Do you know when to walk away from a potential deal as a small business prime?

In many cases, the answer is NO!

But, as the business developer of a small company you must know when. Here is why…

You have limited resources and a limited budget. You must determine how to optimally utilize those resources available and how to best allocate your budget to win the most business. You need to ensure that you don’t let your ego get the best of you as well. If you’re saying to yourself, “I know our company has the qualifications to win,” make sure that’s not the only argument you have.

How do you know?

There are several basic factors that every business developer should know when determining if his/her company should pursue or not pursue an opportunity, such as:

• Does your company have the contract vehicle that the customer intends to use?
• Does your company have the required facilities clearance (i.e., Secret or Top Secret)?
• Does your company have a DCAA approved accounting system?

However, the most important factors come down to three key questions.


Does the customer know who you are and the team you have constructed?

It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you! Your objective is to do whatever it takes to get into a meeting with the customer, specifically the program manager and any potential technical evaluation board (TEB) member that will be evaluating your proposal when submitted. You need to present them with the qualifications your team offers collectively to execute the requirement. If you can’t get face time with the customer, then it’s not worth your time to pursue.


Does the customer even want competition?

If the customer is not taking the time to meet with you, that is a good sign they don’t want competition. But if they do meet with you, remember your objective is to determine if they actually want competition. Usually, when a customer provides you hot buttons or issues they currently have that they want to be addressed, that is a good sign that they want competition. Also, knowing that they are open to various acquisition strategies and different contract vehicles is a good sign as well.
AND, don’t confuse contracting office interaction with customer interaction. It’s the job of the contracting officer to drum up the competition, they don’t care who wins, they just care that more than two companies submit a proposal.


How much love does the customer have for the incumbent?

You can figure this out in two ways. Research and Word of Mouth.

Do Your Research:
Determine if a prime has continuously received increase modifications to the contract. That’s a good sign that the customer likes the work the incumbent is doing.
C2P’s market intelligence software can provide valuable award information about contractors and their incumbents. C2P will also show you which companies have given the most mods to a single incumbent.

Word of Mouth:
What relationships exist with that customer? Use your network of contacts to figure out what companies have supported that customer in other contracts and figure out if the customer likes how the incumbent is performing?

As a business developer, knowing when to walk away from a deal is as important as knowing what deals to pursue. With Capture 2 Proposal, you can do all of your research in one place reducing the time and resources you spend determining which deal you want to pursue and which deals you should pass on.