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Tell Your Business Story With Pictures to Draw Attention and Interest
In my previous article, Queensland Small Businesses, now you can put a figure on being the local supplier, I talked about the vital importance of ‘story’ when you are creating your proposals and tender documents. That post was referring to the new Queensland Government Procurement Policy, but the lesson is equally valid for any Small Business owner.
How to tell a (business) story.
While it’s easy for me to write about the importance of storytelling in your business documents, it’s not something that a lot of business owners are comfortable with doing. So, I thought I would prepare a couple of posts that tackle the ‘how to’; the nitty-gritty of how to make the personality of your business shine through.
Start with pictures.
Remember when you were very little, your storybooks were full of illustrations? There is a very good reason for that; the pictures help to convey the story and draw your interest and attention. There were pictures of the gingerbread house that Hansel and Gretel tried to eat, Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, and Snow White’s nemesis, the Big Bad Wolf. All these images added emotion and context to the story. How wonderfully delicious the gingerbread house looked, how elegant and beautiful Cinderella looked as she arrived at the ball, and just how big, bad and scary the wolf really was. You couldn’t read back then, but the pictures drew you in. If the graphics were interesting, you would pester your mum or dad to read the book to you, probably several thousand times.
Exactly the same applies to your business proposals.
Pictures draw attention to your story and help convey your message.
Judicious use of graphics is a sure-fire way to grab your reader’s attention. And by judicious use, I mean good quality, carefully chosen graphics with clear, explanatory captions; not a bunch of stock photos that you paste in to fill up a page.
The perceived value that you are offering your prospective customer will ultimately determine whether your proposal is successful or not. But compelling graphics are the hook that will grab your reader’s attention, enticing them to read the helpful caption or, even better, the entire surrounding paragraph or page.
That is exactly the reaction you want from the person evaluating your proposal. Remember, that same person may have to read many, many other proposals (maybe hundreds), as well as yours, so you need to use every weapon in your arsenal to draw their attention to you, and only you.
But don’t overdo the graphics.
While judicious use of relevant graphics can add enormously to the impact of your proposal documents; don’t get carried away. You may be tempted to think ‘if some are good, more is better’, but don’t turn your proposal into a storybook or comic book; your potential client can read, unlike you when you were reading Hansel and Gretel. If a graphic helps to illustrate a point, show off your equipment or demonstrate a technique etc., then use it. If not, leave it out. Simple.
Here’s an example:
I have used a high-quality, attractive image, but the first caption tells the reader nothing except the fact that it is a photo of a gingerbread house – which is reasonably obvious. The second caption, however, invites the reader to find out all about these exotic spices and sweets – where they come from, how they are used, what they add to the product …
So, there is your first step towards telling your compelling story in business proposals. Say it with pictures.
Now, do you have a collection of recent, high-resolution and attractive images that you can use? No? Grab your camera and start photographing your own gingerbread house, pumpkin coach or big bad wolf to use in your next proposal.
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