If you’re a small business owner pursuing Government contracts, you spend a lot of time juggling multiple federal business opportunities at different stages—identifying opportunities, pursuing them, winning them, executing and performing on them. It is easy to get excited about a large Government contract and devote all your energy to winning it, especially if it will launch your business to the next level. If that excitement turns into fixation, it’s easy to let everything else drop to the detriment of your entire business. Here are some tips for avoiding contract fixation while going after those big federal business opportunities.
A Cautionary Tale of Government Contract Fixation
The Air Force announced the recompete for NETCENTS. Seeing the success of the previous prime contractors, many companies pursued NETCENTS2, putting everything they had into winning that one vehicle. It was a multiple-year process to compete and required significant investments of time and money. Only a relative few were selected as Prime awardees and only a select few of those were awarded a vast majority of the purchase orders on this federal business opportunity. The others didn’t look at what they needed to do to enhance their product or service, making it more attractive to the customer. Instead of focusing on where it was important, they let all of their other federal business opportunities drop and suffered in the end.
How Do I Know I’m Fixated on a Federal Business Opportunity?
Fixating on one aspect of your business to the detriment of the others doesn’t pass the common-sense test. Something may start to slip undetected because your focus is too myopic. But, for a short period of time you might prioritize a large federal business opportunity, which is more of an intentional, specified shift in focus. To do this, you have to know your business and maintain discipline. If you have a history of setting firm boundaries around your time, chances are you aren’t fixated.
Maintaining Situational Awareness
When looking at all of your Government contracts, it’s human nature to prioritize those with the most lucrative potential, especially if a single win would achieve all of your goals. Instead, we suggest that you organize the federal business opportunities you’re tracking based on your Probability of Win (Pwin) and dedicate a proportional amount of resources prioritizing those with the highest Pwin. Keep your aperture wide to avoid missing out on other smaller targets of opportunity that collectively add up to more revenue and solid business.
You’ll also see other parallel or peripheral business you weren’t looking for, which, ultimately, can help you meet your goals. Diversifying might be outside of your comfort zone initially, but your great skills, products and leadership will be useful in places you don’t expect.
As a final note, if you are focused on only one federal business opportunity, keep in mind that most of the time these get pushed back six to eight months, or even a year due ot numerous delays. You can reduce the risk to your entire business by actively and diligently looking for other work.