It`s always up for debate. You want to create a proposal cover that will pique the client’s interest. You may think you spend enough time on proposal covers. But others may think you don’t spend ENOUGH time on them. Well, who’s right?
Or maybe someone else on your team does the covers. How much time should you give them to complete this task? When should you tell them, “That’s enough.”
I’m going to give you a formula that will calculate exactly how much time you should spend on your proposal cover. It can get a little complicated, but it’s important that you spend enough time on your proposal cover without stealing away precious time and attention from the message of your proposal.
This formula is time-tested and will work in every instance, except for one situation (which we’ll get into later).
Now, I understand you might need time to develop or gather graphics for a proposal theme (like Laura Ricci did with her Calvin and Hobbes theme). But the time spent putting together the cover should adhere strictly to the results of each calculation.
Here’s the Proposal Cover Formula.
First, estimate the number of pages that will be in your proposal. You don’t have to be exact, but be sure to include forms, resumes, etc. Write that number down.
Next, identify the very next number. For example, if you estimated four pages, the next number is five. Write that number down as well.
Now add those two numbers together. Write the answer down.
Add nine to that number. Write that answer down.
Take the number from step four and divide it by two. Write the answer down.
Subtract your original estimate (I.e, the number from step one) from the number you came up with in step five.
This final answer is the number of minutes you should spend coming up with your proposal cover.
The Formula in Practice
OK, let’s say you have a 63-page proposal. The next number would be 64. So you add those together.
Now, we add nine.
Next, we divide 136 by 2.
Finally, we subtract our original page estimate (63).
There is your answer. You should spend five minutes putting together the cover for this proposal.
Obviously, it helps if you have a template for your proposal covers. But be careful, spending less than five minutes could lead to a sloppy first impression. Spend any more than five minutes and you’ll be stupidly wasting precious time you could be using to focus on the things that will actually influence the proposal evaluator’s decision.
The One Exception
There is one instance when this formula will not work. It’s important that you remember this exception. If you find yourself in this situation and use the proposal cover formula, you may actually hurt your chances with the client.
The only instance where you can’t use the proposal cover formula is when you are developing a proposal to design proposal covers for a client (ironic, huh?). In all other situations, this formula will work.
In fact, I’m so convinced of this that if you can prove to me that you used my formula and lost a proposal competition because of lack of time spent on the cover…I’ll give you and your entire team free copies of Proposal Development Secrets!
This offer does not apply to the one exception I mentioned.
So, next time you’re arguing about how much time to spend on a proposal cover…just use the Proposal Cover Formula and be done with all the nonsense.
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