In the military, there’s a familiar saying: Prior planning prevents poor performance. With that principle in mind, military operations are carefully planned and rehearsed to maximize their chances of success.
Unfortunately, in the proposal world, we sometimes tend to forget that principle. As another saying goes, we don’t plan to fail, but we do fail to plan.
Too often, we wait too long to begin our proposal efforts. In fact, companies often do no proposal planning until an RFP comes out. That’s almost always too late. Competitors have probably been planning and preparing for weeks, months, even years before then. A late-starting offeror is going to be at a severe disadvantage. And that’s why proposal experts often say, “If you don’t know who the winner is by the time the RFP comes out, it probably isn’t you.”
Starting early is a key to success in developing winning proposals. Identify target opportunities well in advance, put time and effort into positioning yourself for them, and develop a strategy and begin to execute it before the RFP comes out. You’ll almost surely see better results.