So you need a simple business proposal?
If you haven’t already done so then I strongly suggest you check out the modules entitled ‘The Importance of the Business Proposal Cover Letter’
and ‘Writing Cover Letters for Business Proposals’ before you read this module – they provide some great content that will make the information in this module even more valuable to you.
Much of the proposal writing discussion on this site focuses upon the production of larger, more formal, multi-section business proposals – this module shows you how to produce a slight more simple business proposal.
But what if your business is one where the value, or simplicity, of what you’re selling is such that more formal, multi-section proposals like those discussed so far are not entirely necessary?
If that’s the case then don’t put yourself to the extra effort of producing a business proposal that is too elaborate – indeed never be more elaborate than you need to be to get your message across. Do not have your reader feel that they are working any harder to understand your proposals than those of your competitors. The best business proposal is the one that communicates your entire message in the fewest possible words. Here’s an approach to writing a simple business proposal.
The ‘Letter Proposal’
If you can get by with short proposals, with what I’ll call a ‘Letter Proposal’ – a proposal where the entire content is summarized in a single letter response, then that’s what you should produce. However, you can still make yourself stand out from your competition, and still win a lot more business, by using the ‘Winning Proposal Model’ of Requirements-Solution-Benefits-Costs-Proof to create your letter proposal.
The key point is that, whether you’re addressing a requirement that requires a large detailed multi-section proposal or a simpler letter proposal, you should be sure to employ the proven Winning Proposal Model to maximize the impact.
Where Does the ‘Letter Proposal’ Fit?
So where does the Letter Proposal fit in the hierarchy presented in module ‘The Importance of the Business Proposal Cover Letter’? As the level of detail will not be as low as the cover letter or as high as the Executive Summary for larger proposals you can see that it logically sits somewhere in between these two levels.
The figure below shows this relationship very clearly – compare this figure with the one presented in ‘The Importance of the Business Proposal Cover Letter’ and you’ll see how taking this ‘Winning’ approach allows you to produce full-scale proposals, letter proposals, Executive Summaries, and proposal cover letters with absolute ease – and you’ll see that all of them have equal ability to communicate the same compelling message, the only difference being the depth of information they provide.
Figure 3: The Letter Proposal in Context
That being the case you’ll have already realised that your letter proposal can also be produced by the process used to produce the Executive Summary for a larger proposals – but with the content of each section consigned to one or two brief paragraphs.
The best way to illustrate this is by showing you a good example. Here’s a sample of a Letter Proposal that was prepared to meet the sample requirement used to drive the proposal and proposal cover letters discussed elsewhere in the site.
In all proposal exercises you have just one ultimate goal – to sell. Even when you’re only writing a simple business proposal be sure to enhance your proposal’s key messages by employing the Winning Proposal Model to create a selling dialogue with your clients and prospects.