What goes up, must come down, so they say. Or as my grandmother says: what goes in, must come out. Despite the charming image this saying may inspire, it's technically true. And it is also true when it comes to proposal writing.
Think about it. You want to respond to a particular RFP because the work is perfect and the company looking for a contractor has a sparkling reputation. But you don't have a lot of money to prepare this proposal. You hire an unskilled writer and an unskilled copyeditor. They're cheap and desperate for work. You throw them some suggestions, a description of what you want, and a few URLs as source material.
They get to work. They come to you with their "finished" proposal:
You get what you pay for. Which, in this case, is probably nothing, because it's unlikely you will win the contract with "This is not butter".
What goes in, must come out. Time, effort, energy, and quality must go into a proposal to turn it into something that will win you a contract, because that is what potential clients are looking for: evidence that you put time, effort, and energy into your proposal to make it quality.
So other than the elusive time, effort, and energy, what goes into a great business proposal?
However you choose to approach creating a proposal, remember that what goes in, must come out. Take the time and energy to create a high-quality, sparkling clean proposal so you can outshine your competitors and win that contract!