Small Business Government Contractors Would Win More If...

San Antonio Business Opportunity Council (SABOC) Conference 2022

FPEX had a booth at this year's SABOC Conference and met so many smart, ambitious business owners committed to supporting government missions. As a proposal training and consulting company, my conversations with folks naturally focused on responding to solicitations.  And, while I was talking about the importance of business owners and their teams learning best practices for preparing a compliant, winnable proposal, most people I spoke with didn't seem to be interested in learning that aspect of government contracting. The conversations mostly went like this:

Small Business Owner (SB):  So, you do proposal writing?

Me:  Yes, but we really focus on our Proposal Manager Academy training for small businesses. 

SB:  Oh, what is that?

Me:  Online, self-paced learning modules for all aspects of managing and writing a winning proposal.  We also hold week-long, in-person courses teaching people to be Proposal Managers. It really empowers small businesses to submit more winning bids.

SB:  Oh, that sounds great.  But do you write proposals?  Can you write our proposals?

Me:  Yes, but…

I must be naïve because I found this shocking.  Having a deep understanding of the resources, processes, and level of effort it takes to prepare a government proposal response is the tip of the spear of all the relationship-building and capture we do as contractors. 

I spent 12 years with large businesses as a capture and proposal professional. I worked with many small business teaming partners who had important expertise to offer government customers. But I noticed that they could not really execute a compliant proposal!  So, I started FPEX in 2014 to help small businesses learn how to do better proposals.  

It is absolutely fine to outsource your proposal function, but it is critical that you understand what you're outsourcing. Business owners must understand, in detail, the process and level of resources required to prepare a winnable proposal package.  Otherwise, there is a missing context when deciding what opportunities to pursue with limited resources.  And, if you are a micro company with less than five people, you will likely be producing the proposals yourself.  In this case, training from senior proposal professionals is INVALUABLE.  

What are your thoughts on this?


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