Developing Your Federal Strategy

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How Smart Are You?

in Developing Your Federal Strategy, Federal Contracting, Understanding Your Market by isiFederal Leave a comment

howsmartareyouWhat do a Blood Pressure Kiosk, a Lobster Tank and Coca-Cola have in common? They, along with thousands of other purchases, were all executed by the same federal contracting officer.

How do we know this?

Great question.

It also happens that this same contractor bought Public Relations Services four times in the past year. This is especially important to

Over the past 10 years there were 6,678 contracts for PR services totaling over $1B, is there a market there?

You better believe it.

One contracting officer bought PR services 32 times for over $9.7M and, guess what, 15 went to the same contractor with Time and Materials pricing. The other contracts were split between FOUR other contractors. Only 3 of these contracts were fixed price and all were executed on a task order which means NONE were publicly bid after the initial competition. The largest contract was $2.12M and did not require Small Business, or any other set aside participation.

Does want a piece of that work? You better believe they do.

Can you make money in the federal government? You better believe you can. It is incredible what can happen when you have a strategy that works. The beginning of the strategy is by far the most important component and can make or break your efforts.

In the private sector, we call it marketing segmentation: knowing who your best customer is. In the government, you can do the same thing – the magic is in the targeting. There are 80,000 plus contracting officers with purchasing authority to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the case above 1369 bought PR services of some kind or another, 299 bought them more than once in the last year,74 more than four times. Those are the ones you want. They are the gold nuggets. 74 is a quantifiable, manageable number that represent the top 10%. Because they have multiple applications for this service, the likelihood is much greater with these 74 that they will remember who is when they make the next purchase of PR services. That, my friend, is the name of the game.

Do you ignore the other 1200 plus contracting officers that, on any given day, may buy what you sell?

No way. But you place them in a different category otherwise you might as Stephen Covey would say “mistake activity for productivity”. We manage many different companies’ federal strategies and we can only do it by properly prioritizing our targets. First we find out know who they are and how they buy.

Imagine isiFederal doing this for you… in two weeks, you will know exactly what your priorities should be.

We would love to have you as a customer. Click here to purchase your very own intelligence package.

June 1st at 11 AM we will be conducting a SmartCEO webinar on marketing to federal decision makers. Click here to register.

80% of Companies Fail – Are You Ready?

in Developing Your Federal Strategy, Federal Contracting by isiFederal Leave a comment

90% of companies that try to enter the federal space fail. Most spend between 40,000 and $60,000 over the course of a year with no return. Take this free survey to determine if you are really ready to enter the federal contracting market.

Excerpt from Doing Business with the Government Handbook

The main reason that most companies fail in the federal market, and I mean most companies – over 90%, is because the federal business development success model directly conflicts with the entrepreneur success model. This causes a chain reaction of mistakes based on two fundamental issues:

1) Underfunding the strategy

2) Underestimating the time for market development

Unfortunately having 90% fail doesn’t mean that system filters the best of the best into the top 10%. Companies that succeed do so because of sheer perseverance in learning the system and a willingness to adapt. The fact is, what made you successful, your drive, your passion, your excellence, your get it done now are secondary to the market conditions in front of you. The federal market is a direct contradiction to the DNA of most entrepreneurs and how they got to be successful in the first place and most cannot accept such a revolutionary change in thought process.

Think about it… In building your business, incremental success was making smaller sales, refining your delivery, improving your processes, struggling to finance growth and manage yourself into profitability. The most important component contributing to the success of your federal strategy is a complete overhaul of your outlook of incremental success, bridling your entrepreneurial mindset, trust that the process will work and then allow it to work.

If you look your business success in hindsight, chances are success wasn’t immediate. Like the first two years of Triple Canopy, you probably had to scratch, claw, push, bleed and reinvent yourself before your business stabilized to the point where it stabilized and ran efficiently. How much did it really cost to enter the market that you now have success? Before you answer, remember the sweat equity component and the 80+ hour weeks. Be reasonable and multiply that by a fair qualified hourly rate. Now, if you had to start all over in Japan with no customers, no relationships, with your brand new company – how much would it cost to do that? Exactly.

The federal market presents such a change in environment that successful business entrepreneurs can’t get past their own thinking to look at the market as it is- virgin and foreign. Everything that applies to a new market applies here:

1) You can invest your way into new business through sales and marketing

2) You can buy your way into existing business and relationships through acquisition

3) You can sweat your way in

No matter how you skin this one, it will take time, money and dedicated effort – even for insiders. There are always a few anomalies out there but almost no companies had an ROI (profitable) of less than 24 months doing business with the government. Statistics are hard to come by but the estimate is about 5% of the successful companies (1 in 20). That means if we include all of the unsuccessful companies who try to develop federal sales only about 1 in 200 obtain profitability within two years.

Winning with Women-owned Small Business (WOSB & EDWOSB)

in Bidding Basics, Developing Your Federal Strategy, Federal Contracting by isiFederal Leave a comment

Woman-owned Small Business WOSB LogoThe recently approved WOSB (Women-Owned Small Business) or as it is commonly being referred to 8m (gotta love the irony with that one huh?) is presenting some opportunities – but not the way you think.  If you are expecting a real initiative with teeth, like the 8(a) program, chances are you will be waiting for a while.  It will take years for the program to get up to speed, gain momentum and start carrying the political clout needed for real change.

So Should You Just Ignore It?

No way. Now is the time of real opportunity, to get in front of the line, to help mold the program and benefit from it TODAY.  Don’t wait for the Contracting Officer (CO) to do it –- take it to them.  This program can be VERY effective for you and a couple of your competitors.

Why in the World Would You Help Your Competitors?

Because it makes perfect sense.

If you can play nice in the sandbox with 2 or 3 competitors, you can request that the CO set opportunities of up to $5 Million in Manufacturing or $3 Million for other contracts where they will have at least two qualified submittals.  Is this good for you? You bet- because it never sees the light of day for full and open competition.  So why should the CO care?  Do you think he or she wants 20-30 submittals any more than you want 20-30 competitors?  No way.  What’s in it for them is their job is done easier, faster and, oh by the way, that might even feel good about being the first to write a WOSB contract.

Now couldn’t be a better time.

Why? Because you can self register as a WOSB.

Program Details

The 8m program is limited in its application for set-asides.  We have identified the 83 industry areas wither the federal government has issued either underrepresented or substantially underrepresented by WOSB.

isiFederal Comprehensive WOSB Overview (Excel)

SBA 8m Program Naics List – Underrepresented
SBA 8m Program NAICS List – Substantially Underrepresented
WOSB (Women Owned Small Business) Compliance Guide_Jan2011

How to get registered…

isiFederal 8m WOSB Program Manual
SBA Form 2414
WOSB (Women Owned Small Business) FAQs

REGISTER FIRST then, get ready to drive your 8m to the key Decision Makers.  People buy from people they like, and isiFederal’s Market Intelligence will help you know who needs to like you!

This comprehensive package provides:

  • Identify Purchasing Agencies currently using your products and services
  • Research & Identify Contracting Officers responsible for purchase
  • Report of total contracts won by primary competitors
  • Complete list of all competitors
  • Competitive analysis of primary competitors (up to three)
  • Identify Top Purchasing Agencies
  • Identify Top Contracting Offices
  • Identify Top NAICS
  • Breakdown by PSC
  • Small and Small Disadvantaged Business breakdown
  • Action plan for pursuit (groundwork for federal strategy)


If you want to be in the front of the line, winning business, you need to Order Now!

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