A capability statement is a one-page document that helps small businesses communicate their strengths to the public sector marketplace.Capability statements are fast-becoming the new standard document for small business marketing to government agencies. As the amount of contracting work offered by the government grows, so does the need for accessible, easy to read information about a business. Capability statements give businesses the opportunity to present a high-level overview of the products or services that can be provided. In this post, we provide advice on how to write a capability statement for a government contracting officer or prime government vendor (a business that frequently wins contracts to provide goods or services in the public sector). As technical writers with years of government writing experience, we know the ins and outs of writing a strong capability statement. After reading our advice, you can download our government capability statement template and get started marketing your small business to public sector contacts.
Your company’s capability statement should reflect the competence of your business, as well as the qualities that make your company stand apart from your competition. Armed with a powerful capability statement, you can increase your potential for winning bids and building strong relationships with contracting officers and prime government vendors.
If you’re ready to propel your small business’ public sector growth with a powerful capability statement, check out our Capability Statement Templates.
How to Write a Capability Statement
When writing a capability statement, you should consider the following factors:
Purpose: What is your goal? Are you inserting your capability statement into a proposal you are writing in response to a government RFP? If so, consider the requirements of the specific government solicitation you are addressing and recognize that your business needs to speak to each agency’s mission. In this one-page document, you should show how your business fits the bill and emphasize the strengths behind the products or services you intend to provide. Alternatively, if your goal is to network and make prime government vendors and government contracting officers aware of your company’s offerings and capabilities, then you should include all key strengths and services of your business. Speak more broadly so that potential partners or contracting officers see your range of capabilities.
Audience: Based on the audience and size of your company, your capability statement can be tailored to fit the needs specific to each solicitation. This makes it critical to recognize and strategically determine what information about your business should be highlighted and presented to each key decision maker in government procurement. Although the audience changes based on the needs of the agency and the industry, there are typically two audiences within government procurement:
- Contracting Officers: Agencies will see this document anytime you submit a proposal. You can also use it for networking purposes. If you have found an agency you’re interested in working with, sending over your capability statement is a good first step before applying.
- Prime Government Vendors: Similar to Contracting Officers, sending over your capability statement to prime government vendors is a great way to network. Take that step to send information about your business as a way to entice the prime government vendors of interest.
Expectations: Make yourself familiar with the requirements of the agency you are establishing contact with and ensure that your statement speaks directly to those requirements. Ask yourself, what industry does your business fall within? Where would your products and services be successfully utilized? Do you need to look into e procurement software vendors?
Capability Statement Format & Sections
Core Competencies: These are brief statements that connect your business’ capabilities to the specific agency’s requirements and are typically in bullet-point form. It is essential to note that this section should not describe everything your business has to offer, but only what is relevant to the agency receiving it.
Past Performance: Here’s a chance to express related experiences in order from most to least relevant in order to reinforce and enhance the previously listed core competencies. This is where agencies receive tangible evidence that a business has done similar or related work in the past. Your Past Performance section should ideally include any government contracts or subcontracts you’ve earned. If you don’t have public sector experience yet, you can feature relevant industry or corporate experience.
Differentiators: If the direct benefits of working with your company cannot be clearly communicated, agency decision makers will have a hard time selecting your business over another. Answer the following questions when crafting descriptions of what makes your business different: Why are your products and services better solutions than others on the market? What is the competitive edge of your business? For some businesses, the quality of their goods or services, or the expertise of their team are key differentiators. For example, at Untold Content, we hire technical writers and qualitative researchers with graduate degrees and significant industry experience. One of our key differentiators is the quality of our expertise. Another important differentiator for us is our approach to revision and collaboration; we assign a pilot and copilot on every writing project in order to provide validation and verification of the accuracy and cohesion of every sentence. Your company’s differentiators might also be the value-add or reasonable cost of your products or services. Consider your major selling points and communicate them in a very brief sentence or two.
Company Data: This section is a one to two sentence that includes the size of your business, the number of employees you have, and the typical geographic area where your business operates. You should also include in bullet point form the following codes:
To learn more about how to obtain these codes, which are required for any small business wanting to win government contracts, you can visit https://www.sba.gov/contracting.
Contact Information: Make sure agencies know how to get ahold of you after they learn more about your business. Include a person to contact with their title, email, phone number, address and the business website. Another key component of your business is to have insurance for your clients and visitors in case an accident were to happen on your premises, this way you are also covered and don’t get sued either. So I recommend taking a look at public liability insurance providers to help you out today.
Optional Sections: If you have the space necessary on your capability statement, it is good to provide a company overview at the beginning of the document to create a better understanding of your business.
Capability Statement Template
And if you’re ready to propel your small business’ public sector growth, learn more about our online course, Proposals That Win: A Guide for Small Business Public Sector Success.