How to Beat a Losing Streak

Proposal professionals are some of the hardest working people in any company. Despite their hard work, they may face a losing streak from time to time. These losses can erode their confidence, adversely affect working relationships, and even trigger job-hopping.

Everyone faces losses at one time or another. For example, Steve Jobs is considered one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our generation, yet he prevailed despite numerous losses. When Apple and Lisa sales fell flat in 1985, he was ousted from his position as President. After leaving Apple, he founded NeXT, whose profits floundered. Ultimately, he purchased Pixar, returned to Apple, and the rest is history. In 2005, he gave an inspiring speech to Stanford University students about winning and losing.

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. […] Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.”

So, if you find rebounding from a string of losses, consider these five tips:

  1. Change Your Mindset – Re-invigorate your enthusiasm and boost your morale. It may be as simple as reading a motivational blog or inspirational book or attending an industry event.
  2. Apply Lessons Learned – Analyze what you are doing right and what can be improved. Use lessons to enhance your processes, implement new technology, and improve communications.
  3. Eliminate Information Gaps – At Lohfeld Consulting our motto is Best Informed Wins. It is hard to write a winning proposal without the right facts. So, re-evaluate how you gather, analyze, and communicate information so that your team is the best-informed team.
  4. Invest in Yourself – If you have a skill gap that is contributing to the losing streak, quickly fill it. Identify classes, webinars, or books that will fill the gaps and put them on your schedule.
  5. Fail Fast – Fail Fast is a philosophy used in Agile software development. Fail fast means cutting your losses quickly when you realize proposal is not going well. So, go back to the drawing board and re-think your strategy, acquire new resources or no bid.

In summary, everyone experiences a loss from time to time, but don’t let it get you down and keep striving to be your best.


By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals.

As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Proposal Management and Writing, Capture Planning and Strategy, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, Go-to-Market Strategy, and Training. We’ve successfully supported the top federal contractors – large, mid-sized and small – garnering over $140B of contract awards in the last three years for our clients. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at and join us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

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