Contracting with local, state, or federal government agencies can be lucrative for small companies. Particularly valuable in uncertain economic times, government contracts can provide you with stable customers, prompt payment, and—often—a pipeline of repeat business. Some common tips for getting federal contracts may include:
Find a Counselor. They can help you break into the federal contracting business, and usually their services are free.
Be Proactive. Don’t wait for the government to come to you, because they never will. Know where to search for government contracts and bid for them. You can use databases to research contracts up for bid.
Know Your Stuff. Knowing the ins and outs of your own business and knowing your strengths will help set you apart from your competitors. You should know your competitors too, and how to reach overhead to grab attention. Know all the paperwork. Don’t lose bids because you forgot to sign a page or didn’t fax the right requests. You should always be familiar with any administrative paperwork you are handling so that you win your contracts, have everything documented correctly, and get paid for the work you do.
Network and Build Relationships. It certainly helps to know the right people–who to ask for more information, where to get insider information, who to track down when something goes wrong. Networking with the right people can be strategic for your business and help you win more contracts, but building relationships will also help improve your business reputation. Having recommendations from specific people can boost your credibility and visibility. Beware, though, building relationships with the wrong people can be detrimental.