Many small businesses often overlook, readily discard, or become immediately intimidated by federal contracting, but the federal government is one of our nation’s largest purchaser of goods and services. One of the biggest misconceptions is that it’s TOO hard to win a government contract. That’s not true. By failing to see the lucrative possibilities afforded through federal government contracting, you could be missing out.
To be clear, going after federal contracts is an entire business strategy, but it can be done. Consider these strategies and prepare to win big with federal contracts.
MAKE SURE YOU REGISTER PROPERLY: You must register with the System for Award Management (SAM) www.sam.gov. Walk through the process completely and thoroughly. Ask plenty of questions at the website or reach out to your local SBA office for assistance. No question is too small or too big. After you successfully register, you are well on your way. Don’t get frustrated or stuck here, take the time and do it RIGHT the first time.
BE CLEAR ON YOUR IDEAL CLIENT: Understand that every government agency is NOT your potential client. Do your homework and research thoroughly to identify the agencies that you’ll be best able to provide products and services to. You’ll need to work collaboratively with those agencies to achieve their goals, not yours.
PRICE YOUR SERVICES REASONABLY: Be proactive and know who your competition is and what they’re charging. To remain competitive, you want to charge enough to make a profit but not be too out of range to the point that agencies won’t even consider your services.
BUILD RELATIONSHIPS: Make yourself and your business visible at key networking events (especially government contracting conferences.) Remember to go up, you have to show up. Winning government contracts is largely about relationship marketing.
LEARN TO MARKET EFFECTIVELY: Make sure your potential clients know the complete details of key products and services you can provide. Producing a capability statement is a great and effective way to do that. Go to www.FederalAllies.org for an example on how to produce a capability statement.
MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES STAND OUT: Since there is so much competition in the federal marketplace, it’s critical to be clear on what you’re doing to stand out and make your presence attractive and magnetic! Showcase your services to be superior to your competition. Strive for excellence in all that you do.
THE FORTUNE IS IN THE FOLLOWUP: Gathering contacts and meeting key people is important, but your follow-up is crucial! 85% of networkers do not follow up after an event. If a potential client tells you to call them at a certain time and date, then this is not optional. If you are trying to land and win contracts get better follow-up. Being a successful federal contractor business is not about what you know but more about who you know and how are disciplined you are with your followup engagement.
LaShonda Bracey is “The Government Contracting Guru” and Founder and CEO of Health-Works (www.Health-Works1.com). She is a serial entrepreneur, speaker and author of “4 Easy Lessons In Government Market Research.”