Second, make sure you thank everyone you’ve worked with on the project. Again, though this may seem like a no-brainer common courtesy, it rarely happens, especially in a comprehensive sense. This could be that “final high note” that you leave your client or project team with that makes the difference between whether or not they think of you in the future. So, make sure you reach out specifically to all of your project staff, your consultants and external partners and the people you worked with at the client and thank them for the opportunity and the experience.
Third, don’t wait for them to pay it forward for you. When you’ve closed out a project, make sure you take the time to ask for two things in particular: a reference and more business. You want to ask for a reference because you want to make sure you can use your client’s good name in future proposals, and you want to confirm that they will take the time out of their schedule to respond to a reference request (which is very important). At the same time, you shouldn’t be bashful about asking for more work. More often than not the answer will be a simple no, or the standard “will keep you in mind for future opportunities”, but every now and then your client may say they do have a follow-on piece of work, or they know of a new piece of work that’s coming down the pipe that you might be interested in bidding for.
Fourth, lock down your data. Every project, no matter what type of project it is, has tons of data associated with it. These are technical reports, progress reports, financial data, beneficiary data, etc. If you’re working individually, take the time to clean these files up and make sure they are organized properly. If you’re part of a team in an organization, assign someone to do the same. Then make sure they are stored in a secure location in case they need to be retrieved for some reason. This is especially important for financial data.
Fifth, get serious about building your network and take the time to record the information of all the contacts you’ve made on the project. If it’s a large-scale project where in which potentially thousands of people have been touched, it’s unreasonable to record everyone. In these cases, do your best to select the high-value contacts to add to your Rolodex. Then, make sure you take at least a once a year opportunity to check in with each of them to update this information and let them know what you’re doing.
Finally, take the time to update or create marketing material around the project you’ve just completed. If you’re an individual, this means updating your CV with the relevant work and experience that you just had. If you’re an organization, update your past performance references and make sure you have detailed information about the size, scope, etc. of the project so that you’ll be able to use this on future proposals easily. In both cases, make sure your online profile, such as your website, or your social media sites, reflect this recently completed experience, and don’t be afraid to have conversations about it.
I have yet to meet the international development or humanitarian aid professional who has a linear career – moving from one project to the next, completely focused on a singular task. The norm with all of us is that we’re working on multiple projects at different places in the lifecycle at all times. Regardless of what you’re working on, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a clear ending point to the work you’re doing so you can make a choice to turn your attention to other work, or double down on the work you’re currently doing.
This is the end of this training on contract closing for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs, and the last training in our project management cycle at Aidpreneur.com. Thank you for watching, and remember, if you have any questions, please contact us at training@Aidpreneur.com.