Seven Secrets to Winning Big Government Contracts for Small Business Owners

“I have always been an entrepreneur, even as a youth—from mowing lawns and delivering groceries as a teen, to selling laptop computers in my early 20s,” says Kenneth Kelly, president and CEO of Strativia, a national technical and professional services company.

Kelly, who hails from the corporate world managing financial management software installation projects at hotels and resorts throughout the world, launched Strativia in 2007. The company has set a high bar in winning government contracts.

Headquartered in Maryland with offices in Atlanta and Denver, Strativia has been awarded nearly $50 million in government contracts over the past year, with no plans of slowing down.

“We don’t wait for tomorrow. We do it all with exceptional speed, mindful of the need to solve the problem now,” Kelly says.

Kelly outlines the company’s strategy with government contracting; “We have built strong relationships with our customers and partners by delivering on our promises and adding real value through service delivery and innovation.”


His advice for new business owners entering the government contracting space? “Target prime contractors and work to become their preferred subcontractor. Then, after you have amassed a certain amount of past performance, begin to target smaller government contracts.”

Here are seven more secrets Kelly shared on winning government contracts:

Get Properly Registered


First things first, take care of the basics and become properly registered to sell to the government through your state, local, and federal government regulatory authorities.

Know Your Buyers’ Market


Understand which agencies buy what you sell and how they buy it. (This can be determined by visiting an agency’s website, speaking with small business contacts, procurement contacts, and various databases.)

Don’t Circumvent the Process


Upon understanding how the government buys your services, obtain the necessary contract vehicles, small business certifications, and other requirements as defined by the agency.

Connect Through Strategic Networking


Attend agency procurement and outreach events. If done properly and consistently, events can serve as exceptional opportunities to encounter and engage with the “right” connections and potential partnerships for present or future collaboration. Show up to these events with your winning game face on, a strategy, and prepared to do business.

Engage Through Strategic Communications


Send your tailored marketing materials to the appropriate contacts and request meetings to learn about upcoming procurements and how to best position your company to win.

Learn, Leverage, and Collaborate


If you don’t meet each of the requirements or don’t have adequate past performance, find teaming partners to fill gaps and go after work together. (If you don’t win, request a debriefing and learn what you can do better.)

Build a Solid Reputation


Once you win the work, deliver on the requirements. Keep the big picture in mind and understand how each contract can help you win your next.