Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Writing Business Proposals: You Just Might Find You Get What You Need

Most likely at some point in our lives, we will all have to write a proposal for something whether it is for an academic paper or for work. Here, however, I will concentrate on business proposals as they are not all the same.

Business proposals have different criteria than other types of proposals even though they all have basic properties in common. For instance, every kind of proposal is a persuasive piece of writing. We write them in order to convince our readers that what we are proposing is a good idea and beneficial to both parties in some way. From this point on, though, the structure is very different. (See example here). 

The business proposal is a report designed to persuade its audience and/or to offer a solution to a problem or to take advantage of an opportunity. For example, the purpose of a proposal might be to start new business, obtain funding for a specific project, provide a solution to a problem, or recommend an improvement. Therefore, it should do these basics:

1) Describe the problem or opportunity,
2) Suggest a solution, and
3) Request permission and/or funding to implement the solution

It is also important to keep in mind the time frame for the project along with pertinent details on when things will get done, who will do them, and the credibility of the author/s or company.

The subject should be specific, clear and concisely fit to the problem either designated by the person/company requesting the proposal or significant to the writer and his/her audience. Examples of subjects might include: the purpose/idea of a company we are thinking of starting (entrepreneurial in nature), our company/institution going “green,” a solution to a problem area that a competitor is excelling in. 

The audience is one of the two most important aspects of writing a business proposal – or any proposal – because they are the people who will decide whether or not our proposal will be approved or not. The second would be the persuasive element of the proposal itself.

Paying close attention and tailoring to the wants and needs of our readers will ensure that a proposal will be received in the most positive way – even if it is denied, having considered their wants and needs will make them consider it more seriously than if these things were completely overlooked. 

This is especially true since the typical readers are those in managerial/administrative positions in companies or institutions, or in other words, those in higher decision-making positions. 

With these audiences in mind, it is important to remember that our language should be formal. The syntax, sentence structure, and organization should be clear, concise, and to the point. Proposal writing is not only very persuasive in nature, but it is also very fact and statistic-based writing.

Also, it is important to remember that even if the proposal is not approved and we might not get what we want the first time around, after we get feedback we might be given the opportunity to rework the proposal to better fit the readers’ wants and/or needs. So we might not get what we want, but we just might get what we need. 

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