Ready to jump into the $450 billion government contracting space? Don’t make these key mistakes.

It’s no secret that the U.S. government is one of the largest buyers and sellers of goods and services in the world, leading to tremendous opportunity for companies that earn federal contracts. If you are a small business or startup you are in luck as the government sets aside contract requirements in favor of small and socio-economic enterprises. For example, in 2017 the government awarded 24 percent of federal contract dollars to small businesses totaling $105.7 billion.

With the right amount of planning, preparation and effective networking, small businesses can thrive in the federal contracting space, but there are some major mistakes or red flags to avoid.