Local or National?

Where do you start targeting your federal clients?  Assuming all of your corporate efforts are completed from business plan to banking to accounting then you will seek to execute your business development plan.  What if you live in Atlanta and your contacts or opportunities are in Knoxville, Tennessee?  Does that make sense?  Can you be reasonably accessible?

I would like at where you can drive within a five hour or less radius as a reasonable target area when start initially.  If you live in Atlanta and you are doing business in California it makes it hard to be responsive, to follow up on potential leads or to demonstrate that you can effectively manage a contract from such a distance even with technology.

However, your first contacts may be so strong that you in essence have a bird in the hand opportunity in New Mexico and you live in Florida.  If the numbers are appropriate for example if you have to travel so far I am not sure it is worth it for a support service contract for one person unless you can justify it as a strategic reason to gain access to this very strong potential growth customer.  In that regard, make sure the work is independent and the customer expectations for your visits are reasonable i.e. quarterly at the maximum.

Otherwise, to go that far you want a minimum of a three year contract with about 10 to 15 people depending on their billing rates.

This is always a tough decision for your growth.  Some companies stay within their market and if you are in Washington, DC or San Antonio where there is significant direct federal government and major contractor subcontracting opportunities then that is a viable strategy.  But if you are in Paducah, Kentucky where a Department of Energy facility is being decommissioned and it is the only federal game in town you may have to spread your wings.

You must consider what is key to you and what are you willing to do.  Some companies like mine operate from coast to coast and it requires a lot of travel with certain management styles where you seek to be present and supportive and aware of operations onsite. Federal customers expect small business owners to be visible at least on a regular basis and it helps establish your corporate support.

Just remember you may start out with a local focus but if you want to grow you may have to go national!

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