Crafting the Perfect Proposal:

A Thanksgiving Guide to Selecting the Ideal RFPs

Imagine the aroma of a Thanksgiving feast wafting through the air – a carefully roasted turkey, a variety of flavorful sides, and the perfect blend of spices. Just as a successful Thanksgiving meal requires thoughtful planning and preparation, crafting an effective capture management strategy requires a strategic approach in selecting the right RFPs (Request for Proposals). This journey, much like preparing a memorable Thanksgiving dinner, involves identifying your main ingredients (core RFPs), complementing them with the right sides (supplementary opportunities), and garnishing your choices with strategic insights to enhance your selection. Each step, from selection to strategic positioning, is crucial in crafting proposals that stand out.

Prepare Your Main Course - Find Your Core Business RFPs

At the heart of every Thanksgiving meal is the main course – the turkey. In the realm of proposals, there are RFPs that serve as the centerpiece of your strategy. These are the opportunities that align perfectly with your company’s strengths and values. Identifying these ‘main course’ RFPs is crucial. It involves understanding your business’s core competencies and finding RFPs that match these strengths. For instance, if your firm excels in sustainable building practices, an RFP seeking green building designs would be your ‘turkey.’ Focusing on these pivotal RFPs allows you to leverage your company’s unique capabilities and expertise, leading to a higher likelihood of success. This section will explore strategies to spot these essential RFPs and explain why concentrating your efforts on them can significantly enhance your overall proposal success. 

  • Identify Core RFPs as Strategic Centerpieces: Focus on RFPs that align perfectly with your company’s key strengths and core values, much like selecting the main course for a Thanksgiving meal. 
  • Understand and Leverage Your Business’s Competencies: Deeply comprehend your business’s specialties, like sustainable building practices, and target corresponding RFPs to leverage these strengths. 
  • Prioritize for Impactful Success: Concentrate efforts on these pivotal RFPs to maximize effectiveness and success in your proposal responses. 

Add Your Complementary Sides - Seek Supplementary Bidding Opportunities

Just as a Thanksgiving feast isn’t complete without side dishes, your proposal strategy should include supplementary RFPs that complement your primary targets. These ‘side dishes’ offer opportunities to showcase your versatility and cater to different market needs. Look for RFPs that, while smaller, open doors to new industries or allow you to demonstrate niche expertise. Being proactive in market research and staying informed about emerging trends and opportunities in your industry can help in identifying these supplementary RFPs. Balancing your main RFPs with these supplementary ones can create a well-rounded proposal portfolio, much like a diverse and balanced Thanksgiving menu. 

  • Incorporate Supplementary RFPs: Just like side dishes in a Thanksgiving meal, include additional, smaller RFPs that complement your main proposals. 
  • Showcase Versatility and Niche Expertise: Use these supplementary RFPs as opportunities to demonstrate your company’s range and specialized skills in various markets. 
  • Balance for a Well-Rounded Portfolio: Strive for a diverse mix of main and supplementary RFPs to create a balanced and effective proposal strategy. 

Garnish Your Selection - Enhance Your RFP Choices with Strategic Insights

Just as the right garnishes can enhance the flavors of your Thanksgiving dishes, applying strategic insights can enhance your selection of RFPs. This step involves not just choosing RFPs but understanding how to approach them with a winning mindset. It’s about reading between the lines to discern what the RFP issuer truly values and how your company can uniquely fulfill those needs. This strategic insight can be the difference between a standard proposal and one that truly resonates with the issuer. 

  • Analyze and Interpret RFP Requirements: Go beyond the basic requirements of the RFP. Try to understand the underlying goals and priorities of the issuer, much like discerning the subtle flavors in a well-seasoned dish. 
  • Align with the Issuer’s Values and Goals: Tailor your RFP selection by aligning with issuers whose values and goals resonate with your company’s strengths and mission. 
  • Strategic Positioning: Position your company not just as a service provider but as a strategic partner that understands and can enhance the issuer’s objectives. 

Avoid a Bloated Menu - Be Selective about the RFPs You Choose to Respond To

In the same way that an overabundance of dishes can overwhelm your Thanksgiving guests, taking on too many RFPs can overstretch your resources and dilute the quality of your proposals. It’s crucial to be selective and focus on RFPs where you have a higher chance of success. This means sometimes passing on opportunities that don’t align well with your capabilities or business goals. Implementing a scoring system or checklist can help in making these decisions. Prioritizing quality over quantity ensures that each proposal you submit is as compelling and effective as possible. 

  • Be Selective with RFP Choices: Avoid overextending resources by carefully selecting RFPs that have a higher likelihood of success, much like not overwhelming a Thanksgiving menu with too many dishes. 
  • Pass on Non-Aligned Opportunities: Sometimes decline RFPs that do not align well with your company’s capabilities or strategic goals. 
  • Prioritize Quality Over Quantity: Focus on submitting fewer, but more compelling and effective proposals, ensuring each one is of the highest quality. 


As we reflect on the lessons of Thanksgiving, let’s apply these insights to our approach to proposals. It’s not just about the quantity of RFPs we respond to, but the quality and strategic fit of each. A well-planned Thanksgiving dinner, like a well-crafted proposal strategy, leaves guests – or in our case, potential clients – satisfied and impressed. By thoughtfully selecting RFPs, understanding their deeper requirements, and balancing our RFP portfolio, we can create proposals that resonate deeply with potential clients and showcase our company’s unique strengths. At Once Upon an RFP, we are dedicated to guiding you through this process, ensuring your proposal strategy is as successful and satisfying as a well-prepared Thanksgiving feast.


Confused about where to start preparing your business’s RFP strategy? Once Upon an RFP can help! 

Contact us today to get started. 

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