Anyone tasked with the challenge of writing is prone to experiencing the dreaded phenomenon known as writer’s block. This is especially true when it comes to writing business proposals. Perhaps this is the case because so much depends upon the success of a proposal. The words in a proposal are the proposal, and getting the right ideas down in print is critical to realizing the desired outcome of the proposal process.
The stress associated with generating a proposal leads many of us to blank page fear – the inability to get the proposal started at all. Fortunately, there are a few tips that can help you get started filling your proposal with worthwhile words. Some of the best advice has to do with jogging the creative process. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to jumpstart the writing process and start creating winning proposals.
1. Using Proposal Templates
Creating a proposal may be challenging, but it’s not a case of reinventing the wheel. You can get started by using a proposal template that tells you what goes where. A good template also has the benefit of offering filler text for you to replace with your own copy. Templates are a great way to rapidly jog the proposal writing process by literally eliminating the blank page, right out of the gate.
Making use of a template is a great way to keep your proposal on track, too. Regardless of your business’ niche, the basic parts of a proposal must all be there – executive summary, proposed actions, pricing, and contact/purchasing info. A strong proposal template is a great way to keep your writing focused on those elements that matter most.
Proposal templates can be found for all types of businesses. Finding a template that closely resembles the kind of business you are engaged in is the place to start.
Some proposals can be shorter (in word count) than others.
Consider a public speaking proposal. This type of proposal can be concise, tailored to a specific topic or event, and need not be overly ornate in terms of language. Your task in creating such a proposal is to communicate the topics and credibility of the speaker(s) and how what you’re proposing fits with the event. Three or four short pages is generally enough to get the job done. A very simple template will almost always be sufficient for a proposal like this.
By comparison, a proposal for a marketing agency may need considerably more sections than in the public speaking example. Since marketing is a vast topic that is crucial to the success of a business, you should look for a proposal template that has room for a lot of info. The reader will be looking for an executive summary, services, pricing, terms and conditions, and proposed actions. The key elements are for your audience to understand your proposal should all be present, and you will want to look for a template that has sections for the all the main info.
2. Using a Proposal App
Another ideal solution when you don’t know exactly where to start with crafting great proposals is to use an app like Quote Roller to help you create your proposals. The idea is to stay on track with your proposals, to avoid rambling on about our business’ awesomeness, and to keep the focus on the reader (who happens to be your customer). An app like Quote Roller is designed specifically with this purpose in mind. Using its in-app proposal templates, you will be able to tailor your writing to fit the express purpose of creating a deliverable, actionable proposal that’s always on point.
Even if you are using a template to write your proposals, it’s still a good idea to outline your thoughts before you get started. Outlining is a proven method used by all types of writers to help them narrow the focus of their writing efforts. When it comes to proposals, it’s reasonably simple to take the overall proposal plan and apply it to an outline. You probably know that you should start the proposal with an opening introduction or executive summary, and that you will want to end it with an invitation to take the buying action of the proposal. Outlining those as well as every other step in the process will help you shape your proposal in the right direction and will keep your words focused as you write.
4. Lower Your Stress
Remember the stress associated with proposal-writing that we talked about earlier? It’s a reality. In a business setting it can be very hard to break from the stress associated with business goals, emerging challenges, and workplace interactions. In an ideal situation, everyone would work in a low-stress environment and writing would be easy. But in all actuality, the proposal team is often wearing multiple hats, and frequently being responsible for other roles throughout the organization.
So it’s important to work on writing proposals during those rare moments of calm at your office. Writing under extreme pressure generally diminishes the effectiveness of your writing. This can be detrimental to the entire proposal planning process – so obviously it’s in the interest of everyone on your team to work to avoid it. If other roles and responsibilities are hindering your writing team, the best advice is to communicate about it with management and try to make sure sufficient time is allocated specifically for the creation of winning proposals.
The stress of writing a proposal extends from the fact that proposals really are crucial to your business’ success, but the person (or persons) tasked with writing proposals should not bear the brunt of that pressure alone; it’s conducive to success for the whole team to ease the pressure on proposal writers to allow them the time and energy needed to draft a great proposal.
5. Rock Your Next Proposal
Have no fear – winning proposals are well within your grasp. Even if getting your creative juices flowing takes some effort, the above practices can help make it all the more easy. Don’t be afraid to lean on tools like proposal templates, as well as established writing aids like outlining. At the end of the day, it’s all about imparting awesomeness in your business proposals. So dive in and do whatever it takes to clear the stress from the equation and come out with a kick-butt proposal that helps your business reach its goals.
Are you satisfied with how your proposals come together?