Preparing for Effective Engagement - Notes from the Council
Building a Strong Capabilities Statement
1. In order to build a strong capabilities statement, you must first understand the business practices of your target audience. You must know the ins and outs of doing business with a specific company or public agency.
2. Questions to consider:
- What does my capabilities statement template look like?
- What are the parts that can remain in place?
- My history
- My values
- What are the parts that can be changeable?
- Localize or tailor your capabilities statement to your audience
- Have a modular layout so there is something you can “plug and play”
- Plug in opportunities based on your latest research
- Fine tune it to your audience so it is relevant to their current opportunities
3. Keep your statements simple: 2 – 3 sentences
4. Review how you performed against your value proposition
- Is there over-delivery or under-delivery of value
- Does the follow-up value statement substantiate the value proposition?
4. Be ready to have quarterly, semi-annual and annual reviews with corporations or public agencies to continually demonstrate that they made the right choice by hiring you
What to Avoid
1. Do not open with “I’m a minority owned business…” Remember you will not get the business just because you are a minority, you have to compete on quality, service and value. However, sharing your story, company culture and innovations are a plus.
2. Avoid typos. Procurement agents usually stop reading when they see typos
3. Avoid walls of text, have a clean layout and make things more readable
4. Do not use inconsistent branding/messaging
5. Avoid using generic email addresses (such as AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.)
6. Do not give procurement agents your generic deck
7. Do not present one page of just NAICS codes and then a small paragraph of who you are (keep it balanced)
More Tips (From Q&A)
1. Where to get information on corporate/public agency members:
- Opportunities throughout the year are compiled and may be available on company or public agency websites
- Opportunities may be provided to the Council
- Keep in touch with the Council
- The Council acts as a liaison between corporate/public agency members and MBEs
- Search online for (Company name) supplier diversity
- Corporate annual reports are a good source of information about changes within the company and direction the company is headed
- Corporate/Public Agency Members hold sourcing events from time to time, keep in-touch with the Council to stay informed.
2. When do procurement agents have time to visit/meet MBEs? (Existing and future diverse suppliers)
- Every time they are on the road
- WBENC in June
- Program managers in July
- NMSDC in October
- Council events
- Usually coinciding with trips/conferences/roadshows
- When there is something serious or “meat on the bone” which merits a site visit (usually late in the procurement process, not early on)
3. How do you (MBEs) want to be informed? Answers provided by MBEs during “Preparing for Effective Engagement - Part 1” session:
- MBEs prefer to obtain all information when visiting corporate/public agency websites:
- What are the opportunities?
- Who is the contact?
- What are the terms of the contract?
- MBEs prefer to get all the information with just one click
4. Other things that are good to know:
- For construction, it is a plus to be local to buyer’s location
- The City of Seattle has consolidated IT
- SDOT searches NAICS codes
- AT&T doesn’t search NAICS codes
- Always follow the steps provided by corporate/public agency members (not being able to follow step-by-step processes doesn't leave a good impression with buyers)
- If there are no opportunities at the time being, there may be opportunities in the future