Capability Statements That Make A Statement

Your next bit of marketing material is your capability statement.

A capability statement is basically a one-page overview of your company. If you go to any government contracting event you will come away with a stack of these so in this class lets talk about best practices to make yours pop out of the stack and provide the most important information right away.

Paper Format:

This may seem like a funny question but your format is critical. Some people like a simple flat page with information on both sides. Others prefer a folded page, while others go for a tri-fold. And believe it or not, the decision you make is important.

No fold:

Easy to make (just pick them up off your printer) but there are a couple of issues

-It is a big sheet and they tend to get crumpled so it is difficult to keep them looking sharp

-They are difficult to store due to their size

-It is a LOT of information all at once so can overwhelm readers

Folded and tri-folded:

I highly recommend these, and many printers will do this for a minimal charge

-They are more durable because they are smaller and twice/three times as thick

-They are easy to fit into a protective envelope

-The folds create natural information sections

Where to put information:

Before we get into content lets be realistic about what is actually going to be seen. In my experience, there are three “zones” in a capability statement

The high view section:  These are the parts of the doc that most people will look at.

Mid view sections:  There are the parts that people will look at if the high view sections REALLY piqued the reader’s interest.

Low view sections: These sections are almost never read at the event where they were given out, at best they will be read back at the office if there is serious interest.



So what is in each section? Well my suggestions are below and if you can’t fit it all into one document consider having a couple of different capability statements, one that focusses on your First services, one that focusses on your Second services, or one that focusses on one customer and one that focusses on other

Type size: I recommend keeping to 14 points or higher

Color:  Please yes. Black and white capability statements look cheap and amateur hour.

Bullet points:  Blocks of dense text are very intimidating and turn people off. If you are listing things do it in bullets

Break up information:  When possible visually break up information so it is in logical groups

Your e-version:  If you have a folded capability statement you will need to build a Non-folded version that you distribute electronically, and only distribute PDFs. Word docs can go crazy when viewed on mobile or on different systems.

Review: Have a couple different people look at it, a customer, someone younger, someone older, people in the biz, outside the biz, etc.

A note on Printing: Printing gets expensive and there is a 100% chance you are going to modify the first version of your capability statement so please don’t make big orders

Sure you’ll save some money per item but you don’t want to make a mega purchase and then find a typo… print a couple dozen copies, and share those around and get people’s reaction, then go for a big purchase.

Other references:  While not focussed on the US market THIS   is a great workbook on writing capability statements

Examples:  Here are some capability statements that I think have done a good job in their visual composition: