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Writing Business Bids & Proposals for Dummies

Dummies Book IconFind below the collection of online resources (tools and templates) that accompany the APMP-sponsored book, Writing Business Bids & Proposals for Dummies.

The book was written for individuals in the business market that may write a few proposals each year. They are small business owners, salespeople, and lone proposal writers. Bids & Proposals for Dummies will help these individuals understand how to write customer-focused, persuasive proposals that win them more business.



Chapter(s) Document Name Description
2 Example of RFP Representative model of a commercial Request for Proposal (RFP). A document from a customer or funding source calling for proposals for a specific program, project, or work effort.
2 Example of RFQ Representative model of a commercial Request for Quotation (RFQ). Often a brief RFP that focuses on a few key requirements and asks for a price quote.
2 Example of RFI Representative model of a commercial Request for Information (RFI). A customer document used at an early stage of a procurement to create a list of viable bidders who will later be invited to render an offer or respond to an RFP.
4 Customer Question Tracker A table to help you track the questions you and your competitors ask the customer during an RFP period.
4, 16 Compliance Matrix A list of specific customer requirements from an RFP. The matrix often splits complex, multi-part requirements into sub-requirements. It also helps proposal managers and internal reviewers verify that the RFP response meets all the customer’s requirements.
5 Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis instructions and template An analysis bidders perform to assess their competitive positioning and to identify the steps they must take to develop a compelling, winning proposal.
6, 14 Kickoff Meeting Agenda A schedule for leading the meeting that starts the proposal effort for all contributors. It includes activities such as answering questions about the opportunity, assigning writing tasks, setting milestones, and creating a cohesive team.
6, 14 Kickoff Meeting Briefing Collection of references, templates, and tools to help the proposal team write a proactive proposal or RFP response. It includes customer profile, draft executive summary, opportunity overview, customer background, competitive assessment, proposal strategy, proposal schedule, and solution approach.
6,10 Style Sheet Writing guidelines for authors so they can work separately from others and still deliver content that meets a single standard. Saves time and effort for lone proposal writers working because it reminds them of issues easily forgotten, such as word usage, formatting, grammar, and spelling.
6, 13, 16 Proactive Proposal Template A preformatted word-processing file with predefined headers, footers, headings, and text blocks to guide users as they write proactive commercial proposals.
2, 6, 16 Reactive Response Template A preformatted word-processing file with predefined headers, footers, and other standard elements that allows users to insert a customer’s RFP and then respond as directed.
6, 9 Transmittal Letter Proactive Proposal A model for introducing a commercial proposal to a prospective customer, based on the Attention-Interest-Desire -Action (AIDA) model.
6, 9 Transmittal Letter Reactive Response A model for introducing a commercial RFP response to a customer, based on the Attention-Interest-Desire-Action (AIDA) model.
6, 12 Oral Proposal Template A model for developing a live proposal presentation following a successful submittal.
8, 16 Proposal Schedule Three sample "calendar-style” templates, including key deliverables and milestones, for delivering proactive proposals or RFP responses.
8 Example Gantt Chart A sample management tool (horizontal bar chart) for identifying and tracking progress on activities, milestones, and deliverables over the life of a project.
8, 16 Budget Template A preformatted worksheet with standard expense categories to forecast and track potential proposal expenses.
9 Executive Summary Template A preformatted word-processing file with predefined headers, footers, headings, and text blocks to guide users as they write proactive commercial executive summaries.
9, 10 Four-part RFP Question-Response Model Structured writing model for answering RFP questions consistently and clearly.
10 Activating Nominalizations Guide Job aid to help writers identify and eliminate nominalizations and improve the clarity and concision of their text.
12 Final Review Checklist A list of requirements so proposal reviewers can effectively assess the entire proposal — its compliance, readiness, and responsiveness, plus its effectiveness in conveying the proposal’s themes, fulfilling its strategy, and depicting its discriminators.
13, 15, 16 Checklist For Internal Lessons Learned Review This template guides you as you get feedback (both positive and negative) from your internal team so you can continually improve the capture and proposal processes.
14 Stoplight Chart A simple chart showing a red, yellow, or green status for each major activity during a project.
14 Responsibility Matrix An extension of a compliance matrix that identifies proposal team members and their specific proposal section responsibilities.
15, 16 Checklist Of Questions For Customer Debrief This template guides you while obtaining positive and negative feedback from your customer on how your proposal scored in its evaluation.
15 Proof Points Tracking Checklist Provides a comprehensive list of potential reusable content objects to support your claims.
16 Past Performance Template A structured format for creating and retaining knowledge about previous projects so you can provide proofs for your claims.
16 Customer Contact Plan A reference document that lists the customers you plan to contact, who in your company will visit them, what you want to find out, what you want to communicate, when and where you’ll meet, and how you’ll communicate your messages. The plan also includes a placeholder for the information you gather during a customer meeting.
16 Bid/No Bid Analysis A guided assessment template to use after you’ve completed the opportunity plan that validates whether you’re properly positioned to win.
16 Production Resources Checklist An accounting of all the human, equipment, and monetary resources you may need to produce and deliver your proposal to the customer.
16 Production Checklist A list of document attributes that your published proposal should meet.
16 Editing Checklist A list of criteria that an editor should ensure a proposal meets before submission. The checklist covers grammar, punctuation, capitalization, clarity, readability, consistency, and persuasiveness.