No Money Left Behind: 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Going After Government Contracts

Make sure you don't miss out on lucrative business opportunities

LaShonda Bracey doesn’t look for paths that lead to nowhere, she blazes her own. With astonishing success in government contracting, an area many businesses—particularly small businesses—often overlook, she works tirelessly and passionately to help identify the vast opportunities that are on the table.

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As CEO and president of Health-Works1 and ASAP Training and Course Development, she’s making indelible marks in the world of government training and consulting, and other sectors of her brand. Since starting two training firms and working with hundreds of clients all across the country, she has built a solid reputation as an astute deal-maker for top federal and private sector agencies, executives, and everyday individuals seeking to build and improve their learning portfolios. This ‘government contracting guru’ is also an author, speaker, professional trainer, and creative visionary.

With it being contract renewal time for the federal government, we asked Bracey to identify the top seven mistakes that small business owners make when going after government contracts?

1. Not Being Registered Properly (or not completing the proper paperwork). As a small business with the desire to work with the largest conglomerate in the world—the federal government—you have to be registered properly. One of the biggest deterrents for small businesses is the amount of paperwork. The paperwork and registration process is more tedious than anything else. There are a lot of I’s to be dotted, and T’s to be crossed, in the contracting process. So your paperwork should be thorough. The government can’t take risks in the businesses they work with.

2. Not Doing Due Diligence. As a small business owner, you have to be diligent and stay abreast of the latest-and-greatest information in this industry. This includes the needs and desired outcomes that our current and future clients may have. Get in the habit of doing periodic check-ins to show your continued interest and support to your clients. Be prepared before asking or scheduling any meetings with potential clients and decision makers. In most cases, all the background information is readily available to you. A great resource is the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation.

3. Not Responding Effectively and Efficiently. The world of government contracting can seem extremely overwhelming, as there are 2,000 to 4,000 new opportunities posted and released daily. After you have identified a potential opportunity where your business can best serve, take a step back and process all that is required. Pull your paperwork and applicable resources and get to writing. Make sure you respond in the allotted time as well. Whatever you do, don’t miss any deadlines.

4. Not Building Lasting Relationships With Clients. In the government contracting space, relationships are key. When a client remembers you and the type of work you do, they will continue to seek out your products and services. For example, I had a few clients leave one particular agency and, when they were all settled at their new positions and needed assistance, they sought my services because of the work and business relationships that had been established. This allowed me to gain contracts with two other agencies, Amtrak and the Securities Exchange Commission.

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