How Climbing Mount Fuji is like Doing Business with the Government

Climbing Buddies:  Robin, Patrick, and Cindy at Station 5 ready to climb the beast behind them.

My best friend, Robin, currently stationed in Japan with her husband, invited me to climb Mount Fuji.  Nine months, countless training hours, and a 75lb loss later, we made the 10-hour trek up the mountain and the 6-hour slide back down.  Along the way, I thought of how doing business with the government is very much like climbing the beast that is Fuji and what you really need to accomplish both; experience, tools, and perseverance. 


First, have a someone with experience on your side.  Robin had already climbed Fuji and knew what to expect, the equipment we would need, what to and what not to do, along with the required funding.  When doing business with the government, have successful people with a proven track record on your side.  People who have been where you want to go. Merely learning things from those who have learned from others can never replace “real-world” experience. 


Cindy at Station 6..barely above the clouds and just getting started.

Second, have the right tools.  The right tools made the difference between accomplishing the goal in the time allotted and our very survival.  We set out to make it to the top of Fuji in time to witness the sunrise without falling off the mountain or freezing to death.  We certainly could not have accomplished these goals without the right map, climbing, and weather gear!  Likewise, the right business tools and resources can mean the difference between success and failure.  When a company has, and uses the right tools, the probability of winning government contracts exponentially increases.  From the year-round marketing calendar, capabilities statement, customer relationship management (CRM) system, and back office support, to the capabilities briefings with decision-makers, these tools allow companies to provide, retain, gather, and communicate vital information, and accomplish more with less. 

Mount Fuji Summit Sunrise

Go Slow

Finally, go slow to go fast.  Take the time to plan first; it will save you unnecessary pain, time and money.  There’s absolutely nothing fast about climbing Fuji.  Climbing up steep inclines, over huge volcanic boulders, then slowly slipping and sliding our way back down via pebblesize volcanic gravel was a slow, tedious, and painful experience.  Going fast, or bullet-climbing, on the incline could have resulted in mountain sickness or, worse, falling off the mountain, whereas going slow and steady, in a prepared manner, virtually guaranteed our successful ascent, summit arrival, and descent.  Slow and steady perseverance is the key; follow the plan, go slow to go fast, but never stop.  Government contracting can also be a slow, and often times, tediously painful process.  Get it right the first time.  Rather than rushing to bid on a solicitation simply because the organization can do the work, take the time to get to know and market to the customer before the solicitation hits the streets.  Know the decision makers, their mission, and the driving force behind their acquisition, then develop a deliberate marketing plan to market to them yearround so they know exactly what your company brings to the table and the benefits of working with together. 


The TargetGov KickStart Program™ is an affordable, individually customized program, designed to propel businesses into the Federal market and position the organization for success. One of the key take-aways covered within the KickStart Program™ includes Marketing Calendar and Tactics.”  For more information about the TargetGov KickStart Program™ and how it supports your firm’s growth in the federal market, contact us at 800.579.1346 x320 or email 

The Veterans Business Guide makes it to Fuji!

Photo credit:  Cindy Gaddis 

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