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Tool Kit

Proposal Writing Kit
A Proposal Writer's Start-up Resource Kit for Winning Government Business
Assembled By: Michael Asner

Price: $325

Size: 12 x 16 x 24 (inches)
click for larger image


Welcome to Proposalsthatwin! We hope you'll soon discover that this kit contains great value! We hope this kit will help you get started on the road to winning more government business. It will help you begin the process of learning how each of the federal, state, and local governments procure goods and services. It will help you create winning proposals.

The idea behind this kit is simple. Imagine you had 20 professional proposal writers in a room and you asked each one to help you get started. Imagine you asked each one how to win more government business. Imagine that you could ask many important questions, such as: How do I find out what governments buy? What process do they use? How do they evaluate proposals? Is there a step-by-step checklist for doing a proposal? How do I decide whether or not to bid? What is a set-aside program? What books or articles will help me understand the process of selling to government? What is the Small Business Administration? Can the National Association of Procurement Officers help me learn about selling to state governments?

Suppose each proposal writer answered your questions by recommending something different: a favorite book, an easy-to-use checklist, a few important articles, a web site, etc. Each gave you valuable information about a different aspect of winning federal, state, and local government business. Well, that's what we've tried to do in this kit.

We've collected this information from many sources. From governments, agencies, web sites, from private sector firms and from independent consultants. We've included items which we believe are valuable. It is important to note that we have not received money or any other incentive from any organization to include their material in this kit.

All of the material was selected by us.

All of the copyrighted material is included with permission.

None of the organizations in this kit by their inclusion endorse other organizations found in this kit.

Here is a brief description of these resources:

Proposals: On Target, On Time by Dan Safford

Dan Safford's Proposals: On Target, On Time is the best book we've found to explain the proposal writing process. Proposals: On Target, On Time is one of the easiest to read books you'll find on proposal writing. It includes a step-by-step guide to the Proposal Preparation Process, discusses important pre-solicitation activities you should start, contains a great Go/No Go check list as well as hundreds of other tips and shortcut suggestions to help make proposal writing a much easier task.

Getting Started in Federal Contracting by Barry McVay

Getting Started in Federal Contracting cuts directly through the fog and haze and explains clearly the federal government's rules and processes. In addition, it explains small business set aside programs and how they work, electronic contracting and credit cards, federal supply schedules, as well as providing sample solicitations, forms, and many examples.

Magazines and Journals

Procurement magazines and trade journals are an excellent source of information for firms who sell to government. We've included Reseller, Government Technology, Public Purchaser, Government Computer News State & Local and, from Canada, Summit. You'll notice that there is a heavy emphasis on technology. Don't be put off if your company isn't high tech. These magazines contain a number of valuable general information articles on proposal writing and legal matters which pertain to all companies writing proposals.

The Two Binders

The two binders contain 16 sections of specialized information. Each item has been selected for the value it provides for new proposal writers and those companies targeting federal, state and local governments.

Volume 1

Section 1: Selling to government. More than 100 pages of material including a 40-page article by Michael Asner, and a presentation on Government Contracting.

Section 2: Articles. More than 50 pages of articles by some of the best proposal writers dealing with important topics such as common proposal errors, bid or no bid, using boilerplate, strategic messages, etc.

Section 3: Newsletters. Actual copies of important newsletters including Government Marketing, Proposal Writing Tips & Techniques, and Perspective, published by the Association of Proposal Management Professionals.

Section 4: Legal Resources including Government Contractor Insights (newsletter), articles, and a selection of 20 web pages and resources dealing with legal issues

Section 5: Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Resources. More than 40 pages containing articles, lists of web-based resources, and sample web pages all intended to help you understand the important issues related to set-aside and minority development programs.

Section 6: Proposal Planning. This section alone is worth the price of the kit. Using this material you can see how major firms and senior proposal writers organize their efforts. The section includes a major proposal preparation checklist, a 14-page proposal planner work book, and a 96-step flowchart for creating an effective proposal. As well, we've included a book chapter on organizing for Proposal Kick Off Meetings and boilerplate kick-off meeting package material.

Section 7: Electronic Tendering and Procurement. This section provides you with information about many of the major sites that list bid opportunities for federal, state, and local governments. Using this information, you can obtain some trial subscriptions and see for yourself!

Section 8: Proposal Software. Learn about these important tools. Read how to compare and assess these products. Install the CD demos and review several products.

Volume 2

Section 9: Purchasing Associations. One way to gain more information about issues affecting state government buyers is to frequently review the web sites, journals and newsletters of buyer and purchasing associations. Some associations also provide a number of other valuable resources, such as manuals and directories. As a starting point, we have included a sampling of information on the major national associations.

Section 10: State Procurement Web Sites. Want to know how to do business with your State government? Considering expanding your range to the state next door? Don't know where to get the information you need? Although each state varies, you will find that many provide a "How To Do Business With Us" manual, often in down loadable format. In this section, for your convenience we've listed the front page from each web site to give you a flavor of the kinds of information available to vendors.

Section 11: State Purchasing Guidelines. It's often a good idea to familiarize yourself with the policy and operating guidelines for each agency you wish to do business with. Many states have purchasing guidelines which are available on their web sites. These guidelines can provide you with the purchasing rules and state statutes which apply to their dealings with you, the vendor. We've included a sample one from the State of Idaho Purchasing Department to give you an idea. Please note, that laws and regulations vary tremendously from state to state. Refer to your desired state's procurement web page (see previous section) to find the information you need.

Section 12: State Vendor Guidelines. Want to do business with the State of New York? The State of Washington? Check out the state's vendor manual for a step by step guide to the process. Manuals explain the rules that apply to the submission of your proposals, whether unsolicited proposals are allowed or even legal, whether there are preferences given to businesses located within the state, how to apply to supplier and other vendor lists, etc. Most states have a manual or guide available on their web site (see State Procurement Web sites section).

Section 13: Intelligence Gathering Suggestions. If you're in business already, you probably know the importance of good market intelligence to help you determine who and where your competition is in the process. Did you know that you can acquire an agency's acquisition planning documents? Copies of its strategic plans? Summaries of active contracts? Copies of actual past contracts? Through the Freedom of Information Act, you are entitled to all of this information. All of which can prove invaluable to you if you are in the process of developing a marketing strategy and want to target a particular agency. A regular request of and review of agency acquisition planning information should be included in the development of your master plan for selling to government. Included in this section are a few short articles to get you started. Also check out specialized services for the name of a firm who will do this process for your company (for a fee, of course) and maintain your anonymity.

Section 14: Specialized Services. There are many services to help those selling to government. We have included a few which we think may help save your company some time and energy in the area of registering your company with numerous agencies and making Freedom of Information Act requests. Please let us know of any firms which have helped your firm save time by using the handy feedback form in the front pocket of the binder.

Section 15: Bibliography. Want to do more reading? Here is a selected Bibliography of Books and Articles on Proposal Writing.

Section 16: Other References. Interested in the resources available for those who want to contract with the federal government? Check out the Federal Acquisition Virtual Library. Want to know what tools and resources are available to small business? Check out the Small Business Administration's Library and Resources section. Included there is a link to the Federal Agency Procurement Forecast as well as links to other sites of interest.

We hope that this kit proves to be of great help to you. Please send us an E-mail with your comments and criticisms. We will listen. Also, if you know of other material that we should consider for inclusion, let us know.

Michael Asner asner@compuserve.com
Sharon Sheppard sharshep@netcom.ca


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