September 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm #179962
8 Lessons GOVERNMENT Contractors Can Learn From SHARK TANK
Link to article: http://jenniferschaus.com/wp-content/uploads/GovCon_SharksJS.doc
8 Lessons Government Contractors Can Learn from Shark Tank©
Let’s assume the investors represent the Federal Government Agencies…
1./ Your Pitch Will Not Resonate With Everyone.
Know your target agency, their hot spots, where you will have the best ROI. Tailor your pitch for the agency – including your Capability Statement, the folks you send in for meetings and how you present your solution.
2./ Know Your “Stuff”.
Your presentation should be rehearsed until perfect. Anticipate the questions and have the answers on the tip of your tongue. Know how your solution will solve a problem & be able to explain it as well as your competitive advantage. Sharks want to know how you will make them money; government agencies want to know how you will save them money.
3./ Past Performance Counts!
Having previous customers builds credibility, trust and confidence in your solution – and YOU! Without prior sales, it makes it hard for agencies (or investors) to sign a contract or obligate money for your solution. Often times we see the Sharks partners on deals. It is a way to share in the risk – and agencies are much the same. If the DEA has signed on for your product, then the FBI may be more likely to follow suit.
4./ Be Realistic about Value – & Negotiate.
Agency budgets are tight right now. LPTA (Lowest Price Technically Acceptable) is the norm. Don’t over value your solution. How many times have we seen the Sharks do the math on the valuation and counter offer at a lower equity stake or lower dollar investment. Know your price, margins & value. The converse is also true. Don’t sell yourself short, demolish your profit and put yourself out of business just to have Unlce Sam as a client.
5./ Taste Test.
Product samples and demos help paint a picture of what the product/service will and can do. The solution has to be something the buyer likes. It also helps if they like you, too. Just as the Shark Tank contestants waited in long lines, created something unique and competed to make a presentation – government contractors must also compete. There are no hand-outs or guarantees.
6./ Know Your Window of Opportunity.
Sometimes we see the Sharks make an offer that the contestant must accept or decline within 30 seconds or less. Take it or leave it. It’s now or never. The Federal Government is much the same. There are short turn-arounds for RFP’s and even end of year budget cycles. Be ready to respond. Being prepared and knowing what to go after is half the battle.
7./ Shake, Rattle & Roll.
After the hand-shake, once you are funded by a Shark or secure that government contract, it is not “easy street”. The real work now begins. It’s time to roll. Ensure you are prepared for what comes next and can carry out the mission essential tasks. Having this capability and being able to demonstrate it upfront is what will help you gain the confidence of the buyer and lead to your success.
8./ It Is a Big Tank
Sure there are many overnight Shark Tank success stories as well as multi-million dollar government contractors. Most of the time it takes hard work, multiple fishing expeditions with the right bait, boat & crew. Casting your line a few times is part of the process.
Jennifer Schaus is founder of Jennifer Schaus & Associates a government contract consulting firm in Washington, DC.
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