CVOBlog: Tactics, Tips and Tools for Small Government Contractors
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Posted by: Chief Visionary Blog (www.chiefvisionaryblog.com)
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
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.
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.
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.