Magazine article Business Credit

Successful Proposal Strategies for Small Business (Winning Government Private Sector, and International Contracts)

Magazine article Business Credit

Successful Proposal Strategies for Small Business (Winning Government Private Sector, and International Contracts)

Article excerpt

The NACM asked me to review this book from the perspective of an SBA 8(a) certified small minority business owner/manager, and because I have published articles on government contracting, sales automation, and procurement strategies. Our company, Iron Horse, derives most of its revenue from federal government computing contracts for goods. We have bid on very few large contracts requiring formal proposals in our seven years and won even fewer, so I was really hoped Mr. Frey could assist us-I was disappointed.

The book is formatted like a cross between a textbook and a government manual with numerous footnotes, numbered and sub-numbered chapters, and a plethora of jargon. At nearly 300 pages with glossary, footnotes, five appendices, an index, and a bibliography, the book intimidates the nonspecialist reader. It also doesn't seem to go deep enough for a technical reference book. Frey's title is also misleading. The book appears to have as its ideal audience 8(a) service businesses of $10 million+ and SO people in size. It isn t a good read for the small businessman in general, isn't very illuminating outside the federal government contracting environment, and dwells more on the details of paperwork and how to present it (tactics) more than overall development of a method that works (strategy).

Frey also presents proposal preparation as a Herculean task where its participants lie exhausted in victory after dealing with paperwork for endless hours. After performing this task, he states that 75 percent of all competitive proposals are considered nonresponsive or inadequate by the government! He implies winning firms have dedicated business development and RFP generation/marketing divisions, deep pockets, high-level management support, people willing to deal with the stress, and a project well within your firm's capabilities. Many small businesses cannot meet these requirements.

Frey and I agree that these sales involve a long-term personal marketing and sales effort. Good press, advertising, trade shows, similar contracts, and recommendations can all help. Wiring a contract is possible and even recommended so that other vendors will find it hard to compete. This means that your company must be able to position itself in such a way that the government will specify unique aspects of your service or product. If your solution isn't unique, your chance of getting a worthwhile contract stink.

This book helped confirm my opinions about large government procurements and other contracting methods. …

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