Contractors: Here’s how to survive the end of the federal fiscal year
Editor’s note: GPN touched base with Steve Charles, co-founder of immixGroup, to learn what federal IT vendors need to do as the federal fiscal year winds down to its close on Sept. 30. immixGroup is a value-added distributor of enterprise software and hardware products for public sector solution providers, systems integrators, and U.S. government agencies. Below are the views of Steve Charles.
A large number of federal IT contractors do nearly 40 percent of their business during the month of September, the last month of the government fiscal year. As a customer that spends $80 billion per year on information technology, that’s potentially billions of dollars in business in one month.
A lot can fall through the cracks during the end-of-year selling frenzy. Deadlines can be missed, phones could go unanswered, and sometimes, potential deals are left on the table.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as the clock ticks closer to September 30:
• Know the deadlines—companies need to ask contract shops for their deadlines for accepting new purchase requests that need to be awarded by the end of the fiscal year. The Department of Interior’s deadlines are a good starting point, since that agency’s deadlines are comparable to other agencies.
• Don’t leave money behind—government agencies will be looking for ways to spend any unused funds before September 30, and contractors can get a piece of it by sending an unsolicited proposal for how a particular technology solution can help the organization.
• Prepare your purse—doing so much business in one month creates a huge need for credit. Companies walk away from deals all the time because they don’t have the financial resources to handle such large transactions. Companies should be working on getting credit and financing plumbing lined up now because waiting until September just won’t work. Technology distributors often have financial solutions that companies can tap into for that kind of help.
• Turn into a night owl—with government contracting officers working late, companies will need to adjust their work hours as well. There’s nothing worse than missing a purchase order that comes in late at night. Companies should also know the extended working hours for their distributors and key vendors (plus cell phone numbers), so problems can be fixed quickly. And companies should know the latest possible day and time to get purchase orders submitted.
Slow down—don’t rush and make the mistake of not closely reviewing the government’s purchase request. The last thing you want is to catch an error after an order has been placed. The headache will cost you more money and ding your reputation.
immixGroup (an Arrow company) helps technology companies do business with the federal government. To learn more about the McLean, Va.-based company, visit this site.