When the going gets tough, maybe it’s time to find a potential business partner to help out. To thrive in the highly-competitive field of government contracting, contractors usually form strategic partnerships. Business partners can pool their resources together to develop more advanced products and services for their federal clientele through this professional relationship.
What are the common types of business partnerships in the government contracting industry?
Business partnerships in this field can come in different forms, such as:
Subcontracting is the most common form of business partnership in the field. In most cases, when a government contract is too complex, a prime contractor will ask other small business government contractors to assist them in the project as their subcontractors.
This arrangement deal is perfect for small businesses who are looking for contract opportunities in the field of government contracting.
• Joint Venture
Small businesses, or even businesses under the Small Business Administration’s mentor-protégé program, can come together to perform specific government contracts. In this business partnership, small businesses will combine their resources, knowledge, skills and profits to fulfill their contract.
• Contractor Team Arrangement (CTA)
If two or more business owners possess a GSA Schedule Contract, they can form a CTA to qualify for specific government contracts.
Where can you meet potential business partners?
1. Participate in business-related events
As a business owner, you should be aware that government contracting events are the best avenues to forge potential partnerships with other key players and decision-makers. Read this complete guide on how to create lasting relationships with executives who can be your future business partners.
2. Scout government websites for business partnership opportunities
Several government websites publish subcontracting opportunities that you can browse, such as:
- GSA’s eLibrary
- SBA’s Subcontracting Network or SubNet
- SBA’s Directory of Federal Government Prime Contractors with a Subcontracting Plan
- Department of Defense’s Subcontracting Opportunity Directory
How to write an effective partnership proposal pitch
Before you head out to seek future business partners, you should prepare your proposal pitch first. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Do a thorough research
Just like with every other relationship you build, taking the time to get to know your future partner will serve you well in the long run.
If you have met them before and have gained insight into who they are as an organization, take it a step further and look up their company’s history and accomplishments and how their employees and audience perceive your future partner’s organization.
And with that, you now have the essential ingredients to cook up your winning partnership pitch with the knowledge you have gathered!
2. Prepare your materials
Using your new knowledge about your potential partner’s business, you can now start formulating a strategy for your pitch.
Your presentation should be clear, engaging, and creative for your pitch to succeed. When crafting your pitch, you should aim to create a lasting impression on why you are the best business partner that they can have. For starters, here are some of the vital content you should include in your pitch document:
- Company background and history – Don’t put your whole story in the document. Shorten it to a paragraph, then expound on it when you deliver your pitch.
- Main product or service – Enumerate your list of offered products and services, then include a short description of each. Once you have established that, you can detail how your products or services work in the next part of the document.
- Product demonstration – Attach photos, videos, or other viable rich media to exhibit your product and services in action.
- Partnership benefits – Since a business partnership goes both ways, you should clearly explain the benefits your potential partner can expect from you.
- Testimonials – An excellent reputation in the government contracting industry can take you to places. Use your reputation to your advantage and include testimonials of your previous clients and partners in your pitch.
- Next steps – After hooking your future partner with your pitch, the next logical step would be to present a clear and actionable plan on how the both of you can proceed with sealing in the partnership.
If you are having trouble coming up with an engaging pitch, you can hire a freelance writer to create your company pitch as well your marketing plan. But, don’t forget to do your due diligence and review their work to see if it makes sense and if it aligns with your company branding and purpose.
3. Practice, practice, practice
Your delivery should be as clear and engaging as your pitch materials.
Pitching in front of your potential business partners can be unnerving, but you can get through it with practice. Try speaking in front of the mirror every day so you can see how you can improve your delivery, facial reactions, body language, and more.
5 Ways to know if a potential business partner is right for you
Entering a professional partnership indeed comes with several benefits, such as expanding your company’s skills and capabilities and pooling your resources for larger contracts. However, the bigger the rewards, the greater the risk.
To avoid getting caught up in the wrong association, here are some of the things you can do to evaluate whether that business partnership opportunity is worth the risk.
1. See whether their vision harmonize with yours
Truly, bringing a diverse perspective into the partnership can open up growth opportunities. But, being too different may cause discord to the partnership and hinder your progress.
So before anything else, make sure that you’re on the same page with your future partner. Look into their background and past performances and see how their peers and the market perceive them. From there, you can see whether you share a common ground with them with your potential partner.
2. Try working with them on a project first
Your potential business partner may look good on paper. But there are things that you will only know once you have actually worked with them.
Once you have the opportunity to do business with your partner, here are some points you should take note of:
- How well do they perform under their pressure?
- What are the crises they have encountered? How did your partner handle those stressful situations?
- How does your potential business partner communicate with their employees? What kind of leader are they?
Additionally, use this working opportunity to ask questions. Ask them about anything that comes to mind. Being transparent with each other as early as possible will give you both a clearer picture of whether your business partnership will work or not.
3. Weigh the pros and cons of the partnership
In general, you can determine whether a partnership is advantageous if there would be a favorable increase in your business’s revenue, knowledge and skills, and generated leads.
In addition, you should also look at how much of an increase you can expect out of your partnership. Prepare a list of expectations beforehand so you can see whether the rise is within your expected range and if it outweighs the risks this arrangement entails. So before making the deal happen, ask yourself the most important questions first: will they bring in more revenue? Will I have more customers? What will be the challenges that I will face?
4. Study whether the pros are for short-term or long-term
Like what we have mentioned previously, you should look beyond financial benefits when determining the success of a business partnership. Factor in the boost in human resources, skills, knowledge, and future opportunities this partnership may bring to the table to see how this will affect the overall growth of your company.
Don’t be blinded by lucrative short-term rewards. Instead, aim to enter into a partnership where you can push each other to be the best versions of yourselves. The best partnership opportunities are not always wrapped in a pretty bow. Sometimes, you need to have a scrutinizing eye and a forward-thinking mind to recognize the opportunity right in front of you.
5. Know if they are as committed to the partnership as you
A business partnership is pretty much like a marriage. It requires a certain degree of commitment to make it work.
The transition period is one of the most challenging periods in a business partnership. Conflicts will definitely arise when you are both trying to figure things out. Varying perspectives and leadership styles may cause friction in your relationship, but this is a crucial period that will test your dedication and commitment to making your partnership a success. If you and your partner falls during this stage, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board and start again. Always remember that having the same level of commitment in this arrangement is an important factor in making your company flourish.
As you can see, it takes hard work, dedication, and a little bit of luck to find your best business partner. But, if you believe that bringing in a partner in your business can boost your company’s growth, then keep going at it!