A Proposal can be defined as an offer document presented to undertake work affecting the future of an organisation. Usually a proposal is given for any additions or amendments to be incorporated within a business framework. Proposals are also tools of communication but in a different sense. They do not just give the facts but also a probable solution to a particular problem or situation. They can be written to people within or outside an organisation.
Types of Proposals
Proposals can be classified into two types: Sales Proposal and Research Proposals
Sales Proposals are written with the aim of bringing gains for the proposing organisation. Such kind of proposals are also known as business proposals. Sales proposals need to be creative in order to make a mark on their target audience. Research proposals are of an academic nature.
Proposals can be further classified into two types, viz. Solicited and Unsolicited.
Solicited Proposals are those which are asked for by the management or authorities. They can be internal or external, depending on their subject. These kinds of proposals usually face a lot of competition. Unsolicited proposals are given by individuals or companies on their own. These may be form internal or external sources. They form a major part of sales technique in various sectors.
Report vs. Proposals
1. A report is nearly always solicited.
2. It is an official means of giving information.
3. It concerns the past.
4. It is just a statement.
5. It need not be convincing.
6. It does not await a decision.
7. It does not need the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action) formula.
1. A Proposal can be either solicited or unsolicited.
2. It is a sales device/or a tool for suggestion.
3. It concerns the future.
4. It is a request for action.
5. It has to be convincing.
6. Its success lies in a favourable decision.
7. It is based on the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action) formula.
How a Proposal is drafted?
A good proposal is essential for every business. A thoroughly researched and well-thought-out proposal can not only help in securing new clients for business start-up, it may also allow rethink original vision so that one can become more organized, better prepared and, ultimately, more successful than what would have been without it.
Steps in drafting a proposal
1. Research: The first step to writing the perfect business proposal is to research the customers we want to attract with it. Conduct research on the Internet, talk to personal contacts and even meet with decision-makers at the company so that we can tailor our proposal to meet their needs.
2. Introduction: Most business proposals, depending on the target audience and formality, follow a similar structure. They begin with a cover letter that introduces a company and provides an overview of the organization's background and qualifications. Next, include a brief title page which should list proposer’s name and company’s name along with the name of the company to whom the proposal is submitted. If the proposal is lengthy, it should also feature a table of contents.
3. Executive Summary: The executive summary is the section of proposal in which we make our case. Since it is the most important part of any business proposal, it should be factual, free of jargon and to the point. It should also be objective, well-written and, above all, persuasive.
4. Procedures: The body of the document includes all of the logistical information the potential client will need, including technical details, price, schedules, training information and other documentation. It is important to note that, should the proposal be accepted, this section can become legally binding, so it may be best to submit this portion only to those potential clients who have expressed interest in the other sections of our proposal.