The United States government is an active participant in the economy, buying up an astonishing amount of goods and services from the marketplace every year. As per regulations, 23% of the $500 billion in contracts are earmarked for small businesses across the country. This ultimately means you too have a shot at scoring a government contract.
Considering the fact that the US government is the most reliable buyer in the world and there’s a $125 billion pie up for grabs, it’s surprising that small businesses don’t reach out to the government more often.
If you’ve considered winning the federal government as a client for your business, here’s what you should know.
1. Do Your Research
[pullquote]Before entering any market you need to do your research and consider all aspects.[/pullquote] Since you already know your target market is the federal government it helps to learn about the government procurement process and specific requirements. You can easily access market research reports that point out government contract hotspots or analyze the infrastructure budget every year. Do your research, create a plan, and fill a specific need.
2. Check Your Eligibility
The Government publishes an official business size guide that can help you determine if your business meets the definition of ‘small’. You might also need to check the North American Industry Classification system (NAICS) to see if your business is in the right industry to qualify for government contracts.
3. Get A D-U-N-S Number
Before you can reach out to government departments you need to have a six-digit Dun & Bradstreet (D-U-N-S) number for your business. The number is offered for free but it is a requirement for all of the physical business locations you operate.
You will also need to register with the System for Award Management to gain access to government contracts. This is a portal designed and managed by the government specifically for official government contracts. This registration makes your business visible to all the contracting officers who can reach out to you if they need your services.
5. Take Your Time To Learn
Winning a government contract isn’t as straightforward as winning regular clients and institutional customers. The government has a lot of money to spend in the market, but there’s a fine-tuned and bureaucratic system for those willing to participate. The Business-to-Government or B2G marketplace is considered competitive. You may need some assistance from a professional consultant or a mentor when you get started. Do your research, register for all the required portals, and keep your learning hat on as you get accustomed to the process.
Federal spending has been on an upward trajectory for decades. Every year the government budget expands and that means there’s more opportunity for businesses of all sizes to get involved. Registration and paperwork could be complicated when you’re just getting started, but if you’re willing to do the work the rewards could be immense.
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