How to Create a Compelling Capability Statement

A Capability Statement can be a powerful marketing and communication tool for your organization. If you take the time to develop a compelling baseline, you’ll have the foundation for future customizations and iterations. What’s more, you’ll have some great content to include on your website, in presentations, and even in a traditional, tri-fold brochure.

In this article, we’ll define the capability statement, identify and explain the required sections, and provide some sample text.

What is a Capability Statement?

Capability statements essentially serve as a resume for your company. Generally no more than 1-2 pages (front and back), they’re intended to provide potential clients, partners or vendors with a snapshot of who you are, what you sell, and what makes you different (and better) than your competitors. While they are used in many industries, they are especially critical in the government contracting space, as government agencies expect you to have one at the ready whenever they ask. In fact, they often include them in their request for proposal (RFP) requirements.

Capability statements are not brochures. Though there are some similarities between the types of information included in a company brochure and a capability statement, brochures are generally printed in bulk and tend to include a more general overview of an organization or a specific product or service. Capability statements, on the other hand, are intended to provide specific, detailed information about your company and should be customized to relate your core competencies to the recipient’s specific needs.  I’ll address customization of the capabilities statement another time; first let’s get your baseline created.

What Should I Include?

In general, capability statements should include the following information:

  1. Capabilities*
  2. Past Performance
  3. Differentiators
  4. Company Data
  5. Contact Information

Capabilities

The capabilities section of the document should include a brief introduction of your company’s core capabilities and a bulleted, keyword heavy list of your products and services. This should not be the full history of your company, or your mission and vision statements; rather, try to write a sentence or two that clearly articulates the products or services you provide.

Sample:

Founded in 2007, Acme Technology Corporation has a proven track record of providing excellent strategic management and project management consulting services to Federal, State and Local government agencies. A certified women owned business, we create exceptional value for our clients through implementation of industry-wide best practices such as X, Y, and Z. Our services include:

  • Service 1
  • Service 2
  • Service 3

Again, you will have an opportunity to customize this introduction for the audience later, but you should craft a generic statement to serve as a baseline.

Past Performance

In this section, you should include a list of customers for whom you have worked, as well as a very brief synopsis of the project. If possible, you should include the client’s contact information, as well. Knowing that we have limited space, you’ll only want to include those projects that are highly relevant. Again, this goes back to customizing the document for a specific audience, so for the baseline, choose projects that best represent your overall capabilities. Since we’re also providing the client’s contact information, be sure to choose projects for which you’ll receive good references. (Seems obvious, I know . . . but you’d be surprised!!)

Sample:

Client Name Project Contact Information
Client 1 Provided A and B over a period of XX years/months to address/resolve/improve X and Y. Jane Doe, Director, 888-867-5309, jdoe@company.com
Client 2 Developed and executed C and D utilizing H, I and J technologies. Sally Doe, Contracting Officer, 888-867-5309, sdoe@agency.gov
Client 3 Implemented this and that and continue to provide ongoing support and maintenance. John Doe, CTO, 888-867-5309, jdoe@company.com

 

Differentiators

Unless you’ve invented something completely new, chances are you’re not alone in your field of work. Let’s face it, you have a few (hundred?) competitors, but you and I both know that you’re much better than they are, right? The Differentiators section is your opportunity to clearly define what makes your company different from all the rest and to explain why it matters.

In this section, you’ll want to provide a keyword heavy, bulleted list of the skills, products, services, certifications, processes, etc. that separate you from the competition. Quantify this information wherever possible by providing numbers, percentages, metrics, or statistics. Do your best to demonstrate the value your differentiators create for your clients.

Not sure what to highlight? Ask yourself a few of the following questions:

  • How many years have you been in business? Longevity provides the client with the security of knowing you’re here to stay. If this is a new business, how many years of combined experience do you and your team members have?
  • Do you hold any relevant industry certifications? What about your employees? How many/what percentages of your employees are certified or have higher level degrees?
  • Do you have any partnerships that add value to your products or services with 3rd-Party vendors specific technologies, or companies with complementary products or services?
  • Do you offer any level of guarantee for your product or service? List it here.
  • Are you or your employees members of associations?
  • Is your location key to your ability to provide excellent service or support? Make it clear.
  • Have you won any awards?
  • Received high customer ratings or testimonials? What percentage of your customers are repeat customers?
  • Do you offer training or ongoing maintenance and support for your product or service?
  • Consider your speed or capacity for meeting your client’s needs. Are you able to deliver or start immediately? Do you have a team of people standing by? How quickly can you ramp up to full speed?

Sample:

Intro sentence about our differences.

  • Quantified example 1
  • Quantified example 2
  • Quantified example 3

Company Data

This section should include a brief (1-2 sentence) description of your company and include some basic facts, such as the size of the company, revenue, number of employees, years in business, and areas you serve. You should also list specific codes, such as:

  • License Numbers
  • Federal ID (TIN or EIN)
  • Socio-economic certifications: 8(a), HUB Zone, SDVOB, MBE, etc.
  • Industry Certifications: ISO, CMMI, etc.
  • Relevant Codes (Just the numbers, not the description): NAICS, SIC, UNSPSC, CAGE, HTS, etc.
  • GSA Schedule Contract Number
  • Contract Vehicles
  • Contract Numbers

Contact Information

In addition to providing the basic contact information (address, phone number, fax number, and website) you’ll also want to identify a specific point of contact and include their name, title, email address, and mobile number.  This is another opportunity to customize the content for the specific audience, but for the baseline, include the name of someone who can and should be contacted to discuss new business or partnership opportunities. Whether it’s a sales person, business development manager, or the President of the company, make sure you provide a real person and not a generic title or email address.

Conclusion

You now have a baseline understanding of what to include in your capabilities statement. Get started quickly: visit our store to purchase one of our fully customizable Microsoft Word templates. Each template includes my handy guide, Create a Compelling Capability Statement, for free (normally $29). The guide includes even more information to help you design and customize your capability statement for the right audience.

Prefer to have me create one for you? Check out the custom capability statement service, which guarantees  delivery of the first draft within 24 hours of receiving payment and a completed questionnaire.

This post was written by
A reformed corporate rock star with a serious addiction to food porn. She is a serial blogger, small business coach, and lover of casual Friday's. When not writing, researching, or coaching, she can be found working on her other blog(s) or watching action hero cartoons with her boys.

6 Comments on "How to Create a Compelling Capability Statement"

  • Harith Razaa

    This is very good information. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

    • Monica

      My pleasure! Let me know if you have any questions!

  • Winston Lee

    Working on one now but the first one was missing some key points so I had to get some outside help.Don’t try to everything by yourself, GET HELP WHEN NEEDED

    • Monica

      For sure! I’d be happy to review yours and provide feedback, if interested. No charge, of course! Drop me a note at monica@alvaradoconsulting.com if interested.

  • Very good information I’ve used your outline in my capability statement, keep them coming.

    I’ve not seen any of your article ‘s lately, my I ask why ?

    Thank you

    Winston

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