The Contract Coach - Bid and Proposal

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You just received a U.S. Government Request for Proposal. Now What? The Government Contracting (GovCon) market space is distinct in the rules and regulations controlling the acquisition of goods and services for the Federal Government. Many are drawn to it by the prospect of larger contracts to a broader market. While that is the case, the GovCon environment often requires a number of privacy concessions and acceptance of specific business and accounting practices.

Simply reading and understanding the Government Request for Proposal or contract is a challenge for many. Where do you find certain information, which requirements apply, what do they mean by "commercial item" etc. etc., etc.

When you add in specialized requirements like producing a multi-volume proposal addressing a seemingly endless list of requirements and delivering it to the Contracting Officer's desk in 30 to 45 days many people run for the exits.

But it's really not impossible - it's done every day. But you need to have a structured and methodical approach so as to produce a compliant and competitive proposal. It's no good investing weeks of effort and thousands of dollars in a proposal that gets rejected immediately because you did not follow the government's rules.

My Role as a Government Contract Consultant

If this is your first Federal Government Proposal it's time to fasten your seatbelt because you could be in for a bumpy ride. Not to frighten you but doing business with the Federal Government is a bit different than doing business with your standard commercial customers. It takes some work to get your proposal on the contracting officer's desk and manage the resulting contract.

That's where the Contract Coach comes in. The Contract Coach is an experienced Government Contracts specialist with over 30 years experience working with small business and major aerospace contractors. Please review my credentials.

If you intend to join the GovCon world I am here to help you navigate the waters. I can provide advice and share may experience with how to meet the many administrative challenges along that path.

My goal is that when we are done with the proposal not only have you submitted a winning proposal, but that you have learned the skills and methods necessary to do the same on your own for the next opportunity and the ones that follow.

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My goal as a Government Contracts and Proposal consultant is to not only meet the immediate challenge - but to develop the necessary skills and expertise within your organization to address these challenges confidently in the future.

Before You Start

  1. Are you registered in the System for Award Management (
  2. Have you read and understood the ENTIRE Request for Proposal and all attachments?
  3. Do you have a product or service that fulfills ALL of the government requirements?
  4. Are you prepared (if necessary) to make changes to your business operating procedures, accounting system, and other related systems so as to comply with the various requirements in your contract?
  5. Have you visited your local Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP) office and availed yourself of their many free services?

Look Before You Leap.

The first thing I advise clients is to "be careful of what you ask for because you just might get it." That means you need to be fully aware of what the customer is asking for and what they expect you to deliver. You also need to be sure that what the government is asking for is within your capability to deliver. The only thing worse than not getting a contract you want is getting a contract you can't perform. Read all the Documentation in the Request for Proposal - if you have questions submit them in writing to the Contracting Officer. Make sure you understand each and every requirement.

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When in Doubt - Seek Help

The first place you should go is to your PTAC office. Look them up on the web, schedule an appointment, seek their counsel. They get paid through grants to provide assistance to small businesses looking to contract with the Government. It's your tax dollars at work.

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Where the PTAC stops is where I begin. My job is to help you (if you so desire) put together a winning proposal. To do that I will guide you through the proposal process illustrated above. To accomplish that role I will rely on a number of specialized talents including Project Management (I am a PMP), Cost and Estimating (I am a Certified Cost Technician) and a detailed knowledge of Government contracts (I am certified by the national Contract Management Association as a Certified Professional Contracts Manager and a Certified Federal Contracts Manager). I'll use those skills and abilities to help you navigate the Government contracts maze and produce a Timely, compliant, competitive, convincing, coherent and correct submittal.

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