Thinking about responding to a government RFP or solicitation?
Your written Proposal is the “first impression” of your organization with a potential contractor and/or client. It is the voice of your organization that articulates its mission, strengths, and technical capabilities. Essentially, it acts like the Preamble of your firm’s constitution.
A proposal is a written response to an RFP that clearly articulates the government needs (tasks that the government is trying to accomplish through the solicitation), and demonstrates your firm’s/company’s approach to address those needs. For a successful proposal, you must substantiate your claims through instances or references from the past experiences of contracting on similar scope of work. It is, thus, a selling tool and the proof point designed to make a persuasive case to win the contract award. Now here’s the big question: How to write a winning proposal?
Writing a Winning proposal is not an easy task, but necessarily an important one. It is all about doing your homework well, preparing and responding clearly and appropriately, aligning your proposal with the government’s needs and articulating what makes you the best solution provider.
Still Wondering? Find some incredibly useful tips that can help you Win right now! Preparation is the key – You must be fully prepared. Read the RFP thoroughly; carefully examine all sections, schedules, clauses, and the required attachments; and understand the regulations (FAR Parts) governing the explicit solicitation you plan to respond to. Understand the government/agency’s Problem-Do an extensive research into the requesting agency’s mission, values, capabilities, incumbents, and its current problems. The federal government announces its opportunities in a series of solicitations. For an effective proposal, you need to read, reread, and understand the nature of the government’s problem. Instead of an elaborate eloquent document, the government wants to know whether you understand their problems and have the technical capabilities to address those and provide additional value through your services. Align Your Proposal with the Government’s Needs-An effective proposal will visibly articulate how the bidder can solve the problem or fulfil the needs outlined in the government’s solicitation. It is very critical to convince a government review panel that your proposal solves their specific problem and provides the best value. A proposal may look very good and promising, but if it does not talk about government’s needs, it will even fail to reach the evaluation table laid with other more substantive, solution-focused proposals. Don’t just claim “we can do the work.” Substantiate your claim by saying how you have performed similar tasks for other agencies. Develop a differentiation strategy– “If you don’t differentiate, you will lose,” says Carl Dickson. Because most of the proposals offer excellent track record, you must highlight your Discriminator; articulate how your track record is quicker, better, economic or more robust than your competitor. To cut short, give the reason why the government should select you over other bidders. It gets better when you say……. “Why You are a Better Solution Provider”.
The thought of “selling to the government” often makesmany business owners wince. Red Tapism and Cronyism are some common thoughts, besides the thought of it as being a market that is just not worth the perceived headache.
To help overcome such fearsabout the market, let uslook at some common myths around working with the government. Some myths act asardent promotersof working with the government, some talk more realistically, and some myths are built around words taken straight from the government’s mouth; a careful analysis of the above will provide the right backgroundto make informed decisions about working withinthe government structure.
Pause and Ponder series
Are you wondering why your proposal got rejected?
#Reason 1/10: You didn’t lay the ground work
There are several reasons for a proposal rejection but few are big bloopers. Nobody gets a second chance and so you can’t afford to miss your first shot. (more…)
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