Small to mid-sized businesses are the cornerstone of our strength as a nation. There are 30+ million small businesses in our country accounting for nearly 90% of participating businesses in our economy. They are the driving force for employment, innovation, and advancement of technology, yet they are the most disenfranchised when it comes to funding and access to capital. As the Beatles said, you can “get by with a little help from your friends”.
If you are new to government contracting, consider these tips:
- You are going to need past performance history on a government contract as a company if you want to get any work in government contracting.
- You need to have partners that understand your industry and know other people that can be resources to you as well.
- You will need to get your business’s financial records organized, so when you need money you can get money. And trust me, you are going to need money at some point.
Engage Early and Often
Great advice is to know your budget before you bid. Understanding the options you have for additional working capital is vital when engaging in RFP. Best to get with your lending partner before you bid rather than after you win the award. The cost for capital will almost definitely go up, no matter your financial stability if you wait too long. Loan processes with the bank are notoriously drawn out, and options that turnover on a dime will cost you part of your prospective revenue. Get in touch early and you’ll be better prepared for what comes next!
Establish a strong external team to support your efforts as well! A mentor of mine said once that those who work for you are internal employees and those who are outside resources are external employees. The better you know the people who can help you, the better you will be at landing your next opportunity.
Amplify Your Expertise
You can’t expect a private lender or a banker to want to fight for you and get you the funding you need if they have no idea who you are or any insight into what it is you do. Educate your partners about your industry.
Share your past performance to give perspective and confidence in what you do. It is not the job of your partner to study you. It is your job as the contractor to educate your partners so they know how to best be of service to you.
Don’t Skimp on Financial Documentation
Having up-to-date and accurate financial records should be a no-brainer, but when you are just getting started it may slip your mind. Trying to pull together what you have in Quickbooks may not suffice with your lender, so you should try incorporating the skills of an accountant or bookkeeper that understands FAR and DFAR regulations.
Having knowledge of the governing guidelines for doing business with the federal government is key to keeping compliant with your work. The same goes for retaining legal assistance. Having an attorney that understands government requirements for doing business with federal agencies is very important. And remember, engage EARLY and OFTEN with your team for the best results!