Hello, I’m Lera K., the founder of the Lollyroll team. I’d like to share some insights into our process. As the leader of Lollyroll, a significant portion of my time is devoted to writing proposals. Let me walk you through my approach.
I approach proposal writing as a conversation
It all begins with phone calls and emails to one or two key decision-makers. This phase is followed by a research period, spanning about two to three weeks. During this research period, I engage in conversations with a broader range of stakeholders and customers, in addition to conducting competitive analysis, analytics, and testing.
Unlike some studios that offer this research phase for free or only upon securing a significant project deposit, we charge a reasonable consulting fee for our research. If the client proceeds to hire us for the project, we deduct this research fee from the total project cost. In cases where they decide not to proceed, they still benefit from valuable insights at a fair cost. (In our experience, clients usually choose to move forward with the project.)
From Gathering Information to Generating Ideas
Around two and a half weeks into the research process, we gain a solid understanding of what truly matters to the business and its customers. This understanding leads us to envision both minor and major solutions and innovations. This creative process is inherent to our roles as interaction designers.
After immersing ourselves in a potential client’s world for over two weeks, our minds naturally start crafting designs to address their challenges and amplify their strengths. Initially, we listen objectively, refraining from solving or imagining solutions. However, within about fifteen days, we find ourselves generating ideas for modules, sections, themes, and enhancements that could benefit the client, their customers, or their staff. As long as these ideas stem from the insights shared by the client and their customers, we feel confident in sharing them.
Translating Ideas into the First Design
We translate these ideas into a report that outlines our understanding of the client’s business. Although structured as a business document, we consider it the preliminary stage of design. It’s the initial-written draft that outlines the client’s business objectives and how design can contribute.
While this report includes facts, data, and feedback from stakeholders and customers, its primary purpose is to foster a shared creative exploration of design possibilities.
Starting Raw to Maintain Honesty
Let me describe how we present our findings: We use a Google Doc that the client can access, share, and comment on. While many design studios put a lot of effort into visually enhancing their basic client communications, we opt for simplicity. We reserve aesthetics for site design and maintain open and straightforward communication, akin to an Amish shirt. Communication remains editable because this is a collaborative process, a conversation, not a static, take-it-or-leave-it document. Google Docs serves as the perfect platform for this purpose.
This initial research report, essentially a business-oriented composition, the first rough outline of design, is shared with the client through the accessible format of Google Docs. This triggers more conversations, emails, Basecamp posts, and internal discussions within our studio.
After approximately a week, we present the client with our proposal.
This proposal is the culmination of all our discussions, particularly the key agreements we established during the research phase. By the time the proposal reaches the client, they’re often nodding in agreement, as if the proposal simply formalizes what they already sensed. This outcome results from thorough research, allowing us to externalize and articulate their implicit thoughts.
Even as we request substantial funding for a significant project, we maintain the practice of submitting our proposal via Google Docs. Elaborately designed, heavily branded proposals are more about showcasing the producing studio, whereas our work is centred on the client and their product. An unadorned Google Doc signifies a work in progress, open to modification, agreement, or debate.
This approach embodies our studio’s ethos. You’re welcome to try it, and personally, I find it effective. I’ve never encountered client complaints about this approach. Presenting an overly polished pitch has always made me slightly uncomfortable, and boilerplate proposals have never secured a project for us. Each assignment is earned through attentive study, understanding, and skilful communication. This, at least, is how we operate.
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In the world of proposal writing and design, our approach at Lollyroll is centred on fostering genuine conversations and collaboration. By starting with in-depth research and understanding, we create proposals that truly resonate with our clients’ needs and visions. Our focus on functional communication over visual embellishments ensures that our work remains client-centered and adaptable. Through our unique process, we’ve consistently delivered effective proposals that align with client expectations.
If you’re seeking a partner who prioritizes meaningful engagement, understands your business deeply, and crafts proposals that genuinely reflect your goals, feel free to get in touch with us at Lollyroll. We’re here to help you turn your ideas into impactful designs that drive success. Contact us today to start a conversation that could shape the future of your projects.