Monday, April 27, 2009

Gear Up For Government Spending Season

New Strategy Workout Gets You On Road To Profit

Calling Frustrated Small Business Owners & Federal Marketers!
Wondering how to reach more real opportunities today?
(Still muttering "OMG!"after the OSDBU conference?)

The Pain Stops Here.

Take steps to winnable business in an exclusive small-group session at my Executive Strategy Workout!
You get:

Critical Next Steps To Winnable Opportunities
Your Top Questions Answered
Exclusive 4-Workbook Set ($1,200 Value!):
  1. Seven Steps To Success
  2. Capability Statements Made Easy
  3. GSA Schedules -- Seven Things You Must Know
  4. Making The Most Of Your OSDBU Visit
Wed 20 May, 1-4 pm, 1616 Anderson Road, McLean VA
Full price: $497. Bring a friend, both get 20% discount.

Register and Pay NOW

Thank you to Myra Fitzwater and Teqcorner, our series sponsor!

Preparing To Make A Prime Pitch

Ready, Aim, Team!

Now that you're back from the OSDBU conference and are sorting through those cards and are your follow-up plans going?

Do you remember in school how your parents always harped on you to do your homework so you would get A's on your exams? That was practice for real life as a vendor.

It's time to get ready for those teaming meetings -- so start by:
  • targeting best-fit projects for you in the government agency
  • narrowing your focus to the most likely primes/partners
  • tailoring your pitch -- that is, your capability statement -- around that.
That's where those Five People You Need To Meet come in.
Expect that it's going to take time -- so get started. Get to know the program managers and end users of your product or service. Research their missions, challenges, incumbent vendors, and what buyers do – or don’t – like about the products and services they’re using now. Once they trust you, you learn who the decision-makers are, who influences them (Think tanks? Consultants? Trade press?), what their budgets might be, and what the spending plans are – how much money will be spent, and when.

Your status as a woman-owned, 8(a) or other small business is a minor advantage to a Prime contractor, so you might get their attention when you make that initial appointment. Once the meeting starts, how can you make it count? Here's what the primes say:
  • Focus on Reality - What do you expect from a prime contractor, and what are you bringing to the table?

  • Research Your Prospective Partner - Bring in the potential business — what new leads and client relationships can you bring to the Prime? Why should you be given attention?

  • Register and Followup - Online registration is necessary but not sufficient on its own to gain a partnership with a large Prime. Did you call back and continue the connection until you actually found a project you both agreed you wanted to work on?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Easy Tips For Pre-RFP Marketing

Where Key Relationships Begin

Marketing Calls

A vendor who targets her most promising buyers and build relationships with them over time has a distinct advantage. She gets to know the program managers and end users of her product or service. By keeping your target customers informed about the leading edge developments of your products and services through personal contact, you can build their interest in working with you. That can influence the specifications for the solicitation that ends up in FedBizOpps.

Who are The Five People You Need To Meet?
(Find that out HERE.)

When calling on government officials, identify yourself and your company, and the procurement or requirement that you’d like to talk about. Ask whether the person you’re speaking with can discuss the requirement, and whether there are limitations on what you can discuss. If you or your contact is uncertain about that, get answers before going further. Making those connections opens the door for your selection. People first turn to people they know when they're developing requirements -- even if the rules say they have to consider every offer. And you want to meet those people before you start responding to RFP's.

What About Requests for Information (RFI), Sources Sought, Draft RFP's?

Aha! While these are procurement activities, they don't promise any purchase or intent to purchase. They ARE some of the ways government buyers find out things like:
  • Whether enough small businesses can meet the requirement to merit a set-aside!
  • Where is the leading edge of available technology; and
  • Whether industry can meet a complex requirement at all.
Rules for participation are fairly simple (check the Federal Acquisition Regulations).

You can't complain there's no set aside for you if you didn't speak up to say you can do the work!

Monday, April 20, 2009

When Does The Win Really Start? (Hint)

Long Before The RFP in FedBizOpps!

The US government issues 95,000 solicitations every day. However, people tell you, "If the first time you read about it is in FedBizOpps, it’s already too late." So how does a business get the inside track?

FedBizOpps is the official source for US federal contract solicitations. But if you register there and request to receive even *selected* RFP's, three things will happen:

1. Your inbox will bust.
2. You feel like a total loser because you don't have time to pick which ones you could win.
3. You give up, deciding "There’s got to be a better way."

Cheer up: so far, you've learned a lot, but in reality had slim hopes at best.

Congratulations -- you're no longer a loser.
You're actually now on the path to WINNING.
And that involves marketing. See tomorrow's post for ideas!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Where Small Is Always Big -- OSDBU Tips (1)

19th Annual OSDBU Conference -- April 22nd

Meet small business specialists from nearly every federal agency and lots of state and local ones
all under one roof. REGISTER HERE.

This week's tips can ensure the best use of your time. Today's tip:

* Sign up for matchmaking appointments -- free with online registration -- to meet partners.
* Get small business specialists' attention by doing pre-conference research
* Ask Small Business Specialists about specific contracts you've found in the forecasts.
* Plan your day! Call first on agencies that represent your highest potential.
* Follow up! You worked hard to get that contact, call them back afterwards!

Find out how to get the most of your visits to small business specialists -- at this conference and all year long -- at this link, including what to do and how to maximize your day’s productivity at conference time.

In short, the OSDBU Conference and related tabletop in-agency events presented by Federal Business Council Inc are great ways to drum up new government business if you make the most of the opportunity. Want to know more? Download "Making the most of your OSDBU visit" from my website.