Responding to a government RFP can be time-consuming and intimidating, but you can lessen the stress if you carefully prepare for the proposal-writing process. Here are some steps to help you put together a winning proposal:
- Reread the RFP and create a list of all requirements that could disqualify your proposal if they're not addressed or completed.
- If feasible, divide the research and writing of the proposal's various sections among the appropriate people at your company. If you alone are responsible for writing the proposal, identify the people and resources you'll need to provide the required technical descriptions, compliance matrices, product screen shots, and other key components.
- Create a timeline for completion and set deadlines for each section of the proposal.
- Contact the agency's procurement office with any questions you might have about the proposal's requirements and requests.
- Be sure to complete all required forms and gather the related documentation (such as product brochures and company balance sheets) that must be submitted with the proposal.
- Confirm whether the contract requires the outsourcing of a certain percentage of the work to a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), and research and select a qualifying company or business that will perform that work.
As you're writing and assembling the proposal, keep in mind the various ways that it'll be evaluated by the agency. For example:
- Is the proposal formatted according to the instructions?
- Have you presented a plausible solution in the proposal?
- Does the proposal conform to the requirements for layout and organization?
- Are all other proposal requirements met?
- Have you demonstrated your company's capability to perform the contract?
- How have you demonstrated your related experience and/or track record with similar projects?
- Is your company's financial situation stable?
- Are you proposing a reasonable price for the project?
- Are your costing methods credible?
You can also boost your proposal-writing skills by requesting and reviewing copies of proposals that won government contracts with other agencies in your industry or area of business.