by Pamela Hubbell
A Proposal offers a service to a potential client or proposes a solution to a problem within a company. The purpose of a Proposal is to persuade your audience and to sell your company's services or products to a client, or to convince management to implement your recommendations. The Proposal should clearly describe to its audience what the company or your ideas have to offer, how the audience will benefit, and why the Proposal should be accepted.
When preparing your Proposal, begin by explicitly defining your objective in a sentence or two. Then identify your audience, their needs and motivations, and the outcomes they expect. Be sure to tailor your Proposal so that it capitalizes on their needs and motivations. And in addition to the outcomes they are expecting, try to identify positive outcomes they are not anticipating. Finally, conduct any research necessary to assess the client's needs or to support your recommendations. You will also need to estimate the schedule and cost of the project or your recommendation.
Writing the Proposal
The standard components of a Proposal are:
Background of the situation
Description of the current problem
Your approach to the problem
Methodology and research
A. Methods of gathering data
B. How research would be conducted
A. Proposed outcomes
B. Specific actions steps
Time and cost requirements
A. Budget for proposed work
B. Estimated time for completion.
Baugh, L. Sue, Maridell Fryar, and David Thomas. Handbook for Business Writing, 2nd Ed. Lincolnwood, Illinois: NTC Business Books, 1994. 160-64.