I am going to go over how a GSA Schedule becomes your Federal Storefront, and why this is so important if you are trying to do work with the federal government.
B-to-B and B-to-G Sales Channels
Business to Business and Business to Government sales channels have many of the same elements as each other, but there are differences as well. Generally, the larger the business you are working with, the more similar they become to having a government like structure for purchasing. Once the entity gets super large, i.e. the Federal Government, developing ways to get through the bureaucratic structure becomes more and more important. This is where GSA Schedules come in and give a small business a storefront, greatly simplifying doing business with the federal government.
Federal Government Structure for Making Purchases
Sam.gov: I would “liken” having a sam.gov profile to being able to pick up the phone and responding if you saw a social listing where someone needed something. Not the most effective use of one’s time.
GSA Schedule: A GSA Schedule places your firm in the mid-level of federal sophistication. This at the level that your firm obtains your first storefront. Your firm has spent the time and effort to undergo the process of proving you are a reliable and capable vendor with reasonable pricing. A GSA Schedule gets you in the game for doing business with the federal government.
Specific GWACs and IDIQ Contracts: Your GSA Schedule is working and bringing in business. Now it is time to make your store larger, so you can have the inventory on hand to work with larger accounts. It is then time to get your firm on a large GWAC (Government-wide Contract) or an IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity Contract). These contracts narrow down the competition while boosting your expansion into the federal marketplace.
Teaming, Joint Ventures, and Being Acquired: The most sophisticated firms in the federal space have networked and created relationships with other federal vendors. These are the people that through their reputation get great jobs before anyone knew the position existed.
It could take time to get to the GWAC, IDIQ Contract and Joint Venture levels of federal contracting. However, you can obtain your first storefront in a few months by obtaining a GSA Schedule. So, if your firm wants to focus more on federal contracting obtaining a GSA Schedule is a great place to start.
If you interest in exploring the potential that your specific firm has in the federal marketplace, I always recommend contacting an industry expert such as Advance GSA. They do not charge for an initial consultation.