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Friday, September 30, 2011

How to write an effective business proposal in Nigeria

A business proposal is a profitable business offer/opportunity which has been identified and is presented by one person to another in order to make a sale, seek collaboration, funding or technical support to the person the proposal is targeting. 

It sounds very simple doesn’t it? Whereas the reality is that presenting a business proposal it’s not that simple. So many people write business proposals day in, day out but very few are ever successful and that is because they are unable to capture the key ingredients and the very essence of what a business proposal is and isn’t and how it should be presented etc

Take for instance I have identified a very quick way to sell shoes through an extensive market research and my findings reveal that I need a well optimized website to target a particular market let’s say male corporate executives in Lagos, then I can create the opportunity to sell shoes fast to this market because I understand how it works but I don’t have the shoes to sell, What do I do?

The solution is to find a reliable shoe retail shop, then approach the owner of that shop with the business opportunity of how he can quickly sell his shoes through my well optimized website. How this would benefit him and his business, the costs and the terms of how to make this business opportunity would have to be well captured in a business proposal I must present to him to encourage him to sign up.  

Why is a business proposal needed?
There are three broad reasons we need business proposals and they can be summarized into the following classification;
  • To invite marketing/technical partners: here like in the example above we have a situation in which one person has one of the ingredients for success and the other has the missing ingredient, they both pull resources together to achieve their collective marketing/sales objectives
  • To raise funding for the identified business opportunity: if your identified business opportunity requires a certain amount of money but you lack the finance to fund it naturally you’ll need to invite someone who has the money and offer either interest on the loan or profit sharing as the terms of the contract would specify
  • To sell your product or service: this is especially common if you are rendering a service to a client and those clients belong to a particular niche

7 Steps to writing an effective business proposal
Then comes the hard part of writing a business proposal which is putting pen to paper, making sure that the business proposal turns out to be what you set out to make it which is the persuasive document. Here are my 7 step recommendations for anyone seeking to write an effective business proposal

Step #1 - Identify the needs of the intended target
You must know beforehand the peculiar needs of the person or Organisation you are targeting. Where you fail to know their needs it becomes very difficult to position the benefits of your offer which is the main thing that convinces people to accept your proposal.

Step #2 - Get the right proposal format
There are many proposal formats and it depends on whether you are targeting a government institution, a private sector company, a high net worth investor or perhaps a professional. There are several business proposal formats you can find online but a standard business plan format must also capture key aspects such as;
Section A. Executive Summary
Section B. The Background and Objectives of the Offer
Section C. Technical Requirements
Section D. Financial Summary
Section E. Terms and Conditions

Step #3 - Write concisely but persuasively stating the benefits
The best way to get attention to your offer and motivate the intended target is to state the benefits of your offer with proof that you can deliver. Let the benefits sell your offer but kindly note that any claims made in your proposal must be credible and readily verifiable. Once you start writing out the details of the proposal you must ensure that you write concisely using very official language and only making assertions based on indisputable facts.

Step #4 - State the requirements of the proposal clearly
There should be clearly stated requirements in the proposal which would tell the other party what is required of them and under what conditions the proposal can take off and work. Usually it is better to state the things which must be in place before the opportunity can work and what you lack and/or already have on ground.

Step #5 - State the terms and/or conditions of the contract/business opportunity
There should be clearly stated terms and conditions of the offer. What will be the legal basis of honouring an agreement? This is the condition whereas how can that legal basis be explained so that it is well understood by all parties are the terms. State both of them in the business proposal.

Step #6 - State the cost implications
How much should each party bring to the table or how much should the client pay in order to use the service. Sometimes the cost of the service is a selling point and may appear at the beginning of the proposal in the introduction but at other times the price shouldn’t come until after all the benefits have been explained and the prospect has made a decision.

Step #7 - Draw out the proposal contract agreement
This aspect of a business proposal is optional. In some cases a business opportunity doesn’t require signing a legally binding document whereas on other occasions it may require signing one and where this is the case don’t forget to include a contract agreement especially if you are rendering a service or require a partnership with your proposal in order to avoid conflict and to also protect you against any legal issues that may come up after the prospects has agreed to the agreement. The contract must state the names of the parties, their roles in the agreement, what will go to each party and the terms of terminating the contract/agreement.

Are you looking to write an effective business proposal that will motivate action from your prospect and want a professional touch to it? Give me a call or email and your wish will be my command. 0803 206 4106 or email: paulonwueme@gmail.com