Has your startup been growing? Awesome. You may be wondering if it is time to stand up a dedicated federal office. You will want to time this just right. If you do it too early you will be wasting money. If you do it too late you will be losing an opportunity to grow and to serve the nation.
CTOvision and our parent company Crucial Point have helped many high tech startups think through their timing for standup of their federal office. We would be glad to provide a free consultation with you to help you evaluate your unique situation. Contact Us and we will set up a call.
Although every firm is unique, there are general considerations that seem to apply to all. We provide these general considerations below for your reference. Review and think about your capability and it may help you decide how aggressively to run towards federal business.
Questions To Ask Yourself Regarding Standing Up Your Federal Office
- Do you need to hire more engineers in order to have a great product? If so, that is probably a better deployment of your resources than standing up a federal office. In most cases it is better for everyone, including government, if you build a great commercial product before you seek to sell it in the federal market.
- Have you detected any “demand” signals that indicate the government needs you now? This can help you decide how fast to move in this direction.
- Have you finished your B round of VC financing? If yes, then we can assume several things. One is that you have some staying power as a VC-backed firm. Another is that you have some great VCs that are probably connected into the DC ecosystem. Tap into their network and get their sense of whether or not you should move towards the DC market.
- Do you see other firms with similar capabilities in the federal space? Watching competitors and what they are doing in the federal market may help you decide where you are on the federal readiness curve.
- Are you ready to make a long term investment? A general rule of thumb for high tech firms pursuing federal business is that you will pursue business for at least two Octobers before you see significant results. The government does business every day, but for software and hardware purchases, there is a cycle centered around the end of the federal fiscal year. New firms that enter the federal market a few months before the end of the fiscal year can frequently benefit from money that must be spent, but that will probably not be a statistically significant amount. The “Two October” rule of thumb is an important one for planning.
- As CEO, are you ready to personally invest time and energy working on the federal market? If you are dedicated to this market you may want to stand up your office earlier vice later. If you are not going to be able to focus personal time and energy, it may not be the right time for you to aggressively work the federal market.
- What is the nature of your relationships with the federal systems integrators? Do you have personal contacts at very senior levels? The strength of these relationships may impact your decision on when to establish your federal office, since you will likely need these integrators to help you get established.
- What is the nature of your relationships with senior government leaders? Sometimes being lucky enough to have trust-based relationships can impact your decision on when to come to the federal market, as these friends may be more willing to listen to your sales pitch.
- Would your capability benefit from a relationship with a strategic partner who can act as a channel or reseller or other solutions provider? For example, have you considered a relationship with a firm like Carahsoft? For many they provide an incredible strategic boost to federal growth. They can also provide expert advice on how to approach the federal market and how to stand up your federal office.
Some additional information is available at Crucial Point in our Government Market Evaluation and Support section. Look for:
- Standing Up Your Federal Office
- Tech CEO’s: Are you ready to work with federal systems integrators?
- Learning Government Mission Needs
And let us know if we can answer any questions for you. Contact us today for a free consultation that can help you think through your strategic decisions regarding the federal market.