SBIR/STTR proposals are usually not developed by one person. As the saying goes, it takes a village.
Depending on the size of your company, you might assign several team members to take responsibility for different sections of the proposal. But making sure everyone is on the same page, not to mention reading from the same book, is essential. And tracking different sections and forms can be tricky and version control of the research strategy section incredibly difficult to manage.
First of all, make sure everyone is moving towards the same goal and has a common understanding of:
- WHO is the intended audience for this proposal?
- HOW will your project/idea meet their requirements?
Next, assign specific tasks rather than having everyone work on everything. Too many cooks is a recipe for chaos.
Finally, keep everything — and everyone — on track. Using a free collaboration tool like AirTable can be helpful in managing your submission. You simply set up a table with all the proposal sections, assign a team member to each, give deadlines, and upload templates from the BBCetc Trello Board to use as guides.
Once drafts are complete, team members can upload documents as drafts for comment by the group. Final documents can easily be housed in their own column for the person doing the submission to access.
Collaboration tools also allow subcontractors or consultants to use the tool – including, of course, your BBCetc consultant.
The last few weeks leading up to the deadline will be stressful. So, not having to dig through a mountain of emails to find attached drafts or uploading wrong document versions will be far more efficient and manageable.
As with SBIR/STTR forms, once you do them the first time, you are editing for the next submission – not starting over. Your collaboration tool becomes an archive for the sections of your proposal submissions that the whole team can access on demand. And that can make your proposal development process run that much smoother.