Winning government contracts can be a challenge. Be ready to apply business sense and match your capabilities with customer needs using the following four must-do’s. This high-level view can help guide what you research next on your journey to winning more government contracts.
1. Solid capabilities statement
When crafting your capability statement, remember three things. First, keep it to one page. Second, explain your business capabilities with clear language that highlights your competitive advantages. And third, supercharge your statement by including business information to attract potential customers using the following five sections: Core capabilities; differentiators; past performance; company data; and contact information. For further information on what each section should provide, check out this resource from the Small Business Administration.
There are other must-do tips that seem obvious, but sometimes get ignored. For example, when preparing your document, be sure to include the title “capability statement” so that the government knows you are familiar with the GovCon process and the contracting team does not spend time trying to find it among other documents. Be brief. Contracting officers have very little time to evaluate company offerings and will not appreciate long documents. You can always direct them to a GovShop profile or a short video for further information. Finally, always make sure you know your audience’s needs. Capability statements should have a base template that gets updated to target the customer’s specific requirements, or based on your product and service lines.
2. Defined offer
Before preparing a proposal or a bid, make sure you thoroughly review the agency’s needs and requirements regarding technical scope, past performance, price, and the delivery schedule specified in the solicitations. In that process, you will start finding key points you want to address in your proposal. In some cases, you may recognize that you cannot comply with the capabilities requested. In these cases, don’t waste your time drafting a proposal. Move on to the next opportunity.
Once you determine that you are able to present an offer that aligns with the customer’s requirements, start gathering your internal management plans, methodologies, deliverables, and quality assurance procedures before drafting. Then, develop an offer with a strategy that is differentiated from competitors. Time to start digging and writing!
3. Defined target market
The government starts connecting potential solutions with companies when conducting market research. This allows contracting officials to better understand industry capabilities, business lines, products/services development, prices, and costs. They reach out to industry by posting a Request for Information, Request for Quotation, and sometimes Source Sought notices through channels like Beta.Sam.gov., GSA Advantage, and eBuy. It is critically important for companies trying to reach new customers to get involved in the market research phase. This allows you to help shape the solicitation that will come out. If you are not involved in the market research, then it is likely another company that is shaping the solicitation in their own favor.
Suppliers should understand that establishing business relationships with program and contracting professionals is also key. By attending meetings such as industry days, pre-award conferences, or by communicating through phone calls or email, you can establish your branding with the customer and better understand their market niche. None of this will guarantee that you will win contracts, but it gives you an opportunity to know what goods/services the agency buys and how it buys. Participating in the market research phase allows you to gradually reduce the larger list of opportunities you may compile using beta.sam.gov or FPDS. These systems contain government contract awards data, including competitor and customer information, from which you can build the top of your business opportunities channel — check how to do it here.
4. Create a GovShop profile
GovShop is a free tool that has helped companies discover business opportunities at the federal, state, and local levels of government. GovShop is a matching platform that helps suppliers find opportunities that align with their capabilities. It enables suppliers to quickly find the right opportunities where they can deliver the most value/impact. How? It provides government with free supplier profiles and opportunity matching capabilities.