Sucessfull contracting has roots in planning, relationships

Thursday - 2/10/2011, 4:43pm EST

Mark Amtower, host, Amtower Off-Center

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Contact information does not a relationship make. According to federal government marketing expert Mark Amtower, many small businesses make one major mistake in the leap from introduction to customer: "thinking that if you have somebody's business card, you have a relationship."

Worse, immediately assailing new contact with with potentially unwanted missives on your products and expertise will do more to drive away their business, no help it grow.

"That's not how you build relationships, by annoying people," Amtower said. Amtower spoke with Francis Rose on In Depth about the challenges that small business face in growing their government clientele, especially in the current economic climate. While planning for their growth, companies should start by analyzing their place in the market.

"Strategic planning is still going to play a huge role, but understanding where you fit, and what technologies or what products are going to be in the mix over the next 12 to 60 months, that's key," Amtower said.

Determine very carefully what your niche is, and then look at the pecking order in that niche; where do you fit with your competition, and how can you migrate up?

That migration will only happen, Amtower said, when businesses take the time to cultivate relationships with current and potential customers, and grow their clientele.

"I don't care if you're a one person or a one thousand or 10,000 people company, anybody can do this, but most people won't," Amtower said