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Elements of a Proposal Document

Updated on December 31, 2020
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Introduction to Proposal Writing

Business proposal document forms and one of the key elements of success for a project. A business proposal is a document that involves the engagement of stakeholders in the business to take action based on details and facts presented. The art of proposal writing lies in persuading the stakeholders to take such actions resulting in successful business decisions.

A proposal writer is a person engaged in drafting key proposals in a business environment. A proposal writer is one of the key players in the document life-cycle, who not only engages in writing persuading proposals for a business but also a critical element in a business environment.

This article discusses key elements of a business proposal writing and its nuances.

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Elements of a Proposal Document

A proposal document is prepared based on numerous technical and financial requirements as specified in a Request for Proposal (RFP) document. RFP is the first phase of proposal writing wherein a proposal writer determines the need for the business proposal document.

Some of the key elements of a business proposal documents are outlined below-

  • Cove Page
  • Cover Letter
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Team/Management Profiles
  • Technical Summary
  • Fees
  • Appendix

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Cover Page

The cover Page in a business proposal acts as a guiding tool to gauge the business preparedness. Cover Page should briefly indicate the scope of the document and relevant details related project submission timeline.

A timely cover picture representing the company’s goal/vision should be aptly designed and highlighted in the cover page

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Cover Letter

A cover letter is a guiding factor for the success of the proposal document. A cover letter should be drafted as aligned to the company’s best practices followed and should highlight key differentiators of the business.

A cover letter usually aligns to the respective business practice and signed by the Industry partner or ant Key Managerial Person (KMP) along with relevant details such as signature, date of signature, place of business, and the address of the business.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents provides a quick overview of the proposal document. The table of contents should adhere to the respective style guide, use numbered bullets accordingly, and allow spacing to fit the page width.

Also providing references to images and other graphical presentations under Table of Contents may be avoided.

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Executive Summary

An executive summary in a proposal document defines the value proposition of a business to the necessary stakeholders. A proposal writer should utilize this as an opportunity to win upon the stakeholders and inch closer to persuading the winning proposal.

An executive summary may describe the key differentiators made available to the business, the value proposition, and should be drafted along with the requirements of an RFP document.

Facts and necessary information related to business should be presented in a creative manner while adhering to RFP requirements

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Team/Management Profiles

The section on Team/Management profiles describes the achievements and detailed career profile of the Key Managerial Persons (KMP) involved in the business.

The team/management profile is an essential document accessed by the stakeholders in a proposal that helps them to understand the availability of professionals in the business.

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Technical Summary

A technical summary or technical section in a proposal document is a critical element for the stakeholders. The section provides vital information related to technical specifications as defined in the RFP document.

The section should provide relevant information related to the business and should be verified by the technical experts of the business. The section holds a high value to the business in order to be qualified as a successful bid to the stakeholders.

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Fees Section

The section on the fees determines the overall value of the business proposal as determined by the partners/KMP. The fees should include the information as relevant to the terms mentioned in the RFP document.

The fee section may also be verified by the KMP in order to provide the final quote of the proposal document.

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Appendix

An appendix act as a tool of additional information in a proposal document. The appendix may include information that is not available in the main section of the proposal document.

Some of the examples of appendix include detailed biography of partners/ KMPs, technical specifications to meet the requirement as per RFP, business plan, addendum on fee section, addendum on any other aspect of the proposal document or to meet the requirement of an RFP specification, etc.

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Conclusion

A proposal document is a tool to achieve success in a business. The document should be drafted while adhering to RFP specifications and should be a complete error-free document.

A proposal writer should ensure to draft the proposal document by adhering to necessary style guide requirements, conduct spelling and grammar check,s and provide a neatly furnished output through necessary printing of documents. The proposal writer should also adhere to the following key requirements whilst preparing the document-

  • Spelling and Grammar checks
  • Adhere to the Style guide
  • Update the Table of Contents
  • Align to RFP specifications
  • Confirm KMP requirements of the business
  • Provide accurate fee details
  • Update the document with necessary technical details
  • Fill-up the appendix as specified in the RFP document
  • Ensure consistent necessary page checks and avoid document overlaps

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