Proposal Writing, Proposal Templates, Proposal Training, Proposal Tools



  • 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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  • Win Theme Development
    Use an Executive Summary as a tool for win theme development. 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... read more
  • Conducting Proposal Reviews
    Formal “color coded” proposal reviews are frequently overdone and can have a negative an impact on profits. Too often people are taken on billable time and they have nothing to contribute. Involve just the key people (writers and project... read more
  • Proposal Management Considerations
    Amendments An RFP amendment can throw a proposal out of compliance with a couple of words. Track amendments and filter the words like they were the RFP itself. And then update the proposal outline for any requirement changes. The consequences of... read more
  • What Evaluators Want in Your Proposal
    Evaluators tell you what they want in the RFP. That’s all they want. They want a practical, low cost solution as reflected in the RFP technical proposal requirements. More sophisticated solutions are not wanted and may in fact result in a... read more
  • Conclusion: A Compelling and Complaint Proposal Wins
    Proposal writing is the Achilles heel of federal proposal writing. Most companies wish there was an easier way and evaluators dream of it going away altogether. The recent trend of “project experience based” Multiple Award Contracts (MACs) is a start... read more
  • Overview of an Effective Proposal System
    An effective proposal system must have procedures for the following three major steps. Step 1 – Filtering (deconstructing, reverse engineering) an RFP. Filtering has to be performed by an experienced proposal writer because proposal requirements can... read more
  • The Difference between a Compliant Proposal and a Winning Proposal
    OK. Let’s Write! Your boss has tried hard to establish relationships without much luck. And he finally says let’s go for this one because we will perish if we don’t get a contract soon. Ideally, he saw something that could cause your company to... read more
  • Proposal Writing Strategies and Mistakes
    Don’t just parrot back the RFP requirements. You should rephrase the requirements and add insights that demonstrate an understanding of what you are proposing to do. Why are we doing it this way? What are the benefits of our approach? Why does it... read more
  • Non compliance Is the Way Proposal Evaluators Survive
    A typical RFP/RFQ in the federal market will receive 5 – 50 responses; sometimes even more. Evaluators have full-time day jobs and have difficulty wading through the responses; typically, after their child’s soccer game. The first pass through the... read more
  • Winning Proposals Are Based on L and M and are Easy to Read
    Federal RFPs are supposed to show Proposal Writing Instruction in Section L and Proposal Evaluation Criteria in Section M of an RFP. Many do and some don’t. Proposal instructions and requirements can sneak into other parts of an RFP even in RFPs that... read more
  • Grab the Federal Contracting Apple: 10 Secrets to Writing Winning Proposals
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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
  • Advanced Proposal Writing : EVMS Certification
    Federal entities are increasingly demanding that contractors use earned value management systems (EVMS) when managing federal projects, and that they do so using an earned value management system that has been certified. The... read more
  • Managing Project Performance Using EVM
    As we have repeatedly pointed out in prior newsletters, government agencies hate risk. Fancy solutions that promise to do more are fine, but as much as they like to impress, the minds of contracting officers are ruled by fear. They want steady,... read more
  • Blanket Purchase Agreements and Basic Ordering Agreements
    This newsletter is the last in a series of five newsletters about the federal government's increasing reliance on multiple award contracts. Both agencies and vendors like BPAs and BOAs because they help trim the red tape associated with repetitive... read more
  • Making Sense of IDIQ Purchasing Vehicles
    This newsletter is the third in a series of five newsletters about the federal government's increasing reliance on multiple award contracts. The federal government has, in its infinite wisdom, created a host of different names and acronyms to describe... read more
  • IDIQs: The Flavor of the Day
    This newsletter is the second in a series of five newsletters about the federal government's increasing reliance on multiple award contracts. In its simplest terms, an IDIQ contract is one used by government agencies to buy future goods and services... read more
  • Ride the Wave of IDIQ Contracts
    This newsletter is the first in a series of five newsletters about the federal government's increasing reliance on multiple award contracts. The use of Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts is becoming more prevalent by the day. These... read more
  • More on the Achilles Heel of Federal Contracting
    Proposal writing can be a chaotic experience for federal contractors. Late nights and last-minute crises are frequently a way of life. One of the causes of proposal chaos is the writing effort is not managed by a person of authority so that critical... read more
  • Use Proposal Templates, Not Software
    If you were to research the web, you would find that software is available to assist in the writing of proposals,  including several packages for writing responses to federal Requests for Proposals (RFPs). The aforementioned... read more
  • Peripheral RFP Requirements
    Welcome to our series called "Proposal Writing." This newsletter is the latest installment in a series of rotating weekly e-mail newsletters about GSA Schedules, proposal writing, and federal sales. Installment 73 - Peripheral RFP... read more
  • Characteristics of a Losing Proposal
    Proposals lose for a number of reasons with the most prevalent reason being that the government had another company in mind when the RFP was drafted. Losing the opportunity to another invariably occurs when an aggressive competitor has sold the... read more
  • Raise Your Opinion of Proposal Evaluators
    You must assume that the people evaluating your proposal are intelligent, focused individuals. Why? Because they usually are. They may not read the entire proposal but you have to assume they will read enough to make a judgment consistent with... read more
  • Do You Know the Evaluation Committee?
    The committees which evaluate federal proposals are comprised of a cast of characters. The committees will most likely include the following: The manager of the end users group Staff members from the end user group Stakeholders of various types;... read more
  • Proposal Writing: Sweet Spot Bidding
    Our previous newsletters have stressed that companies should not respond to public bids unless they have a relationship with the customer. While this is generally true, the following are exceptions. Proposals in response to multiple awards,... read more
  • Proposal Writing: Simplicity Wins
    So the Request for Proposal (RFP) says "don't parrot back our requirements in your proposal". The requirement you are responding to is routine and you are struggling to come up with content that would be considered meaningful. You are now in the... read more
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