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  • Welcome to "Anatomy of a Proposal," the second in the professional communication series.

  • My name is Soma Jurgensen, I'm the chair of the School of Business at Rasmussen College in Brooklyn Park Minnesota.

  • For today's video, our learning objectives are to:

  • One, be able to organize a proposal into specific sections.

  • Two, induce problem discovery in the problem statement,

  • propose SMART solutions and to conclude your proposal with power.

  • The organization of a proposal follows pretty common conventions.

  • There's a purpose statement,

  • which is a short statement of about a paragraph explaining what you're proposing, why,

  • and what the benefit will be to the company.

  • There's a problem statement that fully identifies the problem,

  • but the most important characteristics of the problem

  • that than relate to your solution.

  • So your solution should be related directly to your problem.

  • And then there's the cost-benefit.

  • Because any solution is going to require resources.

  • How do you balance that cost with the benefits that the organization realize?

  • And because proposals require approval to move forward,

  • how do you conclude with power to ensure the best chance have your proposal being instituted by the organization?

  • Start with the purpose.

  • A purpose statement is like a movie trailer or a pitch.

  • One of the most famous pitches is that for "Alien."

  • The person, who was pitching it, is rumored to have said that,

  • "Alien is like Jaws on a spaceship."

  • That's it.

  • "Jaws on a spaceship."

  • No extra words used.

  • All the connotations of Jaws, and all the magic,

  • and science fiction feelings and thoughts of a spaceship were brought together in that one sentence.

  • Now, I don't know that any purpose statement for a business can be quite that concise, or that visual,

  • but you do want to keep it to a one-paragraph introduction.

  • This is like a trailer, you're getting a taste of what's coming, but you want to read more.

  • In it, you want to identify the problem,

  • preview the solution,

  • and illustrate a better future.

  • In the Alien pitch, "Jaws on a spaceship."

  • Well, Jaws grossed quite a bit of money,

  • and at the time that this idea was pitched,

  • science fiction movies in those in space were getting quite a bit of attention.

  • So this better future for the producer, was clearly a lot more money for a famous grossing film,

  • which is exactly what Alien became.

  • Here's an example of a purpose statement:

  • Gardens R Us has struggled to grow their business through more landscaping clients.

  • A site audit reveals that rewriting website copy can optimize the site for landscaping search engine results

  • that will lead to new business.

  • I've emphasize some words here.

  • So Gardens R Us is the organization that I work for in this case, as an example.

  • And I am indicating that this organization,

  • my organization, has struggled to grow our business

  • through more landscaping clients.

  • We've conducted the site audit in our marketing department,

  • and it's revealed,

  • so you notice that I use evidence here,

  • that rewriting the website's copy can optimize the site for the landscaping keyword search engine,

  • So the search engines can find those results that will lead to new business.

  • So this is the example of the future.

  • So in a purpose statement ask yourself these questions and then hone it down to a single paragraph.

  • And you notice no where here do I have the word "I."

  • Remember that a proposal is a professional document,

  • and therefore should be written in the third person professional.

  • So the first question is, what are you proposing?

  • In this case, I'm proposing rewriting website copy so that

  • landscaping can be optimized for search engine results.

  • I'm proposing this because......

  • And you notice I start with my reason,

  • and then go to my solution,

  • but this is just easier to think through as you're drafting.

  • So the reason I'm proposing this is

  • because my company has struggled to grow their business through more landscaping clients.

  • So this is what the business wants. And why?

  • Because the end benefit is new business. Right?

  • They don't want to serve the same clients over and over again and just serve them more.

  • They want to bring in new clients in the landscaping area,

  • so with my end benefit, I've also shown that understand the needs of my company

  • and what they're trying to do in their business.

  • A lot to do in just a short paragraph.

  • The problem statement is next,

  • and, so, do delineate and organize under subheadings.

  • So the problem statement can either be simply problem statement,

  • or you can reveal the problem in the subheading itself.

  • So in the case of the previous example,

  • I might say, "landscaping customers still hold only five percent of our business."

  • So I do reveal that a serious problem exists in the problem statement.

  • But, do know, that it's a missed opportunity.

  • One thing you don't want to do is make the reader feel like you are criticizing their work.

  • That a serious problem exists that we're not getting landscape customers is something the

  • whole organization is struggling with.

  • And I've identified this as a missed opportunity for the company.

  • So now I'm gonna define it in the problem statement.

  • How long has our organization been trying to attract landscaping customers?

  • Why, in this case, landscaping customers are more profitable?

  • For us there's less upkeep once the design is put into place by us,

  • and so as the customer stays longer we actually enjoy more profit from them.

  • And for whom is it a problem?

  • It's a problem for the whole organization because the growth in the health of this organization relies on new customers.

  • Support the symptoms with relevant statistics.

  • At this point, I might say that,

  • "5 percent of our customers are represented by landscaping business."

  • "If our goal is 20 percent, I can say that we're still in the single digits

  • while we are trying to reach a 20 percent of business out of landscaping customers."

  • That's a relevant statistic.

  • Now some other symptoms you might say that are:

  • "when we do get a new landscaping customer,

  • we tend to lose them at twice the rate of our gardening services for snowplow customers."

  • Right? Relevant statistic. Losing customers is a symptom.

  • Those small number of landscape customers is a symptom.

  • And third might say, "perhaps our current landscaping customers

  • have told us that we don't have the expertise to meet their needs properly."

  • And so that's another symptom that we can put some relevant statistics to.

  • Does the owner have landscaping architecture as their primary education?

  • Is it something that we should develop?

  • Is their expertise that we can bring in from outside for design,

  • but then satisfy the other areas that a customer would need.

  • So these symptoms need to be supported with specifics

  • because that's one way to grow credibility.

  • If you'd like to read a little bit more about making a case in your problem statement,

  • and how symptoms can be substantiated,

  • please visit the Sofia packet on "Making a Case in your Problem Statement" at your leisure.

  • Now, after the problem statement, of course,

  • you're going to propose a solution.

  • That's why you began the proposal in the first place.

  • Now you'll notice I did not jump right into my recommended solution

  • because, first, I have to bring the reader along with the discovery of the problem with me.

  • Perhaps they knew they were frustrated by this five percent of landscaping customers,

  • but they couldn't understand what was happening.

  • And we have, in our problem statement, brought other symptoms to light.

  • So now, this may sound elementary, but state your solution.

  • State it quickly, state it clearly.

  • Do not assume that your reader knows exactly what you want to happen,

  • and don't allow them to read through several paragraphs to find your solution.

  • So, in this case, I would state clearly that

  • "after a site audit, on page copywriting optimization is the way that we can reach more landscape customers."

  • That has related it directly to the problem.

  • If we reach more landscaping customers, and show the expertise that we have on our website,

  • and show our ability to do the work for our contractors,

  • then we can keep those landscape customers.

  • And this plan is workable.

  • We're not talking about hiring a consultant to completely redesign our website,

  • or create a million dollar advertising campaign.

  • We're talking about something that, although challenging, is workable for our organization.

  • And we want to make it SMART, so if you recall from my last video that means:

  • S being specific, using specific language and goals.

  • So rewriting our website optimizes for landscaping search terms in order to increase our websearch results.

  • That's specific language in goals.

  • How will you measure success?

  • At this point in my solution, I might say that,

  • "we would like to see our increase for landscaping services increase by seventy-five percent,

  • and if just two percent of them turned over into customers

  • that would increase our number of landscape customers in six months to 10 percent and double it.

  • Now I'm talking about how to measure success.

  • And do I have support from experts at this point in my proposal?

  • I would show the impact that page copy optimization has on bringing in new customers

  • and turning them into clients, paying clients.

  • I know that research is out there, so I will borrow from external experts to add credibility to my position and my recommendation.

  • So this is my A, my agreed upon. And M for measurable.

  • So R for realistic. Challenging, yes, but realistic

  • Realistic is something that we can do with effort and resources.

  • And finally time bound.

  • I would recommend in my solution that we follow a particular timetable that

  • we conclude a site audit, do a competitive analysis of keyword search terms,

  • test the new copy by three months so that

  • our new copy is ready to launch two months before our busiest time of the year,

  • so two months before spring, okay.

  • That is what allows my solution to be SMART.

  • But first I have to convince my reader that my solution relates directly to the problem that I've reveal to them.

  • And now you have to be clear about the resources that you need.

  • So this is the costs and benefits section.

  • First is time, that is a resource.

  • Someone's time needs to be spent rewriting the website and writing new copy researching keyword terms.

  • There is some money involved potentially, because you would have to pay that person.

  • You might decide that you want to pay a copywriter.

  • There's going to be people needed either you're gonna have to hire them or you're going to have to redirect their work from within the organization.

  • So now my benefits have to outweigh the costs.

  • In this case when benefit is very quantifiable, I can calculate the new business.

  • So if I get even one new landscape customer that stays with us through two seasons,

  • I make enough profit to pay for the solution.

  • Now my original solution says that success would mean seven new customers,

  • so I have more than paid for the resources I have used for this project.

  • Sometimes the benefits, however, will not be monetarily quantifiable,

  • so think about it from the reader's perspective.

  • If I am talking to a nonprofit organization, and I'm trying to bring in clients from other areas,

  • so for example, the Courage Center which is very well known in the Minnesota area for helping people with disabilities lead full lives.

  • I wouldn't necessarily be able to quantify through profit

  • how our website optimization might affect business,

  • but if I'm able to reach more people who have disabilities,

  • and find them meaningful jobs, find them places to live where they can be independent.

  • That benefit can also be weighed against the costs of the project.

  • So don't be afraid to relate it to the mission or the core values of the organization, as well.

  • And all this that we've done is well and good,

  • but this work, if you don't conclude by asking for what you want,

  • will not make for a successful proposal.

  • So it's that time.

  • Remind the reader that change is necessary, you've made a good case for change.

  • Emphasize the benefits to the decision maker, do not go over the mean points of your solution.

  • Now's the time to create a word picture in their mind.

  • So now you have rooms filled with people who need job placement and places to live,

  • and who need counseling through their disability.

  • You have a roster filled with landscaping customers,

  • so that your spring and summer are already full two months out.

  • What does success look like from the readers point of view.

  • And then ask for the next steps.

  • Depending on where you are in your organization, and how far your process is,

  • you could ask for approval right then and there.

  • However, you typically might want to ask what next steps are.

  • At this point you might want to ask for an opportunity to meet and talk about the proposal.

  • There is a deadline, for example, if we're going to make this proposal work,

  • we will need to sit down and start our timeline as early as next month,

  • so let's come together on approval the next two weeks.

  • That type of a thing.

  • So it's time to ask for your action that you were hoping for from the very beginning.

  • Thank you very much for your time.

Welcome to "Anatomy of a Proposal," the second in the professional communication series.

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提案書の解剖学 (Anatomy of a Proposal)

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    Colin Lin に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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