developed in the second phase of project life cycle. The rule of thumb should be to follow guidelines and instructions mentioned in the Request for Proposal (RFP). Customer’s Request for Proposal will provide list of features that should be included in the proposal. Most Company’s demands the same information in the proposal, even if they ask different questions. We should follow the proposal structure or table of contents as mentioned in the Request for Proposal. If Request for Proposal suggests any particular structure, all the basis of the check-list that reviewers will follow must be based on that structure. This check-list helps them to develop and make sure that it has all of the require element, and eventually increases the probability of a successful proposal.
Successful proposal is based on good goals; usually people reviewing the report would like to see the project’s goals. A proposal with out any goal is generally a failed proposal. Proposal is a selling document and while developing a proposal it should be kept in mind that the proposal will be competing with other Contractor’s proposal and the best one will be selected by the Customer as winner. Briefly describe your company in two or three paragraphs, tell them about your company. Explain them about the history of your company by summarizing the achievements of your company in the past. Clearly define different areas in which your Company is working and finally state your mission. If your Company has expertise particularly in the area where Customer is looking for, highlight it. Briefly tell them about projects you have done or any related experience in that area.
In the proposal the Contractor must highlight the unique factors that differentiate it from others. Proposal must be realistic and must not promise too much. A good proposal is the one in which we have details about our subject area; never assume that the Customer knows about the subject area. The proposal should be written in a simple, concise manner and should use terminology with which Customer is familiar. The impact of the project should be highlighted in the proposal. The Customer should know what changes might happen as a result of project. The proposal should also include the future support of the project, the Customer should know that how the project will be supported? The proposal should briefly discuss that the project will last for a longer period and should clear all the concerns of the Customer regarding long-term financial support plan and vision for the project.
Schedule for performing major tasks should be in clouded in the proposal. The cost of the project should also be included, at least attach a one or two page budget showing expected expenses and income for the project. The cost should not be too high or chances of losing the proposal would be high. Expenses can be divided into three parts: Personnel Expenses (It includes the expenses for all the people who will work on the project e.g. employees or contractors), Direct Project Expenses ( Other than non personnel expenses that would not incur if the project is not started e.g. printing, travel, etc), and Administrative or Overhead Expenses (It includes non-personnel expenses that will incur whether or not the project is started. But if it started, these resources might not be used for other purposes e.g. Office space for employees). There are two categories of Income: Earned Income (Is the one that people give you in return to the services or products generated by the project), Contributed Income (It includes Cash and in-kind).
The proposal must be prepared before the deadline and name and address of the persons to whim the proposal should be submitted mentioned in the RFP. Make sure that the copies the proposal should be neat and clear, smudgy or dim copy of the proposal might make ruin the whole effort. Binding instructions should be followed, if the Customer gives instructions for it. A good proposal should include a cover letter, the purpose of the cover letter is to summarize the request and specify the support of the administration. After submitting the proposal, job is not finished; the Contractor must be in contact with the Customer.
The bottom line of any successful proposal is to illustrate the positive impact of the proposal. Explain how your proposal will help the Customer to do a better job, by boosting the performance, and increasing the revenue.
Carson Undergraduate Research Grants, WILLAMETE, retrieved from World Wide Web on 21st March, 2007, http://www.willamette.edu/dept/saga/carson/tips.htm
Writing a Successful Proposal, Minnesota Council on Foundations, retrieved from World Wide Web on 21st March, 2007, http://www.mcf.org/mcf/grant/writing.htm
Jack Gido and James P. Clements, Third Edition, Successful Project Management.