I have now written sixteen different applications or proposals of some sort relating to the business that I am working on. They span the period of almost a year, from February 2010 to just this past week. Looking back at them a few patterns emerge.
Most of the proposals are to request money. A few have been to report back to parties that have given me money. One or two were just for PR purposes, such as the first "proposal" I came up with -- a pitch I gave to Kellogg Startup Lab in February 2010.
In hindsight, I can now see that my earlier proposals were quite poor. They seemed clever at the time. Now, without those rose-tinted glasses, I see that I overestimated and I was overconfident. In my more recent proposals, the ideas have evolved. It may be that the proposals are still be poor. I may still be overestimating and overconfident.
In more recent proposals there is, however, a crucial difference I can take pride in: I can now say, "We tried this out with X people, and we got Y. We now want some money to take it to more X people to get more Y". As simple a sentence as this is, it accounts of not just hours or work or even tens of hours of work, but hundreds of hours of work. Hopefully this is not lost among all the other visionary verbage these proposals call for.