When you submit your capabilities statement to a government contracting officer or a government vendor, you have to keep in mind that the officers or vendors are pressed for time as they are swamped with hundreds of capabilities statements from other companies. As such you need to make sure that you format your capabilities statement in a format that catches their attention. As a technical writer/business writer with a decade of capabilities writing experience, I know the perfect format that you can implement to make your capability statement stand out.
And that format is the Z format.
That’s right. The image above. Your capability statement should be laid out in a Z format. Z format as in the order and structure of your capabilities statement. Basically it is The 6 C’s of a Capability Statement.
And if you already have designed your capabilities statement, make sure to have it redesigned it in a Z format. This is the way the readers or the receivers of your capability statement absorb information about you and your company. It is the quickest way to look at the statement. As I already mentioned above, the government contracting officer is already swamped hundreds of similar statements and they are going to spend reading or should I say, skimming it, for maximum of 6 seconds. Yep! That is correct! 6 seconds.
It is in this 6 seconds they will absorb information from your capabilities statement before they decide to do one of these 3 things:
- Meh! TLDR. I’ll put it in the drawer for later reading. (Trust me, you don’t want this to happen.)
- Hmmm… Interesting… I’d like to ask you more. Tell me more. I’m interested.
- Oh! This is fabulous! I know exactly who should get this. Let me forward this to them.
All these decisions taken in a 6 second review!
It’s like a make or break.
Coming back to the format which is the Z shape format; the top left of the Z should be your company logo and name, in the middle you should have the headline Capabilities Statement and below the headline make sure you add your DUNS and CAGE numbers or ABN or ACN numbers. These numbers come handy when your contracting officer needs to look you up, needs to do a little bit more research on you or find out more about you. Make sure you have these 2 numbers; just below the headline. Then on the top right corner of Z, you need to put your Tags. Tags are the HUBZone logo etc. The main reason to put this logo in the top right corner is make it clear to the contracting officer that you are a HUBZone certified firm etc. All they want to know whether you can complete their mission. And when they come across the tag, they are going to instantly know that your firm is HUBZone certified.
As you come down, you need to have your Core Competencies. Your Core Competencies should state ‘This is what we do. This is what we offer. These are our services.’ Then further down is where you need to have your have Past Performances on the bottom left of the Z format. Past Performances in simple terms are your Past Projects. This tells them that you do have experience in what you said you do. And the last one is the differentiators. This should be put on the bottom right hand side. This is the element where you say how you are different, how unique you are from the rest of companies out there.
Oh! There’s one more important element that you need to include in your Capabilities Statement. It’s the elevator pitch. Contracting officers don’t have much time to read it. They need it fast. They need to absorb information quickly. They just basically skim it. So, if you want them to pause and say, ‘This is interesting or This is fabulous’, make sure your elevator pitch is precise and concise.
And don’t forget the last element of your capability statement! The content, the information that needs to be in the footer; at the bottom of the Z format, your contact info! Complete this section by sharing your contact info. Your contact information should have your phone numbers, your website url, your email ID etc.
So, you know now in what format should your capabilities statement should be! So, what do you want the contracting officer to do with your capability statement? Scan it or skim it?
If you want your capability statement to be thoroughly scanned, get in touch with me. I’ll help you in writing and designing your capability statement in the Z format.