Ask anyone in the Government Contracting world trying to grow their business and you’ll hear that competition is increasing while dollars are decreasing. It’s simply getting harder to keep existing business and win new business. Over the last 5 years and 100 government proposals I’ve supported, there have been 3 common activities that my most successful clients always seem to be doing to consistently grow their government contracting business.
Make Time for Strategy and Business Development
Companies that consistently win contracts take the time, no, they make the time for business development. They think about what they need to be doing now to better position themselves for contracts. They meet with their clients to find out their needs. They follow up consistently and make new offers of help the clients really need.
How full is your calendar this week? I bet it’s full of things that have to get done. Which makes it easy to push the business development strategy session or client call into next week. But then next week comes and you do the same thing.
For every client I’ve worked with, until they put a meeting on their calendar where other people will shame them if they arrive having made no forward progress in a week, they won’t take action on implementing their BD strategy.
- If you’re a small business or a one-man show, you can set meetings with an external networking group or mastermind, where other small companies help each other grow their business.
- If you’re in a business that has enough internal people, a meeting every other week can pay huge dividends. Even if you are bringing junior people into the meeting, they are getting the mentorship and benefit of thinking strategically about how to grow the business so they can keep their jobs. In addition to keeping you on track, it will help grow your ranks and increase your capacity.
- Consistently update your list of contracts to pursue by researching on FBO.gov, GovWin.com, or other sites. RFP release dates change frequently and your Business Development strategy needs to be flexible enough to accommodate the changes.
Talk to the client, Talk to other companies, Talk to everyone
Now, I’m using the word talk, but what I really mean is have conversations with them. You should end up doing more listening than talking because you want to find out their biggest problems and needs. People will literally tell you what they will pay for if you just listen. And once you’ve heard their biggest concerns, you can develop a proposal that they are much more likely to accept.
- Just telling the client about you won’t cut it. You need to be curious – who are the real people behind the contracts, what struggles do they face that you can solve.
- Go to Industry Days for contracts you are interested in and set goals. Goals can be broad or specific. Meet at least 2 other companies you could team with on other contracts. Find out if the government is leaning towards Full and Open or Small Business Set Aside. See who else attends that would be your major competition.
- Open up your rolodex (LinkedIn profile these days!) and see who you know that could introduce you to one of the technical POCs for the contract.
- For a small business, being on the right large business’ team could be the key for growth on many contracts that follow if you give them the support they need.
You can’t grow your government contracting business if you don’t know who the major players are and what they need.
Be Smart about Where you can Play to Win
Everyone knows RFPs don’t come along exactly when and where you want them, but just because there’s a pitch doesn’t mean you should swing. Bidding on too many RFPs at the same time dilutes your ability to write a successful proposal because your team is spread too thin.
Sometimes not bidding is more strategically powerful than bidding.
Write a Winning Proposal
For Government Contracts, business development culminates in a proposal. To save money, time, and tears during the proposal, keep the process simple and consistent within your company. The more leadership expectations and processes are set, the more time you have to write compelling proposals that grade well.
If you want proposals to be a little easier and you are tired of losing your nights and weekends, download the FastProp System eBook (I’ll show you how).