What All Small Businesses Should Know About Winning Contracts

Winning a federal contract is by no means an easy thing.  Though there are numerous publications of instruction available, none will guarantee you the award you are seeking.   Planning, patience, preparation, attention to detail and flawless execution are just a few of the attributes to be employed as you maneuver through the procurement process.  Mastering those elements that you control is certainly a first step, i.e. scrub the RFP, ask questions to resolve disconnects and clarify grey areas, follow the instructions in section “L” and ensure you address the evaluation criteria stated in section “M” .  Additionally, we can’t overlook the benefits of working early in the process and establishing relationships with the procurement personnel on the other side of the table.  You will also want to work on any leads you receive while identifying opportunities and follow through until you either max out the leads or you are asked to “cease and desist”

If managing federal contracts is new to you let me assure you that you will experience any number of setbacks on your road to contracting success.  Don’t be discouraged; get back up, dust yourself off and try again.  Be persistent.

The following lists several tips to help you get off “top dead center” in your efforts to identify, bid and win federal work:

  • Shore up your capabilities package, rehearse your elevator speech and update your marketing presentations, web sites, social media (Linked in) profiles
  • Avoid the shot gun approach.  It helps to be focused as you seek out business opportunities.  Center your search efforts on agencies and organizations that have an interest in what you are selling.  In other words, focus on the specific “needs” of the select agency/organization.
  • Seek out ways to establish a dialog with the targeted agency small business representatives.  Ultimately you’ll want to interface with the lead program/projects manager, the decision makers in the organization.
  • Develop partnerships and teaming arrangements if you find you are short on past performance or specific skills and abilities.


Try to applying these tips as you seek to identify business opportunities, market your company and build competitive proposals.   Practice to improve your skills and be ready for the success that will knock at your door.

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