How should you follow up a successful bid?
You have won your first government contract. Congratulations! This exciting milestone calls for a celebration. But don’t forget, winning the bid is just the first step. What takes place after are critical in your quest to make a positive mark in the world of government contracting.
Here are some tips on what you need to do after winning that first contract.
Know what the client wants and expects from the project.
Every project, government or not, includes detailed specifications that the contractors and the team must follow. These specs give you information on what the contracting party requires as your output. It is essential that you must know and understand the specs by heart.
However, there may be instances that the client will ask you to do tasks outside of the specs. Worse, they may ask you to do tasks that contradict the desired output of the specs. In situations like these, it is important to deal with it tactfully and diplomatically.
The decision will depend on you. The client expects you to be the expert in the matter. Use the situation as an opportunity to help your client, not as an opportunity to show everyone that you are right. Compliance with the contract is very essential, but so is human relation. Every project you do is an opportunity to build professional relationships that may benefit you in the future.
Keep track of your cash flow, and be strict and detailed on it.
Small business owners commonly face the problem of how to cover upfront costs, which include production costs, services, and other costs needed to start the project.
The contract will have the information on your payment terms, and it will vary from contract to contract. Some clients pay an upfront fee, but this may not be enough to cover initial expenses. You may opt for a loan from the bank, thought this may require a personal collateral from you.
It is important to be able to keep track of the amount of money going in and out. Seeing the expenses versus the actual cash inflow will help you make intelligent decisions with regards to the implementation of the project and the utilization of your resources.
Write everything down.
Have every agreement with your client documented or written down, whether in email or in a memo. This will help you keep track of every decisions agreed with the client, especially those that are not stated in the contract.
If you are working with subcontractors, it is important to also have a detailed written agreement. Never assume that you and your team are always on the same page. Effective written communication is vital to ensure a smooth implementation of the project and to avoid costly misunderstandings.
Work hard for that second contract (and third, fourth, and so on…).
Now that you have landed your first contract, work hard to build a good, if not stellar, reputation. Word of mouth can build you or destroy you in a matter of minutes. Build a good business relationship with everyone you work with.
Continue to be aggressive in winning that next contract. Attend every procurement opportunity. Get out of your comfort zone and get out there, meet new people. The second contract will not come knocking on your door. You will have to go out there and work for it.
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