Capture and Proposal Support

Great ‘Que Takes Planning

In barbecue contests, timing is everything. Each of your four entries (chicken, ribs, pork and brisket) have to be turned in within 5 minutes of a precisely defined time; late entries are disqualified.  To meet this schedule – and to make sure the meat you offer the judges is at its tender, juicy, and flavorful best – requires careful planning and flawless execution at the contest itself.  But it’s the preparatory work done before the contest that separates winners from losers. Losers buy their meats the day before they travel; winners order meat ahead of time so it can be

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You Can’t Enter Every Contest

From an economic standpoint, competitive barbecue makes no sense. In a Kansas City Barbecue Society event, teams turn in six individual portions of four meats: 6 (chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket).  A typical entry fee is $300; travel and transportation costs for pulling your big rig total $200 or more; charcoal, wood, ice, rubs, sauces, and incidentals add another $200. And meat – oh, the cost of meat: most teams cook 36 to 50 pounds of incredibly-expensive Wagyu brisket to turn in six perfect slices.  Meat costs can easily top $500.  When all is said and done, the cost of

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Backyard Chefs Like to Cook; Pitmasters Like to Win

Amateur chefs tend to have a pretty short attention span.  They watch Bobby Flay toss something on a grill, say to themselves “Man, I could do that!”, then run to the store, assemble ingredients, light a fire, and make up a mess of something good.  Their goal is to recreate a recipe; their objective is to make it edible. Their measure of success is, well, nobody barfs when they taste it. Backyard chefs like to cook. Pitmasters, on the other hand, have a much longer view of their world. They have more at stake; they compete against well-prepared competitors for

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Proposal Writing: Feature versus Benefit

Often times when companies present their solutions before the government, they talk a lot about themselves.  When you’re thinking about themes, working a brainstorm session with your team, or actually writing your proposal, be sure that you’re focused on your customer. Features are attributes of your solution.  Be it products or services, features are those things that can differentiate you from the competition:  lower cost, smaller size, more power, larger supply base, extended life. Even great features can be meaningless in a proposal, however, if you don’t highlight the value they bring to your customer.  Benefits highlight value. Your solution

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The Successful Project

At Richter & Company, we don’t believe in fly-over “pigeon” management.  You know the kind — a member of management staff enters the room clueless, sprays less than welcome “stuff” in your direction that changes the course of your project, and moves on to the next unsuspecting crowd. In order to prevent this kind of unwelcome interruption, it is essential to get management “buy in” early on in the process of pursuing an opportunity.  If management is informed and involved, it is much less likely that they’ll burst in during your final efforts, demanding a major change. Here are Richter

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A Process of People

The process of government acquisition is designed to be as objective as possible.  But it’s important to remember that the people issuing government requirements and awarding government contracts are just people. At Richter & Company, we’ve seen some poorly written RFPs lately.   The acquisition force is facing a wave of retirements, meaning there are some inexperienced acquisition personnel trying to put together cohesive RFPs for the first time.  Often, the people writing the requirements aren’t the end users, so there’s disconnect between what the government is saying it wants, and what it actually wants.  No matter.  It’s important to try

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