Manage Your Expectations. Most, and I mean most, 80%+ of companies that attempt to get in the federal space fail within the first 12 months. Another 10%-15% fail by 18 months, leaving less than 5% surviving past 24 months. So you can look at it as incredible risk, or you may see this as the market thinning out your competition. The ones that make it not only survive – they thrive.
Budget for Success. Did you know that the average successful small business federal contractor spends over $165k per year in federal marketing and business development? That’s right. This is the #1 challenge in federal marketing because you can spend that kind of money and still not get a dime if you are riding the wrong horse. It is highly likely the people you need are not on your payroll right now. Look for force multipliers… the people, partners, trusted advisers that can help reduce the learning curve and accelerate your position.
Be Proactive. You can’t sit on the bench and expect someone to let you take a shot. If you want to win, you better be going after your competitors’ buyers NOW. March through June is your chance to get positioned before the money is allocated for 2019 spending this September
Get Ahead of the RFP. Rule #1 is if you didn’t influence the RFP then your competitor did. Opportunities come from people, not FBO or even GSA eBuy. Did you know that most winnable opportunities are competed between less than 5 companies? You want to be one of the 5 and you get there by people liking you.
Stay the Course. Give yourself 24-36 months to develop traction and you will beat the vast majority of the competitors in the federal market. This is what the incumbents did – you can do it too!