Federal government contracting is not a “reinvent the wheel” business.  Here are three mistakes others have made so that you don’t have to:  1.  Trying to be everywhere at once:  Many contractors, and not just new ones, are overwhelmed by the size of the federal market.  They reach out to as many agencies and departments as possible, but don’t take the time to learn about any in detail.  This is a recipe for frustration, not to mention uneven sales.  A focused approach to the market works best.  Not even the largest contractors try to be everywhere at once.  Pick a small set of initial targets, get to know them, and then spread out slowly from there.  2.  Trying to do it all yourself:  Experienced, successful contractors acknowledge that federal business is not a go-it-alone business.  You need help, whether its sales, marketing, compliance, or contracting assistance.  Remarkably, some companies know this at first and then slowly morph to a “DIY” attitude.  Look, trying to wear too many hats will not only cause them to fall over, but you will, too.  Get help when you need it.  It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you take sustained growth seriously.  3.  Failure to do proper research:  You’d be very surprised at how many contractors get into a meeting with a prospect only for the prospect to say 5 minutes in, “You know we just brought that solution last week?”  Your heart sinks as you realize you’re not only wasting your time, but the prospect’s.  Make sure you know what’s happening in the agencies you targetBe ready ahead of time to engage on upcoming needs and help define them.  Also, while everyone likes to sell a prospect “something they don’t even know they need”, using that as your entire government approach likely won’t end well, either.  Federal agencies generally have a good idea of what they need and, more importantly, what’s in their budget.  There’s always an opportunity for something new, but, more often, its better to know what your customer is looking for and try to fulfill it.    Have other “would you believe?” stories?  Send them along at