Would you like to do business with the government and be part of hundreds of billions of dollars paid to businesses yearly for providing the goods and services? While it may seem beyond your reach, too complicated and potentially frustrating, it’s not an impossible dream. With targeted information pointing you in the right direction, these lucrative government contracts are attainable.
Here are some tips to succeed as you look to land contracts with government agencies.
- To thine own self be true. There is much opportunity in the world of government contracting. Rather than going for a lot of varied opportunities, hone in on what your company does best and focus your efforts there.
- Consider subcontracting. Subcontracting can be a great way to make inroads, get your company known, and to start developing your reputation as a reliable supplier.
- Talk the talk. Get to know government contracting terminology so that you can speak their language. Government contracts differ from private-sector ones with provisions such as the ability to cancel a contract - or change terms - without advance notice. The Small Business Administration offers great resources on understanding contracting.
- Keep it simple. Because your reputation and reliability are so critical to your success, be clear about your capacity, and don’t try to over-deliver. It could backfire, making it harder on you and your business in the long run.
- Save the pitch! Make sure you present your sales pitch to the right person. The first person you speak with about contracting may not be the buyer or decision maker. Listening is key. When you do land meetings with procurement officers, keep your ears open for what their needs are and how your business can offer a solution to their challenges.
- Dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Make sure your company is in compliance with federal requirements such as fair labor standards.
Once you’ve landed your first contract, here are tips on how to stay successful.
- Take care with your new contract. Read the paperwork carefully and make sure you understand the language. The terminology that is specific to working with a government agency will start to look familiar in subsequent contracts.
- Know the players. Make sure you have a clear picture who is administering the contract versus simply awarding it to your company.
- Manage your time. Working with government agencies can include time-consuming paperwork. The more organized you are, the better you’ll be able to prioritize and manage the new demands that will be placed on your business when you land government contracts. Timeliness matters--make sure you will be able to deliver on time, as this is one reason for canceling contracts.
- Value your team members. Empower the people who give your organization the strength and depth it needs to deliver to large and demanding clients both promptly and professionally.
Think of the government as you would any major client. Make yourself as attractive as possible and bid responsibly, having done your homework. Armed with these smart strategies and advice from someone who has been awarded these contracts, you too can participate in keeping America running while obtaining profitable contracts for your business.