Proposal writing and proposal memos occupy a place in communication all their own. The proposal starts the process of report writing. The proposal means whether or not you have persuasively convinced the reader you have a report problem. In this class we will look at the proposal memo as a series of steps. My thinking is derived from Dianna Booher, a business communications consultant from Texas. She recommends the following structure:
Proposals, to most people, only occur when consultants or individuals seeking grants start writing. Actually, the previous statement is somewhat false. Entrepreneurs write proposals; they seek new business. Proposals are considered one of the highest forms of persuasive writing. Consultants often write proposals to obtain new business. They have to tell and sell the prospective client on the people to do the work, the kind of money requested, the special skills they bring, and the plans and timetables for completing the work.
Sometimes proposals are generated because the government (at any level) wants to issue contracts. The governmental agency issues what we call a Request for Proposal (RFP). This formal document gives the specifications for what the agency wants from the applicant or applying agency. It is extremely important to follow these specifications exactly, so the consultant's bid will be considered. The proposal memo we are writing is only a taste of what a full-blown proposal might look like. The proposal for an RFP could be a sheaf of documents with specially organized sections.
It's fine to talk about proposal and how to write a proposal memo. Still, you would like the "proof of the pudding." Therefore, I have found a proposal memo that follows the outline similar to the earlier one presented. Here goes:
To: Dr. Jay Christensen, Professor From: Hank R. Student e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Current Date Subject: PROPOSED PLAN TO INCREASE JETPAK CLIENTS
JetPak Services Clients
This memo states my proposal for JetPak Management Services, d.b.a., The JetPak Group, in Van Nuys, California. JetPak is a benefits firm where 401(k) client accounts are the main focus of the business. A 401(k) means a qualified retirement plan where employees contribute from their paychecks to a retirement investment account. Over the past year JetPak Management Services has steadily lost clients to larger firms with more experienced representatives. JetPak Management Services is gaining new clients. However, the amount of client outflow is greater. The huge expenses are causing JetPak to have a net loss at the end of each month. JetPak must increase the client database, or the company will go bankrupt in a matter of months.
Background Information Shows Expertise
JetPak Management Services has existed since 1975. The founder of the business is Daniel T. Weedon. He became the assigned owner of JetPak. Mr. Weedon hired me as a part-time employee in September, 1996. The various job duties required are general office, computer operation, and specialized accounting. I installed the accounting system, Quickbooks 4.0, at JetPak in 1996. At this time I supervise the accounts receivable and accounts payable departments. In that capacity I observe the amount of income JetPak is generating and the amount of expenses JetPak is paying. In my year employment with JetPak, the monthly profit and loss statements (P & L) have never totaled a net profit. When the total income surpasses the total expenses on the P & L, the company makes a net profit. When the total expenses exceed the total income, the company experiences a net loss. If the company has a constant net loss, the total profits at the year's end appear negative.
The report writer convinces the reader he or she is capable of doing the report. To that end the report writer discusses specialized knowledge and ability to perform jobs.
Think about: Suppose the paragraph had started: "In September, 1996, I was hired as a part-time employee at JetPak Management Services. In that capacity I observed the amount of income JetPak is generating and the expenses JetPak is paying. JetPak Management has existed since 1975.
During this work effort I noticed the monthly profit and loss statements have never totaled to a net profit. If the company continues to have a constant net loss, the total profits at the year's end appear negative. . . . "
Problem with JetPak Causes Net Loss
JetPak Management Services possesses a small staff and limited resources. The firm consists of three representatives and two general office managers. JetPak can't produce reports as quickly as larger firms. The resources used to advertise the firm include mail and telemarketing. Some larger companies use the radio, top newspapers, and television. The limited resources and small staff make JetPak less desirable than more extensive companies. However, the efficiency remains higher at JetPak.
Dr. Jay Christensen, Professor
Unfortunately, the time it takes to gather information produces reports that are too long. What can be done to increase the client database and produce profit for JetPak Management Services in Van Nuys, California?
Point: Don't start your paragraph with the problem question.
JetPak Needs Solutions
For JetPak to increase its client accounts and the net income, it must increase management organization. Better management organization increases the amount of time spent on client development, rather than reviewing documents. JetPak should also hire more representatives to distribute the high workloads. Hiring more representatives will increase sales personnel in the field, resulting in increased level of client leads. Client leads bring about meetings, proposals, and presentations. Meetings, proposals, and presentations affect new clients. This situation will increase income and the monthly net profits. The last solution JetPak should consider is expanding advertising zones, by focusing on the Internet. The previous solutions will reduce the stress to meet deadlines, and give assurance to new clients that JetPak is the best in constructing 401(k) retirement plans.
Net Income Benefits Everyone
More clients would increase the net income at JetPak Management Services. The higher net income would give JetPak a net profit. If the profit were large enough, I would get a raise. I would benefit from the net profit by a wage increase. I work for low wage now in exchange for flexible hours. My pay rate has not increased while working for JetPak. Mr. Weedon said he would give me a raise if he could. He promised, when a raise is affordable, he will. With an increase of profits, David Weedon would be able to increase my wages as promised. The company would benefit from an increase in clients by the net profits increase as well. Higher profits will allow JetPak to design better 401(k) plans. With net profits JetPak could take on more clients efficiently.
Costs Need Consideration
The following are the estimated costs to write the analytical report:
Analysis of Data
Generation of Report
Stamps 5 @ .32
Mileage 125m @ .33 per mile
Dr. Jay Christensen
Timelines Require Analysis
This report needs to stress two specific timelines: the end of the research and the end of the initial writing. I anticipate, based on the use of multiple search engines, databases, and other secondary information, the research should be finished by April 30, Current Year. The writing, especially the final chapters, should be finished by May 6, Current Year. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the final report can be submitted on May 14, Current Year.
Report Requires Feedback
Do you think the report is on the right path? Would you suggest focusing on a different part? Did I use realistic costs? Do you believe JetPak has a problem? Did I explain the problem thoroughly? How soon would you see the possibility of approval?
Attachments (if appropriate): milestone chart, resumes of requestor(s)
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