Go back to the e-newsletter >Australian-based eco operator, Majestic Whale Encounters, is offering a $300 discount per couple on one of its 2016 all-inclusive whale swim tours in Tonga and will also donate $300 of each couple’s booking to a Tongan school, if the tour is booked before 15 October 2015.The $300 donation from each couple’s booking will go towards Faleloa Public School, a local school in Tonga’s Ha’apai islands which was damaged by a cyclone last year. The donations will assist in rebuilding the school and providing local children with school supplies. The school is a 10-minute walk from the resort where Majestic Whale Encounters guests stay, meaning travellers may visit the school as part of their whale swim tour.Starting on 23 August, 2016, the 8-day tour will include 5 days of whale swims, giving guests opportunities to swim, snorkel and spot humpback whales in their natural environment. Every year from July to October, the whales migrate to the tropical northern islands of Tonga to mate and give birth, offering swimmers more chances to get to know the gentle mammals. Guests will stay at Sandy Beach Resort Ha’apai where they can bush walk, fish, cycle or just relax during their two leisure days.The tour costs from AU$3941 per person twin share, including the $150 per person discount if booked before 15 October, 2015. The tour includes 7 nights’ accommodation, 5 days on the water with skipper, guide and marine scientist, all main meals, a welcome dinner and all local flights and transfers.For bookings made by 15 October 2015, Majestic Whale Encounters will donate $150 for each person to Faleloa Public School. Flights to Tonga from Australia (5 hours direct) with Virgin Australia are extra.Go back to the e-newsletter >
I speak to technology companies coming out of the major hubs on a daily basis. When asked if they plan to target the federal government, they often tell me they are proactively avoiding it (if they don’t actually laugh at my suggesting it in the first place). Sometimes, I hear that their mentors or investors have told them to avoid the market like the plague.Why would someone tell them to avoid a $400 billion market?Unfortunately, the federal government has a reputation for painfully long sales cycles and/or being hopelessly complicated. This reputation isn’t entirely undeserved – selling to the government really is a more difficult and complex process than normal commercial sales.However, there are great rewards for those who make it through to the other side. Simply put, the federal government is a big spender, to the tune of $79 billion for Information Technology alone. The market is immense. The contracts are bigger and longer. For some startup boutique companies, a ‘small pilot’ in the government could be larger than its biggest commercial customer. And barring a royal screw-up, once you’re in, you’re in.It’s not a totally selfish endeavor, either. The government needs the innovation that the private sector creates. Without new, fresh ideas and technologies, government IT becomes stagnant, less efficient, and operating at far less than full potential. Everyone who pays taxes to the United States government has a vested interest in helping it use those tax dollars to highest effectiveness – something that can’t happen when government workers are stuck using old technology.So, should you sell to the government? I’m here to tell you that it’s worth it. However, you must be ready, committed, and know who to call for help. Here are six indicators that your organization is ready to tackle the government market:1. You have conviction and belief in your product.You don’t sell to the government to “see what happens.” You know deep down it can work and have a positive impact. That level of belief and conviction can serve as a great foundation and motivator for the times when the nuances of the government just aren’t making sense.2. Your exit strategy isn’t next year. (You’re in it for the long game)If you’re trying to make it big and exit within a year, selling to the government might not be the best option for you. The scale of government is much bigger than what many small companies are used to. And while Dcode42 and others can greatly reduce the sales cycle, the full potential of the market will take a year or so before you are in the real money…with a few exceptions, of course. Going government means focusing on the longer-term and the larger payoffs that come with it. Keep your eyes on the prize.3. You have a reference-able customer(s) that will sing your praise.For now, past performance is a critical piece for government sales. A happy customer from a highly regulated industry, willing to give you a sterling reference will go a long way towards getting you in the door. Keep in mind, government officials are effectively investing in technology on behalf of the taxpayer and are naturally inclined towards avoiding risk. Anything you can provide to reassure them you are not risky will increase your chances of winning.4. You have the resources, time and a little bit of runway to get your government arm off the ground.Companies in an ideal position to enter the government market often have someone they can dedicate full-time to learning the government language and making their government arm successful. While it’s not impossible to get by with someone only working on government half-time or less, it will take longer to get up and running than with a full-time dedicated role.5. You have a well thought-out delivery structure.Like in most industries, people in government talk. Satisfied customers will tell their colleagues – and so will unsatisfied ones. A seamless delivery and smooth contract execution is incredibly valuable, as past performance leads to more contracts. We recommend a bit more care and attention and preferably a dedicated customer service representative for each government customer. Try to avoid making them call the main customer service line. Don’t just hand over the license keys and walk away.6. You are open to working with partners – even ‘frenemies’Partnering is critical in the government market, and the right partners can mean the difference between a win or a loss. Often, this means working with ‘frenemy’ companies – sometimes you compete, sometimes you partner. Companies ready for success understand this and are open to working within this model.Today, companies that are ready to sell to the government have more resources available to them than ever. The government landscape is changing as government-owned accelerators emerge and tech-savvy government entities like 18F and the US Digital Service have launched.Programs like ours, Dcode42, exist to open up access to resources and make it as simple as possible to get over the moat and into the castle, so to speak. If you are an emerging tech firm, we highly encourage you to consider this market and reach out to the resources that can help.The taxpayers are relying on us.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis
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