What the company does: The Leading Niche provides management, operational, and financial management consulting to Fortune 500 and federal government clients within the healthcare, financial services, and defense markets. Over the past year, The Leading Niche, which is headquartered in New York, has successfully utilized its Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise certification to gain three new federal contracts—one prime and two subcontracts—which resulted in a 75 percent increase in revenues. The company is in the process of signing three additional subcontracts to support several defense and civilian agencies.
Program details: After The Leading Niche experienced a few disappointments when the company first began to bid on federal contracts last year, CEO Tamara Nall re-thought its approach. “I realized we needed to use the same go/no-go framework that had been successful for us when going after Fortune 500 contracts,” she says. Before deciding to go after a contract, Nall asked a series of questions: Is there currently an incumbent in the contract? If so, is the client happy with that company’s work? Do we have the all the expertise necessary to deliver the service? If not, how will we fill the gap? “Once we implemented this framework, we found our success rate quickly increased,” says Nall. “Within three or four months, we had landed three government contracts.”
To decrease the amount of non-value employee time spent, the company focused on a selective number of corporate government clients, and developed a strategy to monitor and track business opportunities. The Leading Niche also placed an emphasis on partnering with large and small firms that had a stronger relationship or performance record with a potential client.
Tips for implementing your own program: When planning strategy, Nall relies on the RIDE formula: Relationships, Introspection, Due diligence, and Execution. “We really try to have a flawless presentation or proposal—a great package that makes it clear we are focused on the client’s needs,” says Nall. “For example, the federal government is very much moving toward low-cost options. If we can find innovative ways to save money, we’ll focus on that. Or perhaps we can offer a new solution that may not be the lowest cost, but is the best value.”
Nall also feels that the company’s willingness to be a subcontractor is an advantage. “A lot of small businesses say, I want to be the prime, the main contractor,” she notes. “I always say, at the end of the day when we go to deposit a check, there’s no ‘prime’ line and ‘subcontractor’ line. It’s all the same line.”
Whether for forming partnerships or performing due diligence, Nall makes the most of networking. “A lot of small businesses go to trade shows and spend a lot of money but don’t form real relationships. We try to form real-life relationships so that when an opportunity comes, they think about The Leading Niche,” Nall says. “I’m very strategic about events I attend. Who’ll be there, and who’s on the panel? When researching a proposal, who do we know who can give us insight into what’s going on at this company or government agency? When I started my own business, I would pick up the phone to former colleagues and say, 'Hey, this is what we’re doing,' so they kept me in mind. I send out holiday cards, congratulations cards, and birthday cards, and I sign each one. I guarantee you if I spend $500 or $1,000 to ship out cards, I will eventually get a contract from that.”