Avoiding Business Development Budgeting Pitfalls and Proposal Cost Cutting Blunders

As a proposal manager getting a proposal plan approved, I always found it difficult to get my management to approve a budget that was based on 40-hour weeks for employees and 50, 60, or even 70-hour weeks for consultants. It just didn’t look good: a consultant often cost more per hour than an employee, and got paid for every hour worked to boot. Yet, I managed to stay on budget and win. I would like to share how I did it with you.So, how do you justify hiring the consultants, how do you properly budget for proposals, and how do you save costs without sacrificing quality?I am going to address each approach that has worked for me. But before I get to the budgeting and savings, I need to address three common patterns around business development expenditures that need to shift before you can think of efficiency and effectiveness in business pursuits. If you are already there, ignore this post, but read on if you recognize these in your organization.Pattern #1: Keep Business Development Investment Low. I find it surprising how few corporate folks understand the simple truths behind business development. Everyone knows that business development directly feeds company growth, but some companies don’t invest nearly enough to grow.These days, companies have to either grow or die. When they choose to be conservative with funding business development, their growth is slow. Any disaster, such as a stop-work order on a bread-and-butter project or loss of a recompete, could wipe out the company.I have worked for at least five companies where I observed the decision-making pattern of saving on business development costs when things get tight. This is exactly the approach that makes companies go under. In fact, early in my career I worked for two companies that got sold because they didn’t do well financially, and I could directly trace it to the way they approached business development.It may feel almost counterintuitive, but if the company has not been winning enough and is not doing as well financially, it has to cut costs elsewhere but spend more on beefing up their business development. The right approach is to make business development the company’s utmost priority.Pattern #2: Do Proposals on a Shoestring. Another pattern I wanted to address is the desire to keep individual proposal budgets very low. Sure, I understand what it’s like to have a tight overall budget, especially when you are a small company or a small department. I just question the very common penny-pinching logic that usually drives this pattern.Some people’s rule is that they have to save everywhere-just like shopping for clothes that they always buy only on sale. It sure works for consumer goods, save for a few fashion disasters, but doesn’t work as well for business development. A pennysaver mentality for proposals leads to cutting out the all-important capture activities, overworking and burning out staff, and deciding to save a few thousand dollars at the end to cut corners on a bid that could have won if the company hadn’t scrooged on the last few touches that could have taken the proposal from green to blue.As you know, a proposal that does not win means money out the window 98% of the time. It does not matter that you saved money producing the proposal, because it is not only the B&P budget that you lost. You also lose the potential revenues from this contract or other pursuits you could have used this money to win.Pattern #3: Always Use Cheaper In-House People Rather than Hiring Proposal Consultants. Let’s be frank here. Proposal managers know that every member of the proposal team is not the same: there are people who are the heavy lifters and can literally carry the proposal, and there are those who will work on a small section, diligently sitting in front of the computer and talking a good game, but not producing much or anything of quality. It all boils down to the 80-20 Pareto principle, where 20% of the people do 80% of the entire proposal work.So, imagine when 80% of your people are charging their low rates to the proposal, producing only 20% of work with lesser quality. Some employees may be inexpensive, but when several of them charge full-time for doing just a small piece of the effort, your costs get out of control quickly. Besides, for the internal people, you have to count not only the hourly rate of their salary, but also the overhead, the fringe benefits, and any other compensation you may offer.It may be cheaper to get one or two expensive twenty-percenters who can replace several underperformers and do a better job.As long as you don’t fall into those three common patterns, you are positioned to win more and grow aggressively. You can then focus on how to do it most efficiently and effectively. I will address the specific how-tos in the upcoming posts on how to be smart about the way you are spending the business development money, and by implementing the right controls – so stay tuned.

Selecting the Best Contractor For Your Home Improvement Project

Maintaining or renovating a home can be a very daunting task for most people. However, after all the hard work and investment in time and resources you have allocated for a home improvement project, the satisfaction of seeing a superbly crafted home that you can call your own can be priceless indeed. Such is the importance of choosing the best and most qualified contractor who is knowledgeable and capable enough to turn your vision into a remarkable work of art.When choosing a contractor for repairs or renovations for your home improvement project, it is vital that you first acquire all the important information about a particular contractor before ever committing in getting their services. You need to make sure that they are capable of performing all the inclusive work, including customized builds and improvements that you would want your home to have. To get all these pertinent information, you should ask your contractors a strategic set of questions designed to extract all the data that you will need. To help you start in this direction, you should ask the following set of questions:* Does the contractor have the appropriate knowledge and experience with the type of home improvement project that you have in mind?According to recent information from the industry, approximately 80 percent of contractors and builders are knowledgeable and are adequately trained in the latest construction and building techniques. However, even though they may have the training with these new techniques and the certifications to show for it (ex: techniques in energy-saving green building technologies, etc), their actual experience may have just been picked up or even achieved as they work on new projects. On some cases, the home renovation projects may involve a historic home with irreplaceable artifacts or sections. A contractor may not have the expertise in dealing with such a home nor could they match the craftsmanship involved with these historic masterpieces.* Is there an existing relationship between your contractor and architect/designer and have they worked together on a project before?For your home improvement project, you may take on the services of some of the best architects and interior designers in the whole of Massachusetts. To complement the expertise of these professionals, it is but proper to also get the services of the best contractors for the project. In such cases, it would be best to choose a contractor whom your architect or designer knows. They may be aware of the track record of these contractors and may be comfortable working with some that they can identify. With such arrangements, you can be assured of a timely completion of your project and in the manner that you envisioned it to be.* When you inquire something about the project, does the contractor communicate well with you?It is a normal thing for homeowners to ask something about a home remodeling project from their contractors. However, if all you get is a hasty answer without much details and it would appear that they want you off their faces, then be careful of such contractors. A good contractor should be receptive of the needs of their clients and should be ready to discuss every detail of the project should you ask for it.* Is the contractor experienced in working with your kind of home?A commercial construction is different from a home construction in terms of details and even on building and safety codes. The contractor should be adept in the type of home that you have, otherwise they might turn your priced possession into their laboratory for trial-and-error building methods.* How fast can the contractor start and how soon can they complete the job?Finding the best contractor is one thing, but having them start on your home as per schedule is another. You might be at the end of a long list of clients and would have to sit it out for months on end. You should weigh the urgency of having the work done as soon as possible or getting the services of the best contractor that you can get.* Is there a guarantee for their work after completion?A competent contractor will give you the assurance of an excellent renovation or repair work and will provide you with a guarantee on the work done. They should be confident enough of the quality of their work and give their clients the assurance that they need.Conducting a one-of-a-kind home improvement project for your Massachusetts home entails the best services from the best professionals available for the job. Taking a few extra moments in checking out your contractors before hiring them can spell the difference between a disastrous undertakings or a magnificent work of art you can call your home.

Treat Your Food and Drink Allergies

Certain food and drink allergies can make you very uncomfortable in few situations, keeping you always suspicious of what you are about to eat or drink. This can affect a human in a many different ways. Just think about it! How easy it is to have the same food every day you are already bored with? Well let me give you a clue, ”It’s NOT Easy.”Even worse factor is, in some of the cases when you were able to enjoy a certain food or drink, but in the meanwhile you have developed an allergic reaction to it. It surely is very unpleasant to hunger after a certain food and to resent it at the same time because you anticipate the disagreeable effects it will have on you.Food and Drink sensitivityThe way you get allergic reaction is when a specific enzymes in the product you are having can not tolerate some chemical or natural substance of it.The main symptoms are: gas, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, skin rash, headaches, and cough.From another point of view, allergy is an immune response to some allergens, or food proteins that generate the allergy, and has a partially different symptomatology: soft tissues (tongue, lips, eyelids, etc.) swelling lesions itches vomiting culminating anaphylactic shock.Most common Food generating allergies include milk, eggs, seafood, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat.Aloeride effectivenessNow there is a easy way to regain the possibility of using food and drinks banned for long time from your diet. Few cases reports an increased tolerance to substances you could never even think to ingest again after undergoing terrible reactions to them. The fact that Aloeride performs on the immunity system guarantees that allergic reactions, as immunity responses to some mixtures found in food or drinks, can be dealt with. Using Aloeride for drink or food allergies doesn’t really mean you should go and grab everything you had allergy before with. It would be really irresponsible from your side, however Aloeride may actually surprise you, it offers you an opportunity to learn simple things like rightfully appreciated food, especially after a period of constant prohibition and frustration.