If you’re a small company or even a non profit organization and you’ve needed to get some work done, it can be a daunting task to find the right vendor or company to do the work for you. One means of doing this is to use a Request for Proposal (RFP). Some people might think that the RFP process is only appropriate for larger organizations such as the US government but I think it also has the potential to be a viable option for hiring someone to do the work for a small business or a non profit. One of the advantages of an RFP is that it puts companies to work responding to you rather then you spending all you’re time trying to convince companies to consider your request. Another advantage is that when you send out your RFP to more than one company it establishes an environment of competition which is a good way to ensure you’re getting the best from those whom you are seeking a proposal from. A further advantage is that you are starting everything off with a clear definition of the work that you want to be done, this can go a long way to ensuring the success.
Whenever anyone asks me to write some sort of software for them whether it be a website, or an application of any kind I always ask in response, “what problem will this solve for your business?”. Particularly with business websites but also with other types of software for small businesses, this question is something that the client has not spent much time thinking through which then leads to a discussion much along the lines of what this series of posts is going to be about.