This is the second part of the three-part publication on tips on successful proposal writing. The first part can be found here.
Title of a Successful Proposal
Let’s talk about the proposal itself now. The first thing I want to highlight here is the Title!
The title is your very first opportunity to make a good impression. Go ahead and use buzzwords. (And I will talk about this a bit more in the third part of this blog.) Do not use a title that makes your proposal sound like a research project – unless you are applying for a research grant. Instead of using “study”, use “project”; instead of “data collection”, use “market analysis” or “analytics”.
At the same time, it could be: Green Affordable Solution to the Transportation Problem. It still sounds pretty boring. If, in your particular region, bikes are perceived as unsafe and you happen to address this, then you may go with: Green Affordable and Safe Solution to the Transportation problem. Still, this is a bit too long. But what would you think if the title was Lopifit: E-Walking Bike? Sounds pretty intriguing. This is outside of the scope of this blog, but if it made you curious, here’s the video on the E-Walking Bike.
Next is the abstract or the executive summary. This is your second and possibly only chance to make the right impression. Some proposal templates do not ask for this specifically – there is no place for “abstract” or “executive summary”. What they do oftentimes ask for is a “summary for public release”.
So go ahead and give a clear snapshot of your business – get them hooked. It is like using bait to lure reviewers into reading the whole proposal. Do not think that people who are reading your proposal are the government bureaucrats with no knowledge of what you are talking about. These people could be successful entrepreneurs, former investors, or people with expertise in your technology.
Answer the questions!
The next one – answer the questions. Be very anal about answering the questions in the proposal. It makes a good impression about the proposal and adds clarity to it. This should be easy. But in reality this is very often the most difficult part. Some of the questions might be just a bit hard to digest. For example: “Describe the distribution path of your solution from you to the end user.” And how to address it? Be simple. What it means is that you need to visualize the steps you will take to move the product from manufacturing to the customer.
For example, coming back to the bikes production, this could be the following: You assemble the bike. You ship it to the distributor. The distributor puts it on the floor. The customer sees it and purchases it.
It could be more complicated or more simple. It all depends on your particular business model. So do not hesitate to explain it.
It is also very annoying when an applicant does not understand the question and starts telling blah-blah-blah-blah. Literally, it makes it look like you do not know the answer and haven’t thought your strategy through. So what to do when you do not understand the question? Call the funding agency and ask what this question means! Many years ago, I used to think that it would demonstrate me as not being smart and thus negatively affect my application. Well, this is not true, I can assure you.
To be continued
These are a few of the tips on successful grant writing. Stay tuned for upcoming blogs with more tips on successful proposal writing.
ConnexFund specializes in grants and funding for innovative companies and start-ups with a focus on technology and manufacturing. Many Canadian businesses are aware that there is some free money available for them. But not so many know where to find it, how to access it and how to prepare a grant application that is successful. And this is exactly what ConnexFund does!