ELC3222 Workplace English for Business Students II

Unit 1
Writing Business Proposals
Introduction
What is a business proposal?
A business proposal is ‘a document used in the business world that has a goal to persuade a potential
client (another business) to purchase that company’s services or goods’ (freemanagementlibrary.com,
2021). It is a documented, formal offer to provide a product and/or service to a potential buyer (a
prospect). The business proposal documents the provider\’s bid.
A business proposal can either be a solicited or unsolicited submission by one party to supply (or buy)
certain goods or services to (or from) another. Unlike an offer, a proposal is not a promise or
commitment but, if accepted by the other party, its proposer is expected to follow through and
negotiate for the creation of a binding contract. If submitted in response to a request for proposal
(RFP), it normally constitutes a bid. (Extracted from BusinessDictionary.com)
Why are they important and why is it necessary to learn how to write them in today’s business
world?
The vast majority of companies (including engineering, marketing and accounting firms) from small
locally-based ones to medium or large-scale multinational organisations, either acquire services and
products through proposals, or try to promote their goods/services/events through these documents.
Knowing what these documents are, understanding their purpose and having the skill to be able to
write a proposal are therefore essential in today’s modern workplace.
Regardless of the discipline that you are studying now (e.g. accounting, finance, logistics,
management, marketing or engineering) and the type of company that you work for once you have
graduated, you will be required to know about, understand, use and probably write proposals.
Learning this skill now will help you as soon as you have entered the workplace. Demonstrating that
you have learnt about proposals may also give you an advantage when applying for a position in a
company.
Learning outcomes
At the end of the unit, you will be able to:
• plan business proposals effectively considering the factor of innovation
• organise your ideas logically in each section of a business proposal
• use accurate and appropriate sentence structures and vocabulary in business proposals

ELC3222 Workplace English for Business Students II Unit 1 Writing Business Proposals
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Features of proposals

  1. Purpose: The goal of a proposal is to get your project or suggestions approved.
  2. Audience: Proposals could be ordered/requested and then read by senior staff. The proposal
    therefore remains within the company for upward transmission. Alternatively, proposals may be
    requested by clients or pitched to potential clients, and so they become external documents.
  3. Nature and status: Proposals describe projects in detail and the strategies and tactics used to
    achieve their completion. They are points of reference against which the satisfactory completion
    or delivery of a product or service will be checked.
  4. Structure and language: Proposals are clearly structured in sections. Each section follows certain
    steps or ‘moves’ and shows specific language features. Longer proposals also usually contain an
    executive summary at the beginning to give an overview.
    What is the difference between a proposal and a report?
    One of the problems that people face when writing a proposal is that they get confused between
    proposals and reports. They both cover a wide range of purposes, and they are both used to pass
    information from one person to another, either within the same organisation or between one
    organisation and another.
    Activity 1 Proposals vs reports
    Read the information below and then complete the table with your ideas on the differences between
    reports and proposals.
    There are many similarities between proposals and reports. Both contain similar sections including a
    purpose and background information and often reports make recommendations, which are also a key
    feature of a proposal. However, one significant difference is that proposals are usually persuasive in
    nature whereas reports are more informative. In a proposal, the writer is trying to convince the
    recipient to accept their idea or solution, fund a project or implement a change of some kind.
    A proposal is essentially a type of business document that makes suggestions about what a
    department, company or organisation should do in future (e.g. a feasibility study). Whilst a report
    might have more of a tendency to focus on the past, a proposal tends to be more forward-looking.
    Proposals are also often commissioned in response to a problem which needs to be solved. Proposals
    also tend to express opinions supported by objective facts rather than simply to record objective facts.
    Most proposals are usually short, have a single purpose and a limited scope.
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    Proposals Reports
    Now we have a clearer understanding of broadly what proposals are and how they differ from reports.
    We should look at how to write one.
    This unit is divided into three sections.
    Section 1 Planning a business proposal (p.4)
    This section will offer you guidance on how to develop an idea for your business
    proposal. This idea can be a product, service or an event.
    Section 2 Organising a business proposal (p.18)
    Several organisation approaches are introduced in this section to help you structure
    your ideas effectively in a business proposal.
    Section 3 The language of a business proposal (p.62)
    Important vocabulary and language points are mentioned in this section to help you
    ensure accuracy in presenting your ideas in a business proposal.
    These are designed to guide you through the processes involved in proposal writing, through an
    analysis of the organisation and language use. And of course, you will be given an opportunity to
    research and write a business-related proposal.
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    Section 1 Planning a business proposal
    Activity 2 Proposal types
    Writing proposals requires information about the different types of businesses or parties involved, as
    well as knowing the various forms proposals can take. How many reasons for writing a proposal can
    you think of? Write them in the space below.
    E.g. Asking for funds from the government
    How many reasons did you think of? Check with a partner before going to the next activity.
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    Activity 3 Proposal descriptions and examples of proposals
    Match the following types of proposal with the correct description. Conduct an Internet search to find
    examples of the proposal types listed in the following table. Write your examples in the third column,
    along with brief descriptions of the proposal contents.
    Type of proposal Description Example proposal
  5. Cost proposal
    ( )
    a. A proposal by a scientist or student
    who wants to conduct some tests
  6. Contract proposal
    ( )
    b. A proposal describing the rights and
    responsibilities of partners in an
    enterprise
  7. Business partnership
    proposal
    ( )
    c. A proposal that details the materials,
    method and content etc. of a
    learning programme
  8. Proposal for an experiment
    ( )
    d. A proposal for producing and
    marketing a play
  9. Theatrical proposal
    ( )
    e. A proposal to acquire work on
    specified projects
  10. Proposal for a supply of
    materials
    ( )
    f. A proposal seeking investment in an
    idea or company
  11. Business plan proposal
    ( )
    g. A proposal to supply materials for a
    job or to a company
  12. Proposal for a course of
    study
    ( )
    h. A proposal to provide pricing
    information or cost estimate for
    negotiations or planning a project
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    Activity 4 Matching exercise
    Match the underlined words (mentioned on p.1) with the correct meanings.
    Word Meaning
  13. Solicited ( )
    a. An agreement in writing between two or more
    individuals or entities in which a court can impose
    penalties in the event one party attempts to
    negate his or her promise as set forth in the signed
    document
  14. Unsolicited ( ) b. Obligation to do something
  15. Submission ( ) c. Requested or asked for
  16. Party ( ) d. An indication of willingness to buy or sell goods or
    services for a specific price
  17. Commitment ( ) e. Handing in something to someone
  18. Binding contract ( )
    f. A person, group or organisation etc. that takes
    part in or is involved in an agreement, lawsuit or
    transaction
  19. request for proposal ( )
    g. A document through which an organisation elicits
    bids from potential vendors or service providers
    for a desired proposed solution
  20. bid ( ) h. Not requested or asked for
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    Activity 5 Completing an extended definition
    Now complete an extended definition of a business proposal using the words below.
    prospective (X2) response competing identifies potential
    close custom marketing capabilities
    A business proposal (1) ___ and targets a specific market and shows how the bidder can
    deliver (2) __ solutions to the needs of buyers within that market. It is different from a
    business plan, which is mainly an instrument to obtain start-up capital by detailing the organisation
    and operational aspects of the business to demonstrate its profit (3) ___.
    There are two basic kinds of business proposals, solicited and unsolicited. A solicited proposal is
    drafted in (4) ___ to an invitation to bid on a specific project made public by a private< br>company or government agency. Unsolicited proposals are (5) ___ brochures. They are
    always generic, with no direct connection between customer needs or specified requirements.
    Vendors use them to introduce a product or service to a (6) ________customer. They are often used as \”leave-behinds\” at the end of initial meetings with customers or \”give-aways\” at trade shows or other public meetings. They are not designed to (7) ________ a sale, just introduce the
    possibility of a sale.
    A third type of proposal is an informally solicited, or sole-sourced, proposal. Such proposals are
    typically the result of conversations held between a vendor and a (8) ___ customer. The
    customer is interested enough in a product or service to ask for a proposal. Typically, the customer
    does not ask for (9) ___ proposals from other vendors. There are no formal
    requirements to respond to, just the information gleaned from customer meetings.
    A proposal puts the buyer\’s requirements in a context that favours the seller’s products and services,
    and educates the buyer about the (10) ___ of the seller in satisfying their needs. A
    successful proposal results in a sale, where both parties get what they want, a win-win situation.
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    Innovation and Invention
    Source: http://izquotes.com/quotes-pictures/quote-we-cannot-solve-our-problems-with-the-same-thinking-we-used-when-we-created-them-albert-einstein-56473.jpg
    We often hear the words ‘invention’ and ‘innovation’ interchangeably. This is not absolutely correct.
    Invention is about creating something new, while innovation introduces the concept of ‘use’ of an idea
    or method. In other words, an invention is usually a ‘thing’, while an innovation is usually an invention
    that causes change in behaviour or interactions.
    Independent Learning Activity: Invention and innovation
    For further information about invention and innovation, read the following article by Tom Gratsky
    The Difference Between ‘Invention’ and ‘Innovation’
    http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2012/03/the-difference-between-invention-and-innovation086/
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    Activity 6 Terms about product development
    Match the terms (1-8) with their meanings (a-j).
    Term Meaning
  21. Copyright infringement ( )
    a. A payment made to the owner of a design by
    someone else who uses it, or to an author by a
    publisher.
  22. Intellectual property ( )
    b. An arrangement between the owner of a design and
    another organisation, allowing its use in exchange
    for payment
  23. Patent application ( ) c. A name or symbol used on a product
  24. Proprietary information ( ) d. An occasion when an inventor asks the authorities
    to officially recognise an invention as their property
  25. Royalty payment ( ) e. Designs, ideas, etc. that belong to someone
  26. Licensing agreement ( ) f. A name used on a product
  27. Illegal download ( ) g. The whole activity of using designs, text, pictures or
    copying products without permission
  28. Piracy ( ) h. An occasion when someone makes an illegal copy of
    music, etc. from an Internet site
  29. Trademark ( ) i. The law relating to designs, ideas, etc. that belong to
    someone
  30. Brand name ( ) j. An occasion when someone uses another’s text,
    pictures, etc. without permission
    Activity 7 Discussion on products
    Discuss the two questions below with a partner. Be prepared to share your answers with the class.
  31. Name a product that has become obsolete and suggest why that happened.
  32. How do companies try to prevent illegal downloading of music and films? Will they ever succeed
    completely?
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    Unique Selling Point – USP
    Source: http://www.melinaabbott.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/unique_selling_point.jpg
    A unique selling proposition (unique selling point, USP) is what differentiates a product from its
    competitors, such as the lowest cost, the highest quality or the first-ever product of its kind. You should
    think of a USP as what you have that competitors do not. It is therefore one of the main reasons that
    a customer would buy or use it.
    To have a successful USP you must clearly articulate the benefits of your product/service/event to your
    customers, and this should be compelling enough to attract new customers. Many of the world’s most
    successful companies have slogans which reflect these qualities and highlight the USP, namely that
    their products or services:
    • are memorable
    • include a key benefit
    • differentiate the brand
    • impart a positive feeling about the brand
    Below are a few examples of USPs expressed through slogans:
    Carlsberg – ‘Probably the best beer in the world’
    Apple – ‘Think different.’
    BMW – ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’
    De Beers – ‘A Diamond Is Forever’
    M&M’s – ‘Melts in your mouth, not in your hand’
    KFC – ‘It\’s finger lickin’ good’
    A USP is sometimes expressed as a positioning statement, which is an expression of how a given
    product, service or brand fills a particular consumer need in a way that its competitors do not.
    Positioning is the process of identifying an appropriate market niche for a product/service/an event
    and getting it established in that area.
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    For example, you can make use of the following structure when discussing your product/service/event
    idea.
    For (target customer) who (statement of the need or opportunity), the (product name) is a (product
    category) that (stating the key benefit – that is, compelling reason to buy). Unlike (primary competitive
    alternative), our product is/does… (statement of primary differentiation).
    Example
    For businesspeople who travel the world, the e-pen is a unique tool that helps you transfer written
    notes to electronic documents instantly. Unlike existing products, our product provides an easy,
    seamless connection from your hand to your computer.
    TechCrunch Disrupt
    ‘Disrupt’ is an annual technology conference hosted by the US online publisher TechCrunch. This
    three-day event, which began in 2010, includes hackathons, meet-and-greets with investors, and
    special guest lectures from industry leaders. It also hosts the ‘Startup Battlefield’ competition
    where entrepreneurs present their new, unseen products for a panel of judges in order to win a
    US$50,000 prize (approx. HK$388,000).
    Activity 8 An idea at TechCrunch Disrupt
    You are going to watch Grace Choi present her idea of a new product in this competition. Watch the
    video (from the start for about 6 minutes), then answer these questions. The clip can be found at:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBZHFUQiP8Q
  33. Where did Grace study?
  34. What is the name of her new proposed product?
  35. What will it do?
  36. How much is the make-up industry worth?
  37. How much will she charge for it?
  38. ‘Who’ are her initial target market?
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  39. What is her definition of beauty?
  40. What is the USP of this product?
  41. Was this a good presentation ? Why? Why not?
    Activity 9 Successful products, services and events
    You now need to consider what kind of project you want to write a proposal for. First, work with a
    partner and together list one successful product, one successful service and one successful event that
    you know of in the first column of the following table. Then, discuss these products, services and events
    using the questions in the table. Make some notes.
    Product Who is likely to use this
    product?
    What are the benefits
    of this product? Could it be improved?
    Service Who is likely to use this
    service?
    What are the benefits
    of this service? Could it be improved?
    Event Who is likely to attend
    this event?
    What are the benefits
    of this event? Could it be improved?
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    Activity 10 Potential product/service/event
  42. Now individually, can you think of any ideas for a new product, service or an event?
  43. Regarding the business project proposal in Assessment 1, can you think of a positioning statement
    for the product, service or event that you would like to work on?
    Dragon’s Den, a TV series
    Dragon’s Den is the British version of a TV series where people can present their business proposals to
    a group of wealthy potential investors. They present their ideas together with how much money
    and/or professional guidance they require in return for a percentage of the business they are pitching.
    The ‘Dragons’ are five wealthy successful businesspeople who are often quite ruthless in their
    treatment of the people presenting their proposals. Firstly, find out more about the five Dragons and
    who try to raise more capital for their business idea by presenting their ideas to the five Dragons.
    Activity 11 The five Dragons
    Part A: Answer these following two questions about the five Dragons:
  44. These are the five Dragons in the episode you are about to watch.
    Firstly, work together in groups and use your mobile phones, laptops or tablets to discover how
    each of the Dragons made their fortunes.
    Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/172614598188672820/
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    From left to right, they are:
    James Caan
    Duncan Bannantyne
    Deborah Meaden
    Peter Jones
    Theo Paphitis
  45. Secondly out of the five Dragons, which one would you most like to meet and why?
    Source: http://images.teamsugar.com/files/upl1/20/202476/29_2008/dragon\’s-den.jpg
    I would like to meet __________________ because ________________
    Part B: Now, watch the video from the Dragon’s Den about Jason Roberts, who is trying to raise more
    capital for his business and answer the following questions. The clip can be found at:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3LcfG5IJuI
  46. What is the name of Jason’s company?
  47. What is he offering the Dragons?
  48. What type of product or service is it and how does it work?
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  49. What is the expected turnover this year? What about last year? How much was the profit
    (NET)?
  50. Why are James and Duncan ‘out’?
  51. What ‘saves’ the pitch?
  52. What is Peter’s offer?
  53. What is Deborah’s offer?
  54. Why will Peter not revise his offer?
  55. Was this a good presentation/sales pitch?
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    SWOT Analysis
    Source: https://www.business-to-you.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/SWOT-Analysis.png
    As you are thinking of a possible product/service/event for your proposal, it could be helpful to
    complete a SWOT analysis. This would help you to develop a strong business strategy and carve out a
    sustainable niche in your market, by making sure you have considered all of your future business’s
    strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunity and threats it faces in the marketplace.
    Strength and weaknesses are often internal, while opportunities and threats generally relate to
    external factors.
    Existing business can use SWOT analysis at any time, to assess a changing environment and respond
    proactively.
    New business should use a SWOT analysis as a part of their planning process.

Source: https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/swot-analysis.php
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Activity 12 SWOT analysis
Write down a number of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a well-known local or
international company. Discuss and compare what you have discovered with those of another group.

Strengths Weaknesses
Opportunities Threats
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Section 2 Organising a business proposal
If you want to know what information a business proposal should contain, the person to ask is your
potential customer. This may be a manager in another company, or a manager in your own company
who can approve the resources you want for developing a product or service. These managers may
also need to justify their decisions to other stakeholders in their organisations, so your proposal should
take into account these stakeholders’ needs and concerns.
The goal of business proposal writing is to answer your customer\’s questions and persuade them to
select you and your ideas. Business proposal writing should be more about your customer than it is
about you. You should write your business proposal to meet your customer\’s expectations. But first
you have to know what they are. Some general advice for how to write business proposals is provided
below.

  1. Purpose of a proposal
    First you need to find out:
    i) your client’s exact expectations and needs
    ii) how you can fulfil their needs
  2. Clients
    You should make notes about:
    i) who your client is
    ii) who the decision-maker is
    Once you know this information, you should consider the following questions:
    i) Why has this client requested a proposal? What problem or opportunity should your
    proposal address?
    ii) What solution can you offer?
    iii) What assurances can you provide of your suitability?
    By answering those questions, you can then determine:
    i) What information to put in your proposal
    ii) Where to place the most emphasis
    iii) How to persuade the client that you (or your company) are dependable
    How are proposals organised?
    As with reports, the headings and structure of a proposal may vary depending on its purpose, content
    and as we have mentioned above, the needs of the customer. The structures that we are going to
    look at contain all of the key elements of a proposal but clearly this also depends on the complexity of
    the reader’s requirements, the amount of detail required and the purpose. The length of the proposal
    and its organisation may therefore vary.
    We are going to look at FOUR proposal models, namely:
    • Situation – Solution – Support The S-S-S Model
    • The 8 Point Proposal Plan The 8PPP Model
    • The Standard Business Proposal The SBP Model
    • The Project Proposal The ProPro
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    The S-S-S- Model – The Situation-Solution-Support Model
    One of the simplest and yet most effective structures for a proposal is the S-S-S method. This is ideal
    for short written proposals but can also be used as a structure for oral pitches. This is a great structure
    when your boss asks you to come up with some ideas to solve a problem at work and you don’t have
    much time. However, for a more complex issue or for the assessment that you will write for this course,
    you would probably need to add quite a few extra headings and sub-headings.
    Situation, Solution, Support
    STEP 1: SITUATION – Establish the need or describe the problem
    • Summarise the case/situation briefly, focusing on the gap to be closed
    • Be clear why this need/problem is worth addressing. (There may be many other competing
    needs/problems: why does this one deserve attention?)
    STEP 2: SOLUTION – Recommend the solution and explain its value
    • Make a firm, clear recommendation
    • Explain the value of your solution
    • State the results to be achieved or the benefits
    STEP 3: SUPPORT – Provide support for your solution
    • Confirm that you are capable of implementing the solution (i.e. you can get it done on time
    and on budget)
    • Quote references and success cases for increased credibility
    Activity 13 SSS mini-proposal analysis
    Read the proposal on the next page. Although this mini-proposal does not use Situation, Solution and
    Support in the sub-headings, can you identify the SSS structure?
    Here are some preparation notes written by someone about this mini-proposal which she has to write.
    To be read by: Board of Directors
    Subject of proposal: software range
    Main reason for new activity: demand from existing clients
    Also include in proposal:
     Reasons for adding to product range
     Types of products, e.g. stock-control tools, online advertising applications etc.
     Resources, i.e. staff, etc…
     Extra costs
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    Read the proposal and then choose the best alternative, a, b, c or d for each gap. The vocabulary in
    the gap fill is useful for creating useful sentence structure for this kind of proposal.
  3. a. discover b. search c. identify d. underline
    2 a. over b. Into c. across d. through
    3 a. happiness b. interest c. satisfaction d. pleasure
    4 a. demand b. request c. necessity d. interest
    5 a. presently b. actually c. meanwhile d. currently
    6 a. matching b. tailoring c. fitting d. meeting
    7 a. first b. Initial c. entry d. introductory
    8 a. input b. down-payment c. output d. outlay
    9 a. room b. sections c. space d. capacity
    10 a. carry b. Engage c. provide d. proceed
    Extending and Developing Our Product Range
    Purpose
    The aim of this proposal is to suggest new products we could add to our existing product range and to
    1…….… ways in which the products could be developed.
    Our current product range
    At the moment, our company produces accounting software for small retail outlets. This software
    takes managers of small businesses 2…….… the process of producing legally acceptable accounts stepby-step while producing the payroll at the same time.
    The need for new products
    While we know from the feedback that we are achieving high levels of customer 3…….… with our
    existing products, we have to recognise that we operate in a dynamic and swiftly changing market.
    Furthermore, more extensive market research among our clients has uncovered 4…….… for
    compatible software to perform stock-control and ordering functions.
    Resources
    Our programming department 5…….… employs six systems engineers and produces regular updates
    for existing products, while 6…….… them to suit individual clients. Although two engineers could be
    assigned to the development of the new programs, it would probably be necessary to recruit two more
    engineers for the new product team. This, in turn, would give rise to higher overheads and other
    costs, particularly for salaries and equipment. I believe that the 7…….… project will take 18 months,
    but at the end of that period it will generate profits which will justify the 8…….…
    Other costs
    Apart from the recruitment requirements mentioned above, the only extra cost I have identified in
    connection with this project is a need for extra office 9…….… to accommodate the project team. As
    the new products are being developed in response to demand from our existing clients, I do not
    foresee extra marketing costs at this stage.
    Recommendation
    I therefore recommend that we 10…….… with this project as soon as it is convenient. I also think that
    we need to start looking for staff and office space so that we can get this project off the ground without
    delay.
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    The 8PPP Model – The 8 Point proposal plan
    The second structure that is easy to remember and use is the 8PPP or 8 Point Proposal Plan. If you
    compare this to the S-S-S model, you will see that they essentially contain more or less the same
    organisational features although the pattern is slightly different. The other key difference is that the
    8PPP has filled in many of the gaps left unfilled by the shorter option. The 8PPP is useful for slightly
    longer and more detailed proposals.
    Activity 14 The 8 Point proposal plan
    Look at the stages of the 8PPP below and complete the words in the different sections.
    8 Point proposal plan
  4. Title / S _ _ _ _ _ t
  5. Purpose / A _ m
  6. Need / P _ _ _ _ _ m
  7. Proposal – solution / a _ _ _ _ n p _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ y
  8. Rationale / J _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ n presented
  9. E _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / Assessment
  10. Im _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ n – t _ _ e
    c _ _ t
    r _ _ _ _ _ _ _ s
    m _ _ _ _ _ _ r
  11. Conclusion – pr _ _ _ _ _ _ d persuasively
    If you compare the models of 8PPP and S-S-S side by side you can see how similar they are.
    8PPP S-S-S
    Title / Subject
    Purpose / Aim Situation
    Need / Problem
    Proposal – solution / action Solution
    Rationale / Justification
    Evaluation / Ass essment Support
    Implementation
    Conclusion Solution
    ELC3222 Workplace English for Business Students II Unit 1 Writing Business Proposals
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    Activity 15 Practice using the S-S-S or 8PPP model
    Imagine that you have been asked to put together a proposal to find an answer to one of the problems
    below. Sketch out a rough draft of the problem, how you would solve it and why your solution would
    work using either the S-S-S or the 8PPP model. And be prepared to share your thoughts with the rest
    of the class.
  12. The nuclear threat from North Korea
  13. The plastic pollution problem
  14. The ivory trade
  15. The shark fin industry
  16. Gender inequality
    The Standard Business Proposal Model – The SBP Model
    The Standard Business Proposal is a reliable, comprehensive and flexible model that can be used for
    most work-related proposals.
    The SBP is:
    • reliable because it is tried and tested
    • comprehensive because it includes all the key features required of a proposal
    • flexible because it can easily be adapted to suit the purpose it is being used for
    Activity 16 Organisation of a business proposal
    Look at the different headings in the structure of a typical business proposal and then put them in the
    correct order into the boxes in the organisational flow chart that follows.
    Project costing, fees and resource requirements
    Timetable / timeline / schedule
    Executive summary
    Client operation / business
    Contract details
    Proposal / solution / recommendation / action
    Benefits, rationale and suggested evaluation of proposal / solution / recommendation / action
    Client requirement / need / problem / objective / purpose
    Persuasive overview of reputation and track record of proposal provider
    Title page
    ELC3222 Workplace English for Business Students II Unit 1 Writing Business Proposals
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    What are included under these headings?
    So we now have an idea about how to structure a business proposal but what exactly should we
    include under each heading?
    Activity 17 Sections of a proposal
    Here are TEN descriptions (a – l) of what needs to be included in a proposal. Decide which section
    heading each description belongs to.
    a. This is a section which is surprisingly often neglected and yet it provides a clear opportunity for the
    proposer to sell their idea. Whilst the actual proposal itself outlines the steps which need to be taken,
    this section provides the reasons why they need to be taken, how they can be implemented and
    perhaps of equal importance, how their success and effectiveness can be measured and followed up,
    if necessary.
    b. This provides a last opportunity for the proposer to sell themselves / their company / organisation
    / team and clearly, their proposal. This section can also recount examples of previous successful
    projects, prestgious clients, jobs which have ‘come-in’ under budget and ‘on time’ or before the
    deadline, testimonials and awards. It is also a good idea to finsh with a ‘Why choose us?’ section in
    which the proposer can briefly promote themselves one last time.
    ELC3222 Workplace English for Business Students II Unit 1 Writing Business Proposals
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    c. This is a summary of the field in which the client is involved together with some background
    information on the project in hand. For an in-house proposal, clearly the ‘client’ will be one’s own
    company, organisation or department. For an academic proposal, the ‘client’ could be the hierarchy
    within a department, a university or a government committee.
    d. In this part of the proposal, you need to outline the financial implications of the proposal. This will
    certainly include the proposer’s fees plus all the additional costs including manpower, equipment,
    research, training and any other overheads which are necessary for the successful completion of the
    project. The figures should be presented in a positive way that highlights their competitive value.
    e. This should be short and to the point. The word ‘proposal’ is sometimes not even included in the
    heading as it is often presented as a story.
    E.g.
    Marketing Proposal for ABC Limited 
    New Website Development Proposal for ABC limited 
    Increasing Leads Through Social Media Campaigns 
    f. Clearly, this is an overview of the whole proposal. It should include a general statement of the
    client’s need and the solution and how it will benefit the client in a way that promotes the proposer.
    It should also mention the completion date, a general statement about the extraordinary value of the
    proposal (without mentioning the actual quotation price itself) and why the proposer is the right
    person / company for the job. This section is not necessary in a short proposal.
    g. This may or may not be included in the proposal as it can be a very complicated legal document or
    one that is, as a matter of course, presented separately from the actual proposal itself. An alternative
    to including the whole contract in the proposal, is to provide a summary detailing the key points.

h. In this section the proposal should detail exactly what the client wants the proposal for. This could
be a problem that needs to be solved or it could be asking for ideas to add value to a company or
organisation. Essentially this section identifies the aim of the proposal, the needs of the client and the
reason the proposal is being requested.
i. Obviously the client will need to know when the project will be completed and how long it will take.
In fact, most clients will stipulate a deadline or completion date as part of the project brief. Depending
upon the complexity of the project, the proposer may also want to include a series of ‘mini-deadlines’
for various parts of the proposal.
j. This is arguably the most important part of the proposal as it presents how the client’s problem can
be solved or needs satisfied. This should be presented as a practical step-by-step procedure that
outlines very clearly what needs to done and how effectively the proposer can do it. This also gives
the proposer an opportunity to promote their own expertise and why the client should choose them.
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Now we know how to organise an SBP and we know what the different sections contain. What does
this all mean in reality? In the next activity, we shall apply the model to a real working example.
Activity 18 Clifford Richards Communication Limited
You work for a consultant, Clifford Richards Communication Limited which advises companies on
setting up their businesses in China.
You have been contacted by PJ Stanley, a company which specialises in providing financial and
investment advice, wealth management services and personal insurance policies to individuals and
organisations with considerable disposable incomes.
PJ Stanley are having problems ‘breaking into’ the China market and have asked you to come up with
a proposal to solve these difficulties.
Specifically, PJ Stanley are having difficulty establishing contacts and finding clients in Chungking,
Chengdu and Kunming, three of mainland China’s second tier cities, because of:
• poor Mandarin language skills among staff
• lack of knowledge about corporate law in the PRC
• limited number of contacts in three of China’s main second tier cities: Chungking,
Chengdu and Kunming

  1. Read the excerpts a – k which form the entire Clifford Richards Communication proposal.
  2. Then match them with the correct section headings.
  3. Put them into the correct order.
    Clifford Richards Communication Limited
    a.
    The main problems faced by PJ Stanley in their efforts to get a foothold in the China market are
    related to difficulties establishing contacts and finding clients in Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming
    because of:
    • poor Mandarin language skills among Hong Kong originated staff
    • lack of knowledge about corporate law in PRC among front-line staff
    • limited number of contacts in the three cities
    The aim of this proposal is to recommend a series of measures that can be implemented to solve
    these problems.
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    b.
    Based upon similar cases involving previous clients, we strongly recommend the following action to
    cement PJ Stanley’s position in China.
    • Language skills
    Short term – To ease the immediate problem, we shall investigate local translating services
    in the three cities as well as in Hong Kong. Clearly using a local service in China will be cheaper
    but in terms of confidentiality, Hong Kong might prove to be a better provider. We shall
    advise you accordingly.
    Long term – Given that many of the Hong Kong based staff are not proficient in Mandarin, we
    shall also make enquiries about running regular in-house customer service and business
    Putonghua classes. We have a number of providers that we have worked with before and
    will obtain quotes before making a final recommendation.
    Short – medium term – However, we believe that as it will take some time to see results from
    this initiative, PJ Stanley need to recruit bilingual / trilingual sales staff who will be
    responsible for ‘on-the-ground’ operations in Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming
    immediately. We suggest these staff be divided into three specialised promotional and sales
    teams operating in the three cities. We will be happy to work alongside your Human
    Resources Office in the recruitment process and to assist in the vetting procedure.
    c.
    PJ Stanley Limited is a well-established financial services company originally founded in the United
    Kingdom and now operating worldwide. PJ Stanley’s Hong Kong operation has been in existence for
    over 50 years and incorporates:
    • financial and investment advice
    • wealth management
    • personal insurance
    The scope of PJ Stanley’s clients work has always been on personal clients in the upper income bracket
    and so, given the enormous personal wealth generated there in recent years, PJ Stanley has been keen
    to enter the mainland Chinese market. In particular, though, they are targeting China’s second and
    third tier cities as cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are already saturated with financial
    advisers. Initial forays into Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming have so far yielded only very modest
    results.
    d.
    This will be dealt with separately and once all of the points itemised in this proposal have been agreed
    upon.
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    e.
    • Contacts in Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming
    It is clear that contacts in the local business communities, media and government authorities
    have to be established in order to make progress in China. It is equally clear that lack of
    experienced, Putonghua speaking front-line staff is one of the key reasons for this
    shortcoming and as such, we believe that the measures suggested to solve the first problem
    should in part at least solve this one.
    However, the concept of guanxi should not be underestimated and it appears that here, PJ
    Stanley is in a decidedly disadvantaged situation.
    For each city, we will therefore draw up a comprehensive list of:
    • key contacts, local dignitaries and business leaders
    • senior and influential government officials
    • chambers of commerce and other professional organisations
    • social, sports and professional club and societies
    • media organisations particularly those focused on business, commerce, finance and
    economics
    Upon compiling the list, we shall work closely with PJ Stanley’s in-house public relations team
    and the translation service provider to develop a bi-lingual introductory information package
    for distribution in Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming.
    We shall also arrange a number of presentations at venues at some of the locations on the list
    as well as at major hotels in the three cities.
    f.
    PJ Stanley Limited, a major global financial services operator is experiencing problems accessing its
    client base in China, particularly in some of China’s emerging ‘second-tier’ cities.
    Clifford Charles Communications Limited has compiled a comprehensive proposal to deal with PJ
    Stanley’s difficulties which include:
    • language and legal training for staff
    • revising staff recruitment procedures especially regarding language skills and
    expertise in the legal system in China
    • marketing and public relations action to promote PJS in China
    Based upon CCC’s impressive record over the years helping major international firms to establish
    themselves in mainland China, it is predicted that the recommendations in this document can be
    achieved within budget and according to schedule.
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    g.
    Language skills training
    Translation service – quotations to be obtained from:
    First Mandarin, Hong Kong
    Putonghua for You, Hong Kong
    Chinese Language Services, PRC
    In-house language training – quotations to be obtained from:
    First Mandarin, Hong Kong
    Putonghua for You, Hong Kong
    PRC legal system training
    Business Law in China Course, HKU – four sessions for each course
  4. trading and foreign investment laws
  5. import/export control
  6. taxation
  7. foreign economic and trade regulations
    Complete package – $9,000 per participant
    Individual courses – $2,500 each per participant
    Quotation to be obtained for in-house course
    Making contacts
    Contact lists:
    Chungking – contacts list
    Lump sum $20,000
    Chengdu – contacts list
    Lump sum $20,000
    Kunming – contacts list
    Lump sum $20,000
    Bi-lingual introductory information package
    Chungking
    Estimated cost for each location including
    Chengdu printing and distribution costs:
    $60,000 x 3 = $180,000
    Kunming
    Presentations
    To be quoted on an event-by-event basis as details, number of attendees and
    venues will vary. Estimated cost per presentation $5,000.
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    h.
    • PRC legal system
    Since there are clearly problems understanding the complex and often contradictory content
    of business law in China, we recommend that staff attend a series of training sessions under
    the heading of ‘Business Law in China’ run by Prof. Edmund Xiao at Hong Kong University.
    These courses are offered over four weeks and they run three times a year covering:
  8. trading and foreign investment laws
  9. import/export control
  10. taxation
  11. foreign economic and trade regulations
    It might be possible to run the sessions as an in-house training course and we will certainly
    discuss this with HKU. Again though, as with the language skills problem, we must advise PJ
    Stanley to look closely at their recruitment policies as it seems clear that staff with
    comprehensive knowledge of the legal system, particularly the corporate legal system, is
    cruci al to establishing a client base and expanding it in the long run.
    We shall also contact the Hong Kong Trade Development Council which publishes a Guide to
    Doing Business in China annually.
    i.
    Increasing opportunities and improving financial services in the PRC
    j.
    The benefits to PJ Stanley of the recommendations outlined in this proposal are many and varied.
    • Language skills
    To improve the language skills of PJS staff, clearly more than one approach is required and
    we believe that tackling the issue in the short, medium and long term will provide the most
    effective and comprehensive solution. We also believe that liaising with language experts is
    vital for effective communication in China.
    • PRC legal system
    As with the language skills proposals, we firmly believe that working with experts in the field
    and spending time and money on training will bring about positive results in the long run.
    • Contacts in Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming
    We cannot stress too highly the value which must be placed on public relations and
    networking in China. In order to do business, you have to meet people and in order to meet
    people you have ‘get out there’ in the market place and sell your services. We are confident
    that the suggestions we have proposed will provide PJ Stanley with the platform and the
    audience to do business in China.
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    k.
    Having advised a significant number of major international companies on increasing their exposure
    in China and accessing customers, we believe that here at Clifford Charles Communications Limited,
    we possess:
    • the expertise
    • the experience
    • the insight
    • the contacts
    to allow you to establish a solid foundation and lucrative business venture in mainland China.
    l.
    Language skills training
    Translation service
    • quotations to be obtained by 30/XX/20XX
    • contract to be awarded and agreed 14/XX/20XX
    • commencement of service TBA
    In-house language training
    • quotations to be obtained by 30/XX/20XX
    • contract to be awarded and agreed 14/XX/20XX
    • commencement of service TBA
    PRC legal system training
    • in-house quotation to be obtained by 30/XX/20XX
    • contract to be awarded and agreed 14/XX/20XX
    • commencement of service TBA
    Making contacts
    Contact lists:
    Chungking – contacts list
    Chengdu – contacts list Deadline 21/XX/20XX
    Kunming – contacts list
    Bi-lingual introductory information package
    Chungking
    Chengdu Deadline 28/XX/20XX
    Kunming
    Presentations
    List of potential dates and venues deadline 07/XX/20XX
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    You can find the complete Clifford Charles Communications Limited proposal at the end of this unit.
    The Project Proposal Model – The ProPro
    The ProPro model can be applied to any kind of project. In the activity that you are about to do, it is
    applied to a service proposal but the same structure and features could be used for other kinds, for
    example, a construction project proposal, a start-up business proposal or an internal proposal
    suggesting a new policy.
    Activity 19 Organising the sections of a proposal
    The following pages contain sections taken from one kind of proposal as an example. The sections are
    not in the right order. First, skim through the sections and put them in the right order. Next, supply
    suitable headings for each section. You can write the headings alongside the letter at the top of each
    proposal section.
    a. …………………….
    The service proposed is called Multiway Training, a training system that has been perfected by
    PolyU Training over the last decade. As the name implies, training is done through a variety of
    ways, so suiting the individuality of the learner.
    Multiway training involves a number of processes that together ensure the specific needs of the
    customer and the learner are met.
    First the specific needs of the client are studied by observing the staff in action during their day to
    day work, and examining written and spoken examples of their work. This enables PolyU Training
    to tailor-make material specifically for the client. Secondly, the level of all prospective students is
    checked. This ensures that students with similar needs are grouped together. During the running
    of the course, a multi-thematic approach is used, with a combination of larger classes, small
    tutorials and one to one teaching used together with the online element. Finally, towards the end
    of the course, all students are tested again, and their level compared to that earlier.
    Features and equipment
    Particular features of the proposed service are highlighted below:
    • Experienced professional instructors
    • Tailor-made material
    • Mixed mode teaching
    • Small tutorials
    • One-to-one teaching
    • Online element
    • Pre and post testing
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    Benefits
    If the proposed solution is accepted, Trips Dispatch will receive the following benefits:
    • Specific solutions for specific needs
    • Long term cost effectiveness
    • Guaranteed results
    The tailor-made solution to Trips Dispatch’s needs ensures that features will specifically meet all
    present requirements.
    b. …………………….
    Trips Dispatch Hong Kong wishes to provide English language training for its staff. The purpose of
    the training is to improve the communication ability of three groups of staff; customer service,
    sales and delivery, in order to be able to communicate via e-mail, telephone and face to face with
    the growing number of international companies that Trips Dispatch has as its customers.
    The objective of this proposal is to demonstrate how PolyU Training Company’s experience can
    serve Trip Dispatch’s requirements. The training suggested has been specially developed for Trips
    Dispatch’s special needs.
    The services offered will include online and face to face teaching, allowing staff to benefit from
    the instructors’ personal instruction as well as being able to self study in their own time.
    The main benefits may be summarised as follows:
    • Cost-effective, reliable, high-quality training
    • Savings on external instructors
    • State-of-the-art technology and equipment
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    c. …………………….
    Trips Dispatch Hong Kong Ltd has four offices in Hong Kong. These offices are situated in Central,
    Tsim Sha Tsui, Tung Chung, and Sheung Shui. At present all the sales staff and most of the back
    office staff including customer service staff work in the Tsim Sha Tsui office. Delivery staff are
    spread evenly among the four offices. Due to its use of state-of-the-art logistics techniques
    perfected in the London market, Trips Dispatch has been capturing an increasing share of the Hong
    Kong market with international companies making up a growing portion. This has led to English
    becoming more important in many areas of Trips Dispatch’s business.
    This proposal describes a training solution that will:
    • provide specific training for groups of staff
    • ensure high quality materials
    • guarantee results
    Trips Dispatch have stipulated the training should be completed by the end of June 2022.
    d. …………………….
    Proposal
    for
    English Language Training
    Submitted to
    Trips Dispatch Hong Kong Ltd
    Submitted by
    PolyU Training Company
    Reference No:
    12345
    Project Director: David Nugent
    Propos ed starting date: To be agreed
    Proposed duration of project: Three months
    Submission date: 10 September 2021
    ELC3222 Workplace English for Business Students II Unit 1 Writing Business Proposals
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e. ……………………
During August of this year Trips Dispatch Hong Kong asked PolyU Training Company to submit a
proposal detailing the costs and approach of setting up a training course for its customer service,
sales and delivery staff in Hong Kong.
Trips Dispatch Hong Kong head office is in London. It was established in Hong Kong in 1996 and
has expanded rapidly in the last few years. A preliminary study of Trips Dispatch’s needs indicates
that its main problem is that in the past, training companies have suggested a ‘one size fits all’
approach for all of the staff, even though it is clear that the three groups have widely differing
needs.
The purpose of this proposal is to demonstrate how PolyU Training can provide a training plan to
meet the requirements of Trips Dispatch in terms of cost, efficiency, tailor-made features, and end
results.
There is a need to introduce specific training for each group of staff in Trips Dispatch. PolyU
Training is uniquely qualified to serve Trips Dispatch as it has a well-developed training
infrastructure, capability and experience. We can offer a high quality service supported by our
online network.
f. …………………….
A contributing factor to the success of this proposal will be the management of the project. PolyU
Training’s objective in this respect will be to provide a structural approach to each stage of the
project. This will enable the project staff to focus quickly and effectively on any significant issues
that may arise.
The overall responsibility for the project will rest with a Training Manager, Mr David Nugent, who
has been with company for ten years and is very familiar with the implementation of training
courses. He has undertaken similar work for HSBC and Jardine Fleming.
He will be supported by three assistant Training Supervisors who will be responsible for coordinating the work with Trips Dispatch’s management. Together, these three staff have over
twenty years experience with PolyU Training.
PolyU Training has a comprehensive Training Department solely dedicated to providing the
necessary backup and facilities to enable all client projects to run smoothly.
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g. ……………………
The following details explain the costs of the proposed work in order to provide a suitable solution
for service implementation.
Set-up costs: ……
Network costs: ……
Monthly recurrent costs: ……
h. ……………………
The lead time for implementation of the training will be approximately two months after proposal
acceptance and contract agreement. This period of time will include the preliminary testing of
students, the preparation of material as well as the necessary timetabling of classes and tutorials.
Previous Training courses of this nature indicate that this time period is realistic and should incur
no particular difficulties.
i. ……………………
Executive Summary

  1. Introduction
  2. Client Requirements
  3. Proposed Solution
    3.1 System Design
    3.2 Features and Equipment
    3.3 Benefits
  4. Personnel and Project Management
  5. Schedule for Implementation
  6. Costs
    Appendix
    1
    2
    3
    4
    4
    5
    6
    6
    7
    7
    8, 9 & 10
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    Activity 20 Answers to the previous activity
    Most proposals follow the outline presented below. Did you have the same sequence? Did you write
    the same (or similar) headings?
    Title Page (d)
    Table of Contents (i)
    Executive Summary (b)
    Introduction (e)
    Client Requirements (c)
    Proposed Solution (a)
    Personnel/Management of Project (f)
    Schedule for Implementation (h)
    Budget/Costs (g)
    Activity 21 Discussion practice
    Discuss the following questions with your classmates.
  7. Why is this a good way to organise a proposal?
  8. Do all proposals contain the same sections as the one you have just looked at?
    ELC3222 Workplace English for Business Students II Unit 1 Writing Business Proposals
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    Activity 22 Proposal details
    Now that you have arranged the proposal pages in the correct order, write down details or examples
    of what those pages include.
    Section Contents
    Title Page
    Table of Contents
    Executive Summary
    Introduction
    Client Requirements
    Proposed Solution
    Personnel/Management
    of Project
    Schedule for
    Implementation
    Budget/Costs
    ELC3222 Workplace English for Business Students II Unit 1 Writing Business Proposals
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    Below is more information about the content of various sections of a proposal and advice on the
    writing of each part.
    (1) Executive summary
    The Executive Summary provides a short overview or summary of the entire proposal. Because it needs
    to refer to the whole of the proposal document, it can only be written once the proposal has been
    completed. However it is placed at the beginning of the proposal, after the Title page and Contents
    page and before the Introduction.
    The Executive Summary is the first thing in the proposal your clients will read. You therefore need to:
    • arouse interest immediately
    • make a good impression
    • focus on important elements of the proposal
    • write positively and advantageously
    It should cover the following points – briefly:
    • client\’s business problem and its importance
    • objectives of the project
    • method for evaluation
    • benefits of the proposal
    The Executive Summary is on the first page and is thus marked Page 1. The Executive Summary should
    not include the cost or any graphics.
    Activity 23 Examples of Executive Summary
    Find a good/poor example of an executive summary. Then share your comments with your classmates.
    (2) Introduction
    The aim here is to try to sell the proposal and persuade your client that your company can achieve
    what is required.
    It should include the following parts:
    • Statement of the problem
    • Background to the problem
    • Statement of purpose of the proposed solution
    • Significance of project and proposer\’s suitability
    • Scope and limitations
    Statement of the problem
    This section explains, briefly, why the client approached you.
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    Background to the problem
    This section provides generic details of the history of the problem, e.g. in terms of new developments
    in the industry, or changes in the client\’s operation. You may quote previous work done in a similar
    context, showing its significance (and possibly limitations) to this situation.
    Statement of purpose of the proposed solution
    This section makes it clear what you as the proposer intend to achieve, and how your proposal relates
    to the problem of the client.
    Significance of project and proposer\’s suitability
    This section highlights the significance of the problem to the client, thus giving you the chance to
    demonstrate your understanding of the problem. It also provides specific evidence of the proposer\’s
    experience and suitability for undertaking this project. It is not a long-winded company profile.
    Scope and limitations
    This section outlines the main areas you are going to address. If necessary, it should also clearly state
    any issues that you are not going to consider and why, (e.g. after-sales service) so as to indicate to your
    client that you are focusing specifically on their problem, and not introducing unnecessary costs or
    extra work.
    (3) Client requirements
    This is a more detailed analysis of the customer’s needs, with your own company’s interpretation of
    client’s requirements (NB: These must not just be a copy of what the customer has sent to your
    company).
    You should:
    • analyse the client\’s problem and requirements
    • identify the specific issues underlying the client\’s needs
    Generic analysis of client\’s problems and requirements
    Often clients do not articulate clearly what their problems or requirements are. This section should
    demonstrate that you have a clear overall grasp of their general proposal requirements. It is necessary
    to have this in writing as it may only have been discussed verbally up to this point. A written statement
    gives you the opportunity to show you clearly understand the problem, and the client the opportunity
    to contradict it, if necessary.
    Identification of specific issues underlying client\’s needs
    The client must be assured that you can identify and interpret their needs accurately. The best way
    to do this is to break down their statement of requirements into issues that show you have fully
    understood their needs. This section will therefore need to itemise the main issues from the client\’s
    perspective – even though the client may not have been able to do this themselves!
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    (4) Proposed solution
    This is the most important section of the proposal and will be evaluated very carefully and critically by
    your client. It should:
    • provide as much information as is necessary for clients to come to a reasoned decision regarding your
    proposal
    • justify appropriateness of your methods for solving client problems
    • not confuse the client by an overload of unnecessary details
    • focus on benefits of solution
    • be persuasive!
    If you cannot persuade your client you have a good method for achieving their needs, you will have failed
    in your objective. It is therefore imperative to discuss everything from the client\’s viewpoint. Ensuring
    that their name is used in your sentences often will help you to achieve this. The client should always be
    uppermost and you should always bear the following in mind:
    What your company can do for the client, not what the client can do for you!
    This section usually follows the following format:
    • Plan for reaching objectives
    • How you intend to achieve solution
    • Details for evaluating solution
    • What results can be expected
    Be assertive and confident, and that is what the client wants to see in your proposal.
    (5) Management/personnel
    The aim of this section is to explain the work plan, in terms of who is responsible for certain aspects
    of the project, and persuade your client that your company has the expertise and competence to
    undertake the proposed project.
    It should:
    • persuade clients that overall management of the project will be sound and effective
    • name the section/personnel responsible and persuade clients that people are appropriatelyexperienced
    • outline backup structure for those involved in the project to co-ordinate their activities
    It may also include:
    • brief details of relevant or current projects already undertaken or in progress, for this client or
    another
    • biographical details of staff, but if these are necessary, they should be kept short and restricted to
    relevant details
    You may also need to consider whether to include details regarding long-term implications for
    maintaining the proposed solution, such as:
    • who will undertake work
    • how your company will ensure quality performance
    ELC3222 Workplace English for Business Students II Unit 1 Writing Business Proposals
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    An extensive proposal may split details of personnel between the sections relating to the initial
    management of the project and the section outlining management of the final network.
    (6) Schedule
    It is essential to convince a critical client that the proposed schedule is realistic and appropriate. If you
    appear to be trying to propose too much within a tight time frame, this may weaken your company’s
    credibility.
    To avoid this possibility:
    • be very specific as to details
    • demonstrate your care and thoughtfulness in conceiving the schedule
    (7) Costs
    This section has to persuade your reviewer that the costs of the proposal are reasonable. It has to:
    • explain what costs are involved
    i.e. text is necessary as well as the actual figures
    • justify expenditure
    • be accurate and correct. Make sure it is checked by someone else. Careless arithmetic mistakes
    give a very poor impression.
    • supply a total, overall figure. Your proposal should not leave it up to the client to do a lot of
    calculations to arrive at the final figure
    Very often a table format is used. You may wish to think about mentioning any of the following:
    • personnel
    • consultants
    • equipment
    • materials and supplies
    • travel
    • services
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    Activity 24 Practice on writing a business proposal
    You are going to form a small group with your classmates and develop an imaginary business proposal
    for your dream company. You can use the table below to outline the basics.
    Your proposal should follow the Assessment 1 format requirements.
    Section Details
    Title Page
    Table of Contents
    Executive Summary
    Introduction
    Client Requirements
    Proposed Solution
    Personnel/Management of
    Project
    Schedule for
    Implementation
    Budget/Costs
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    (8) Appendix
    This part contains items that are important but difficult to integrate in the text of the proposal sections.
    Do not misuse appendices by including needless information or by excluding vital material from the
    proposal proper. Clients should not have to turn to appendices to understand the proposal itself.
    Follow these guidelines:
    • Include only relevant material
    • Use a separate appendix for each major item
    • Title each appendix clearly, e.g. Appendix A: Company Profile
    • Refer readers to an appendix at appropriate points in the proposal, e.g. See Appendix A
    • Do not use too many appendices – four or five appendices in a ten-page proposal would suggest a
    poor documentation of facts
    • Limit appendices to a few pages, unless greater length is absolutely essential
    (Adapted from Technical Writing by J. M. Lannon 1985)
    In proposals, appendices should be used for supporting the proposal topic, the credentials of the
    proposer, and the ability of the proposing company to carry out the project. Some of the items you
    may wish to put in appendices are:
    • Company profiles
    • Legal and contractual documents
    • Relevant brochures and product technical specifications
    • Client reference lists
    • Details of sub-contractors or other important participants in the project
    (9) Illustrations and graphics
    There are specific established guidelines for integrating visuals with text. Illustrations and graphics:
    • are placed as close as possible to their text reference
    • require a callout:
    o The ‘Callout’ statement uses the present tense, and appears in the body of the text. This
    guideline is the same for all visuals.
    E.g. Figure 2.1 explains how bird flu spreads throughout the human system.
    • have a special numbering system:
    o The numbering should run consecutively throughout the document
    o OR it should be linked to the section numbers
    • need a specific title:
    o Be descriptive and short
    o Explain the information in the title exactly
    o Not be a complete sentence – no verbs, or articles
    o Be placed below the graphics
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    E.g. The multi-purpose centralised processing unit system as shown in Figure 1 will keep track of
    the multiple simultaneous user browser sessions and the multiple real-time camera connection
    sessions.
    A figure
    Figure 1: Multi-Purpose Centralised Processing Unit System
    (10) Tables
    The tables included in a proposal:
    • must have a callout (a reference to the table in the text of the proposal):
    o the callout and use of present tense are the same as for all visuals
    E.g. The number of Road King’s highway projects is shown in Table 1.
    • must have a numbering system:
    o The numbering should run consecutively throughout the document
    o OR it should be linked to the section numbers
    E.g. ‘Table 1’ for the first table in the document, or
    ‘Table 4.1’ for the first table in Section 4 of the document.
    • need a specific title:
    o Be descriptive and short
    o Explain the information in the title exactly
    o Not be a complete sentence
    o Be placed above the table
    E.g. Table 2 depicts the storage requirements under some representative combinations of a
    number of camera connections, trade-off of frame quality and trade-off of frame
    transmission speed.
    Table 2: Examples of storage requirements under varying conditions
    A table
    ELC3222 Workplace English for Business Students II Unit 1 Writing Business Proposals
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    Activity 25 Tabulating informaton
    Look at the text below. Can you present it as a table?
    We propose a number of methods that students can use to repay their student loans. They can pay
    by post by issuing a cheque made payable to “The Government of the Hong Kong Special
    Administrative Region’ and sending it to The Student Loan Section (TSFS), Financial Assistance Agency
    for Students, 11/F CWS Government Offices, 340 Students Road, Kowloon. They may also pay by PPS
    by entering the merchant Code ‘44’ and entering the 12-digit PPS reference number. If a student
    wishes to pay by ATM, they should select Bill/Jet Payment Services, then choose ‘Government Student
    Loan Repayment’ and finally enter the 12-digit PPD reference number. It is also possible to pay online
    by following the instructions issued by a bank or in person by visiting any post office.
    (11) Using bullet points accurately
    Using bullet points is clearly a useful tool in presenting information clearly and concisely. Bullet points
    are easier to write and they are of course easier to process and read.
    There are three fundamental methods for using bullet points:
    • parallel structures
    • vertical lists
    • sentences and paragraphs
    Parallel structures
    Look at this example of a parallel structure.
    What is the relationship between the stem and the bullet and how are they linked through the
    punctuation?< br>To expand our market share, the Board proposes to:
    • increase funding for R&D ;
    • headhunt a new associate director in charge of marketing ;
    • look into the possibility of merging with AEK in Dubai; and
    • run more sales training courses for all staff.
    STEM
    PUNCTUATION
    BULLETS
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    Here’s another example.
    To improve staff morale, I strongly recommend that we:
    • increase salaries;
    • reduce working hours;
    • extend lunch breaks;
    • lighten the workload; and
    • improve staff benefits.
    Parallel structures are very effective in presenting information and persuading people to act. Why?
    Because they:
    • make content easily and quickly accessible
    • reduce time for reading and writing
    • improve accuracy.
    Vertical lists
    Vertical lists are also presented using bullet points but the grammatical link between the stem and the
    bullets is different. Here is an example.
    When representing the company at official social functions, all staff must remember to submit the
    following original receipts:
    • transportation for yourself and/or guests
    • food and drink ordered
    • gifts valued at no more than HK$100
    • other prearranged entertainment expenses.
    Here we can see that the bullet does not complete a sentence following on from the stem. The stem
    merely introduces a list. Vertical lists are often introduced using expressions like:
    • …as follows:
    • …as detailed below:
    • …including:
    • …this includes:
    • …in the following (situations):
    • …such as:
    • …for example:
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    Vertical lists are useful for the reasons detailed below:
    • Readers can access content
  • quicker
  • easier
    • Writers can
  • save time composing documents
  • produce more accurate documents.
    Here’s a comparison of the two.
    Activity 26 Creating parallel constructions
    Look at this extract from a proposal. Correct and improve the sentences as necessary.
    Benefits of Eshop.com
  • all in one hassle free internet commerce solution
  • low upfront investment
  • reduce time to market
  • wide choice of banks
  • flexible to fit in new payment mechanism and delivery channels
  • 7×24 dedicated operational support to maintain high quality of service
  • Support by teams of professional of Eshop.com
    Sentences and paragraphs
    Sentences and paragraphs are often presented using bullet points. Again this is done to break up the
    text, make it easier to access and improve readability. This use of bullets is often done when the
    bullets are all related to the same topic and often in conjunction with headings and sub-headings.
    Compare the two versions taken from the PJ Stanley proposal we looked at earlier in the course below.
    Which is easier to read? Which is more accessible?
    PARALLEL
    To improve productivity, we would like to
    remind everyone about the importance of:
    • arriving for work on time;
    • taking only one hour for lunch;
    • limiting morning and afternoon breaks
    to ten minutes; and
    • leaving no later than 6.00pm on
    weekdays and 1.00pm on Saturdays.
    VERTICAL
    To improve productivity, we would like
    everyone to be responsible for the following
    actions:
    • Please arrive at work on time.
    • Take only one hour for lunch.
    • Limit morning and afternoon breaks to
    ten minutes.
    • Do not leave later than 6.00pm on
    weekdays and 1.00pm on Saturdays.
    Comparison
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    Version 1
    The benefits to PJ Stanley of the recommendations outlined in this proposal are many and varied.
    To improve the language skills of PJS staff, clearly more than one approach is required and we believe
    that tackling the issue in the short, medium and long term will provide the most effective and
    comprehensive solution. We also believe that liaising with language experts is vital for effective
    communication in China.
    As with the language skills proposals, we firmly believe that working with experts in the field and
    spending time and money on training will bring about positive results in the long run.
    We cannot stress too highly the value which must be placed on public relations and networking in
    China. In order to do business, you have to meet people and in order to meet people you have ‘get
    out there’ in the market place and sell your services. We are confident that the suggestions we have
    proposed will provide PJ Stanley with the platform and the audience to do business in China.
    Version 2
    The benefits to PJ Stanley of the recommendations outlined in this proposal are many and varied.
    • Language skills
    To improve the language skills of PJS staff, clearly more than one approach is required and we
    believe that tackling the issue in the short, medium and long term will provide the most
    effective and comprehensive solution. We also believe that liaising with language experts is
    vital for effective communication in China.
    • PRC legal system
    As with the language skills proposals, we firmly believe that working with experts in the field
    and spending time and money on training will bring about positive results in the long run.
    • Contacts in Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming
    We cannot stress too highly the value which must be placed on public relations and
    networking in China. In order to do business, you have to meet people and in order to meet
    people you have ‘get out there’ in the market place and sell your services. We are confident
    that the suggestions we have proposed will provide PJ Stanley with the platform and the
    audience to do business in China.
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    Activity 27 Putting it all together
    Now based upon everything that we have looked at so far, analyse the following draft and rewrite it in
    a more accessible, reader-friendly style.
    Subject: Additional office space for the Asian Office
    The Asian Office is now facing significant office space constraints. This is due in large part to an influx
    of central bank secondees and academic visitors. We currently have total of 21 individual offices, not
    including the dealing room and back-office area. These individual offices accommodate a total of 23
    staff outside of banking where staff typically share a common space. All our meeting rooms are in
    constant use. At the moment, there are only two offices available for secondees and other visitors.
    New demands for office space arise from the following:
    • The secondment activities of the Asian Office have been increasing as endorsed by the Asian
    Consultative Council. From July to December 2019, we hosted a secondee from the Bank of
    Malaysia, and from January to June this year we hosted one from the People’s Bank of
    Vietnam. Since their visits did not coincide, we did not run into office space problems.
    However, going forward, we now expect to host two more secondees over the rest of this
    fiscal year, with visits that are likely to coincide.
    • We have been hosting a greater number of academic visitors to the office: Eighteen new
    visitors came in fiscal year 2019/20, compared to 10 in fiscal year 2018/19. Last year, we had
    three occasions when we had two or more academic visitors at the same time. Indeed, next
    week, we will have three academic visitors at the same time.
    • We also welcome an increasing number of visitorsfrom the head office, visits that we consider
    to be highly essential. In fiscal year 2019/20, we had 56 such visitors and in 2018/19 only 40
    of them. Going forward, we anticipate numerous occasions when we would have more than
    two such visitors at a given time. This has happened 10 times in the last year.
    One option is to create more offices by reconfiguring the existing space, but this would entail a large
    capital expenditure for construction costs. We have also considered converting our small library into
    offices. However, the shape of the library’s space does not allow us to fit two regular offices. At the
    moment, the library can already be used as a temporary office should the need arise.
    The remaining option is to find additional space. As it happens, conversations with our landlord, XXXX,
    suggest that just the right amount of new space would be available in a part of the building that is
    contiguous to the existing AGT premises. This space would be sufficient for two additional offices and
    meet our needs for at least the next few years. We propose to negotiate with XXXX to lease that extra
    space.
    We now occupy a net total of 13,276 square feet or (1,233 sq.m.) in Hong Kong. Two additional offices
    would require about 400 more square feet or (37 sq.m.) or about 3% of our existing space. That
    amount of space seems to be available in a part of the building that would require only a modest
    amount of reconstruction. In our current lease, we now pay HKD7 million a year, an amount already
    adjusted for 2 rent-free months a year. If XXXX provides us with the additional space, we would expect
    to pay an additional prorated amount of HKD??? a year.
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    In addition, this appears to be a good time to undertake this effort. The space project can be pursued
    in parallel with the HK Data Centre Project in regard to the IT infrastructure build-up in the current
    f inancial year.
    If AGT management agrees, we would formally convey to XXXX our interest in the additional space
    and offer to pay the prorated amount.
    Activity 28 Evaluating an example proposal
    Read the example proposal on the next page. Can you think of any specific strengths and areas for
    improvement?
    Strengths
    Improvements
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    Here is an example of one kind of business proposal, with comments starting from the Executive
    Summary. NB: Each proposal is unique so this example is not a model or template for other proposals.
    Proposal
    for
    English Language Training
    Submitted to
    Trips Dispatch Hong Kong Ltd.
    Submitted by
    PolyU Training Company
    Reference No:
    12345
    Project Director: David Nugent
    Proposed starting date: To be agreed
    Proposed duration of project: Three months
    Submission Date: 10 September 2021
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    Contents Page
    Page No
    Executive Summary 1
  1. Introduction 2
  2. Client Requirements 3
  3. Proposed Solution 4
    3.1 Training Design 4
    3.2 Features 5
    3.3 Benefits 5
  4. Management of Project 6
  5. Schedule for Implementation 7
  6. Costs 8
    Appendix 9
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    Comments (No section number) Executive Summary
    Customer\’s business problem
    and its importance
    Use present tense
    The objectives of the proposal
    Use present tense
    Method for evaluation
    Often future tense
    Benefits of the proposal
    Present tense and modals
    Trips Dispatch Hong Kong wishes to provide English language
    training for its staff. The purpose of the training is to improve
    the communication ability of three groups of staff; customer
    service, sales and delivery, in order to be able to communicate
    via e-mail, telephone and face to face with the growing number
    of international companies that Trips Dispatch has as its
    customers.
    The objective of this proposal is to demonstrate how PolyU
    Training Company’s experience can serve Trips Dispatch’s
    requirements. The training suggested has been specially
    developed for Trips Dispatch’s special needs.
    The services offered will include online and face to face teaching,
    allowing staff to benefit from the instructors’ personal
    instruction as well as being able to self study in their own time.
    The main benefits may be summarised as follows:
    • Cost-effective, reliable, high-quality training
    • Savings on external instructors
    • State-of-the-art technology and equipment
    Page 1
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    Section 1 Introduction
    Client\’s business problem
  • past tense + time reference
    Background
  • various tenses
    Purpose
  • What you hope to achieve
  • How it relates to client’s
    problem
  • Present tense
    Significance of proposal
  • Often present tense
    Proposer’s experience
    Scope of proposal
  • Present tense
    During August of this year Trips Dispatch Hong Kong asked PolyU
    Training Company to submit a proposal detailing the costs and
    approach of setting up a training course for its customer service,
    sales and delivery staff in Hong Kong.
    Trips Dispatch Hong Kong head office is in London. It was
    established in Hong Kong in 2010 and has expanded rapidly in
    the last few years. A preliminary study of Trips Dispatch’s needs
    indicates that its main problem is that in the past, training
    companies have suggested a ‘one size fits all’ approach for all of
    the staff, even though it is clear that the three groups have
    widely differing needs.
    The purpose of this proposal is to demonstrate how PolyU
    Training can provide a training plan to meet the requirements of
    Trips Dispatch in terms of cost, efficiency, tailor-made features,
    and end results.
    There is a need to introduce specific training for each group of
    staff in Trips Dispatch. PolyU Training is uniquely qualified to
    serve Trips Dispatch as it has a well-developed training
    infrastructure, capability and experience. We can offer a highquality service supported by our online network.
    This document covers the details of the proposed solution, the
    costs and our service performance.
    Page 2
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    Section 2 Client Requirements
    Generic analysis of client\’s
    problem and requirement
    Often the present tense is used
    in this section
    Identification of particular
    issues underlying client’s needs
    It is useful to itemise issues
    using parallel grammar
    Trips Dispatch Hong Kong Ltd has four offices in Hong Kong.
    These offices are situated in Central, Tsim Sha Tsui, Tung
    Chung, and Sheung Shui. At present all the sales staff and
    most of the back-office staff including customer service staff
    work in the Tsim Sha Tsui office. Delivery staff are spread
    evenly among the four offices. Due to its use of state-ofthe-art logistics techniques perfected in the London market,
    Trips Dispatch has been capturing an increasing share of the
    Hong Kong market with international companies making up
    a growing portion. This has led to English becoming more
    important in many areas of Trips Dispatch’s business.
    This proposal describes a training solution that will:
    • provide specific training for groups of staff
    • ensure high quality materials
    • guarantee results
    Trips Dispatch have stipulated the training should be
    completed by the end of June 2022.
    Page 3
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    Section 3 Proposed Solution
    Plan for reaching objectives –
    summary of solution
    How solution will be achieved
  • training design
    The service proposed is called Multiway Training, a training
    system that has been perfected by PolyU Training over the
    last decade. As the name implies, training is done through
    a variety of ways, so suiting the individuality of the learner.
    3.1 Training Design
    Multiway training involves a number of processes that
    together ensure the specific needs of the customer and the
    learner are met.
    First the specific needs of the client are studied by observing
    the staff in action during their day to day work, and
    examining written and spoken examples of their work. This
    enables PolyU Training to tailor-make material specifically
    for the client. Secondly, the level of all prospective students
    is checked. This ensures that students with similar needs are
    grouped together. During the running of the course, a multithematic approach is used, with a combination of larger
    classes, small tutorials and one-to-one teaching used,
    together with the online element. Finally, towards the end
    of the course, all students are tested again, and their level
    compared to that earlier.
    Page 4
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    Section 3 Proposed Solution (continued)
    Details for evaluating solution,
    including equipment
    Results/benefits to be expected
    3.2 Features
    Particular features of the proposed service are
    highlighted below:
    • Experienced professional instructors
    • Tailor-made material
    • Mixed mode teaching
    • Small tutorials
    • One-to-one teaching
    • Online element
    • Pre and post testing
    3.3 Benefits
    If the proposed solution is accepted, Trips Dispatch will
    receive the following benefits:
    • Specific solutions for specific needs
    • Long term cost effectiveness
    • Guaranteed results
    The tailor-made solution to Trips Dispatch’s needs ensures
    that features will specifically meet all present requirements.
    Page 5
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    Section 4 Management of Project
    General introduction providing
    overall reassurances
    Specific details of who will be in
    charge
    Supporting staff
    Backup resources
    A contributing factor to the success of this proposal will be
    the management of the project. PolyU Training’s objective
    in this respect will be to provide a structural approach to
    each stage of the project. This will enable the project staff
    to focus quickly and effectively on any significant issues that
    may arise.
    The overall responsibility for the project will rest with a
    Training Manager, Mr David Nugent, who has been with
    company for ten years and is very familiar with the
    implementation of training courses. He has undertaken
    similar work for HSBC and Jardine Fleming.
    He will be supported by three assistant Training Supervisors
    who will be responsible for co-ordinating the work with
    Trips Dispatch’s management. Together, these three staff
    have over twenty years’ experience with PolyU Training.
    PolyU Training has a comprehensive Training Department
    solely dedicated to providing the necessary backup and
    facilities to enable all client projects to run smoothly.
    Page 6
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    Section 5 Schedule for Implementation
    Provide specific details to
    convince client of realism and
    appropriateness
    The lead time for implementation of the training will be
    approximately two months after proposal acceptance and
    contract agreement. This period of time will include the
    preliminary testing of students, the preparation of material
    as well as the necessary timetabling of classes and
    tutorials.
    Previous Training courses of this nature indicate that this
    time period is realistic and should incur no particular
    difficulties.
    Page 7
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    Section 6 Costs
    Explain individual expenditures The following details explain the costs of the proposed
    work in order to provide a suitable solution for service
    implementation.
    Set-up costs: ……
    Network costs: ……
    Monthly recurrent costs: ……
    Page 8
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    Activity 29 Evaluating another example proposal on th e Internet
    You are going to conduct an Internet search and locate a business proposal. You can use Google to
    search for ‘pdf proposals’.
    Locate the example and then:
  1. analyse the structure of the proposal.
  2. consider whether it is similar to what have been discussed in class. If not, how is it different?
  3. discuss your proposal with your classmates.
    NB: Many companies use their own in-house style guide. This is useful when they prepare documents
    for clients and the public. The focus of the style guide is not usually a matter of correct or incorrect
    grammar or style, but rather, it provides guidance for instances when many possibilities exist. The
    style guide helps them to present their brand in a consistent way. They help to ensure that multiple
    authors within the company will follow one company style and tone.
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    Section 3 The language of a business proposal
    Activity 30 Basic proposal vocabulary
    To write up a good proposal, you first need to know some basic proposal-related vocabulary. Here is a
    list of proposal-related vocabulary. Ask your classmates to explain the meanings of the words to you,
    and you can explain the words you know to your classmates:
    Word Meaning
  4. Outcome
  5. Deadline
  6. Budget
  7. Contingency plan
  8. Deliverables
  9. Milestone
  10. Stakeholders
  11. Prioritisation
  12. Critical activity
  13. Project murder
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    Activity 31 Project management vocabulary
    The aim of this task is to introduce you to more vocabulary related to proposals and projects, and help
    you use it correctly in sentences. Fill in the gaps in the sentences using the following words.
    deadline budget equipment information man-hours
    manpower money person personnel tools
  14. Replacement construction _______ has been secured and is in the process of
    being moved to the site.
  15. The company is releasing several new _______ to help developers build software
    applications that work with its online search and communication products.
  16. Our company is a project management training and consulting firm specialising in
    _______ systems and product development.
  17. The Asian Development Bank is hosting an international conference on helping the developing
    world make better use of _______ sent home by foreign workers.
  18. In recent years, the annual growth rate of the _______ has been between 6.3
    and 9.9 percent.
  19. The injunction halts implementation of the entire labour relations portion of the department\’s
    new _______ regulations.
  20. Another _______ is seriously ill and has also been admitted into the hospital.
  21. A _______ shortage in the department is forcing us to consider hiring temporary
    help.
  22. We put in about 800 _______ and were working there seven days a week, with
    teams of sometimes up to eight.
  23. The _______ for execution of the second phase of the project may be missed by
    at least two months.
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    Activity 32 The vocabulary of risk
    Most projects involve problems, risks and dangers. Good planning can make these less likely, and if
    problems do occur, the effects can be minimised. Categorise the following vocabulary according to the
    type of risk:
    accident
    adjust
    ameliorate
    broken down
    catastrophe
    change
    costs
    cut
    dangerous
    delayed
    disaster
    expenditure
    expenses
    foreseeable
    hazardous
    languished
    late
    malfunctioning
    miracle
    mitigate
    modify
    outlay
    early
    out-of-order
    postponed
    safe
    uncooperative
    under-funded
    unforeseeable
    unmotivated
    unqualified
    unserviceable
    unskilled
    vary
    Risk Budget Schedule People Stability Equipment Events
    Now use a thesaurus (e.g. http://thesaurus.com) to add some more words to the table.
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    Activity 33 Goal setting – matching criteria to descriptions
    Every project needs targets: outcomes and deliverables that a customer or manager would pay for.
    Projects can have problems if these goals are not described thoroughly and agreed by the stakeholders.
    Match the criteria for good goals to the descriptions:
    Criteria Descriptions
  24. Specific ( ) a. All the stakeholders must formally agree to the goals.
  25. Realistic ( ) b. Have a person who is responsible for completing goals and
    sub-goals.
  26. Time-bound ( ) c. People should be able to read the goals and know what
    outcomes and deliverables will result from the project.
  27. Measurable ( ) d. You should be able to complete the project on time.
  28. Agreed ( )
    e. You should be able to prove that the outcome or deliverable is
    complete by showing how you measured it and what the
    measurement is now; e.g. the goal of a project may be to
    decrease the time taken for customers to find an item on your
    website by 10%. Your server logs can show the times taken,
    and the times before and after the project can be compared.
  29. Owned ( ) f. You should have enough resources to achieve the goals.
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    Activity 34 Parts of speech
    In English sentence structure using the right part of speech is an important feature that Hong Kong
    students often find difficult. The following table will help you construct sentences that describe and
    assess goals. Fill in the gaps.
    Parts of Speech
    Adjective Noun or Noun phrase Verb & Noun Adverb
    Specific
    Realistic realistically
    Time-bound Deadline set/meet a deadline punctually
    Measurable
    Agreed
    Owned responsible person
    Grammar for definitions
    All proposals contain definitions, either to describe a product/service or the purpose of a
    product/service or to reach a shared understanding of terms or legal issues etc. One possible
    grammatical structure you can use for defining things is called the ‘zero conditional’. This is a sentence
    starting with ‘If’ or ‘Unless’, which has at least two clauses, and uses present tenses in both the ‘if’
    clause and the result clause.
    E.g.
    Positive: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.
    Negative: If it does not have an outcome, deadline and budget, it is not a project.
    Unless it has an outcome, deadline and budget, it is not a project.
    Instead of using ‘if’ or ‘unless’, you can use ‘provided (that)’, ‘providing (that)’, ‘on condition (that)’ or
    ‘as long as’; e.g.
    ‘Provided that it has an outcome, deadline and budget, it is a project.’
    You can also use ‘Only if’, but you need to use this special structure:
    Only if it has an outcome, deadline and budget is it a project.
    Only if there is a problem is it necessary to use a contingency plan.
    For more information on conditional sentences, see the online explanation and exercise at
    http://elc.polyu.edu.hk/cill/eap/2004/U4/pg80ex1conditionalclauses.aspx
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    Activity 35 Writing definitions
    Write three definitions of topics of your choice using the structures mentioned on the previous page.
    1.
    2.
    3.
    Activity 36 Using ‘Only if…’
    To see more examples of how to use ‘Only if’, go to Google News (http://news.google.com), narrow
    your search for “Only if it” in the body of an article. Look through the results and work out rules or
    guidelines using only present tenses, and write them below.
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    Grammar: ‘Suggest’ in active and passive voice
    We use the word suggest when we want to give an idea or recommendation as in ‘I suggest our new
    service will solve your transport problems’. Hong Kong students often have problems with the
    grammar of ‘suggest’. Here is an explanation and an exercise:
    Explanation:
    Voice Structure Example
    Active
    suggest + a clause I would suggest that you check the sources cited in an article
    before taking it at face value.
    suggest + _ing + object
    noun phrase
    May I suggest taking the proceeds of your PSL sale and going
    to Vegas?
    suggest to + person /
    people / organisation
    All credit cards have very specific fine print and I would
    suggest to someone to never sign up for a card until they
    have read the fine print.
    What I am trying to suggest to you is that this program is a
    part of a strategic goal.
    suggest + purpose Among the tips they suggest to help conserve water is for
    home owners to repair dripping faucets.
    suggest that + clause We suggest that you track customers over time, analysing the
    history of their purchase behaviour.
    Passive
    is / has been / was
    suggested +
    preposition
    The side business is suggested as an alternate revenue
    stream.
    Since it was suggested by someone in attendance at last
    month\’s meeting, we discussed it.
    is / has been / was
    suggested that +
    suggestion
    It was suggested that poor performers should not have their
    contracts renewed.
    However, it is suggested that the benefits of the proposal at
    this stage outweigh the risks associated with the scheme.
    Suggestion + was
    suggested. A parking area for trucks was suggested.
    NB: A common error is the inappropriate use of ‘suggest to’; e.g. ‘I suggest to go shopping.’ This should
    be ‘I suggest going shopping.’ because ‘to’ should be followed by a person or a purpose. Shopping is
    not a purpose.
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    Activity 37 The grammar of ‘suggest’
    Fill in the blanks below using the word ‘suggest’ appropriately. If there is a word in brackets, use a
    correct form of that word.
  30. I ___ we increase turnover by increasing advertising.
  31. A method he suggested ___ (save) money is to ask for a discount.
  32. I suggest ___ (pay) for goods only after they have been received.
  33. I suggest you ___ (pay) the delivery man, not the salesman.
  34. I would ___ customers not to pay until after they receive the goods.
  35. In order to find out more about what our customers think, a market survey ___.
  36. In the last meeting, increasing advertising ___ as a way to increase turnover.
  37. We are holding this meeting because ___ by management that this department
    be closed down.
  38. I suggest ___ you refer to the guidelines above.
    Grammar: Using ‘consider’
    ‘Consider’ is a useful word when we want time to think about something carefully or when we want
    someone else to think about something carefully, for example, the product or service we are
    promoting. It is also a word we can use to show our opinion. A common error in Hong Kong students’
    English is using ‘consider to’ where it is not appropriate. When discussing project proposals, ‘consider’
    is a useful verb for raising issues and making suggestions, and therefore using it correctly is important.
    Form Structure Example
    consider
    ‘consider’ + noun phrase • I will consider this proposal carefully.
    ‘consider’ + _ing verb • I hope you will consider working with me.
    ‘consider’ + if/whether + clause • We should seriously consider whether this
    project is ethical.
    consider to
    Relative pronoun + personal
    pronoun or organisation
  • ‘consider to be’ + adjective or
    noun phrase
    • I like working in what I consider to be fastpaced, changing environments.
    • It is what many technology groups consider
    to be the true backbone of the Internet.
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    consider to ‘consider to’ + purpose verb
    • IT outsourcing was clearly a part of an
    effective management strategy, a business
    tool that other companies should also
    consider to please shareholders.
    • Two things to consider to help alleviate
    smog and air pollution: car pooling and
    taking public transport.
    Activity 38 Practice on using \’consider\’
    Write three sentences about your project idea using the structures above:
    1.
    2.
    3.
    Grammar: Articles for introducing and explaining
    When you are explaining the risks faced by a project you will need to introduce new concepts and
    explain them, so you will need to know the grammar for how to use articles to distinguish between
    things you expect your reader or listener to know about already, and things you don’t.
    E.g.
    You know how an inkjet printer works, by spraying ink out of a cartridge? Well, if you use a bigger
    printer, and replace the ink in the printer with a more solid substance, you can grow 3-dimensional
    objects by building up the substance layer by layer.
    In the above example, ‘a’ and ‘an’ are used to introduce a subject that the reader or listener does not
    know about yet, and ‘the’ is used to refer to it later.
    The exceptions are firstly, if it is obvious what is being referred to,
    e.g. What do you think of the budget? (the budget for this project),
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    and secondly, before a phrase starting with ‘of’,
    e.g. I am concerned about the uncooperative attitude of some employees. (Not ‘an’ uncooperative
    attitude…).
    However, some set phrases use ‘a’ or ‘an’; e.g. ‘an Act of God’.
    Activity 39 ‘A’, ‘an’ or ‘the’
    Fill in the gaps with ‘a’, ‘an’ or ‘the’.
  1. What is nanotechnology? Well, imagine the width of _ human hair. Now divide
    hair into thousand pieces. That is _
    scale of things we are working with.
  2. _ global supply chain is one in which goods travel between continents, for example, _
    computer components made in Asia are shipped to America.
  3. I have written __ schedule you asked for.
  4. We need __ budget for re-decorating the shop.
  5. We must buy _ new photocopier, because _ old one keeps breaking down.
  6. There has been _ change in plan: American customer wants to decrease _
    budget by 10%.
  7. It will be _ miracle if we finish this project on time! Yes, but _ miracle will not happen
    unless you have more optimism.
  8. On the news it said that __ share price of our company has risen.
  9. I told you this was _ risky project, but you didn\’t believe me. Now _ project is in
    trouble, and you are trying to blame me!
  10. To summarise our project: _ schedule is realistic, budget is OK, and staff are motivated. Only _ Act of God can stop us now.
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    Grammar: ‘Because’ or ‘Due to’
  11. Introduction
    This section is about expressing causes; e.g. problems and dangers; and effects, such as results of not
    planning how to deal with them. You may need to explain to your client why something was not done
    or cannot be done and back up your statements with valid reasons.
    In English, the expression of cause and effect involves the use of a number of grammatical structures.
    Some of these are used inaccurately by Hong Kong learners. These expressions include the proper use
    of ‘Because’ and ‘because of’ and of ‘Due to’ and ‘Due to the fact that…’. It is important, when using
    these structures, to differentiate those that are followed by a noun phrase and those that are followed
    by a main clause. Incorrect use very often results from failure to recognise this difference.
    Definitions:
    Clause: a clause is a subject noun or noun phrase followed by a verb or verb phrase; e.g. \’grammar\’ is
    a noun, \’some very easy grammar\’ is a noun phrase, \’is\’ is a verb, and \’has been\’ is a verb phrase.
    Noun phrase: a noun, or a noun with an article or determiner, and/or an adjective in front of it, and
    sometimes with a relative clause after it; e.g. apple (noun), some apples (determiner and noun), some
    red apples (determiner, adjective and noun), some red apples which I am going to eat (determiner,
    adjective, noun and relative clause).
  12. Grammatical analysis and explanation
    The following sentences correctly use ‘Due to…’ and ‘Due to the fact that…’:
  13. The problem was due to a shortage of high court judges.
  14. Due to overcrowding last year, the competition field was narrowed down to six teams.
  15. Due to a delay in Lanzhou, the flight was unable to leave until this morning.
  16. Shell said the cuts were due to a general easing of oil prices.
  17. Some liberals also expressed worry that the impact of the motion would be reduced due to the
    current debate between Hong Kong and Britain on democratization.
    It can be seen that ‘due to’ is followed by a noun phrase in all of the examples above. [It may NOT be
    followed by a main clause, as in this incorrect example: Due to they have no salary, they may need to
    think how to use it.].
    However, it is acceptable to use the structure ‘Due to the fact that’ + Main Clause, as the following
    examples show:
  18. The difference must have been due to the fact that Minh had been living in a more pleasant
    environment for six months.
  19. Mr Goh said the dramatic rise in the amount of American currency flowing from the territory back
    to the US might be due to the fact that more tourists had come to Hong Kong.
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    As with the use of the two structures ‘Due to + Noun Phrase’ and ‘Due to the fact that + Main Clause’,
    the following structures are also acceptable: ‘Because + Main Clause’ and ‘Because of + Noun Phrase’.
    Some examples of these structures are shown below:
  20. Because of a smaller budget this term, the faculty has had to shelve other programmes such as
    the setting up of an institute of neurology.
  21. The port and airport development is currently stalled because of Britain and China’s failure to
    agree on a financing package.
  22. Mrs Fung was also murdered because she knew the gang.
  23. Because the cheque was made payable to China Restaurant, there was no problem when the
    cashier deposited it in the restaurant’s account.
    Further grammar development
    One way to develop grammar for writing proposals is to examine (well-written) authentic ones and
    find out what patterns of language are commonly used.
    Grammar exercises are also useful. Start by visiting the CILL website
    (http://elc.polyu.edu.hk/cill/grammar/) and doing practice exercises on the structures covered in this
    unit.
    Further tips for writing a proposal
    The style of a Proposal
    The basic writing style of a proposal is the same for any type of technical writing. For proposals to be
    effective try to follow these tips:
    • State the purpose clearly at the beginning of the proposal
    • State the background information the reader will need to understand your proposal
    • Use language that everyone can understand
    • Use short sentences that are clear and to the point
    • Make sure that your ideas are not hidden between unnecessary words
    • Make sure that the reader has all the important information needed for the final decision
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    The writing of a proposal
    Proposals will either be accepted or rejected. Obviously, you want your proposal to be accepted. To
    help make this possible, follow the six steps listed below.
  24. Your proposal should define the problem and state how you plan to solve the problem. Your
    proposal should assure your readers that you can solve the problem effectively. Everything in the
    proposal should revolve around the problem and an effective way to solve it.
  25. Do not assume that your readers will believe your solution is the best. The purpose of your
    proposal is to convince your readers that your solution is the best. You should not be
    overconfident that they will approve of your solution. Do your best to look at the proposal and
    solution from the reader\’s point of view.
  26. Your proposal should be researched thoroughly. If possible, you should provide readers with
    examples and facts. These items usually make your proposal more meaningful and convincing.
    Try to keep your opinions out of the proposal. Opinions are not facts, and most readers will not
    support them. The best advice is to research and learn from other articles and proposals on your
    topic.
  27. Your proposal should prove that your solution works. Make sure that your solution is possible.
    You should include an analysis of your plan and possible results of your solution. Try a pre-test of
    your solution to see if it works. You may need to revise your solution before submitting your
    proposal.
  28. Your proposal should be financially feasible. Think about the finances of the company or person
    to whom you ar e writing the proposal. Make sure that they can afford the solution you are
    proposing. Make sure you explain why your solution would be worth their time and money.
  29. Your finished proposal should look attractive. The finished proposal should be as perfect as you
    can get it. This includes the overall appearance of the proposal and the content inside the
    proposal.
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    Pre-Proposal Form for ELC3222 Assessment 1
    You can make use of the table below to brainstorm ideas for your Assessment 1 business proposals.
    Section Current thoughts
    Executive summary:
    • Have you discussed your idea in one or two
    sentences?
    Client requirements / Problem seen:
    • What is the name/address/business?
    • What is the problem?
  • Is it connected, convincing and
    consequential?
  • How will you factually/logically
    argue the problem?
    Proposed solution:
    • What is the solution?
  • Is it logically viable?
  • Is it HK$100,000 worthy?
    • Objectives?
  • How is it achieved?
  • How will you evaluate it?
  • What are the results?
    Personnel/Management of the Project:
    • Who / position titles / duties / experience?
  • Are these relevant?
  • How will you motivate them?
    Schedule for implementation:
    • Time frame?
  • What details can you include now?
  • How have you extrapolated them?
    Budget / Costs:
    • Personnel/consultants/equipment/materials
    and supply/travel/services?
    • How will you make a profit / benefit the
    community?
    • What numbers need to be researched?
    • Breakeven point?
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    Answer to Activity 18
    The proposal below is the answer to Activity 18 which provides an example of the Standard Business
    Proposal Model. Read it
    Clifford Charles Communications Limited
  1. Title page
    Increasing opportunities and improving financial services in the PRC
  2. Executive summary
    PJ Stanley Limited, a major global financial services operator is experiencing problems accessing its
    client base in China, particularly in some of China’s emerging ‘second-tier’ cities.
    Clifford Charles Communications Limited has compiled a comprehensive proposal to deal with PJ
    Stanley’s difficulties which include:
    • language and legal training for staff
    • revising staff recruitment procedures especially regarding language skills and expertise in the
    legal system in China
    • marketing and public relations action to promote PJS in China
    Based upon CCC’s impressive record over the years helping major international firms to establish
    themselves in mainland China, it is predicted that the recommendations in this document can be
    achieved within budget and according to schedule.
  3. Client operation / business
    PJ Stanley Limited is a well-established financial services company originally founded in the United
    Kingdom and now operating worldwide. PJ Stanley’s Hong Kong operation has been in existence for
    over 50 years and incorporates:
    • financial and investment advice
    • wealth management
    • personal insurance
    The scope of PJ Stanley’s clients work has always been on personal clients in the upper income bracket
    and so, given the enormous personal wealth generated there in recent years, PJ Stanley has been keen
    to enter the mainland Chinese market. In particular, though, they are targeting China’s second and
    third tier cities as cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are already saturated with financial
    advisers. Initial forays into Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming have so far yielded only very modest
    results.
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  4. Client requirement / need / problem / objective / purpose
    The main problems faced by PJ Stanley in their efforts to get a foothold in the China market are related
    to difficulties establishing contacts and finding clients in Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming because
    of:
    • poor Mandarin language skills among Hong Kong originated staff
    • lack of knowledge about corporate law in PRC among front-line staff
    • limited number of contacts in the three cities
    The aim of this proposal is to recommend a series of measures that can be implemented to solve these
    problems.
  5. Proposal / solution / recommendation / action
    Based upon similar cases involving previous clients, we strongly recommend the following action to
    cement PJ Stanley’s position in China.
    • Language skills
    Short term – To ease the immediate problem, we shall investigate local translating services
    in the three cities as well as in Hong Kong. Clearly using a local service in China will be cheaper
    but in terms of confidentiality, Hong Kong might prove to be a better provider. We shall
    advise you accordingly.
    Long term – Given that many of the Hong Kong based staff are not proficient in Mandarin, we
    shall also make enquiries about running regular in-house customer service and business
    Putonghua classes. We have a number of providers that we have worked with before and
    will obtain quotes before making a final recommendation.
    Short – medium term – However, we believe that as it will take some time to see results from
    this initiative, PJ Stanley need to recruit bilingual / trilingual sales staff who will be
    responsible for ‘on-the-ground’ operations in Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming
    immediately. We suggest these staff be divided into three specialised promotional and sales
    teams operating in the three cities. We will be happy to work alongside your Human
    Resources Office in the recruitment process and to assist in the vetting procedure.
    • PRC legal system
    Since there are clearly problems understanding the complex and often contradictory content
    of business law in China, we recommend that staff attend a series of training sessions under
    the heading of ‘Business Law in China’ run by Prof. Edmund Xiao at Hong Kong University.
    These courses are offered over four weeks and they run three times a year covering:
  6. trading and foreign investment laws
  7. import/export control
  8. taxation
  9. foreign economic and trade regulations
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    It might be possible to run the sessions as an in-house training course and we will certainly
    discuss this with HKU. Again though, as with the language skills problem, we must advise PJ
    Stanley to look closely at their recruitment policies as it seems clear that staff with
    comprehensive knowledge of the legal system, particularly the corporate legal system, is
    crucial to establishing a client base and expanding it in the long run.
    We shall also contact the Hong Kong Trade Development Council which publishes a Guide to
    Doing Business in China annually.
    • Contacts in Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming
    It is clear that contacts in the local business communities, media and government authorities
    have to be established in order to make progress in China. It is equally clear that lack of
    experienced, Putonghua speaking front-line staff is one of the key reasons for this
    shortcoming and as such, we believe that the measures suggested to solve the first problem
    should in part at least solve this one.
    However, the concept of guanxi should not be underestimated and it appears that here, PJ
    Stanley is in a decidedly disadvantaged situation.
    For each city, we will therefore draw up a comprehensive list of:
    • key contacts, local dignitaries and business leaders
    • senior and influential government officials
    • chambers of commerce and other professional organisations
    • social, sports and professional club and societies
    • media organisations particularly those focused on business, commerce, finance and
    economics
    Upon compiling the list, we shall work closely with PJ Stanley’s in-house public relations team
    and the translation service provider to develop a bi-lingual introductory information package
    for distribution in Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming.
    We shall also arrange a number of presentations at venues at some of the locations on the list
    as well as at major hotels in the three cities.
  10. Benefits, rationale and suggested evaluation of proposal / solution / recommendation / action
    The benefits to PJ Stanley of the recommendations outlined in this proposal are many and varied.
    • Language skills
    To improve the language skills of PJS staff, clearly more than one approach is required and we
    believe that tackling the issue in the short, medium and long term will provide the most
    effective and comprehensive solution. We also believe that liaising with language experts is
    vital for effective communication in China.
    • PRC legal system
    As with the language skills proposals, we firmly believe that working with experts in the field
    and spending time and money on training will bring about positive results in the long run.
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    • Contacts in Chungking, Chengdu and Kunming
    We cannot stress too highly the value which must be placed on public relations and
    networking in China. In order to do business, you have to meet people and in order to meet
    people you have ‘get out there’ in the market place and sell your services. We are confident
    that the suggestions we have proposed will provide PJ Stanley with the platform and the
    audience to do business in China.
  11. Project costing, fees and resource requirements
    Language skills trai ning
    Translation service – quotations to be obtained from:
    First Mandarin, Hong Kong
    Putonghua for You, Hong Kong
    Chinese Language Services, PRC
    In-house language training – quotations to be obtained from:
    First Mandarin, Hong Kong
    Putonghua for You, Hong Kong
    PRC legal system training
    Business Law in China Course, HKU – four sessions for each course
  12. trading and foreign investment laws
  13. import/export control
  14. taxation
  15. foreign economic and trade regulations
    Complete package – $9,000 per participant
    Individual courses – $2,500 each per participant
    Quotation to be obtained for in-house course
    Making contacts
    Contact lists:
    Chungking – contacts list
    Lump sum $20,000
    Chengdu – contacts list
    Lump sum $20,000
    Kunming – contacts list
    Lump sum $20,000
    Bi-lingual introductory information package
    Chungking
    Estimated cost for each location including
    Chengdu printing and distribution costs:
    $60,000 x 3 = $180,000
    Kunming
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    Presentations
    To be quoted on an event-by-event basis as details, number of attendees and
    venues will vary. Estimated cost per presentation $5,000.
  16. Timetable / timeline / schedule
    Language skills training
    Translation service
    • quotations to be obtained by 30/XX/20XX
    • contract to be awarded and agreed 14/XX/20XX
    • commencement of service TBA
    In-house language training
    • quotations to be obtained by 30/XX/20XX
    • contract to be awarded and agreed 14/XX/20XX
    • commencement of service TBA
    PRC legal system training
    • in-house quotation to be obtained by 30/XX/20XX
    • contract to be awarded and agreed 14/XX/20XX
    • commencement of service TBA
    Making contacts
    Contact lists:
    Chungking – contacts list
    Chengdu – contacts list Deadline 21/XX/20XX
    Kunming – contacts list
    Bi-lingual introductory information package
    Chungking
    Chengdu Deadline 28/XX/20XX
    Kunming
    Presentations
    List of potential dates and venues deadline 07/XX/20XX
    ELC3222 Workplace English for Business Students II Unit 1 Writing Business Proposals
    © English Language Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University 81
    In this unit, I have learnt:
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    5._________________________________________________________

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