No, we are not going to discuss politics. But in the wake of the presidential election, life reminds us that change is the only constant. You don’t control what happens to you, but you can always take ownership of your career and professional development. Controlling your career means staying in high demand, upward mobility, greater effectiveness at your job, confidence in your future employability, and fulfillment from your work. It also means recognizing opportunities for your company and yourself.
Smart proposal professionals constantly look for new training and professional challenges, document accomplishments, and build resumes for future ambitions. This shows employers and clients your continuing commitment to the proposal profession and how seriously you take your job.
There are four categories where you need to grow continuously: 1) New Skills, 2) New Rules, 3) New Trends, and 4) New Resources. Let’s discuss each of them briefly.
1. New Skills: As you grow professionally, you foster both your ability to stay in demand and your pay. Consider the continuum of the business development lifecycle and the skills required for each activity. The range of skills starts with strategy and business development and continues to account management, capture, cost strategy, proposal management, and variety of proposal support functions, such as writing, reviewing, editing, graphics, pricing, and desktop publishing. Your pay rates are higher on the strategy and business development side and lower on the proposal end of the spectrum. The demand for you, on the other hand, is lower for strategy and business development, but higher on the proposal side. The trick is to expand your range, so you grow both rates and demand. If you are a proposal manager, push yourself to learn capture, and vice versa. Learn how to write compelling technical sections, manage price volumes, conceptualize graphics, become fluent in Word, and so on. The more skills you master, the better you become in your area of focus, the more variety (and less burnout) you experience, and the higher your pay and your value to your employer will be.
2. New Rules: The government contracting world is constantly changing. Just this year we saw an influx of new rules. The new Limitations on Subcontracting that effects teaming and the SBA Mentor-Protégé program are two examples. If you are not constantly keeping track of all that happens in that arena, you fall out of date. This impacts your effectiveness as a business developer.
3. New Trends: The government market is a dynamic environment where you must keep your ear to the ground. For example, lately GSA has been absorbing many Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) vehicles and starting to act like a well-oiled business development machine. They even use a Salesforce pipeline. GSA has been driving much of the IDIQ business their way, swallowing other agencies’ indefinite delivery vehicles and budget dollars. They have created “scored” RFPs for IDIQs. For example, the nightmarish, paperwork-heavy HCaTS saw dozens of reputable proposal shops “land in a puddle” when their proposals were found non-compliant. Alliant II is another example from the fiscal year past, where many companies missed simple steps to prepare to qualify and won’t have a chance to make the cut-off score. Not knowing how to navigate and shift Product or Service Codes (PSCs) costs many companies their seat at the multibillion-dollar table and undermined business leadership’s confidence in their proposal staffs.
4. New Resources: Our ability to be productive is increasing with each technological advance and new market offerings. Do you know of productivity tools such as the Hemingway app, or newly-added functions in BGov that help your competitive analysis? Do you understand new tools available to build your proposals faster and collaborate more effectively? What apps do you use to speed up your brainstorming and writing tasks? These advances make you better at winning, and winning is what counts in our profession more than anything else.
Take advantage of our Cyber Monday Bid & Proposal Academy bonanza, which is our biggest sale of the year at 40% off every course and training product on our site, and book some courses. Just apply the coupon code 40OFFTHANKSGIVING in checkout today. We continuously update our materials to help you in all four categories we discussed to make you sharper and more competitive in this evolving market. You will arrive at all the government contracting market changes in style. This promotion expires at midnight tonight.
View all training options, our self-study courses, our Blueprint for Successful Federal Business Development (downloadable recorded series), and our upcoming courses listed below:
- Jan 19: Win Themes Development
- Jan 26-27: Foundations of Federal Business Development
- Feb 7-8: Foundations of Capture Management
- Feb 9-10: Foundations of Proposal Management
- Feb 21-22: Writing Persuasive Government Proposals
- Feb 23-24: Preparing Winning Multiple Award and Task Order Proposals
- Mar 7-8: Developing a Winning Cost Volume
- Mar 16: Proposal Graphics Conceptualization and Design
- Mar 17: Desktop Publishing for Proposal Professionals
- Mar 28-29: Advanced Proposal Management
- Mar 30-31: Advanced Capture Management
- Apr 18-19: Proposal Editing
- Apr 20-21: How to Develop Proposal Outlines and Compliance Matrices
- May 11: Win Themes Development
- Jun 8-9: Developing a Winning Cost Volume
- Jun 20-21: Foundations of Capture Management
- Jun 22-23: Foundations of Proposal Management
- Jul 6-7: Writing Persuasive Government Proposals
- Sep 14-15: Foundations of Federal Business Development
- Sep 21-22: Developing a Winning Cost Volume
- Oct 5-6: Preparing Winning Multiple Award and Task Order Proposals
- Oct 19: Proposal Graphics Conceptualization and Design
- Oct 20: Desktop Publishing for Proposal Professionals
- Oct 26-27: Proposal Editing
- Nov 14-15: Advanced Proposal Management
- Nov 16-17: Advanced Capture Management
- Dec 1: Win Themes Development
- Dec 5-6: Foundations of Capture Management
- Dec 7-8: Foundations of Proposal Management
- Dec 12-13: Writing Persuasive Government Proposals