Capability Statements-what they are and why you need one

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Capability Statements-What they are and why you need one – 004

Join Nancy and she discusses what a capability statement is, why you need one and how to create one.

Episode 4 Show Notes

Capability Statements, What they are and why you need one?

Please see below for everything you wanted to know about capability statements.

  • Marketing Tool for Federal Agencies and Prime Contractors  
  • business document containing your individual and organizational competencies, achievements, associations, and accreditations.  
  • Relevant to Agency Marketing to and work you are seeking.


Proper preparation is vital to succeed in government contracting.  Have you considered the following?

  • Have you prepared your “Elevator Speech”? (An elevator speech is a concise 20-second description of our expertise.)
  • Is your business registered with System for Award Management (SAM.GOV)?
  • Do you have our DUNS Number, Cage Code, North American Industry Classification Codes (NAICS Codes) readily available? NAICS codes are industry specific and can be found at
  • Are financial resources available to sustain the business while waiting for payment from the government? The government can take up to 90 days to pay a contractor.
  • Can employees on staff perform the contract, or will you have to hire them?
  • Are materials, or products immediately available or will you need to ramp up production to meet the government needs?
  • Do you have the facilities and equipment on hand to perform the contract?
  • What is your bonding capacity? (Required for construction businesses)
  • Have you taken free government contracting courses at U.S. Small Business Administration?


  • should not exceed two pages in length. 



  •   I have found it best to use bullet points (summarize the information).   
  • needs to be easily searchable. 
  • It is imperative that the document is saved as a PDF and not a PowerPoint, Word document, or Publisher file.  
  • It is best to call the document a capability statement and place this heading at the top of the paper. 
  •  bullet points need to be keyword heavy. 
  • Include all Government Codes (DUNS, Cage Code, NAICS Code, past performance, POC, email address, Phone number for all past performance


Capability Statement Headings

To assist you in designing your capability statement I have included vital headings for you:

  • Company Snapshot

    • Facilities or offices locations
    • The geographical area that you serve
    • DUNS Number
    • Cage Code
    • Point of Contact
    • E-Mail address
    • Phone Number
    • Fax Number
    • Bonding (if applicable)
    • Website address
  • Certifications

    • 8(a) Certification
    • HUBZone Certification
    • SDVOB
    • WOSB
    • Small Business
  • Core Capabilities

  • Key Differentiators

  • Past Performance

    • Contract No
    • Brief Description
    • POC
    • POC Contact Information
  • Include pictures of your work on your Capability Statement.
  • Include customer kudos and positive quotes regarding engagement experience or add case studies.
  • Contracting Vehicles – GSA Schedules, Basic Ordering Agreements (BOAs), etc.


  I have found that there are not any hard and fast rules when designing your capability statement.  It needs to look pleasing to the eye with plenty of white space.  I cannot stress enough the importance of white space on the document.  No one is going to read a Capability Statement that is full of text.  Feel free to let your creative juices run wild here.

This brings up one last thought.  You want to use quality, coated, thick paper when printing your Capability Statement.  Paper of this type will enhance the images and layout of the design.


Your Capability Statement should match your brand. Remember your branding is essential to your business.  It needs to be reflected in your logo, company website, letterhead and marketing materials.    The most important thing to remember about your brand is to be consistent.  Using color on your Capability Statement helps add visual appearance to your document.  It is best to use the same colors as your logos, letterheads and company website.

Business cards.

Business cards can be used as a mini capability statement. You should have business cards specific to the federal marketplace. Be sure to include your DUNS number, Cage Code, and NAICS codes as a minimum.  Sometimes your capability statement will be misplaced, but generally, contracting officers will hang on to business cards.  I have had more than one contracting officer tell me that they lost a business’s capability statement, but they remembered the company’s name and searched for their business card.

Capability Statement Benefits.

Capability Statements can be used for more than marketing to new federal agencies.  Below are some examples:

  • Opens doors to begin relationship-building process
  • Obtain meetings with decision-makers
  • Can be used as a tool during conferences
  • Inform decision makers
  • Stand out from the crowd.
  • Market to Prime Contractors
  • Serve as an electronic summary
  • Sets you apart from your competitors
  • Represents you in your absence
  • Mitigates risk
    • Proves you know and understand the market
    • The government does not like risk.
  • Often requested as part of a Sources Sought or RFI response.


On average, you have 5 seconds to capture the government official attention, or your Capability Statement it is going to the bottom of the stack!  Your Capability Statement needs to tell a story without using lots of words.  It needs to be clean and polished, and it needs to represent what your business does with pictures, bullet points, and differentiators. Therefore, a Capability Statement is one of the most important marketing tools that a company can have. By following the steps above you can create a powerful Capability Statement that will open doors for your business.


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