Step-by-Step Guide to Writing an Effective Proposal

Writing a good proposal is an essential skill required for almost all occupations. The goal of a proposal is to gain support for your plan by delivering business messages to the right audience. An effective proposal, with a clear, concise and engaging manner is crucial for success as it may help in getting your ideas approved.

Don’t rush the proposal! Before you go in-depth, sit down and plan the outline!

👉🏻 PLANNING 

1. Identify your audience 

You need to think about your audience and consider what they might already know or not know about your topic before you begin writing. This will help you focus on your ideas and present them in the most effective way. Make sure key messages reach to your audience via a right channel.

It’s good to always assume that your readers are busy and they do not have time to read or skim through the ideas in a rush. So, keep things short and clear!

2. State the problem 

It is clear to you what the issue is, doesn’t mean it’s clear to your audience.

Also, audience may be skeptical of what you’re telling. You can support your points by using evidence and explanations throughout the proposal to back up your assertions. By pointing out your issue properly, it is much more convincing that you are the right person to take care of it.

3. Define your solution 

After stating the problem, you need to offer solutions that will convince skeptical readers to support it. You may support your solution with some case studies to show audience why it works.

If the examples you use are case studies that shows successful implementation of solution, tell the audience why it worked. And if it’s unsuccessful, tell the audience why it failed and how are you going to improvise and make it a success.

Once you’ve gathered all the important points, you may continue by outlining your ideas and plan on how you would like your messages to be presented.

👉🏻 WRITING 

1. Introduce yourself and your company 

You need to catch your audience’s attention, establish credibility, divert them to your topic, and motivate them to continue reading. Give a brief introduction about yourself and your company, state the purpose of your proposal. Highlight the issue and why it must be addressed immediately. Conduct comprehensive research, give them facts instead of personal opinions. Make your whole proposal as purposeful and informative as possible.

2. State the problem 

After the “hook”, you’ll get into the body of your proposal. Here’s where you should state everything about your problem. You need to tell them the cause of the problem, emphasize why it needs to be solved now. Give your audience a clearer picture of how it will affect them if the problem is left unsolved.

Make sure to answer all questions with research and facts to enhance credibility.

3. Propose solutions 

This is the most important part of your proposal. Your audience has been listening to you from the beginning just to wait for this moment. The solutions section is where you get into how you will address the problem, why you’ll do it in this way, and what will the outcomes be.

In general, writing a proposal is mainly about addressing the problem and how to solve it. Research your proposal extensively. The more examples and facts you can give your audience, the better as it’ll be much more convincing. Avoid personal opinions and rely on the research done by other researchers.

Do not give solution that is not feasible. Prove how your solutions work.

4. Timeline and budget 

In order to convince your readers that your proposal is a sensible investment, and you want them to think that you’re someone who is very detailed and they can count on you to handle their problem, you need to provide detailed and concrete information about your timeline and budget.

Provide stage by stage timeline is important. Being as meticulous as possible will give your readers confidence that you’ve done your homework and won’t waste their money.

Most importantly, make sure your proposal makes sense financially. Take into consideration of your audience’s budget. If they can’t afford your proposal, it’s pointless. You need to think of an alternative way to create a proposal that suits their budget and at the same time maximizing the result. 

5. Wrap up with a conclusion 

The conclusion of your proposal should correspond with your introduction, briefly wrapping up the messages you want to deliver to your audience once again. And, as always, thank them for their consideration and time.

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