Your First Year in Government Contracting

The Government Contractor Growth Cycle

The 30,000 Foot View: 

Because of small business/set-aside targets, the division between subbing and priming, and the requirements of getting onto IDIQ and other framework contracts, government contractors go through a fairly regular growth process. In this block, we take a quick look at these steps and then go into a bit more detail on what people typically do in their first year.

1. Planning Phase

During the planning phase, the owners of the company are generally working their day job and they are:

  • Building their business plan
  • Identifying customers
  • Tweaking their business lines/ value propositions to those customers

2. Hunting Phase

During this phase we hope the owners are still working their day jobs (the ones that quite and go “all in” are generally in for a stressful few months) and are spending their evenings:

  • Meeting teaming partners
  • Identifying and pursuing opportunities
  • Planning their back-offices

3. Subbing Phase

During this phase the owners may leave their jobs to go full time on their businesses (depending on how big a piece of work they’ve won) and during this phase they are:

  • Creating the back office they planned
  • Building relationships
  • delivering on the work they won

4. Priming Phase

During this phase, the company is maturing and the biggest changes are in the timeframe the owners are thinking in. During the planning and subbing phase most owners think 6 months out at most, but as you begin to prime you’ll need to start thinking years out. Additionally, they are preparing to survive when they lose small business protection

5. Full and Open

Once a company breaks their small business size threshold they are going head to head with the largest companies in the industry. At this point, the company needs a mature back office, IT infrastructure and BD and sales operation along with a client and contract mix that will support long-term growth