New To GOVCON

First Steps

Strengths

  • Established small business in operation for 5+ years

  • Excellent reputation

  • Private industry work going well, can afford to learn GOVCON for a few months

  • SWaM Certification, Veteran-Owned Small Business Certification eligible

  • Willing to invest in staff members’ growth

  • Growth mindset of personnel

  • Excellent experience writing policy manuals, advertising copy, etc. for company

Alyssa recently moved into a new role at her remote company: proposal coordinator.  For the past 4 years, she’s been the entire back office for the firm and in addition to payroll, customer service and social media management, has written their procedures and policies from scratch.  Luckily, she was able to draw on earlier positions in Human Resources at larger companies.  Although excited for the chance to use her writing skills, she’s a little intimidated by the proposal lifecycle and entering an unfamiliar sector.

Her company provides interior design, remodeling and landscape maintenance services to property management companies in Northern Virginia and Maryland.  The COO and founder wants to move into municipal government contracting for their services, and knows Alyssa will be great at winning awards for the firm.  Alyssa began to look for information and came across our blog, then reached out for more information.   After a brief zoom meeting, Alyssa felt much more comfortable about her new role.

Weaknesses

  • No previous experience in GovCon world

  • No idea of relevant sections of RFPs/ RFQs/ RFBs

  • Unfamiliar with Proposal lifecycle

  • Unsure how to find leads

  • Unaware of how to interpret and fulfill RFP requirements

  • Overwhelmed by new sector

  • GOVCON terms and acronyms mystifying

Immediate Needs

  • Learning the ropes from scratch

  • Introduction to resources for lead generation and how to use them

  • Nuts and bolts knowledge of what an RFP is, how to read it, and how to respond

  • Demystifying GOVCON acronyms

  • Creating background documents: resumes, references, etc.

  • Advice on what opportunities to pursue, where to find them, how to get them and when to team with other firms

  • Education on writing the narrative components

  • Learning about pricing services for government purchasers

  • Getting SWaM and VOSDSB certifications

Rock Solid Solutions

  • Began coaching/mentorship relationship to explain RFPs and proposals

  • Introduced lead generation resources

  • Educated client on how to read RFPs, understand and fulfill all the requirements in her responses

  • Tailor past performance to proposal requirements

  • Advise on bid/no bid opportunities, freeing up time for core functions

  • Managing the proposal life cycle: submitting on time

  • Edit resumes, technical volumes and narratives for proposals as needed

Winning Outcomes

  • Brand new Capability Statement for the firm

  • Ensured compliance of proposal structure, format, presentation, submission method

  • Saved client from drowning in GOVCON alphabet soup

  • Technical oversight on pricing/ cost estimation

  • Rock-solid relationship with firm

  • On time submission of offering

  • Ongoing support as needed

  • Alyssa and the company owner feel more secure with this adventure

FAQs for Proposal Coordinators

What are other terms for “proposal” in this context?

You will hear the terms RFP (or RFQ, solicitation, and others) to refer to the government’s request for a contractor to compete for work (awards, contracts).  Some other terms used for your response to that solicitation are: bid, offer, and response.  This is not an exhaustive list!

What are municipal government contracts?

Municipal contracts are government purchases at the local level.  Cities, towns, and counties purchase goods and services too. Some use the term “SLED” for state and local opportunities to supply goods and services at those levels.

What are the qualities needed to be successful in the contracting profession?

The contracting profession requires strong analytical and problem solving skills, good communications (both written and oral), ability to work in a team atmosphere, and flexibility. Much of the unique knowledge will be learned with formal and informal training and continuous learning is part of the job.