It was a dark and stormy night…

Last weekend, I took my 6-year-old daughter, Julia, to her first ever gymnastics tournament, despite a grueling proposal schedule. No matter what, I didn’t want to miss a chance to share her memorable first experience. But as with life, there were a few unexpected bumps in the road.

The Tournament took place about 6 hours away in the West Virginia mountains. Because of the proposal, we didn’t leave until late Friday evening. As we drove on one of those empty mountain roads, our front tire blew out. There we were, me and my little girl, alone in the cold, not even with the light of the moon lighting the road, or an occasional rig whizzing by. After a momentary panic, I remembered two things that were filed in the dusty corners of my memory: we had a spare tire (although I had no idea what it looked like or what to do with it), and Roadside Assistance through our car insurance.

Roadside Assistance was there in only 30 minutes, and we successfully limped to our destination on a tiny spare. It was all worth it. The tournament went off without a hitch, and Julia has been parading her first trophy non-stop for the past few days.

This experience was a reminder that we have to have the equivalent of Roadside Assistance in proposals. We all have been on a proposal effort where suddenly everything seems to be falling apart, and panic sets in. Or, we bite more than we can safely chew (just like my taking on mountain roads at night with a kid) when we feel the risk is worth it. Murphy reigns supreme on every proposal effort. We have to prepare to deal with him when he decides to join in the fun. So, we have to put measures in place to handle a bump on the road to delivery. Think of it like a spare tire and build a contingency into your schedule. Plan for multiple delivery methods, especially in the winter. And, like Roadside Assistance, know whom to call when you cannot handle it on your own. Know who your trained internal resources are, and have OST’s number and email address on hand to give you that extra help if you are in a pickle, so that you deliver a winning proposal on time.

To get assistance with consulting support, contact Lisa Arlt Escoto at (703) 307-8749 or at [email protected] (we all get emails at this address).

To get training support for your internal resources, contact Alex Brown at (301) 356-2909 or at [email protected]. You can also check out the schedule for our training and webinars taking place in January 2011 at http://www.ostglobalsolutions.com/training/schedule/index.htm.

About the Author: Olessia Smotrova-Taylor is president/CEO of OST Global Solutions, Inc., a Metro Washington, DC consulting and training company that helps businesses grow by winning government and commercial contracts. She is a practicing capture and proposal manager who won more than $16 Billion in new business. She has 15 years of experience in proposal and capture management, marketing, and communications. Her self-study course, Executive Summary Secrets, sells worldwide. She is also an instructor in the upcoming on-site Capture & Proposal Management Courses that show how to position to win before an RFP issuance and how to write less and win more. Prior to starting her own consulting company, she won business for Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, and wrote for the Financial Times of London.

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