WIPP's myContracting Magazine January 2015 - Page 8

www.wipp.org

Give us your top THREE tips for success in federal contracting.

1.Marketing, marketing, marketing…securing a government contract takes a lot of work, and a good portion of that may include marketing your business to procurement officers. This is an often neglected step, overlooked by business owners who think once they’ve registered in CCR and ORCA the contract offers will just come rolling in on their own. Few things in business work this way. It is very important that you build relationships with the government agencies in your region and even with other businesses. Attend networking and matchmaking seminars, small business and government workshops, and reach out one-on-one to procurement officers in your area. It will take some time, research and work, but the results will be well worth it. Know who your customers are. There are several federal agencies that buy your service or product more than others. Focus on these agencies. Don't spend your time and energy on courting an agency that doesn't buy your product or service.

2.Of course, don’t overlook the basic requirements to work government contracts, such as properly completing CCR and ORCA registration. Ultimately, being successful in government contracting comes down to being patient and persistent. There are few overnight successes. It can take anywhere from 12-18 months before you secure your first contract. When you do get the contract, don't just make a customer, learn the customer. Know what your customers like and dislike. Listen to what they have to say. Don't just strive for a single sale, make relationships. Just like a close friend, your relationships with your customers must be nurtured. Don't be afraid to fail.

3. Remember, as a “woman,” the fight may be harder and more challenging, but the end result of your efforts is that you will be economically successful.

This is a microwave generation. Everyone wants things to happen fast. You have to be dedicated, work hard, and have a passion for the things that you want to see happen. You must strive to be excellent in your skills and business. Be relevant and expose yourself to learning from the very best mentors in your industry.

Network and follow up to keep relationships alive. Strategically select networking events and conferences around your industry, and attend them regularly.

Be friendly with everyone, get their business card, and connect with them socially (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). This will keep the relationship alive without a massive effort on your part.

"Don't just strive for a single sale, make relationships. Just like a close friend, your relationships with your customers must be nurtured."