Advanced Proposal Writing: Wisely Choosing Which Opportunities

Making poor choices about which RFPs to respond to is the number one mistake small businesses make in the federal contracting arena. Spending days and weeks of money and labor on an opportunity you are destined to lose is costly to the company and demoralizing to the staff. Yet small businesses repeatedly throw money at lost causes. Why? There are a number of reasons.

One reason is that management simply fails to dispassionately judge the situation. Opportunities need to be rigorously scrutinized. In order to do so, you need to have a method in place, one that subjects the opportunity to objective criteria. Do we have the right resources on hand? Do we have the past experience to prove our capabilities? Can we price it competitively? Have we built a relationship with this potential client?

Another factor is that small business leaders are hopelessly idealistic. And this idealism often stems from insecurity. Small businesses aren't confident enough to look at themselves objectively. Without a clear vision of who they are and where they are going, they feel compelled to go after any opportunity that crosses their path. This can be especially frustrating for their business development staff and capture managers. Faced with a million and one vectors for gaining entry to the federal, state, and local government marketplace, they are unable to target and work toward a defined goal.

This takes us back to the crux of the problem and the reason small businesses fail, a lack of a clear vision. A simple, straightforward strategic plan, one that avoids flights of fancy, is the foundation for growing business in the government sector.

Gary Mason
Proposal Writer

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