Who’s Your Customer?

Do you know who’s your government contracting customer? Have you ever asked yourself that question?

Most people don’t. Most small business owners jump all around the necessary questions and steps to getting their first government contract.

You don’t know what you don’t know. I give you that but how long do you really think it should take to get a government contract one year, two years, three years? Seriously, how long do you think it really should take? Come on? After a year of spinning your wheels, you have to know that something’s not right. If you’re doing everything you know, it’s what you don’t know that is hurting you.

You may even ask people “how can I get my first government contract?”

And they give you the answer. But it’s not enough. It hasn’t been enough. Hence, you still don’t have a contract because you’ve been trying to piece it together all on your own, bits and pieces.

You’ve attended workshops and information sessions hosted by the Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Center, and Score.

I’ve attended those sessions when I was where you are, just starting out in government contracting and needing answers to get my government contracting business up, running, and landing contracts. I needed more than just yes and no answers… I needed details, the steps, and the documents. I needed help from a real person!

Honestly, searching the Internet and attending workshops and seminars took up a lot of time, yet still didn’t get me to a contract.

“It was getting someone that had paved the path before me. They knew my struggles and understood my feelings.”

Recently, I’ve attended information sessions. I now see why it never was enough. They give the overview. Yes, today I could take that information fill in the gaps and make it happen, but that’s where I am, knowledge and experience wise, today. I say all this to say, stop beating yourself up.

The information they provide is an overview of what you need to know on a specific, narrow topic, but not the step by step of that one piece of the puzzle.

There are different workshops and seminars on various topics, but nobody connects the dots of the entire puzzle and tell you how everything needs to flow together to make it happen.

There’s nothing accomplished from the session. You still have to take it back to your office and figure out how to piece it together and what exact actions you need to take for your specific situation. Bummer right? It’s the truth!

Do you know who’s your customer?

There are more government agencies than you realize. And I’d gather to say that not all agencies buy what you sell.

Can you imagine the manpower needed to market to say 50 agencies? And if you’re like most it’s only two of you max working in your business when you’re starting out. Can you see how that’s practically impossible to market to all those agencies, especially to be effective?

That’s why you need to ask the question “Who’s my customer?”

By having the answer to that question, will allow you to:

  • Narrow your focus
  • Get contracts faster

Not knowing who’s your customer, can affect your capacity to perform. You don’t know what they want or what it will take to get awarded and complete a successful project based on their preferences. Do you see why it’s important to know your customer?

Being ahead of the game is definitely a game changer. You’ll be able to know about projects prior to them hitting the street. Knowing what your customer’s forecast for projects are will allow you to position your business and ramp up your capacity to perform. Allow you to position your business to do whatever it takes to make it happen. In most cases putting together a bid and proposal package is part of the process.

We’ve already established that it’s only you and one other person if you’re lucky. So you don’t have the time or manpower to bid on projects you have no chance at winning or get to bid submission date and you don’t have your proposal package together or the numbers.

Relationships in business are just as important as in your personal life. Communicating with your customer is important to building relationships and winning contracts.

Positioned correctly you could have conversations about:

  • Upcoming projects
  • How projects out – set-a-side classification
  • Them doing a set-a-side for a classification for which you’re certified  

Once a project come out for bid they can’t have any conversations with you, privately about that project.

I can’t stress enough why knowing your customer and building a relationship is important before you actual bid on a project.

This entire process I call…”Follow the Money”

By Following the Money to the customer that buys what you sell will save you a lot of time, money, man hours, and stress ultimately, getting you to a government contract faster.

So… who’s your customer?

P.S. In this series,  just follow this link to get access to all three articles.

3 of the 9 Critical Answers to Questions You Don’t Know to Ask When Making the Government Your Client.

Does the government buy what I sell?

Who’s your customer?

How to land your first contract