Capability Statement Essential for Small Businesses When Working with Federal Government
Have you read the Federal Government Marketing Solutions article? There are a few marketing strategies starting points highlighted in that article such as identifying NAICS codes, obtaining a DUNS number, and registering with the System Award Management (SAM) and SBA Dynamic Small Business Search. Those were only the beginning steps in marketing to the federal government as well as federal large prime contractors.
One of the main marketing ingredients in marketing to the federal government is providing a capability statement to the decision makers. It is important for you to communicate what you do. It is equally important that the buyers have a clear understanding of your company’s capabilities. The best way to illustrate your company’s skills and abilities to your customers is to create a capability statement.
What is a capability statement?
A capability statement provides a blueprint of your products and/or services you offer. Basically it’s a resume’ for your company. One way the government uses a capability statement is to compare you with your competitors.
A couple of questions to think about are, “What is unique about your company?” and ‘Why should the government do business with you?”
The capability statement should be written in a way that stands your company out from the crowd. The competition is stiff and plenteous.
As a former government buyer, I know firsthand that the buyers are overwhelmed with companies attempting to gain their attention. Creating a strong capability statement will help get your foot in the door and will reduce the plethora of competition wanting to break into the federal market. The buyers are only interested in the best of the best. A capability statement is a way you can set yourself apart from your competitor. Keep in mind this is an important tool for buyers to use to identify businesses, which can produce, perform, and meet the needs and requirements of the government.
What should a capability statement include?
Beyond the starting points mentioned earlier, when marketing to the federal government, I suggest three documents to be included in your marketing kit:
- business cards;
- company’s brochure;
- and perhaps the most important, the capability statement.
The capability statement should be no more than two pages, and preferably one page. Buyers are not looking to read a book in order to know your company. It should be short and to the point, covering the strengths of the company. Do not forget to practice your elevator speech. Your conversation with the buyers will cover more details and explain the strengths.
Ideally, a capability statement should include:
- company’s name
- individual’s name
- contact information
- DUNS number
- cage code,
- primary NAICS codes and perhaps two or three other NAICS codes
- products and/or services offered with details
- type of business, (Veteran-owned, woman-owned, etc.)
- management team qualifications and certifications.
Finally, identify past performance history of the same or similar projects the government has awarded previously. All this information provides pertinent information that gives the buyer a sound idea about the nature of your industry.
Upon creating the company’s capability statement, make plenty of copies and present it to the government agencies that need your products and/or services. Although we are surrounded by electronic means, hard copies are necessary when attending government conferences.
Speaking of electronics, another suggestion is to include your capability statement on your company’s Website. As your company evolves, changes will be required. Be sure to update your capability statement periodically to stay current.