May 12th Attendees: Please Read Prior to Webinar

Richard White, Fedmarkets "Secret Recipe to Proposal Success" webinar presenter, suggests you read the following article prior to the broadcast of the webinar. It provides background concerning the value of the Proposal Recipe. During the presentation Mr white will be focusing on the content of the product rather than its value.

This article assumes that you are new to the federal market, do not have federal relationships, and do not have an experienced federal sales and proposal writing staff.

The federal market is huge ($ 500 billion), includes every service known to man, and is supposed to be friendly to small businesses. Just ask your congressman or someone from the Small Business Administration (SBA). In reality the road to big dollars can be tricky to navigate and full of pot holes. Yet some small businesses have rapidly grown from working out of a home office to making many millions through federal contracting.

Your key to growth is minimizing investment and lead times through cost/effective bid selection and a systematic proposal writing approach.

The ideal way for you to win contracts is to have a relationship with a federal buyer who needs services and has contracting dollars to spend. A lucky small business owner might be located near a military base and be neighbors and fishing buddies with the Chief Information Officer at the base. Most small businesses are not that lucky.

Most small businesses don't have these kind of relationships and lack the investment dollars needed to build them. Federal budgets are tighter than ever, the competition is intense, and it can take a year or more to build these relationships.

A Direct Federal Contract Begets More Contracts

You need to win a contract and use that contract to build your business. Companies with federal contracts reduce sales costs dramatically. Companies with "on-site" contracts get paid to sell. This has to be done subtly (legally) over lunch, after hours, or as part of the contract effort itself. A well-trained on-site person cannot help but develop relationships and identify new opportunities both with the contract and the surrounding organizations. The opportunities can literally hit you in the face as you are working and meeting potential buyers.

For a company new to federal contracting with no sales, it is nearly impossible to take a contract away from an incumbent with this kind of inside knowledge.

This how the large prime contracts with 20,000 employees do it. They were small once many years ago and now they have thousands of seeds to grow and the best contractors nurture each seed.

Focus on Getting the Seed Contract

Do's

  1. Rely on winning a public bid as quickly as possible (if you win, the contract usually starts quickly)
  2. Select your bids carefully, putting extra emphasis on Multiple Award Contracts
  3. Develop a procedure-based proposal mill that uses legacy and model content and produces proposals at a low cost
  4. Try to develop relationships, but don't spend a lot of dollars doing it, e.g., attend nearby small business opportunity conferences

Don'ts

  1. Don't apply for small business certification programs for disadvantaged owners, veterans, etc.; most are expensive and can take 6 months to a year to become certified. (apply for certifications after you win the first contract)
  2. Don't watch for small business set-asides; they do not require certification applications.
  3. Don't indiscriminately decide to bid on any opportunity you see (you will go bankrupt).

How to Find Bidding Opportunities

All public bids over $25,000 are posted at Federal Business Opportunities (FBO.gov). Go to FBO daily and read the opportunities that match your capabilities. Be patient. The site requires a bit of experience and patience.

On any given day 500 to 2500 opportunities will be posted. 20 to 100 of these opportunities will be for services. The best way to refine the list to opportunities that could fit you company is to use the Advanced Search page and filter the opportunities by NAICS Code.

How to Select the Opportunities with the Highest Probability of Award

The best opportunities will be Multiple Award Contracts (MACs). MACs are contracts where:

  • The government makes awards to several companies (sometimes up to 100 or more) based on their capabilities, experience, and pricing
  • Requests for Quotes (same as RFPs) are sent to the group of awardees to bid on individual task orders as the need arises for the service.

MACs should be considered as high priority opportunities because:

  • The probability of an award is higher than single award opportunities
  • You do not have to know the customer
  • Proposal writing costs tend to be lower for MACs.

Select your bids carefully because, as a practical matter, small businesses can only write so many proposals in a year.

Select both MAC and single-award opportunities to respond to based on the following criteria:

  • Knowledge of the agency
  • Relationships with the buyer that you may have established
  • Geographic proximity to where the services are required (often at your facility)
  • Unique solutions or capabilities that match the requirement
  • Subject matter expertise
  • Special personnel qualifications
  • Experience that matches the RFP requirements.

The key to selecting the best opportunities is to conduct an honest assessment of what you have to offer against the specific requirements stated in the RFP. Guard against allowing your corporate ego to force-fit yourself into the requirements, e.g.,"this is made for us".

Low Cost Proposal Capability

You must have a low cost proposal capability to write enough bids to win that first crucial contract. If you use a low cost approach to proposal writing, you will compromise proposal compliance with the RFP.

Your proposal writing capability should:

  • Result in a proposal that states precisely what the evaluators want (as specified in the RFP), with no extras or frills
  • Result in a proposal that is 100% compliant with RFP requirements (many low cost approaches to proposal writing compromise proposal compliance with the RFP)
  • Use a proposal library of legacy content to lower writing costs.

The "Recipe for Writing Complaint Federal Proposals" meets provides these three capabilities.


This article was written by Richard White, President and Founder of Fedmarket. Mr. White is available to answer your questions about government contracting, you can reach him at (301) 960 -5813.
To learn more about Fedmarket's products and services call our sales team at (888) 661-4094, Ext. 2.


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