Content items that can be downloaded as files


Whitepaper: Reengineering The Proposal Process

If you are tired of ineffective Red Teams and submitting proposals you know could be so much better, please join us in changing everything the industry thinks it knows about the proposal process

Whitepaper: Proposal Quality Validation

Red Teams are Obsolete! Why, after decades of trying, is no one able to have consistently effective Red Teams? Find out why the color team model is broken and can't be fixed.

Whitepaper: Real World Teaming Tips

This is our 11 page white paper with 65 tips for successful teaming. We've covered the subject from the prime contractor's perspective and the sub contractor's perspective. We've even thrown in small vs. large business considerations. This is powerful stuff. We even had to put warning label on it.


How to Write an Executive Summary

This is the electronic version of the tutorial we publish. It addresses:
It also includes and a sample to show how the pieces come together.

  • Writing different types of Executive Summaries
  • Why an Executive Summary might not actually contain a summary
  • How to introduce yourself in writing
  • Multiple strategies for preparing to write an Executive Summary
  • How to incorporate your win strategies into writing the Executive Summary
  • Advice for how to format your Executive Summary
  • How to be persuasive in writing
  • 22 questions that you should answer in your Executive Summary
MustWin Process Workbook

This is the electronic version of the MustWin Process Workbook.

How to Write a Management Plan

This guide is organized like a cookbook, providing over 180 items divided into 20 topics. It will help you answer your customer's questions regarding how the work will be done, who will do it, what resources will be required, how to mitigate the risks, and what you will do to ensure quality. It will help you prove to your customer that you can successfully manage the project and deserve to win the contract.

509 Questions to Answer in Your Proposals

Get some serious inspiration for proposal authors at all levels. It's perfect for figuring out what to write, and for making sure you answer all of your customer's questions. We provide the questions, you supply the answers. While it may not be as sexy as a template that writes the proposal for you, it's actually one of our most useful documents. Highly recommended.

Business Development for Project Managers

Provides easy to follow approaches to business development for people with technical backgrounds. If you have technical managers with responsibility for growth or sales but don't have the experience or background to feel comfortable with it, the problem solving approaches in this document are just what they need.

Proposal Format Guide

The most frequent question we get asked is "what should my proposal look like?" This is closely followed by "can I see a sample of a proposal?" Even though we tell people that winning proposals are built from the ground up to meet the concerns of specific customers and not by following samples, people still crave them.

How to Survive Your First Business Proposal

Writing your first business proposal doesn't have to be intimidating. It's amazing how much stress can come from a blank sheet of paper and a deadline. Our guide tells you what you need to know so you can submit your proposal with confidence.

Quick and Dirty Guide to Writing a Last Minute Proposal

Simple and practical guidance for people who must complete a proposal against a tight deadline, with little or no advance preparation. Enough said.

Proposal Sample Makeover: Before & After

See a real proposal, and discover what we like about it and what is wrong with it. You get much more than just a sample. You'll get our extensive review comments to help you understand how to apply the lessons learned. We take the original proposal and give it a makeover. You get to see the original proposal as well as the new and greatly improved version that we created. The file is a .zip with 5 PDFs inside.

Sample proposal introductions

A dozen versions of the same paragraph, with more than 50 things done wrong and how to correct them.

How to Do Proposals: The Wrong Way

A worst practices guide for those who don't have a choice

Proposal Content Planning Guide

Our approach to Proposal Content Planning. This material was extracted from the MustWin Workbook to use in a training course we delivered.

A Better Way to Figure Out What Should Go Into Your Proposal

This book explains why proposals are such a pain and what to do about it. It shows how to get past the fear of a blank page and the best way to accelerate your efforts. It shows you how to get your proposal right on the first draft, without endless review and re-writing cycles. It lays out the sophisticated methodology from the MustWin Process in PropLIBRARY and then shows you how to cheat. It makes it both feasible and realistic to plan your proposal before writing it. It even discusses how the methodology can be tailored to different proposal management styles, corporate environments, and individual circumstances.

It's full of useful information on topics like constructing proposal outlines, how to word your headings, what a "compliance matrix" is and how to create one, and more. It will not only accelerate your efforts, it will show you how to create better proposals.

Proposal Startup Information Checklist

When we created the MustWin Process, we showed you how to make the most of the time before RFP release and get into position to be ready to win. But what if you are starting at RFP release and "no bid" is not an option? We've recommended that you combine the pre-RFP questions, goals, and action items into a single list to quickly assess what you know and what you don't.

Now we've done all that work for you by creating a master checklist of proposal startup information. And we've turned it into a new ebook so you can download it and use it separate from the rest of the MustWin Process. You can use it to guide your pre-RFP pursuit, as a bid/no bid tool, as a bid strategy tool, and as a proposal startup accelerator. If you can't implement a formal process, at least you can pull out this handy checklist and improve your chances of winning.

Turning your proposals into a competitive advantage

This eBook is your reward for signing up for our newsletter. It addresses how to write great proposals, bid/no bid decisions, winning before the RFP is released, proposal re-use repositories, improving your win rate, and more!

Within a week you should receive your first copy of our newsletter, with new free content and updates.


CSS Bid Plan

Chris Payne gave his permission for us to post this Excel based bid planning tool from CSS Consultancy.

He also created a 10 minute video on how to use the spreadsheet. While the use of the bid plan is fairly self-explanatory, you may benefit from running through the video to familiarise yourself with the logic behind the way the spreadsheet was developed. You can view this online at

Landscape Architecture Design Services Proposal

This is a proposal submitted in response to an RFP issued by Piedmont California for their Civic Center Master Plan. This proposal was submitted by Cottong & Taniguchi Landscape Architects. It was submitted on August 25, 2006.

Piedmont Civic Center Master Plan Proposal

This is a proposal submitted by Fisher Friedman Associates, AIA, in response to an RFP issued by Piedmont, California. It was submitted on August 25, 2006.

Downtown Water Front Master Plan Proposal

This is a proposal submitted in response to an RFP issused by the City of Belfast, Maine. It was submitted on July 13, 2010 by MRLD Landscape Architecture + Urbanism.

Consulting Agreement

A consulting agreement spells out the terms for the relationship between a consulting and the company that wishes to engage them. Here is an example of one. We have not reviewed the content of this document to determine whether this is an effective agreement. We are linking to it as a service for any educational value it may have.

BTA Capability Statement

This is a capability statement published by Bernice Taylor & Associates (BTA) in 2006. BTA serves the non-profit and public sectors. From the document: BTA was established in 2003 in Chicago, IL to address the growing demand for outcomes-based accountability primarily for nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies. BTA provides program evaluation and technical assistance services to the nonprofit, for profit and governmental sectors primarily on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

AgH2O Holdings Capability Statement

This capability statement was published by AgH2O Holdings, LLC,a general contracting and construction management firm that specializes in government work, project management, commercial and industrial buildings, trucking and aggregate hauling, as well as landscape supplies such as trees, plants and shrubs.

Palmer Staffing Capability Statement

This is a capability statement published by Palmer Staffing Services/Palmer Legal Staffing.

DDS Staffing Resources Capability Statement

This is a capability statement published by DDS Staffing Resources in 2010. From the document: DDS Staffing Resources, Inc. is a certified Woman-Owned business having a 25 year foundation in staffing dental and medical professionals for a multitude of commercial and government entities. DDS Staffing Resources began as a prime contractor in the commercial sector and has been carrying this expertise and success to the government sectors.

Humanscale Capability Statement

This is a capability statement for Humanscale, a manufacturer of ergonomic products for the office environment.

InTec LLC Capability Statement

This is a capability statement published by InTec LLC, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) providing enterprise systems engineering and integration solutions to the Federal Government.

Calhoun International capabilities brief

The attached file is Calhoun International's capabilities brief.

Federal Market Essentials Report Sample

This is a sample of a Federal Market Essentials Report created by isiFederal. The Federal Marketing Essentials Report is a comprehensive analysis of the federal market as it applies to a company. It breaks down the Federal Government market and shows you how the Feds buy what you sell and who you need to talk to. It is for Government Contractors, either brand new or experienced, who are looking to expand the number of leads they are pursuing. You can request that isiFederal prepare a fully customized report like this to help you expand your Federal business. Click here for more information.

Sample Proposal Content Plan

See a sample of a Proposal Content Plan being built through each of the 8 iterations. Includes comments discussing some of the choices that have to be made along the way.


PropLIBRARY Solutions Catalog
This is more than just a brochure you can download and share with others. It is a blueprint for how to enhance the business development effectiveness of your entire organization.
Proposal Specialist Assessment Tool

More goes into selecting someone for a proposal related position than most people realize. The normal titles, like proposal manager, bid manager, proposal writer, editor, or capture manager only tell part of the story. What can really impact your needs may never show on a position description. You need someone who is going to be compatible with the way your organization approaches its proposals, and someone whose personal approach is compatible with your needs. How do you find someone who is the right match?

This sample tool can be used to assess a candidates ability to review and edit proposals. Instead of simply checking to see whether they catch all the problems, it helps you see what the candidate focuses on, which can help you determine whether the candidate is a good match for what you need.

Proposal Quality Assessment Criteria

This document provides a set of criteria can be used in several ways to assess the quality of a proposal. They can be used to:

Assess a past proposal to establish a benchmark to measure progress by.

  • Assess a collection of past proposals for benchmarking purposes.
  • Collect metrics on proposal quality (by establishing numerical grades for each criteria).
  • Identify areas of concern and focus for future improvement.
  • Assess the trend towards improved or diminished quality over time.

This set of criteria does not focus on:

  • Whether the offering is compliant, effective, or what the customer really wants
  • Typographical accuracy and proof reading
  • Pricing and contractual terms
  • Style and design choices

By excluding the offering and pricing, this set of assessment criteria focuses on the proposal itself, and not the overall offering or its likelihood of winning.

Before using these criteria to assess a current proposal prior to submission, they should be customized to include criteria related to the items above. We recommend the Proposal Quality Validation methodology for assessing current proposals because it does include these criteria. The Proposal Quality Validation methodology is part of the MustWin Process and the details for implementing it are contained in the PropLIBRARY Knowledgebase.

Consulting, training, and help winning your pursuits
PropLIBRARY is a great tool and we spend a lot of time talking about it. It's perfect for the "Do It Yourself" types. But when you need guidance from a real live person or some hands on help you need a consultant and not just a tool. Carl Dickson is the founder of and PropLIBRARY. He is also a trainer and consultant. Here is a description of what he does as a consultant so you can see if we're a match.

Feel free to download and send it to others you think could use some help. At the end of the day it's more about how to maximize your return on investment than whether you use a tool or a consultant. That's something we can all explore together.
Simple offer design checklist

This MS Word file is part of the training materials that go along with the article titled How to make figuring out what to propose simple.

It provides you with a simple checklist that you can use for the recommended action items.


Framework for the six goals required to submit a proposal that reflects what it will take to win

This is a framework we've developed for building a goal driven proposal processes, as opposed to a procedural driven process. It maps the major components of the MustWin Process to the process goals. When people agree to a set of goals like these, the process becomes a way of making the goals easier to achieve instead of a mandated set of procedures.

Download: Over 40 critical truths about defining proposal quality and developing criteria to assess it

About this file

This file is free. As in beer. It contains a wealth of lessons learned the hard way. It contains things I wish I'd understood about proposal quality at the start of my career.

It contains the key insights you need to reengineer how you review your proposals. It will enable you to take a step back from how things are usually done and discover what proposal quality really is, so you can change how you do things to properly achieve it.

I'm passing it on to you in the hope that we can finally shift the way people do proposals out of the Stone Age. Take what's here, put it to work, and let me know how it improves your win rate. And if you add to it, enhance it, or find better ways, please share those as well.

This page is for downloading the PDF file. It's a large file, at 7.7Mb. You can see the file without downloading it here.

From the introduction

Since 2001, I have published over a thousand articles on business and proposal development.

This document is not like any of them.

If you want process, methodology, structure and training, you should visit PropLIBRARY and read those articles.

If you want deep insight to ponder that’s a little too honest and bordering on insubordinate, keep reading. I’m going to share what I’ve learned about what matters the most from doing all that writing. And it’s not the procedures we follow.

Key excerpts from the license page

You are free to give this file to as many people as you'd like. Share it with your whole company. Or other companies.

Use part or all of it in your training materials.


Current version of this file: 1.0

Matrix of key customer concerns and how they relate to your proposal

The customer’s key concerns are often unspoken. While the RFP will ask you to describe your qualifications, it often won’t say that they are asking for your qualifications so they can determine whether they should trust you. When you realize this, you can write about your qualifications in the context of proving that you are trustworthy. Talking directly to the customer’s concerns gives the customer more of what they are really looking for and raises the apparent value of your proposal.

Proposal Reuse Assessment and Tailoring Tool

Form for implementing our recommendations from the article, 36 ways to tailor proposal re-use content before using it. Use it to assess proposal re-use material against the current environment to enable you to determine how to best tailor it.

Handout: 11 ways to get ahead of the RFP

Getting ahead of the RFP is critical for relationship marketing and obtaining an information advantage. Getting ahead of the RFP does not have to be hard, but it can take a long time. Those that put the time and effort into it are able to achieve an information advantage as well as a competitive advantage.

This is a PDF handout, suitable for printing. It includes a cheat sheet you can print and posts on your wall as a constant reminder.


How to write about your company's capabilities

Why do customers care about your capabilities? What do customers care about that's related to your capabilities? How do you use your capabilities to support other things that customer cares about? Strategies for writing about capabilities. What should you avoid writing about and what will the customer evaluate? What can make the difference between winning and losing?

How to write about your approaches

Why do customers ask you to describe your approaches in your proposal? What do customers care about related to your approaches? It's not what it seems...

Plus strategies for writing about your approaches, what you should avoid when writing about them, what the customer will evaluate, and what can make the difference between winning and losing your proposal.

How to write about fulfilling the RFP requirements

Responding to RFP requirements is not simply a matter of checking off the fulfillment of each specification. Understanding the reasons why the customer asks for those requirements can give you insight into what really concerns them. Writing to what really concerns them can increase your win probability.

Includes strategies for writing about fulfilling the RFP requirements, what might impact the customer's evaluation, and what can make the difference between winning and losing your proposal.

Proposal Content Planning Cheat Sheet

Use this cheat sheet to help craft better instructions for your proposal writers and provide guidance before they write their proposal sections, instead of trying to fix your proposals after they’ve been written. 

Proposal proof point cheat sheet

Here are 28 ways to detail typical proposal claims that you can use as inspiration and adapt to your circumstances.