Professional Consulting - The Art of Proposal Writing and Securing Engagements
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Part Two of my A Guide to Professional Consulting lecture series is focused on all the things that are taking place prior to the actual commencement of a contracted for project. The tips and template verbiage I include in this course have served me well over a 35+ year career as a professional consultant and they can help you too. This course contains a series of lectures on the following core topics:
- How and where to find projects you can offer your services for
- How to use Bulletin Boards, work with Recruiters, and work with Consulting companies
- How to professionally apply to complete projects
- How to respond to Requests for Proposals
- How to build Scope of Work and High Level Project Plan documentation
- How to complete proposals
- How to negotiate terms for engagements
- How to finalize Letters of Engagement with clients selecting you to provide consulting services
- How to protect yourself financially when undertaking projects
- Using an NDA/Confidentiality Agreement
- Template resource documents are provided for some of the above topics as well.
If you are at all interested or serious about becoming a professional consultant, this course will be a very valuable resource to you. It not only will help you find and secure engagements for your services, but the tips and verbiage you should put into your client contact and proposal documents provided within this lecture series will help to protect you as you strive to sell yourself on and complete projects for clients.
This course will take you close to two hours to complete. May you get a lot of value from it.
Dan Grijzenhout – Course Creator
Students should have experience in "Business Related Disciplines" sufficient to allowing them to consider becoming a professional consultant in their niche.
Students should probably consider taking the Part One course in this lecture series as well.
This course targets:
- Anyone considering undertaking a career as a professional consultant
- Anyone who has to write proposals to secure consulting engagements
- Anyone looking for work as a consultant
- Anyone wanting to protect themselves financially while consulting
You will learn how to:
- Find engagements for your services
- Apply for projects as an independent consultant
- Participate as an independent on a consulting team proposing a team bid for a project
- Write winning proposals and proposals that also protect you when some Client requirements are ambiguous and you have to make assumptions
- Protect yourself and your business financially when proposing and completing projects for Clients
- Put teams together to bid on your own projects, thus making you a consulting company in your own right
- Create High Level Project Plans and SOW's for projects
- Use Bulletin Boards, work with Recruiters, and work with Consulting companies
This lecture provides the student with an overview of the entire 5 part course series "A Guide to Professional Consulting". Each of the 5 courses is briefly discussed and described as to their content to be shared.
This introductory video provides an overview of what will be covered in this course along with insights on what it is like to work at finding clients and securing engagements.
This lecture covers some of the best and most known consulting bulletin boards used by consultants and consulting entities to find projects that resumes can be submitted to. Also included are sites that post projects that can be bid on through RFP/Proposal submissions where full teams of consultants are proposed to complete larger engagements. This lecture covers Canadian, USA and even international projects.
This lecture covers both how to work with head hunting organizations and names a number of organizations that work with independent contractors in Canada and the USA.
This lecture discusses how you as an independent can align yourself to work with large consulting organizations to be included in larger projects they are regularly working on with larger organizations. Several of these organizations are named within this lecture.
With a little work, you also can become a niche consulting organization yourself without having to hire staff. I will describe how you can setup a consulting entity that you can operate from your own home working with other independent contractors to generate proposals for projects requiring more than one person to complete. You can even make additional revenues from consultants you place on these projects.
This lecture discusses the differences for a consultant working under a W2 contract with a client and under a 1099 contract with a client.
This lecture describes how you can be included to receive RFP's from private and public sector organizations and what important things are required to be done in order to have a shot at winning the engagement. Key steps in the proposal submission process are discussed along with a discussion on what the actual formal bid process usually looks like.
This lecture provides tips on building the initial SOW - an integral component to any proposal effort.
This lecture discusses the art form known as proposal writing. It discusses what clients are looking for in a proposal response and what the layout of and your content in a proposal should include. It discusses such sections as "Our Understanding of Your Requirements", "Our Project Team", "Our Project Approach", "Project Pricing", etc.
The team lead usually meets or has a phone call or phone calls with the client acceptor after the engagement has been awarded to finalize the terms for the project. This includes discussion and agreement on start dates for each of the resources, finalization of consulting rates and expense terms, client locations the consultants will work at, a High Level Project Plan if required for "Phase Zero", any modifications of deliverable terms and dates for the engagement, etc. With these sorts of items agreed to, an engagement letter is written and signed and agreed to by all relevant parties.
Here is a template example of a Client Engagement Letter.
This lecture walks the student through an example of a Client Engagement Letter. Please note that under the Resource tab on the previous lecture, you can download this template example in .pdf format. Best wishes, - Dan
Even though a proposal has been written, and submitted by the consulting team and it has been approved by the client to commence with the project; the proposal, if it has any complexity to it often has assumptions built into it that need to be further understood or defined prior to finalizing the terms and total project costs, particularly in a "fixed bid" situation. This is often addressed by a project "Phase Zero" stage where key consulting team leaders go to the client location and begin investigating what needs to be done with a view to further defining the final project scope. A high level project plan for "Phase Zero" is usually created with the client's assistance prior to the engagement letter being signed and it becomes and addendum to the proposal and the signed engagement letter.
It is not always easy as a consultant to get paid by your client. The tips provided in this lecture will help you to minimize the occurrences of this and the impacts of this on you financially.
The Confidentiality Agreement or Non-Disclosure Agreement is often used between a client and a consultant prior to an engagement being undertaken, although there are times when it is used after an engagement has commenced. Often, in order to write a proposal that truly addresses the work that a client needs completed, a client will request that an "NDA" be signed before disclosure of client proprietary information is made available to the consultant. Reciprocally, the consultant may request that an NDA be signed prior to a proposal being written in order to protect his/her own proprietary information such as methodologies, tools to be used on the engagement, etc.
This is a template downloadable example of a Confidentiality - Non-Disclosure Agreement.
If your new consulting venture will involve you providing services for others where they would be booking for and paying for your time on a daily or an hourly or fraction thereof basis, then you may want to consider making a small investment and obtain the Acuity System for your website or Blog site. The Acuity Scheduling System allows you to:
- Set your terms for various types of projects you might wish to undertake for others
- To have your purchasers then schedule your available time to assist them
- They can view your calendar to see your available times (you can block out your calendar for time you want to keep for yourself)
- It ties in directly to PayPal (credit card purchases accepted as well) where you can define how they pay you. Up front, portion up front, on completion, etc.
- These purchase records and histories of work you have done for people are exportable to accounting packages or are downloadable.
- Your clients can even setup login accounts of their own with you.
This is a professional level product - and I looked at over 20 or so before selecting and now recommending this one which I use on my site and have implemented elsewhere as well.