the store

February 2009 Newsletter
Will your proposal team be prepared for the coming bid opportunity tsunami?

In this issue: Three new free articles providing a solution for proposal reviews that aren't helpful, help dealing with staff who don't write well, and an article about proposal themes.  Also: New features added and some you may have overlooked, An opening in our Innovation Lab, MustWin Process update, Spotlight on one of our partners, How to become a partner, and upcoming Webinar dates.

From the Editor's Desk:
This is our stimulus issue...

I don't know about you, but I really hate all the fear-mongering ads designed to take advantage of the state of the economy.  I'd like to do something helpful.  If you are a paid member of our site and you get laid off, contact us through the site and we'll mention your availability to more than 64,000 of our closest friends in our next newsletter.  Instead of inspiring fear, I'd rather offer a bit of assurance and maybe inspire a bit of confidence.

For a newsletter, this issue is a little long.  But it's full of good stuff that you can use to quickly improve your business.  It's worth the read...

Carl Dickson, Editor/Publisher  

New Article: 
5 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Proposal Writing Using Audience Analysis 
Some people are just not cut out to be proposal writers. Normal approaches aren’t going to help you with these people. They don’t need training, they need practice. Which of course, with a proposal due, you don’t have the time for. The only thing you can do is give them a cheat sheet. Here are five things to include.

New Article:
Solutions to Unsolvable Problems: Reviews That Are Not Helpful
Does the quality of your proposal reviews vary widely?  Are review comments based on the reviewer’s personal opinions? Do reviewers even contradict each other? Do your review comments come too little, too late to do any good and you end up ignoring some of them? Find out how to change your review process to solve these problems.

New Article:
What Are Proposal Themes and Why Are They Important?
When you think about it, proposal writing is really about telling a story. All too often, the story is written by authors who are responsible for different chapters with no clear idea of the setting, the characters, the ending, or even the moral of the story. Find out how themes can not only help you tell your story, but make the difference between winning and losing.  This article was written by Chris Simmons, one of the participants in's Partners Program. Click here to read the article.

We Have an Opening in the Innovation Lab
We have an opening for a new company in our Innovation Lab.  This program is only open to select companies and we only accept a few at a time.  Those in our Innovation Lab get special training, extra hand-holding, and discounts in return for being our guinea pigs.  They are the test beds where we develop and test new approaches.  Participating in the program is not for everyone.  Only companies who are prepared to be innovative should apply.  Participation is a major commitment and comes at a price.  This is not a program for someone who wants to win a single proposal.  It is only for companies that are prepared to reengineer how they develop business.  Every few weeks we will raise the bar until your business and proposal development processes meet our standards.  It is a great way to dramatically improve your company's ability to develop business.  The participant who created the opening turned-around a company that had hit hard times, having lost their last five proposals.  They came to us prepared to throw out the way they had been doing things and start over.  Over two years we worked with them until they were ready to stand on their own.  During the time they were in the program, they won every single one of their recompetes and built a qualified pipeline equal to 10 times their current revenue. More information is available here.
New Brochures
If you need something to show your boss or pass along to a friend, try one of our new brochures:
  • Enterprise Solutions Catalog for organization-wide improvement efforts.  Contains out-of-the-box approaches that radically change the economics of business development training.
  • Small Business Solutions Brochure for those that want to become large enterprises.  Includes our offerings that can help you out-compete larger competitors, while staying within the reach of a small business.
Feel free to send a copy to anyone you think could use the help…

Attention All Proposal Consultants now has a Partners Program for established consultants who are members of the website and are seeking to enhance their offerings. By incorporating our process documentation and training materials into your training and consulting services, you increase your value to your customers while opening up a new revenue stream. If you think we could be a match and want to know more about the program, send an email to

Partner Spotlight: Rainmakerz Consulting
Rainmakerz Consulting delivers business development solutions that consistently yield tangible results and exceed client expectations. They have helped their customers win over $57 billion in new contracts. Rainmakerz customers vary in size from small start-ups to Fortune 100 companies with tens of thousands of employees. They are extremely flexible and don’t mind working with small companies as well as large ones. Most of their work is done on customer sites in the greater Washington, DC area, but they have also supported customers across the US, Canada, Latin America, and Europe (both on-site and remotely). If you need hands-on help with your business development or proposal efforts, we recommend you give Rainmakerz a call. Another thing that discriminates them from other consultants is that they are a participant in the partners program. This means they passed our qualification process, are familiar with our best practice recommendations, and can help you implement our MustWin Process. For more information and how to contact them, click here.

New Features Recently Added and Some Good Ones You May Have Overlooked
We recently rolled out a new Service Provider Directory where you can find consultants who provide hands-on help and are familiar with our process and recommendations.  We also have enabled Premium Members to order extra copies of the MustWin Process Workbook.  This enables you to provide copies to everyone on your team for far less than it would cost to make them all members.  We also added a new User Support/FAQ system.  We also added a new section for Enterprise Solutions where you can find some of our out-of-the-box approaches that address improving the business development capability of your entire organization (instead of just individuals).

We'd also like to point out some features that are there but that you might have overlooked.  For example, members can generate PDFs of any article.  You can also tag your favorite articles so they show up on the User Settings and Downloads page as soon as you login.  This makes it really easy to find your way back to an important article.  These features make the site much easier to use and are some of the benefits of being a Paid Member.  

MustWin Process Quarterly Update
We have started distributing the latest release of the MustWin Process Workbook that comes with a Premium Membership. Each quarter we publish an update. This is the fifth release. It’s part of how we ensure that memberships are worth renewing. It’s also how we ensure that the process continuously grows and improves. This release is 176 pages and contains 40,438 words. That’s a 30% increase over the last year. You can download each quarterly update as it is published, and when you renew you get an updated hardcopy.  The biggest changes were related to:
  • Adding detail related to proposal graphics
  • Changing the Proposal Quality Validation Process to directly map quality criteria to what it will take to win, to simplify the form, and to make implementation easier to understand.
  • Adding appendices related to using the MustWin Process across multiple proposals
New topics added:
Post RFP Release Bid/No Bid Decision
Metrics and Measurements
Impact of the MustWin Process on Business Development
Creating Your “What it will take to win” List
Sample “What it will take to win” List
Sample Proposal Quality Criteria
Proposals for Solutions or Research
Addressing Graphics in Your Content Plan
Graphics Tracking Sheet
Submission Approval Form
What To Do When You Get a Late Start
Using a Compliance Matrix to Create an RFP Compliant Proposal Outline
Creating a Content Plan
Getting the Most Out of a Content Plan
Questions to Ask During a Debrief
Getting the Most From Lessons Learned 

Updated Topics:

Defining Proposal Quality
Proposal Quality Validation Implementation
Completing Your Proposal Quality Validation Plan
Proposal Quality Validation Form
Roles and Responsibilities
Who Does What
Proposal Support
Capture Manager’s Report for Readiness Review #4b
Content Plan Checklist
Proposal Quality Validation Form
Identifying Graphics
Configuration Management for Graphics

If you are already a Premium Member, you can just download the updated files.  When you renew, you'll get an updated hardcopy shipped to you. If you can't wait or want extra hardcopies, you can order them from our site from the same page where you download the electronic copy. 

Invitation: Enhance Your Skills
Each month we host a skills enhancement webinar where we work together on a proposal writing exercise and discuss the results. Here are the dates for our webinars through the first quarter of 2009:

January 21, 2009 
February 18, 2009 
March 18, 2009 

Premium Members are invited to participate in any of our webinars free of charge. You can become a Paid Premium Member here.

Job Openings
Whenever we hear about a job opening, we like to post it in our newsletter for the benefit of our readers. Since this newsletter goes out to more than 64,000 people, it benefits the company posting it as well.  If you have a job opening that you'd like to post (free of charge!), you can tell us about it by using this form.

Tutorial and Workbook List
We publish the following documents to help you develop business:

How to Survive Your First Business Proposal
How to Write a Management Plan
How to Write an Executive Summary
Quick and Dirty Guide to Writing a Last Minute Proposal
509 Questions to Answer in Your Proposals
Proposal Format Package
Sample Business Proposal Makeover: Before and After
Business Development for Project Managers

These documents can be purchased individually or as part of a paid membership to If you are already a member, all of these tutorials are available for immediate download from the User Settings and Downloads page.


This issue is sponsored by Privia by SpringCM

Privia™ is the Government Bid and Proposal Solution from SpringCM, the recognized market leader in enterprise-class, on-demand content management. Privia is specifically designed to help government contractors boost team productivity while reducing business development costs. Today, Privia is used by nearly 10,000 professionals across 57 Federal, State, and Local Government contractors, including 15 of the top 100 Federal system integrators, to automate bid and proposal management. View the Privia Demo today.  For more information visit, email or call us at 571.434.2982, Option 1 (for Sales).

Professional Editing and Proofreading by Michael LaRocca uses the services of Michael LaRocca and has been very pleased with the results. So much so that we'd like to publicly recommend him. Michael LaRocca has been a professional editor and proofreader since 1990. He's edited more than 300 published novels and textbooks, along with numerous white papers, short stories and articles. He's got the skills and just as important, he's a pleasure to work with. Click here to find out how he can help you
Recent articles you may have missed
Solution for When No One Follows The Process | Survey Says! | 10 Tips to Stop Wasting Proposal Time | Manual vs. Proposal Software | Magic Bullet Solutions

By Carl Dickson, Founder of

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