In this article, we will teach you how to write a business proposal for your next big business project in Nigeria. Although there are several types of business proposal, in this article, we will be focusing on business-to-business project proposals. We will be sharing you with the 7 foundational pillars in creating a winning business proposal in Nigeria in 2021.
Now, key thing to remember is that people buy from people. So, don’t expect the project proposal document that you put together to be taken up by the decision-makers in the target organization, if you’re not invested in building a mutually beneficial relationship with the organization’s decision makers.
It’s important to remember this because you can write the best project proposal document, but without building relationships, you have a small to zero chance of getting your project funded.
So, whilst you’re actually preparing the project proposal document, it’s really important for you to go out there and actively lobby the decision makers of your organization about your project.
Use those lobbying sessions and those one-on-one meetings to actually refine and hone your understanding of what the problems are in their organization and the benefits that your project can actually deliver in a way that strikes a chord with the organization’s decision makers.
So, in developing your project proposal document, we highly recommend also going out there and actively seeking the feedback of those decision-makers so that that feedback can help you refine and forge the sales pitch that you put together in your proposal document.
Usually, the decision makers will decide on whether or not to invest in your project within the first five minutes of picking up your project proposal document.
So, it’s really critical that you make a big impact right at the start of that project proposal document. And the way you do that is by implementing the first foundation pillar.
Pillar #1: Problem Statement
In the problem statement, you are expected to paint a bleak picture of the target organization that shows or depicts the biggest problems of the organization, which your project could deliver a solution to.
Here, you need to highlight some specific examples of where opportunities were missed or where risks or costs are being incurred in the organization.
Remember, you need to have done a prior research to understand where these problems lie and the opportunities that could be accessed with your proposed solution.
Pillar #2: Vision Statement
The vision statement is a section that needs to tie your project to the organization’s long range, strategy, and long range goals.
Without tying your project into their overarching strategy and long-term vision, you run the risk of having your project being put on the back burner – which implies that you won’t be getting an approval from the organization.
Pillar #3: Benefits
In this section, you’re to go into a bit more details about the things your project will deliver. What new capabilities or what cost reduction benefit will the target organization enjoy by commission your project? So, be very specific about the benefits and ensure that they are measurable as well.
Pillar #4: Deliverables
The deliverable section goes into an extra layer in detailing what your project is going to deliver. It talks about the tangible or intangible goods/services which your project will deliver, how these items will be delivered, and any other additional information regarding what the project recipients can expect.
Deliverables could be small or large: from a product, program, or app, to software, test results, consultation services, or a contract. They can be tangible, like a magazine or a phone, or intangible, like improved sales results or a wider client base.
Lastly, there can be one or multiple deliverables within the scope of a project. Sometimes, deliverables stand alone as unrelated milestones, but, more commonly, they’re dependent on the completion of other deliverables — each of which has a deadline of its own.
In software design and manufacturing, these sub-deliverables are called releases. Each phase is released, tested, and approved before contributing to the whole deliverable.
Pillar #5: Success Criteria
Success criteria are very important to outline in that project proposal. You need to be able to have S-M-A-R-T success criteria — which means it’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Once these success criteria have been met, it gives the project owners, the decision-makers, and the stakeholders, a hundred percent confidence that your project has achieved success.
Pillar #6: Deadlines & Approach
In this section is where your deadlines are listed, where the project plan comes together, and where you explain the approach or methodology for delivering the project.
Pillar #7: Cost/Budget
Lastly, you need to include the estimated project cost and the budget. Here, you need to put all the details together and show the funding plan for that project and how it’s going to achieve its deadlines against those deliverables and for the monetary value of the project.
Now that you know all the pillars that makes for a winning business proposal, here’s a pro-tip that you need to remember. If you find out that you’re getting into a lot of details in the main sections already discussed, then it’s important to consolidate all these points into an executive summary.
Recommended Read: Click here to read our guide to writing a perfect Executive Summary.
As we mentioned before, decision makers will take only about 5 minutes to look at your proposal and decide if it’s something they are going to approve or not. So, you need to ensure those messages in your Executive Summary are loaded with all your best points.
Additionally, you can use visual elements such as a chart or an annotated diagram to make your points come alive in the mind of the reader.
Overall, you are to ensure that your proposal flows like a fiction book– everything needs to flow from the Problem Statement right down to the Cost & Budget section.
Think of it as you telling a story or painting a picture. Therefore, leave no stones unturned for the decision makers to ponder.
If you need further help in writing a winning proposal, why not work with our team here at Sam&Wright?
With 1000+ written business proposals that cut across just about any industry imaginable, Sam&Wright understands how to take your project proposal ideas and turn it into an irresistible business proposal document.