The bid / no bid decision is one of the single most important decisions a company will make during the pursuit of an opportunity; however, many organizations focus on one element of the opportunity – capability.
Instead of asking, “can we DO the work?” the question should be, “can we WIN the work?” Consider each opportunity, or upcoming solicitation, issued by the Government as a lump of coal to be mined for the treasure within. Most organizations never look beyond the performance work statement (PWS) or the scope of work (SOW) and automatically surmise, “WE CAN DO THIS!” Unfortunately, the Government acquisition lifecycle is not that simple. The Government Customer has so many rules, regulations, and requirements at both the Federal and Agency levels which feed into their decisions, it is critical for the successful contractor to do likewise. Each agency within the Government has a limited budget, depending on the product or service, along with socio-economic goals and Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) to which they must adhere. Rule number one: KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER. A few common factors for consideration, include:
· Do we have a capture plan?
· Have we performed a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis for this opportunity?
· Have we performed a Price-to-Win analysis?
· What’s the NACIS and size standard?
· Is the NACIS listed within our SAM registration?
· Are there a socio-economic factors to consider?
· Are we a large or small business within the NACIS?
· Have we engaged the customer?
· Did we attend the customer Industry Day?
· Do we know the customer budget; how much they have allocated to spend on the effort?
These considerations are just a few of the most common questions to consider for the pursuit decision; most of which are captured in the early stages when the Government is still in the early stages to determine the acquisition strategy. Early involvement ensures a “no” response can be revised to a “yes” which improves the probability of win (Pwin). Obviously, the larger and more complex the requirements, the earlier in the acquisition lifecycle you should begin. In order to help “shape” or define some of these factors early on it is important to respond to the market survey or request for information (RFI), engage the customer, and fully understand their ultimate goal.
As companies seek “to do more with less” they target their market, identify opportunities early, engage the customer, and make the all-important bid / no-bid decision based on their ability to win vs their ability to perform the required word.