It happened, sequestration has come to pass and everyone seems to be wondering what is happening now or what happens next. In the world of government contracting, we are used to dealing with the unknown, however sequestration adds an unappetizing icing on that unknown. Government contractors large and small are questioning, worrying, and doing their best to figure out what it all means for them.
There is a lot of news, and a lot of data being offered; it can be tough to figure out exactly what to plan for. The one thing to plan on is increased focus by the government on doing more with less. Therefore, contractors need to be prepared for potential increased competition, longer sales pipelines, and helping the government do more with less.
In particular, how do small businesses wade through the quagmire to come out on top in GFY13? A) Being proactive and B) Having knowledge.
If you are a small businesses, waiting for a solicitation to pop up on FBO, then reacting with quick proposal is a very poor use of limited B&P dollars. Your other small business competitors most likely have already scoped out the need, the customer, the timeline, and perhaps even geared that acquisition towards them. It is obvious that large and medium businesses do this all the time. It is surprising to some small businesses that their competitors invest valuable resources into pre-RFP activities.
Investing in these resources doesn’t mean hiring an ex-Colonel to schmooze around bases and centers (although it can if the company budget allows). It just means including more “pre-Bid and Proposal” dollars in your B&P budget. To truly bring work in your doors in the atmosphere we have now means honing into your customer(s) with laser like focus. So focusing on getting the intel and making the effort may cost more up front, but will definitely place your company in a better position once the proposal clock starts.
Find out who your key customers are or could be, avoid a shot gun approach to getting your name out there, watch expiring contracts, learn about incumbents, reach out to the customer before solicitations are issued, match your unique offering to their needs, watch developments in large acquisitions like a hawk.
During this uncertain time, establish your company with your customer. Make them know that they can count on your company to support them with uncertain budgets, timelines, and goals.