Today, the popularity of government contracting is rising at an astonishing pace. Therefore, winning a government project can be pretty intimidating for businesses of all shapes and sizes, especially startups. This is a complex process, requiring a lot of planning, hard work, and persistence. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all strategy that will help you bid on government projects successfully, here are a few universally applicable practices you might find useful.
Know What Government Agencies To Target
Not all government agencies look for companies like yours. Precisely because of this, you should take your time to identify your startup’s strengths and weaknesses and look for those agencies that may be interested in doing business with you. In other words, you should narrow down your options to only those government agencies where you have a chance of winning a contract. First, stay focused on your niche. For example, if your business is closely related to digital marketing, then you should look for agencies relevant to this sector. Another reason why you should connect with a smaller number of agencies is establishing a stronger relationship with them. Namely, it’s much simpler to get another government contractor job with an agency you’ve already cooperated with.
Team Up With Other Contractors
Networking with government agencies is crucial, but it’s not your only option. You should also build and nourish strong relationships with other contractors in the private sector, especially those working in the same niche. Let’s take subcontracting as an example. If you have connected with an organisation that already works on a federal project (in this case, we’ll call them prime contractors), you could ask them to participate in the project as a subcontractor. This may be an immensely important step for your company. Namely, prime contractors have won a plethora of contracts so far and they already have numerous in-agency contacts. So, working with them gives you an opportunity to boost your authority, as well as get in touch with important federal agencies and win your own government project eventually.
Start By Bidding For Smaller Projects
When bidding for a government project, always keep in mind that a government agency doesn’t know who you are. How reliable are you? How accurate are you? Do you meet your deadlines? And, if they don’t have trust in you, will they want to assign some major projects to you in the very beginning? Of course not. So, to hook their attention, you should start by bidding for smaller, less significant projects. Even though this may be disappointing to you, you should keep in mind that such an approach provides you with amazing long-term opportunities.
Bid On Projects You Can Deliver Successfully
Always, make sure you apply only for those projects you can deliver on time. Government agencies will require you to deliver all kinds of assurance that you will execute your duties lawfully. For example, by requiring performance bonds or surety bonds of you, they make sure they will be compensated if you fail to do your job. Even though the agency’s expenses will be completely covered this way, not sticking to a contract may be a red card for you. This will show them how irresponsible you are and the chances are you won’t be able to work on any new federal projects in the future.
Attend All Major Government Networking Events
Statistics show that networking is crucial to the success of 78% of startups. To take your business to the next level and expand it, you need to connect with the right people from your niche. And, one of the best ways to do so is to organise or attend a networking event. When it comes to networking events organised by your government, you should never forget that behind them are real people. Connecting with them may bring numerous benefits to the table. This is a great opportunity for you and your business to meet the people who will be assessing your bid and signing your contract. Even though we live in the era of fast internet connections and augmented reality, sometimes, face-to-face meetings may give your business a significant boost.
Mention Your Previous Experience
Working with the government isn’t that different from working with any other company in the private sector. To get them to choose you over your competitors, you need to show how authoritative you are. One of the simplest ways to do so is to highlight your previous experience. Remember, just because you don’t have any actual government experience doesn’t mean that the commercial work you’ve been doing so far isn’t valuable to them. On the contrary, by having an insight into the projects you’ve done in the past, they will be able to determine what kind of projects your business is capable of doing. Make sure you include all important information, dates, statistics, and names relevant to your organisation.
Back To You
Bidding on a federal contract is a big deal and you need to treat it accordingly. Instead of focusing only on competing for it, you should also make a step-by-step plan that will nudge you in the right direction once you win it. Even though your plan will vary according to your niche, contract specifications, and timeline, it will help you prepare yourself and mitigate all potential risks.