Is it Tough to Win a Government Contract?

Michele Warg
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Winning a government contract can be great for business. These contracts are especially lucrative for smaller companies, assuming that smaller businesses can get in on the same contracts that prove lucrative for much larger companies. Unfortunately, this is not typically the case. The reality is that government contracts are incredibly difficult for smaller businesses to take advantage of simply because these businesses don’t have the funds or time to really pursue a contract.

In order to win a contract, a company needs to be prepared for a variety of possible circumstances. The first aspect of pursuing a government contract lies in funds — a company needs a pretty penny in order to properly invest in a government contract. Of course, many companies view investment funding as a lost cause. After all, these businesses need the government contracts to build profits. However, the $112,000 - $137,000 price tag could be well worth the effort, as government contracts can earn companies their investment back several times over.

Smaller companies may need to tailor their services in order to meet the demand of the federal government. By adapting products and services to meet government demands, bidders find more success in both finding and pursuing successful government contracts. If the company has a hard time drafting a pitch for the federal government, it may have a more successful experience in the state and local sectors.

Companies shouldn't be afraid to ask for help. Smaller companies may be new to government contracting, and, as such, asking for the advice or help of a mentor is never a bad idea. Small start-ups can find mentors through government networking events, information sessions and more; it never hurts to ask a mentor for help when wading through legalese or fine print.

Don’t stick to federal government contracts. While it can be tempting to put all of a company’s eggs in one basket, the company may benefit more from diversifying its clientele. For example, some small companies serve government contracts in addition to state and local contracts. Utilizing all three avenues can lead to greater profit opportunities and future contracts.

Finally, if one bid fails, don’t be afraid to bid again. Many companies who win government contracts bid on several contracts rather than only bidding on one. Placing more than one bid can help companies practice the process and become more familiar with the federal government landscape.

Receiving a government bid can be difficult, especially for smaller companies. Larger companies with more time and money to spend often win over smaller start-ups or businesses. Larger companies often have additional resources through government networking and experienced mentors. However, by including these steps in the bidding process, small companies can prepare for and improve bidding practices.


Image courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at



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    Having spent several years in the defense contracting business and worked on numerous proposals, its been my experience that small companies fare better when they partner with the larger companies vying for the govt contracts. Many larger contractors seek out partners who have specific or greater expertise in a particular area or skillset. Being in a "sub" position helps the smaller cimpany gain the experience needed to compete in future

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