Why you don't need to write long, detailed proposals

I used to write long, detailed, proposals for my clients.

I was a software developer, the projects were complex and, as they say, the devil is in the details.

So the proposals have to be complex and detailed too, right?

There are two problems with this.

The proposal becomes really boring. I mean, do you really want to read a load of software tech specs? I write software and I don’t want to.

And the client doesn’t really care. They want to know “if I spend money with you can I be certain that you will make my business, and my life, better?”

So now, I make sure my proposals answer that last question and nothing more. I talk about the outcomes they want, what it’s worth to them and give them options on how to proceed.

And it’s rarely more than 7, sparse, pages long. I don’t spend more than an hour putting the proposal together.

But because it answers that fundamental question, I generally end up with a signed contract.

Do you have to write proposals for your projects? If so, what do they look like?

Rahoul Baruah

Rahoul Baruah

Rubyist since 1.8.6. Freelancer since 2007, dedicated to building incredible, low-cost, bespoke software for tiny businesses. Also CTO at Collabor8Online.
Leeds, England