Whenever people hear the term ‘startup’, they will often think of a glamorous world and game-changing products. And, it’s fair to say that many startup owners see themselves in that mold, too.
However, away from the news headlines, there are plenty of opportunities for people with big ideas that don’t hit the headlines. There are billions of dollars spent each year by the government via its contacts system, for example.
We’re going to take a quick look at the government contracting landscape today. And, we’ll reveal some of the best tips on how you can get your startup winning those lucrative contracts.
First of all, it is important to understand that it can be tough for small businesses and startups to win government contracts. In recent years, almost 80% of all contracts were given to large corporations, such as Microsoft. Lloyd Chapman of ASBL has an interesting video highlighting some of the problems you might face. There are plenty of news stories out there explaining the problem in depth, too. The big question is, how can you make your product more appealing to governments? Let’s take a closer look.
First of all, you should check the Federal Business Opportunities website. It will help you find contracts that are up for grabs, and it will save you time. You don’t want to be in the situation of knocking on the doors of every government department and hoping to get lucky. Tender tracking systems will help you identify agencies that are looking for help. And, they will help you to refine your offer accordingly.
Satisfy A Need
It sounds obvious, but you have to meet a need if you want a government agency to take you seriously. Look closely at your product or service, and make sure that you can differentiate yourself from the competition. There are many different areas that you can exploit, from health care IT through to communications and technology. But, your product should be a solution to a particular department’s biggest issues. You will also need a D-U-N-S number before bidding on any government proposal.
Don’t Market To Everyone
It’s vital that you have a thorough understanding of an agency’s mission before you start applying for contracts. Take a look at their procurement forecasts, which will highlight the specifics of what they need and what they might be looking for. Can your business give them what they need, and bring more value than the competition?
As with all business networking and building relationships is the best thing you can do. The goal is to connect with the federal officers that make those vital buying decisions. It can be difficult to contact these people via email or phone calls, so try and find them for face-to-face meetings. There are always events taking place, on a regular basis. For example, the National Small Business Contracting Week runs once a year. There are also regular meetings led by the National Association of Business Contractors. Get out there, meet people, and the rest might follow if your product is of the right quality.
We hope this will get you started on the road to winning government contracts. You will be up against stiff competition, of course. But, with the right networking and dedication, there are no reasons you can’t achieve your goals. Good luck!