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Creating Opportunity: 6 Common Business Proposal Mistakes to Avoid

Business.com / Starting a Business / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Here are some of the common blunders you need to avoid when crafting business proposals. Get ready to wow your potential clients.

Business proposals are very important for the success of any business.

A properly crafted proposal can be a very powerful tool for attracting new business and growing your firm.

However, a poorly written one can cost you major opportunities.

Here are some of the common blunders you need to avoid when crafting business proposals.

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1. Beating Around the Bush

Many proposal writers begin their proposals with a lot of unnecessary details before getting to the point. When reading such submissions, most prospects are likely to lose interest and will probably trash your proposal. Therefore, to enhance your chances of success, be sure to cut to the chase.

Within the first few minutes, the prospect should know who you are, what you do and what you can offer. This will capture their attention and compel them to keep reading until the end. The good news is that most proposal software, like Panda Doc, comes with templates which you can use to create effective proposals.  

2. Being Too Complicated

When it comes to business proposals, simplicity is the best policy. You need to ensure that your document is written in a way that can be understood even by a child. This is because prospects are usually very busy people and therefore don’t have the time start figuring out what you are trying to communicate.

So again, be sure to get to the point quickly. Use simple English and avoid technical jargon which might only end up confusing the reader. To conform that your proposal can be easily understood, you could ask several people to read it and share feedback.

3. Failing to Spell Check

If your proposal is full of spelling mistakes, it will leave the prospect with a very bad impression. Not only will it be difficult to read, but it will also show that you are very careless. Therefore, before submitting your business proposal, take time to carry out a thorough spell check.

Make sure all your sentences and proper nouns begin with a capital letter. In addition, you need to check that punctuation has been used correctly. To save time, you can use one of the many spell checking tools that are available online, such as Grammarly.

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4. Failing to Meet the Client’s Requirement

This is a very common mistake with many proposal writers. No matter how well written your proposal is, it will be discarded if it fails to provide the information the client is looking for. Therefore, proposal writers must first read the RFP (request for proposal) carefully to find out what exactly the client needs.

The proposal should then be customized to address all the issues accordingly. Make sure all the keywords mentioned in the RFP are included in the proposal. This will significantly enhance your chances of success.  

5. Selling Yourself Short

When writing your business proposal, don’t forget that there are probably many other people sending similar proposals to the same client. Therefore, to have an edge over the competition, you need to show how much more your firm can offer.

Don’t sell yourself short by merely complying with the needs mentioned in the request for proposal. Let the client know that you are willing to go the extra mile to deliver.    

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6. Focusing Too Much on Self

In an attempt to win over the client, some proposal writers make the mistake of focusing too much on their company, their outstanding achievements and their stellar reputation. They forget that the proposal is not about them but the targeted client.

You need to understand that the client is more interested in what you can offer than your credentials. They want to know how they will benefit from doing business with you. Therefore, you need to minimize the self-praise and provide the important information.  

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