The first step to improving business capture rates is understanding that planning is the key to success.

The second step is asking yourself if you are the best person in your firm to do it.  Are you a planner?  Just because you’re in charge and responsible for most of your company’s success doesn’t mean you should be the designated road warrior.  Remember, being the best in your company at something doesn’t necessarily mean you can do it well!  Is there anyone in your firm that can fill the bill?  Be honest.

Consider Outsourcing

You probably outsource some things to experts.  We all passed Accounting 101 (maybe even on the first try), but I bet that most of us use a bookkeeper – and even a CPA, should the IRS come knocking.  I watch Law and Order so much that I hear the theme music in my sleep, but I wouldn’t dream of representing myself in court!  If there is no one in-house who can do it, is capture planning something you should outsource?  Have an honest conversation with yourself around the following questions.

Do you have the inclination and the willingness to participate in a long-range strategic exercise defined by constantly changing factors and a fair dose of rejection?  Everybody is strong in capture planning on Day 1.  It is only the true warriors who are able to soldier on, keeping an opportunity in their sights for six months and longer.

Are you detail oriented?  Capture planning is all about gathering the details so you are able to position yourself accordingly.  Did you catch that that opportunity is essentially a recompete, yet it’s been switched from 8(a) to small business?  A good capture planner knows exactly where to go and what to do with that detail.

Do you need to see immediate results in the short-term?  Capture has a long business cycle.  If you need to see positive results after one or two actions, then this is not the game for you.

Do you find it difficult to divest from an idea way before it’s at the crash and burn stage?  Every contract is a potential opportunity.  Capture planning involves weeding out the weakest opportunities, so that you can focus more resources on the most promising ones.  If you find it hard to divest and your personal motto is “we’re not missing any grounders,” capture planning is not for you.

Effective capture planning is a skill, just like any other business function.  Hold yourself by accountable by having a conversation with yourself and your colleagues about your true skills, strengths, and inclinations when it comes to capture, and outsource if it’s prudent to do so.