Oct 20 2014
Marriage or Business . . .
RFPs WASTE TIME,
MONEY & ENERGY
A. RFPs done by or for an entrepreneur
B. RFPs done for the government
C. RFPs done by or for a marriage partner
D. RFPs longer than one page
E. RFPs that require attachments
Here’s the bottom line for each:
1. Odds are that any entrepreneur who asks for a formal RFP (Request For Proposal) is likely to be an insecure pompous ass. In fact, unless you’re selling psychotherapy services, you probably shouldn’t waste your time. These individuals are either playing control-freak games or they are looking for free strategy outlines to follow… or to get you to do the strategy work for free that can then be passed along to someone else to follow who lives closer and is cheaper, or who can be more easily manipulated… and/or a relative or friend or “undercutter” who will execute YOUR proposal outline at a much lower fee.
Any entrepreneur who responds to an RFP with anything more than a one-page proposal (no, not two sides of one page, and not one and a half pages) isn’t worth her or his salt because getting the job done requires being concise. Entrepreneurial proposals longer than one page immediately telegraph that you don’t know what you’re talking about!
2. Government literally invented these things. RFPs are how government people get outside vendors and especially service businesses to work their brains off for free! If you’re an entrepreneur, you might rather want to die than jump government agency hoops and run their gauntlets. Government workers aren’t smart enough to be in your shoes, but they are experts at manipulating innovative thinkers to struggle with solving government problems. 30-page RFP questionnaires are not unheard of. Typically, you’ll provide everything requested before learning that you—now out of breath with burned feet—are not being awarded the project. And why is that?
Why? Because, unbeknownst to you, the work contract is being awarded to a White House cousin or Senator’s housekeeper’s sister or Congressional Representative’s biggest campaign donor’s son who just flunked out of dog-walking school, or the Governor’s favorite niece’s boyfriend or the state representative’s brother-in-law’s sister-in-law once removed, or the Mayor’s mistress’s dog trainer. “HA!” says you, “not a chance!” Don’t bet the farm on it! After all, can you think of one reason a government employee should care about any private business that can’t influence the powers that be to help keep that person’s job intact?
3. Okay, the marriage partner thing. That really shouldn’t take even a semi-conscious human being to figure out that having to request a marriage proposal from someone is probably not the healthiest indicator of marriage startup success… especially if it’s in writing. Oh, not talking about prenuptial agreements here, which have their advocates and clearly seem to fit some circumstances. I’m talking about formally requesting a proposal. And, I mean, what do you do with such a thing? Does it include a deadline? A budget? 27 pages of attached supportive evidence and diagrams? Really?
4. A proposal for ANY thing that needs to be longer than one page is simply not worth submitting or accepting. Proposals are, after all, opportunities for those who request them to identify quick-thinking, quick-on-their-feet experts who don’t need to reinvent the wheel or describe every minutia detail of how they’ll attack the problem. By the same token, those who respond to RFPs need to demonstrate their expertise with a no-words-wasted outline of recommended actions that are crisp and to-the-point. Or are you too complicated?
5. Oh, yeah, attachments. Fuggetaboutit! Diagrams, bibliographies, source listings, examples, past clients? Delete, delete, delete. If a request source doesn’t know you or have found out about you separate and apart from the RFP, the RFP isn’t the place to start getting known. Best advice? Move on!
SUMMARY: Time, energy, money, and opportunity loss are all likely to occur for those consumed with completing every detail of a typical RFP. More secure, more definite, more fun and more challenging new business results can probably be realized by making a concerted effort to convert sales from your existing pipeline. Leave RFPs for medium and large size enterprises that can more easily afford to take it on the chin when the bottom falls out. Make today the time for change!
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Hal@BusinessWorks.US or 931.854.0474 or comment below
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