New companies I advise often bring up the prospects of bidding for federal or state contracts. They see Government Contract dollars as a way of bootstrapping themselves to achieve their vision without having to find investors to support their early developments, key demonstrations or growth.  While I understand the interest in such a path, I advise against it for most of my clients. 

Prior to Mind the Gap, LLC, I worked for 20+ years in companies that focused a majority of their efforts on bidding for and winning Government research and development (R&D) dollars. We were pretty good at it, winning a sizable percent of the jobs we bid. However, the problem with the Government Contracting path is that it generally ‘over damps’ critical market response and feedback for your technology or product. I like to say that the highs are lower, the lows are higher, and the time required to achieve success or failure is drawn out significantly. 

Of course, there are times when Government Contracting is the very best way, even the only way, to go for your business or product. So, how do you know when it’s right for your technology or product?

The following are 7 Questions I ask to determine whether or not Government Contracting is a wise path to pursue.