In the United States, there are 26.5 million companies. Only 5.4 million of them have any employees. The vast majority (99.7%) have less than 500 people working for them. In this climate, federal contracting has never been more popular. About $500 billion is spent every year by the federal government on contracting. The federal government is required by law to send 23% of that business the way of small businesses around the country.
6 Tips for Bidding on Government Contracts:
- Know the rules and regulations. Before you even start looking into federal contracting opportunities until after you have spent some time learning about the process. This is a very different process than when you are dealing with other private entities. The process also takes a whole lot more time. There are also resources available to you that you do not have in other areas. You can talk to your congressional representation and the Small Business Administration (SBA). You can also get software to help you set up your proposals. You can buy government contract proposal creation software. Get to know all of the lingo, if you do not know it already.
- Research what the government needs. When you look at the federal contracting opportunities that interest you, make sure you understand what they are looking for exactly. Every federal department has a mandate and a set of very specific goals and objectives. Knowing what these are can help you craft your proposal better. They have very specific things they are looking for. Their budgets are under a lot of scrutiny so you have to keep that in mind. If you can come up with creative and cost effective ways to help those agencies reach their goals, you will be in a good position to get the contract.
- Look at who is hiring small businesses and who is not. Congress has made it clear that it expects federal agencies and departments to hire small businesses. That is where that 30% quota comes from. Look to pitch your proposals to agencies that are not meeting that metric. These agencies may be more flexible and even more a little faster so they can comply with their own rules and regulations. All of this is public information so do your research into this before you start to design and craft your proposals.
- Do more than just some internet research. Go in and talk to people who work at the agency. See how things are run there. Go to conferences and other events where you know people from the procurement community. Get to know the people who make these decisions. This is not about getting influence but an understanding of their needs and how their operations actually work. Companies that are able to get the federal consulting jobs, know what the government agencies need but also how to approach them. They speak the same language.
- Look at the federal contracting opportunities that are out there now. Everything the federal government does is public so you can find out whatever you want. You can see lists of current federal contacting opportunities and what is coming up at many of the agencies. There are a lot of websites out there devoted to helping companies like yours get the most of the system.
- Talk to the government. The federal government wants to work with the private sector to get its work done. There are some areas where this is the most cost effective and efficient way to do the work of the federal government. There are people in the government who are tasked with helping small businesses get federal contracting jobs. The SBA has a mentoring program so that small businesses who are new to the federal contracting process can get advice from more experienced small business owners.
Writing government proposals may not be the most intuitive process around but it can lead to lucrative federal contracting opportunities for you and your company. The good news about this unfamiliar and often confusing process is that there are places you can go for help. The federal government wants to bring on small businesses to help fulfill its mission. With some work and patience, you can get those elusive government contracts.