For those of us who celebrate the New Year on January 1st, hitting the gym is always a top priority, but for those of us in the GovCon space, New Year began back in October and working out may not be priority #1. At the top of your resolutions list is refocusing, pumping up positive attitudes, and resolving to make 2020 your best year yet. Here are our top 5 tips to set your company up for success in 2020 and beyond!
Tip # 1: Revisit your core capabilities
Companies change and capabilities evolve over time. You may have started out as a software development company, but with changing marketplace demands and agency funding, your capabilities have evolved to fit these changes. You still have the software development capabilities, but a majority of your business now comes from a different stream. Reset your compass. Decide if you want to focus more on one set of capabilities over another. Maybe, you want to go back to being a full stack development company, or, perhaps, you want to focus on O&M, but, specifically, for the DoD. Whatever the case may be, it is important you revisit your capabilities statement and reevaluate it based on current marketplace demands. Most importantly, gather your team around you and communicate what your company’s elevator pitch is. This way, the next time your team runs into a potential client, they are all pushing for the company to win business in the field/domain/sector you want to be in versus trying to be a jack of all trades!
Tip # 2: Clean out your pipeline
Now that you’ve determined your company’s focus, review your pipeline and prioritize the leads. Don’t toss out leads or cross off potential opportunities just yet. Prioritize the leads using a scale of 1 through 3. 1 being the highest priority and 3 being the lowest priority. Your top priority leads should support the refreshed list of core capabilities you came up with (see Tip # 1). If you have more Priority 2s and 3s in your pipeline, you need to push forward with the growth planned through the current set of leads, but rebalance your portfolio. Communicate your priorities with your research team, so they can intentionally find and qualify leads that support your Priority 1.
Tip # 3: Brand and Market
No company can grow by hiding itself. In the GovCon space, it is critical to network and meet with other companies to build your partner network. Remember the adage, it’s too late to build a relationship when you need one! Companies team with people they know and trust. It may not be the most natural or comfortable task, but make a point to get out of the office and meet, at least, 5 new companies each week. Meet them at industry days, ask for referrals and introductions, meet them at events. Figure out the how after you have committed to the task. Many small business owners think they can hire a consultant and get introduced to companies. Remember, the consultants have taken time to build a relationship and they are not going to introduce an unknown entity. Their reputation is on the line. Start today. Commit to investing in your brand and marketing your company. You are your best spokesperson.
Tip # 4: Invest in Innovation
If you’re a service company, act like a product company and invest in innovation. Separate yourself from the pack. Come up with a list of 3 reasons that differentiate your company from the 3,000 other GovCons. This takes time and does not always take huge investment, but, more importantly, it takes top leadership commitment. If you can give 3 reasons why you are different, you will have no problem garnering interest from teaming partners! Innovation, also, does not have to be organic. You don’t need to invest in an Innovation Lab or R&D Lab to be innovative. Find solution partners, find technology partners, think about being a reseller of technology your target agencies need. There are plenty of ways to innovate without investing your own dollars. However, we cannot stress this enough – if you are going to market another company’s capabilities to expand your own, make sure you are committed and ensure the partner is committed to the long government acquisition lifecycles.
Tip # 5: Act on your plan
Many companies start their new year in January (or October), full of energy and excitement. They tell us how they want to make this year the best revenue year and want to invest in building their pipeline and following Tips 1 through 4, and more! If you don’t have the resources or commitment to carry through and act on your plans, you will, obviously, not realize return on investment. This is the biggest hurdle we face when working with small businesses. They get excited and invest on subscriptions and tools to build pipelines, but are extremely gun shy when it comes to pulling the trigger and submitting a proposal.
While the angst and anxiety and downright dread of writing proposals are valid, you must act on your plan if you want this year to be your best revenue year!
By Reena Bhatia
Business Development Division of ProposalHelper