How to Improve Your Contracting Capability Statements
When is the last time you wrote a capability statement? Better question, when is the last time you UPDATED your capability statement? Your capability statement is your opportunity to make a great first and long-lasting impression on the government. Why are you the team for the job, how do you help them, and what have you done that makes you the best fit to accomplish the task? It is not so much who you know or what you know, it is what you can do.
Contracting Capability Statement
Your capability statement is like a resume for your business. It provides the reader(s) with a high-level overview of your business, and in most cases, is required in the bidding process. It is your opportunity to introduce your business to new businesses and to get in front of purchasing officers. Although there is no golden ticket to your capability statement, there are definitely a few core elements that should be included.
What to Include in Your Capability Statement
Before getting started, understand what the project is. Just because you have won large contracts in the past does not mean they pertain to the next bid. The government cares about one thing, are you the best contractor to help them accomplish their mission. If yes, prove it. What does your past performance entail, how do your core competencies help, do you have the right pathways? Buzzwords do not win contracts. Past performance does.
If you do not want to read someone's two-page resume, think about that when you try to sell your entire company and its capabilities to the government. You need to quickly show, not tell, why you are the right team for the job.
- Keep things concise. Introduce your business and provide a quick overview. If you know how to sell to the government, this is your opportunity to prove it.
- Identify specific areas of experience and expertise that relate to the project(s). Do not create a statement for any and everyone.
- Know your customer. This cannot be stressed enough. If you are trying to do business with the Air Force, know that they do not care how well you can speak the Army's language. Know how your customers think, operate, and what their mission is.
- Include your core competencies. How does what you do relate to this bid? If it does not pertain to this bid, leave it out. Better yet, if you cannot perform the work, move on.
- Provide references to key customers and others who relate to this bid. This can also include referencing projects you have completed or been a part of.
- Identify key personnel for this project. Are these people on your team and readily available or are there external partners who would need to be brought in?
- Make it clean and presentable. You want to stand out because of your capabilities and the work you do, not because your capabilities statement is being used as an example of how NOT to lay it out.
- Create an outline that can be repeated. Create a solid design, structure, and flow of your outline and stick to it each time you write a capability statement. Your outline should always include your company summary, core competencies, key differentiators, NAICS codes, certifications, and contract vehicles.
KISS - Keep It Simple Silly
Keep it simple. Do not try to throw in a ton of marketing jargon to make yourselves sound special. If you can do the work, show the government how. If you have performed this type of work before, show how, when, and with which agency.
If you ever have any doubts or would like a second opinion on your statement, share it with someone from outside of your organization. Let them read it and provide you with feedback. After all, having a few teaming partners in this instance can go a long way.
Your capability statement will never guarantee any contracts, but if done incorrectly, it will do more harm than good. Keep things short and concise, and remember, it is what you can do. Good luck!