Small-business special report | Focus, partnership and know-how drive success

Skim the headlines of the Fast 50 portion
of the 2008 Small-Business
Special Report and you'll get some
insights into what it takes to succeed in the
government market.

The annual Fast 50 list recognizes the
fastest growing small businesses in the government
market, and this year's winners boast
five-year compound annual growth rates that
start at 64.14 percent for the No. 50 company,
Trusant Technologies LLC, of Columbia, Md., to
275.59 percent for the No. 1 company, ESCgov
Inc., of McLean, Va.

For small businesses in the government
market, success hinges on their focus on core
capabilities, an ability to form partnerships
that deliver results, and an understanding of
customers' problems and how to help solve

Also, executives warn about an overreliance
on small-business set-aside programs.
Although good tools for gaining entry into the
government market are available, they don't
guarantee success.

"I've learned the hard way: You get 8(a)
status, and you think all of a sudden the
floodgates will open," said Sanjay Agrawala,
co-founder and chief executive officer of
Vector Consulting Inc., of Duluth, Ga. "It
doesn't happen that way. Make sure you're
there for the long haul." The company ranks
No. 20.

Furthermore, in this feature package, we
highlight the Top 25 8(a) small businesses, and
for the first time, we separately rank Alaska
Native Corporations and tribally owned companies
that participate in the 8(a) program.

We also examine two groups dedicated to
fostering the growth of small businesses. One
encompasses the small-business offices at federal
agencies. Directors of several of them offer
tips on how to approach their agencies and
what tools and knowledge small businesses
need when talking to agency procurement

The second organization is the American
Small Business Coalition, a four-year-old
group that started as a forum for small
businesses to share tips and ideas about
winning contracts. It is gaining a reputation
for bringing large and small businesses
together to form partnerships.

The coalition has 350 members, some of
which are anything but small, such as Cisco
Systems Inc. and MasterCard.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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