Planning:

Sketch your problem or point of improvement

Proposals are a way to effect positive change on a business by implementing a project that will benefit it in some way.

What problem do you want to solve? What could be improved?

Make rough notes to help you formulate your thoughts into a cohesive argument when it comes to drafting the document.

Example:

"The computer at the reception desk is much too slow and is negatively impacting customer waiting times and general operations at the front desk"

Sketch your proposed solution

Begin brainstorming possible solutions to the problem. Roughly outline a few different ways.

Example:

Possible solutions:

  1. Upgrade the operating system
  2. Replace the entire unit
  3. Increase the RAM

Define your reader

Having a clear idea of who your reader is. This will help you in persuasively appealing to them, using their own concepts and language that resonates with them.

Example: The head of IT

Writing:

Draft the problem your idea will solve

Once you've gone through the planning stage in tasks 2-4, it's time to create a first draft of the problem your idea will solve.

Type this as the first paragraph in the document for now, with the subheading "Problem".

Include who the proposal will effect

When reviewing the proposal, the reader will be looking for an idea of how important the project is. This includes how many people the proposal directly affects. The more positively affected, the more likely to pass it is.

List those affected by the proposal's outcomes.

Example: Front desk staff, all customers who book over the phone, all customers who walk in.

Draft the proposed solution to the problem

Expanding on your plan and keeping in mind the reader, flesh out the solution into a one-paragraph summary.

Include a step-by-step process for solving the problem

Break down the solution summary into steps to give the reader an idea of exactly what needs to be executed upon.

Example:

  1. Identify a new computer to replace the front desk's current one
  2. Purchase the computer
  3. Get it set up and installed on Friday evening to avoid downtime and disruptions.
  4. [etc ...]

Identify and describe necessary personnel

Who's time will this take up if it is approved? The reader needs to know this, because if it requires the expertise of an employee who is already in-demand and working on something important, it will likely be put on hold.

If it's a specialized project, the proposal will be more likely to go through if you can identify personnel with relevant experience in the field that will be able to do the tasks you describe.

Reiterate the main argument and proposal purpose

Before moving into the delicate area of costs, make sure to reiterate why you're proposing it, and what positive effects you hope to achieve.

State the costs

Break down and summarize the costs you'll need for the project.

For example:

  • New computer: $1,000
  • Operating system upgrade: $80

State the benefits

In case the benefits haven't been clear so far when you've described the solution's effects, now list the benefits concisely in bullet point form underneath the costs, to show the reader the costs are justified.

Example:

  • Less waiting time for inbound call customers
  • Less waiting time for walk-in customers
  • Faster general processing time of front desk requests
  • Improved efficiency of front desk staff

Write the introduction and paste at the top of the page

Pulling together everything you've written so far (what, why, how, costs, benefits), write an introduction that summarizes the entire proposal and put it at the top of the page underneath the title.

Pre-release:

Replace jargon with simple language

After you've got your first draft, it's time to read it through and eliminate any language that might get in the way of the reader's full understanding.

One of those things to remove is jargon...

Example:

a) Acquire a Dell and thusly initiate the replacement of Front Desk's lagging legacy system

b) Buy a new computer to replace the Front Desk's old, slow one

Ensure the proposal reads as simply as possible

Similar to the previous step, check there's a logical flow of arguments throughout, with everything expressed in simple terms.

Check for spelling and grammar mistakes

Using a tool like Grammarly, check for any errors that could discredit the seriousness of your request!

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