What is a Capabilities Statement & Why You Need One.

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“I’m super excited to share this knowledge with small businesses. I think we all take for granted that everybody knows how to start a business.” Many business education programs assume that business owners know all of the key things that they need in order to succeed as a small business. Just because you are up and running doesn’t mean that you still don’t need to cover the ground level. “So I’m really excited to kind of go over those items with you today. I’m Dawn Mayes, senior Program Manager here at APB and Associates and I am really excited to review these things with you guys.”

What is the capability statement?

A capability statement is a document, typically a one-pager that allows you to give a high-level overview of your business: your capabilities and your differentiators. It provides a brief snapshot of what your business is about, where you’re located, what certifications you have, and what you specialize in. So when you’re not in the room, it speaks for you, and it’s a tool that is necessary for a small business to be able to network properly and introduce yourself to potential companies and partners.

How does that differentiate or how is that different from a resume?

When you think about a resume, it’s geared more towards your personal skills as one person, a singular entity. It’s not an overall company. Typically, when you’re doing business, you don’t just do one thing. There are several things you do to try to scale your business from HR, to marketing, to bidding, and then the actual work of whatever it is that you’re doing. So I hope that helps with differentiating the two.

There are a lot of businesses out there that do a lot of things and they might be trying to put everything on a capability statement. How is that perceived?

When I say that your capability statement is supposed to be a high level overview of your company, I mean exactly that. Ask Yourself: What are those things that can give a quick synopsis of your business and tell them everything they need to know? Should it be a list of all of the work that you’ve been doing since 1975? No, but what are those things that really make you boast and put your chest out to say, “I was a part of this project.”  Those are things that you would want to highlight. Then what is going to peak the interest of your potential client that you’re giving this to?

What should be included in that capability statement?

Outside of identifying high-level projects that you recently worked on, you also want to emphasize your differentiators. The root word is different. So what makes you different? What is your secret sauce? What puts you over the edge above your competition? Is there some kind of innovative, new-to-the-market technology that your company is using and a lot of your competition doesn’t use? Ultimately, there are thousands of companies that may do the same exact thing you do in your industry but, why would they work with you?

It’s kind of like dating. You would put your best foot forward. You give them the overview but not all of the life stories. Just give enough so that you look really attractive as a company to another company or an individual, whomever your target audience is. Brevity is your best friend. A perfect example is if you’re trying to make repairs in your home. Let’s say you want to replace the windows so you call this window company, but they give you a list of the 150 people that they helped. Maybe they also fix doors and roofs, and they put all of that on their statement. By the time you get to the window part, you would be done with that company. You probably wouldn’t get through it and you’d be left confused. 

A potential partner or business owner that wants to do business with you wants to see WIIFM or what’s in it for me? Always have in mind who is the audience and who is the business that you are ultimately trying to work with. Once you determine that, then take a look at what that potential client is looking for that you can provide for them. This will help determine what needs to be highlighted on the capability statement.

Why do you need multiple capability statements?

Whatever your business is, maybe you have different kinds of clients, or maybe you work in the healthcare industry and higher education. Even though they might be larger clients, they have vast differences as far as what they’re looking for with your particular industry or business. It’s important for you to do your due diligence, meaning you’re researching that company. And so if it varies drastically between the clients, then you may want to create multiple capability statements based on the industry or clientele that you are trying to attract and do business with.

Next video we’re going to talk about how to target those capability statements to know your audience. But in this video, what we really want to point out is that a resume and a capability statement are two different things.

 And when you are putting in a capability statement, maybe you’re putting one in for a bid or something. You really want it to be able to stand out, but also be scannable so they can get a really good gist of what you do. And as Dawn said, “not reading an essay paper.”

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For more information about our DE&I efforts and consulting services, contact Dawn Mayes at DMayes@apbandassociates.com or Izzy Nalley at INalley@apbandassociates.com

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