The Difference between Proposals and Super-Proposals

April 15th, 2014

Cue “Welcome to the Jungle,” by Guns and Roses. ( Slash’s guitar riffs sound as smoke forms and Megamind exclaims, “You dare challenge Megamind?” Titan, the eventual antagonist of the movie, responds with a not-so-witty comeback, “This Town isn’t big enough for two supervillains.” A giant face of Megamind, made up of tiny robots, forms in the sky and Megamind points out Titan’s inexperience, “Oh, you’re a villain alright. Just not a super one!” Titan, played by Jonah Hill, a not-so-smart character, is befuddled and asks, “Yeah? What’s the difference?” The mouth of the giant Megamind face opens and Megamind descends on the “tongue” of robots. In his Black Momba suit, Megamind raises his arms in a dramatic fashion, lasers flash, smoke billows, and Slash starts shredding the guitar as Megamind proclaims, “PRESENTATION!” Just like with villains and super-villains, past performance and approach in proposals are one thing—and presentation is the other. Titan has super powers: he is stronger and faster. But Megamind is able to compensate for the areas where he is lacking through maximizing every last of his strengths. Presentation is the weapon he uses to capitalize on all of his resources—his technology, brainpower, and fighting experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Nailing Business Development for Indefinite Delivery Vehicles

March 28th, 2014

In the U.S. Army Infantry, the actual execution of an ambush is less than 10 minutes. Once the mission starts, you move to the area, set up, conduct a leader’s recon of the ambush site, set up security elements, plan the firing line, place your gun teams, and eventually attack. It’s not that different from a mad dash of responding to a short turnaround RFP to demolish your competition. An ambush is, however, the result of painstakingly thorough planning and preparation, which includes map reconnaissance, route planning, squad assignments, and numerous other considerations. All of this happens before the mission starts, and it generally takes about 140 times longer than the ambush itself. After all of the preparation work has been done, now you can move everyone to the objective and place the fire line, and then you wait, just like you would wait for a Task Order RFP to be issued. The waiting could be for a long time, but now you are ready. Read the rest of this entry »

Incumbent-itis pitfalls

March 17th, 2014

The cardinal sin of any government contractor is to lose their bread-and-butter contract that they rely on as a major source of income. This is a job they know inside out. They have bonded with the customer; they could recite the customer’s challenges and hot buttons with their eyes closed. All they have to do is discuss the issues and solutions in their proposal to make it sing. Read the rest of this entry »

A memorable story can make all the difference in winning proposals

February 21st, 2014

While the Super Bowl was forgettable, some of the commercials were excellent examples of telling a story that evokes emotion in two minutes or less. Apple’s iPad Air commercial features a passionate voice-over from Robin Williams’s performance in Dead Poets Society. In 90 seconds, Apple took us on a tour around the world, illustrating how the iPad is instrumental in the creative process. Budweiser’s commercial featured a parade they threw for returning Army officer Lt. Chuck Nadd in his hometown; their commercial didn’t have much to do with beer, but it did give viewers a good feeling about Budweiser as a company. In a wildly patriotic commercial, Bob Dylan made a poignant case as to why “We have the best people.” In two minutes, Dylan took us on a tour of Detroit’s rich automobile history and showcased Chrysler employees’ pride, dedication, and unwavering commitment to excellence in building cars. Whether or not you will buy a Chrysler as a result, it was still a superb example of storytelling that we can take and apply to proposal writing. Read the rest of this entry »

Pwin, Any Given Sunday

February 11th, 2014

How many of you woke up last Sunday and predicted that the best offense in the history of the NFL wouldn’t score a point until the third quarter? Most people figured that the game would be relatively even, but the thought of the blowout that occurred didn’t even seem fathomable. Olessia went to the University of Colorado, so for her it wasn’t a question that Broncos were going to dominate the game. She thought that their likelihood of winning was close to 70 percent. Dave, on the other hand, figured it was closer to 55 percent. Read the rest of this entry »