One thing to prepare for when trying to land government contracts is that some of them can take a long time to finalize. It depends on a lot of factors and knowing your target will help you immensely.
An off the shelf product can be purchased under the commercial contracting provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation in a matter of days. Of course, the cost of the item will correlate with how long it takes to finish the sale. The higher the price the more approvals it will have to go through.
However, a product that needs to be designed and developed, has to go through the whole process of writing the specifications and issuing the Request for Proposal. Due to the fact that government agencies work in the public eye, they have to factor in any comments or protests from concerned citizens and clear any actions they may take.
Imagine this process can take anywhere from months to a couple years to finalize and you don’t get paid until you get the contract of course. You have to make sure your business is prepared to handle the length of that process.
Actively seeking new contracts in advance of one contract ending will help minimize the gap between contracts. Don’t wait until a week before you completed the contract. At least a month in advance you should be actively looking for your next contract and submitting bids.
You can also explore opportunities with the agency holding your current contract. Do they have more work coming up, another project that you could submit a bid for. If you’ve worked well with this agency and they are pleased with the current contract, that could give you an advantage in any future projects that they may have out for bids.
Also, keep aware of RFP sites and any connections you have that can connect you with agencies that have jobs to be done. You never want to miss an opportunity because you simply weren’t aware that it existed. Going along with that, it can be helpful to be prepared to send out your proposals once you have the information relevant to the specific bid. You won’t have a finished proposal waiting in advanced, but being prepared for a quick turn around can make a difference.
Continue to be proactive in your search for contracts and you won’t have too many long gaps in between jobs.