Every business needs a pipeline, which is essentially a list of all the opportunities you are chasing, with their associated values, dates when they are going to be released and awarded, all the key information about each opportunity, metrics to see how well you are progressing with the pursuit, and a variety of other information that will help you track these opportunities better and increase your probability of winning them. You can start your pipeline as a spreadsheet, and as it grows, you might want to select an appropriate pipeline tool. For example, you could establish a pipeline in Microsoft SharePoint 360, Privia, Salesforce, or Central Desktop.
Your pipeline has to have plenty of opportunities in it to become your engine of business growth. It will distinguish you from the competition by giving you an advantage, because you will work on opportunities early and systematically.
Filling a pipeline is a bit tricky in the best of circumstances, let alone when you are just learning how to do it and are just starting out. The good news is that I am about to show you how to do it, so you have a set of solid options you can implement right away.
There are at least eleven ways to find and develop government contracting opportunities. If you implement these methods, you will be better off than even many of the most established government contractors:
1. Subscribe to online business intelligence databases.
2. Register with customer procurement web sites.
3. Pay regular visits to the customer to build a trusted advisor relationship.
4. Leverage your workforce and partners to find out about new opportunities.
5. Solicit small purchases or get sole source awards.
6. Create new opportunities by writing white papers and unsolicited proposals for innovative solutions.
7. Team with a prime contractor as a subcontractor by crafting an irresistible value proposition.
8. Find prime contractors who have trouble staffing their contracts and offer your staff to fill vacancies.
9. Register with large government prime web sites as a small business vendor.
10. Leverage social media and other marketing techniques to attract partners and customers to you.
11. Network at trade shows and other events.
Unfortunately, many companies (even those that have been in the government arena for a long time) use only one or two methods to fill their pipelines, which is not enough. You need to mount a concerted effort. Pick at least a half-dozen of the aforementioned methods and implement them on a regular basis to jump-start your business with the government.