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Tactics, Tips and Tools for Small Government Contractors

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Monday, February 14, 2011

Tactics, Tips and Tools for Small Government Contractors

While doing business with the world’s largest customer is viewed as "the” business to be in by many small companies, tasks such as acquiring business intelligence, connecting with influencers and decision-makers and gaining useful visibility are just some of the obstacles to be faced when pursuing Global One.

Becoming a government contractor is easy! Within a few keystrokes, you can acquire your Tax Identification and DUNS Numbers and be happily pecking away in the Central Contractor Registration Database (www.ccr.gov), the only true required activity to be considered a government contractor.

However, actually sustaining a business as a government contractor today is a far more complex activity, especially for small companies. Small business leaders of today must be masters of identifying and utilizing activities and resources to aide in decision-making if they are to achieve their organizational goals.

Information: Inbound
Consistent information-gathering activities to determine where, when and why to focus company resources is paramount as is staying informed of industry-wide changes in policies or practices. As they often go hand-in-hand, industry headlines can be just as useful as specific opportunity-based information. In addition to developing your own research through sources like the Federal Procurement Data System, FedBizOpps and USASpending.gov (or purchasing access to aggregators of this information), tools like Google Alerts are helpful as they can populate your inbox with websites, blogs and articles of relevance based on keywords and phrases. Google’s Uncle Sam feature (google.com/unclesam) provides search results only from U.S. Government websites and RSS feeds are another great way to stay on top of information you want to see.

Relationships and Communication
Current industry headlines reveal mixed signals from the government about the benefits and negative ramifications of government/industry collaborations associated with the acquisition process. While several agencies have attributed growing protests to lack of discussions with industry over the years, some officials contend it creates unfair advantages. For industry partners, the ability to participate in meaningful conversations to deduce customer challenges and needs is of mutual importance and a key component of being able to measure your fit and win probability. As you build your agency contact lists, be sure to inquire about organizations they frequent and publications they read to gain an understanding of what they consider useful resources.

Information: Outbound
In addition to consuming information, creating and maintaining visibility continues to be an essential pursuit. Creating awareness of your brand or offering is not a matter of simply purchasing a banner ad or radio spots although these may be part of your overall portfolio. A more effective and very targeted tactic is the Op-Ed. In short, use your technical knowledge to demonstrate your expertise and capabilities by commenting on articles in the same publications a prospective customer told you they read regularly or by becoming a contributing writer and giving prospective customers a reason to take note of your organization for reasons that may have them reaching out to you.


Tags:  Government Search 

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