Writing a request for proposal: 3 Hot Tips to get you started

The prospect of writing a request for proposal can be fairly daunting.

Where does one even begin?

Allow Giant Arrow to point the way with these 3 hot tips for you to consider when getting started with your RFP.

Need help writing and formatting your request for proposal? If you’re looking for an experienced consultant to help establish your project’s requirements, answer all your questions and save you a huge amount of time, get in touch with Giant Arrow today.

Writing a request for proposal: Hot Tip #1 – Choose a shortlist

Instead of publicly posting your RFP, or sending it out to as many firms as possible, consider providing it exclusively to a small group of pre-selected firms.

It may seem like the best candidates will be found with a wide search. But it’s going to take you a lot of time to read over proposals you receive, and to respond to unqualified firms.

Writing a request for proposal: tall stack of proposals

Often you can get a sense of who might be a good fit just by researching potential candidates online. You can also ask friends and colleagues for referrals.

Choose four or five companies that advertise an approach you find appealing, or come highly recommended. Plan on sending your RFP only to them. You can always send it to more candidates if you don’t find the right fit with the first round.

This approach also helps keep your info private. Chances are you don’t want the specifics of your project getting into the hands of your direct competitors.

If your request for proposal contains proprietary information, consider asking recipients to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

Writing a request for proposal: Hot Tip #2 – Keep it on point

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” – Blaise Pascal

Stay focused in order to make responding to your request for proposal more appealing for service providers. Take the time to figure out what you truly need. Make mandatory objectives very clear.

Pascal thinks Writing a request for proposal  is a good idea

Some businesses approach the RFP process as way to harvest clever ideas about how to solve as many of the company’s problems as possible.

However, a concise and focused RFP demonstrates that you’re the kind of company someone would want to work for in the first place.

Writing proposals, and responding to RFPs is not a billable service. Therefore, if the firms that you have in mind as potential vendors are in demand, and your RFP is twice as long with four times as many questions to answer as another RFP for a project of a similar scope, it will make more sense for candidates to go after the other project.

The best companies in any industry get a lot of requests, so if you’re looking for top talent, that’s something to keep in mind.

Or course you also want to make sure you’re not forgetting anything.

Writing a request for proposal: Hot Tip #3 – The 5 W’s.. Don’t forget the why!

As with many writing projects, you can cover your bases by making sure that you’ve included the “5 W’s:

the 5 Ws

  • Who are you?
  • What do you need?
  • When do you need it?
  • Where are you located?
  • Why do you need this service?

Seemingly obvious perhaps.

But even in lengthy and complex RFP’s, why is often overlooked.

Answering the question why will go a long way in helping candidates understand how to help you. You can explain why what you’re doing now isn’t working. You can explain why the project is important.

Clarifying the reasons why you’re in need of a new service or product will result in the information necessary to solve your most critical problems, and will help ensure the success of your project.

The way that candidates respond to why you’re seeking outside services will tell you a great deal about who will care about doing the best job possible for you.

Giant Arrow provides Internet marketing, UX design, web and app development and content creation services. We can write and format your RFP. We can also provide a discovery phase to help determine all important considerations for your project, and answer your preliminary questions. Get in touch.

Stay tuned for our next post: Giant Arrow’s 7 essential elements of a request for proposal! 😀