Now it’s time to look at the third barrier staring small businesses down and attempting to scare them off from opening government revenue streams. This barrier’s an interesting one because it’s a psychological barrier more than anything, and one that afflicts almost every person at different times in their lives. Small businesses that can overcome this barrier put themselves in a strong position to win potentially life-changing pieces of government business.
In my travels, I’ve asked many small-business owners, operators, and employees, what’s stopping them from bidding for government work. The response invariably is:
“I don’t know where to start”, “I don’t have the time”, “I have no experience with government”, or “I just can’t compete with my bigger competitors”.
These responses all essentially form part of the same psychological beast: the fear of failure. I then drill a bit deeper and ask these small business operators that if there existed a market – a market much bigger than any other – that had need of their product or service, would they invest even a small amount of time to see if they could secure some of its business?
It’s right there they begin to understand that with the right guidance and a determined outlook, their small business can realise meaningful revenue streams from the only sector that dramatically increases its spend during economic tsunami’s: our government.
Once your small business realises that they can win government business, one of the biggest battles has been fought and won. Sure, there’s plenty more to come, but really believing that you can bid for and win government business, is a huge head-start.
Remember this, though: you will not win at your first attempt to win government business. Unless you’re incredibly lucky or perfectly positioned at the right time, you won’t win at your second attempt, either. Here is where your resolve will be tested and where many small businesses give up.
Consider this: Michael Jordan struggled to make his high school basketball team; hours and practice and a fierce determination saw him become one of the greatest basketballers of all time. In his mid-30s Fred Astaire received this inglorious critique at his first screen test, “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Balding. Can dance a little”; Astaire went on to star in over 50 movies, collecting Emmys, Grammys, and an Oscar along the way. Jerry Seinfeld was booed off-stage at his first stand-up comedy gig; hours of practice eventually saw Seinfeld become one of the greatest American comedians of all time
I am saying that if you can remain true to a government strategy and consistently hunt and submit for government business, your submissions will begin to sing that much clearer and sweeter, and your chances of opening government revenue streams will dramatically increase.
Whether you realise it yet or not, now is the best time for small businesses to target government revenue streams. Never have our government been so aware of the financial cliff facing the small-business sector which employs over 40 per cent of the entire country’s workforce. Never have our government faced the prospect of such decimation to our small business sector which accounts for 33 per cent of Australia’s GDP. Never have our governments had so many incentives in place to help small businesses to apply for and win government business. Small businesses that understand this will lead our country through what is shaping up to be potentially the biggest economic heart attack this century.
Thomas Pollock, CEO, THINQ Learning and author of “Winning Government Business: the 6 Rules and 9 Absolutes”