7 Biggest Mistakes When Writing A Business Proposal

  • April 08 , 2013
  • Proposal Software

Many a times, our inbox opens up to reveal long winding essays ranging upto 2500 to 3000 words that claim to be business proposals. The first thing that hits a reader’s mind when he starts reading is, do I really have to read through all this? What am I to make of so much information? 3 times on 5, the reader may not even read through all that text unless and until you are successful in grabbing his attention. I am sure, a lot of business proposals that are not well thought out and planned in advance, are not given the attention they actually deserve. So, what do you do to ensure that your proposal doesn’t get dumped in the trash and is read till the end? Outlined below are the major mistakes proposal writers often tend to make. Ensure that your business proposal is free of all these, and ensure that your writing gets the due credit it deserves.

1)    Not Getting to the point quick enough (make this as point not sentence)
CEOs and business owners are not random people who have a lot of time on their hands to read out taxing and long letters or proposals. Its always a good idea to get straight to the point with any proposal that you make.

Make sure that the reader understands who you are; what you do and what you want of the reader- all this without having to read the entire text you have composed.

2)    Showing off your language prowess
Often we get letters that require us to refer to a dictionary every alternate word. This is a practice of yesterday when we had to use language to impress someone. Times have changed, now it is not the words you use, rather the work you do that speaks of you. People whoever they are, are no longer interested in your vocabulary and want to deal with you on a purely professional level, and that is where you need to deliver.
It is best that you avoid the jargons and other corporate mumbo jumbo when you write your proposal. A clear and concise writing should do the trick for you.

3)    Not providing customized information
As an end user, I would not be interested in your proposal if you do not take the pain to include information that is relevant to me and my area of business. If I am a retailer who operates in Nigeria, I may be more interested in information that you present to me that is relevant to my domain of business or the geography I work in, I may not be as interested in statistics pertaining to USA or some other country that is out of my network.

4)    Typos and grammatical errors
In this age of advanced technology and inbuilt spell checkers in most word processing software, it has become a matter of prestige too that emails and proposals be error free in terms of spelling and grammar. It is also important to use appropriate formal language when you are communicating with prospective clients and customers, and do take special care to ensure that you do not indulge in informal chat speak language (like tx, tc, ciao and such). It gives an impression that the writer is careless or callous to some extent if the language is erroneous.

5)    Providing too little information
Care has to be taken to ensure that the information provided is balanced out, neither too less, nor too much. When writing a proposal, think from the point of view of the person who will read it at the end of the day. Try to address all the concerns that may arise in his mind, but at the same time be careful that the reader doesn’t get burdened with too much of information.

It is also a good idea to include a presentation that contains more information about your company and the particular service/product in question, this can also be replaced by relevant links to your website where, if the reader so wishes, can get to read more.

6)    Not conveying what differentiates you from your competitors
This is an important point where a lot of business people fail. It is of utmost importance to make your reader understand why they must choose you over your competitors. A good way to showcase this information would be to show off your clientele, also show off some of the awards and laurels you may have received. Special offers and discounts you provide too need to be mentioned.

At the end of the day, the customer needs to have a good impression about you and your business offering in order to assist him in taking the step ahead to do business with you.

7)    Making the proposal ‘My Business’ centric

This is another major mistake most proposal writers do. Speaking about you and your company is definitely good. But, too much of good can be bad. Likewise, pompousness is not a much tolerated trait. You need to be upfront in mentioning what benefits the reader can expect from an association with you, what prospects of growth are there for him and his business.

By not giving the customer information on what he stands to gain from a deal, you tend to lose him forever. Its always good to think from the other person’s point of view to understand what would make him interested in your proposal.

These are the major mistakes I think any proposal writer has the highest chances of making. What do you think? What kind of goof ups have you come across in proposals you have received? Post in the comments section below, we would love to hear from you.

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