If you undertake careful research on your needs and choices, you should be well placed to put a proposal together to get the funding and backing you require. If the consultation process has worked, issues such as system development and managing change will have received a great deal of discussion well before vital decisions are required.
A good proposal not only details the obvious cost benefit of an initiative, but also helps paint a picture of what might happen to the business if the implementation and roll-out is a success. Here I would encourage you to establish a mission statement for your key idea. In fact, a mission statement “ a short statement that articulates the business, purpose and values for the project you propose to introduce “ is a great discipline in any project you may be involved in. A mission statement helps crystallize your thinking into one distinct statement. A mission statement should answer the five questions:
Why are you here?
Who are you serving, that is, customers, employees , suppliers or business partners ?
What do you want people to accomplish?
What will keep a person using your service or product?
What will encourage them to return?
Here is a mission statement which I recently wrote for my business web site at Alastair Rylatt Consulting (www.alastairrylatt.com). It is my intention to achieve this mission in the near future.
The web site of Alastair Rylatt Consulting provides world class assistance to clients and the web community on finding better solutions to the learning challenges facing the modern workplace.
To achieve this mission this new site will provide a blended e-learning solution to assist on-going discovery and innovation. Features will include a workplace learning help desk, Yahoo discussion group , web cam services and elearning lessons and supplement my existing services and products.
When it comes to obtaining backing for your proposal, having sound logic may not be enough; you will need to appeal to people s emotions and egos as well. Your business case has to be tailored to the wishes and personality of your key decision- makers . As indicated previously, there is ample evidence available that can sell the advantages of digital technology if you wish to draw people s attention to it. You can supplement this hard data with testimonials, case studies, presentations and demonstrations . Phrases like ˜return on investment , ˜higher levels of performance , ˜enhancing business capability and ˜ tossing out bad systems are likely to get a receptive hearing.
In terms of gaining support, do your decision-makers need a short and sweet proposal or do they expect a fuller and more comprehensive report? All this is highly relevant, not to mention the emotional reasons for making a decision, such as winning, being leading edge or improving one s image and reputation.
The fact is that lobbying might be just as important as cold hard statistics. Past experience can be a great help as it can indicate to you how decisions are made and what are the key arguments that receive high praise. If you get a rejection be prepared to repackage or try again. See negotiation as a process not a single event. This may involve better demonstrations and clearer training so your audience is better able to make a decision.
Most importantly, digital systems must be up and running very quickly. Having designers spend two years developing a system is a luxury of the past. You need to make a start.
The final format of the proposal will depend on how decision-makers want things to be discussed. Listen carefully and package your proposal in such a way that makes the decision-makers job easier. However, do not ˜hide elephants ; make sure there is critical understanding on issues such as timetables, resource requirements, downtimes and evaluation. This will help you to save money as well as make a sound investment.