If you operate your own consulting business, you are responsible for creating proposals and bids for potential new customers. Responding to a Request for Proposals (RFPs) with a competitive bid can be challenging at first, but with these tips, you’ll be on your way to successfully generating new business.
Making Your Proposal Pop
In response to RFPs and/or customers who approach you about your small business services, you will need to put together a proposal that outlines the services you can provide to meet the customer’s needs. The proposal should detail your services and related fees, as well as timelines required to complete related projects.
Remember that potential clients are likely receiving proposals from your competitors, so make sure to maintain a high level of professionalism, language, and persuasive phrasing that frames your brand and services in the best light. For the best visual presentation, you can create an attractive Word document with an appealing theme, including your logo and the client’s logo on the cover page.
Consider producing a PowerPoint proposal for enhanced visual appeal. Keep in mind that people process information in different ways. Some customers will prefer a document-based presentation, while others may prefer a visually stimulating presentation with few words. Consider creating both versions of your presentation, allowing your customer(s) to choose the format that they prefer.
Tips for making your proposal stand out:
- Create a standard proposal template for personal use. You will be able to modify the template information for each proposal, customizing proposals for specific clients, while decreasing the time spent producing each proposal.
- Review your template on a regular basis. You don’t want to list services in a proposal that you no longer offer, or accidentally misrepresent pricing.
- Have a co-worker/employee review your proposal for proper grammar. Read your proposal several times before presenting it to prospective clients.
- Remember to follow up with your client a few days after submitting the proposal to seal the deal!
Private consultants often find it difficult to determine pricing for their services. Knowing what to charge for your services is always a difficult process. Generally speaking, the more experience you have in your industry, the more you can charge for services.
Many early-stage consultants undervalue their services, simply because they undervalue their time and expertise. But if you find yourself working80 hours per week to garner the wages of a 40 hour per week salary, your rates are too probably too low. Use this formula to develop an accurate pricing model:
Expenses + Time + Expertise = Price
Expenses. If, for example, you write and distribute press releases for PR clients, and the press release distribution costs you $200, you have $200 in expenses from the outset; you will have to factor in those expenses in your pricing model.
Time. Let’s say you want to make $100 per hour, and a press release takes you an hour to write. Time = $100.
Expertise. Are you an expert in your field? Do people regard you as such? If you’re new, you will not be able to price your services like a renowned expert, simply because you do not have the portfolio + years of experience. Inexperienced consultants should use an “expertise” value no greater than $50, mid-level consultants, $150, and experienced consultants $200.
200 Expense + 100 Time + 50 Expertise (inexperienced consultant) = $350 (total project fee)