Capability statements

Case studies, value propositions, bios all designed to demonstrate why individuals or companies are the right fit. A strong capability statement won’t just sell your service, it will position your business as a market-leader. This guide will step you through the key ingredients of a stand-out capability statement. 

Writers Who’s guide to crafting a compelling capability statement

A capability statement is a document that outlines the abilities and services offered by a business. It is typically used by companies to introduce themselves to potential clients and partners, and to demonstrate their expertise and qualifications in a particular field or industry.

Know your why

In the words of Simon Sinek, you’ve got to start with why. Why does your business exist? Many businesses fall into the trap of writing a capability statement like a resume (this is what we do, this is how we’re qualified to do it). If a prospective customer is reading your capability statement, they already know what you do – they need your service, they’ve done their research and they’ve shortlisted you. The job of a capability statement is to explain why the customer should choose you. 

The importance of a capability statement lies in its ability to help a company differentiate itself from its competitors and to showcase its unique strengths and capabilities. A well-written and well-presented capability statement can help a company stand out from the competition and attract new business opportunities. It can also serve as a valuable tool for promoting the company and its services to potential clients and partners, and for building credibility and trust in the market.

It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it

While you don’t want your capability statement to read like a CV, you do want to showcase your service offering. Use your capability statement to articulate your core area of expertise and the key differentiators within your business model.  Explain how those things will achieve a customer’s goals, make their experience better and deliver their desired result. For inspiration, think about these areas of your business:   

  • Organsational values
  • The collective intelligence of your team
  • Your process, quality assurance and project management approach 
  • Technology
  • Customer service philosophy 

A tip for communicating your values. Try to avoid vague (and extremely common) values such as integrity. Instead, articulate the action behind it.  For example – instead of saying you ‘operate with integrity’ you could consider statements such as:

  • we communicate openly and honestly 
  • we’re accountable during the challenging moments 
  • we treat everybody equally

Get to the point quickly 

A winning capability statement is the one that is easy to absorb even if the document is quickly scanned.

  • Use short sentences
  • Bullet points are your best friend
  • Avoid walls of text
  • Use graphics to reinforce important points 
  • Be succinct in your language. 

We all have a tendency to over-communicate (read: the vortex of verbosity) when we’re trying to stand out, but in fact the opposite is true: the simpler you make your capability statement, the more memorable it will be.

Relevance is key

We all have time for useful information. Making sure your capability statement is relevant to your intended audience is key to it standing out from the pack. Avoiding the nice-to-know information and focusing on the meaty facts will keep your capability statement both concise and relevant at the same time. 

Your intro is particularly important. If you haven’t hooked your reader in the first three sentences, you’ll likely lose them. Any capability statement that begins with the year the company was founded will – in all probability – be dismissed. Why? Because it lacks relevance. Your opening should be enticing, it should make the reader want to learn more about you. 

A tip: start at the end! What’s the outcome the prospective customer is looking for? Open with that and explain why your organisation is the right one to deliver it.

Think about what has been important to your past customers

Chances are that these things will be important to your future customers too. Then, use your capability statement to explain how your company excels in these areas.  

Utilise case studies and testimonials to showcase your past successes and most significant clients, focusing on those key areas. There is nothing more convincing than the opinion of a past client, particularly if they are high profile. 

A tip: look at the challenging projects. We all have them, and we can all learn from them. The areas that were most challenging are likely to be areas of key importance to your future customers. Think about how you overcame the challenge and delivered a successful outcome.

Make it easy to get started

Wrapping up your capability statement is as simple as including contact details and how the customer can get started. Perhaps there’s a link for booking a discovery meeting online or click-to-call functionality within the digital version of the document. The easier it is for the customer to move forward, the better.

Make it visual

The reality is this: people do judge books by their cover, and it will be no different with your capability statement. Make the document eye-catching and you’re more likely to capture your audience. Investing in professional graphic design, rather than relying on free online tools, will make your capability statement more appealing and ensure it stands out.

A tip: as important as the look of the document, is the quality of the content within it. Make sure your work is proofed by a trusted editor. A sure-fire way of losing business is presenting a document that is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.

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