Doing Business with the Federal Government as a Small Business
I had the privilege of attending the 2014 Government Procurement Conference in Washington D.C. on the 16th of April 2014. For those of you who have not had the opportunity of attending, I highly recommend attending next year. The conference was informative and provided a great networking opportunity for businesses looking to obtain work in the Federal sector. I would like to share the most important points reinforced for me.
Doing business with the Federal Government is a process. It has been our experience that it takes about 2 years to work the market properly and obtain a “win.” The process leading up to the win is critical, as we all know. Think about who you do business with in your personal life. I bet it is with someone you know, like, and trust. At the end of the day, it is all about relationships. As you pursue an opportunity, proper marketing and client call plans work.
Equally important is for each of us to do our research and homework before we get out there to market and pay visits. Research the agency you are targeting, see if they are falling below their Small Business goals and if you are in that category, let them know. Do your homework on what the agency is buying and ensure your organization has that “niche” to fit their need. A good source for you to see who is buying what you are selling is “The Forecast of Procurement/Contracting Opportunities.” This is available on line at www.osdbu.gov. There you can also find a Subcontracting Directory (Listing of Primes) and a listing of the agency’s components and the Small Business Specialists. For detailed information as a Small Business, click on “Members” and “Calendar.”
Marketing your services is critical. Attend targeted outreach activities and as many local conferences and Trade Shows as possible. Have plenty of business cards when doing so and it is a good idea to put your NAICS codes on the back… after all, you paid for both sides! Try to focus on no more than 2-3 agencies and again, allow 18-24 months for that “relationship building.” Research what pre-existing contract vehicles are used by the agencies you have targeted and then let them know what contract vehicles you have available for them. We all must know our core competencies. Do you have that “elevator” speech to present on a moment’s notice? Do you have good marketing materials? Do you have a niche? Is your company web savvy because folks will check and often that is the first impression. Are you registered in Government pre-existing databases (FedBizOpps, SAM & Dynamic Small Business Search)?
What really works in this business is relationships, networking, availability of multiple contract vehicles, continuous marketing, being prepared, patience, and persistence. At Agility Development Group, we are prepared to work with you on the road to success in the Federal market.
Let us know how we can help you succeed in this or any other business effort!