Most business that makes a formal request for submission of proposals give clear guidelines that they expect those submitting proposals to follow. There may be several reasons why they make such requests.
- They may use it as a way of weeding out those who do not comply
- It may serve to help facilitate the processing of the proposals
- It could serve to box-in those drawing up the proposals and see how they will work within this limitation to offer them something that stands out from the rest
- It may be to follow regulatory guidelines with respect to meeting with industry regulation
- It could best fit the company ideals or goals with respect to meeting the objectives of the service in question
Now when we look at some of the reasons above, you can see that some cancel out each other. For instance, the third point seems to be the opposite of the first point. The onus therefore lies on you to do some background work prior to drawing up the business proposal. The information you get might determine how you will handle the issue of guidelines.
Such proposals that come with guidelines can be called solicited proposals and the norm is that you try as much as possible to comply with the guidelines. This would of course hinge on the reason why they want to have it done in such a manner i.e. the reason you get to find out. Doing background research into the company and the project in particular helps because it will give you an edge others will not have.
Create A Blue Print Of The Proposal Based On The Guideline
You proposal should be structured according to the guidelines. One advantage such guideline presents is that they can give you an insight into what the company is emphasizing on. For instance, if they spend much time stating how the cost should be detailed as well as the timeline of the execution and conclusion of the project, this should point to the possibility of them looking at both time and cost.
This will give you an idea into the area you should spend your time on with respect to drawing up the business plan. Concentrating on creating multiple options linking time to price could give you an edge over those that might be concentrating on quality assurance or just about any other segment of the project.
Sticking To The Guidelines
This does not mean that you should not touch on areas given. In fact, touching on every area given should be a priority but a properly articulated proposal will know how to lean on the strongest selling point after the writer must have concluded on what the client really wants. Sticking to the guidelines ensures that you get a chance to place a foot at the door. However, it is not just about sticking to the guidelines but drawing up a compelling proposal whilst still having an eye on the guidelines.
You must stand out from the pack
This is why your background work should be aimed at unraveling what the business is really looking for and how you can present a proposal that does not just answer to the given guideline but also what they are looking for in the proposal.
Let us do a summary of what given guidelines do
- They present the official expectations of the company.
- You should bear in mind that they could also be the minimum requirements they need to see in each proposal. You will have to confirm this to make sure.
- They can give an insight into the unspoken needs of the company.
- Compliance and lack thereof could be a way of reducing the number of proposals they have to address.
Creativity Is A Must
Like we mentioned earlier, guidelines can be limiting but they are also an avenue for you to show what you can do within the stipulated guidelines. The more you can give them from the little they are giving you, the greater your chances of submitting a winning proposal. Besides, working with such guidelines clearly tells you what you should not include in the proposal. This gives you more time to concentrate your energies on their area of interest and making sure you create a compelling proposal.
Following the guideline in a solicited proposal does not have to limit your ability to produce a compelling business proposal. Rather, it gives you an opportunity to focus and the areas you have to present something that will make you stand out from the pack.