22 December 2005

A Proposal For Simplicity

Simplify your business proposal to make it more effective. That's the advice of Patrick G. Riley in his book The One-Page Proposal: How to Get Your Business Pitch onto One Persuasive Page. Aimed at business-to-business proposals, the book has been well-embraced by start-ups seeking a shortcut to funding.

However. Riley's book is not about shortcuts: it's about thinking deeper about your business. Too many readers have confused "one page" with "quick dash to money," missing the enormously valuable insight of what a true analysis can deliver.

In essence, Riley asks you and your team to focus on six fundamental questions to craft your "simple" one-page business proposal:

1) Who are we?

2) "Brand"? It's all about Character!

3) What's our Story?

4) What's the Dream?

5) Who Cares?

6) Exactly how are we dramatically different?

Note that the first two questions are about being. If you just answer them in "We are this-and-that and our Brand is 'Affordable quality'" you are in for some tough times ahead. Who you are--who your company is--makes the difference between good and great; gloss over that and you're leaving your future in the fickle hands of Fate.

The next three questions (Story, Dream, Who Cares) put you squarely into the market, inside your customer's head. Your Story defines you, your Dream empowers the relationship between you and the market and determining/defining who cares is your marketing plan in a nutshell.

And what brings it all together is knowing--creating--that dramatic difference that sets you apart from the "affordable quality" herd, the drones who sleep-walk into mediocrity or worse. Your proposal or pitch will be honed to precision by knowing what sets you above the competition, who is targeted, what needs do you fulfill and why you are the best, if not the only company, capable of outstanding success.

As Zen teachers have pointed out for centuries, true simplicity is complex, yet simple when mastered. Don't settle for complexity and don't settle for being a simpleton: aim for the simplicity of mastery and success will be...simple.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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