live chat

Getting to Know The Market

Getting to Know The Market

When we hear the word consumer, we usually think of the average mother at a grocery store or a young professional out on a shopping spree. While the public does make up a significant percentage of just about any market, you'd be surprised to know that it is actually the US government who spends the most money availing products and services. These purchases approximately amount to $200 B per year and vary from space vehicles to porterhouse steaks.
In other words, the US Government buys just about everything and anything.
If you own a small to a medium-sized business, you might be intimidated by large corporations as competitors in snagging government contracts. But don't worry! Procurement laws in the United States require federal agencies to tap small businesses for at least 23% of their purchases. This is a relatively small percentage, so you'll have to be extra creative in marketing your brand. Perhaps, I should quote this notorious maxim for its relevance:

Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.

So perhaps we're way out of context here, but the point I'm making is simple: let the government agencies know what you can do and how well you do it.

Entering into business with the government is quite like entering business with a private entity. Procurement policies for government bidding may require more effort to comply with than private negotiations, but they more or less operate the same way. Business techniques rarely depend on the playing field, so your marketing strategies in doing business with private corporations may very well work with your attempt at doing business with the government. The first thing to do is to get to know the market: how does government contracting work? Who is my customer? Who are my competitors? How might I get ahead of them? These are just some few questions you can ask before you begin looking for bids.

How does government contracting work?

A lot of factors have to be considered in answering this question as procurement policies differ from state to state, agency to agency. The basic bidding process is however quite simple once you strip away the complexities of geographical and commercial category. You can read about the basic bidding process here.

Who is my customer?

The government is branched out into a multitude of agencies, and any one of these agencies could be your customer. If you're a lumber supplier, you could be working for "The City of Florida" or "Idaho's Independent School District." The trick here is to get an operational  knowledge of the agency that is most likely going to hire you. 

Who are my competitors? How might I get ahead of them?

Remember that you're not the only lumber supplier in the country. There are certainly one hundred more like you who are claiming to have the best quality lumber in the United States.  Distinguish your business through creative marketing and a reputable history. If you've been in the lumber industry since 1947, then use that bit to sell the quality of your product and the reliability of your service. If you're new, offer something that your old competitors haven't thought about yet. Be original. Show your government agencies that you deserve a shot.
It's formidable to think of the United States as your customer. You know you should do excellently the first try or you might not be able to get a second chance. There can be no room for juvenile business tricks here, especially that you're dealing with the government, and accountability and reliability are of utmost importance.   by