What are you doing to get your piece of the pie in the federal market? We say it often, government contracting is evergreen. The federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world and most likely, what you’re selling, they’re buying. So how do you make the most of your opportunity to make it big in GovCon?
We’ve made a list of 3 important elements of making a big impact on your bottom line by winning contracts that stimulate your growth. Let’s walk through some ideas behind why each is essential to your growth strategy!
Our team travels the country and meets with business leaders and industry experts to understand how we can best support our community with respect to the common needs these businesses have and why. What we have heard is that the following are most pressing, but not necessarily in this order:
- Business development and marketing strategy
- Strategic pricing
- Long-term funding
What is Your Plan for Growth?
Breaking into the federal marketplace requires some detailed planning on how you will market yourself and who you are targeting with this messaging. Startups and small GovCons have a particularly uphill battle while they are trying to get a foothold in the industry and get noticed so they can build that valuable past performance history so they can keep bidding, winning, and growing. We see often that precise messaging and designation of buyers are challenges for many contractors in the first few years.
So how do you overcome this issue?…Conveniently enough, the answer will be the same for this and the following challenges: outsource this to someone who is an expert and can either train you or do it for you.
All too often, business owners wait too long to either get trained on or outsource their weaknesses, which further delays their ability to engage and win. It is not good enough to be great at what you do. You have to be able to share what you do in precise, concise, clear and directed messaging that answers the call to action or mission from a particular agency or prime. Business development and marketing work together. It is hard to distance one from the other and even harder to get ahead if one aspect is stronger than the other.
Knowing your buyer and knowing what they need that you can provide are big steps. Consistent business and contract awards will depend on your ability to locate and diversify your buyers, develop messaging that speaks to the specific buyer and the nature of their needs, and offer solutions that you can do better than another business, and at a competitive price.
Speaking of Price…
Obviously the goal in any business is to turn a profit. Part of this goal is to be competitive enough to win and solidify margins that support your growth. From our research, those that employ early, strategic pricing methods to their business development process have the ability to use the information obtained in this process to bid smarter, win bigger, and thus grow.
This may require outsourcing to professionals who can arm you with multiple tools that can increase your ability to win the work you desire. By pricing your work to win and using tools like an Executive Summary that highlights why you are the best choice for the job, you could be defining what makes you worthy of the award.
Long-term Lending Partner
When looking for a flexible and affordable cash infusion for your business, are you seeking a lender that can just help you today, or are you researching to see how far this partner can journey with you?
Quick-fix lending options tend to present the biggest challenges for small businesses. Lenders that can provide immediate access tend to tack on excessive fees that complicate the usage of what seems to be a convenient option for a small business that can’t qualify for or increase existing lines of credit from a bank.
Merchant cash advances are options that entice business owners with their fast and easy access, but the payment commitment in return is a nightmare at best. You are looking at as much as triple digit interest fees for what you thought was convenient.
As with most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So goes with lending.
With banks tightening restrictions on lending, the alternative market is more attractive and more necessary than ever for businesses of all sizes. Finding a lender that can meet your needs in every stage of growth AND understand your industry is rare, but not impossible. As you interview options for your lending needs, remember to ask 3 things:
- What are your lending requirements and do I meet them?
- If I don’t meet the requirements, who can you refer me to that you work with that can help?
- Can you connect me with 2-3 businesses that you have worked with that have also used an alternative lender so I can learn from their experience?
Alternative lenders that meet you where you are with the amount you need, when you need it, do exist. Don’t wait too long in your process to start looking for your partner. If you are seeking a lending partner that can be here today, tomorrow and down the line, you will need some time to learn about your options so you choose the right one.
Start at Your Bank
Use the questions above to advise your consultation with your banker.
And don’t be afraid to seek the guidance of other business leaders who have traveled the road ahead of you. The best way to learn is by the experience of those who understand your needs best!
Be proactive in establishing a plan and taking heed on these areas highlighted. Once you establish solid practices in the industry, the road to consistent awards will be illuminated and your growth journey will begin!