According to recent INPUT analysis, President Obama’s proposed economic stimulus package will deliver billions of dollars to federal agencies and state and local governments to create new jobs, retain existing jobs, and jump start spending by investing in infrastructure projects.
Small businesses are already taking notice.
As Ken Larson reports in his Small Business Federal Government Contracting blog, there has been a dramatic increase in SCORE counseling requests from small businesses inquiring about entering federal government contracting.
So if you have ever contemplated government contracting as a way to grow your small business, now is the time to start thinking about how you can position yourself to win a share of these opportunities when they emerge.
Getting started in federal government contracting – from understanding how the government buys, to registering to do business with the government – can be complex, but there are many in-depth resources you can explore.
My colleague, Tracy Johnson – over on Sparkplugging.com – has some great advice on getting started with government contracts. You can also get help from the government directly with this Small Business Guide to Government Contracting that can help you understand the federal government procurement process and what you can expect as a federal contractor.
Here are five additional tips to help small businesses find federal contracting opportunities.
1) Get Your Foot in the Door – Become a Subcontractor
This is a great way to break in to federal government contracting. Larger enterprises often bid out portions of their direct government contracts to smaller providers. If you’re new to federal contracting, teaming with another business as a subcontractor is a great way to get your foot in the door.
You can find out about potential subcontracting opportunities through the GSA Subcontracting Directory.
Another variant of subcontracting is to form what is known as a teaming arrangement. However, you’ll need to get a GSA Schedule for this, since Contractor Team Arrangements (CTA) involve two or more GSA Schedule holders coming together with complementary solutions or services to meet an agency’s particular requirements. Find out more about teaming arrangements here.
2) Use the Government’s Virtual Marketplace and other Procurement Data Resources
Many organizations, both public and private, provide access to Web-based government procurement listings services. These typically feature the latest contract opportunities as well as bidding tools to help you submit your interest.
The best place to start is FedBizOpps. This is the government’s one-stop virtual marketplace; from here you can search, monitor and retrieve all opportunities solicited by the entire federal contracting community with a value of $25,000 or more.
Other sites, operated by private companies, are fee-based, and include INPUT, Onvia, FedSources, etc. These services also include market intelligence, procurement resources as well as events and tutorials to help businesses market to the government.
3) Write a Capabilities Statement
Now that you are plugged into FedBizOpps or other procurement sites, you’ll need to have a capability statement (CAPE). A CAPE will help you respond to government postings that request industry interest in forthcoming procurements. It’s also a useful way of advertising your expertise to potential teaming partners or prime contractors that might want to “sub” with your small business.