The reality is that firms who have a federal (or state) certification receive preferential treatment over firms that do not. This preference can be leveraged to obtain contracting opportunities with lower barriers to entry, and good contract performance aids the firm on obtaining additional contracts in the future. The certification that is widely considered the strongest in the federal space is the SBA 8(a) Certification.
Therefore, I always recommend submitting an 8(a) application to firms that are eligible to obtain the 8(a) Certification early in their government marketing journey, as it greatly reduces the marketing effort required by the firm.
Understanding How Federal Buyers Procure My Firm’s Goods or Services
It is also important to note that the federal government uses multiple methods for procuring goods and services from 8(a) firms. Among these are sole source contracts, set-aside contracts, GSA Schedules, GWACS such as 8(a) STARS, and other IDIQ contracts.
A misnomer that many small businesses have is that registering their business in sam.gov, and checking that they are a minority owned business, is the only step they need to take. It is in fact only the initial step of registering as a vendor with the federal government.
There is existing competition in the government marketplace even for 8(a) firms. The federal market is an established market, even though it has thousands of new entrants a year. As a new entrant, it makes navigating this market and finding the correct decision makers for sharing your value proposition critical. Then, determining what contracting vehicles these decision makers utilize is critical for delivering an actionable business proposition in the federal space.
Engage in Federal Networking
Networking and relationship-based selling is one of the core tenants of private sector selling. Most novice 8(a) federal marketers think that networking goes out the window when dealing with the federal government. Federal buyers are definitely constrained by FAR (Federal Acquisitions Regulations); however, government contractors have all developed strong government contacts. These contacts will often sole source contracting opportunities to 8(a) firms that they have worked successfully with in the past.
It has been my experience that federal networking is so important, I ask our 8(a) clients to focus on 1-3 federal agencies, and we often find that our most successful clients quickly have this down to a single agency of focus. They then know and understand all the players at that agency, and this leads to many more contracting opportunities which is more preferential than a scattered approach.
Federal contracting utilizing an 8(a) Certification can greatly enhance a firm’s revenue. If you have any questions on how an 8(a) consultant can assist your business, I always recommend contacting one of these industry experts such as ez8a, Advance 8a or Government Marketing. All of them do not charge for an initial consultation.