I admit I thought a capability statement was more or less a generic document, one that I could write up, throw up on my website and attach it to applications as I sent them off. However, this week I, along with twenty other Indigenous business owners in South East Queensland, found out they’re much more than that. While a good deal of information in capability statements will be consistent across applications, there is quite a bit that needs to be tailored.

Here are my five key tips from the workshop –

5 key elements in a strong capability statement

  1. Tailor make the document to your intended reader. While it’s appropriate to have a ‘general’ capability statement that you might upload on your website, if you’re applying for a specific application, then it’s essential that the statement be tailored to the needs of the application. Some applications will call for a two-pages maximum statement while others will want a long and much more detailed statement.
  2. Give the name of the person who will be contacted. In the essential information at the start of the application, don’t use general contact details, rather use the name/phone/email of the specific person who can speak to the application. So rather than admin@mybusinessname.com, use jodi@mybusinessname.com. Make sure you list Jodi’s actual direct phone contact, not the office number.
  3. Procurement Officers are busy so make it easy to read. Procurement Officers are incredibly busy and in some application processes where there may be literally thousands to sift through, they have only a few seconds to judge whether yours goes in the bin or the read-further pile. This means you need to do what the application has asked for, but also, make the application readable. Where appropriate use bullet points, headers, colour, and tables. Don’t forget to spell-check. Twice!
  4. Know the values the application is asking for. As part of the preparation for the project, find out what values the project needs to adhere to. For example, if safety is high on the agenda, then your capability statement should reflect your expertise in this area.
  5. Don’t poly-fill your application. Use only that information that is relevant to the project you’re applying for. Your business may have a lot of experience in x, but if the application is for y, you need to focus on y.

Follow these five steps and your Capability Statement will have a much better chance of being in the read more pile.

Do you have any other tips? We’d love to hear them.

Cheers, Leesa

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