Contracting with the US Federal Government
The US Federal Government is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world. Working with it, however, is not as easy as it sounds. You need to know their rules and regulations and abide to them or you are totally unsuccessful. I know of many businesses that have tried for many years to get into the federal contractors “club” without success.
The Rules are Different
The problem with winning contracts from the Federal Government is that its rules are completely different from selling to the private sector. Here, the most crucial part of getting the contract is to have a well-written, concise and effective “proposal.” However, the catch is that a “proposal” in the federal government sector is very different from the private sector, and that is where most new companies go wrong.
Why is the “Proposal” so Important?
Federal opportunities are based on bids or “solicitations” that are usually available on some of the Government’s websites including Federal Business Opportunities (www.fbo.gov). A vast majority of these solicitations require proposals. Proposal writing (or as they call it “proposal development”) is so important in government contracting that large companies have their own in-house proposal development teams comprised of a number of specialists. Specially for service contracts, if you want to be awarded a federal contract, you need to have a good proposal. This is the starting point and the crux of the matter.
How can Small Businesses Overcome this Obstacle?
For small and medium sized companies who want to work on government contracts, having such in-house teams is not economically feasible. Many turn to outsourcing their proposal needs and some try to learn and write the proposals themselves. The crucial factor to understand, however, is if you want to win contracts from the Federal Government, including the DoD, then you need to write well prepared proposals that answer the requirements of the RFPs. This is not like writing a blog or an essay. True, you need to be a writer but you also need to know the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) – government contracting rules and regulations. In addition, if you don’t have any previous experience writing such proposals, it would be extremely hard to write compelling and complying proposals, i.e. to win.
My company writes proposals for all size firms; however if you want to write your own proposals, you can go to our blog (http://www.gdicwins.com/blog/) and find many useful articles there. Let me know if you need any help. For starters, use this article http://www.gdicwins.com/tips-on-effective-proposal-writing/