SAM Directory Blog
This tip comes from a blog post that was originally published at https://sam.directory/blog/how-to-break-into-federal-contracting-in-2022-for-small-businesses/
The Federal Government Offers Great Opportunities For Many Types Of Businesses
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy. They are often key sources of innovation and research. The mom-and-pop shop has been part of the landscape and American dream since the beginning of this great nation. The federal government can help you achieve your business dreams. Let us help you take this vital first step on the pathway to success.
So, How Does A Small Business Successfully Start Relationships With Key Government Contractors?
The first step is to become familiar with the government marketplace. Do your research and become familiar with the terms that are commonly used in that industry. Then study the different regulations and become certified with the government, if necessary. You could also attend government trade shows to better understand the needs of particular government and state agencies. This will help you identify the needs of prime contractors and any niches that your business could fill.
The Federal Government Has Government Personnel That Are Strictly Utilized to Help Small Businesses Be More Competitive In Securing Government Contracts
Here are some examples:
SBA Procurement Center Representative (PCR): Procurement Center Representatives are often located at a major government buying office, even though they technically work for the Small Business Administration. They will identify items and services that could be produced or provided by small businesses and try to get them “set aside” for small businesses, which means that only small businesses can bid for the contracts.
Competition Advocate: This person is responsible for promoting full and open competition at high management levels in the major buying offices. They are supposed to challenge overly restrictive statements of work and contract clauses that can prove to be burdensome. They also try to expand competition for items by offering challenges to requirements that are not deemed necessary for the performance or essential physical characteristics.
Small Business Specialists (SBS): The law requires that every government buying location must have a Small Business Specialist. These specialists work specifically with small businesses to help them do business with that office. Larger government offices might have full staff while smaller offices might only have one part-time employee assigned to this role. Major government buying offices have full-time staff, while smaller offices have a part-time person assigned to that task.
SBA Commercial Marketing Representative (CMR): Commercial Marketing Representatives keep track of large companies doing work for their departments. These representatives are often the go-to person for fantastic subcontracting opportunities for small businesses.
Innovation Is Key
The government needs to be very careful about how they handle money that is provided by taxpayers. They are tasked with making sure that things go smoothly and no unnecessary risks are taken. This is a great opportunity for a small business that prides itself on finding innovative solutions to age-old problems.
The United States government is open to fresh perspectives and ideas that can streamline their systems or save them money. Do not be afraid to think outside the box when you bid for government contracts. Your new ways of doing things could be just the thing to make you stand apart from the other companies vying for the same opportunity. They are particularly keen to listen to ideas that have been proven in the private sector.
Make Sure You Establish A Good Business Reputation
Try to establish a network of government contacts at various agencies. These contacts can often serve as invaluable advocates for your business. They can also give you advice on how to navigate the bidding process. After you receive awards, make sure you work hard to establish a track record of reliability and success.
Be Precise And Follow Directions
Naturally, the government is a stickler for following rules and regulations. It is shocking how many bids get tossed out because companies fail to follow basic directions. Be aware of deadlines and do not leave anything black when filling out forms. The request for proposals or RFPs has very specific instructions and you must take everything seriously. Just think of it like filing your income taxes and do not take any unnecessary shortcuts.
Think About Subcontracting
Subcontracting with a prime contractor rather than the government means that you do not have to worry about the strict rules and regulations that are part of working directly with the government. This is because the subcontractor is answerable to the prime contractor, not the government. Luckily, prime contractors are always on the lookout for companies that can help them complete these important government projects. Subcontracting has many advantages for less experienced businesses.
Go to meetups and networking meetings.
Not only can these events be a lot of fun but they can also be a great way to make important contacts that can help you move your business forward.
Understanding how to utilize cause marketing.
Is there a cause that you are passionate about and that aligns well with your company goals and world view? It is important for a business in day and age to communicate that they have an altruistic attitude and have intentions that go beyond just making money.
This is not limited to cash donations since many new small businesses do not always have giant budgets. A business can help with a drive that donates backpacks and school supplies for underprivileged children in the community. Think about creative ways in which you can incorporate charity and make your name stand out from other sponsors.
If you have any questions about this topic, please contact your KYPTAC Consultant. Not a client? Sign up here.