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Making a “Go/No Go” Decision on Your Bid Opportunity

By Nancy Brown, KYPTAC Executive Director


This article was originally published in our monthly KYPTAC Newsletter. If you have any questions about this topic, your KYPTAC consultant is here to help! Not a client? Sign up here.

As a well-trained pilot prepares for flight activity, the pilot must go through a few critical checkpoints before takeoff. For instance, by monitoring the weather in advance by using forecast products, the pilot can make general assumptions based on the information available to help her make a competent fly or no-fly decision. When the pilot implements a formal approach of verifying and confirming that everything is correct to make the flight as efficient and safe as possible, the pilot makes her decision before takeoff to protect everything at stake.

Similarly, a well-trained government contractor prepares for bidding through various steps critical to successful contracting outcomes by making informed decisions regarding the pursuit of available opportunities. In business terms, this is called “de-risking,” which means making something safer by reducing the possibility of something undesirable occurring, like financial loss or wasting limited resources.

If you are in the government contracting space, ask yourself how often you bid on a solicitation without understanding how it will affect your bottom line. Or, what happens if you are presented with two solicitations that look good and are unsure which is the most profitable one? How do you determine which bid will most likely create a sustainable impact for your organization?

If you have been at similar crossroads before, then you know that you cannot bid on work without some evaluation process that will take you from an unknown position to a favorable decision. Even with the help of KYPTAC’s bid match service, where you can discover bid opportunities daily through your industry-specific keywords and NAICS codes, you will still need to build some guidelines around your ability to pursue government contracts and know which solicitation is the best fit for your business.

So how do you make a sound “go/no go” decision on a contract opportunity? There are many elements to consider that go into selecting the best bid for your company, and the only way to streamline your proposal process is to focus on two main criteria: benefits and achievability.

To determine the benefits of going after a contract, make a list of all positive outputs. To understand the benefits of a certain bid or opportunity, you will want to investigate what market your organization is going after as well as the strategic fit of this opportunity. Reasons to take on a project include profitability; strategic, social, and cultural significance.

Achievability, in the context of government contracting, means the likelihood of positive performance. All contracts are risky, and some contracts in the government sector are very complex. Determining the level of achievability can be done by looking at the project from three angles. The first is examining your technical skills to achieve positive performance on the contract. The second is studying whether you have the financial resources and capital to perform the work. The third is confirming your ability to complete the work within the proposed timeframe, knowing that it is unlikely to ask for an extension in any case outside of a force majeure.

Here are some examples of questions that can guide finding the best bids for your business so that your “go/no go” decision aligns with your strategic objectives and can deliver maximum performance for your business:

  • Do you understand the scope and requirements of the contract?

  • Do you know the customer or agency you will be serving?

  • Can you work within the proposed fee structure, budget, timelines, and contract terms and conditions?

  • Do you have adequate status, capital, and resources to complete the contract?

  • Is there a reasonable return on investment (ROI) from this opportunity?

  • Do you understand the competition?

Do not be discouraged even if you arrive at a no-go decision during your evaluation process. Any time spent reviewing and analyzing bids is beneficial. Your gains from making a no-go decision will prove invaluable as you navigate your company through future government contracts.

Before pursuing any bid opportunity, feel free to discuss your goals with your KYPTAC procurement consultant and review all available information for the bid with them. Our team is here to help you make the best-informed decision for your organization. If you are not sure how to connect with your consultant, you can request assistance by contacting us at or by registering on our website.


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