Building Your Past Performance Portfolio – Four Pillars for Success
So, you want to win the “big” contract, maybe one with the State of Arkansas for possibly seven years or maybe with the federal government for five years? Basically, you find a bid, put forth your response, win the award, and start vacationing in Costa Rica. No, not so fast.
There is something most procurement agencies (local, state, and federal) look for; it’s called past performance. What contract or work have you completed lately? Who did you complete the work for? How big was the monetary amount of the contract or for the product or service provided? Having a strong past performance is beneficial in today’s competitive environment.
So where do I begin in this pursuit of past performance? The key is to start at the lowest level which ensures a successful outcome. Don’t enter the Olympic Swim Trials before you can at least swim to the other side of the pool without paramedics showing up and providing a rescue. Maybe start at the bottom rung, the local level, achieve success and then gradually move up to state and federal contracts maturing your business and achieving incremental success.
Let’s discuss the four pillars to your success in achieving an outstanding past performance record.
Pillar #1 is Responsiveness.
When you respond to a solicitation you must give them what they ask for. This may be a price sheet, forms, or other documents, and in some cases, you must sign all addendums to the solicitation. A good rule of thumb is to give them no more or no less than what they requested for the bid response. Remember, give the buyer exactly what they asked for.
Pillar #2 is Responsible.
You must have the capability and capacity to complete the project. What you say you can do, better be what you do. Many small businesses have erred in getting an award only to default when they could not deliver the products and services. I once saw a bid award to a small college, they defaulted on the contract. Remember, give the buyer exactly what they paid for.
Pillar #3 is Reflective.
You must be able to regroup if something unexpected happens. Even if you are successful, constantly ask yourself can we be better, not only for our customer, but for our bottom line?
One small business thought they would always have a contract with the state and never took some reflection time; they lost the contract and over half of their revenue was from this one contract. Never stop thinking about being better, more efficient, and evaluating your approach to make the customer satisfied with your product or service. Remember, “reflective is an adjective that can describe a person who thinks things through.” *
Pillar #4 is Resilient.
You must be passionate, persistent, and pinpoint-focused to stay in the game. Not every day will be yours, nor will every contract. If you lose a bid, reflect, then move on quickly to another opportunity. Defeat is not a parking space; it is a detour, keep moving. Remember, no matter what, don’t give up.
So, what is the final word on past performance? Experience. According to Collins Dictionary, “experience is knowledge or skill in a particular job or activity, which you have gained because you have done that job or activity for a long time.” **
To learn more about the Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center and the many ways that our counselors can help secure government contracts, connect with us by calling 501-671-2390.