Proposals aren't limited to selling products and services or landing grants. Many people have great new ideas for the companies they work for and they have to present their ideas to upper management. To get your project approved or to receive the budget and support you need, you will have to convince others in your organization. To do that requires a detailed project proposal.
Never written one? No worries. You probably already know most of what you need to put in the proposal, and the writing process itself doesn't have to be daunting.
That's because, regardless of the industry, the goals and structure for any internal company project proposal are essentially the same: 1) introduce yourself, 2) highlight the project information, 3) describe the costs, and 4) persuade your management that you are the perfect choice for the project and can be trusted to deliver on your promises. You can also speed up the proposal writing process by using pre-designed templates and studying sample project proposals.
The most important idea to keep in mind is that the goal of any proposal is to convince the person reading it to give you what you want. You're not likely to achieve that by writing your proposal from your point of view, describing only your needs. You have to put yourself in the other person's shoes. In this case, you need to convince your boss (and possibly higher management) to sign off on your proposal and actively support your project.
To persuade them, you must demonstrate that not only can you be trusted to deliver, but that your proposed project will serve the company’s best interest. It's never a good idea to simply ask for funding for a project. You need to convince your immediate boss or manager that this project will make them look good as well. Remember, your project may require the active support of others in your organization who will be putting their reputations on the line.
Your proposal will be tailored to a specific situation and need. But keep in mind that different people or layers of management will be interested in different topics and you need to cover all of them. This means you should gather enough information about the project to create a customized proposal that will address the requirements and concerns of all these different parties.
Now, getting back to the basic order described above, start your proposal with a Cover Letter that includes a brief personal introduction and all your relevant contact information so anyone involved can easily contact you for more details. Next, create a Title Page with the title of your specific proposal (for example, "Cost Saving Supply Chain Optimization," “Expanding into Overseas Markets,” “Creating a Records Management System,” “Replacement of the Legacy Accounting Software,” or "Introducing Job Share Positions").
A company project proposal will probably be long and detailed, so you'll add a Table of Contents. This is where Proposal Kit shines, because the number of pre-written topics you have access to is extensive and detailed enough to cover just about any specialized project proposal. Each Proposal Kit template is a topic that will be listed as a chapter in your Table of Contents. You may not be able to compile a Table of Contents until you have written the body of your proposal, but keep in mind that this is where your TOC belongs, right after the title page.
Following this introduction, write the section that succinctly describes the project needs, goals, and objectives. In company proposals, this is your Executive Summary, which is basically a list of your most important points. It is important to remember that your proposal is likely to be read by different individuals within your company. A high-level executive decision maker may read only the Executive Summary, leaving the details to be read by others.
Outline all the details of the project. This is where you expand on the Executive Summary with topics like Needs Analysis, Goals and Objectives, SWOT Analysis, Project Background, and other details that explain the existing problem or opportunity.
Each company project proposal will vary dramatically from the next, because there are countless projects that could be proposed for specialized situations. This is where the extensive library of Proposal Kit pre-written topics will be most useful. There are many hundreds of topics included in Proposal Kit that will help you describe every project detail. There's not enough space to list them all here; the following names indicate only a few of the more commonly used topics.
If you need to talk about general project information, use topics such as Project Initiation, Project Plan, Project Methods, Project Process Summary, and so on.
To describe distribution issues, use topics such as Transportation, Logistics, Supply Chain, Distribution, Routes, Local, Regional, National, Imports, Exports, and Sourcing and Fulfillment.
For personnel issues, you can use topics like Key Positions, Project Management, Supervision, Outsourcing, etc.
If you need to describe physical resources, you'll want topics such as Resources, Assets, Equipment, Hardware and Software, Resource Allocation, and Installation Schedule.
For property issues, include topics like Site Planning, Facilities, Location Analysis, Infrastructure, and Operating Environment.
To discuss automation issues, use Capacity, Engineering, Manufacturing, Production Plan, Production Schedule, and Scalability topic pages.
For automation or process improvement proposals use topics such as Efficiency, Automation, Optimization, Return on Investment, Cost/Benefit Analysis, Productivity Improvement, Streamlining and Process Management.
Any project has costs associated with it, so you will have to include topics that cover the financial issues. Add pages with titles like Project Cost Summary, Budget, Return on Investment, Cost/Benefit Analysis, and so on.
Follow up the proposal details with your call to action, summary, and evaluation topics such as Project Summary, Expected Results, Evaluation, Acceptance Criteria, and Recommendations.
And finally, for very detailed or technical projects you may have to add appendix information. Add topics such as Schematics, Documentation, Diagrams, Definitions, and Studies, just to name a few.
Your specific business will determine the specialized topics and pages you need to include in your project proposal. The size and scope of the project will determine how many topics and how much detail will be required. Your project proposal may be only 3 pages or more than 30 pages long.
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When proposing an internal company project, not only do you need to look good, but you need to make sure your boss looks good, too. To gain the support of management, you need to convince them that you will deliver on your promises. The more solid your proposal is, the more support you may get. Show that you understand every aspect of the project. Consider adding topics such as Project Oversight, Assumptions, Risk Analysis, Contingency Planning, Disaster Recovery Plan, Security Plan, Coordination, and Accountability.
So there you have it: all the basic steps for creating your proposal. Now for the finishing touches. After you have finalized all the words and data in your proposal, spend a bit of time making it visually appealing. Add your company logo, choose different fonts or use custom bullets, or consider using colored page borders. Don't go overboard, though; you want to match the style of your proposal to the style of your business without distracting from the message. Learn how to effectively select colors for a winning business proposal.
Don't send your proposal to management before you spell-check and proof every page. If possible, have someone outside of the project do the final proofreading pass. It's too easy to miss mistakes in familiar information.
Finally, print the proposal or save it as a PDF file. In the modern business world, it's common to email PDF files, but keep in mind that a printed proposal is sometimes preferable. Make your printed copies easy to flip through, and annotate and tab the critical areas and highlights. In a larger project, you may also be sharing editable Word versions using collaboration software. Use the system most commonly used within your organization to deliver the final proposal.
You can see now how the content of each internal company business proposal will vary widely because of the variety of businesses and types of projects. Your proposal content will be different from anyone else's. But you can also see that all internal project proposals will have similar formats and will follow the same basic structure.
To speed up the proposal writing process, you can use the pre-designed templates in Proposal Pack. They contain easy-to-understand instructions and suggestions and examples that will guide you to provide appropriate content. The product includes many sample project proposals, too; these can give you a head start on creating your own proposal.