When it comes to Australian capability statements, many business owners are surprised to learn how these documents can help to land a raft of new and bigger clients. A professionally written capability statement (basically a company profile on steroids!), can be just the “foot in the door” you need to secure more business and increase your revenue.
While many clients come to me to get their Australian capability statements written, most are initially unsure exactly what needs to be included.
I work with electricians, plumbers, builders, transport companies, building inspection companies and many other business owners across Australia, who have been told they need a capability statement by their potential clients. Australian government agencies, large corporations and major contractors are increasingly requesting a capability statement to be submitted before they will consider working with your business.
Following are answers to the most frequently asked questions about capability statements …
What is a capability statement?
Quite simply, a capability statement is a document outlining information about your company, its strengths and your track record.
What makes Australian capability statements different from other countries?
In the USA, capability statements seem to generally consist of only one page and contain basic, factual information. They are often used by large organisations to ‘compare apples with apples’ when it comes to potential contractors or sub-contractors, so the single page layout is ideal for this purpose.
However, in Australia, most organisations require more detailed information so they can assess your company’s suitability for a project or contract. Depending on your business’ history and the requirements of your prospective clients, Australian capability statements generally range from 2-4 pages up to 24 pages or more, and everything in between. The vast majority are around 3-6 pages long.
What should I include in my capability statement?
While the exact topics and content is different with every single capability statement and the variations are endless, the basic contents remain the same. They are:
- Business overview
- Services you provide
- Core competencies
- Contact details
Of course, a more comprehensive document will contain greater detail, including numerous case studies which clearly demonstrate your organisation’s ability to solve a particular problem and produce positive outcomes for your clients.
If building long term relationships with your clients is important, you may also wish to include a profile and photo of each key team member to initiate the “know, like and trust” factor.
It’s also a great idea to include your USP/UVP – unique selling proposition or unique value proposition. This is the one thing which truly sets you apart from your competitors.
How do you know what to include and what to leave out?
When a prospective client asks me to quote on writing their capability statement, I ask them, “What do you prospective clients need to know before they will do business with you?”. Think about your ideal client and those you’re aiming to attract.
Why can’t I just copy and paste another company’s capability statement?
Firstly, all written materials are copyright in Australia, so copying another company’s capability statement would not be a good idea, unless you’re happy to pay a hefty fine and/or potential court costs.
Secondly, imagine your embarrassment if you bid for the same job as the company you copied from … and the prospective client found out you’d copied your statement. Do you think you’d get the work?
It’s important to tailor the contents of your document to your audience. Remember, you must supply all the information your prospective clients require to make an informed decision about whether to engage your services… and this information varies between businesses. Depending on the size of the contracts you’re vying for, you may consider customising your capability statement for certain prospective clients.
Who should write your capability statement?
Savvy business owners engage a professional writer, such as myself, to write their capability statement. I often have clients remark that they lack the level of writing skill or expertise required to make a great first impression. My reply is usually something about my lack of electrical, engineering or building skills, so you wouldn’t want me doing any work in those trades! It’s awesome when we know what we’re good at – and we stick to it.
However, if you do have sound writing skills and/or your budget is limited, you can certainly compile a capability statement yourself. This task is much easier when you have a clear strategy, know what information you need to include and the structure of your document.
All this information is available in my capability statement kit. In this value-packed guide, you get all the information you need, plus some professional tips and tricks to help make your capability statement shine.
The capability statement kit is ideal for start-ups, budget-conscious business owners and those who are confident in their writing ability. Check out all the information here.
Are you a tradesperson? We’ve written a blog post with specific tips for tradies 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.