What are the best practices for a small business going after Federal contracts?
If you’re a small-business looking to break into federal contracting, where do you start? Selling to the federal government is demanding, even for the most established companies. Fortunately, it is also incredibly lucrative, awarding roughly 500 billion dollars in federal contracts each year. If you want to become a winning contractor, you must first adequately prepare yourself. As a first time bidder, success depends on understanding federal acquisition strategies, locating suitable opportunities, and demonstrating compliance, responsiveness, and competitiveness with your proposal. This last step is a major hurdle for a small, unproven business, but with strategic teaming and outreach, you will become a legitimate contender.
Understanding the Federal Acquisition Strategies
Despite the fact that over twenty percent of federal dollars spent on contracts each year are required by law to be awarded to small businesses, locating the perfect opportunity among these set-asides is no simple task. To qualify, you must be Small Business Administration (SBA) certified. You also need to maintain a profile in the System for Award Management (SAM), create a Dynamic Small Business Search profile, and create a compelling capability statement. If possible, obtain additional certification as a Woman-Owned Small Business or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business, or as a member of the HUBzone Program or 8(a) Business Development Program. The latter pair help small businesses in urban and rural communities and small disadvantaged businesses, respectively. With these foundational steps established, it’s time to find a bidding opportunity.
Locating Suitable Opportunities
The government posts its solicitations to FedBizOpps, and while it is certainly possible for you to manually locate contracts here, the last thing you want is to find yourself knee-deep in government offers with no idea which will best suit your qualifications. You must identify those agencies whose needs best align with your company’s scope and capabilities.
Our FREE TOOL, BidFinder matches solicitations to your NAICS codes and delivers a weekly report of the most relevant RFPs. These tools are the perfect way to take your first steps into federal bidding, but if you want to win those bids, you’ll need to form project teams and partnerships.
Teaming and Outreach
Winning proposals must demonstrate that your company has the proven performance to get the job done, on time and on budget, while remaining compliant with all requirements of the solicitation. Doing so as a first-time bidder may seem an insurmountable task. This is where potential bidding partners play a decisive role. As an unproven business, collaborate as part of a Join Venture, Mentor-Protégé arrangement, or corporate partnership, to get your foot in the door of federal contracting.
Our FedStarter tool is an automated team builder that matches you with partnering candidates based on solicitation numbers and/or NAICS codes. It can locate potential primes behind-the-scenes, freeing you to focus on your core business rather than waste time searching for ideal partners on your own.
Sales Automation Support proposal writers are the proven experts who not only understand the federal government and proposal process, but provide the tools to match your company with opportunities and establish partnerships that will give your small-business the weight it needs to compete.