They imagine jets and rockets when many of us first hear the term “aerospace,” but the aerospace industry is much more varied than that.
Specialized companies maintain aircraft, design and produce interior components or navigation systems for aircraft, supply aircraft engine parts, control and guidance systems for programs, and so on. The list is a long one.
If you are in one of these companies, you know that every deal is different because it needs a particular customer or aircraft to customize the product or service. But you can’t easily print your catalog or mail your brochures and pull in thousands of customers, unlike other firms. You would like to write down a business plan in order to land the contract.
You might feel a little overwhelmed if you’re faced with the prospect of writing your very first proposal. Unwind. Relax. You already have much, if not all, of the skills you want, because you understand your organization and what you have to provide. It can be a step-by-step process to compose a business proposal with a chosen four-part sequence to follow, and so the next paragraphs will illustrate how this works.
In preparation, the very first job is to put yourself in the role of your potential client. Consider the desires, specifications, limitations, and concerns of that faction. In other words, what questions would you like your prospective customer to answer? If you want to try to do some analysis to find out more about the company history of the client or the expectations for the project proposed, do this up front. You will always have a Proposal Invitation (RFP) in hand, or often you will find the information you want on the corporate website of the prospective client. If you want clarity on something, don’t guess—call and ask the potential customer.
It is time to start the Introduction portion of your proposal after you feel that you simply understand the role of the client. You will start by presenting yourself with a canopy letter, explaining why you are now submitting a request, and including all your contact information. Build a page next. In a descriptive way, simply call your idea. Examples may be “Proposal to Reconfigure Aircraft Interiors for the Smith Corporate Fleet,” “How a Cabin Air System Upgrade Will Increase Passenger and Crew Satisfaction,” or “Proposed Testing Program for the XZ-78 reaction-propulsion engine.”
You will define the requirements of your potential customer in the second part, and hence the project requirements. At the very least, you would want a page on Needs Assessment that explains what the customer wants. You will also need pages such as Priorities, History, Issues, Constraints, Budget, Schedule, Requirements, and so on—include all the topics you want to point out that you simply understand what your customer is looking for.
Your role in the third section is to clarify in depth what you are offering to try and what it will cost, keeping in mind that your aim is to point out how you will resolve the requirements, desires, and any limitations mentioned in the previous section. The subjects here will vary according to the nature of your organization and hence the particular project, but you will probably want pages with titles such as Solutions, Design, Engineering, Prototypes, Internal Control, Production, Testing, Coordination, Schedule, Materials, Choices, Cost Overview, Provided Services, Goods, Customization, Delivery, etc.
Have all you want and fully explain what you intend to try to do. Generally speaking, the more detailed you will be, the more credibility you will have with the potential customer, since an in-depth strategy indicates that you simply understand the project’s needs fully and have taken into consideration all the potential issues and pitfalls.
You will shift your position from project manager to marketer in the fourth and final part, and explain why you have the skills and experience to make the project a success. It is also better not to brag about abstract generalities, but to include factual information about your experience, schooling, qualifications, credentials, certificates, and knowledge. Have you ever done similar ventures on behalf of other clients? If yes, then have an inventory of the served clients. You’ll want an About Us or Business History page. If you have received awards or have other client testimonials, add them here. Does one give a satisfaction guarantee or a warranty for a product? Incorporate all the topics that you want to impact your customer, that you are clearly a trustworthy expert in your profession.
You have a primary draft of your plan now. You should create an Executive Summary (a list of the most relevant information that you want to absorb for the most distracted readers) and a Table of Contents whether it’s several pages or complex explanations. It is important to insert these two pages immediately after the page.
Edit the language of your proposal to make sure it reads smoothly and is free of misspellings and grammar errors. It is often better to use a competent editor or proofreader for this final phase, or at least to use someone other than the proposal writer, since each writer misses mistakes in his or her own work.
Ensure that each page also looks tidy and professional. To make the pages more visually pleasing, you may want to display your company logo, unique heading fonts or bullet points, or colored page borders. Print or bundle your manual delivery proposal into a PDF for delivery via email. Using whatever strategy is likely to appeal to your prospective customer. Often it will make a big impact to make an extra effort to submit a proposal via special messenger or deliver it yourself, which will help you beat the competition.
If you’re in the aerospace navigation systems industry, you know everything about the effective use of instruments. So you’ll be interested in learning that there are proposal kits designed to make it simpler and easier to write company proposals. Many subject models, including all those listed above, will be included in an honest suggestion pack. Templates will include directions and content suggestions, so you will never sit watching a blank screen of data processing and wondering what to write down. There will also be completed sample proposals in an honest proposal package, which you will read for ideas about what your proposal would look like and sound like.