So my PR people keep telling me to write about what I’ve been up to. Their goal is to one, decipher my ramblings and two, keep them somewhat relevant to my general topic (no easy task I assure you). So here it goes:
This past week I attended the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s conference in San Diego. The event’s purpose is to help build relations between minority-owned suppliers and consumers looking to establish relations with diverse suppliers. One of my many preparations for NMSDC San Diego conference includes a capabilities statement. Writing a capabilities statement is never the most thrilling part of my job, but the importance of a capabilities statement at a trade show (or anytime your trying to navigate through the procurement process) is critical when you consider the vast amount of information that is thrown at companies attending a conference. Every piece of collateral needs to be effective in communicating our message and helping us stand out. My aim is to share my knowledge, hopefully helping some of you with the process and potentially sparking some ideas myself.
First, what is a capabilities statement?
A Capabilities Statement informs your existing and potential customers about your business’ services, including:
Who you are.
What you sell.
What core competencies you bring to the table.
Most importantly, why you!
It is a snapshot of your company, it is your companies resume. It tells potential clients why to choose you over your many competitors.
What should be in my capabilities statement?
In preparing this document keep in mind that its primary purpose is marketing. So as we do in the first step of any marketing piece, remember to ask the right questions.
What is your differentiator? Why should anyone read this? And if they do read it, why should they contact/choose you to work with. What is your goal in writing a capabilities statement? If you can’t answer these questions, how will potential customers be able to?
A Capabilities Statement should be:
- Brief (only 1 or 2 pages), concise and specifically related to the individual client’s needs.
- Visually interesting- Make it look good. People are extremely visual at these conferences and want to read something that seems stimulating. Offer the target the opportunity to explore what may seem unorthodox or interesting and more than likely someone will pay more attention to your message than others.
Below is an outline of my Capabilities Statement and the core information I will be including-
CAPABILTITIES STATEMENT Outline-
Contact Information- Standard company contact info
Tag Line- Something they will remember
Company Overview- Who you are
Facilities or Office Locations- List all significant and strategically placed office locations.
Company data- Include the size of your firm, your revenue, your available resources, your insurance and bonding capacity, and the typical geographic area you serve.
Core Competencies- List what your company is good at.
Services- List core services.
Differentiators- Explain competitive advantages
Company Data- Include the size of your firm, your revenue, your available resources, your insurance and bonding capacity, and the typical geographic area you serve.
Company Information- DUNS# 123456789 EIN# 12-3456789
Key Personnel- Names and Titles
Contract Client List- List 3 clients. This could also be a good place to describe the work you did for those clients. Past performance that is similar to your target.
M/WBE Certifications: List your Certifications
NAICS Codes: Lists what codes you fit under
Contact: List the contact info the best person for them to contact
Remember that in order for a capabilities statement to be effective, your target contact needs to read it, establish rapport by understanding who you are and why they should be interested in working with you. This will not be the document that closes the deal, but without an effective capabilities statement it could be the document that stops it.