The best structure for a proposal/business case

9th May 2023

When you’re writing a proposal/business case, what should you include? And exclude?

Unfortunately, nobody knows.

Because there isn’t a ‘best’ one we can always use. If there was, we’d all use that, always.

Instead the best one for Opportunity X depends on lots of things – the situation, the reader, you, the importance of the project, etc.

But there is one way to ensure you use the best structure for your next opportunity…

       … and that’s to ask the reader what content they want to see!

Which is why, when someone asks me to send them a proposal, I ask “What headings do you want me to include in it?”

If they say they want headings XYZ, I now have my ‘best’ structure for this person.

Which means it will be quicker and easier for me to write.

It will also be better and more relevant for them.

And also, because I’m giving them exactly what they want, it’s more likely to work.

However, if they don’t suggest a structure, I propose a few headings we could include – ‘how about I include XYZ?’

They’ll either agree with those, or suggest changes. Either way, we end up at the same place: I now know the headings they want.

I know this sounds simple.

But most people don’t do it.

In fact, many of my customers have told me that my proposal was the only one that gave them exactly what they wanted.

And how did I achieve this?

Because I was the only one who asked them exactly what they wanted!

Action Point

For your next proposal, ask the reader what headings they want in it. That way, everyone benefits. And you’re more likely to win.

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