Setting Up Your Consulting Practice

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Topic: Build a Proposal Template

You’re going to be asked to provide prospective clients with a proposal. Using a proposal template will save you time and ensure you cover all the bases.

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Now eventually you’re going to be asked to write a proposal and you want to have a proposal template ready to go for that. 

Some folks and some projects are more amenable to a vertical kind of Word document proposal. And some, you may put in a PowerPoint or horizontal type template. That’s your call depending on the type of project. It’s good to have access to both. 

Some projects you actually want to be able to include a whole bunch of charts and so forth and slides to walk through your approach, and sample deliverables. In some cases, it’s sufficient just to have a one or two or three-page vertical document that typically will layout context.

Here’s what we heard from you.
Here’s our understanding of your situation.
Talk about the approach.
Here’s what we would plan to do. 

Talk about the deliverables.
Here’s what you’d expect to receive.
Talk about the timing of the project.
Talk about any kind of support that we’ll need.
“So we’ll expect you to provide us with a team room, where we’re going to need this list of data from you, or we’re going to need access to this part of your system, or tour this part of your plant. So … who’s the team?” 

So if it’s not just you, if you’re bringing other people, the bios of the team members and of course the professional arrangements or the fees. So what’s the payment terms and what’s the fee? If it’s fixed fee, talking about what the milestones are and when the different milestone payments will be invoiced and when they’re due.

If it’s time and materials, talk about are you going to invoice weekly or twice a month or once a month. You might want to also reference expenses and then there’s a section in there and I learned this from Mary Kate Scott.  Include verbiage that says this proposal may only be used by the executives of the client, insert the client name and make it clear that it can’t be shared with any third parties so that they understand that they’re not supposed to take your proposal that you’ve put a lot of work into and share it with another consulting firm and say all right, we want you guys to do this. 

Finally, you want to include a section there where it says if this proposal is amenable, you know, here’s the place to sign. 

So go ahead and always be closing. Be thinking about making it easy for them to say yes. You could consider including in there, different options. So we have a small, medium, and large option. If you do that, make sure that you include in the proposal a place for the client to indicate which option they want to go with.