Find It, Win It, Keep It
Michael Ludwig, Business Development Specialist
Here’s some tips for doing business in the government marketplace. Your Maine PTAC Counselor can assist and our no-fee webinars provide much more detail.
FIND IT: Prepare, prepare, prepare. Determine what size job or contract works best for your business and if you want to search locally, nationally or regionally. The subcontracting market is huge and may be a better fit than dealing directly with the government. Consider your training, expertise and capacity. Become familiar with the best tools for your searches (Bid Match, SAM, DUNS, VSS, etc.). Get to know your competition and their strengths and weaknesses. Determine your ability to meet any requirements for equipment, payroll, IT Systems, insurance, etc.
Ask questions and get to know the decision makers. Networking is a powerful tool. Attend trade shows as well as networking, industry day and matchmaking events hosted by Maine PTAC. Get to know who the purchasing officers are and contact them directly. Let them know who you are and that you are reliable, capable and professional. Stay focused on what fits your business and respond promptly to any Requests for Information (RFI’s).
WIN IT: Now that you’ve identified an opportunity that’s right for your business, you have just one chance to submit your proposal. Allow time for delivery as there are no exceptions, even when your internet goes down just as you’re ready to hit the submit button.
Pay attention to suggestions, contractual requirements and formatting requirements. Include all required representations and certifications. A lack of past performance can be overcome as explained in most requests. Some allow for using relevant experience of your personnel or your success on a non-government project. Provide the detail precisely requested for price and cost – no less, no more.
Any attempts to negotiate typically means they like your proposal but not your price (if you get this far you are in pretty good shape). Be prepared to clarify, make adjustments or defend your numbers. Try to consider both sides. Finally, be patient and wait-out the awards process.
KEEP IT: Be responsive and acknowledge the reward promptly. Suggest a kick-off meeting to meet your customers and their incumbents. Establish the primary contacts, clarify the requirements and clear up any misconceptions. Allow enough time to obtain security credentials for building or facility access. Plan for the necessary hours, shifts, days, holidays, and locations. Know what's required for deliverables, when and in what format. It will be imperative to transfer inventories and work-in-progress accurately to maintain contract compliance. Review your performance regularly and seek feedback.
We offer webinars that dig into these topics, and your PTAC Counselor is available to help you with every step. Be persistent, adapt and make this part of your process.