Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Take Five -- Your 2009 Business Boost: Government Contracts?

Five Ways To Tell!

America evidently wants change -- and that could mean business for you, as post-election giddiness has faded fast to focus government leaders on the pile of urgent priorities.

Good news: you don’t have to be a corporate giant to win government contracts. If you run a healthy business and are already selling successfully, government buyers could represent an untapped market. Imagine finding new clients in places your competitors aren’t even looking! If reliable new customers are important to you, a small investment in learning how US government buys can bring you new business.

Pursuing those opportunities could bring your company long term growth...or waste valuable corporate resources. Five tips suggest whether you’re ready to take on the world’s biggest buyer.

  1. Strong Performance Today & Determination For Tomorrow.
    Successful suppliers realize the investment they’ll need to make in order to pursue, win, and perform government business. You never hear them say, “Sure, we’d open an office and expand if we won a big contract. Government customers want reliable suppliers with established track records Some contracts explicitly require vendors to show a couple years’ commercial track record in order to be considered.

  2. A Unique Value Proposition – for Government.
    Successful vendors have researched exactly which government buyers benefit most from what they offer, and craft their marketing campaign precisely to reach those buyers. They create online content and literature to focus on issues and challenges that government buyers face. They can articulate in the buyers’ language how their offering stands apart from the alternative options the buyers have.

  3. Relationship Mastery.
    Successful vendors know that when you sell to government, you’re not selling to a process or an order machine. Government buyers do business with people they know and like and trust, people who understand their needs exquisitely well – even when they have to follow complicated rules to do that. Winners have genuine passion for helping their clients solve problems. They build their own formal networks, like creating a corporate board of advisers that includes former government employees. They are active contributors to industry networks. And they are alert to the casual perfect connection that a friend or neighbor can bring.

  4. Focus on the Details.
    While relationships are essential to attract the business, governments operate under complex rules that vendors must know. Companies who hold government contracts – whether as a prime contractor or a subcontractor – must be aware of and comply with dozens of precise requirements. Non-compliance can bring instant death to a proposal you spent thousands of dollars and weeks of time to prepare. Government contracts carry legal obligations that can include workplace regulations and contract administration as well as product specifications or service performance standards.

  5. Get Some Know-Who, not Just Know-How!
    Spend smart, but don't skimp. Winners seek top insider connections and know the value of specialized help. Successful contractors engage experts and invest in market research to develop cost-effective government marketing strategies. They’re visiting the perfect prospects – and shaping requirements -- long before contract notices are posted online. They know how they’re superior to their competitors in every way. They shop around and check references to hire the best insider experts they can: people who can help them target the best opportunities, connect them with the right partners and buyers, and plan for critical marketing activities and expenses.
Jump start your research with an instant webinar -- see

Find out more! Contact Judy Bradt at (703) 627 1074.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Take Five: Information Experts' Insider Tips

Five Keys to Multi-Million Dollar Success

Meet Marissa Levin,CEO of Information Experts in Virginia, award-winning provider of strategic communications services since 1995. Her company's flagship government contract, with the Office of Personnel Management, is worth over $6 million.
  • Tough Times Spurred Federal Pursuit: "After 9/11 we nearly went out of business," she said. "So we turned to the business in our own backyard," and started to pursue government contracts.

  • First Contract: Was surprisingly fast: "We were invited to 2 EPA task order competitions for creative work...because we had strong commercial experience." EPA was also looking for qualified 8(a) companies. But steady profit required time and money.

  • Market Entry Investment: Nearly 2 years and well over $200,000. On what? "We got on several GSA Schedules; built strong partnerships with large integrators; did a lot of marketing, including to many 8(a) shows produced by FBC and ones sponsored by the agencies."

  • Key To The $6 Million Contract: Relationships. "The relationships I formed, and the due diligence I did to get to know them and demonstrate our capabilities, and the research I did with the draft RFP’s, did a tremendous amount to develop the level of comfort and trust that the Office of Personnel Management had with us."

  • Biggest Challenge: Financing. "From the day you win, you have to start executing! But you then have to bankroll your employees for 60 to 90 days," before you might get your first payment. Without financing, that large contract could put you out of business! "My living room had no furniture in it, but I had this contract!"