We’ve all seen the studies and polls suggesting that budget constraints are the prime reason why federal agencies are reluctant to innovate or implement new solutions. Perhaps we’ve watched too many episodes of Perry Mason to just buy the answer that looks obvious, but this “reason” is looking more like an “excuse” every day. Certainly federal money isn’t growing on trees. At the same time, however, how do you account for innovative projects like 18F and others that obviously do have customers? Someone feels that they can take a risk and implement new strategies. The key for contractors hearing the “no money” message is to dig deeper. What’s really going on here? Maybe its money, but maybe your potential customer lacks internal management top cover, sufficient assurance that there will be a true ROI, or maybe they just don’t want to do business with you. Digging deeper gives you a chance to help your customer help him or herself while potentially benefitting you. Meet with the senior management team. Make the ROI pop out and be air tight. Remove misconceptions about your capabilities. Successful companies don’t take excuses as reasons. In the real world, DA Hamilton Burger would have been sent to Fresno by season two. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you.