With over 60 federal agencies and millions of employees, it is impossible for any small business to broadly target contracts across all federal agencies. Therefore, what is most important is to develop a federal market niche.
When I tell this to people, they often say, “great, that makes sense, but I have no idea how to create a niche?”
My response is to follow this process:
1. Identify the federal agencies in which you would like to work. I recommend starting with three agencies. This number of agencies should provide you with a large enough market to focus on while not overwhelming you.
2. Now it is time to research who your competition is, their pricing, and how well your firm can compete with these other firms. This competition analysis is performed by searching GSA Advantage, GSA eLibrary, and FPDS.gov.
3. Once you have determined that your firm is competitive, the next step is to analyze the contracting vehicles that your competitors are using to sell to your target agencies. A contracting vehicle is a bridge that allows a federal buyer to legally purchase your product. Contracting vehicles come in many types.
There are contacts that are awarded in advance of any purchase made by the government. The terms are set whereby the federal vendor agrees to a specific price for a particular quantity. Both products and services can be covered by this type of contract. These contracts can be large such as GWACs (Government-wide Acquisition Contracts) or smaller such as IDIQs (Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity Contracts). IDIQ contracts are usually shared among a few agencies.
The agency or agencies you are targeting may also utilize Simplified Acquisition Procedures buying in smaller quantities, or government credit cards.
Tip: This analysis is a critical step because you want to make buying from your firm as easy as possible.
4. The next step is building a list of federal buyers that have purchased your product over the past two years, and then contacting them. The previous three steps should have you ready to explain how your firm’s value proposition is different than your competitors, and that you have their preferred buying method.
If you are interested in assistance exploring federal contracting, and the niche marketing that results in ongoing success in the federal marketplace, I always recommend contacting an industry expert such as Fedvital. They specialize in providing small businesses with a boost in the Low Cost / Low-Medium Effort federal marketing channels so that you can get your feet wet in the federal marketplace for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. They can be reached at (859)360-1320.