Thursday, February 12, 2009

Step 4: Ask the Right Questions

Good morning yet again to everyone and welcome back to Gateway to Government’s blog, filled with tips and advice for our partners and small businesses wanting to do work with the government. As you know, each day this week I have been focusing on one step which will help you maximize your advantages so that your business can get and maintain government contracts. Today is step number four in the Seven Steps series.

Step 4 – Ask The Right Questions

Asking questions is vital to government contracting. There are many types of questions that can and should be asked (for a more detailed rundown, click here). However, the wrong questions or ones posed to the wrong person can be destructive to a business’s chances at getting a contract, so be sure that you know what – and who! – to ask. Be sure to know exactly what it is you want to know. Going into this process with any sort of ambiguity can be disastrous... Without a definitive sense of the goal, your questions can easily lead to more confusion.

In addition, if you ask a question about a contract you are working on or a solicitation you intend to bid on, get it in writing. Anything said verbally or informally is not binding, and action taken based on what is said is not legally defensible. Also make sure that the person you ask is the right person – an answer given by someone without the proper authority over a contract is the same as an answer given by, say, your grandmother. Or the five year old down the street. Or anyone else; unless given by someone with the proper authority, an answer, even in writing, is useless.

In short, if you are going to ask a question, make sure of four things:

1) Exactly what you want to know,

2) How to ask (context, beware of ambiguity, etc. more here)

3) Who to ask,

4) Get it in writing!

If you as one of our members have ANY questions about how to proceed at all, please contact us. We are here for you and we want to help. Gateway knows what to ask, who to talk to, and wants to make your experience with government contracting as hassle-free and painless as possible. If anything about the bidding or contracting process is confusing, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team anytime – if we don’t answer immediately, we will get back to you as soon as possible. We want your business to grow and prosper through this lucrative market as much as you do!

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