Article: Darlene Bishop

The Small Business Library

September 7, 2000

Simple Steps for Super Proposals

There generally comes the time in the life of any successful business owner when s/he must prepare a proposal in response to a request for quote (RFQ or RFP) for a prospective client. While the task can be intimidating for the inexperienced entrepreneur, there are some basic elements that will ensure your proposal answers any potential questions your prospect may have.

These include:

  • Background Information (Why are you the best person/company for this job?)

  • Scope of the Project (What do you intend to do for the client?)

  • Proposed Timetable (When do you plan to start/complete the projects? What major steps will you take to meet their needs?)

  • Personnel (Who will be doing the work? List the qualifications of every employee or contractor involved.)

  • Cost (How much will this project cost? Break this section down into bite-sized pieces. Itemize.)

  • Additional Information (Testimonials, supporting documents, etc. Include anything that presents your company and staff in a favorable light.)

As to format and actual preparation of the proposal, you have a lot of flexibility. However, keep these basics in mind:

  • PROOFREAD! Your proposal must be as perfect as you can make it! If you can't make it perfect, hire a professional. It would be a shame to spend hours compiling a winning proposal only to have it thrown out because of poor grammar or typos. And it DOES happen!

  • Use a professional font such as Arial or Times Roman with at least a 12 pt size for ease in reading.

  • Leave out the hype. Create a document that will professionally explain your position, what you have to offer your customer and how much it will cost him or her.

There may be other items to consider, depending on the nature of the RFP, but these basic steps will help you prepare a simple, professional proposal that will -- along with your glowing skills, affordable rates and astonishing presentation skills -- win those important and high paying jobs.

About the author: Darlene Bishop is a professional with over 16 years experience writing and editing ezines and newsletters, press releases, website content, sales letters, and much more, and is the author of numerous articles on a variety of topics. Visit her website at to learn more about her full line of writing and editorial services for businesses and individuals.