Is the Customer Running a Red Light?

Selling to Uncle Sam.

That is not what I do, rather it is what I help my clients and the clients of the company I currently work for do. For those of you not familiar with my background (almost everyone reading this), I have over 16 years in government contractor business development, program management, and contract support. I have military experience and have owned a small business. Does this make me an expert? No. Does it  make me knowledgeable and inquisitive? Yes. So here goes.

I was driving home from a client’s office the other day and, as I stopped at a red light, I looked at my phone to send a one-word text. Looking up, I saw that the light had already turned green but at that precise moment, a car ran the red light heading down the street right in front of me. If I had not looked down, would I have seen the car coming, would they have seen me, would I have been hit? I tell this story for a reason. First of all, I do not approve of, recommend, or even tolerate texting and driving. However, I can see an analogy between myself at the green light and a government contractor.

Can’t see it? I don’t blame you. You have to possess a curious way of thinking, but here is the analogy. How many times as a government contractor have you been blindsided by a change in government requirements, procurement strategies, or key personnel? It has happened to most companies. What do you do about it? You look both ways, know which way the government driver is heading, and look out for sudden changes in speed or direction. How do you do that? If possible, you establish a relationship with the customer but you also maintain that relationship up to and through the proposal process. Seems simple and logical, however, you would be surprised at how many businesses that should know better, don’t. Remember, watch out for the other car; before, during, and after the solicitation that you are bidding on is released. Stay tuned for more and feel free to respond with your own examples of how this has happened to your business.

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