Don’t be Afraid of Government Contracting
There comes a time in the evolution of many small businesses when they consider expanding their efforts into government contracting. Government contracting can be a great opportunity, but many business owners are reluctant to explore it for a variety of reasons. Here are four of the more common reasons:
We’re Not Ready: This may be true but at the same time you can’t wait for perfect. If you have been generating revenue for a couple years and you have some degree of a marketing and sales discipline in place, then you might be at least ready to start exploring government contracting as a growth opportunity for your business.
It’s So Competitive: Compared to what? The nature of the process tends to guarantee that two or more qualified businesses bid on just about every opportunity. Successful government contractors are effective at understanding and communicating their true differentiators. If you haven’t nailed that part of your business development strategy, then a great next step might be to set aside some strategic time with your team to explore and clearly define why your business is different.
It’s So Different: “Government” is a target market and like every target market there are similarities and differences to other markets such as residential or commercial markets. The vendor registration process for government is a little different and when you receive a bid opportunity, you realize that the government has had 232 years to figure out how to buy that widget from you. At the core, though, it’s still about the selling basics such as relationship, differentiators, value proposition, pricing, and timing.
I Don’t Know Where to Begin: Nobody does at first. Frankly, it’s not really an intuitive process. Even career military officers that haven’t been directly involved in procurement can get a bit overwhelmed. There are a multitude of training and consulting resources available to you, many at no cost, and just about everything you need to learn is available on the internet in one form or another. A good place to start might be to find a mentor, a friend or business colleague that has started down the path to government contracting, and pick their brain a bit.
Government contracting may or may not be right for your business at this time… but don’t be afraid to explore the opportunity and find out.