When you feel finished your proposal outline it is a good idea to do an interim proposal review to see if the outline is ready to go. Do this BEFORE you start writing any business proposals.
Is Your Outline Detailed Enough?
When you have your proposal outline to the stage shown in the module on expanding your outline , you need to consider whether you are ready to write the main body of your proposal, or whether any of the lowest-level points in your outline need to be broken down further.
For the simple case study we’re working with here there is no requirement to go to a lower level of detail, as the points noted in the outline can be readily described with just four or five simple sentences.
When doing this initial proposal review and considering whether or not you should develop your outline further, consider whether each point in the outline represents a single idea which can be described in a few sentences. If so, then you have enough detail. If not – if any of your points require explanation of multiple ideas – then consider breaking those points down into finer sub-points.
Continue this exercise until your outline is at a stage where each point is a single, easily described idea.
Does Your Outline Flow Smoothly?
When you have developed your outline to this level of detail, then consider the order in which each of your points is being presented.
When you think down through the outline, can you perceive a logical development of the message that you wish to convey?
Will the order in which you are presenting the points and sub-points draw the reader through your section, towards your desired conclusion?
If the flow of ideas is not smooth and logical then consider the following:
- Is it because you need some further ideas or points built into your outline? If so, then build in these new points and sub-points.
- Is it because the order in which you are presenting the points and sub-points is not optimal? If you suspect this, then try changing the order in which they are presented. Make sure that you feel comfortable that the points and sub-points are presented in an order that will promote easy understanding of the section’s message.
- Could it be because you have too much detail – are you seeking to make too many points? If you sus-pect this, then remodel your outline, leaving out any points that you think are superfluous or confusing.
When you are confident that your outline represents a flow of ideas that will be easily accessible to the reader, then you are ready to proceed to Stage 2 of writing your proposal.
Stage 2. Write Your Proposal
Remember Figure 1 below? You first saw this three-stage process in the first module on proposal outlining.
Well, now that you’ve finished your intiial proposal review, you are ready to start writing the core content of your proposal – so go right away to the module that takes you step-by-step through the process of building the flesh of your proposal around the bones of your outline.