May 1, 2015
Mel Lester, The Business Edge

When I first started writing proposals back in the mid-1980s, adding a few graphics was a fairly radical concept. There seemed to be a widespread expectation that technical service proposals must be staid and boring – nothing but the facts, ma'am. Now, attractive layouts, color, and ample graphics are common features in our proposals.

But the proposals I've reviewed in recent years still lack effective design for the most part. While they are generally appealing to look at, they fail to meet the most important document design criterion – function.

Effective design goes beyond pretty; it facilitates better communication. Let me suggest a few design tips that will distinguish your proposals, not just in terms of their visual impact, but also in their ability to clearly convey your message(s) to your prospects.

April 1, 2015
Charles H. Green  

Have you ever had a difficult client? I don't mean the client from hell, I just mean garden-variety difficult. Difficult clients come in lots of different flavors.

• There's the client who will not take the time up front to share critical information, explore ideas, or otherwise involve you in the early stages of a project.

• There's the client who just cannot make a decision, regardless of how much data or analyses you provide at their request.

• There's the client who is frozen by politics or fear or ignorance, who will not face facts about critical issues.

• Finally, there's the client with personality issues, who argues, or rejects, or is otherwise disrespectful to you and your team, yet often shows favoritism to someone else or another team.

Fortunately, there is a common thread to all of these cases, which--if we understand it--can help us succeed.

The common thread has nothing to do with the clients. The common thread is us.


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