When considering any new market, you need to consider the investment of your time and resources. In approaching the government market, there are certain steps you can take to avoid wasting time and money and to be sure that your company is ready to do business with the government.
Marketing to federal, state or local government is often quite different than the commercial marketplace. As a new player in the market you will need to convince buyers or partners that you’re capable, reliable and able to deliver what you are promising, that is, they need to trust you. Past performance is a key concept in government procurement – and as a new company trying to break into the market, there is no short-cut. To avoid disappointment, prepare for a long-term marketing effort. As one of my co-workers likes to say, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!
To prepare, ask yourself these questions:
- Is your business established? Does it have a history of sales? Does it have an experienced sales team? If you’re a new business, consider contacting the SBDC to receive business counseling. Government buyers have a low risk tolerance and therefore they usually will not take a chance on a newly formed company.
- Does your business plan include the government market as a growth strategy? When considering a move into any large, new market, the company’s business plan needs to support the initiative. This means that your company needs to have the resources – managerial, administrative, financial, etc., - to commit to a marketing effort that may not produce revenue for several years.
- Can your company’s cash flow be managed to allow for government payment cycles? If the company is unable to make payroll or is having cash flow issues – that is NOT the time to approach the government market (or any other specialized market).
- Does your company use the Internet on a daily basis, communicate through email and have a website that aids in marketing goods or services offered? Contracts are advertised, goods are purchased, invoices are paid, and the bulk of communication is accomplished electronically.
- Have you done the necessary market research to determine the government’s demand for your product or service? There are some goods and services that government or their prime contractors simply don't buy.
Before you get started, contact the Wyoming Entrepreneur PTAC at (866)253-3300 to make sure you’re registering in the right places.