Carol Craig's company, Craig Technologies, may be one of the best government contract gaining medium-sized firms in Central Florida, but like many others, she started off struggling in the business.
"Honestly, business development and proposal manpower was my biggest challenge early on," said Craig, who founded her business in 1999. "Going for large government contracts — for those who know the drill — is extremely time-consuming and costly. I didn't have a huge staff when I started out and this was a challenge for us. As a result, we weren't able to pursue as many proposals as we would have liked. I can't imagine the millions of dollars in contracts we missed out on early in the business because of the limitation on cash and internal resources."
But things have changed since then for Craig. Her company, based in Brevard County, now has more than 400 employees and its biggest contract to date has an annual run rate of $18 million.
Gaining government contracts is a big deal for small businesses, because many times that ensures continual work for those firms. Here, Craig offers three strategies on how better to land government contracts:
1. Increase your search method for new work:"There are some incredible software solutions out there that can save a significant amount of time and money in the contract bidding process and other areas of government contracting. In our case, we created and regularly use ProDash," Craig said. ProDash is an online platform Craig's secondary company, GCC Innovative Technologies LLC, launched in December. The platform can be used by any contracting company to ease the process in finding and filing for government contracts.
2. Stay current in the industry and join organizations:"I tried to get involved in the government contracting community from Day One, but as I’ve grown, I’ve been able to increase my participation and serve on many boards to stay in the know about the happenings in the industry," Craig said. "Groups like Women in Defense and the National Defense Industrial Association are good examples, but there are many, many more. In addition to these organizations, it's important to keep current with industry news through publications like Washington Technology, and don't forget social media."
3. Be persistent: Sure, a government organization may not pay close attention to your firm at first, but it helps to stay in contact and form a relationship to earn trust. "Government contractors are a dime a dozen, and you need to stay relevant or the next contractor will slide right into your place, especially if you are a small set-aside company," said Craig.
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