3 Essential Steps to Take Before Pursuing Your First Government Contract
In the highly competitive government contracting marketplace, it’s important to understand the strategy and environment of government contracting in its entirety in order to choose the right customer and the right opportunity, before pursuing a contract.
Once you know the bottom line for both your customer and your organization, you are able to move forward with a clear goal and an action plan. So, where do you start? Here are three essential steps to take as you prepare for government contracting success:
Step One: Who are your customers?
As a new small business, research potential federal customers to determine your target. Are you specializing in logistics, financial management, information systems, etc.? Choose your target and learn more about the market and the government’s terminology.
For instance, what are GSA schedules and why are they important? The U.S. General Services Administration establishes long-term government-wide contracts with commercial firms to provide access to millions of commercial products and services at volume discount pricing.
You can list your business on the bidder list and you can also receive insights on your competitor’s contracts. Learning through research can possibly put you ahead of the game once you’re ready to pursue a government contract for your business.
Step Two: Identify the opportunity
When you fully understand your target agencies and opportunities, you are in a better position to choose the right opportunities to focus on. The next step is to know what the government is buying, and become familiar with government databases to pinpoint relevant contracts based on your goal.
Researching new and upcoming opportunities, then tracking opportunities through USAspending.gov and other federal sites is key. If you know the amount of opportunities available, you can prepare to bid when you’re ready to make that move.
Additionally, it helps to grasps the rules of contracting for both private and public sectors to successfully bid and move closer toward a win.
Step Three: Build and network
Building long-lasting relationships is important, and networking helps build these meaningful relationships. Most government agencies are not big risk takers on small businesses, so it’s important to create trust.
Entrepreneur Magazine advises to make sure government buyers are aware of your company and its strengths, even before you actively pursue a specific government contract. Research upcoming conferences, tradeshows and seminars hosted by government agencies and try to attend these events before making your first bid. Imagine bidding on a contract and the agency is aware of your company’s skills, competencies and your customers, your chances of winning that contract could potentially increase.
Starting here means setting a solid foundation for bidding and winning! Know your customer’s needs, take the time to learn government rules and formalities, and build relationships whenever possible. Retaining and implementing this knowledge can boost your confidence when bidding on contracts because you will be well versed in the industry. Good luck!