Becoming a Small Business Government Contractor
Pumped up and ready to sell to the federal government? If you think that the government is ready to purchase from you, here’s the real deal: government buyers are a discriminating bunch, and scoring a share of the contractual percentage allocated for small businesses isn’t so easy as you think.
After all, we entrust our confidence in them to make the right decisions on acquisitions that our taxpayer dollars would allow. Yet, in spite of the fact that official goals are in order to certify that small businesses earn their fair share of work within the federal government, that share of percentage contracts can be elusive.
Persuading government buyers that you’re a sustainable and eligible business owner who can aid them in accomplishing their goals need a unique approach, unlike the one you’re accustomed to in the commercial market.
Not to worry since the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has sufficient resources and information that can help you search and do business with the federal government. But in case you need a contingency plan, here are some extra tips to increase your chances of being chosen:
Getting a mentor
Small business owners know that having a mentor proves invaluable to their business goals. In the world of government contracting, mentors identify the difference between failure and success. If you want to establish connections in the industry, a mentor is someone who can assist you in navigating the marketplace.
Potential mentors are everywhere; you just have to know where to look such as networking events, seminars, even webinars, etc.
Here are some places where you can obtain mentorship assistance:
SBA 8(a) Business Development Program – Certain small businesses may qualify in SBA’s 8(a) program, a business development resource that provides contracting and technical assistance to help small disadvantaged businesses participate in the federal marketplace. The program also comprises of a mentor-protégé program that helps in making businesses compete for government contracts.
SCORE – or Service Corps of Retired Executives, works with and is co-funded by the SBA. SCORE, the country’s largest volunteer-based business mentoring and counseling service, pairs you with mentors across many areas of expertise for a low-cost fee or free of charge. Services also include government contracting.
ChallengeHER – SBA, along with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), and American Express OPEN, has introduced the ChallengeHER initiative that delivers more women-owned businesses into the federal government’s commodity production. The ChallengeHer campaign hosts events around the country to connect women entrepreneurs with procurement officials, prime contractors, and decision-makers at federal agencies to receive direction on how best to sell their products and services to them.
Collaboration and partnerships are vital in government contracting. Collaboration needs meticulous preparation and management. The American Express OPEN has launched useful, downloadable guide: Team to Help Win Government Contracts , which features tips, best practices and networking resources to raise your business profile as well as establish potential connections.
A small business that wishes to compete in the federal contracting market must be certified in adherence to SBA’s requirements. Essentially, this means that your business is officially recognized and you can vie for small business contracts.