The Federal Government spends an average of $500B a year on products and services, providing business owners with the fuel and opportunity they need to make a difference in this country. However, many companies enter unchartered territory when they step into the Federal marketplace, ill-equipped to work in the arena of Government contracting. Many businesses are not prepared to enter the government contracting space because the Federal Government is very different from typical commercial customers. The Federal marketplace is unique and can be intimidating for business owners unfamiliar with the complex set of regulations and processes. However, once a company has navigated its way into the market, it can be a highly lucrative and reliable revenue stream.
After your business has registered for an account on SAM.gov, acquired a UEI number, and identified relevant NAICs codes, here are five tips to further expand your business into Government contracting:
1. KNOW WHAT YOU OFFER
It is vital to pinpoint your business’s unique expertise, and understand how the Federal Government refers to your company’s products or services. Discovering the keywords and terminology used in the industry will help you establish communication tools such as a marketing plan, which will include your business’s solution offering and a capability statement. These tools will accurately inform Federal customers how your products or services will be a solution to their needs.
2. TRACK OPPORTUNITIES
The Federal Government sales cycle is slow, and therefore it’s best not to make your company’s sole focus one specific opportunity. Successful Government contractors target and pursue multiple potential contract opportunities and buyer relationships. This also helps your organization discover and shape the best options for your company. Your company should maintain a consistent pipeline that tracks all relevant contract information and changes. Government contract leads are available on several paid subscription services, but for those who are just getting started, visit SAM.gov, the official source for federal contracts worth more than $250,000.00
3. CONNECT WITH CUSTOMERS
In the Federal marketplace, making reoccurring contact with decision-makers in your potential Federal customer base is a best practice. Therefore, it is essential to be knowledgeable of all the key players and know the best way to contact them. Once you have this information, research, research, research! Knowing what your Federal customers buy and how they buy will enable you to connect your product or services to their needs directly. With persistence, this information will help you refine your company’s messaging to grab the attention of decision-makers.
4. EXPLORE SUBCONTRACTING OPPORTUNITIES
It’s not easy to get your foot in the door, but one viable avenue worth consideration is subcontracting. Companies can indirectly serve the government by partnering with prime contractors. Not only is subcontracting a way to connect with a Federal agency you may not have previously worked with, but it is also a great way to expand your portfolio of past performance. One way to effectively pitch yourself as a subcontractor is to offer a cost-saving solution. Pinpointing a niche need your service can fill is also an excellent way to earn a subcontracting role. Once you find a prime contractor that needs what you have to offer, reach out and sell them on your capabilities!
5. DEVELOP A COMPETITIVE BID
Understanding the bid-proposal process is vital to your success as a government contractor, and even more important is having the resources in place to execute it. Build your bid-proposal team and distribute tasks that complement specific skill sets to achieve your overall goal. Once the proper resources are in place, stay compliant with the proposal requirements and bid a cost-competitive proposal.
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