Basic Proposal Writing


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Basic Proposal Writing

  1. 1. The SBTDC is a business advisory service of The North Carolina University System operated in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. |
  2. 2. Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC)Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Proposal Writing Basics LaNell Grissom
  3. 3. Agenda Please turn all cell phones to vibrate Please feel free to ask questions• SBTDC and PTAC Services• Getting Started• Writing Proposals• Submission and Award• Final Thoughts
  4. 4. Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) Confidential one-on-one counseling• General Business Services – planning, marketing, financing, human resources, operations• Strategy and Organization Development Services• Export Financing Assistance• Technology Development and Commercialization• Boating Industry Services• Government Procurement Assistance – Procurement Technical Assistance Center
  5. 5. Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Assistance selling to federal, state and local government entities• Understanding government rules and regulations• Completing mandatory registrations and certifications• Researching award histories• Identifying contracting opportunities• Reviewing bids and proposals• Understanding Federal Supply Schedules
  6. 6. SBTDC and PTAC Statewide OfficesAsheville, Boone, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Cullowhee, Durham, ElizabethCity, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Hickory, Pembroke, Raleigh, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem
  7. 7. Before Selling to the Government• Internet access and computer knowledge• Potential to sell to the government• Determination to sell to the government• Knowledge of competition and how they succeed• Perseverance Contact a PTAC Counselor!
  8. 8. Is the Government Market for You?• What a government contract can do for your business – Diversify your customer base – Cover overhead costs – Even out cash Flow• What a government contract cannot do for your business – Jump-start your business – Save your business – Be the sole customer of your business
  9. 9. Bidding and Proposal Writing – Getting Started
  10. 10. Before Submitting Response• Identify opportunities• Determine solicitation type, procurement method, and contract type• Read all solicitation documents associated with the opportunity• Understand applicable Terms and Conditions• Determine potential to bid• Contact PTAC for assistance
  11. 11. Identifying Opportunities - Where to Look
  12. 12. Identifying Opportunities – What to Look For• Presolicitation• Sources Sought• Special Notices• Request for Information• Solicitation (Combined Solicitation) – Request for Quote – Request for Proposal• Modifications• Award Notice
  13. 13. Procurement Methods & Solicitation TypesProcurement Method Solicitation Type• Simplified Acquisitions • RFQ – Request for Quotations• Sealed Bidding • IFB – Invitation for Bid• Negotiated Procurements • RFP – Request for Proposal
  14. 14. Procurement Method – Simplified Acquisitions• Purchases over the micro-purchase threshold and up to $150,000 (increased as of Oct 1)• Informal advertisement required for purchases over $10,000 and up to $25,000• Formal advertisement in FBO required for purchases over $25,000• Solicitation in form of Request for Quote (RFQ)• Solicitation must state basis for award• Notification to unsuccessful bidders only if requested
  15. 15. Procurement Method – Sealed Bidding• One of two methods used for procurements over $150,000• Formal Advertisement in FBO required• Solicitation in form of Invitation for Bid (IFB)• Solicitation will utilize Uniform Contract Format• Bids are publically opened and read aloud by an authorized person at the time set for bid opening• Award is made to lowest price responsive and responsible bidder
  16. 16. Procurement Method – Negotiated Procurement• One of two methods used for procurements over $150,000• Advertisement in FBO required• Solicitation will be Request for Proposal (RFP) or may use Request for Quote (RFQ) (up to $6.5 mil for commercial)• Usually all proposals are evaluated, with discussions conducted with “Short List” (competitive range) offers• Basis for Award may be best value, but may also be based on low price technically acceptable (LPTA)
  17. 17. Contract Types• FFP – Firm Fixed Price – Most commonly used• CPFF – Cost Plus Fixed Fee – Used for high risk projects• T&M – Time and Material – Used for services contracts• IDIQ – Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity – Most commonly used with Federal Supply Schedules
  18. 18. Solicitation Document• Parts of a Solicitation – Schedule – Contract Clauses – Attachments – Representations and instructions• Solicitation Formats – Simplified Format: SF 1449 • Simplified Acquisitions – Uniform Contract Format: SF 33 • Sealed Bidding & Negotiated Procurements
  19. 19. Uniform Contract Format• Section A – Solicitation/Contract Form – Basic information from the buyer, bid number, issuance date, and purchase authority• Section B - Supplies/Services and Prices/Costs – brief description of services or supplies and the quantities sought, unit of issue, unit price and total price• Section C - Description/Specifications/Statement of Work – a description of the requirement and the details of how, what, when, and where the government wants
  20. 20. Uniform Contract Format• Section D: Packaging and Marking• Section E: Inspection and Acceptance• Section F: Deliveries or Performance• Section G: Contract Administration Data• Section H: Special Contract Requirements• Section I: Clauses• Section J: List of Documents, Exhibits, and other attachments
  21. 21. Uniform Contract Format• Section L: Instructions, Conditions, and Notices to Bidders – What is needed to prepare, organize and format your proposal• Section M: Evaluation Factors for Award – Provides the criteria that will be used in judging which proposal best meets the requirements of the government
  22. 22. Determine Your Potential (Competiveness & Successful Performance)• Is the opportunity consistent with your business plan?• Do you have adequate plant capacity, equipment, and personnel?• Can you beat the competition?• Is the risk manageable?• Can you make money?
  23. 23. Bidding and Proposal Writing – Preparing a Response
  24. 24. Response Preparation• Analyze solicitation and make a working copy – Supporting documents (specs, drawings, SOW) – Amendments too!• Refer to research websites – Rules and regulations, Government language – Purchase and award histories• Prepare and Compile proposal documents – Solicitations instructions – Evaluation factors
  25. 25. Solicitation Analysis• Read through solicitation again more carefully, marking all action items• Note actions required to prepare the proposal and tasks specific to contract performance• Identify requirements or tasks that are unclear or for which you need assistance• Write all questions to submit to the contract POC
  26. 26. Research – Rules and Regulations• Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) or• Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)• United States Code (USC)• Government Acronyms
  27. 27. Research – Purchase and Award History• Federal Acquisition Jumpstation – Research contracts and opportunities• Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) – Statistical information on federal contracting – Detailed data for >$25K, Summary data for <$25K• – Pulls information from FPDS
  28. 28. Preparing the Proposal• Check registration in CCR• Make sure Representations and Certifications are processed online:• Create an Action Plan and assign tasks• Outline your proposal – Administrative Data – Technical Proposal – Pricing Proposal
  29. 29. Proposal Writing Tips• You can never take back a first impression• Identify company & solicitation # on each page• Be sure the narrative description of your approach to the work is clear to non-techies• Use simple, straightforward writing style• Spell and grammar check, use page numbers• Observe specified page limitations• Identify each line of proprietary data• Provide current and accurate POC information
  30. 30. Proposal Pricing Tips• Charge Enough• Know your competition• Know your costs of doing business• Include a reasonable profit and G&A• Have an accountant calculate indirect costs• Avoid perpetuating a losing operation• Clearly prove the price is fair & reasonable• Verify numbers
  31. 31. Format of the Proposal• Follow all of the instructions and sequence given in the solicitation• Focus on customer’s mission and goals, being mindful of evaluation factors• Check and recheck all cost and pricing data, provide supporting documentation• Provide all the required information in enough detail to give the customer confidence that you understand thoroughly.
  32. 32. Compiling the Proposal• Using the tasks list or action items list, collect all the parts• Arrange them in the specified sequence• Make a Table of Contents; use divider tabs• Make a cover page, brief cover letter or Executive Summary• Conduct a scrub down in-house, then have a PTAC counselor scrub it for you
  33. 33. Bidding and Proposal Writing – Submission and Award
  34. 34. Submitting the Proposal• Use checklists provided by the contracting agency• Have someone unfamiliar with the solicitation proofread your proposal• Sign all documents as indicated• Submit the original and keep a copy• Submit the bid on time in prescribed manner• Attend bid opening (if applicable)
  35. 35. Proposal Evaluation• Responsive – did you submit the required documents in the required format?• Responsible-is your company qualified and eligible to receive the contract/award?• Competitive-is your price “fair and reasonable” under the circumstances?• Technically Acceptable-does your product or service meet the customer’s requirement?
  36. 36. Communication Period• Assign ONE individual to administer all communication• Log all communications, keep notes and copies of everything• When answering a question, include your understanding of the question itself
  37. 37. Negotiations• Know the customer and their procedures• Ascertain your contract’s authority• Ask which elements of the proposal are negotiable and which are not• Be honest• Document everything
  38. 38. Contract Agreement• The contract document must reflect what the parties agreed to and must be understandable• When satisfied, sign it in colored ink so originals are distinguishable from copies• Distribute conformed copies as needed and all subsequent modifications to the same list
  39. 39. Win or Lose• Ask for a Debrief• If you win, find your weak areas for improvement• If you did not win – – Request debrief from contracting officer within 3 days – Don’t be discouraged. No one wins every time – Learn from the experience. Prepare for the next opportunity
  40. 40. Final Thoughts• Be proactive and persistent when looking for the right opportunity• When responding, determine if cost is worth item/service• Ensure all proposal documents are signed as required• Do not be late with your submission• Get everything in writing• Learn from your experiences• Call PTAC with questions
  41. 41. North Carolina PTAC Counselors• Clark Fields – Asheville: 828.251.6025 or• Wanda Robinson – Hickory: 828.345.1049 or• George Griffin – Greensboro: 336.779.7339 or• Rebecca Barbour – Raleigh: 919-715-7373 or• LaNell Grissom – Fayetteville: 910-672-1727 or• Mark Mills – Program Director: 828-345-1115 or
  42. 42. QUESTIONS?