Mind the Gap

How do you decide which opportunities to pursue? Do you just chase everything? Do you wait for the “perfect” opportunity?

Let’s face it: Not all opportunities are created equal. Some are better than others. The key is to focus attention on the best ones.

But which ones are “best”? Three main factors should be key to your consideration:

– Can you do it?

– Can you win it?

– Can you make money doing it?

Let’s focus on the first of these questions: Can you do it? Rather than just making a gut-level decision, I recommend you use a structured approach called a Gap Analysis.

Working from a draft Statement of Work/Performance Work Statement, make a list of every required task, function, or activity that will be part of the contract. Then, for each line item, make an honest assessment of your capabilities and experience in that particular area. If you have experience doing it–with successful recent past performance–give yourself a check mark. If not, you have a “gap.”

Bear in mind, a single gap–or even a series of them–does not necessarily mean you shouldn’t pursue the opportunity. This is just the beginning of your analysis. Each gap is simply a clue to the next step in your strategy. That strategy may entail teaming with another company–as a prime, a sub, or in a joint venture. It may entail taking another look at your past performance; perhaps you haven’t given yourself adequate credit. Or, if the gaps are too large or numerous, it may be a clue that the opportunity really isn’t for you.

Regardless, conducting a simple Gap Analysis is a crucial early step in making a sound decision about whether an opportunity is right for you. Always “mind the gap”!

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