At FEDCON: Meeting the brass in an effective business development environment

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Contractors, suppliers and military representatives meet at the FEDCON social event before the business program begins

Over the years, I’ve grown skeptical about most business-to-government marketing services and initiatives. If you read a lot of the publicly available information, you’ll be directed to follow the standard processes to register and set up your business to “win” the government business, and almost inevitably, you’ll either be shunted into a backwater or discover that the qualification rules and/or competition are so severe that the entire effort is of dubious value.

There’s good reason for this disconnect. If anything is “easy and public” you can bet you will discover there is almost unsurmountable competition to win the work.  And that competition makes success so unlikely (at least at a level where you could earn a reasonable profit) that you probably end up throwing your hands up and decide to try something else.

In this regard, FEDCON is unique in helping to overcome these barriers. It is the only example I know of in the US where a state’s community college system has set up a business development/service agency, in this case focusing on military business opportunities. The North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) has specialists in different industry sectors — one works largely on construction. The organization takes things a step further when it invites political and military leaders and procurement officials to a summit where vendors and hopeful contractors can connect, mingle, market and learn about new opportunities.

While the program has practical one-one-one and small as well as plenary session meeting opportunities, the organizations most likely to benefit from the program already know and appreciate the government procurement process, and are looking for ways to expand their market opportunities. Pragmatically, these businesses and practices will most likely pay the modest fees to attend the event. However, I think the biggest winners here will be the companies who really are hoping to get their foot in the door because the direct connections and opportunities are right here, and much ground can be covered in a day.

I’ll have some more observations in tomorrow’s post — and further contextual information for North Carolina readers at www.ncconstructionnews.com.

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