There are two ways to think about time to revenue.
IF you run an established business selling to commercial customers and you’re thinking about expanding into federal, you probably care about the time between starting to invest in federal sales and your first federal revenue, and in our experience, if you’re new to the federal market… so you don’t have a lot of partner and customer relationships, then you’re 18-24 months away from your first win.
But if you’re employed and want to start your first business then you probably care more about the time between leaving your current job and your first win… which, is totally up to you. Because starting a business doesn’t mean quitting your job and we’ve seen lots of people build government contracting companies on nights and weekends and win multiple contracts before quitting, so for these people there are zero days between leaving their jobs and revenue. But of course, when you quit is up to you.
And two quick asides. First, if you’ve already quit your job or are retiring from the military in a couple months, and you don’t have a lot of business relationships, then you too are a year and a half to two years away from revenue, so if you fall into this category please think about working for an established company for a couple of years while you lay the foundation for your own business.
Second aside, the time estimates below are for small businesses, so businesses where a $500,000 contract’s a big deal, if you’re a big business and are only interested in multi million dollar contracts then the timelines are going to be longer.
So with that out of the way in this exercise we’re going to help you assess your relationships to get a little clearer sense for how long things might take for you, so review the questions below, get an idea about how long things might take, and do a quick sanity check about your timeline, your current employment, and how you are going to provide for you and your family on your way to entrepreneurial success.
And if you want more information on how to balance employment and starting a business see our business model classes below
Next, let's look at what you could sell, and the market for the various options you have.