When you’ve completed the bid, you must submit a written proposal that clarifies what your bid includes and what is not included. If your proposal is properly written and states the terms and conditions that you wish to have included, it’s likely to be signed. At that point, you can consider the signed proposal a legal and binding contract.

Whenever you prepare a proposal, make sure it’s delivered to the individual who is authorized to take action on it. Giving a proposal to a receptionist or secretary is a waste of time. If the prospect is sincerely interested in your company as a prospective contractor, they’ll give you personal attention. Using others to deliver proposals may be taken as - well, we’re not important! A proposal personally hand-delivered by the company owner implies the opposite. Perhaps the best salesman is the person who stands to gain the most - the company president.

Don’t waste time on price shoppers. If you manage to get a job from them, you probably won’t be able to make a reasonable profit, and you won’t establish a permanent relationship because they’ll dump you whenever someone underbids you.

Proposals should be designed to protect you and the consumer. Take the time to design your proposal to achieve that purpose.

Knowing what is said and what is not said in your major competitors’ proposals and contracts can be used to your tactical advantage. Intelligence gathering and counter-intelligence is not limited to governments. Business is war! The more you know about the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent, the more likely you are to improve your own firm, and not lose money bidding against firms you can’t beat. The performance of brand-X can be used as a benchmark for your own firm - somewhat like the time to beat!

NOTE: For other closely related topics, be sure to review the sections on Legal (#21), and Contracts (#46) in this series of articles on Business and Financial Management.

Mike Holt’s Comment: This newsletter was extracted from my Business Management and Management Skills’ Workbook. Watch for our next newsletter, and as always, we encourage your comments and feedback. Send us your real-life experiences. Please respond to

To order this workbook, just click below. We offer a separate course on Contracts and Proposals, including workbook and audiotapes that might interest and assist you in your business. For further information, please call us toll free at (800) 881-2580, FAX at (954) 720-7944, or E-mail to

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