The harsh reality is that most people don’t only see bad writing as unprofessional, but they also automatically equate it to poor skills in general. Just ask around. How you write a company profile and proposal can therefore very well make or break your chances of getting the client or job you want. Considering this, it is well worth it to invest the time and the resources to ensure that you craft a thoroughly thought through and well written document. Allow me to share some tips with you.
Get to know the entity you are talking to
Before you even start writing your business profile; conduct some background research on who you are pitching to. Get a feel for how they conduct business, what their goals and objectives are and the terminology that is generally used in their space. Then be sure to integrate elements of it into your profile. For example, if their communication is cryptic and to the point, they will most likely not appreciate an overly elaborate introduction. If they care for the environment, they will be more inclined to relate to an organisation that does the same. If they use terms like ‘outcomes’, words like ‘results’ could possibly not exist in their frame of reference.
Let the requirement determine the format
When you respond to a request for a quote (RFQ), you will most likely submit both your business profile and a proposal. Remember that the first line of assessment is very often executed by a procurement team that will not necessarily take the time to interpret all of your content though. The moment it seems as if you have not addressed any of their requirements, your submission will automatically be disregarded or disqualified. To avoid this, you have to first write your proposal in exactly the same order as their requirements are listed, and align your headings 100% with theirs. Then only can you insert your business profile under the relevant section of it.
Make sure you speak right to the job at hand
A lot of companies make the mistake of focusing on their own capability and history, instead of driving straight to what it is they can do for their clients. The reality is that any company will be more interested in what you can do for them and how you can solve their issues. Again, if you are responding to an RFQ or if you are gunning for a project, study the requirements carefully to make sure you understand what they are asking. If any of their requirements are unclear, do give the responsible person a call and chat to him or her about it. You should pretty much view it like an exam. You cannot answer a question, unless you know what it means.
Demonstrate clearly how you can fulfil the need
Once you understand what it is that the client wants and needs, you need to express clearly what steps you will follow to fulfil it. Apart from speaking to every one of their ‘must-have’ requirements, you can also include some ‘nice-to-haves’, such as value added services or components you will offer over and above their minimum requirements. Or you can highlight what you will be able to provide that is out of the ordinary.
Showcase your capability
Stating what you will do for your client will have little value if you cannot substantiate that you are able to deliver. As soon as you have shared the methodology that you will apply to meet your client’s demands, you need to prove your capability and capacity. This could include elements such as your company infrastructure and geographical footprint, relevant resources, the expertise and qualifications of your team, your portfolio of clients, awards and recognitions and professional associations. Even though this is often referred to as your ‘brag sheet,’ make sure that you convey this information factually and objectively, without coming across as arrogant.
Set yourself apart
Be wary of writing a same old, same old kind of business profiles and proposals that will bore your audience to tears. Leverage the opportunity to illustrate what you can bring to the table that your competitors cannot. Aim to do so in a way that will be informative, whilst touching and inspiring your reader or making him or her think.
Be sure to convey your information in such a way that you will counteract any perceived weaknesses, whilst banking on your strengths. If your main competitors for example have companies that are much larger than yours, then emphasise the value of a boutique firm that places a client at the centre of its universe.
Manage the expectation
Never set yourself up to disappoint your client by promising what you cannot realistically deliver. There is hardly ever a comeback from that. Proactively manage the client expectations instead by stating the resources required and estimated costs, as well as the timelines for delivery. Be upfront and honest about terms and conditions that will apply.
Conclude with the benefits to your client
Always end your business proposal on a high note, by summarising the benefits you offer the client.
Check your writing
Illustrate the utmost professionalism by thoroughly checking your business profile for language, grammar and spelling errors. Remember that this is a representation of your company and that your client’s impression of you will very well be determined by it.