Proposal Writing Newsletter Series

  • I Have to Write a Federal Proposal. Help me!

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  • The Dream Proposal Product Does Not Exist

    Federal proposal writing cannot be automated for one simple reason: the proposal preparation instructions in Requests for Proposal (RFPs) are not standardized. The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) defines the basic content of RFPs, but broad section... read more

  • Essential Elements Federal Proposal Writing

    The five C's required to write a winning proposal are: customer knowledge, creativity, compliance, clarity and conciseness. All five C's are needed to maximize proposal evaluation scores. Newcomers to the federal market underestimate the importance... read more

  • Why Proposals Lose

    Fedmarket uses a structured RFP-driven proposal process that ensures proposal compliance. We win a majority of the proposals we write and almost all of the multiple award (IDIQ) bids. Yet some of the single award proposals we write proposals lose. Why,... read more

  • OASIS Alert

    GSA OASIS Announcements at GSA OASIS Web Site (no updates of Draft RFPs until summer) OASIS Industry Day: Registration is closed for the OASIS industry Day on May 13 Accounting Systems: GSA is removing the requirement to have a DCAA audited... read more

  • Proposal Writing Strategies and Tips

    Write the Executive Summary first using customer insights, your experience with similar work, and contract performance and management insights. Then refine and rewrite it as the proposal progresses. Don't just parrot back the RFP requirements. You... read more

  • Why Use Proposal Outlines and Templates

    In past newsletters we stress the importance of a detailed outline and templates when organizing the content of multiple technical writers. A detailed outline and template also provides two other important benefits in producing a winning proposal... read more

  • Extracting Proposal Information from Subcontractors is Like Pulling Teeth

    When it comes to preparing federal bids, prime contractors often discover that subcontractors hate to provide proposal information for their piece of the action. In fact, it's far more common for subcontractors to be unresponsive to... read more

  • Unsubstantiated Claims

    When drafting a federal proposal, avoid making claims you don't back up with facts. The government's proposal evaluators get a good chuckle at your expense when reading broad, unsubstantiated boasts.  Once they stop chuckling,... read more

  • Writing a Proposal to Win an IDIQ

    For someone new to the federal market, writing a proposal to bid on an (Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity) IDIQ being publicly advertised at FedBizOpps is akin to completing a corporate income tax return. All IDIQ proposals are full of red tape... read more

  • Proposal Writing Costs

    The costs associated with writing a federal proposal are increasing as the federal government adds more red tape to the procurement process. For example, compliance rules are now more rigorous as a result of the publication of new Federal... read more

  • Don't Write Losing Proposals

    Don't write losing proposals. Some would say this is a trite and simplistic statement and others would say this is one of the secrets to success in the federal market. A corollary statement about sales in general would be "only pursue someone who is... read more

  • We Won an IDIQ, Now What

    Our previous newsletters discussed the trend in the federal government towards the use of Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts to speed up the federal buying process. Winning an IDIQ is a crucial first step in doing... read more

  • Beat the Proverbial Proposal Receipt Time Stamp Machine

    Everyone has heard the stories of delivery vehicles screaming down the Beltway only to just make or miss a proposal filing deadline. Or the stories of proposals that never made their destination due to mishandling by delivery services. ... read more

  • Proposal Writing Testimonials

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  • Reasons Proposal Deadlines Are Missed

    Companies that either miss or nearly miss proposal submittal deadlines usually don't trumpet their stories to their cohorts. After all, it is not exactly a badge of courage. Yet, at countless bars throughout the Metro area, you... read more

  • Know When to Hold Them and Know When to Fold Them

    A well-known country and western song is a good metaphor for deciding when and when not to write a federal proposal. Your chips are your precious proposal-writing resources. Namely, a happy and motivated professional staff, those who produce... read more

  • Proposal Writing: The Devil is in the Detail

    In our previous newsletter, we stated that the most crucial step in federal proposal writing is deconstructing the Request for Proposal (RFP) sentence-by-sentence and clause-by-clause in order to build a complete proposal template (outline). We... read more

  • How Are Winning Proposals Written?

    The major steps in writing a compelling and effective federal proposal are as follows: Your staff must deconstruct the RFP, sentence by sentence and clause by clause, to build a complete proposal template (outline) which addresses... read more

  • The Strange World of Federal Proposal Writing

    Understanding the nuances of federal proposals is analogous to understanding a new language and culture. The world of writing federal proposals can only be fathomed by living in that world for a number of years. Even experienced federal... read more

  • Proposal Writing: Filling in the Holes

    In your capacity as the proposal manager, you have deconstructed the RFP and developed a proposal outline (template) that outlines what is required. What's left are small and large gaps (content needs) that only technical writers and contract... read more

  • Advanced Proposal Writing: Key Elements When Writing About Your Program Management

    For Small Businesses: Key Elements When Writing About Your Program Management Last week, we noted that the new strategy of federal agencies is to mandate that small businesses band together under a single lead small business and take on larger, more... read more

  • Advanced Proposal Writing: Pursuing IDIQ Contracts

    Program Management a Must for Small Businesses Pursuing IDIQ ContractsGovernment agencies releasing IDIQs are looking for prime contractors they can rely on to do more than just manage individual projects well. They want contractors who can run programs... read more

  • Advanced Proposal Writing: Wisely Choosing What to Pursue, Part 2

    Companies often fail to understand that while they may have the best product or provide the best services, this means little if their proposals don't win. More often than not a bid is lost because they bid on something they should have skipped in the... read more

  • Advanced Proposal Writing: Wisely Choosing Which Opportunities

    Making poor choices about which RFPs to respond to is the number one mistake small businesses make in the federal contracting arena. Spending days and weeks of money and labor on an opportunity you are destined to lose is costly to the company and... read more

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