Growing your business can mean approaching a few new avenues, including tapping into the federal marketplace. Many opt for working with the government as it can often provide a reliable revenue stream if you approach it properly. That said, entering the government marketplace can be tricky—it’s a whole new wheelhouse of branding and marketing that can be completely foreign to those only well-versed in traditional business-to-business or business-to-consumer interactions. If you’re just getting your feet wet with government contract work, avoid these four critical mistakes that we see all too often.
1. Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Some businesses get into federal marketing and assume that it is best to cast as wide of a net as possible, because garnering the interest of many agencies makes it far more likely that at least one will be interested. The reality is that this is an ineffective method of engagement and will leave you lacking in the appropriate materials and preparedness to handle a particular agency’s needs. Broad approaches to working with government agencies aren’t just ineffective, but inefficient uses of valuable time and resources.
Instead, develop relationships with particular agencies who can benefit most from your products or services. Taking the time to do your homework and spend your procurement time wisely makes the difference between winning contracts or not. If you’re unsure of where to begin, take a look at The Federal Procurement Data System or USASpending.gov. Additionally, FedBizOpps.Gov can be a great resource for small businesses. Narrowing your scope may seem counterintuitive but can be hugely beneficial in the long run.
2. Passing Up Face-to-Face Meetings
Due to the nature of government work, some fail to see it for what it is: a relationship-based market, just as any other. As critical as your online presence may be, there is nothing quite like a face-to-face meeting when developing these kinds of relationships. Turning down face-to-face meetings with key decision-makers, or just not actively pursuing them, can mean missed opportunities.
Looking into conferences and chasing leads is a necessity in government contract work. The federal government website www.fbo.gov offers information about such conferences and can be a critical resource for all businesses in need of opportunities to develop those necessary relationships. Acquiring face time with government agencies can be incredibly difficult for everyone so it’s necessary to make a lasting impression when you do. Practice your elevator speech, hand out your capability statement, and learn to listen closely to what the buyer’s requirements are and how their purchasing process goes. If you do meet with an agency’s decision makers, be sure to follow up.
3. Appearing Unprofessional
Perceived professionalism is critical to success in the government contract field. This can come down to a number of factors: dressing casually during a face-to-face meeting, for example, may indicate that you aren’t as invested in your work as you should be. Using free emails such as gmail and aol.com are a red flag to decision-makers. Likewise, all content given to decision-makers should exhibit an investment in professionalism.
Proposals in particular should be aesthetically pleasing, easy to read, printed in a quality manner, and be customer-focused. This is why utilizing resources is such a big deal: working with pricing experts, proposal writers, advisors, and even printers can make the difference in being awarded a contract. You want your work to contrast your competitors and really show a flare for professionalism that others may not have. When meeting with decision makers in person, be sure to dress and act appropriately, as those first impressions can be key.
4. Lacking the Proper Marketing Materials
Good business hinges on preparedness. Having the right marketing materials, even when dealing with government agencies, is essential. This includes everything from business cards, to capability statements, to even having a dedicated government section of your website.
Creating a capability statement is a bit like creating a resume for your business. It’s critical to include your core competencies, differentiators, company data, and past performance history. Having copies of your capability statement on-hand is also a necessity.
Having a government section on your website is the perfect place to give visitors to your site a good starting place that allows you to cater specifically to decision-makers. Again, instead of approaching government contract work with a broad-reaching method, be specific and intentional in everything you do.
Government Contract Proposal Assistance With TargetGov
If you want to increase your revenue, fine tune proposals and bids, see results from your business development contact TargetGov today. Our clients have won over $4 billion in contracts—just in the last 6 years alone. If you need expert consulting services and business development products to put your business on the map, look no further than TargetGov, a trusted expert capable of helping you increase your revenues and profits In the government marketplace.
To find out more information, contact us today or call us directly at 866-579-1346. For future updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.