When you’re competing for new business — through a formal proposal process or more informal letter or presentation — you want to put your best foot forward. You’re not wrong to focus on demonstrating why your organization is best for the opportunity based on capability, experience, and price — but don’t forget the importance of presenting an error-free document that clearly and succinctly makes those points.
Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to edit several proposals and letters intended to win or drum up new business. Huge kudos to those who realized how much value I could offer — by catching typos, correcting grammar mistakes, and giving the verbiage more clarity and punch. Here are a few examples of how I ensured clients weren’t downgraded for writing miscues:
Changing $350 dollars to $350
Changing the punctuation before a list from a semicolon to a colon
Adding question marks to denote questions
Correcting the misuse of “compliment”; “complement” means to complete or bring to perfection
Correcting split infinitives, i.e., “check out our services” instead of “check our services out”
Catching typos that would have reflected poorly on attention to detail
Rewriting sentences that were too wordy, unclear or confusing
Did my work result in winning contracts or gaining new business? I hope so. I can say it made my clients stand out by ensuring their pitches were error-free, clear and professional in tone — as many of their competitors probably didn’t focus on those details. An in-house edit can often do the trick — or you can outsource this important task.
The concept of outsourcing is embraced by those who understand the value of their time. When you don’t know how to do something well, or it would take you an inordinate amount of time — and someone more skilled could do it faster and better — outsourcing is the smart option.
Most people outsource their taxes to a CPA and their computer issues to an IT professional. Bookkeeping is commonly outsourced, as is payroll processing, graphic and website design, and even HR. But what about writing and editing? Should you try it as we start a new year?
Please don’t consider this an advertisement for my services — but a plug for writers and editors in general. Those of us who focus on the written word take a great deal of pride in our ability to enhance the way you communicate with current and prospective clients. We can serve as an invaluable resource to help you build and maintain your business.
We’re just a few weeks into a new year, but most of us have probably gotten used to writing 2018 when necessary. However, does your website reflect the current year? Check the copyright date on the Home page, and if it still says 2017 — or even earlier — update it. This may seem like a small thing, but it says, “I’m current” to your visitors. FYI, starting Feb. 16, Chinese New Year, it’s the Year of the Dog!
I had the honor of editing I’m Just Saying, a motivational calendar that includes journal pages, for trainer extraordinaire Judy McKee. It contains 365 daily reminders that will inspire you and give you the freedom to love more and think big. Because it’s not year-specific, you can use it over and over again — and begin anytime. Check it out at Amazon.com. “You Know Who” will help you laugh a little and lighten up a lot.