Better Yet 4-1-2006

A Decent Proposal


Composing a winning business proposal is as much art as it is skill. Carl Dickson, publisher of, a website offering education in business development, shares these suggestions. 

Offer the basics. Every proposal should at least describe the work to be done, who will be doing it (including contact info) and where it will be accomplished.

Don’t bury the lead. Dickson recommends placing your most important thought right up front in the proposal, rather than saving the best for last or building to a finish.

Don’t use a template. “We get a lot of requests from people for samples of proposals,” says Dickson. “People think if they could just see a proposal they would be OK preparing their own. We try to advise people to design their proposal around their particular customer’s expectations.”

Be concise. Less can be more. If the customer requires specifics, be sure to include them, but if a simpler proposal would make the case with more clarity, then don’t get too detailed.