How Small Businesses can break into the Federal Government

From the outside, getting federal contracts can seem very daunting to small businesses without previous experience in the federal sector.  But every day, many small businesses are finding ways to win their first federal contracts.

According to Bill Russo, a Senior Proposal Manager at BAE Systems in Dayton, Ohio, there are seven habits small businesses can cultivate to break into the federal market.  Together, they can increase your business volume and make you a trusted business partner with federal agencies.

Habit 1:  Succeed when you are the prime contractor.  Enhance your reputation, and expand your record of experience and competence with federal agencies.

Habit 2:  Succeed when you are a subcontractor.  If you do not have the resources or qualifications to be a prime contractor, become a federal subcontractor.  You can help big businesses meet their small business subcontracting goals by showing how you can add value to their federal customer.

Habit 3:  Be easy to work with as a subcontractor.  Do business with your prime contractors their way, not your way and adopt their tools and processes that will improve your business.

Habit 4:  Get a 100 percent rating as a subcontractor.  Be completely responsive to the prime contractor’s requirements.  Your sole business goal is to please the prime.

Habit 5:  Establish a reputation for flawless delivery.  Your prime should expect the best from you.  Provide it and you will gain a great reputation.

Habit 6:  Fix problems quickly.  Identify solutions to specific problems and offer acceptable solutions, either to government agencies or to prime contractors.  Teamwork and open communication are imperative.

Habit 7:  Multiply your ability to win prime and subcontracts.  Learn from your bid efforts and past contracts.  Document your successes.  Learn how to keep improving your performance.

Big businesses and government agencies always are searching for reliable partners.  You can break into federal contracts as a prime or subcontractor by being a team player, by being reliable, by being trustworthy, and by helping your prime contractor or government agency solve their problems.

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