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Common Sense Tips for Companies New to Federal Sector Business Opportunities (Things I learned from the Mavens)

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Updated: Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thinking about pursuing business opportunities in the government sector?

Are you bedazzled by the dollars spent by the agencies each year?

Enthralled by what you hear about the "ease" of capturing business as a company with certain socioeconomic designations?

Think it looks easy enough?

Don't be fooled. You can acquire the relationships and domain knowledge necessary to achieve success, but it takes ongoing planning and participation and it does not happen overnight.

Here are some of the tips I offer whenever someone approaches me about doing business with Global One.

First things first. This is a relationship business.
 - There is a very straight-forward principle at play. People do business with those they know, those they like and those they trust. If you do not fit into at least one of those areas, your chances of success are greatly diminished.

First things second. Knowledge matters.
 - Take the time to learn who the Mavens are and how to leverage them.

Establish/expand your network.

 - Information is king (or queen)! In order for you to succeed, you need access to it. In order to get access to it, you must have relationships a.k.a. your network. Develop your network sincerely but with a purpose.

Establish your parameters.
 - Global One is huge! Even the largest companies have some specific focus and approach on how they pursue business. You should be no different. Develop some criteria to help you begin to narrow your focus or else you will end up spinning your wheels and being largely ineffective.

Determine what it is you will sell.
 - The government and its contractors buy everything. What is the product, service or solution you intend to offer and why is it/will it be relevant to the proposed customer base? Do they currently buy it? If no, what do they currently buy to achieve the resolution which this product, service or solution provides? Be able to demonstrate proficiency with regard to the product, service or solution as well.

Determine where it is you will sell.
 - Based on where you are located, figure out what is available in your immediate area. Bottom line, for most companies, it is easier and less of a cost impact to do business in your backyard versus across the country.

Understand what agencies are in your immediate "touch" area...
 - There are federal agencies everywhere. Utilize resources such as the Federal Executive Board to determine which agencies are in your proximity.

...and which agencies it makes sense for you to pursue.

 - Begin learning the technical and cultural aspects of the agencies to determine a good fit. Not everyone will like you or your style and your knowledge and expertise will not be relevant to every organization. These are other factors that come into play as you press forward which may also impact your growth strategies. This is one reason to consider strategic teaming relationships. Additionally, other factors such as industry certifications, bonds and insurance, security clearances and socioeconomic designations may  also come into play.

Do some preliminary research to determine who buys what you intend to offer...
 - There are many free, low-cost, mid-level and high-end resources available which can
provide a framework understanding of how and what various agencies procure.

...and how it is they buy.
 - It's incumbent on you to position yourself appropriately. If you don't possess the contract vehicles customers want to use, figure out how to align yourself in such a way that you become viable to them.

These are just a few of the tips that have helped me over the years.  Please feel free to submit your comments and feedback. You never know, a tip you offer today might come back to help you later.


- The Chief Visionary

Tags:  common  contractors  for  government  mavens  relationships  research  sense  tips 

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Comments on this post...

Eric T. Schmidt says...
Posted Friday, February 27, 2009
Thank you for above strategic guidance.
Q1. .. which agencies it makes sense for you to pursue.
A1 Agencies with whom we have a PAST HISTORY, Clearances, Budget, need for our Serices, Personal-Affiliation with GateKeeper [i.e. common University, etc]... WHAT ELSE
Q2 - Begin learning the technical and cultural aspects of the agencies to determine a good fit.
A2. How, practically speaking ?! We need an Advisor, a Guru`s Guidance to maturely position/guide a young set of Technologists to properly serve.
Thank you for reading this posting. Respectfully, Eric
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