01 Feb Guest Blog: Capability Statements – What they are, why you need one and getting one written!
Most tradies already know about capability statements and how they can help land new business. However, many tradies don’t know what should be included and how to best to go about having one written. A professionally prepared capability statement (basically an expanded version of a company profile) is what can set you apart from the rest, when it comes to growing your business and expanding your revenue.
If you’re chasing contracts with larger companies or government departments, expect to be asked for a capability statement. We’ve already worked with dozens of tradies – including plumbers, builders, electricians and more, who’ve needed to provide a capability statement to progress a contract. Capability statements are a requirement that’s becoming more widespread.
Here’s what you need to know about capability statements.
The definition of a capability statement
A capability statement is a document that provides information about your company, its strengths and successes. Its purpose is to demonstrate the value of hiring you or doing business with you on any given project.
Australian capability statements generally differ from other countries – Here’s how
Capability statements in the United States are often only a single page long and contain just basic facts. Large organisations often use them to compare like services when it comes to potential contractors or sub-contractors, so the single page layout is easy to compare and suits this need.
In Australia, though, businesses are generally asked to submit a more detailed capability statement depending on the prospective client’s requirements and the assessment and decision-making process. Although it’s not unheard of for some capability statements to reach 24 pages (or more!), most statements usually range from between 3-8 pages in length.
The must-haves in any capability statement
While each business will have a distinctive and different capability statement, as the document needs to represent them uniquely, some contents should be included as a matter of course, no matter the business or industry.
Specifically, you should ensure the following are included:
- Business overview
- Services you provide
- Core competencies
- Contact details
We also recommend including your USP/UVP (unique selling/value proposition), so it’s seen exactly what sets your business apart from the competition.
Of course, a longer and more detailed capability statement gives scope for further information, and you could include additional material such as case studies that illustrate your business’ capacity to provide previous and existing clients with outcomes and solutions to their needs.
Consider your capability statement to be like a foot-in-the-door, and if it answers the question: “what does my potential ideal client need to know before they do business with me?” you’ll cover all your bases.
Why not just copy and paste another business’ capability statement?
Firstly, copying another business’ capability statement would be a clear breach of Australian copyright laws. All written material is copyrighted to the author, and another business’ work would leave you open to potential fines and/or court costs.
Secondly, should there be a situation where the business whose capability statement you copied also submitted theirs in the hope of winning a job…. It would not go well for you or your business’ reputation in the industry.
Finally, a capability statement should be mindful of your audience and how your business is best placed to meet the prospect’s needs. If a capability statement is requested, it’s fair to assume the process for selecting trades will be robust and a unique and professional statement is what will position you well. It’s also worth making small changes to your capability statement with each application to ensure it meets the prospect’s specific needs.
Outsourcing your capability statement vs writing it yourself
We’ve written professional capability statements for many tradies in a range of industries. We write, it’s what we do well. We certainly aren’t plumbers, engineers, electricians or tilers…. your trade skills are your expertise and what you’re successful at. It makes perfect sense then to hire a professional writer to prepare your capability statement, especially if you’re likely to spend too much time worrying about the words you need and how to write them.
If you have confidence in your writing skills or if your budget is limited, you can certainly prepare a capability statement yourself. This will be much easier though when you have a clear idea of what information needs to be included and the best structure for your document.
Our Capability Statement Kit – available now – is designed to fully prepare you for writing your own capability statement. Packed with value, you’ll find it includes all the information you need, as well as some professional strategies and tips for producing a solid and competitive document. It’s the ideal resource for start-ups, businesses on a tight budget and/or confident writers who are needing a capability statement and have a tight timeline.
Of course, should you require a professionally written, more comprehensive multi-page document unique to your business, my team and I can help. Check out our website and get in touch for a chat. Further information about our services is available here
Hi, I’m Lyndall Guinery-Smith, business owner and chief word wrangler at The Professional Writer. My team and I write content dedicated to attracting and engaging your ideal clients … and improving your bottom line. This includes website content, capability statements, company profiles, team bios, business award nominations, blog post packages and more. We happily work with clients all over Australia. Email us to arrange an obligation-free discussion about your latest project.