Installment 19: Do Not Get Caught Up in Red Tape

Outsider Perception: Red tape is the biggest barrier to entering the federal market.

Reality: The red tape is not as bad as it seems from the outside.

Lesson: Don't let the red tape deter you from cracking the federal market.


Encountering mountains of red tape is an inevitable consequence of doing business with the federal government. You will be required to register with various federal web sites and will be asked to provide company certifications in government databases. Keep in mind that in completing these tasks, you aren't making any actual progress towards making a sale. Government buyers don't use databases to find vendors. Instead, the vendors find the buyers.

As much as they would love to ignore it, federal contractors are forced to comply with the government's red-tape requirements in order to do business with the government. A newly-hired college graduate or someone in your accounting organization should be able to wade through the red tape. The task may appear daunting at first but, with patience and tenacity, the person assigned the task will find out that it is not rocket science. Complying with the government's requirements becomes second nature after the first time through the process.

Your designated person should tackle the following tasks first:

Do companies need to enlist the services of an attorney when they do business in the federal market? Lawyers have a role to play in the federal market just as they do in the commercial market. The trick is to realize when you need one and when you don't. Don't assume you need one for every little thing you don't understand.

Are special accounting systems required when doing business with the federal government? Yes, you will most likely need one at some point in time but not at the time of market entry. A somewhat generalized accounting package, such as QuickBooks, will do to start. Your business will need to invest in a more specialized accounting system as your involvement in the federal market grows and your revenue increases.

In summary, we receive frequent inquiries from companies who tell us they have addressed all of the administrative tasks listed on federal web sites but have failed to receive any federal business. They ask why the orders aren't flowing in from various federal agencies. Our response to such inquiries is to be proactive, locate an end user and call them just like you would a commercial customer. The federal buyers aren't actively seeking you out. Decide to make the investment in establishing one-on-one customer relationships or don't waste your money, time and effort.

Installment Series:

Installment 1: The Best Offense is a Good Defense
Installment 2: Make the World's Biggest Customer Your Own
Installment 3: Market Research in the Federal Sector
Installment 4: Become an Insider in the Federal Market
Installment 5: Competition and Price Sensitivity in the Federal Market
Installment 6: Are Federal Bids Wired?
Installment 7: Fundamentals of Federal Contracting
Installment 8: Making a Federal Sale
Installment 9: Closing a Federal Sale
Installment 10: Start with the Credit Card and Quick Buy Markets for Smaller Transactions
Installment 11: Consider Starting as a Subcontractor to a Prime
Installment 12: Selling Directly to Prime Contractors
Installment 13: Pre-approved Government Price Lists
Installment 14: Getting a Pre-approved Federal Price List for Your Company
Installment 15: Small Business Preference Programs
Installment 16: Distinguishing Messages Win in the Federal Market
Installment 17: Selling to Federal Agencies Located in Your Backyard
Installment 18: Getting Started in Federal Sales
Installment 19: Don't Get Caught Up in Red Tape
Installment 20: Steps to Take After Winning Your First Federal Contract 
Installment 21: Learn How to Write Federal Proposals
Installment 22: Prosper in the Federal Market

Fedmarket has been helping companies win government business since 1995. We have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other trade publications. Our customer testimonials speak to our competence and expertise in helping customers win federal business. We have been singled out by public and private organizations -- including the Small Business Administration and federally-funded Procurement Technical Assistance Centers -- as the most comprehensive government contracting resource in the industry. Our web site's free content includes informative newsletters on GSA Schedules, Proposal Writing and Federal Business Development.

Visit Fedmarket
For inquiries, call 888-661-4094 Press 2.

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