The best projects start with a step-by-step plan, or at least an announcement of a plan and the means to act on it. Mind you, these “best” projects are not ready-made. Overall, people are not willing to invest in a massive undertaking before knowing what it will look like, much like a computer displays a print preview before the document is printed. This is where proposals, the storyboards of the business world, come in.
Everybody Knows Proposals
Half the work of succeeding at a job interview is proposing that an employer hire you. Go through enough interviews, and it becomes a rote process. You show up in your best suit and run through a list of your qualifications, experience, and achievements. In conversing with the employer, you mutually identify the position’s requirements and opportunities for growth, and hope to reach an understanding as to how you may be able to fulfill these roles. The most important part of the interview is getting the employer to trust you and believe that you are the best choice for the position.
The purpose of this introduction is to underline the familiarity of a proposal. The technical term itself could intimidate someone who is not as familiar with the process, but we unknowingly practice making proposals from the time we are children. If we give ourselves a chance, we are naturals when it comes to proposals. A proposal should be an assignment that is like talking: simple with practice. I use talking not just as a useful analogy, but also as a subtler method to make clear that a proposal is all about an audience’s level of satisfaction.
What, Then, is the Point of a Proposal?
All technical documentation should be read, but the main purpose of a proposal is to have it read. Thus, it has to be more appealing than, for example, a Terms of Service while still remaining as sufficiently detailed as one. A well-known version of a proposal is an elevator pitch. Elevator pitches are confined to around thirty seconds, as compared to, perhaps, a two or three page professional proposal. In those thirty seconds, the goal is to convince your audience that your company, product, or brand is worth a look. Expand that to include a plan of action, and you have a proposal.
Proposals must be bold; they must be the next big thing that is going to take people by surprise. This goes for any industry, but for the technical industry especially, a proposal has to summarize and persuade in a single project.
Being bold also requires honesty. Both Wernher Von Braun and Robert Goddard probably had to emphasize their engineering abilities, as well as admit to their limitations in rocket science to convince NASA to trust them. For Von Braun, it was Saturn V. For Goddard, the liquid-fueled rocket. While different projects, they required the same necessary planning. Being honest in proposals can result in the key development of trust between your company and the employer, and also lead to a mutually beneficial long-term partnership. Building these connections with others is essential to the reputation, growth, and success of your company.
Creating a proposal without a plan is the equivalent of spending money on a construction project for which the blueprints have not been drawn. Before starting any project, it is critical to have identified multiple key points and questions have to be taken into consideration, formatted expertly:
- What is the problem?
- What is the solution?
- How do we get there?
- How can both sides participate to make this a beneficial exercise in negotiation?
The greatest advertisements convince us that we need a product to fill our lives with meaning. These companies insist that dreams are the way to go; this is in the literal sense because advertisers produce semi-believable fantasies designed to look practical. Proposals, on the other hand, make practical our fantasies and convince us that we can have the impossible, after we go through several drafts and a couple of peer reviews. It is a little less magical than an advertisement, but a proposal is what makes it real and worthwhile.
What Can You Do?
The best and most convincing proposals are those written by a highly-skilled technical writer. Essential Data is all about helping companies present their greatest achievements, and we are ready to help your company reach new heights. We specialize in all forms of technical writing, including proposals for a wide variety of projects.
The thought of outsourcing your technical documentation may seem scary, however, it has a wide range of benefits. Think in terms of saved labor and training, of increased profit margin and a stable reputation. Think about your skills paired with those of an outsider, cultures bleeding into each other, driving growth. Proposals do that already, and anything that happens before them might as well be considered practice, tests on whether this approach will or will not work out for your company.
It is important to take risks in business, however, the key to risk-taking is taking responsible risks. When it comes to technical documentation, you deserve only the best! Working with highly-trained technical writers can result in clear, concise, and effective proposals that are sure to set your company up for future success.
At Essential Data, our technical writers adapt to all sorts of writing assignments, and despite working in these fields for a long time, they continue to find new ways to present the information our clients hand over to us. For the past 30 years, we have continued to innovate with our clients, and would love to work with you on your path to success. Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Will Boswell