Finance Government contracting Strategy

Winning in government contracting starts with your strategy

“Government contracting is a long game – you have to be approaching it with a strategy,” says George Ray III, a consultant for Florida SBDC at FIU. “If you don’t have a plan, you almost plan to fail. It’s highly competitive, I can’t stress that enough,”

Fortunately, Ray has great tips for how to plan to win in government contracting, and he has had experience himself bidding for and winning government contracts. SBDC at FIU has resources to help you, including a recent an SBDC webinar on this topic led by Ray. SBDC at FIU can also connect you with a PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center) consultant that specializes in government contracting.

There are different ways to go about winning contracting but it all starts with having a plan and networking, Ray says. Here are some tips from Ray.

Start small, start local and build your reputation. Past performance really matters, particularly in larger contracts. Smaller contracts, such as a local government contract for a small or mid-sized city,  are a great way to build a record of past performance, and your reputation is everything, Ray says. Build your way up to larger contracts.

Due diligence and research is key to defining your market, finding your competitive advantage in your niche, and focusing on the best opportunities for you.

Teaming can help you achieve more success. Consider partnering with a more experienced contractor. Pooling resources, capabilities, technical know-how and abilities can help you fill gaps and improve your chances of winning the contract. Choose well, though. “Not having the right team, though, can cost you your dream,” Ray says.

Being properly capitalized is critical. There are upfront costs you need to consider, including extra staff and supplies to fulfill the work you promised. You may have to wait 30, 60,  90 days or more for payment. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, Ray says.

If you lose a contract, do a post-mortem. You learn most from your failures on how to succeed. Also request to see the proposal of who won the contract – you will have a better idea of how they won, using their template almost a a template, Ray says.

The SBDC’s webinar is full of tips and tricks for helping you come up with a winning strategy in each of these areas, and a whole section on networking for government contracting success and the importance of followup. Watch it here:

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