5 Myths About Government Contracting

If you are a government contractor, you know the challenges of spending money, time and effort when bidding on a contract. While there’s tons of helpful information on the web, there is just as much false information.  So in the spirit of “Myth Busting”, we thought it would be fun to challenge conventional wisdom when it comes to doing business with the government.

1. Prime contractors are working in my business’s best interest.

The truth of the matter is the prime is only looking after their best interest. When it comes to teaming opportunities and subcontract negotiations, every prime contractor has an angle. My advice is to make sure you read your agreements carefully, know what your business brings to the table.  Be empowered to know your business and intellectual property should be protected at all times. You can hire independent contracts professional or lawyer if need be to advise you of your options. Remember large primes have a full arsenal of contracts professionals whose sole purpose is to mitigate their risk, not yours.

2. We don’t need a data aggregator to search for government opportunities; we can just do a search on FBO.

Depending on how you use FBO, that may be true. But if you are looking for immediate opportunities, the reality is you may have already missed the boat regarding crafting a response that will resonate with the customer. FBO can be used to search for previously awarded contracts, agency buyer information, and agency event information.  In those cases, it can be a very powerful tool.  Investing in a data aggregator takes time and money.  If you are willing to put forth both, the tool can support your business development activities and put you ahead of your competition.

3. I don’t need to spend money on various government consultants, I can pursue government business on my own.

I believe this is a very common belief and I approach it from this perspective. “You can either pay with your time or your money”. And by that I mean,  yes,  you can learn how to respond to proposals, create winning price formulas, manage efficient contracts, and pound the pavement for agency intelligence, but don’t you have a business to run?  Your time is money! I believe you can do both.  Make the best use of your time AND use a professional to help you stay ahead of the government game.  If your business is not at a point where you can afford to use a consultant, learn from some of the best industry experts.  Create a shorter learning curve by leaning on them when you’re more interested in working in your business and not on it.

4. My past performance proves I to can do the work.

Your job as the vendor is to convince the government buyer that they should trust you. Just because your firm has performed a service or delivered a product doesn’t mean you were successful, efficient or effective. Remember the government has requirements and guidelines to adhere to and it’s your job as a contractor to translate that into a successful delivery narrative. You have to show how your offering in the commercial space directly relates to the government buyer. Government looks to industry for innovation, but they can be slow to adopt.

5. Teaming with a well-known prime will give me the recognition I need with the government buyer.

Yes, teaming with a large prime will get you through the government doors, but your agreement may limit or prohibit your marketing opportunity with the government customer once you get there. Remember you are representing the prime, so anything that looks adversarial will raise flags for the prime.  Many small businesses assume, that because the team won the contract and your small business can now start marketing directly to that agency. Well, the truth is, if you did not define your marketing role in the subcontracting agreement, you might have hurt your chances with the agency customer. In short, prime contractors do not want their subcontractors marketing to their government customers; they want you billing.
To further help your business to grow, we’ve put together a webinar where I’ll be talking about tools to help you streamline your proposal writing process. The webinar will be on September 20, and to those who participate, I’ll be giving out a toolkit with video resources and template that will help you to keep you focused on winning bid. Hope to see you there! You can reserve your spot below.

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