For any small business owner wanting to become a supplier to a larger organisation – not just a mining company, but Councils, Government Departments, or even another commercial company – one of the very first things you must have is a Capability Statement.
What is a Capability Statement?
A Capability Statement is a document that shows your potential client exactly what goods and services you are capable of providing to them – your Capabilities. It should also show your Differentiators – what is it about you that makes you special, and would make your prospect choose you over one of your competitors?
For almost all resource industry companies these days, supplying a Capability Statement is a must-do. For all the resource company websites where small and medium sized companies (SME’s) can pre-register their interest in becoming a supplier, a good Capability Statement is a definite pre-requisite.
Create two versions
Sometimes it is useful to actually prepare two different Capability Statements – a short version and a longer, in-depth version.
The short version can be used for situations such as networking events, marketing emails, or uploading to pre-qualification websites. Make this version just two pages.
The longer version should give a high-value and in-depth understanding of your company. Use this version to tailor your story to a particular prospective client, or for a particular tender you are writing.
Remember though, that your prospective client will not have time to read a long statement. Even though this is the long version, keep it short. I have seen very good Capability Statements up to 6 pages, but with a lot of illustrations and photographs to help inform the reader.
What do I put in it?
So, what do you need to have in your Capability Statement?
This question is a little bit like asking how long is a piece of string? It all depends – it depends on the size and diversity of your company’s goods and services, and even what purpose the Capability Statement is being used for.
Most Capability Statements will start with the following:
Company Details: Contact details, Company Name, Trading Name, ABN, Years in business.
Competencies: What is it that you do? What Licences or Patents do you hold? What equipment, software and methodologies do you use? Do you have any special training or expertise? How large are the projects that you can handle?
Differentiators: What is it about you that makes you different from your competitors?
Systems: Details about your Health & Safety, Quality, Environmental, HR and Operational systems. They need to be confident that you have the systems in place to deliver their project efficiently, effectively and safely.
Insurances: What insurances do you hold?
Experience: What experience have you had on similar projects, and how will this experience help your current client?
Testimonials: Good stuff written by previous clients who used your company for similar projects in the past. These are extremely valuable!
Make it look great
The whole document should be attractive and visually appealing – with good photos, infographics or illustrations of your products, services and personnel. Please have it checked for spelling and grammatical errors before you press the GO button. The fact that you can’t spell will not impress a prospective client.
It should also prominently show your company logo, and generally fit with your company’s image. Don’t put pictures of fairies on your Capability Statement if you are a heavy equipment supplier!
If you are not a dab hand at using computer graphics and layout programs, there are innumerable options available. What you are looking for is a Graphic Designer who is able to design a brochure for you. There are many local suppliers – Google Graphic Designers – or use one of the on-line outsourcing services such as ODesk, Fiverr, Freelancer etc. If you would like to find out more about using services like these, contact us and we well point you to some excellent resources to get you started.
Make it available
Make sure that your Capability Statement is able to be downloaded easily from your website (you do have a website don’t you?).
You can even put a link to your Capability Statement in your email signature.
Take copies with you to networking events. People you meet will learn much more about you from your short Capability Statement than they will from a business card – and it’s bigger so it’s less likely to get lost or mixed up with all the other business cards they collected at the event.
For a more in-depth article about preparing powerful Capability Statements, check out our LinkedIn post here.
If you would like some professional assistance in putting your Capability Statement together, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bronwyn Reid
7 January 2015