Doug Wendt is a co-founder and senior partner with Wendt Partners.
Take a Systems Approach to Your Qualifications
Most businesses serving the federal markets and related sectors live and die by their qualifications. Past performance and technical qualifications count for a great deal of the scoring process for most projects. Now, it’s time for you to give more attention to this aspect of your firm from a strategic perspective.
Look at your current qualifications, contract vehicles and schedules, then look at the strategic problems being faced by the agencies you serve, and the range of services your competitors are offering. How can you take a more systems-oriented, end-to-end approach to building out your capabilities and providing better solutions?
Train Your Entire Team to Build Relationships
The greatest untapped business development resource in 95% of GovCon companies is the company's existing personnel. In the vast majority of small federal contractors and related companies, business development is performed by the CEO alone, or by that person plus one or two others. Certainly a tight team is best when managing complex RFQ or RFP processes, but what about building deeper relationships and looking for new opportunities on the contracts you already have?
If the vast majority of your employees are spending their days at desks inside the agency paying your bills, what are they doing to develop deeper relationships, manage more proactively, look for new opportunities and bring greater value? Certainly, some situations present technical, procedural or political roadblocks to deeper client relationships, but these are the exception, not the rule.
Look for Smaller Opportunities to Build New Practice Segments
If your company currently provides help-desk and desktop computer support to federal agencies and you realize you need to add cloud computing or training and development services, it may be challenging to add these capabilities and convince conservative buyers to approve you for these additional lines of work. But what you can do is pilot these new practice segments with smaller projects and opportunities you may be missing today.
Look for state and local contracts, subcontracting opportunities, commercial customers and other situations where you can expand your services and prove them out ‘on-the-ground’ and then roll them up into a wider range of proven qualifications for your higher-profile accounts.
Rethink Teaming Strategy to Expand Your Footprint
Many small government contractors have become overly-accustomed to the mentor-protégé system or the idea that they are best-served by operating purely as subs and letting others take responsibility for landing the big fish. Doing this leaves you constantly at the mercy of others, and limits your strategic value over time.
Continue to keep those subcontracting opportunities, but start thinking about how you can pursue projects directly or become more competitive by teaming with other firms to solve a complex problem or cover a wider range of project requirements. Look for ways to enhance your service offering and reach new agencies by partnering with other complementary service providers in a systematic fashion.
Each of these strategies can result in greater revenue and more sustainable growth for government contracting firms, not to mention a healthier exit valuation at sale in the future. The key to driving these changes is to work with a professional B2B business growth consultant who can advise you and help implement the changes you need to achieve the goals you envision for your GovCon business.
Image Credit: usacehq @ Flickr (Creative Commons)