Mistakes to Avoid When Working on Business Proposals

Posted on December 6th, 2018
Business Skills & Planning
By: Marang Marekimane, founder: Business Process Mechanics

Writing business proposals can be very labourious. It is not easy to convince people to like your product or service enough to want to part with their money.

It is even more difficult when you are new to the game, mostly because of your own anxieties. It gets worse when the product or service is something new to the market.

Entrepreneurs write proposals to attract customers, investors and other stakeholders like partners. Each of these targeted audiences will have their own deal breaks or draw cards – bottom line being value for money.

What not to do

While you may be tempted to speak about your passion for this business, even go as far as calling it “my baby” to win over your audience, there are a few things NOT to include:

1. The sob story

You would rather people buy from you because there is value, not because they feel guilty.

2. Casual lingo

Otherwise known as SMS language – often your audience is older than you, they may now understand the shorthand, emoji’s etc. When people don’t understand what they are reading, they cannot relate much less buy into it.

3. Irrelevant info

All the other projects that are not related. This creates confusion and distracts from the focus of the proposal.

Why we make these mistakes

We tend to do this when we are feeling desperate for the deal. The voices in our heads keep wondering “what if they don’t buy into this? What would make them say yes?”. That’s when we start telling the sob story.

While you don’t have to use big words to sound smart, you can’t be so casual people wonder if you’re serious. In a real panic, we want to show “what else” we can do if this isn’t “what you want” me to do.

What you should do instead

To improve your confidence in the proposals you write, read it and check for the following:

  • What problem does this solve for the customer/investor/stakeholder?
  • How is what you’re offering the right solution for them? – highlight the benefits.
  • What do you need from them?

About the author: Marang is the Founder and Chief Executive Office of Business In Theory. This South African company assists entrepreneurs to formulate growth strategies with a particular focus on the business processes.For more than a decade in the corporate sector, Marang applied her training in various process and project management methodologies, including SixSigma, Agile and PrinceII, on strategic projects for corporations such as Liberty, First National Bank (FNB) and Standard Bank. Now Marang uses her knowledge and experience to articulate her insight of business development into turnkey solutions that improve the sustainability of small and medium enterprises.