If you’ve been operating in GovCon for any length of time someone has told you to “watch beta.SAM.gov for RFPs to bid on and start bidding.”
And if you are like many – you followed that advice. And when you viewed this site you learned that the government buys nearly every product and most services that are available in the commercial marketplace. And they even come up with products and services that they need people to create for them. And they publish many of these needs to the public and ask companies to submit bids and proposals. This practice, designed to encourage competition, is why some companies waste a lot of time.
You see, a small business exploring whether or not they can win a government contract, views each requirement published here is as an opportunity. And they are.
Yet not really.
Bidding is not a strategy. It becomes a strategy after you get satisfactory answers to what, who, why, how, and when.
First define what you offer that you can prove you have done successfully in the past. And if you don’t have government past performance or proof of satisfied clients in a similar industry – you MUST plug that hole. Unless you sell off the shelf products or services of a relatively low value, the government rarely awards to a company with no verifiable past performance unless you meet some narrow and specific criteria.
Second, who has purchased what you offer? Who plans to purchase what you offer? Who do you know in the agency? Who do you know that can introduce you to people in that agency that you need to meet?
Third, why are they making this purchase? Is it a new requirement – and if so, why is it a new requirement? Is it a recompete? Is it a routine and periodic need that is purchased often.
How have they purchase what you offer in the past? Have the indicated their intended acquisition method either in an agency forecast or a draft RFP, or an RFI?
When will they need what you offer? It might not be for another year or two. Patience is a large part of the strategy.
How do you develop a strategy? It’s different for every company. But it always starts with answering what, who, how, when and why.
Relationships are one way to start learning how to best answer these questions. So are professional development courses taught be people who have done what you want to do.
We offer both monthly at our GovCon Women events. And sign up to make sure you never miss an opportunity to share, learn and connect. When you sign up for our list you’ll receive a free ebook from our sponsor.