On a recent visit to museum, I was handed an access card displaying a bar code that would allow me admission to the galleries for which I’d paid the entrance fee. I was impressed – it’s great to see museums moving away from their old-fashioned, stuffy image and adopting new technologies.The only problem? The bar code readers at the entrance to each gallery didn’t work. Visitors looked at one another bemused, waving their cards at the barriers in ever-more intricate dances in a vain attempt to persuade the gates to open.
Some proposals I see are beautifully designed, wonderfully illustrated, printed on the finest paper, cleverly bound. And it’s really important that your documents look great and create a powerful impression, re-enforcing and setting the tone for the story your book wants to tell.
Yet without the substance to back it up – if all of the investment has gone into the look and feel, and none into (say) the strategy process or professional proposal writing support – then you might as well not have bothered. Your readers will be left feeling let down, short-changed, frustrated by a document that’s elegant yet insubstantial.